A Long Shot Around The Globe

Last month, blogger, author, budget travel expert, and online sales guru Nomadic Matt had an amazing contest. He released the third edition of his best selling book “How To Travel The World On $50 A Day” and offered an opportunity to anyone who bought the new book – the chance to travel for a year, receive $50 a day and guidance from him, and have your Round The World Trip come true.  You just needed to write an 500 word essay (and some other minor legalities). Amazing marketing!

I did not win.  I started to get my hopes up when we heard he was reviewing the final top twenty essays.  The idea behind my essay is actually part of my 3-5 year plan, but winning this contest would have sped up the process. I knew this was a long shot. I just felt my chances were a little better than most. I’m sure when I see the essay from a theoretical cancer survivor traveling around the world taking amazing pictures and sending them back to kids dying in the hospital that I will be really impressed and not bitter about losing. At all.

This was actually a great exercise for me. As if I don’t get enough introspection, after I wrote this, I started to question my current trajectory.  If I am so passionate about this idea, what am I doing in Poland wasting time? I really felt lost for a week or so (this happened to coincide with some issues I’ve had here in Warsaw) and not a little discouraged. In the end,  I can be passionate about this project, and still work on other things that enrich my life in many ways. I have gotten a lot accomplished in two months and sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit for that. The new friends and community I find forming around me here in this city at this time makes me feel like I am on the right path and I will explore the larger plan when I am ready to fly.

Here is the essay in full.  Enjoy.

50 Marathons Routes

50 States

50 Weeks

Wait a second. I already did that in 2016. It was an amazing journey filled with deep personal insights. It removed many of the boundaries I had placed around my world – mentally, physically, geographically, economically. I could do it again, but this time better. With the help of Nomadic Matt I could go bigger!

Putting together my original plan I was a lone wolf. At the time, I didn’t even believe in myself, so I didn’t share my plans with anybody and if I did, I certainly didn’t share any details, because people would have locked me up. Now I would have the vast knowledge and resources of the foremost budget expert in the travel community. I have a proven track record so I could garner more sponsors. I am associated with amazing friends, runners, and organizations and they could open doors for me world wide.

50 Marathons

50 Countries

50 Weeks

Wait a second. That seems exceptionally self indulgent, punishingly repetitive, and particularly derivative. No offense to the Star Wars franchise, but there is a lack of creativity in blowing up successively larger and more powerful Death Stars. It’s not enough to just go bigger. I need to go deeper. If there is one thing that I’ve learned is that I am happiest when I am making an impact. My strongest friends and supporters are people who love what I am doing and are incorporating a piece of that into their lives.

The long term plan I designed while on the road is an international race series of Marathons and Half Marathons. I have seen the impact that distance races have on people’s psyche. People who currently have problems walking around the block strengthen their will and resilience when training for marathons and the completion of these Herculean tasks gives them the knowledge they can do anything. During the run, the people they meet from all walks of life inspire, support, and maintain focus on their larger goal. When you add the element of travel, people get fresh perspectives and new ideas. Also to make this ultimately successful, I want the races to be free. After experiencing the success of the free marathon in Millinocket, Maine and seeing the impact that race has on the town as well as the runners, I think the model has merit. When I combine that with the concept behind ParkRun, a nonprofit that organizes free timed 5Ks in 16 different countries, I think there is blueprint for success, not just for a year, but for a lifetime and beyond.

So finally, what a round the world trip would provide is

50 International Marathons and Half Marathons

50,000 + People Impacted

50 Weeks To Begin A Worldwide Phenomenon

I look forward to working with you and bringing this dream to fruition faster than I originally imagined.

Derek Zardus

GloboRun.com

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The Big Move – Warsaw, Poland


What has Derek done now?!?! I did release a video on this and wrote a long heartfelt message on Facebook, but I may have convoluted too much information and confused people. The big news is that I’ve moved to Poland, not just for a couple weeks or months, but for possibly up to three years. Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Why Poland?

Poland is a beautiful country with wonderful people and traditions.  The cost of living here is very low for Europe, so my dollar goes farther. It’s not too hot here, so I shouldn’t melt as I would in many other countries. Poland gives me easy access to European countries in the East and the West. As a member of the EU, living here while starting a business may make other opportunities available in the future. Warsaw, in particular has some additional benefits. A great airport with many low cost carriers to get me all around Europe affordably.  It has lots of green space, parks, forest, trails, and paths for running.  There are a number of communities that I look forward to joining in this city.  There are many helpful expatriates here.  I have a supportive group of friends and acquaintances here as well as one of my best friends who I have known for 27 years. In the uncomfortable position of moving to another country where I don’t know the language, this may be as comfortable as I can get.

What are you going to do in Warsaw?

Two years ago, with a little bit of savings, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to afford traveling around the US.  With some penny pinching and more than a little help from my friends, I saw all fifty states, survived the worst months of a New England winter and traveled to 12 European countries.  Some bills need to be paid.  I will be teaching English to make ends meet and to start saving for future endeavors.  I will finish the book I’ve been writing about my 50/50/50 journey.  I will continue to work on my International Race Series concept but I am now working on another running opportunity as well.

Are you still running Marathons?

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I injured myself in the first European marathon I did in Milan.  I then ran seven more races on that injury.  Even as I was resting and recovering,  it could be argued that I was still running too much. I took some time off from running this summer and have been slowly rebuilding my body. I’m hoping that being in one place will help me get my training regiment back on par. Expect to see an aggressive European Marathon plan in place for 2018.

What’s with settling down in one place?  I thought a rolling stone gathers no moss?!?!

I will still be traveling a lot.  The aforementioned airport here in Warsaw was one of the big draws for me and bus prices are still low around Europe. Considering how much of my heart still lies in the Kennebec Valley, I think of there as home and my Polish move as part of my larger travels.  Expect to see frequent travel updates in the months to come with both personal excursions as well as potential business trips.

 

I hope this answers the majority of questions.  Something I didn’t cover? Feel free to ask in the comments down below!

Du Motion Runners’ Days – Dubrovnik, Croatia

What do you look for in a running vacation? Great weather to run an optimal race? A beatiful course full of inspiring scenery and potentially epic photos? Great tour opportunities when you aren’t running or training? Helpful staff and volunteers trying to make this your best race of the year? The Dubrovnik Half Marathon, one of the races of the Du Motion Runners’ Days has all this and more.  


