I woke up at 4:15. I did not sleep much, but felt well. As always, I took three packets of Immun’Âge® some five minutes before my breakfast and got dressed.
I knew that it was quite cold outside and decided to wear long sleeves and long running pants. I left at 4:45 with my rental car and drove the twenty miles to the start of the Elkton Marathon at the Fair Hills Natural Resources Management Area. Thirty minutes later, I arrived in the middle of nowhere in the countryside: It was cold and drizzling. I expected a gloomy day as the weather had not been terrific for several days. It was the same marathon series as the Kentucky marathon that I ran previously. I did not preregister as I was in no hurry to pay the $150 requested for this run! I knew that I could register the day of the marathon. I got my T-shirt and medal before going back to my car to keep warm a few more minutes.
At 5:50, I went to the start location. Dawn broke on a gloomy sight, but the worse was to come! I tasted a home-made cookie and ate another pastry while waiting for the marathon to start. The race director gave the instructions for the run and at 6 am the gun went off.
There were the same number of participants as for the Kentucky marathon – about one hundred runners – and the course was similar: eighteen 2.4-kilometer loops but with less attractive scenery. Indeed, we ran by the horse track and barns. The track was in bad shape due to several days of bad weather. It was muddy, and on top of it quite narrow – a problem as runners had to pass each other constantly. However, and this was good news, the course was fast and flat despite four small bumps, and on natural ground for 80 % of the run. Other than that, nothing was appealing. The ground was slippery in some places and we had to be careful when we passed each other on the grass. I was afraid we would end up with mud up to the ankles. I decided not to linger. I psyched myself up for the run with a mindset of “I-do-the-job-quickly-and-get-the-hell-out-of-here-before-I-twist-an-ankle,” and I went for it.
I started to speed up from the outset and I passed km 5 in 27 minutes, and km 10 in 55 minutes. There were no well-wishers to cheer us up so we encouraged each other. I kept the same pace and reached km 15 in 1:23, km 20 in 1:53 and the half-marathon in 2:00. A cold biting wind was blowing. The scenery was really not nice as you can see on my beautiful pictures!
From km 30 on, my legs felt a bit stiff but I knew that I could do it: I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. The ground was more than sticky and I made sure to not slip. Groups of three walkers were blocking the trail sometimes and we needed to pass them on the grass. Bummer!
I reached km 35 in 3:37 and km 40 in 4:16. I finished the marathon distance in 4:33:42 (my second best time this year) but, as in Kentucky, the marathon was 44 kilometer long. Ridiculous. They had set a cone for the 5K runners to turn around but not for the marathon runners.
After km 42.195, I jogged until the finish as I did not really care what time they would record (about 4:47, I think) as it does not mean anything. I finished 16th. I took the second part of my medal, grabbed a small sandwich and left.
Unfortunately, I don’t have anything else to say. This run was not interesting at all, as you might have guessed already. We were lucky that it did not rain more because the marathon would have turned into a dangerous long distance cross country run. I had no choice but to run this marathon due to time constraint. The first time you run such a course, if the weather is good and the landscape beautiful, it’s fun. This was not the case. I have the feeling to have run 200 times around a soccer field. Furthermore, I find the fees too high for such a marathon.
I returned my rental car and went back to my hotel where I enjoyed a long, well-deserved shower (my stuff was in really bad shape). As always after such intensive effort, I took three packets of Immun’Âge® to help recover quickly and reduce stiffness and fatigue, and had a good nap.
See you next Sunday in Wilmington, DE, for a marathon that, I hope, will be more fun! Have a nice week.