Bob Schluben | 913.963.8016 | email@example.com
Running 52 marathons in one year is a huge challenge. But the challenge is not just running. It is making the time to not only run each race, but to plan, schedule, and travel to and from the races. I am running these marathons while still working a full time job and spending time with my family. Here are some interesting statistics about my marathons:
Total marathons ran in 2013: 57
Total marathon miles ran in 2013: 1,498.2 miles
Total training miles ran in 2013: 181.1 miles
Total miles ran in 2013: 1,679.3 miles
Total miles driven to and from the marathons: 40,413 miles
Total miles flown to and from the marathons: 21,754 miles
Total miles traveled to and from the marathons: 62,167 miles
Number of vacation days taken at work to run marathons: 41
Number of days off that I worked, for time off to run marathons: 3
Number of nights spent away from home to run marathons: 80
1. Mississippi Blues Marathon, Jackson Mississippi, 1/5/2013.
My first marathon in 2013 was the Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson Mississippi. I drove there from Lenexa. I left home Thursday evening after work, and drove a few hours. I stopped to rest at a truck stop. I slept for a few hours in my car. It was below freezing, and when I woke up, it was really cold in my car. I took a hot shower at the truck stop and then drove the rest of the way to Jackson.
After I got to Jackson, I went to the race expo. There was a live band there playing blues music. I picked up my bib number. They gave every runner a blues CD and a harmonica with the marathon logo imprinted on it. They also had a list of local restaurants that offered discounts for runners. I went to lunch with some of my running friends, and then we drove around Jackson and checked out the Jackson State University Campus. I later met up with a larger group of runners, and we had dinner at Bravo Italian restaurant. I had the fettuccini alfredo, my pre-race pasta. Then it was off to the hotel to bed for some much needed sleep for tomorrow's marathon.
I got up early on race morning. The weather forecast earlier in the week had predicted rain and temperatures in the upper 30s, but the forecast had changed. The rain was going to hold off until the afternoon. It was in the upper 30s and cloudy, but there was no rain and only a slight breeze. I walked to the race start line, which was about a half mile from the hotel. I walked around, loosening up my legs and waiting for the race to start. I knew that this was not just one marathon, and that it was the start of 52 marathons. I was excited and a little nervous at the same time.
It was now time for the start of the marathon. They played the National Anthem on an electric guitar, and then the marathon began. I started out running with the 3:40 pacer. I wanted to run faster, but I knew that I needed to start slower and warm up first. After a couple of miles, I picked up the pace and ran ahead. The course was hilly. There were plenty of aid stations with water and Gatorade, and some with Gu. There were some cheering fans along parts of the course. I was glad to see the finish line. I finished with a time of 3:31:06. The was a new marathon PR for me, which was a great start to the 52 marathons. I got my finisher medal, which was in the shape of a guitar with a metal pick attached to it with a short chain. The strap for the medal was made to look like a guitar strap. It is one of my nicer finisher medals.
My first stop after crossing the finish line was the massage area, where they had free massages. I then went to the food tent, where there was plenty of great food, including pizza, soup, sandwiches, coffee, hot chocolate, Gatorade, and beer. The hot shower at the hotel room after the race was great. I wasn't looking forward to the long drive home, so I decided to stay in Jackson for the night, and leave early in the morning for the drive home. The marathon was hosting a pub crawl for all of the runners that night. I went with some of my running friends to Hal and Mals, one of the local bars on the pub crawl route. I tried a local beer made from pecans, which was really good. They had a live band playing blues music. After staying there for a few hours, I went back to the hotel room and rested up for the drive home. It was a long drive home, and I had time to think about the marathon and the upcoming marathons. I was happy with my performance, and I was ready for the next one.
2. First Light Marathon, Mobile Alabama, 1/13/2013.
My second marathon in 2013 was the First Light Marathon in Mobile Alabama. This was another drive, and a longer drive, but I wasn't alone. Kyle, my ten year old son, came along. He ran the half marathon. This was a longer drive than last week. We left Lenexa on Friday evening after Kyle got out of school. We drove for a few hours, and then we both slept in the car. We woke up early, and drove the rest of the way. We drove through Jackson Mississippi on the way to Mobile.
We got to Mobile later that afternoon in time for packet pickup. We got our bib numbers and shirts. We then stayed for their free pasta dinner at packet pickup. The meal was really good, and we got to meet and talk with some of the other runners. After eating, we went to our hotel and checked in. I really wanted to get some sleep, but Kyle was excited about the indoor swimming pool. We went to the indoor swimming pool and hot tub, and then we had a good night's sleep.
The race started at 7:30 AM. We got up early and made it to the start line area. I got some pictures of us together at the start. It was humid and warm. Kyle and I started our races together. We ran together for the first couple of blocks, and then we split up. The marathon and half marathon course stayed together for the first eight miles. It was 70 degrees at the finish line with a relative humidity of 90 percent. Kyle was waiting for me at the finish line. I was the fourth male master's overall winner. Kyle finished the half marathon with a time of 2:17:31.
We then had their free lunch for runners in the park at the finish line area. The medals were hand made from wood and were hand painted. They had barbecue, cole slaw, spaghetti, and some other good food. There was a tent with free homemade ice cream that was delicious. After eating and changing clothes, we started our long drive home. We got home late that night. There was a big temperature change during the drive home. The temperature at home was in the teens. We went straight to bed. Kyle had school in the morning, and I had to go to work.
3. Louisiana Marathon, Baton Rouge Louisiana, 1/20/2013.
My third marathon in 2013 was the Louisiana Marathon in Baton Rouge Louisiana. This was another long drive, but it was nice to go to marathons in warmer places. I started driving to Baton Rouge on Friday evening. I drove until I got tired. I found a truck stop somewhere in Arkansas to park at and rest. I got up early Saturday morning, and drove the rest of the way there. I got to the race expo around lunch time. I picked up my bib number and race shirt, and I walked around the expo. They had speakers at the expo, and I went and listened to the one about children and running. I got a few good ideas about what I could do for Kyle. I checked into my hotel, and then went to the pasta dinner. They had two speakers at the pasta dinner. One was a lady who had a brain tumor, and she spoke about running and her medical condition. The other was a man with no arms who ran the marathon the next day. I went to bed early to get a good night's sleep.
Race morning came early for me. I took the hotel van to the start line area,and went inside a museum where they had the gear bag drop off. It was cold outside, and I waited inside as long as I could to stay warm. As the start time approached, I made my way to the starting line, and I lined up with the 3:35 pacer. It was very crowded at the start line. I knew that the cold weather now would help me stay cool during the run. There was a Marine Corps Color Guard during the singing of the National Anthem, which was really impressive. During the National Anthem, a flock of geese flew over the runners in a V formation. Some of the runners near me commented about the "fly over" during the National Anthem.
I was glad when the race started. There were lots of cheering fans at the start. I was feeling really good, and I knew that I might be able to get a new PR with the flat course and cold temperature. I decided to run with my music. I had not run a marathon in a long time with music, and I thought it would help keep me motivated. The course was great. There were plenty of well stocked aid stations with great volunteers. I stayed with the 3:35 pacer for the first couple of miles until I warmed up. I then picked up the pace, and hoped that I would not see the 3:35 pacer again until after I crossed the finish line.
It stayed cold during the first part of the race, and I was able to see my breath until around mile ten. I was able to keep up the steady pace, but around mile 19 or 20, I started to slow down. I was glad that I had my music. It had kept me going strong up to now, and I hoped that it was help keep me going. The battery went dead in my iPod around mile 21. I looked at my Garmin, and started calculating how fast I needed to run to finish in under 3:30. I knew that if I slowed down too much, I wouldn't get it. I ran as hard as I could the last two miles, and as I approached the finish line, I could see the race clock. The race announcer was yelling for me to run faster so that I would finish in under 3:30. I knew that I had some extra chip time banked from the start line, so the race clock wasn't my actual finish time. I still ran as hard as I could, knowing that if the race clock showed under 3:30, I would definitely meet my goal. I crossed the finish line right as the race clock showed 3:30:00.
After getting my medal, I got in line for the free massages. My legs and feet were really hurting. The massage was great, and it was definitely worth the wait. I went to the finish line festival. They had some great food there. There were several different kinds of beer that were free for the runners. I had some jambalaya that was delicious. I also had ice cream and a cinnamon roll. After eating, I walked to the race results tent and got my official finish time. It was 3:29:40, which was a new marathon PR for me. It was almost one and a half minutes faster than my previous PR. I was very happy with my finish time. I made it back to my car and started the long drive home.
