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Mickelson Trail Marathon - RunMarathon

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Deadwood, South Dakota
United States
78F / 26C
Total Time = 4h 05m 57s
Overall Rank = 96/375
Age Group = 18-24
Age Group Rank = 8/11
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 5 to drive to the start line, but I really didn't sleep well all night. Gathered my gear together and had a small bowl of cereal as I waited for Chris to show up. Once he got here, we headed out on the hour long drive to Rochford. At Rochford, we went the start line and waited while my mom started the drive up to finish line.
Event warmup:

No real warm up. We were shooting for a goal time, but not really racing, as we weren't pushing to absolutle limits. We just wanted to finish primarily. So we just went out slow for the first few miles as a warm up.
  • 4h 05m 57s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 23s  min/mile

Going into this race, I origionally wanted to run a 3:30. After getting closer to the race and realizing that it wasn't going to happen, I dropped my goal to 3:45. After I had the apendectimy two weeks ago, I decided to shoot for 4 hours, but be happy if I just finished.

The race started downhill at a chilly 52*. I started off feeling very strong, but we forced ourselves to hold back. I just targeted high zone 2 and cruised at about 8:30 mpm. Once we hit the trail and the uphill started, we dropped it back to low 9's and just ran conservatively. During this time we struck up a few conversations with the other runners. One guy was from St Louis and this was his 40th marathon. He was also an ultrarunner and was telling us that his longest run to date was a 100 miler, where he ran into a little trouble with blisters around mile 75. Blisters after 75 miles? No way. Another guy we passes was telling us that he had run 40 marathons in 40 consecutive months. Now that's just plain crazy.

The first half of the race progressed like this. I was eating and drinking on schedule and we passed the 13 mile mark feeling very strong. In fact I have never felt this good on a run past 10 miles. I'm starting to think that my appendix had been inflamed for at least a month and was responsible for the trouble I had been having on my longer runs with side cramps and pain. The other thing that helped a ton were the aid stations every 2 miles. Getting fluid and calories in me at a constant rate kept me fresh very long.

We ended up passing the half point at exactly 2:00:00. This was fantastic. We just finished the most technically challenging portion of the run in 2 hours. Every mile we ran under a 9 mpm pace would drop us farther below the 4 hour mark. Seeing that it was all down hill from here, we figured the worst case senario was that we would get fatigued and drop back down to 9's, which would still put us under 4 assuming we had a few faster miles. This plan was going swimmingly until about mile 18. At mile 18 my problems started. I was introduced to the wall, but I wasn't going to give up without a fight. I had been eating and drinking regularly, but apparently I need to do more. I think I need to train my body to handle the actual amount of fluids I need to take in. Luckily at mile 19 I hit an aid station that had pepermint candies and after a shot of gel, a glass of HEED and a pepermint candy I was good to go. The sugar in the candy held my blood sugar up long enough for the gel to kick in. So I sufferd and dropped to 9:30's for about a mile until I started feeling better. During this mile, Chris dropped me and took off.

I was never so happy to see the 20 mile marker. This marked the longest distance I had ever run and quite frankly, in comparison to my long runs, I was doing really well. Mile 20 felt more like mile 15. I was enthused. My legs were hurting, I was tired, but I could see myself gutting out the next six miles and coming in under 4 hours.

That is until I hit the "speedway". Coming off the second uphill section is a steep downhill section. My legs were too shot to flex enough to handle it, so I was flailing all over the place descending. I wasn't the only one and watching people ahead of me provided to be quite amusing. I was thrilled to see I held low 8's all the way to the bottom, but once it flattened out, disaster struck.

Now I had been running on a two week old incision left over from surgery. I ran on it two days ago and it bugged me, but didn't stop me. For the first 21 miles of this race, I couldn't even tell it was there. At mile 21, for some odd reason, it decided it was going to make it's presence known. I can only describe the feeling as if someone grabbed both sides and attempted to rip it open. It wasn't a gradual, dull pain; it was an insantanous, searing, make me want to sit down and cry pain. I had less then 5 miles left. No way in hell I was stopping.

I had to stop and walk. There was no other alternative. I walked about 2 min and realized it wasn't going away and that I had to just run through it. So I started off again at near 10 pace. I had to hold it with both hands and lean forward and right just to make it where I could clench my teeth and keep going. Every 5 min, I had to stop and walk about 2 min, else I wouldn't make it. Right around mile 23, I stopped to walk an aid station and when I started back up again, it was starting to diminish. It finally hit the point where I just gave my body the big FU and told it was going to finish no matter how hard it bitched. By this time my lower stomach had started to cramp up, but I've ran through that before so I just ignored it.

