Today I got up at the COFD and headed down to a local race here in Columbia called the Heart of America Marathon. It’s a little race that the Columbia Track Club has put on every year since the late 60’s. It never pulls more than a couple hundred runners in due to several factors. First, Runner’s World labeled it the toughest non-mountain marathon in the country due to it’s VERY hilly terrain. Second, it’s September 3 in downtown America. Hot, humid and not the best conditions for a marathon. Although today wasn’t quite so bad, with temps at the starting line in the high 50s. Finally, it is right in the middle of most people’s taper for whatever fall marathon they are running, so it just doesn’t get a lot of people. Although the people that do run it are from all over the US and abroad. It’s an odd mix of locals who run it every year, daredevils looking for a challenging race, ultramarathoners (who consider it a short training run… rat bastards…) and wide eyed newbies looking for bands and time clocks every mile. That ain’t gonna happen…! How about a boom box every 5 miles (same guy… he just moves.) and the president of the track club playing the accordion at the 25 mile mark in the middle of one of the busiest intersections in Columbia? Sound hokie? I prefer “charming”.
Anyway, I went down to volunteer to help out. I’ve done my fair share of race organizing so I kinda know what to do, so I figured this was a way to give back to one of the clubs I’m in for helping to motivate me toward fitness.
My reward for the effort was a 12 mile drive out to the farthest reaches to supervise the last watering hole before you climb out from the Missouri River bottoms on a road deceptively named Easely. One of the ugliest climbs (about 2 miles) in Missouri. And for that pain, the runner is rewarded with a brief downhill and then another climb up out of a state park called Rock Bridge. BRUTAL! And there is even one more climb back up into town that is deceptively long and tougher than it looks. Can ya see why I chose another marathon for my first one?
It was great to see runners of all shapes and sizes out for the day. I wouldn’t have been first (2:27:35, and that is FAST for this course), but I wouldn’t have been last (if I lived that long) so it was a good measure of where I sit, fitness wise. There were a few times I wished I was running, but then I would
bend “TRY” to bend down to pick up a cup and would be reminded of what I did to myself on Saturday, and that stupid thought would go painfully away. So I guess I did do 26 miles today… I just used my butt and my right foot…. and I think I got cramps in both…!