4. USA Fit Marathon, Sugar Land Texas, 1/27/2013.
My fourth marathon in 2013 was the USA Fit Marathon in Sugar Land Texas. This was my fourth drive south in January. I left home on Friday afternoon and started driving to Texas. I found a truck stop in Oklahoma near the Texas border where I stopped and slept for the night. I got up early on Saturday morning and drove the rest of the way to Sugar Land. I got to packet pickup right as it opened and got my bib number and timing chip. There was a coupon for a free meal at USA Fit Foods. I went to USA Fit Foods for lunch and had the Chicken Alfredo. It was really good.
I then went to my hotel. The hotel let me check in before noon. After a four hour nap and a hot shower, I drove to the mall in Katy Texas. I went to the Nike Factory Store, looking for a good deal on running shoes. I wasn't able to find the shoes I wanted, but I found a nice running shirt that a bought for the race. I also found presents for Kyle and Connor. I then went back to the hotel and had their marathon special of spaghetti and bread. For dessert, I found an ice cream shop in Sugar Land. Then it was off to bed.
Race day came early for me. I got up extra early so that I could get ready. I took the hotel shuttle bus to the race start. I brought along my iPod. When I checked it, I realized that the battery had not charged and it was very low. Everyone lined up at the starting line. They had a color guard present the United States flag, and someone sang the National Anthem. After a prayer the race started. At the start, the temperatures were in the 60s with high humidity. It was going to be a long race.
There were plenty of aid stations along the course. The course was crowded, but not overcrowded. The course went mainly through the residential areas of Sugar Land. The marathon course was a two loop course. It warmed up to the 70s during the race but there was a breeze that really helped. I really struggled through the last few miles. I saved my iPod for the last few miles of the race. It really helped me get though the miles. I finished with a time of 3:46:42. The finisher's medal was in the shape of a cowboy boot. I also got a marathon finisher's shirt. They had Gatorade, lemonade, pizza, food from USA Fit Foods, and food from Outback Steakhouse at the finish line. It was really good.
I waited for the shuttle bus to come pick me up, but it never came while I was waiting. I wasn't happy about the two mile walk I made from the finish area back to the hotel. I still had time to take a shower. I stopped at Rudy's BBQ in Houston to eat lunch, and then drove the rest of the way home.
5. Groundhog Day Marathon, Grand Rapids Michigan, 2/2/2013.
My fifth marathon in 2013 was the Groundhog Day Marathon in Grand Rapids Michigan. This was my first marathon this year that was to the north of Lenexa. I left home for Michigan on Friday morning. The weather forecast for Michigan was calling for severe winter weather. I hoped for the best and started driving. I checked the marathon's Facebook page on the way, and they posted that there was eight inches of snow on the course. The roads were clear and the weather was fine where I was until I got partially into Michigan. It started to get really cloudy, and then it started snowing. By the time I got to Grand Rapids, it was snowing heavily. I made it to packet pickup, where they were showing the movie "Groundhog Day" on a projected screen. I picked up my bib number and hooded sweatshirt. I asked them if they were going to cancel the race because of the snow. They said that they were only going to cancel it if they had a blizzard. They were going to have the race in the morning no matter how much it snowed. I checked into my hotel, got some Chicken Alfredo from Pizza Hut, and then went to bed.
Race morning came early. I looked out the window, and it was still snowing. There was three or four inches of snow on my car. I cleaned the snow off my car and then got ready to run. I wore YakTrax on my shoes, which are metal coils that strap onto the bottom of your shoes for traction. I wore several layers of clothing, as well as a stocking cap and balaclava. The roads were covered with snow, and I barely made it to the start line before the race started.
It was snowing as the race started. The marathon was a six loop course ran entirely inside a park on the trails. There was at least twelve inches of snow on the ground, and the snow got packed down by the runners. The temperature was in the teens, with a single digit wind chill temperature. In addition to the falling snow, the wind blew snow from the trees onto the runners. They had plenty of aid stations along the course. Several times when I stopped for a drink, the water inside the cup had frozen on top. I also was not able to eat my Gu, because it was thick and not very gooey. It was really beautiful to run in the snow and in the park, but it was also very cold.
I got colder and colder during the run, and I was very happy to cross the finish line. I finished with a time of 4:32:41. This was my slowest marathon time this year, but considering the course conditions, I was happy with my finish time. They had a tent in the finish area where they had hot chili and coffee for the runners. After a bowl of chili I made it back to my hotel. I got into the hot tub, where I tried to warm up. Even after ten or fifteen minutes in the hot tub, I was still shivering. Eventually, I was able to warm up enough for the drive home. The roads were snow covered and slick. I passed a lot of cars that had slid off the roads, and I also passed several car wrecks. I made it home safely for a good night's sleep so I could work in the morning.
6. Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run! 50K, Kansas City Kansas, 2/9/2013.
My sixth marathon in 2013 was the Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run! 50K in Kansas City Kansas. It was at the Wyandotte County Lake Park. This was my first local race for 2013. This was also my first ultra-marathon and my first trail run. I was looking forward to not having to drive to a race. The local news media covered my story of 52 Marathons in 2013. I was on all four Kansas City television stations, the Kansas City Star, and KMBZ radio. I did the interviews on the Thursday and Friday before the race.
Race day came early on Saturday morning. It was really cold, and I was hoping that it would warm up. I was surprised to see that there were some dogs also running the race. They were wearing bib numbers, and they got medals for finishing. At least one of the dogs finished the race a lot faster than I did. This was truly a trail run. It was off road, with lots of steep uphills and downhills, rocks, fallen trees, tree roots, and mud. It was a 10 1/3 mile loop that was run three separate times for the 50K. I tried to be careful to not trip over anything. One of the runners in front of me did a face plant on the course. He quickly got up uninjured and continued running. I did see a couple of other runners who were not so fortunate with some minor injuries.
I have a lot of respect for trail runners. This was a lot more challenging than a regular marathon on a paved roadway. My legs were really sore from running. I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish, but I kept going. The course got muddier as the race progressed, and it became more difficult to run. They had some really great aid stations along the way. Along with the normal staples of sports drinks and Gu, they had freshly cooked bacon, grilled cheese sandwiches, turkey quesidillas, and other delicious food. I was so glad to see the finish line. I finished with a time of 6:43:12. The medal was in the shape of the number 50 (for 50K), and part of the medal had a tornado on it that spins. They had hot chocolate and chili at the finish line for runners. It was nice to have a short drive home from a race.
7. Cross Timbers Trail Run Marathon, Lake Texoma Texas, 2/16/2013.
My seventh marathon in 2013 was the Cross Timbers Trail Marathon at Lake Texomo Texas. Lake Texomo is on the Texas / Oklahoma border. It is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States. I drove to Lake Texomo on Friday afternoon. The drive was just over 400 miles. I got to Lake Texomo in time to see a great sunset over the lake. There was a big red tent along the lake that had the packet pickup. I got my bib number and race shirt. They also had a free dinner inside the tent for all of the runners. It was spaghetti, salad, bread, and cookies. It was really good. After eating, I drove to Gainesville Texas and checked into my hotel. I got a good night’s sleep and rested up for the race.
Race morning came early. The marathon start time was 7 AM, and runners were required to check in at least 30 minutes before the race started. It was still dark when I got there. I got to see the start of the 50 mile race, which started at 6:30 AM. After checking in and watching the 50 mile race start, I put on my running gear. While I was at my car in the parking lot, I heard the race director yell “On your mark! Get set! Go!” The marathon had started, and I wasn’t even at the start line. It was not 7 AM yet. I ran to the start line, and I saw other marathon runners come sprinting out of the red tent. I wasn’t the only runner who missed the start. The run started on the paved roadway. It was a loop added to the beginning of the run to make the total run an official marathon distance. After the loop, the run entered the trail.
The trails were very narrow, and steep in some areas. They were rocky and uneven, and there were many tree roots sticking up. The marathon was an out and back run. It was on the trails that ran along Lake Texoma. For most of the run, you could see the lake. I didn’t spend much time looking at the lake and the other scenic views along the course, because I was watching the trail to make sure that I didn’t fall. Around mile two, I twisted my left ankle on a slippery rock. Luckily, I did not fall, but it really hurt. It was too early into this marathon to get hurt. I continued to run, and the pain went away. Around mile five, my foot caught on something sticking up out of the ground. I tripped and fell face first onto the trail. I caught myself with my hands before my face hit the ground. I was wearing gloves, which protected my hands. My left knee got cut and was bleeding. I didn’t notice the cut until after I finished the marathon.
