The Hogeye Marathon (Fayetteville, AR) celebrated its 35th running by abusing my fat ass for five hours, eighteen minutes, and nearly thirty-three seconds. The course was tough, the weather was brutal, and there was one VERY long gap (ok, two) between aid stations at a fairly crucial spot in the race. Hey, it’s a freaking marathon…when is it ever a good idea to jam over 4 miles between water stops? I know, I know…I sound a little bitter. Just think how bad I’d be ranting if I hadn’t waited over three weeks to type this out!
I originally had a different marathon, the Garmin Olathe Marathon (Olathe, KS), on the calendar but let Rachel talk me into going to Arkansas. Her and her husband went to school at the University of Arkansas and were heading up there to visit friends and family. I decided to tag along. Meeting and hanging out with their friends was definitely the highlight of the trip, the race and everything associated with it was at the complete opposite end of the spectrum.
The Course – I knew it was not an easy one. Eyes wide open there. That being said, it was even harder than I anticipated. Just driving around town you could tell it was going to hurt. Not a lot of flat spots anywhere. I heard a rumor that Jeff Galloway had it on his list of toughest courses…I did not attempt to confirm this but, in any event, agree wholeheartedly.
The Weather – warm, humid, and windy. Oddly, the wind actually made it seem bearable early in the morning but that faded quickly. If you’ve ever run in a strong wind you know the sensation of feeling relatively cool when it’s hitting you head on (even while it’s making you work harder) and then how quickly you warm up when it dies down a little or is at your tail. The twists and turns of the course really exaggerated the effect.
The Training – since I’ve been running marathons every three weeks for the last few months I haven’t been “training” a whole lot in between. I try to recover for a week after, work hard in the middle week, and taper the week of. One thing I’ve noticed for sure (and you may have as well) is that the limited training isn’t doing me any favors in terms of losing or keeping weight off. Complicating that is my growing affection for bourbon. My buddy Dan (proprietor of Garrison Brothers Bourbon) released a limited run of the good stuff he’s had in barrels for a few years and I like it. A lot. Ok, a little too much.
So, put those three (course, weather, training) together and you pretty much get what happened next. Total annihilation.
Miles 1 – 5, I averaged 9:24 per through here. Actually started with a 9:26, ran three 9:24s, and rounded it out with a 9:25. Even with the wind I was drenched in sweat within the first mile…a harbinger of things to come. A half mile in brought the first, but certainly not last, significant climb of the day.
Miles 6 – 10, the average bumped up to 9:37 through here. There was one substantial climb but I think net/net this was a mostly downhill section. We passed a our first pig farm, or at least the scent of one, in here. I prefer dead pig to live pig…hands down.
Miles 11 – 15, rocking through here at an 11:18 pace. I walked a pretty good chunk of mile 15. This portion is basically the “out” portion of a long out and back section in Lake Fayetteville Park. I recall a water stop around 11 and another one around the turnaround at 15…if there was something in between I missed it! The blisters on the balls of my feet that came on a little during Virginia Beach are coming back now with a vengeance. It’s going to be a loooooong day.
Miles 16 – 20, 13:57 pace is all I can muster through this portion. The sun is out, the temp is soaring, my feet are on fire, and I am officially toast. The lack of aid stations through here are certainly not helping. I am seriously considering walking it in (I would hitch a ride if I could).
Miles 21 – 26.2, I average around 15:41 a mile for my “big finish.” I know I walk ALL of mile 22 in a 17:38. I run a little each mile but am really just trying to get to the finish line.
In addition to the customary finisher’s medal, I received a couple of additional trophies for completing Hogeye:
These blisters, especially that blood filled one on the right foot, were 100% attributable to my shoes. New Balance “updated” my trusty 1225 to the 1226. Apparently the 1226 had a special insert added to the forefoot that creates massive blisters at around mile 11. I’m not always proud of my reaction to things that disappoint me…below is my reaction to this unpleasant experience:
The last eight pairs of size 11.5 New Balance 1225 that I could find anywhere in the world are now in my closet. Unfortunately, that only puts off the inevitable for about 18 months.