Marathoning Under the Weather

“Under the weather” as in being sick…not running in a thunderstorm like I did in Kansas. That’s how I ran my most recent two marathons. It didn’t feel great, but when I’ve already booked and paid for the trips, I’m not going to renege. 

First up was the Wisconsin Marathon on May 3rd. The day before we traveled, I started to feel sick with a sore, scratchy throat. On our flight day, I also felt poorly. Scot and I landed in Milwaukee Friday morning and spent a little time downtown on the river walk, finding the Bronze Fonz statue. Then we headed to Lakefront Brewery where I sampled some tasty beer and my first ever batch of fried cheese curds (yum). Then we headed to Kenosha for the packet pick-up and hotel check-in. I opted to stay in the hotel room and eat carry-out for dinner because of not feeling well. It was nice to have some extra down-time. I truly believe that taking it easy the night before helped my performance in the morning.
Magenta with the Bronze Fonz in downtown Milwaukee; it was a Happy Day

On Saturday, Scot and I were running a few minutes late and missed the Marathon Maniacs photo, but we did make it to the start in plenty of time. We saw some friends before the race and got some pics with them. The Wisconsin Marathon has an “all cheese corral” and Scot and I were eligible to join it since we wore cheese gear, but we just started with the regular folks.
Yup, here I am starting the Wisconsin Marathon in a cheese top hat

Ready to run with Barb, Scot, Magenta and Sarah

The weather was nice and the first half of the course was beautiful, mostly run along Lake Michigan. There was a long out & back section, so I got to see lots of friends who were running at different paces. I ran a little off and on with Barb and some other Maniacs. I couldn’t believe how well I felt after feeling so crappy the previous two days. My throat was no longer sore and the cold medicine I took kept me feeling good.

Beautiful views along Lake Michigan

The second half of the course was less interesting, with fewer opportunities to see the lake or fellow runners. There were also winds of up to 25 MPH! I ran some of the back half with Melissa and some with Sarah, who would be running the Kalamazoo Marathon the next day with Barb. If you run both of those races, you “earn your mittens” for running marathons in the two mitten-shaped states. Scot and I already had earned Michigan marathons, so we opted not to do the mittens this time. Although I did walk a fair amount in the second half, it was mostly due to side stitches, and not my cold. Still, I felt strong and I knew that I could turn in my best marathon time in over a year. It wasn’t anywhere near my PR, but it felt good to know that I was heading back in that direction.

Finishers Mark, Sandy, Eddie
Scot and I finished in our cheese gear; amazingly, the big foam hat didn't bother me!

Scot and I capped off the Wisconsin trip the next morning with a side-trip to Madison to see the state house, then we were off to Milwaukee to catch our return flight home.
Had some craft beer and munchies at The Old Fashioned in Madison

My picture of the Wisconsin state house's reflection

The week following the Wisconsin Marathon I felt progressively worse. I cycled through every conceivable cold symptom and had trouble sleeping most nights due to coughing fits. But the Maine Coast Marathon was scheduled for May 11th, and the trip was booked and paid, so off I went.

Scot stayed home this time since he already had Maine. Magenta and I flew to Boston on Saturday morning and hit up two state houses (Massachusetts and New Hampshire) before driving to the packet pick-up in Biddeford ME. There, I met up with my host Jim and fellow Maniac Sue. Jim and I decided to drive the marathon course in reverse, finishing our drive near the race start in Kennebunk ME. After a visit to Federal Jack’s (home of, unfortunately, a plethora of mediocre beer varieties) and a delicious dinner at Abbondante (the gnocchi with pomodoro sauce was fresh and wonderful), we were off to Jim’s home in Haymarket NH. Once again, I had trouble sleeping due to the cold that wouldn’t go away.

Four o’clock in the morning came early for me, not having slept well, but we needed to get to Biddeford in time to catch the 6:00 AM shuttle bus to the race start. Sue and I would be taking the early start, which gave us an extra half hour to finish.

Ready to run Maine with Linda, Sue and Jim

Maine Coast early start Maniacs

Something that had never happened to me happened at Maine Coast Marathon. For the first couple miles, I took turns with Sue in leading the race! That’s right, we, along with first-time marathoner Rose were leaders 1, 2, and 3 for the early start! Even after the male leads passed us, we joked that we were still the female leads. When the ladies passed us, we resigned ourselves to our positions. Taking the early start, we were ineligible for awards anyway. ;-)

I hung with Sue and Rose until about Mile 7, when I just couldn't catch my breath and had to drop back and walk more. I didn’t know it at the time, but the next day I would be diagnosed with a temporary asthma induced my all my coughing over the past week. No wonder I couldn’t breathe very well!

Even though I didn’t feel well, and I was making slower time than I had in Wisconsin, I still enjoyed the course. Several miles were on the Atlantic coast, with some spectacular views. Other miles wound through classic Maine resort neighborhoods. The day got hot, but the course was always pretty. The volunteers and the aid stations were wonderful. How refreshing it was to have watermelon cubes at one of the last aid stations when the temperatures had gotten too hot.

In the final miles of the marathon; of course there are no pics of me with the beautiful sea views

Other than being sick, my one major disappointment at this race was that I failed to pack my phone charger and I was unable to take photos along the course. I would have captured some of the beautiful sea views, and the gorgeous houses, and the smiling faces of some of my Maniac friends. Instead, I was able to use a few of their photos for this post.

Maine Coast Marathon was my 50th marathon in my 41st state. I quietly noted the milestone, and Jim shared my finisher pic with the Maniacs on Facebook. Wow! In just a day it garnered more than 100 “likes”.

My finish pic with medal and water bottle holding ice cold water!

I would recommend both the Wisconsin Marathon and the Maine Coast Marathon to anyone wanting to run in these two states. And now, I look forward to two weekends at home with no races. I’ll be working on feeling better, and once I do, on training to improve my performance.


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