There were several aid stations along the course. There were many helpful volunteers at the stations. They had fruit, nuts, chocolate, pretzels, water, sports drinks, and other nourishment. I stopped at every aid station and ate and drank their treats. I continued to run the course. There were some open areas where the trail was only dirt, and no rocks or tree roots. The course was marked with white reflectors and white tape. I got off course a couple of times because I was watching for trail hazards instead of watching for course markings. My legs started getting tired as I got closer to the finish line. I wasn’t able to pick up my feet as high to avoid tripping over rocks, so I slowed down so that I wouldn’t fall. I made it to the finish line without falling. I finished with a time of 5:01:45. At the finish line, I got my finisher’s medal, which was a piece of wood with the race logo stamped on it. They had another free meal for runners inside the red tent. I had grilled hamburgers, chips, and creamy potato soup. It tasted really good after the run. I then drove home and got a good night’s sleep for work in the morning.
8. Maple Leaf Indoor Marathon, Goshen Indiana, 2/23/2013.
My eighth marathon in 2013 was the Maple Leaf Indoor Marathon in Goshen Indiana. The course was 204 laps on the indoor track at the recreation center at Goshen College. This was my first indoor marathon.
I wanted to leave for Indiana on Thursday night, but the heavy snowfall that we got in Lenexa kept me from leaving. I left for Indiana on Friday morning. The street in front of my house had not been plowed, so it took me over an hour to get out of my neighborhood and onto the main street. Once I got onto the main streets, I had no other problems with the roads. Connor, my five year old, came along. He was excited about going to a marathon with me where it was just the two of us. He got bored about fifty miles into the 625 mile drive. He played Angry Birds on my cell phone and fell asleep for part of the drive. He was wide awake when we checked into our hotel. We went out to eat at the Olive Garden, and then it was back to the hotel for a swim in the indoor swimming pool before bed.
We drove to Goshen College on race morning. Connor brought along some toys to play with while he sat alongside the track to watch me run. There were 30 runners in the marathon. (They are also having the identical marathon on Sunday). They had several tables along the course for runners to put their supplies. I had a small cooler with ice, water bottles, Gu packets, and salt tablets on my table.
After a group photo, the race began. They had a television monitor along the course that displayed how many laps each runner had run. Every thirty minutes, they changed the direction of the runners. They had loudspeakers playing music, and they had helpers along the track that filled water bottles for the runners.
Running on the track wasn't too boring because there were runners and spectators to talk to. Connor got bored during the marathon. He played inside one of the racquet ball courts, and played with some of the other children there. I was able to watch him while I was running. The race timers told us when we were getting close to finishing. I was really glad to count down the last ten laps. I finished with a time of 3:39:38.
They gave every marathon finisher a handmade medal. It was a maple leaf made from clay. There was pizza, chocolate milk, and cookies at the finish line for the runners. After taking a shower at the recreation center, we headed for home. We stopped for supper at Cracker Barrel. Connor played Angry Birds on the drive home, and he fell asleep as it got late. It was nice to get home. Connor and I were both really happy that he got to come along.
9. Little Rock Marathon, Little Rock Arkansas, 3/3/2013.
My ninth marathon in 2013 was the Little Rock Marathon in Little Rock Arkansas. This was also my 50th lifetime marathon. I left home on Satuday morning and drove to Little Rock. I got there with plenty of time to go to the expo and packet pickup. They had a lot of vendors at the expo, including a few booths for upcoming marathons. I got my bib number and timing chip. They were also giving out race posters to everyone. After the expo, I walked around downtown Little Rock. I found a nice restaurant and had an early pasta dinner. I then went to my hotel and checked in. Even though it was early, I decided to get some rest. I took a nap for a few hours. I woke up to get some milk and cookies from the front desk. I then went back to bed. and got a good night's sleep.
I got up early on race morning. I got to the race start about an hour and a half before the starting time. I wanted to make sure that I found a good parking space. I was able to park close enough where I could actually see the starting line arch from my car. I walked to the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, which was right at the starting corrals. The hotel was nice enough to allow all of the runners to stay inside where it was warm and to use their bathrooms. When it got close to the starting time I got into my corral. They said a prayer, and then someone sang the National Anthem. They had the wheelchair start 5 minutes before everyone else. Then the race began.
I started out with the 3:35 pace group. I wasn't sure how well I was going to run. I had gotten a cold and sore throat a few days ago, and I didn't get to eat dinner because I fell asleep. I was able to keep up and I was feeling alright, so I stayed with that pace group. Right before the halfway point, I started to run out of energy. My stomach was not feeling well, so I was hesitant to eat any Gu. I made sure to drink watered down Gatorade and take salt tablets. I started slowing down, but I kept running . There were lots of cheering fans that really helped motivate me. My name was printed on my bib number, and the fans were yelling my name. There were plenty of aid stations along the course.
I did not eat or drink anything after mile 20. I also was watching my time. I wanted to finish in under 4 hours. I kept pushing myself to keep going. There were some tough hills in mile 25. I kept running, even though I really wanted to stop. Once I got to mile 26, I knew that I could finish in under 4 hours if I just kept going. They had a lipstick station less than a mile before the finish line for the ladies who wanted to put on makeup before their finish line photos.
The finish line was a welcome sight. Bart Yasso was on the course at the finish line, and he shook my hand as I crossed the timing mats. I was so glad to have crossed the finish line. The finisher medals were huge. It is like having a big weight around your neck. Its a really nice design with a horseshoe and rhinestones. They had plenty of snacks at the finish line. I also got in line for chocolate milk, which is really great after a marathon. I waiting in line for a massage, and it was worth the wait. I went to the post race party that afternoon. They had pulled pork, cole slaw, baked beans, chicken, potatoes, chocolate brownies, and free drinks. They also had a live band with a dance floor.
Continued in Part Two.....
10. Land Between The Lakes Trail Marathon, Grand Rivers Kentucky, 3/9/2013.
My tenth marathon in 2013 was the Land Between the Lakes Trail Marathon in Grand Rivers Kentucky. I drove to Kentucky on Friday. It was less than a seven hour drive. I got to packet pickup that evening. When I gave them my name, they told me that I was not registered for the race. It was also sold out. I thought that I might not get to run, and it was too late to find another marathon to run this weekend. I showed them my registration paperwork, and they got me a bib number and timing chip. I was glad to be in the race. I found Mama D's, a nice Italian restaurant, a few miles away from the race start. I had the special, which was Shrimp Parmesan with Spaghetti. It came with salad and bread. It was great. I then checked into my hotel. I got a good night's sleep for the race.
The race started at 6:30 AM. They had four different races. There was a 23K, a marathon, a 60K, and a 50 mile race. They all started at the same time and were on the same looped course. The marathon was two loops. The starting line was at the Lighthouse Landing Marina. It was along the lake, and there were lots of boats that were docked. The race started just as it started to get light. The race was on a paved road for almost two miles, and then it went into the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. It was a very narrow path. It was also very hilly. The elevation changes for the marathon course were a total of 2,068 feet.
After a few miles, it began to rain. It was only a light drizzle, and it did not last long. The trails were nice to run on. There were only a few rocks and roots. The trails were covered with leaves. Twice I saw a runner trip and fall directly in front of me along the course. Around mile nine, I also tripped. I was not able to keep my balance, and I fell. I landed on my right shoulder and right knee. I got bruised and cut up, but I was still able to run. There were nice aid stations along the course. They had water, sports drinks, and a variety of snacks.
Approximately the last two miles of the marathon were back on the paved road. I was glad to see the finish line. I finished with a time of 4:25:50. I got my finisher medal, which was in the shape of the State of Kentucky. After the race, they had free food for the runners. It was great. They had chili, pasta, sandwiches, and tortilla roll ups. They also had showers available for the runners at the marina. They were not very hot, but it was nice to take a shower before the drive home. I then made my way home for work in the morning.
