My Titanium quest was now in full gear, and I couldn’t afford an injury, yet my four-in-four-weeks in June was taking a toll and I was afflicted with plantar fasciitis for the second time in my running career. This meant that I was going to be very conservative and not run AT ALL in between races. I needed to save every bit of that plantar fascia for my Titanium-qualifying marathons. July was an “easy” month with only two marathons, but they were a challenging double in Idaho and Montana. But first, I volunteered at the Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon at home in Arlington VA while Scot ran the race. Several Maniac and 50 Stater friends came from out of town to run the 211-loop marathon or the 50K, including Kino, Steve, Max and Larry. It was a whirlwind first few laps as I tried to count for 8 different runners; it got easier once they were more spaced out, but there was no time to rest during lap counting.
|Maniacs at the Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon|
For my crazy double, I traveled West with fellow Maniac and 50-Stater Jody. Melinda, Glen and a couple others also did the double. On Saturday we ran the MAD Marathon in Idaho Falls, which was extremely well-organized for a small race, but had a somewhat boring second half of the course through farmland and suburban sprawl. The course was hilly in spots, but nothing like our next day in Montana. The Madison Marathon near Ennis MT is billed as North America’s highest road marathon. It was up in the mountains above the treeline, with a peak altitude of 9,500 feet. This was such a beautiful race, but the combination of the heights and the hills, and some of the surfaces (coarse gravel and potholed pavement) made it a real challenge. It was my slowest marathon ever (not counting Honolulu, where we stopped on course to get married), but I was so proud of myself for running and finishing this race.
|At the Madison Marathon finish drinking cheap beer with Cowboy Jeff and Jody|
The next day, Melinda was on her way back to California and Jody and I spent some time at Yellowstone National Park.
This was my Titanium month. If I didn’t earn my 10th star by August 25th, it was not likely that I’d be able to achieve Titanium at all. I had four races in four states planned. I only needed three more states, so the last one was my back-up race. Turns out I needed the back-up. First up was the Wildcat Ridge Romp 50K in New Jersey. I expected it to be similar to my first trail marathon, XTERRA Oak Mountain in Alabama. Boy, was I WRONG. At Wildcat, we were scaling stacked-up tree trunks, negotiating boulders, tackling poorly-marked steep ascents, and the like. With an important double coming up the following weekend, and my Titanium status on the line, I couldn’t risk injury or being swept from the course. Because I could not guarantee a safe finish of all three 10-mile loops, it made sense to stop after one loop.
|On my one and only 10-mile loop at Wildcat. Don't see much of a trail? Neither did I.|
The following weekend’s difficult double was the Park City Marathon on Saturday, followed by a long drive to Nevada’s Area 51 to run the E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon that SAME NIGHT at midnight. In the dark. On no sleep. With an extremely painful plantar fascia. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t fast, but I finished both races, and ran some with Natalie and Janice. Some highlights of this trip were meeting Utah Maniacs, including the famous Galen and Angie, dining at Taco Time for the first time ever (Scot loved this taco chain when he was out West last year), running into my coworker Lesley on the Park City course (neither of us knew the other would be there), and spending some time in St. George UT and Zion National Park.
|With Lesley and her friend after Park City Marathon|
With the DNF at Wildcat and the finishes at Park City and E.T., I was one race away from Titanium, and that race was the Self Transcendence Marathon in Congers NY. This was an unusual race for many reasons. It was on a Friday. It was put on by a worldwide community of peaceful runners who run mostly ultras and multi-day races; the marathon distance was short for them. People came from all over the world to run this race that consisted of 6 (if I recall correctly) loops around Rockland Lake. They had aid stations more typical of ultras, and also served dried seaweed at the stations (it replenishes your sodium, but sticks in your teeth). I was in such pain for most of the race, my plantar fasciitis almost at its worst. But I finished, I earned New York, and I earned my 10th Star and Titanium status in Marathon Maniacs.
|I earned Titanium at Self Transcendence Marathon and joined Scot as a Titanium couple|
Just one day after earning Titanium, I traveled the short distance to Stamford CT with Scot. He and I, along with Mike, volunteered at the inaugural (and probably only) Cove Island Marathon created by Maniac Ed and race directed by Diane. Several Maniacs came out to run this low-key race in Cove Island Park. We celebrated George’s Birthday, a teenager’s first marathon, and had a good time in spite of some challenges with race logistics.
|Cove Island Marathon Team: Scot, me, Ed, Diane and Mike|
About a month after my Titanium race, Scot and I went out to run another double in Bismarck ND and Omaha NE. Bismarck Marathon was a small race with an uninteresting course, but great race organization. I ran several miles with Maniac Maria. The drive to Omaha was long and we arrived late to share a hotel with Jim and Abbi. Omaha Marathon was a contrast to Bismarck in that it was a more scenic course and a bigger field, but the race organization was lacking. The event had been taken over by a new organization (HITS) and was not the wonderful event others had said it was in the past. However, the colorful, stamped glass medal was nice and we got to see several Maniacs including T-Rex, and Terry and Darwin from Canada. Also, Maniac Steve handed out Titanium buttons to Scot and me; how thoughtful!
|At the Bismarck finish line; he knew my foot was killing me on day 1 of the double|
Oh, October. I started the month by spectating at the Baltimore Marathon while Scot and many other friends ran. I saw lots of people and got lots of pictures, but standing on my feet all day took a toll on my plantar fasciitis.