The hospitality began at the expo, where tons of volunteers made themselves available to answer questions, pour you a welcome espresso or beer, take your photograph for social media or show you some of the cool race swag you could buy, like specially designed local running flats with an outline of the old city. The Expo was small but thospitality was large, with each of the 3 or 4 vendors eager to not only sell you their wares, but also share their city with you with local tips and favorite places.


The best race swag I have ever received at any race is the Du Motion Runner’s Badge. This gives you 

  • Free entrance to the City Walls ($20 Value)
  • Free Access to Public Transportation
  • Free Entrance to Dubrovnik Museums
  • Partner Discounts

Essentially, if you are coming to run their race, Dubrovnik rolls out the red carpet and gives you the essentials to explore and enjoy their city. All for the same price you would pay to run the race. Other race directors take note – this is the new gold standard in Race/Tourism. Throw the Gauntlet down to your local tourist board. 


Of course, as soon as I got the badge I went and walked the walls. The walls are just shy of 2 kilometers of stairs, uneven stones, steep stair cases and epically medevial views of one of the most romantic cities in the world. One of the Highlights of the weekend is the Race The Wall event. The race is capped at 100 runners and the wall and main street become a 2.5 kilometer crazy race track. I volunteered at the race and it was pouring rain. I struggled on the wall just walking it, I can’t imagine running it, in the rain, trying to place a competitive time, but it certainly was thrilling. 

If you arrive early, there are plenty of things to do. The museums are amazing with phenomenal history pieces and artwork through the centuries. You can do some hill training on any street in the city, but challenge yourself to run to the top of the mountain Srđ. There is a great zig zag trail to get the top and it’s one of the best views of the city. Lokrum Island is also another must. There is a monastery and a small salt lake where you are as buoyant as the Dead Sea. With terrific trails for hiking or running and beautiful views of the Adriatic. 


Race morning felt cool for such a sunshiny day. Tons of participants and specatators flooded the Stradun, the main street old town Dubrovnik. It was a little confusing which direction the race was starting, with 5Kers and Half Marathoners muddling the start, but there was a contingent of international Race Directors volunteering at the event, so everybody was corralled pretty quickly after some initial confusion. Something I realized at this race was that I had not heard any marathon start the race with their national anthem since I had been in Europe. After the starting gun, we were off to a slightly slower start than normal for a couple reasons. 1. Tight quarters and the start of the race leads us into a narrower alley and arch, 2. Slight uphill canter 3. Slippery marble cobblestones underfoot. However, it is magical running that street and over the eastern gate and drawbridge to start the race. 


After that you turn the corner and the real work begins. The challenge of this out and back race course is the hill you climb and race down at the beginning will be waiting for you when you are good and tired at mile 11.5.  At the beginning, you have an extra half mile as you climb along the side of the city wall heading to the tower that is used as the Red Keep in the HBO “Game of Thrones” series. A small reprieve as you turn the corner and pass the local bus hub, but then you have 3/4 of mile to finish climbing up that hill. There are spectacular views of the ocean when you get to the top! You have about two hundred meters of flattop before you plunge down the other side to the main port of Dubrovnik. It’s very steep and fortunately my training for last year’s downhill races helped me pick up the pace without going crazy or hurting myself picking up and extra minute or two. The next four miles runs you under the modern and striking Franjo Tudjman Bridge along the harbor and to the other side of the ACI Marina Dubrovnik. I was a little concerned about the sun exposure during this part of the run, but the cliffs provided a nice bit of shade for all but the mile and a half approaching and leaving the turn around. One way back the sun hit hard once we entered the port area leading up to the final big hill. I spent some time trading on that hill earlier in the week so I knew it’s angle and where the rest spots were, but it is so much tougher after 11 miles! However once you get to the top, it all downhill to the finish line, with a triumphant return to the city through the eastern gate and right up the Stradun with runners and spectators roaring as you enter the final stretch (echoed and magnified by the great stone buildings). 

This was a great race for me. Beautiful and challenging, this was the first race I had run in Europe where all the volunteers at fueling stations were enthusiastic and energetic, young and old alike. There was also a good amount of cheering from runner towards runners on the out and back. The was a large group of 200 from the Belgrade Urban Running Team from Serbia, who were supportive both of their own team and other runners on the course – I know a bunch of them kept me strong and focused from mile 4 to mile 8, just in time for me to be inspired by some gals from the Southern United States who played a little leap frog with me. We started talking about that final hill and I said “You’re looking strong! Stick to your plan and I’m sure you kick some hill!” They all laughed because I thought they had a plan, and the sped off to conquer the hill and cheer me at the finish. This race also had two of my favorite things – free photos and a Race Director who takes the time to shake hands, high five, or hug every runner who crossed the finish line. I had met Alen Boskovik earlier in the week end as I was volunteering at expo and his enthusiasm and dedication shine through with every interaction between him and the runners and his staff. This is an amazing race that I would recommend to any runner headed to Europe. 

Feeling Like A Fish Out Of Water – Take A Tasting Tour


The drive from Vienna to Dubrovnik was extremely romantic, misty mountains with little villages nestled into crooks and valleys or lovingly laid out in the sun like colorful laundry set out to dry. We reached the coast as the sun was beginning to set, so we were bathed in peach and tangerine skies with emerald hills and islands set in the turquoise Adriatic. We got to Dubrovnik as twinklings of stardust light up the hills surrounding the bay. However, as soon as I stepped off the bus, there is a disorientation. Although a tourist town, not everybody speaks English, and Croatian doesn’t sound like anything I’ve come across. Nobody seems to take credit cards around the port and I don’t have any of the local currency. None of the ATMs want to take my cards and quite frankly, the information desk wasn’t super helpful. It is also frustrating when you need to go to the bathroom and you don’t have the local coin to get into the WC. I didn’t have a traditional host for this town (more later about this in another post).  I needed a cultural crash course, stat. 

What do food tours do for you that regular tours don’t? Well, for one I am talking about local Tours with actual residents committed to the success of businesses owned by local families with pedigrees and commitments to the community, not generic, fly by night, corporate tours which go to the top five internet Yelp or Trip Advisor locations. In Dubrovnik, I was introduced by the DuMotion Dubrovnik Half Marathon to Hamo Ovcina, the owner of Dubrovnik Food Tours. Hamo was born and bred in Dubrovnik. He lived through the siege, he lived through earthquakes, and the local exodus. He is one of the only 750 actual residents living within the old city walls. Local food Tours don’t just give you a quick in and out, they give you living history and experience, they give you cultural connections that go back generations, they give you an insight to the people that live and thrive in this city you are trying to get to know. They give you traditions, secret handshakes and menus, and insider Lengua Franca. 