11. Rock and Roll USA Marathon, Washington DC, 3/16/2013.
My eleventh marathon in 2013 was the Rock and Roll USA Marathon in Washington DC. This was my first marathon in 2013 where I traveled by flying instead of driving. My flight left Kansas City at 7:10 AM on Friday morning. It was an early flight, and I was able to get to Washington DC by noon. I took the Metro to the race expo, which was at the National Armory. I got my bib number and shirt. They had a lot of vendors at the expo. I got to meet Jim Ryun and get my picture with him and get his autograph. We were able to talk for a few minutes. He no longer lives in Kansas and he now lives in Washington DC. I also found a t-shirt company at the expo that I am going to use to have race shirts made for me. After the expo I took the Metro to my hotel. It wasn't a very long walk from the Metro station. The room was very small, but it was at the end of the hallway and was very quiet. I then walked to the starting line, which was about a mile away. I wanted to make sure that I knew how to get there in the morning. I walked past the White House, and I also got to see the Washington Monument. On the walk back to my hotel, I found an Italian restaurant that was very good. I had chicken with spaghetti, and a mini pizza. I was hungry because I didn't eat lunch. I then went to bed to get a good night's sleep for tomorrow's race.
The race started at 7:30 AM, which was 6:30 AM Kansas City time. The weather forecast was predicting rain and cold temperatures. It was cloudy and it looked like it was going to rain, but it wasn't too cold. I forgot to pack a long sleeve running shirt, so I bought one at the expo. I decided not to wear it, and only wear my short sleeve shirt. The walk to the race start was nice. I was having second thoughts about not wearing the long sleeve shirt, but I knew that I would warm up when I started running. There were thousands of runners getting to the start line. It was nice to see the monuments lit up in the dark.
The race started exactly at 7:30 AM. They delayed the start of each corral to prevent overcrowding on the course. I was glad when my corral started running. They had a huge American flag hanging over the street at the start of the course. The race start was at the Smithsonian Institution on Constitution Avenue, and the race start ran right past the White House. The race was run entirely within the District of Columbia. It was a fairly flat course, but there were a few big hills. Some of the aid stations only had water, and others had Gatorade and Gu. There were lots of cheering fans along the course, and they had a number of live bands playing music. The weather was great during the race. The rain held off, and the sun came out. My legs got tired near the end of the race, and I pushed to keep running and to finish in under four hours. I was glad to see the finish line, which was at the National Armory. The medals were really nice. I was looking forward to the chocolate milk at the finish line. They had huge signs with pictures of chocolate milk on them just past the finish line. When I got to the chocolate milk booth, they said that they had run out of chocolate milk. Most of the half marathoners were already finished, and they had already come through. They did have water, Gatorade, protein bars, bagels, chips, and fruit for the runners.
After making it through the finisher's area, I went to the finish line festival. I had my name and finish time engraved on the back of my medal. There was another runner waiting in line ahead of me who said that this was his first half marathon. He said that he had had recently lost 100 pounds, and this was his celebration. He asked me what the white powder was on my face that he saw a number of runners put on after the race. I told him that it was salt from the dried sweat. They had a live band on stage at the finish line festival, and every runner could get one free Michelob Ultra beer. I left the finish line festival and went to the Metro to get back to my hotel. It was another long walk, but my legs loosen up as I was walking. The long hot shower in my hotel room felt great, and then I took a nap. I went out to eat that night at the buffet at Phillips Seafood House. I had a nice table on the enclosed patio along the water, and I was able to see the boats along the dock and the sun set across the water. The food was great, and I was really hungry. I then had a good night's sleep at the hotel. I stayed in Washington DC until Monday. I went to the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the National Archives, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, the Crime Museum, and Ford's Theater. I flew back into Kansas City on Monday night.
12. Dust Bowl Marathon, Clayton New Mexico, 3/22/2013.
My twelfth marathon for 2013 was the Dust Bowl Marathon in Clayton New Mexico. This was part of a series of five marathons in five different states in five days. I only ran the marathon in New Mexico on the last day. There were a number of runners who had run the first four marathons, and this was their fifth marathon for the week. Kyle, my ten year old son, ran the half marathon. This was his second half marathon in 2013. We made it a father and son trip over his Spring Break.
We left for New Mexico on Thursday afternoon and started driving, and we made it to Wichita in the evening. We stopped and ate at a Chinese buffet, and we took a break from driving by going to Chuck E Cheese's so Kyle could play some video games. We made it to Kingman Kansas, and started looking for a hotel to spend the night. We found The King's Inn, a nice bed and breakfast, where we got a good night's sleep. We got up and had a great home cooked breakfast there, and started driving again. We stopped in Greensburg Kansas and saw the World's Largest Hand Dug Well. We stood at the top, and Kyle threw coins into it. We also took the spiral staircase down to the bottom of it. We stopped in Meade Kansas and saw the Dalton Gang Hideout. We went through the underground escape tunnel from their house to their stables. While we were driving, we stopped and picked up a large tumbleweed to take home.
We made it to Clayton New Mexico that evening. They had a get together for all of the runners at a local Mexican restaurant. We stopped by the restaurant and visited, but we didn't stay to eat. We checked into our hotel, which was the Hotel Eklund, a hotel built in the late 1800s. The hotel had a restaurant and a saloon. Kyle asked me if there were going to be any fights at the saloon. We ate a great pasta dinner at the hotel, and we got a good night's sleep for the race. We got up early on race morning and made it to the start line. The marathon was held at Clayton Lake State Park. The marathon was a ten loop course, and the half marathon was a five loop course. It was cold and dark at the start line, and we picked up our race packets and waited for the start of the marathon. They made announcements before starting the race, and they called Kyle up to the front of all of the runners. They gave him a metal flask as an award for the youngest runner. He was happy to be recognized, and the runners were motivated to see a young runner on the course with them.
The race started at it was starting to get light. The course was hilly and a little rocky. It was mostly on the trail, but there were a few roughly paved sections. There were some great views of the lake and landscape on the course, especially during the sunrise. We were able to see and talk with the other runners on the course as we passed on the trails, and I was able to see and talk to Kyle while we were running. Kyle finished the half marathon, and he waited at the aid station for me to finish. On the last part of my last loop, he ran with me to the finish line. Kyle finished with a time of 2:49:51, and I finished with a time of 4:04:26. After we finished, we walked part of the course and took pictures. We also walked to see the dinosaur tracks. There were real dinosaur tracks fossilized in the rocks. They were impressive. We went back to the hotel, took showers, and started our journey home.
We made it to Dodge City, and spent the night there in a hotel. We got up early the next morning for the drive home. There was a report of a large snowstorm coming through Kansas City that evening. We stopped just outside of Salina Kansas and went to the Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure. We went through their museum and we also walked around their zoo. We saw the apes, tigers, and other animals. The snow had started, so we did not stay long. We stopped in Topeka Kansas for a late lunch. We went to the Chuck E Cheese's in Topeka, and Kyle played more games. They had a marathon runner game there that he really liked. It was like a big hamster wheel that you ran inside, and the faster you ran the more tickets you got. We then drove home. We went past several wrecks on the highway, and it was snowing hard, but we made it home safely.
13. Forrest Gump Challenge Marathon, Reeds Spring Missouri, 3/30/2013.
My thirteenth marathon for 2013 was the Forrest Gump Challenge Marathon in Reeds Spring Missouri. I left home on Friday morning for the 3 1/2 hour drive. This was one of my shorter drives to a marathon. I got to packet pickup that afternoon, which was at the Lifesong United Methodist Church. I got my bib number, which was number 52. I asked the race director if he assigned number 52 to me because of my 52 marathons in 2013. He said that he did not, and that was how the computer assigned the number. I was asked to be one of the speakers at packet pickup. I spoke to them about my 52 marathons in 2013. I told them that I was running to raise awareness and money for Sunflower House and SAFE, which have special meaning for me. I talked about my reason to run, and that everyone needs a reason to run.
I then went and checked in at my hotel. It really wasn't a hotel. I stayed at the Happy Valley Lodge, which was next to Silver Dollar City, in a small A-frame cabin on Table Rock Lake. The race had set up discounted rates to stay there. I had a great view of lake, and it was only a short walk to the boat dock. After checking in, I went to Rocky's, and had penne and chicken with alfredo sauce. It was great, and then I went to a local ice cream shop for dessert. It was then time for bed.
I got to the Lifesong United Methodist Church early. The race started at 7:30 AM. They had an ultramarathon, marathon, half marathon, and four mile race. They all started at the same place at the same time. They were playing the movie Forrest Gump inside the church before the race started. It was cool, cloudy, and breezy at the race start. They had predicted a chance of light rain with temperatures in the mid-60s. It was a little crowded at the start, but it quickly spread out. The race director yelled "Run, Forrest, Run!" as the runners left the start line. There were some runners who were wearing Forrest Gump beards that they had for sale at packet pickup.