|Wheelchair Maniacs at Baltimore starting line: Aaron, Paul and Grant of 50 Ability Marathons|
We drove from Baltimore to Atlantic City and picked up packets for Peter, Jing Jing, Lisa and others before having a nice pre-race meal and craft beer sampling from the Tun Tavern. The next morning, I started the Atlantic City Marathon with high hopes, running with Linda, Angela and other Maniacs and Half Fanatics. I still felt OK at the halfway point, but not too long after that my plantar fasciitis was screaming at me. I stopped at mile 19 and made the difficult decision to DNF; before I got swept back to the finish, Ed from Hawaii ran by, so I knew he was going to finish his NJ race. I probably could have finished, but it would have been over the course limit, and I would have risked further injuring my foot. Because New Jersey is close to home and I could easily schedule another NJ marathon, I felt the smart thing to do was to stop.
|We were going out, but Steve was already coming back at the Atlantic City Marathon|
The following weekend, Scot and I drove to Columbus OH where we would visit my mom and brother, and he would run the Columbus Marathon. My plan was to spectate since I’d run this one before and I needed to baby my foot. I camped out on the course just past the full/half split, so that I’d be cheering on full marathoners as they started the second half of their race. I saw many Maniacs and had a great time cheering for everyone. My mom and brother came out for the finish and we all went out for pizza after being reunited with Scot.
|Halbert, Scot and Magenta nearing the Columbus Marathon finish line|
And then I made another difficult decision to drop from the Marine Corps Marathon to the MCM 10K. I had already run MCM before, and didn’t want to make my injury even worse. After the 10K, it was nice to go home and shower before heading out to Julia’s party for her 100th marathon at MCM. And on that note, I ended October with zero marathon finishes.
|A bunch o' Titaniacs at MCM for Julia's 100th|
This was another difficult month. After my DNF at Atlantic City, I made the decision to drop to the half marathon at Outer Banks. Scot and I were both scheduled for the 5K on Saturday, plus the 8K & Full Marathon Challenge. I was dropping to the 8K & Half Marathon Challenge. I did well on Saturday for the 5K and 8K, not pushing it hard, but not walking the whole way either. I felt confident that I’d be able to finish the half marathon strong the following day, and that was a big day because it was Scot’s 100th marathon. But Saturday night I went to bed with one of my tension headaches, and I had forgotten to pack my prescription. On Sunday morning, it was worse, and it was all I could do to drop off Scot at the start of the marathon. There was NO WAY I could run that day, and I went back to bed for as long as I could. I felt a little better with more sleep, but I was still not well as I made my way to the finish line to meet up with Sally (Scot’s mom), Ben and some other friends to cheer him in. After the big finish and the obligatory photos with the big, gold 1-0-0 balloons, we had a bite to eat before everyone needed to leave town. Fortunately, we met up with Melinda briefly after the race; she earned Titanium that day at Outer Banks.
|Post Outer Banks Marathon gathering of friends for Scot's 100th marathon|
The following weekend, Scot and I drove up to spectate at the Philadelphia Marathon. It was also Peggy’s 100th marathon. We had a great time seeing many Maniacs on the out & back course, and getting lots of pictures. And, after a year, we were reunited with Anders, our favorite Biking Viking.
|Just a few of the folks who celebrated Peggy's 100th marathon in Philadelphia|
|Sporting my sporty turkey headband at the freezing cold Trot for Hunger|
We were off to Arizona to run the Tucson Marathon, where Scot and I would each earn a new state. There were a fair number of Maniacs, many of them local. We had pre-race pizza with Keith after the expo. Race day was cold and overcast, and not at all what we expected for Arizona. My plantar fasciitis was doing fairly well, but because of my last couple months of low mileage, I was not feeling strong. I ran the first part of the race with Lori before dropping back to walk a little more. Then I met up with local runner Becky, who was doing her first marathon. She was still a novice runner and had only done one half marathon. In the last few miles, Becky was having some knee trouble and needed to walk. I was happy to stay with her, as we were still going to finish within the course limit. After I finished and ran the race back in my head, I realized that, due to the net downhill course, this could have been my first sub-6 marathon since my injury. Still, I was happy to have played it safe to avoid re-injury and to earn my official Arizona finish.
|At the Tucson expo with Keith|
There was just one more race to run in 2013, and that was the Ugly Sweater Run DC. This was a fun, silly, un-timed 5K. I loved the ugly sweater theme, and I found a deal for discounted race entries, so I convinced Scot to run this one with me. We had trouble finding ugly sweaters because we waited too long into the season. We went to two Goodwill shops, one Marshalls and one Ross. We even looked at Old Navy and found absolutely zero sweaters that were holiday themed. We ended up ordering ours from Amazon. The run was crowded and bottle-necked at the start, and the temperature was in the 50s, much warmer than we’d hoped it would be (because of wearing sweaters), but I had so much fun. Ted joined us and we stayed for the after-party which included three different Samuel Adams varieties, and Angry Orchard cider. There was great people-watching and a fun party with a DJ. I’d definitely do this again for the holiday experience. My one complaint is that there wasn’t really any post-race food for the participants, which is a mistake when there is so much free-flowing alcohol.
|At the Ugly Sweater Run with Magenta and Ted and toys to donate|
So, there was my 2013. I finished 23 marathons (total of 44 lifetime marathons), seven half marathons, one 17.75K, one 10-miler, one 10K, one 8K, four 5Ks. I added 17 new marathon states for a total of 35 states, and earned Titanium in the Marathon Maniacs. My plantar fasciitis isn’t gone, but it’s much better. I’m planning more states and more adventures around the corner in 2014…and I’m going to blog about them more consistently. Happy New Year, and Happy Running to All!