Although I was a bit road weary from traveling there were several reasons why I wanted to do these marathons.
I had never been to New Mexico, never tried a double marathon before, and never
done a race put on by Mainly Marathons.
The New Mexico State Parks Series
I knew that running a double marathon would be good mental and physical preparation for my 50 miler in October.
I was impressed by the amount of detail about the races on the Mainly Marathons website. I also got a personalized email confirming my registration that included additional information and directions.
What’s even better is that Mainly Marathons is offering our listeners a free marathon or half marathon entry! Go to www.mainlymarathons.com and mention MTA. They are very friendly folks who would love to hear from you!
Marathon #1 – Sugarite State Park
Saturday, July 25th, 2015. We stayed in Raton, NM the night before and it was around a 20 minute drive to the race start at Sugarite State Park. A friendly volunteer directed us to parking near the starting line area at the north end of Lake Mayola. Race grand central was a covered area with a motor home and several tables set up with food, the registration/packet pick up area, and a rubber band table (more about that later).
The race director gave some pre-race instructions about the number of laps and how to keep track of them. Then we walked a couple hundred yards up the road into the state of Colorado and without further ado the race started at 6:00am There were around 66 runners total (26 full, 32 half, and 6 doing the 5k).
The course was a 2.5 mile out and back (1 mile of road and 0.25 miles of trail which was nicely shaded). The elevation was 7,511 ft. and we ran over the damn at Lake Mayola. The mountains, trees, and lake provided for a gorgeous course and we got to watch the sun come up early on.
The temps felt good until about half way through when the sun started getting very hot (high of 87 for the day). There were some gentle hills throughout the course and the trail (dirt) portion was a nice balance to the road.
After each out and back you grabbed a rubber band to put on your wrist to indicate how many laps you’d completed (12 for the marathon, 6 for the half).
The aid station food was amazing. In addition to sports drink, soda and water there was a variety of candy bars, gummy worms, M&M’s, fruit leather, pickles, green olives, watermelon, sandwiches, oreo cookies, brownies, chips, pretzels, etc. There was an aid station with water and sports drink near the trail portion as well. I used my pre-race Generation UCAN and then supplemented that with green olives and watermelon from the aid station.
My Slow Finish
There are no course time limits for the Mainly Marathon races and the course is supported the whole time. They actually give out a special award to the final finisher and to those who do multiple races of their series (25 & 50). One man, Mark (who was a massage therapist), was doing his 100th marathon. Runners and walkers were very supportive of each other during the race.
I took it easy during this marathon but even so my left upper hamstring really started hurting partway through the race so I did some run/walk intervals. Even so, I finished as the 2nd woman in 4:48:49. Each finisher got to pick a unique glazed clay medal.
After the race I got a quick shower before we had to check out of the hotel. I put on my compression socks to wear the rest of the day. We drove to Taos, NM (a beautiful drive) and ate at a brewery then traveled back to Eagle Nest to the last hotel room available in town. We also had to stop at the grocery store for some food and I ended up running my foot over with the cart which left a nice gash. By the end of the day I was tired and wasn’t feeling very eager to get up early and run another marathon the next day.
Marathon #2 – Eagle Nest Lake State Park
Sunday, July 26th, 2015.
I work up at 5am and was feeling less than enthused about running another marathon. My feet hurt and I was generally a bit sore all over. Plus, I had some lovely areas of chaffing along my sports bra line and under my arms. I also felt a bit nauseated for some reason—maybe the elevation.
It was a quick and easy drive to the starting line at Eagle Nest Lake State Park and the race started right by the visitor center. After some quick announcements about the course and shout outs to people doing their first marathon or half the race got going with an air horn and cow bells. There were a total of 51 people doing the second day (15 full, 23 half, 13 for the 5k).
My body protested during those first few running steps as I said “ah, ouch, ee, oo” under my breath. It quickly remembered what to do and decided that a slow and leisurely pace was the order of the day. The sun was just coming up when we started at 6am and the views were absolutely splendid which partly made up for the 8,200 feet of elevation.
The course went down a paved road by the lake and around the campground loop for a total of 1.3 miles (1/3 being on gravel). The lake was surrounded by mountains and the temps were in the 40’s to start with a gentle breeze.
It was fun to see many of the people from the day before and everyone was friendly and encouraging despite being in a bit of discomfort. I talked with a few runners along the various laps and did 3 laps with a lady named Christi from Texas. She had done 40 half marathons last year for her 40th birthday. Very inspiring!
There was one aid station at the starting line which we looped around each time (10 for the half, 20 for the full). We took a rubber band for each loop completed to help keep track (my math skills get even less sharp when running long distance). The food table had all the great options as the day before and I again used green olives and fruit leather to supplement my UCAN. The volunteers were very helpful and friendly.
Mental GameThis marathon was more of a mental game as I tried to keep my protesting body moving forward. I walked up the hills and ran the flats and down-hills as I focused on enjoying the beauty of the day. One good thing that I did was wear different shoes from the day before so that my feet weren’t subjected to the same pressure and rubbing. I also wore a different sports bra to try and prevent more chaffing in the same spots.
Around mile 16 the sun came out and the temps climbed into the 70’s. As it got warmer my pace slowed down significantly and I walked a couple laps with people. Also, two MTA listeners (Jodie and Glynda) who we’d met in St. Louis 4 years previously came out to cheer me on along with their husbands. It was a real boost to see them out there.
My Slow(er) Finish
At around mile 23 Trevor and the boys arrived after they’d checked out of the hotel. Two of the boys wanted to do a lap with me so we walked and slowly ran around the loop. My youngest (age 4) then did another lap despite wearing Crocs and having short legs. Our 8 year old, Gavin, accompanied me on that final lap which was very special.
I finished in 5:53:22 and was very happy to be done. I definitely gained a lot more respect for people who do back to back marathons or stage races. I got another unique clay medal and some great post-race food. Another great bonus is that Mainly Marathons offers free race picture downloads from their website. After the marathon I did a quick clean up and clothes change in the bathroom and then we had to leave as we headed to Amarillo, TX where we were staying at the Drury Inn & Suite (our home away from home).
More Photos from My Double Marathon