The race was on the shoulder of the highway. It was very hilly course. After about mile nine, it started raining. It rained steadily for most of the marathon. They had several aid stations along the way that had water, oranges, and other snacks. My legs got really tired from the hills, which slowed me down, but I kept going. The rain slowed down and eventually stopped. I was glad to see the finish line. I finished with a time of 4:15:12. It wasn't one of my faster marathon times, but I was still happy with time, considering the hills, rain, and the number of marathons I have run this year.
14. Garden Spot Village Marathon, New Holland Pennsylvania, 4/6/2013.
My fourteenth marathon in 2013 was the Garden Spot Village Marathon in New Holland Pennsylvania. Kyle, my ten year old son, ran the half marathon. It was his 3rd half marathon for 2013. The Garden Spot Village Marathon was hosted by the Garden Spot Village, which is a retirement home. The marathon is a fundraiser for them to help residents who run out of money.
We left home on Thursday morning. Connor, my six year old son, also came along. We stopped for lunch at Golden Corral, which is one of their favorite restaurants. We also stopped at a couple of different Chuck E Cheese's to play games and to stretch our legs and take a break from the car. We made it part way through Indiana, and found a hotel to stay at for the night. We got up early the next morning and drove the rest of the way to Pennsylvania. We got there just in time for the packet pickup, expo, and the pasta dinner. The dinner was really good. They had several different varieties of pasta, sauces, and bread. They had salad and several different kinds of cheesecake. The Garden Spot Village allowed us to stay there in their furnished model apartment. Kyle and Connor were surprised when they went inside the apartment. They both yelled "Whoa!", ran inside, and disappeared into the rooms. This was the biggest and nicest place we have stayed at so far on any of our marathon trips. There was a large picture window in the living room that looked down at the starting and finish line in the parking lot. We got a good night's sleep for tomorrow's race.
We got up early on race morning. Connor had milk and cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and we walked to the starting line. I was not able to watch Connor while I was running. The race director kept Connor with him until I was finished running. Connor got to ride around with him and see the race. He also got to stay at the finish line and watch the runners as they finished. The full marathon and half marathon started at the same location and at the same time. I ran with Kyle for a short distance at the start, and then we ran our own paces. It was cool and a little windy, and the course was hilly. There were some great views of the dairy farms along the course. There were many horse and buggies that passed me as they were driving on the roads on the course. There were over 1,200 participants combined in both of the races, and there were lots of cheering spectators in parts of the course. Kyle finished with a time of 2:58:58, and I finished with a time of 3:58:45. They had food at the finish line for the runners. They had chocolate milkshakes, peach milkshakes, chocolate milk, hot oatmeal, trail mix, roll ups, and other great food. We also both got massages.
After we finished, we went back to our apartment and got changed into our swimsuits. We went swimming at their indoor pool and hot tub. We had a great time. We changed clothes, packed our car, and left. We stopped in Lititz to buy some chocolate at the Wilbur Chocolate Factory and to eat at the Lititz Family Cupboard. They had a great buffet of home cooked food. We stopped by the cemetery where my grandparents are buried, and then started our drive home. Kyle and Connor fell asleep early. I kept driving until I got tired, and then we stopped at a rest stop along the highway. I got a few hours of sleep, and then we started driving again. We stopped at the United States Air Force National Museum in Dayton Ohio. We walked around there for a couple of hours looking at the different planes that were on display. We then drove the rest of the way home.
15. Hogeye Marathon, Fayetteville Arkansas, 4/14/2013.
My fifteenth marathon in 2013 was the Hogeye Marathon in Fayetteville Arkansas. I left for Arkansas on Saturday morning. It was only a 3 1/2 hour drive. Before I left, I was able to take Kyle and Connor out for breakfast. We went to HyVee for the breakfast buffet. They both had soccer games later in the day, so they did not come along with me to Arkansas. I got to the race expo, which was in the Chancellor Hotel. At the expo, I picked up my bib number and timing chip. I also got to talk to Jeff Galloway, who was there with his running books. Jeff and his wife were also going to run the marathon. Jeff and I talked about children and running. He remembered Kyle from the MedCity Marathon in Rochester Minnesota last year. I went to the pasta dinner that evening, which was in the hotel. Jeff Galloway was the speaker. He talked about some of his races and his Olympic tryouts. It was great to hear his stories. I was staying at the Chancellor Hotel, and I got to bed early.
The marathon started at 7 AM. The start line was less than a block away from the hotel, which was really nice. There were over 1,000 people running, and many of those runners were running the half marathon. It was crowded at the starting line, but it quickly spread out after I crossed the timing mat. The beginning of the course was very hilly, and it was a little windy. They had plenty of great aid stations. It seemed like there was an aid station at every mile. The volunteers at the aid stations were also great. It got warmer as the race progressed, and it stayed windy. The course was also very challenging, and it had plenty of rolling hills. The course was on city streets, and it also went along a paved trail around a lake.
I was very glad to see the finish line. I finished with a time of 4:22:33. They had nice finisher medals with a hog on them. They also gave out latex pig snouts to all of the finishers. They had ice baths, massage tables, and food at the finish line, including pizza, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and chocolate milk. After the race and the finish line area, I went back to the hotel and took a shower, and then drove home. I was able to get home in time to see Kyle's second soccer game of the weekend.
16. Garmin Marathon, Olathe Kansas, 4/20/2013.
My sixteenth marathon in 2013 was the Garmin Marathon in Olathe Kansas. I was one of the four hour pacers for the marathon. It was nice to stay at home for a marathon and not have to travel. On Friday afternoon, I went to the packet pickup in the parking lot of Garmin's World Headquarters, where I got my shirt and bib number. On Friday evening, I went to Sunflower House. Sunflower House is one of the organizations that I am running for this year. They hosted a pasta dinner for me. They had volunteers serving pasta, breadsticks, and salad. They also had a large cookie that said "Run Bob Run!" on it. They had people making signs for the race, and they also had t-shirts made up that said Run Bob Run on them with the Sunflower House logo.
Race morning came early. They gave all of the pacers a mini bib to wear with their race bib that remembered the Boston Marathon. They also had a hot air balloon at the starting line. There was a moment of silence for Boston, and they released 3 balloons in remembrance of the three people who died. They had a huge American flag and after the National Anthem, the race started. There was a large group of people running the 4 hour pace. We kept steady and stayed together. It was really nice to see the Sunflower House supporters wearing my supporter shirts, holding signs, and cheering for me along the course. They had lots of great aid stations and cheering fans along the course. The course went from public streets to a paved walking trail. The four hour pace group stayed strong, but between miles 21 and 22, almost all of the group had fallen behind. My co-pacer kept the four hour pace, and I fell back to help the runners we lost. I walked with several runners and encouraged them to start running. I finished with a time of 4:19:53. The medal was in the shape of a heart, and it had the tin man on it. It was a great design.
I ran the Kansas Half Marathon in Lawrence Kansas on Sunday, 4/21/2013, the day after the Garmin Marathon. I am not counting this race towards my 52 marathons. I just ran it for the fun of it. I was one of the 1:50 pacers. The weather was great for the race. It was cool and a little breezy. We had a large group of people running with pace group. I really enjoyed running in Lawrence . I lived there when I went to the University of Kansas, and it was nice to see the town again. Between miles six and eight, we started losing some of our group. My co-pacer stayed in the lead and maintained the pace. I fell back, and tried to encourage our runners to catch up and stay with us. Some of them were able to catch up, and others fell behind. There were some steep hills around mile eight.
There were some nice downhills during the last couple of miles. The people who we were able to keep with us stayed with us on the downhills. As we were approaching the 13 mile mark, we checked with the group, who was still running strong. We could see the finish line ahead of us during the last two blocks, and we picked up the pace and ran hard together to the finish line. I finished with a time of 1:49:25, and the runners who stayed with us also finished just under 1:50. My co-pacer and I helped several runners finish in under 1:50, and we helped several people get new half marathon PRs.
17. Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, Oklahoma City Oklahoma, 4/28/2013.
My seventeenth marathon in 2013 was the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City Oklahoma. I left for Oklahoma City on Saturday morning. Connor, my six year old son, had an 8:30 AM soccer game, and I was planning on leaving after his game. His game was rained out, so I left after the game was cancelled. It was a rainy drive to Oklahoma City, and the rain stopped right before I got there. I went right to the expo and packet pickup. I got my bib number and shirt, and then walked around the expo. They had a wall with bib numbers for each of the Oklahoma City bombing victims. Each bib number had one of their names on it. Bill Rodgers was speaking when I was there, and then he was signing his book at one of the expo booths. There was a church that had a booth, and they were making free pancakes and handing out pancake mix. They were having a pancake breakfast on race morning. I left the expo and checked into my hotel. I went across the street and ate dinner at the Olive Garden, and I got to bed early for a good night's sleep.