Hamo didn’t just take us around the city, he wove us intricately into some of the most intimate and outlandish cubbies and nooks and crannies.  He introduced us to artisans, artists, and neighbors.  Where ever we went there were handshakes and nods and winks as we were allowed down passages reserved for only those in the know (something that was confirmed the next day as I attempted to take a friend through the same passage only to be politely and firmly told no). There was an amazing feel of Scorsesee’s single shot of the best friends in Goodfellas’ coming through the service door, walking through the kitchen, greeting the service staff and maitre d’ behind the scenes before bursting into the restaurant and being shown the best table in the house – at multiple locations. Later in the week as I met new friends, I felt I was able to act as a defacto guide and Sherpa to this amazing city. Below is my Trip Advisor review. I urge you to reach out on your next vacation to a local food tour and if you visit Dubrovnik, give Hamo at Dubrovnik Food Tours a call. You will not regret it. 

Dubrovnik Food Tours

DubrovnikFoodTours.com

I love travel and I love food. Food Tours are the perfect combination of these passions when you find the right tour. Dubrovnik Food Tours left me satiated on both counts. 

We started the tour at the clock tower, a main attraction of the old town that is easy to find. Our guide Hamo, the owner of the company was on the watch for us to arrive. He made easy conversation with the guests who were waiting guiding us into introducing ourselves and sharing a little bit about ourselves. This was clearly meant to be a night on the town with new friends. After we were all gathered the fun began, with Hamo taking us on a tour of the inner wall and passing by his and his mothers house, showcasing that they are some of the 715 actual residents of what is becoming a Hollywood medieval town. Twisting passages and masked entries led us on a loop of the exterior cliffs and back to our first course in one of the exclusive hotels nestled into one of the homes previously owned my one of the ruling families of the city. The rich wood paneled bar offered us glasses of local wines paired with ample amounts of thinly sliced ham, bacon, sharp cheeses, olives and a balsamic jam that was out of this world. A small introduction by the house sommelier and then our guide launched into a small history of the grapes grown in Croatia. After eating a substantial amount of cured meats we were off and walking to some of the churches and landmark locations of the city used in the popular “Game of Thrones” series.

Next we were seated in an al fresco cafe dining on local tuna tartare and oyster so fresh, they may have just reached into the ocean before shucking them and bringing them to the table. No hot sauce or distracting accoutrements necessary – the oysters were perfect on their own. A little white wine spritzer to cleanse the palate and we’re off on another trek, this time through the front door of another restaurant, out the back door of the kitchen and into a private docking area that gave us access to a private walk on the OUTSIDE of the wall, the evening tide threatening to douse our feet as we were shown hidden entries into the city used by spies and smugglers.  Heading back into the center of town, Hamo stopped to show us a favorite wine bar with a wonderful sitting room carved into the rock of the city’s cliff side. 

Onto dinner with more wine, we were seated in a very small family restaurant with only 9 or 10 tiny tables and the kitchen with two chef’s handcrafting every dish not 5 feet away. We were given a menu with 10 amazing items on it and told to choose two. Cold and hot plates to choose from with beef and lamb and fish and vegetarian options, there was too much to choose from, a highlight being Black Rissotto made with cuttlefish and its ink which our host ordered as a separate bowl to share with the table to much acclaim.


To finish the night we wandered down some more alleys to 2 dessert places 1st gelato (which Croatians don’t really consider dessert, more of a palette cleanse) huge cones of fanciful flavored gelatos made on premise and then to another restaurant for almond orange cake with huge shots of the Croatian liqueur Rakia. I got the honey flavored Rakia. At the end, I was full, I was tired, and I was filled with a wealth of local knowledge. Bravo to Hamo bringing his lifetime passion for his city to us visitors.  He was the consomate host, keeping food, beverages, conversation, and information flowing. He showed us where to go, what to avoid, where the freshest food were, even how to take memorable “trick” photographs like using the railings as frames for photos of important landmarks. My days in Dubrovnik were much more enjoyable after a tour with this excellent guide. 

Vienna – Not Eating Chocolate Cake In A Bag

Made a lightning trip to Vienna,

Eating choc’late cake in a bag.

– The Ballad of John and Yoko

I love this song. I love the bounce of the song, the simplicity of the instrumentation, the fact that the only Beatles playing all the instruments on the recording are John and Paul. The only place I had not been to in the song was Vienna. I imagined eating a lush Sacher Torte, the sticky jam and rich frosting getting on my fingers as I break off each piece out of a pristine white wax paper bag with the Emperor’s sigil emblazoned upon it, walking the streets of Vienna, maybe headed to the opera. 

Unfortunately, eating chocolate cake out of a bag is not a cultural norm in Vienna. Most bakeries do not even carry chocolate cake (although they have many other delicious treats). Sacher Tortes seem to be mostly sold in fancy gift boxes for tourists except at the swankiest of of restaurants where I was quoted 12€ and would have needed to stand in line for a half hour.  As it turns out, John is referencing “Bagism”, a concept he and Yoko presented to the world (in Vienna) as an ultimate form of communication, that by placing ourselves in a bag, we expect others to focus on our message instead of our race, religion, physical abilities or other outward indicators. 

Needless to say, this was somewhat disappointing to me. I expected multiple vendors in public markets to have “Choc’late Cake In A Bag” stands. I expected to be covered in a slight hint of chocolate and apricot jam scent all week long. Instead I surprisingly got snow, sleet, and hail. The Viennese were also surprised as they had springtime weather before I arrived. I was labeled a harbinger of doom and had to settle for baked goods with other fillings. 

Hanging With The Cool Kids In Venice


Walking down the streets of Venice can be difficult at the best of times. Regular tourists, cruise ship passengers, vendors, beggars, school children, delivery men with hand carts piled twice their height all jostling for space on these crowded streets all seem to part way for the guy leading our pack. A cross between a WWF wrestler and ‘The Dude’, he clears a path not only with a loud “Ciao” and the occasional clasped hand but also his purposeful walk and intense stare. Following behind in her tattoo sleeves and Magenta hair is the better half of the dynamic duo, making sure the group sticks together, has time to take photos, pointing out occasional architectural oddities, making sure nobody is hitting the wine bottle too heavily. They are the masterminds behind Venice Bites Food Tours and if they are taking you on their #1 ranked food Tour in Venice, Italy, they are also your new best friends. 

