After my crazy but great week-end in the mountains of Montana where I ran two marathons, I went to Idaho Falls to run my 32nd marathon of the year, the 100th marathon of my runner’s career! The journey to get there offered quite gorgeous scenery crossing the three states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Once in Idaho Falls, I got my runner’s bag and my bib, had a quick meal and went straight to bed to be well rested for the run the next morning.
The alarm clock went off at 3 a.m. and I felt that I could have slept some more! I took three packets of Immun’Âge® as I always do the morning before a race, and, a little later, ate a big pink grapefruit and a banana. I chose a light outfit that day as they forecasted more than 96°F during the run, without a bit of breeze.
I got to the finish area where two buses were waiting to take us runners to the start up in the mountain. We got there in 45 minutes. It was quite chilly up there and you could feel the altitude: over 6,300 feet above sea level. The temperature was ideal for a run. There were approximately forty of us to run this marathon and I met Jeff and Rose again who had run with me last week-end.
6 a.m. The race started a half hour late. We ran the first kilometers toward the valley on a rolling course with steep uphills and long descents. My pace was slow as I was monitoring myself wondering how I was going to react after last week-end double marathon in 24 hours. I reached km 5 in 30 minutes. The sun rose over the mountains and farm fields, the scenery was superb.
At km 8, we turned to a huge 7-km long straight rolling stretch. I reached km 10 in 1:03. Then we ran on a flat road. The course, after this, consisted only in endless straight stretches that were not really fun and, worse, had the potential to break up the morale as they seemed never ending. On top of it all, the hydration stations did not offer much (no electrolyte drinks at every station) and were way too spaced out for the heat. The run ended up to be not only difficult but also annoying. It was really hot but we were lucky as clouds protected us from the sun.
I reached km 15 in 1:36, km 20 in 2:12 and the half-marathon in 2:20: quite a slow pace. The very beautiful scenery broke away from the course monotony. My lower back started to hurt, an aftereffect from last week-end double marathon. The straight stretches went on forever and it was so hot that I wished I had taken a small bottle of Gatorade like last week (but even with it, I think it still would have been hard). I reached km 25 in 2:52 and km 30 in 3:36.
From km 33 on, the clouds could no longer help us, and the sun started to stun us. The hydration stations were really too spaced out and I ended up completely dehydrated. I reached km 35 in 4:26. At the km 37-hydration station I drank fifteen Gatorade glasses (yes, that’s right, 15!) But it was too late: I was dehydrated and never able to get over it. You always have to make sure to stay properly hydrated during a race. Once you get dehydrated, it’s too late. I talked with the volunteers at the hydration station for about ten minutes, without any runner passing by: everybody was suffering and no one gained a few positions in the standings (I only lost five spots in the standings during the race). I went on and passed a runner that had passed me a few kilometers earlier. He was in trouble and when I asked him if he was all right, he told me that he no longer could run. I told him to take it easy and resumed towards the finish. I reached km 40 in 5:17 and nobody was at this hydration station where I found a lonely water container together with glasses on a table! Looked to me as a hydration station reduced to the bare bones! Clouds moved in and a heat storm was growing: I accelerated to end up the run as soon as possible and crossed the finish line in 5:33:35.
I got my medal and chatted with people in the organizing team sharing with them some of the weak points I experienced during this marathon so they could fix them for next year race. I did not forget to take three packets of Immun’Âge®, which would help me recover faster after such efforts.
I just joined the club of the runners who have successfully run 100 marathons, and, at my age (43), I don’t believe there are many of us. Joe, a runner whom I had met in the morning, made me a great present when he took me for a ride in his beautiful Ford AC Cobra. Many thanks to him: it was really exciting.
This marathon won’t remain engraved in my memory for long, and I think there is room for improvement. I wish my 100th marathon would have been a more interesting run.
Next Sunday, I will be back on the East coast, in Pittsfield, MA. Have a good week.