Race morning came early. The race started at 6:30 AM. They had a shuttle bus pickup in front of the hotel to take runners to and from the race, and the pickup time was 5:00 AM. I rode the shuttle bus to the starting line. There was lots of security at the race. There was a police helicopter that kept circling overhead. There were law enforcement officers everywhere. They had trucks and cars parked at the intersections to keep other cars from driving onto closed roads. There were over 25,000 total runners participating in the different races. I lined up in between the 3:55 and 4:00 pace groups. My goal was to start slow, maintain a steady pace, and finish in under four hours. They had 168 seconds of silence to remember the 168 Oklahoma City bombing victims. They added 3 seconds of silence to remember the 3 Boston Marathon bombing victims.
After the National Anthem, the race started. It started at the site of the bombing. It was very crowded at the start. The weather was great. It was cool, clear, and a little breezy. There were lots of cheering fans along the course. and they were doing a great job cheering for everyone. There were plenty of aid stations that were spread out to avoid congestion. They had Powerade, water, and pretzels at every aid station, and they had Gu and cold wet sponges at the aid stations towards the end of the race. It started to warm up, and the sponges really helped. They had banners along the course that each had an individual name of one of the Oklahoma City bombing victims. There were lots of American flags along the course, and there was a runner who was carrying a huge flag. There was a section of the course where signs had been posted with the words to the National Anthem. There was a group of firefighters who walked the entire half marathon course in full gear. There were police officers everywhere along the course, and there were helicopters flying overhead along the course. It was very motivational.
I finished with a time of 3:57:12. I was glad to finish in under 4 hours. They had water, Gatorade, and chocolate milk that was ice cold at the finish line. They were also giving out free grilled burgers. After eating and drinking, I went to the massage tent. Massage Envy had lot of their people giving out free massages. I went to the bombing memorial, and then walked to the shuttle bus station for the ride back to the hotel. My hotel gave me a late checkout time of 3:00 PM. I had plenty of time to take a hot shower and get packed for the drive home.
18. Lincoln Marathon, Lincoln Nebraska, 5/5/2013.
My eighteenth marathon in 2013 was the Lincoln Marathon in Lincoln Nebraska. I was one of the 4:20 pacers. I left for Lincoln on Saturday afternoon around lunch time. I was able to ride to Lincoln with Coach Eladio Valdez, his wife Myra, and Cynthia, another runner. It was nice to not have to drive, and it was fun to socialize with other runners. Once we got to Lincoln, we went right to packet pickup and got our bib numbers. I went to the pacer table and helped answer questions and hand out pace bands. They had a free pasta dinner for all of the runners. I walked to the pasta dinner from the packet pickup. They had spaghetti, salad, rolls, and ice cream. It was really good. Both the packet pickup and the pasta dinner were very busy. After the pasta dinner, we went to the hotel and checked in. I got a good night's sleep for the race.
I got up early on race morning. It was cool and a little breezy, but it was not raining. We went to the pacer meeting, and I met Kim, my co-pacer for the 4:20 group. We picked up the extra 4:20 pace bands and lined up at the starting line. There were a lot of people who were going to run with us. Many of those runners were running their first marathon. There were 10,000 people lined up to run the full or the half marathon. It took us about thirty minutes after the starting gun to cross the starting line. There were a couple of rain drops that fell on us just before we crossed the starting line, but it did not rain on us for the rest of the race.
Kim and I led our pace group. Kim did an outstanding job of keeping the pace, and she was fun to run with. Between miles two and three, we almost lost one of the runners from our group. There were cones out on the road, and they were impossible to see with all of the runners. One of our runners tripped and fell over one of the cones. I stopped and helped her up, and she started running again. She had scraped up her chin and knee. There were lots of aid stations along the course. This was the first race that I had run where they had plastic straws and lids on the water and Gatorade cups. It was easy to drink and keep running at the same time. The volunteers at the aid stations were excited about helping. The best one that I saw was a person dressed in a tuxedo. He was holding a silver tray with the drink cups on it, and he was telling the runners "No tipping." There was a table along the course that had a tub full of jelly beans. Runners were grabbing handfuls of jelly beans from the tub. There were lots of cheering fans along the course. The fans were cheering for everyone. There were two guys dressed in full gorilla suits handing out bananas. There was a lady standing along the sidelines holding a live goose. There was a man wearing a nun's outfit who was cheering for the runners. There were plenty of fun signs and high fives along the course as well.
Kim continued to lead the pace, and I stayed a little behind her with our group. As we got further along into the course, we started to lose some of our runners. I dropped back with the runners as they fell behind, encouraged them to keep going, and then caught up to our group. Kim kept the pace steady, and I alternated with running up front with her and dropping back and talking to our runners. There was one lady from Wichita who I did not want to see drop out from our group. I stayed back with her for several miles, and she really pushed herself. Right before mile 20, she said that she was going to slow down. She dropped back and did not keep up with us.
One of the runners in our group was a girl named Lindsay. Lindsay told us that this was her first marathon. She did not start out with our group, but she was welcome to run with us. I first noticed her in between miles 19 and 20, where she had some fans cheering for her along the sidelines. Lindsay ran with our group, which had now dropped down to just a handful of runners. She was still running strong. She stayed close to Kim, who was still leading our group. As we got closer to the finish line, she started to drop back, but she was still less than a minute behind her. I decided to stay with Lindsay. I kept encouraging her to keep going. As we passed other runners who had slowed down or were walking, I encouraged them to run.
The finish line was the 50 yard line on the Nebraska football field in the stadium. They were showing the finish line on the Jumbotron, and they were handing out roses to all of the female finishers. Kim finished just in front of us, and I finished with Lindsay. My finish time was 4:20:53. It was really moving to see Lindsay finish her first marathon, and her tears of joy and happiness meant a lot to me as a pacer. We stood at the finish line and saw some of our group that had fallen behind. Our runner who had tripped and fell early in the race crossed the finish line shortly after we did. After we left the finish line, I got some yogurt and a bagel that they had for the runners. They had free massages for the runners, and Kim and I got a massage. I went back to my hotel for a hot shower, and then I met up with my group for the drive home. We stopped by Panera Bread for lunch, and we also made a couple of stops along the way home to stretch our legs. We also stopped at a coffee shop, and I got a peanut butter and banana smoothie. I got home early enough to get a good night's sleep for work in the morning.
My nineteenth marathon for 2013 was the Brookings Marathon in Brookings South Dakota. The Brookings Register had a story in their paper about me the week before the race. I left for Brookings late Friday morning. It was about a six hour drive. I drove north on I-29 the entire way. I went to my hotel and checked in. I then went to packet pickup, which was at the Children's Museum. At packet pickup, they had information about four local restaurants that offered pasta specials for runners. They had the menus there for each one. They also had a 5K race. I wanted to run the 5K race, but decided that I should save my energy for the marathon. I stayed and watched the race, and cheered for the runners. The winner finished the 5K in 16:11. While watching the race, I met Patrick, who was going to run tomorrow's marathon and who also was from Kansas City. He was aware of my goal of running 52 marathons in 2013. After the race was over we went out to eat at the Italian Garden restaurant. The food was really good. I then went back to my hotel and got some sleep.
The marathon started at 7 AM. The temperature was in the low 40s, and the weather forecast predicted that it was going to be windy. I wore a long sleeve shirt underneath my short sleeve shirt, and I also wore gloves. I was glad that I did because it was cold and windy during the race. The full marathon and the half marathon started at the same place and the same time. I was glad to start running so that I could warm up. Overall, the course was flat, but there were a few hills. The course was on city streets, sidewalks, and walking trails. There were lots of volunteers at the aid stations and there were many cheering spectators along the course. As the race progressed, it got windier. There were a lot of turns on the course, so we weren't always running into a headwind.