Why am I writing about Adam and Maya Stonecastle when I’m in one of the most beautiful cities in the world? Because Adam and Maya are Venitians of the Heart. In the city of Love and Dreams, they are lovers and dreamers, both for themselves and for their city. Five years ago when they met online, Adam had a final line to his profile “I want to live in Europe.” Maya’s was much more specific “I want to live in Venice”. How many people put those sorts of comments in their profiles and then never move out of MiddleAmerica City, USA? However, these statements were deal breakers. After a quick trip when Maya introduced Venice to Adam (she has been coming to Venice for 20mmpmmm years), they returned for a month to see if this was possible – that two Americans (Maya does have Irish dual citizenship) could be accepted in this tight Italian, even more exclusive – Venetian, community. The resounding answer from all the locals they talked to was “YES!” 

The Venetians are excited to have people who are so enchanted and enamored with their city that they will drop everything and move there to be a part of it. Venice has a resident problem. The city loses 1500 people a year, the old and the young. One of the problems is that with it being such a huge tourist destination, it’s more lucrative to rent rooms on Air B&B per week than to residents on a lease for a month. Check out the 1000s of listings on Air B&B. Despite that challenge and still having two homes back in the states, Adam and Maya set a goal of moving to Venice in 8 months. Not just with some luggage. Oh no, they doubled down. They brought dogs. They shipped furniture. They ended careers. Just days before leaving they signed a lease, sight unseen, of their new apartment in Venice. With that, they’ve never looked back. 

Two and a half years and they are going strong. After a slow start, where they may have been second guessing their life choices, they finally accepted that they had a great product, that they were an amazing experience and started allowing reviews on sites like Trip Advisor. Things took off from there.  They now live a dream life in the City of Love, the envy of Expats everywhere. They are my new heroes and friends and if you are ever in Venice, take one of their tours your first day, so they can coach you on the finer points of the city they love. I took their tour and I’ve included  my review from Trip Advisor below. 

Venice Bites Food Tours

www.venicebitesfoodtours.com

818-303-9175


Trip Advisor Review

Where ever you go on this tour, you will see that all the locals know and treasure Maya and Adam. It’s the rare street you walk down without hearing “Ciao Adam!” or see a quick embrace with the kiss on each cheek for Maya. Your two tour guides are Venitians of the Heart, Americans still on their honeymoon with the city of their dreams – Venice. As such they take nothing for granted, showering you with beautiful views and local lore alike.


This is not a quick in and out, tagging only the biggest and most convenient. We visited 9 locations eating and drinking our way over two miles of the city in establishments stilled owned by families who have run these businesses for generations and continue to do so in a city being engulfed by corporate Disneyfication. A block a half from where you meet, you start off with “Coffee Corrected” with Grappa and a sweet Coronet, Italy’s answer to the Croissant. With this, and at every location, comes lessons in etiquette and cultural behavior which will serve you well at any of the establishments you visit during your stay. How to approach ordering, how to not get cursed out from the nonna’s for a lack of respect. A variety of establishments follow with an assortment of Venice’s little bites which define the drinking and eating community here. Most places have a variety of choices so even if you have allergies or foods you avoid, there is always something pleasing to the palate. All sourced local. All produced locally. A large sit down lunch which fortunately our group loved seafood because we had a phenomenal pasta with all the luxuries of the sea piled on top. Two dessert places – gelato (which locals consider more like a coffee break) and a pastry place. A final perfect people watching cafe on the grand canal with a “spritz” and a gorgeous view. 


Sure there are more generic, corporate tours that will hustle you in and out as a huge herd. Take this tour if you want to intimately have this city lovingly interpreted by two passionate Americans who have entwined their lives with the most romantic of cities.


From $0 to $60 – Frugal Marathons

 

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Remember when you got into running because it was a low cost sport? All you needed was a pair of sneakers and nowadays some people run with bare feet! I already have feet, so I should be all set! $200 for Running Shoes, $80 for a Fuel Belt, $60 Compression Socks, $90 Compression Pants, $20 head band, $50 Sunglasses, $100 Wicking Wind Breaker, $40 Phone Case, $300 Running Watch, $60 Tribe Shirt, Gels and Glide and Sunscreen and Race Fees makes a Marathon Medal and a Banana priceless! We could all use a break on some race fees right?

There are many ways to lower race fees.  Joining a race organization like The 50 States Club or Marathon Maniacs will get you 10 or 20% off at some races.  Knowing where you want to race, you can sign up for notifications of sales or contests. Many races have extra special sales on the first day of registration or on their actual race day for the following year. Black Friday and holiday sales occur in the race world too. You can also buy race series at a discount. There’s other ways to lower or eliminate a race fee which we’ll cover in another article.

It has been argued that the race fee is a small price to pay in your over race weekend trip. Especially if you are traveling, you have your lodging, gas, flight, parking, restaurants, tolls, and other costs that dwarf your regular $100+ race fee. I do not expect people to plan a huge trip on the merits of these low cost marathons because some of them are out of the way, so time and money will add up quickly. However, some of these races may be in your back yard.  Maybe your sister or college roommate lives in one of these towns.  This list is for reference as a quick check.  There’s currently 4 FREE races on this list. Another 7 of the marathons are under $35.

Many of these races came from an informal poll taken in some online forums. Thank you to everybody who contributed! I did take the time to look up and link all of the races listed here. Some of these prices may have already expired. Look at the dates of the lowest price and save it in your calendar. This list will be updated if you leave comments, however the list will be updated faster if you include a link that shows the price. Only races that are $60 and under will be listed (not including taxes and fees). We needed to draw the line somewhere. If you are suggesting races in the notes PLEASE DO NOT LIST ONE DAY OR HOLIDAY SALES OR DISCOUNTS FOR AMBASSADORS OR ORGANIZATIONS. Prices should be as they appear on the most recent registration schedule for the race.

We are still looking for low cost options for 13 states, highlighted in red: Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.

Alabama

Dizzy Fifties Trail Run 50k and 40&50 Miler – Huntsville, AL. $26 Early Entry

Alaska

King Salmon Marathon – Cordova, AK. $50 Marathon Early Entry

Arizona

SP Crater Marathon – Flagstaff, AZ. $35 Early Entry

Arizona Marathon – Glendale, AZ. $60 Early Entry

Arkansas

LoVit Trail Marathon – Mount Ida, AR. FREE!!!

