If you'd asked me even a year ago about running back-to-back marathons, I would have laughed in your face. Really. Like who even does that?
But this rad little running community makes really insane things seem feasible. So somewhere in the midst of Boston training, I decided that it seemed like not a horrible idea. And honestly, the months leading up to Boston were so consumed with this one race that I just kind of brushed aside the whole double marathon weekend.
Never mind the fact that I'd be trying to do this 12 days after the fastest marathon of my life.
Adam was quite consumed with the very real thought that I might injure myself and feared living with a scary person named Carissa-who-cannot-run. I had a few doubts myself, but I never actually feared that I wouldn't finish.
I halfway unpacked from Boston, worked a few days, adopted a new dog
Soon, I was texting my RB Steve at Chicago Midway who had graciously agreed to chauffeur me for the weekend. We took the scenic route (re: sketch neighborhoods) and headed north. After a brief meet and greet with his in-laws, a few back porch beers were consumed, and we were off to packet pick-up. Dave, Angie, and Megan were hanging out at the hotel and we took it upon ourselves to get an amazing photo op.
I woke up before the alarm of course and then just laid in bed until the alarm went off. I normally have no problem eating in the morning, but I couldn't only eat half of a muffin. Weird. Coffee went down as usual and soon we were on our way to the starting line.
Time somehow became more of an issue and while traffic wasn't bad, we were cutting it a little close for comfort. As we stood in line for the port-a-potty (after finding Dave while we were walking towards the start), a woman asked the guy in front on me if she could cut in line because she really had to go. The nicely mannered man let her cut while the rest of us shot daggers with our eyeballs at her.
A few run-ins with other Loopsters before the start and then we were off! Our plan was somewhere between 4:00-4:30. Kind of a huge time gap, but with me coming off Boston and Steve coming off Kal Haven, we weren't sure what to expect. The first 14 miles hovered around a 9:00 pace. I felt pretty good and the pace seemed doable for a long time. Though it was warm outside, I thought it was very realistic to keep that pace. I may or may not have stopped mid race to do a little booty shaking to a polka band....
We caught up to Dave around mile 13 and ran with him for about a half mile before he took off with another runner. Somewhere near mile 15, Steve got a calf spasm and had to stop and walk. And thus began a long 11 miles to the finish. I'll let him tell his own story, but I know it was not the place he wanted to be. I was doing my best to be the cheerleader in our duo.
Eventually we saw the mile 25 marker and knew that the first finish was going to happen. We raised a single finger signifying race #1 as we headed down the finish chute.
After dissecting the race and the prior day's activities, we kind of figured out that he probably was cramping badly due to dehydration. All the beer and lack of constant water on Friday was not really the smartest choice. So we bought like 485023480 different types of liquid and tried to be smarter about it on Saturday afternoon.
Time flew by in the car and soon we were in Battle Creek with another group of Loopsters at dinner. The pizza and slab of chocolate cake were the perfect combo of refueling and celebration. I was delightfully full and tired. A group of Loopsters were staying at the Cannon estate and we all chatted a bit before trying to get some pre-race sleep.
I slept really, really well and woke up feeling a little creaky, but not fearful of finishing the task at hand. We had plenty of time before the race and managed to do packet pick-up, hit the port-a-potty, and take a great Loopster photo.
Kalamazoo was way, way, way fun. Despite fizzling out towards the end, Steve was in a much better place mentally and I was soaking in all the amazing things on the course. I did literally feel poopy around miles 11-13, but that was quickly cured.
-Multiple beer stops provided by the amazing Loop spectator team (PBR never tasted so good)
-A bacon station at mile 13 (whaaaaaa? free bacon???)
-Popsicles around mile 20something
-Square dancing mid-race creating circles on my Garmin map
-Gummy bears, gummy worms, jolly ranchers, and Girl Scout cookies
-Discovering I could shove a water bottle in the back of my sports bra and not have it bother me for 20 miles
-Lots and lots of super supportive Maniacs on the course
-Lots and lots of super supportive spectators on the course (it's not Boston, but hot damn, Kalamazoo is seriously amazing)
-Finally getting to do a cartwheel in the finish chute of a race (bucket list item, check!)
The greatest part of this weekend was the people. Sure I love running and whatnot, but I would have never thought to do something like this if I wasn't inspired by Jenster to do crazy doubles. And knowing Angie and Steve were tackling their firsts inspired me to keep going too. Plus, others were tackling half doubles like Erin, Misti, and Deanna. Some were tackling their first halves like Barbara and plenty of others were running races just to get in some Loopfest time. Where else do you sign up to run a few (or more) miles just to see your internet friends?
Anyway, cheesy feelings aside, I had a fantastic time earning my mittens.