My goal was to finish in under four hours. Halfway through the marathon, I was between 1:55 and 2:00. I kept a steady pace and I finished with a time of 3:51:24. They did a great job of announcing runners at the finish line. They announced names and bib numbers, and they said a few things about each runner. When I crossed the finish line, they announced that I was going to run 52 marathons in 2013, and they talked about SAFE and Sunflower House. I had chocolate milk, cookies, and hamburgers at the finish line. Nick's Hamburger Shop was making burgers to order. I also saw Lori, who I ran with at the Kansas City North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon last year, and her friend Melanie. They both ran the marathon, they both placed in their age group, they both finished in under fours, and they both set a PR. After the race I went back to my hotel, where they had given me a late checkout. The hot shower felt great. I then left for home. I met Lori and Melanie for a late lunch at Panera Bread in Sioux City, and then I drove the rest of the way home.
19. Brookings Marathon, Brookings South Dakota, 5/11/2013.
20. Fargo Marathon, Fargo North Dakota, 5/18/2013.
My twentieth marathon for 2013 was the Fargo Marathon in Fargo North Dakota. I left for Fargo early Friday morning. It was about a 600 mile drive from home. I made it to Fargo early in the afternoon, and I went right to the Fargodome, which is where they were having the race expo and packet pickup. I got my packet and bib number, and then I walked around the expo. It was a large expo with many vendors. After the expo, I met up with my friends Chad Bartels, Ross Capps, and Kevin Brewer. We went out to eat at the Olive Garden, and then we went and saw the actual wood chipper from the movie Fargo. The four of us shared a room with two bunk beds in the dorms on campus just a few blocks from the Fargodome. I got a good night's sleep.
I got up early on race morning. It was lightly raining. Ross was having problems with his knee, so he wanted to take advantage of the early start. I went to the start line with him. There were about fifteen runners who started early. Instead of playing the National Anthem at the start, they played Here Comes the Sun, by the Beatles. I then waited for the full marathon start. They had the half marathon start and full marathon start at different times. The full marathon started at 8:15 AM. The rain stopped before the full marathon started. I lined up with the four hour pacer group. They sang both the National Anthem and the Canadian National Anthem before starting the race. It was National Armed Forces Day, and there were lots of veterans and American flags along the starting line of the course.
It was cool at the starting line, but it started to warm up. The clouds started going away, and the sun came out. It was warm and humid. It was a fairly flat course, and they had plenty of aid stations. There were lots of cheering fans along the course. Heat became an issue for some of the runners. I saw an ambulance taking a runner off the course. The finish line was inside the Fargodome. There were plenty of cheering fans in the bleachers at the finish line. I finished with a time of 3:58:43. After the marathon I had chocolate milk and pizza in the finisher's area. They also had free massages. The massage was great, and she did an excellent job of stretching my legs. I then walked back to the dorms, took a hot shower, and then left for home. Chad wanted to go home early, so he rode back to Kansas with me and helped me with the driving. I was able to relax and sleep in the car while he was driving. We made it home safely, and I went back to work the next morning.
21. Buffalo Marathon, Buffalo New York, 5/26/2013.
My twenty first marathon for 2013 was the Buffalo Marathon in Buffalo New York. Kyle, my 10 year old son, ran the half marathon. It was his fourth half marathon for 2013. Kyle and I left for Buffalo early on Friday morning. We had a very early flight, with a layover in Chicago. We got to Buffalo around lunchtime. We checked Kyle's booster seat with the airline, and the airline lost it. We filled out the claim paperwork, got a loaner booster seat from the airline, and then picked up our rental car.
We drove to Niagara Falls State Park. We had a great time there. We walked and saw Niagara Falls. We rode on the Maid of the Mist, and saw the falls from below. We went to the Aquarium of Niagara and rode on the Niagara Scenic Trolley. We also walked to the Canadian border. After spending the day at Niagara Falls, we went back to our hotel and checked in. We went back to Niagara Falls and saw it at night. We walked to the Cave of the Mist, where we were standing at the bottom of the falls with the water spraying on us. We went back to the hotel, and got a good night's sleep.
We slept in on Saturday morning. We walked to the Hyatt and ate breakfast. We then went to the race expo, which was at the Buffalo Convention Center. We got our packets and bib numbers. They had a number of booths, and plenty of things for sale. They had cookies in the shape of buffalos, with 26.2 and 13.1 on them in icing. We met Neely Spence Gracey, who was one of the speakers at the expo. Kyle had his picture taken with her. After the expo, we went back to Niagara Falls and saw Niagara: The Legends of Adventure movie, and we went to the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. After Niagara Falls, we went back to our hotel and walked to the pasta dinner. The Buffalo Marathon had a free pasta dinner for all of the runners. They had pasta with meatballs, salad, and cookies. We walked back to the hotel and went to the indoor swimming pool and sauna. The airline found Kyle's booster seat, and dropped it off at the hotel for us. We laid out all of our race stuff, and went to bed.
Race morning came early. The marathon and half marathon started at 7:00 AM. We walked to the starting line. We passed the finish line on the way to the starting line, and decided on a place at the finish line for Kyle to wait for me while I was running. It was cold at the start, and we tried to stay warm. We lined up with the 4:30/2:15 pacer. Kyle decided that he wanted to run the half marathon in 2:15. We ran together at the start of the race, and before the first mile mark, I ran ahead. The course was full of runners. There were lots of cheering fans. The Buffalo Fire Department had two fire trucks parked along the course with their ladders extended, and they had a huge American flag hanging above the course. Part of the course was run along the water, and I could see Canada across the water. I was under two hours at the halfway point, and I was hoping that I could keep the pace and finish in under four hours. At a couple of miles before the finish line, I started encouraging runners who were walking to start running again. One of those runners was Kate, who started running and ran right next to me. She said that she was going to stay with me to the finish line. She ran strong until less than a mile before the finish line. She started walking, and she said that she had to catch her breath. I walked with her, and after a brief walking break, we started running again. We ran the rest of the way to the finish line. I finished with a time of 3:54:19.
After finishing, Kyle and I went to the massage area. They had free massages. There were two people giving massages for every runner. It was the first time that I got a massage from two different people at the same time. After the massage, we went to the awards area inside the Buffalo Convention Center. Kyle finished the half marathon in 2:03:30, and he got second place in his age group. He got a trophy. We had pizza and chips at the awards area that was free for all of the runners. We then walked back to our hotel room, where we took hot showers and rested. Kyle and I then went kayaking on the Buffalo River. We got a tandem kayak. It was a lot of fun. We then went out to eat at Dug's Dive, and had seafood. Kyle had a crabcake and I had a shrimp, scallops, and haddock platter. We then went back to our hotel room and went to bed early. We had an early flight back home on Monday morning.
22. Minneapolis Marathon, Minneapolis Minnesota, 6/2/2013.
My twenty second marathon for 2013 was the Minneapolis Marathon in Minneapolis Minnesota. I left for Minneapolis on Friday afternoon. It was about a seven hour drive. I checked into my hotel, which had a great view of the Minneapolis skyline, and then had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. I slept in on Saturday morning. I got up and had a late breakfast, and then I walked to the Mill City Farmer's Market, which was a couple of blocks from my hotel. I walked to the packet pickup and got my race stuff. I then walked back to my hotel and took an afternoon nap. I got up and went to the runner's pasta buffet, and then went to bed.
I got up on race morning and walked to the shuttle buses. I got there around 5 AM. The marathon started at 6:30 AM. I took the shuttle bus to the starting line. The weather was great. It was cold, cloudy, and a little windy. The full and half marathon runners started at the same time. I lined up behind the four hour pacer, and started slow. The biggest hills were during the first two miles of the race. There were lots of cheering spectators and plenty of aid stations along the course. At the halfway point, I was under two hours, and I wanted to keep my pace so that I would finish in under four hours. Around mile 15, I came across a runner who had just collapsed from exhaustion during the marathon. There was another runner who had already stopped to help him. I stopped briefly, and then ran ahead and told a police officer along the course about the runner. It was starting to warm up, and the sun came out, but the weather was still nice for running. I finished with a time of 3:54:07.
They had cheese, potato chips, peanut rolls, and drinks for the runners at the finish line. They were also offering Mississippi River boat cruises for the runners. I left the finish area and walked to the shuttle buses. It was a very long walk up a hill. Once I got to the shuttle buses, I realized that my hotel was only a couple of blocks away, so I walked back to my hotel. I was able to take a hot shower before driving home.