Midsouth Marathon – Wynne, AR. $40

California

Charlie Alewine Racing – Long Beach, CA. $55 Multiple Races. 5th Race Free.

  • Colorado

Connecticut

Roxbury Marathon in Roxbury, CT.  $15

Oh Boy Marathon – Waterbury, CT. $50 Early Entry

  • Delaware

Florida

Florida Marathon – Melbourne, FL. $60 early entry

Georgia

Thrill in the Hills Trail Run – Winder, GA. $50 early entry

  • Hawaii

Idaho

Mesa Falls Marathon – Mesa Falls, ID. $60 Early Entry

Pocatello Marathon – Pocatello, ID. $60 Early Entry Special Rates first 3 days.

Illinois

Rockford Marathon-Rockford, IL. $50 ($25 for the first 200 entrants this year)

Indiana

Hayes Arboretum – Richmond, Indiana. $45 Early Entry.

Circular Logic Marathon – Lafayette, IN. $33 Early Entry

Veterans Marathon – Columbia City, IN. $50 Early Entry

Iowa

University of Okoboji Marathon – Arnolds Park, IA. $50

  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana

Maine

Millinocket Marathon & Half – Millinocket, ME. FREE!!!

Maryland

Seneca Greenway Creek Marathon & 50k  – Gaithersburg, MD. $35 Early Entry

George Washington Birthday Marathon – Greenbelt, MD. $50 Early Entry

Massachusetts

Cape Cod Trail Race – Falmouth, MA. $55 Early Entry

Michigan

First National Bank of Wakefield Marathon – Wakefield, MI. FREE!!!

Kal-Haven Trail Run 50K-Kalamazoo,MI. $50

Minnesota

Mankato Marathon –  Mankato, MN. $49 Early Entry

Run for the Lakes Marathon – Brainerd, MN. $55 Early Entry

Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon – Duluth, MN. $35 Early Entry

Mississippi

Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon – Gulfport, MS. $35 Early Entry

Missouri

Heart of America Marathon – Columbia, MO. $50

  • Montana

Nebraska

Nebraska State Fair Marathon – Grand Island, NE. $55

  • Nevada

New Hampshire

Ghost Train Trail Race (30,45,60,75, 90, 100 Miler) – Brookline, NH. $50

  • New Jersey

New Mexico

Sierra Vista Trail Runs 50K – Las Cruces, NM.$50 plus a used pair of shoes for donation.

Shiprock Marathon – Shiprock, NM. $50 Early Entry

New York

Presidential Inauguration International Marathon – East Meadow, NY. $25 Early Entry

Dick’s Greater Binghamton Marathon– Vestal, NY. $35 Early Entry

North Carolina

Tobacco Road Marathon – Cary, NC.$55 Early Entry

North Dakota

Harmon Lake Trail Festival -Bismarck, ND. $10 First 20 Entries. $50 Next 25. $60 Next 30.

Ohio

ORRRC Marathon – Xenia, OH. $35 Early Entry

  • Oklahoma

Oregon

Timberline Marathon – Timothy Lake, OR.$60 Early Entry

Pennsylvania

Naked Prussian Marathon and 50K – Leesport, PA. $35 Early Entry

Veteran’s Day Marathon – Indiana, PA.$26.20 Early Entry

Lt. J.C. Stone 50K – Pittsburgh, PA. $60 Early Entry

Rhode Island

Black Goose Marathon – Seekonk, MA. $45 Early Entry

South Carolina

Altamont Marathon – Travelers Rest, SC. $48 Early Entry

South Dakota

River Rat Marathon – Yankton, SD.$55 Early Entry

Brookings Marathon  – Brookings, SD.$55 Early Entry

Swan Lake Marathon – Viborg, SD. $55 Early Entry

  • Tennessee
  • Texas

Utah

Morgan Valley Marathon – Morgan, UT. $60 Early Entry

Logan View Marathon – Logan, UT. $55 Early Entry

  • Vermont

Virginia

Virginia Creeper Marathon – Abingdon, VA. $15

Washington

Green River Marathon – Kent, WA. FREE!!!

West Virginia

Barnum Rail Trail Marathon – Keyser, WV. $55 Early Entry. First 10 people take 50% off!

Wisconsin

Minocqua No Frills Marathon – Minocqua, WI. $45 Early Entry

  • Wyoming

 

 

Canada

Quebec
– “Marathon des Érables”, end of April, $57 (rural setting, maple taffee on snow on the course, approx. 30-40 minutes south-east of Montreal)
– “Marathon SSQ de Longueuil”, May, $46 (Montreal South Shore)
– “Marathon des pompiers de Laval”, June, $35 (Montreal North Shore)
– “Marathon de Rimouski”, early October, $38 (flat out-n-back along the St-Lawrence river, which is quite wide and beautiful up there, but 6h drive north of Montreal)
– “Marathon de Magog”, October, $50

 

 

Marathon Route #25: Prairie Fire Marathon – Witchita, KS

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Halfway Done! Halfway Done! This run marked the halfway point for my entire quest – I wanted a tickertape parade, dancing in the streets, and fireboats shooting streams of water.  Seriously, I really wanted those fireboats on the river hitting me with full force fire hose spray – it was hot! Runners attempting the official Prairie Fire Marathon will do so almost four months down the road in the second week of October when average highs are around 72 degrees and lows are around 51 degrees.  By comparison, I stepped out of the house at 4:15 am and it was 86 degrees.  It was roughly around 94 degrees when I finished.  This was not including the humidity index which made the real feel around 102! Although I didn’t have anybody running the course with me, I did have a great deal of support from the folks at First Gear Running Company and the organizers of the Praire Fire Marathon.  On Saturday morning, I ran with a group heading out for their first training run for the marathon.  These amazing runners were kind enough to slow down so I could run with them and talk about my quest and they were full of tips about the course and the heat.  At the end of the group run, one of the volunteers with Praire Fire came over, asked me some questions, took my picture, and connected me with the organizers so I left with some amazing swag including a great beach towel and very fancy flame colored racing sleeves (which I will probably not wear until October, but they do look sweet). She also gave me her number for emergencies and her and her son checked in on me during my run to make sure I didn’t pass out, while they were going for their Sunday 10 mile long run. Overall, thanks to the gorgeous last third of this course and the hospitality I receive from this city, I’m really looking forward to officially running this race in the future.

