Tanner and I drove so that we could see so much more of the New England states and on the way we passed through Boonesboro Maryland, home of the JFK 50 miler I have done the past 2 Novembers and also home of a great friend Shaunte Brooks Taswell who I met 2 years ago at my first JFK 50. So we let her know we were coming thru and we stopped and met with her, her mother and one of her daughters for lunch at Panera and spent some time catching up. We took turns driving and had no hotels for the first night as we were not sure how far we felt like driving. We got into CT late but all rooms were booked due to UCON graduation so on we went into MA and found a place for the evening. The next morning we only had about 3-4 hours of driving to do. We arrived in Portland Maine and checked out the town.
Marathon One...Portland Maine....this course was a looped course around a
water way bike/running trail and it was really pretty. It was so nice to see a bunch of my running family, some I had not seen since the Center of the Nations series others I hadnt seen in just a month or so. It always feels like a giant family reunion at some of these events. Since we drove our own car Tanner was able to drop me off at the start and head back to bed and then he wasnt bored to death or really whiny after sitting and waiting for me to finish. I jogged the first half of this run and felt pretty good then told myself not to be stupid and just speed walk...it was not worth risking my shoulder not heal properly. I finished in a decent time of just over 6 hours and that evening my shoulder was a little sore so at that point I decided the rest of the week I would only speed walk! I didn't bring my pain medication for that reason, I am good at tolerating pain as it is and if I brought pain medication and took it if my shoulder started to hurt that it would mask the pain too much and I would ignore it and risk allowing it to heal. See sometimes I really do think logically!! After the run we headed onto Nashua NH.
Day Two - Nashua NH....this run was pretty close to our hotel so Tanner decided he would sleep in and just walk over when he got up. I let him know roughly what time I would be done and hoped he would be there in time to walk a lap with me. This was a pretty course also but very loose gravel and it spit the rain for the first half of the event. I found myself having to stop almost every 15-20 minutes to dump the debris out of my socks and shoes. Tanner made it over before I started the last lap and he walked with me and took some picture of the creeks, this old industrial part we went through and enjoyed himself. Each lap was about 5ish miles and the complete course measured almost 27 miles..ugggg Before going to Warwich we stopped in the town of Portsmouth NH and ate lunch, checked out the Portsmouth Brewery and looked around their really quant cool town! I was unable to shower after the run so I am sure I smelled really nice.
Day Three - Warwich Rhode Island - I rode with my favorite running couple Cathy and Troy Johnson to the start of this run and that way Tanner could sleep in as it was about 20 minutes or so from the hotel. This was the first time we didnt completely check to see where the start of the run was so ofcourse he got lost trying to get there. There was some steeper downhills on this course which I found myself holding my shoulder in place a little more stable as I went down those. I was hoping for Tanner to arrive and go the last lap with me here or get there cause I wanted some of the beer that I had bought at the Portsmouth Brewery the day before and it had been on ice ever since!!! With him getting lost he didnt arrive until I was already on my final loop. This course too was a little long but not nearly as long as yesterdays....I guess we are getting our money's worth- We headed on into Hartford CT and were checking into out hotel the Super 8- it was one that the race site actually suggested as places to stay. When we arrived it looked like a shady area of town and the entire check in window was enclosed like a bank with bullet proof glass. It took over 15 minutes just to check in as they could barely speak English. When we got to our room I had Tanner look under the mattress first for any sings of bedbugs and he says oh gross there is a dirty towel under the bed and as he was picking it up with his fingers 2 crack pipes fell out....ummmmm see ya!! We called the manager he didnt understand what we were saying and then i just yelled THERE ARE DRUGS IN OUR ROOM_ DRUGS! So he came down to see we took photos and told him we would go somewhere else, took him forever to understand that as he was standing holding a door open to another room saying here you go...and I was like no WE DO GO!!! We want our money back. So off we went for another hotel. Once we found a place to stay some other friends were all there and we met for supper.
Day Four - Hartford CT....Somehow the evening before on FB Jorge was posting about Paulas shirts and such so I dared him to wear one of her skirts for Thursdays run.....during Center of the Nations Day 4 was so cold he ran that one in jeans so why not run it in a skirt!!! Many others started posting and sure enough he showed up in the skirt! So much fun!!! This course went down a busy road and thru a golf course. It got kinda boring fast and when I had one more lap to go my garmin was already reading 25.6 miles.....Tanner had gone one lap with me and had one more to go and I had him run my beer over to the aid station guy to open it for me and I poured half of the pint into a cup and headed down the road with it. Tanner put the rest back in the cooler and ran to catch up with me and started laughing cause I was on the main road in town just walking down the street arm in the sling drinking a beer and here drive a policeman by me but dont think he even noticed. The overall course measured 27.63....It was here where I met my first maniac that said this course is going to measure long and a marathon is 26.2 so when it gets close if im near the finish I will just pace back and forth until it hits 26.2....I told her all courses measure different and its not finishing the event if you dont do the entire course....every single other person out here is doing the same course for the same finish...i was so glad she did go on and finished the entire course. This was the first time I had ever heard anyone say something like that and it really floored me. I do think several skipped that last lap because they thought maybe the course was a little short not a mile and a half long.