I had three miles to go. Three miles and I'd be done. Right about this time my side started to cramp up again. Not nearly as bad as before, but enough to make me slow down. I had to trudge along until the last station at mile 25.5. I get there and there are a lot of people, including some of the finishers who are cheering us on. I started digging deep. I hit that point where you just put your feet in front of one another. Speed and pain lose meaning and you are only aware of the dull thud, thud, thud as you run along. Finally I get to where I start to see civilization again and realize I'm getting close to the line. I pass a group of people sitting on the trail, medals around their neck and they start cheering me one and telling me it's only a quarter mile left. I was hurting, but I wasn't going to stop and walk there. I held steady until I saw the chute. My face must have been showing how much I hurt because people were giving me really strange looks as I kicked it up and sprinted in the last 400m with every last bit of energy I had in me. My eyes were locked on that chip mat and I wasn't going to stop until I crossed it. Once I crossed the mat, I didn't have the ability to really stop. So I just stopped moving my legs. I did that half run, half stagger thing until I slowed enough to start walking. I must have looked bad, as the guy collecting chips kept asking if I was okay. I said I was fine and handed him my chip. Bending over to pull that thing off my leg was the hardest exercise all day. I was so happy to have that finishers medal put around my neck. The RD was even there at the end of the chute thanking everybody for coming.
What would you do differently?:

Eat more and drink more. I ate and drank as much as my stomach could handle, but I still don't think it was enough. I think if I trained to run on more nutrition, I could have handled more and done better.
Post race
Warm down:

Staggered around the grounds, talking to Chris and my mom and eating the food provided. Then I decided I had been on my feet long enough and we went to the car to drive home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Having surgery 2 weeks prior. I really think if I had been healthy for the past month and hadn't had this problem, I would have finished with Chris. I also had a stretch back in March where I had to drop off due to shin splints. If I had started training earlier, or had picked a race later in the season, I could have had more time to build base, which would have been a huge improvment.

Event comments:

The post race area had some tents with bagles, bananas and oranges, but nothing else. It was supplied more like a 5k, then a marathon. It would have been nice to have more of a party atmosphere with some live bands and real food, but all in all, it was still nice.

The actual run was beautiful. The Mickelson trail runs through some of the most scenic areas of the black hills. The views were stunning and it made for a very enjoyable run. It was probably the best 4 hours I have ever spent killing myself.

Water stops were very frequent and never left me wanting. At every stop and every road crossing, there were ample people just waiting and cheering on the runners. It was quite encouraging to see a bunch of people going out of their way at mile 23 to cheer us on.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-01-11 12:00 AM
04:05:57 | 26.2 miles | 09m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 8/11
Overall: 96/375
Performance: Good
Course: The race starts in Rochford and heads north to Deadwood along the Mickelson trail. The trail is old rail bed that has been converted into a trail of crushed rock. The surface is soft enough to save the feet and knees, but not so soft to really slow you down. The first half of the race is all up hill at about a 3% grade. After the top, the course turns downhill for about 5 miles, then you hit a second smaller incline before a pretty steep downhill. The final stretch into deadwood is mostly flat
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2006-06-04 5:32 PM

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Laurium, MI
Subject: Mickelson Trail Marathon

2006-06-04 6:07 PM
in reply to: #442659

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Lakewood, CO
Subject: RE: Mickelson Trail Marathon
Near the top quarter overall. way to go. Now just work on your taper for the next event.
2006-06-05 1:04 PM
in reply to: #442659

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Subject: RE: Mickelson Trail Marathon

I can just see you now writing this race report: "What limited your ability to go faster" .'Hmmm.... not have organ removed two weeks prior to race?'

Great job.

2006-06-05 1:08 PM
in reply to: #443667

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Laurium, MI
Subject: RE: Mickelson Trail Marathon
haha exactly!  Although I'm actually glad I had it out.  The more I think about it, the more I think it was hindering my performance for the past month or so.  I felt better on this run then I did on my shorter runs before hand.  I also noticed that for the past month, my HR was acting up and was abnormally high.  Since the operation, it settled back down to where it should be.  I had been noticing that for like a month and a half.. so who knows how long it had been affecting me.
2006-06-05 1:37 PM
in reply to: #442659

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Grass Valley
Subject: RE: Mickelson Trail Marathon
Way to go! I think the organ being removed helped lighten you up a little! It was extra weight.
2006-06-05 6:35 PM
in reply to: #442659

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Subject: RE: Mickelson Trail Marathon
Even if you hadn't had a freaking appendectomy two weeks before the race, this would have been an excellent first marathon performance. With the appendectomy - just phenomenal. Great work!

2006-06-07 10:17 PM
in reply to: #442659

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Subject: RE: Mickelson Trail Marathon
Very great run, you were moving pretty well for someone still recovering.
2006-06-07 11:47 PM
in reply to: #442659

Orange, Massachusetts
Subject: RE: Mickelson Trail Marathon

Nice race, way to tough it out!  Actually I like the idea of an off-road marathon, I hope to do one someday.  Great report, you've at least given me the impetus to look around a bit for one!


2006-06-08 12:01 AM
in reply to: #446996

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Laurium, MI
Subject: RE: Mickelson Trail Marathon

Come do this one!  It's a really nice race and very friendly to travlers.  They have it organized so that if you stay in Deadwood (the finish), they will shuttle you to the start line in the morning.  So when you finish, all you have to do is crawl back to your hotel.

Look at for some pics of the route.  It's absolutly beautiful scenery.  There are also only about 400 people that do the full marathon, so once you get 5 miles in, the crowd thins out to the point that you don't have to run around people if you don't want to, but there are still enough people to pace off of.

You should serisously come out for it.  I'll be running it next year.  Would be nice to get a BT contingency together.

2006-06-08 10:02 PM
in reply to: #442659

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A farming town in MN
Subject: RE: Mickelson Trail Marathon

Matt, awesome run.  Now, I've hit the wall during a 'flat' marathon...I CAN NOT EVEN imagine hitting the wall after an elevation climb and a missing appendix.  Incredible...congratulations!!!

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