Course Review:

This was one of the hottest days of the summer so I started at 4am. I truly hate starting to run so early. My body doesn’t really feel like it’s woken up. The first hour to two hours which are usually my best running times feel like I am running completely immersed in water. This feeling was exasperated by the high humidity. Leaving the house in the morning it was already 85 with a real feel of 92 degrees. It didn’t get as hot as it was supposed to but I can tell you 94 with a real feel of 101 degrees at 11 am is pretty tough stuff to slog through. I mention this because I didn’t really see the sun until mile 10.

If you have run this course before, there have been some subtle changes to the course. There is a new out and back  along Grove St. that allowed them to cut some chafe in one of the more industrial areas around mile 17. This also allows you more time along the river and in some of the pretier parks. This is one of the flattest courses I have runn all year, with only minor grades and isolatef hill areas. The beginning of the course starts you off with a beautiful view of downtown. You start at the newer WaterWalk area and cross back and forth over the Arkansas river on Lewis St. and then onto Douglas Ave. You run down the main thoroughfare of downtown, past all the high rises and under the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Train line. Around mile 4.5, you leave behind the main artery and start running through nice neighborhoods with the slightest of hills along College Hill Park and Cypress Park. The highlight for me of the first third of this course is along Hampton Rd. and Lakeside Blvd. The homes are nice in this area, but the park that’s been carved between these two streets with its bronze statues and cute little bridges spanning the water way is a great moment for a photo opportunity amidst some mundane neighborhoods.

The next five miles heading towards the halfway point are a bit of suburban khaki, somewhat blah and non descript as you run along outer city streets and neighborhoods, the highlight being a little trail area tucked in around mile 10-11. Surrounded by condos and cookie cutter houses, someone has taken the time and effort to carve out a little enchanting walkway connecting two neighborhoods with decorative trees and flowering shrubs. The mile around the half marathon mark feels a little strip mallish, but within a mile and a half, you are running along the nicely shaded beautiful neighborhoods of 2nd St. As you near the end of the second third of the marathon you get some glimpses of the beautiful brickwork of the revamped Old Town, where some amazing businesses are revitalizing older buildings. The last third of this course is where the scenic tourist views are, so if you have support during the race, you want to make sure they capture you going over one of the Little Arkansas or its big brother and running through one of these final parks. Riverside Park is gorgeous and a bit more accessible to some pretty views than later on by the Botanical Gardens. There are some large noteworthy sculptures by the art museum. The final 5K along the Arkansas River is very tranquil. I loved the sound of the river gently flowing along. One more time crossing over the first bridge and you cross the finish line.

Lessons Learned:

Heat Is Bad, Humidity Is Worse:

This is by far the hottest day I have ever run any distance, much less a marathon. I got some great tips from Marathon Maniacs. I froze the water in the containers on my belt and but two large frozen bars of water in my Camelback.I wore all white.I wore a large brimmed hat (but I need one with a brim all the way around). All the businesses were fine with me stopping in for refills. I did salt tablets. I carried a sweat towel and utilized it as cover for the back of my neck after soaking it in some cold water. There were some other great ideas that I will save for races with some more personal support. The heat itself was not insurmountable. What really drained me was the humidity. It had rained the night before and instead of helping, it just covered everything in water. When the sun did come out, it became a sauna. Especially after 9am, the sun was really beating down and as I was trying to stay in the shade, the trees would radiate dense steam clouds that just robbed the energy from my limbs. I do envy the runners attempting this race in the fall.

Do Not Use A Slushy To Cool Down:

Even with all the added preparation, my body was really beginning to overheat by mile 18 so I stopped at a gas station and got a Slushy to cool down from the inside out. Earlier in the year, a popsicle had really saved my overheated button in Tacoma. The Slushy had 2 downsides. 1. It had a ton more sugar than the popscicle, so although it did give me a boost, I came crashing down hard a couple miles later. The was also a lot more citric acid and it soured my stomach most of the last hour and a half. This was a suggestion from a supporter and I must say for me, it did not work.

 Physical Review:
  

After a week of intense healing on my feet from running in Revel Rockies, the blisters had healed enough for me the run in Wichita (I’d like to thank Epson salts and Gold Bond foot lotion for that). During the race, every injury I had sustained over the previous 6 months stopped by for a visit, but as I took in water and electrolytes most of the severe aches went away. The largest issue was the draining of energy from the humidity. It became a real challenge to keep going after mile 21 and I was was particularly awash in it around the Botanical Gardens.  Fortunately there was a little breeze along the river, so occasionally relief blew in and quickly blew out. This was my longest street run by far, clocking in at 7:12:02. This was also the first city I started with full ice baths for my lower torso and not only did it refresh my body from the crushing exhaustion, it also made walking the next day much easier than in te past. This will become a regular habit for me.

The heat of this course has helped me make some clear decisions for the summer. The day after this marathon, I rearranged my schedule so that I bounce up and down through the midwest, hopefully giving myself a break every other week or so by going north after a more southern and heated marathon route. It will mean a little more driving, but hopefully it will break up what looks like a dreadfully hot summer. Next week I continue in the center of the nation with an official race in Iowa – Run4Troops. Thank you for reading my journey and as always, I look forward to your comments and questions.

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Marathon Route #21: Fargo Marathon- Fargo, ND

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Target Races – for most runners I know, this is how they train and race.  They choose a race based on destination or a gathering of friends or notoriety and popularity and they base their training around performing well at that race.  In a year of running 50 marathon routes, you would think I would just be grateful to finish and find my body still in working order. Instead ego slowly creeps in, willing myself stronger or faster, reaching for the endorphin rush of improvement and PR glory (cue crowds cheering, doing the wave, and creating a continuous row of high fives for the final marathon mile). So it was with the Fargo Marathon.  A notoriously flat and fast course with traditionally temperate running climes and low altitude with terrific hometown support and pacers deep in the time field. I felt this was a confluence of ideal conditions that would lead to my first sub 5 hour marathon.  All of my physical and mental planning had been geared towards planting my flag at this race. As I have learned many times, plans do not survive the enemy.

Race Review

This is one of the best run marathons I have attended.  City support for all the races are at an all time high.  You may know that I try to volunteer at local races in each town I visit. There were so many races in this event I figured they would need the help. Nope. When I went to volunteer, they said they were all set!!!  I have NEVER been told that.  These Race Directors do an amazing job getting local businesses and organizations to rally volunteers and represent during the races and the expo.  I did end up volunteering at the Fargo 5K Hero Run and learned a lot about getting 10,000 runner’s across a finish line, but the pure numbers and passion are hard to compete against. The Expo was also incredibly well done.  There were many vendors providing a great deal of information, product and running opportunities.  Two sponsors dominated and enhanced the Expo experience – Blue Cross and Blue Shield ND and the partnership of Scheels and Under Armour. Both had immense areas filled with well wishing volunteers, creative opportunities to interact, and wonderful ways to mark the occasion with photos, creative designs and swag, and social networking contests. However is was the depth of vendors, whether they were promoting other races, products, or services that really made the expo a must.