23. Hatfield McCoy Marathon, South Williamson Kentucky, 6/8/2013.
My twenty third marathon for 2013 was the Hatfield McCoy Marathon in South Williamson Kentucky. The marathon was part of the Hatfield McCoy Festival for the entire weekend. I left for Kentucky on Thursday evening. I brought along Connor, my six year old son. I did not tell him that we were going on a weekend trip. I told him that we were going out to eat. After driving for awhile, he asked why we were driving so far. I told him that he was coming along to my marathon. He was very excited. We drove to Columbia Missouri and got a hotel. We swam in the hotel swimming pool before getting a good night's sleep. We got up on Friday morning and drove the rest of the way to Kentucky.
We got to packet pickup, wich was at the high school. If you were not a direct decendent of either the Hatfield family or the McCoy family, they assigned you to a family. I was assigned to the McCoys. After getting my race stuff, we went to the free pasta dinner. They had one Hatfield and one McCoy, each with a double barrel shotgun, that were posing for pictures. We then went to the First Baptist Church in Williamson West Virginia, which was only a couple of blocks from the finish line. The church allowed ten males and ten females to stay in their annex building. Connor and I slept on cots there for the night.
On race morning, we got up and the ladies from the church came and gave us a ride to the start line. Linda, one of the ladies from the church, kept Connor while I was running. She was a fifth generation Hatfield. The starting line was in the parking lot of the grocery store. It was 64 degrees, foggy, and 90% humidity at the race start. The race started with a shotgun blast. The course was hilly, but very scenic. They had some great aid stations that were decorated with the Hatfield McCoy theme. As the race progressed, the sun came out, and it got hotter. I started overheating a few miles from the finish line, so I slowed down. I finished with a time of 4:09:33. The Hatfield and the McCoy with the double barrel shotguns were waiting at the finish line for the runners. They had cold towels with the race logo for all of the runners at the finish line. They had lots of cold drinks, and they gave each finisher a mason jar with the race logo on it. They had fruit, and they were filling up the mason jars with the fruit. They also had hot dogs, chips, and barbeque sandwiches for the runners.
I walked to the church, where Connor was waiting for me. Linda had taken him out to eat for breakfast. She took him to the finish line festival, and then back to the church to wait for me with other people from the church. After a shower, we walked back to the finish line festival. They had an elephant there, and Connor and I got to ride on it, and he posed for a picture with it. He also got a pony ride. We had deep fried Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for a snack, and then started our drive home. We spent the night in a hotel in Lexington Kentucky. We got up early on Sunday morning, ate breakfast at the hotel, and then went swimming in the hotel swimming pool. We then drove the rest of the way home.
My twenty fourth marathon for 2013 was the Half Sauer Half Kraut Marathon in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. I had a 5 AM flight from Kansas City early on Friday morning. I got to Philadelphia early on Friday afternoon, and I picked up a rental car at the airport. They gave me a free upgrade, and I also got a new car that had less than 600 miles on it. I drove to my hotel, checked in, and took an afternoon nap. I woke up, went to packet pickup, and got my runner's shirt, bib number, and backpack. Packet pickup was at their German Club. I went out and had a spaghetti dinner, and then got a good night's sleep.
I got to the German Club early on race morning. I parked in their parking lot and took the shuttle bus to the starting line. The race was held entirely within Pennypack Park. There were almost one thousand runners, and they had both a full marathon and a half marathon. The course was a half marathon distance, and the full marathoners ran the course twice. The course was mostly on a paved trail, but there was a section called Mt. Cuckoo that was a little over a mile long that was off road on a muddy trail with rocks. It was a little warm and humid at the start, but the tall trees kept the course shaded and cool. They played German music at the starting line. Some of the runners dressed in German attire. They had four different waves of runners to keep the course from getting overcrowded. They had women dressed in German attire at the aid stations, and someone was playing German music on an accordian along the course.
I was concerned about the heat slowing me down. I finished the first half in under two hours. I wanted to keep the pace so that I could finish in under four hours. It got warmer during the second half for me, but I kept pushing. There were several runners I saw along the course who were having problems with the heat. I ran past one runner along the course who was overcome by the heat and was being treated by ambulance personnel. I finished with a time of 3:54:06. They had ice cold drinks and desserts at the finish line. After getting something to drink and cooling off, I took the shuttle bus back to the German Club. They had brats with sauerkraut, hot dogs, and beer for the runners. After having a brat, I went back to my hotel, took a shower, and then made it back to the airport just in time to catch my flight home.
24. Half Sauer Half Kraut Marathon, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, 6/15/2013.
25. Grandma's Marathon, Duluth Minnesota, 6/22/2013.
26. Pacific Crest Marathon, Sunriver Oregon, 6/29/2013.
My twenty fifth marathon for 2013 was Grandma's Marathon in Duluth Minnesota. I left for Duluth on Thursday morning. My friend Tim and his wife Melissa were also running the marathon, and they offered to give me a ride there and they also allowed me to stay with them. They picked me up at my house, and we drove to Duluth. It was sunny and in the 90s when we left, and it was foggy, overcast, and in the 50s when we arrived. We checked into our hotel, which was in Superior Wisconsin. We went out to eat at The Thirsty Pagan Brewery, which was a local microbrewery. They had really good food. We then called it a night.
We got up on Friday morning and went to the packet pickup and expo. The pasta dinner started at 11 AM. We ate lunch at the pasta dinner, which had all you can eat spaghetti, salad, bread, and ice cream sandwiches. I took an afternoon nap at the hotel. Tim and Melissa went out to eat for dinner, and I went to eat by myself to the restaurant next to the hotel. I had more spaghetti. I then got a good night's sleep for tomorrow's race.
They were calling for rain on race day, but it held off. It was still foggy and overcast, and in the 50s. We drove to the finish line and parked. They had a train ride to the starting line for the marathon runners. It was an old passenger train. There was a person wearing a conductor's uniform standing outside the train. It was a long slow train ride. The train ran along Lake Superior. The scenery was great, and I was able to see part of the race course. After the train ride, I lined up on the starting line. There were only marathons at the race start, and it was a point to point course. The route was mostly along the same road without any turns. There were lots of aid stations. It stayed overcast, and it started raining as I got closer to the finish line.
I finished with a chip time of 3:53:29. They had red carnations for the race finishers. They also gave out the race shirts to the finishers after crossing the finish line. They had chocolate milk, yogurt, and bagels for the runners. I went inside one of the local businesses to warm up and to try and dry off. I then met up with Tim and Melissa, and we went back to the hotel. We warmed up in the hot tub at the hotel, and then I took a long nap. I went out to eat at the restaurant next to the hotel for supper, and then got a good night's sleep. We left for home on Sunday morning. We stopped for lunch at a buffet on the Minnesota - Iowa border that was really good, and I got home around early that evening.
My twenty sixth marathon for 2013 was the Pacific Crest Marathon in Sunriver Oregon. It was also my first time to visit Oregon. This was also the halfway point for my 52 marathons in 2013.
I left for Oregon on Thursday night. I had a flight to Portland. I spent the night in Portland, and got an early start on Friday morning. It was about a four hour drive to Sunriver. I drove through Mt. Hood National Forest. It was a beautiful drive. There were snow capped mountains, rivers, lakes, and lots of trees. I got to Sunriver early in the afternoon. I went to the packet pickup and the race expo, which was outside. After getting my bib number, I went to my condo in Sunriver. I was sharing it with Susan and Amanda. They were doing the team duathlon. We went out to eat at Marcello's, a local Italian restaurant. The food was great. I got a good night's sleep for the marathon.
Amanda and Susan gave me a ride to the starting line while they were going to the starting line of the duathlon. I lined up with the other runners. The marathoners and half marathoners lined up together. The temperature was mild, but it was going to get hot. The marathon went through the property at Sunriver. There were plenty of tall trees that provided much needed shade. They had lots of aid stations, and I made sure that I drank at every one. It was getting hotter, and there was a section of the course that did not have any shade. The heat was starting to slow me down. I tried to finish in under four hours, but I wasn't able to keep the pace. I finished with a time of 4:01:58.
They had hard boiled eggs, pasta, doughnuts, and strawberry shortcake at the finish line for the runners. After getting something to eat and cooling off, I tried to find the shuttle bus. No one seemed to know where it was. I ended up getting a ride in the Sunriver Police Department's volunteer vehicle. I took a shower, and then drove to Bend, a nearby town, and had lunch. I went back to Sunriver, and Susan and Amanda had finished their race. They got first place in their age group. They were at the pool with Teresa, one of their friends who had come for the weekend.
We all went out to dinner. We went back to Marcello's, because the food was really good there. After dinner, I drove back to Portland. It was really late when I got there, so I just stayed up and waited for my early morning flight.