Can you run three marathons in six weeks and place in the top three? I happen to know several people that are good marathoners and are able to run marathons well with little recovery time. It wasn’t until two weeks ago that I could say that I too was able to run three marathons within five weeks and six days. Earlier this year I ran two races four weeks apart (
and Rockford Marathons), but wasn’t happy with my time for the second race. Combining my schedule working full time night shift as an Toledo OB nurse and my husband’s schedule as a Physical education teacher and cross country coach is quite the task, leaving few unoccupied weekends and limited time to train.
This fall Jake and I both wanted to get several good races in without traveling an unreasonable distance. Also we had to factor in childcare for our two year old daughter, Natalie. My parents live in
; so we found two races that worked with our schedules and asked my parents to watch Natalie while we ran. There also was a race in Wisconsin that Jake informed me he wanted us to do. That meant that he had found three races for us to run this fall, each about 3 weeks apart, I was not so sure that my body, especially my legs, would be able to handle the beating of doing all three of them. Michigan
Fox Cities Marathon in
was September 18th. The results the past couple years showed that it has been a competitive race both for men and women. Jake and I each went into the race hoping to run a good time as we hoped to have others to run with (at our pace) to push us to a respectable time. Knowing this was usually a competitive race, I was hoping to be in the top three; however, I was not sure how likely that would be. Appleton, Wisconsin
The race was on a Sunday, which typically works best for Jake’s schedule. Friday afternoon after school we headed to my parents’ house. Thanks to heavy traffic in the
area we did not get to my parents’ until late. Saturday afternoon we made the three hour drive to Chicago area, leaving Natalie at my parents. After picking up the race packets we drove the marathon course. This gave us an idea of what to expect Sunday morning. Appleton
Just after the gun went off and the 26.2 mile race was underway it became apparent that there were a handful of girls that I would be chasing. The first eight miles of the race I was in seventh place. Miles three to nine I ran with a very friendly gal and we talked some about how we were going to catch the pack of girls ahead of us. While we were running together we passed one girl. After mile nine I decided to slow my pace down slightly as I was not sure I could keep that up the whole race and really didn’t want to “crash and burn”. Unfortunately this meant I was running alone during the windy parts of the course and part of me wished I had stayed with her. Around mile sixteen I visualized another female runner. It seemed as though she was struggling, so even though I wasn’t feeling great, I focused on catching her. At about mile nineteen I was able to pass her. Mile twenty I started to feel better. This I was very grateful for, as many marathoners (myself included in past races) “hit the wall” after mile twenty. I continued to press on for time sake and also hoping to catch another girl. I was sitting in fifth and wanted better than that. Thankfully the last 10k went by fast as I did catch another female around mile twenty two. The race spectators were slightly more frequent in the last three miles and one kind person confirmed my suspicions that I was fourth. I soon spotted another female around mile twenty four and was able to pass her quickly. With about two miles to go I would not listen to the aches and pains of my body as I knew I now was in third place and was not willing to give that up. I finished in a time of 3:03:10. This was my best time since having Natalie. I had hoped to PR, but was glad I was able to finish strong and be in the top three. The friendly gal I ran with the beginning of the race was able to win. I was very happy for her as, if I recall correctly, she said this was only her third marathon. This race was a well organized race with 851 finishers.
The following three weeks flew by. I had very little muscle soreness but I still tried to be patient and let my legs recover. The next race was Wildlife Marathon in
. Jake has run it the past two years. He won it two years ago and was third last year. The course last year was quite hilly and on several gravel roads. It was to be the same course this year. Knowing it was such a hilly course, I was not really looking forward to the race. I was thinking I could use it as more of a training run, but yet hoped to place well. It is a small race and the winning female’s time last year was 3:28 (course record). The race was offering a prize of $100 for setting a new course record. I knew I should be able to do that, so that is what motivated me to do this race only an hour an half drive away. Jake’s parents were visiting that weekend and were kind enough to stay on Sunday to watch Natalie while we raced. Concord, Michigan
October 9th in the small town of
Concord, , as we were lining up at the start line, minutes before the race was to start, Jake pointed out a girl. He then informed me he heard her telling some guys that she was hoping to run about 3:10. Soon the gun went off and the race was on. This girl did go out hard as she was just behind Jake the first bit. I wanted to stay with her if she was planning to run 3:10, but another part of me knew better. Michigan
I chose to run my race, sticking to the strategy that I had composed previously. I was fortunate enough to run with another guy, Grant, which is a friend of my husband. The first few miles were mostly flat, but soon the course was hilly. I forced myself to take it easy on the first couple miles in order to have enough left in the tank for all the hills. The hills continued until mile twenty. The last 10k was fairly flat with the exception of a steep hill in the last mile. Grant and I ran together through mile twenty. I was able to continue pushing on alone the last six miles. I passed several guys who were walking and kept hoping that I would be able to somehow catch the lead girl. I ended up the second female finisher with a time of 3:06. After I finished, Jake informed me that he talked to the winning female and she said her marathon PR was 2:46 and had previously qualified for the Olympic trials in the marathon. I felt a tad better, knowing there was no way I would have been able to beat her, but was still quite disappointed she showed up to this tiny race.
Marathon was the most hilly marathon course I had run. The aide stations were lacking as some were more than four miles apart. I was most disappointed that there was any water between miles twenty and twenty four. One lesson I learned the hard way, you never know who will show up. Of course I knew that already, but was really hoping to run my race and win this small marathon.
Again the days flew by as our next race approached. Jake and I both were registered for Haunted Hustle in
. This race was only an hour from my parents so we were able to stay at their house and drive to the race the morning of it. This was a moderate sized race in its second year with about 650 runners registered in the marathon. From the previous year’s results Jake and I both felt we had a chance to place well…depending of course, on who showed up. We did not have a chance to drive the course, so I really did not know what all it entailed. Middleton, Wisconsin