On race day, the races now start and finish in the Fargodome.  Especially if you are a marathoner, this is a great start because you get the “Professional Sports” treatment with all the half marathoners cheering you on in the stands and runners streaming by the start line on the JumboTron screens.  I will say, there were really long lines for the interior bathrooms that made us wish there were some portapotties outside.  They also didn’t open the floor of the arena as early as stated in the event schedule which had some runners in a slight tizzy on the few stairways that gave access to the start line.  It was a thrill to start inside and run up the docking bays, feeling almost like a home team running out of the locker rooms and onto the field.   Most of the beginning of the course is fairly boring, running through suburban neighborhoods, but volunteers are aplenty and many neighbors line the streets to cheer you on.  Another fun addition to the course is live bands all around the city.  Everything from and Elvis Impersonator to a big 12 piece brass band and everything in between kept a constant soundtrack around the course.

For me, the scenic highlights of the course started around mile 7 as the race starts to wend it’s way along the Red River starting around Trefoil Park, passing Mickleson Field and heading across the bridge into Minnesota. The trails along the river are beautiful, nicely paved and well shaded which was a boon this year with unseasonable warm temperatures. Another favorite portion of the race for me started around 11.5 as we raced up and back to the Minnesota State University Moorhead. There’s a wonderful mile where you get to see many of the runners who are ahead of you as you head out to circle around the wonderfully shaded campus and then you get to see the runners who are behind you.  I love the support and camaraderie of all the runners cheering each other on, waving and cheering friends and teammates as they were nearing the the half way point. On this strip I was able to connect with friends from former races I didn’t even know were in town. Then it was back to trails along the river for a few miles after the half.

It is at this point that my memories of the rest of the route gets a little sketchy.  I started the race confidently on pace for my PR.  I don’t think I was going too fast, but I did feel fatigued within the first hour.  I chalked it up to the heat and doubled my fluid intake at the support stations.  I pushed through the second hour and I was still on my pace mark and feeling strong, except for my lower right back.  That area was sore and aggravated to the touch. I started stretching a little bit each mile.  Still feeling strong I headed into the third hour, at which point I REALLY had to use a port a pottie.  No big surprise, I had doubled up fluids.  So I stop, wait and line, enter the stall only to have no flow.  Only then did I realize I WAS PASSING A KIDNEY STONE.  The pain from my back had migrated to my hip area and I really hadn’t thought about it.  So I went back on the course. I switched to one minute walking, one minute running. I kept waiting for the mule kick to the groin that usually accompanies these things.  Whether it was the size of the stone or the fact that body has learned to shut down certain pain receptors when I’m running, I never got that sharper twist to the gut I was expecting. Just ACHING. Eventually I switched to one minute walking, 30 seconds running.

I got to talk to a lovely young lady around mile 22 who was struggling a little bit and she was running her first marathon.  She had twisted her ankle and it had been getting worse and worse but she was still moving forward. I could only commiserate and congratulate her. She asked me what do you focus on when the plan goes sideways.  I said you focus on the goal.  The goal is to finish the marathon, so you break down whatever is left of your tattered plan into little baby sized bites and swallow it a step at a time.  I also told her that for most people, lifetime running is the over all goal so you need to step out if you feel you will do irreversible damage.  Otherwise, running is right, left; right left.  I said I also focused on other people I knew, people who were missing a leg or half a lung or were recovering from the ravages of cancer.  If they can finish, surely I can? Little did I know that a young man I ran with earlier in the race had lost his father five weeks before the race.  He was there, running, learning all he could, testing himself with this huge burden. You would never have known it to watch him run. Sometimes you need to continue to spite those very reasons.

I do remember running through downtown and getting ice, a popsicle, and a full bottle of icy cold water but otherwise most of the end of the race is a blur.  I crossed the finish line back in the stadium, thanked the runners who had helped me focus during the tough miles and got some painkillers out of my car before my natural high wore off.  As much as I like the Fargodome, climbing up the stairs to get out was not fun with my ailment or after running the marathon.

Lessons Learned:

First Aid Accessability

I have moved my personal first aid kit to an easily accessible spot in my car so if I need to send somebody for medication, it is easy to find and access.  The best pain killers they had at the medical stations and even at the finish were ibuprofen and aspirin.As much as I hate my painkillers, they do lessen the pain.

Hot Weather Gear

It was hot, much hotter than in previous years and the clothes I was wearing really absorbed my sweat and weighed on me during the marathon.  I need to reassess my wardrobe for these hotter months to make sure I have clothes of light, wicking material.

Physical Review:

It was tough running under the duress, but I was able to finish under six hours at 5:44:58.  This was the second stone in about ten months, but they continue to be small and pass easily, within 7 hours in this case.  I was able to rest over the next couple days and head out and explore North Dakota, because friends had made fun that Fargo was more like an extension of Minnesota.  This was a highlight state for me because it was the last state I needed to visit for lifetime travels of the US.  I can now say I have been to all 50 states and that I saved the best for last and have the T-Shirt to prove it.  Later this week I will run in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Black Hills before getting to Nebraska and run in Scottsbluff.  Thank you for joining me on my journey. I look forward to reading your comments and questions and hopefully seeing you soon.

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Marathon Route 20: Brookings Marathon – Brookings, SD

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A Tale of An Unintentional Personal Record

For those of you who are unaware, I built up a great deal of consistency with my running by pacing some races last year with a company called Beast Pacing. What does a pacer do? Essentially I put aside any time goals I have for a race and run a consistent pace so that other runners can gauge their running with mine and so hopefully beat a time goal they may have. As a pacer, you usually run at least 15 minutes slower than your usual pace for a half marathon, a half hour slower than your marathon time. This should give you the ability to breath and the ability to talk while you are running to support those around you. I personally find that running that consistent pace leads me to a meditative run, where my breathing is steady and I can elongate my flow (the feeling of running in good form with an elevated feeling).  I feel like I really got it down to a science for the half marathons last year. I have yet to do this with a full marathon.  I have yet to be able to run a consistent pace for a full marathon.  My times per mile can vary by minutes instead of seconds, my first half is almost always faster than my second, and no matter how much I have slowed down, there has been a bleeding of time, a point where my best effort only generates minuscule returns. So, of course, my goal for this race became consistency.