Day FIVE - Springfield MA - This day was raining all day long! My arm was starting to chafe and the sling was so wet that I had to just wrap it with the ace bandage. The course was pretty even though it was raining. There was this cool watch duck that hung out...lots of swans but also one big hill on a busy blind curve roadway that was dangerous. I think we had to do something like 18-19 loops here too! Here I ran into another maniac talking about how she TOO only does 26.2 miles at a marathon and paces back and forth...another friend of mine Cathy Troisi was there and overheard this as I was questioning how in the world do you justify this that we are all on the same course and if you don't finish the course that is layed out then you have not finished that event and Cathy spoke up and said in Her Head she has finished it ha. So this really had and still has me a little baffled? I won't post anything asking other maniacs what they think because the last time I posted questioning about how another maniac/friend of mine was able to accept a 50K finish on a course they had done for several years and also lived nearby so totally knew the course however "missed" the first extra loop on lap one for 5ish miles and then on lap two could have done it twice to make it up but didnt and ACCEPTED a 50K finish medal, thanked God and everyone else for allowing them to do this etc and it really bothered me....but I ended up getting jumped all over by some maniacs for questioning if getting these star ratings is that important to some? To each there own....I run for me and me only and I could never feel good about myself if I ever cheated....and to me all those things are cheating.
I dont remember what loop of this course I ran into Larry Macon and Mathew Mapram and the lady from the other day who was the first person I had ever heard say they stop at 26.2 was with us for awhile- we got discussing that and also how I ran into another lady today that said the same thing and I was wondering how this thinking got started!? I was glad to know my conversation may have helped this one realize that you dont finish a marathon unless you do the entire course that everyone else is doing. Then the conversation turned to anything we could discuss to keep our mind off how many more laps we had. The rain stopped for a bit and it was just Larry and Mathew and I and I believe we had that lap and 2 more to go so Larry said grab your son out of the car and have him go with us these last 2 laps....so I ran ahead and got Tanner out to keep us company. We needed new stories and Tanner had lots to tell! Think this course ended at like 26.7 as well so we really got the bonus miles in!!!
Off to Manchester Center VT.....we were here for 2 nights and went exploring. Lots of outlet malls and just a gorgeous part of the USA! Cathy and Troy were going to do Shires as well on Sunday so the two of them and Tanner and I met with Jorge and Paula for dinner at a pizza place Saturday evening. We were all taking the early start since there was a 6 hour cut off and it was a nice hilly run - even with the extra hour I was concerned about making the cut off with my arm but I had walked the past 4 days so thought I would try to jog some of this one and see how things feel. It actually felt really great...the only thing that bothered me this day was my bad knee....and I am sure that is because my legs were going over 161 miles in a week and had been pretty much not doing much for the previous 4 weeks. Throughout this course we saw bag pipers in kilts, an older man in his front yard along the road sitting in a chair with his guitar singing, a man playing the bongos, and then 2 girls outside on the side of the road, one playing the piano yes a piano and the other playing the flute!!! This is what I call course entertainment!.... You won't get that at any big rock n roll event! I ran into a couple other maniacs that I hadnt seen in awhile and we kept each other company. When John Izzo came upon me since I did the early start and he did the normal I knew he would catch me and he did!! He kept me company for several miles and we just had a nice steady jog until we came on a hill and I walked up them. I think if he didnt come upon me when he did I probably would have talked myself into walking more but my
knee actually hurt worse to walk so I was at a point where I just was ready to be done!! I finished this in just over 6 hours so was pleased with that time being I had just done 5 marathons the days before and the gorgeous course, the prettier the course the slower my time will be because I will stop for photos and I will post them on FB if I have service so others can enjoy what I am lucky enough to be enjoying. The place we stayed allowed for a late check out so I was able to shower...it was wonderful!! We grabbed some food and off we headed toward buffalo. Our garmin had us going home through Buffalo so we planned to stay in Canada at Niagra Falls that night since Tanner has never been there. I also have a friend Lauren Idzik who I met at the Beast of Burden Summer run last year and she lives in buffalo. We worked it out where the next afternoon after we did the boat tour of the falls and such we would meet for buffalo wings for lunch! The week flew by and was a great time with my son and all my running family.