This should have been a fairly easy task. I had a good week of recovery runs, running hills and consistent paces over 3-5 miles.  Brookings Marathon is a flat course.  It is at low elevation. There are no scenic monuments that require a five minute photo opportunity.  I had been warned of the wind.  When it comes into town, it blows strong, and there is no telling what direction it will take, so that was a random factor.  This was their 47th year holding this race, so I was expecting the race support to be a well oiled machine.  Essentially I felt this was a smaller version on next week’s Fargo Marathon.  I was hoping to run a slow, evenly paced race and utilize this experience to build up my foundation for the following week and a new personal record.  Despite the tough-go I had at the trail run in Montana, I felt that marathon and the subsequent support runs built up my strength and endurance and I was ready to harness that power.

Race Review

This is a flat course.  After doing all those many hills on the trails of Montana last week, any hill except the climb at mile 9 seems unimportant.  There are some dips and rises, but overall, if you do any hill training at all, this will be a breeze.  We also lucked out, the wind was either at our back or hitting us at an angle so that I never felt we had significant drag holding us back. The well oiled machine was in full swing and I felt safe and protected at all street crossings.  In fact, the second half of the course was filled with volunteers from the National Guard.  No offense to the many teenagers giving their all in volunteer positions, cars are more apt to pay attention to a military person in full fatigues in the middle of the street than a 70 lbs gal (soaking wet) with a tiny orange flag. Another thing that made this race stand out energy wise was the the intense enthusiasm of the relay racers and their support teams. Every time I ran through a relay transition area, I was greeted with a wall of sound and a roar of support.  So many high fives and low fives that at the first transition point just past the stadium of South Dakota State University, I put out my arms like an airplane crashing into a tropical jungle and the love continued for 80-100 yards. Again at mile 9, at the only real hill on the course, relayers and support were chanting in a rhythm that for my pace made it very easy to power up and over the hill.  Since I’m slower, the pure volume of support diminished since teams were further ahead and moving to support their faster runners, but it was an amazing wave of support.  Water stations were also well manned, organized, and helpful in every way possible. Right around the half marathon mark, you do run on a gravel road but it can’t be much more than a mile.  However, I did get some stones in my shoe, so you may want to consider wearing guards on your running shoes.The neighborhoods and bike trails you are running on for the a good 8 miles from miles 14 to almost 22 are flat and well paved.  You start to see the dips just before mile 22, running down into an underpass and back up the second largest hill right on the other side of that.  The next three dips are all through some very cool rifle barrel strafed viaducts that cut under roads in miles 23 and 24 but there can’t be more than 4 of them. The final stretch brings you back to where you started, Pioneer Park, where members of the National Guard were hanging our finishing medals around our neck.  The Finish Line Party was great with ample food and beverage supplies even for us slower runners and the icing on the cake was a bag of freshly made to order burgers from local mainstay, Nick’s Hamburger Shop.  All in all, a fantastic day running.

Lessons Learned

Even A Small, Smooth Pebble Can Rip You Apart

Remember how I mentioned that gravel road?  I got some small stones in my shoe, but after a few moment of running they had settled and were quite comfortable.  After ten minutes, it was like they weren’t even there. Unfortunately, after another two hours, I not only knew they were there, but I also realized the impact they had on my foot.  There was now a huge bubble on the bottom of my right foot and I could feel it bounce with every footfall. In the last mile when I was desperately trying to make each step count, I felt that bubble pop and the stones had a field day like the chain from a chainsaw tearing up my foot.  Next time, i know it will be better to take the extra minute and clear the pebble one I get back to a paved area.

Be Firm With Your Goals, Flexible How You Get There

The goal this year is always finish a marathon each week in each state. Today I set my mind on running smoothly and evenly at a comfortable pace. For the first 4 miles that averaged around 10:30 pace.  I was a little concerned at that point that I was running too fast, but then I ran the next mile under 10! I thought I need to get it together and slow down and even out.  The next 4 miles I averaged 10:40!  Miles 10, 11, and 12 I tried to slow down my breathing and run smooth.  I finally moved into the 11:30 average for those miles.  Unfortunately around that time, the 4:45 pacer caught up with me. From this point I played leap frog with her group for about a half mile, but I could longer keep up.  I did spend a little too much time just after the half bemoaning my lack of consistency.  Instead, I should have been focused on regaining that nice easy lope that took me through miles 1-9! There are so many things that can get in the way of your best time, hills, stress, heat, altitude that when the day comes when you are loving the run and running well, that you take the bull by the horns and hold on to the ride.  It was mile 19 that i realized that i may have failed at consistency, but I still had a shot at a new PR and you can see my mileage perk up. If only I could have made that choice 4 miles earlier, I may have broken 5 hours that day. I’ve learned to be flexible when the conditions are poor, now I need to learn to be mentally flexible when the conditions are ideal and my body is ready to fly!

Physical Review

You can see in the picture up above that after my blister popped, the pebbles in my shoe basically flayed my foot, leaving nerves raw and open and screaming at every mild pressure.  I had many questions on what I did to heal so quickly. Firstly, soak the foot in an ice cold foot bath.  Secondly, carefully dry the foot and slather with triple antibiotic ointment and let air dry.  Cover and pad it if you need to walk on it, but keep that to a minimum.  Next day, lukewarm foot bath with Epson salt, followed by an ice cold foot bath.  More triple antibiotic.  By the third day I had a layer of new skin.  By day four I could walk on it without discomfort. On the sixth day, I ran another marathon.  I did have a little bit of an issue with my right hip again but stretching through the week helped straighten it out. So mentally I was torn between screwing up my consistency goal and counterbalancing that by the thrill of a new PR. 5:12:38!  If you are running consistently and you are interested in pacing with Beast Pacing, running for free, helping others meet their goals, and running with the most amazing pacers around, please let me know and I will gladly put you in touch with the amazing Vanessa Kline who took a chance on me and initiated me into my Pacer Family.  Until next week, I am ever so grateful for your support.  Let me know what you think in the comments.  if there’s something about these races, some element i am missing that you would like to hear me comment on, please let me know.  After this race, we will see if I am able to hit my new goal of a marathon under 5 hours in Fargo, North Dakota!

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