Sunday, October 29, 2006

Marathon Report Part 1:The Road Less Taken

So, you know how long winded I can be. I have a ton of pics so I might as well break this down into two (maybe 3 parts). Part 1 will be the epic adventure of finding Kentucky, Part 2 will be the race and Part 3 will be some pics taken on the much shorter ride home. Got it??

First, huge congrats to everyone who ran marathons this weekend from Kentucky all the way to Detroit and east to Marine Corps! Great job everybody!!!

(AND, Blogger is refusing to take any pics so you'll have to click on links, sorry!!)

So, I worked half a day at work (which is pretty much as stressful as working a full day) and then ran out to load up for the trip. We had TORRENTIAL downpour of rain from Thursday all the way through Friday. It took me ages to get home as I had 3 wreck caused traffic jams on the interstate to get through and numerous ambulances were zipping through on both sides of the interstate. The stress of running a marathon coupled with the stress of weather and traffic and the stress of my crappy job made me nearly have to pull over and have a meltdown, but I was able to make it home where Brent had lunch warmed up and all the bags packed. Yeah!! We dropped Pippin off at the kennel and headed towards KY, in the monsoon.

Tompkinsville, KY is only 97 miles from Nashville. Simple, right?? Not so much. It's in south central KY, barely over the TN border. My Google map looked pretty easy. Take I-40 east to Carthage, TN (about 45 miles-home of Al Gore) then another 50 or so miles north via rural highways. The Interstate part was easy. Once we got off the Interstate we spent about the next 3 hours hopelessly lost. I hate you Google Maps. The map instructed us to turn on a certain highway, but it didn't tell us what to do at a fork in the road that was not the aforementioned highway. We tried a few different directions on curvy, HILLY roads, ended up driving in circles. Stop #1- A Gas Station. The kid working had never heard of the much seeked highway, but gave us a different way to find the next highway we needed. Ok. We headed off in that direction and when we got to THAT street it wasn't the highway # he had said it would be. Nice. We continued on a little further and never found it so we turned away and asked an old guy selling pumpkins on the side of the road for directions. He was a little hard to understand since he was missing quite a few teeth, but he gave us more directions. He told us to go a certain way and then look for a Y. SWEET! I didn't figure there would be a Y out here in the middle of nowhere, but I guess every country people need to exercise! Well, he was talking about a Y in the road aka a Fork in the road, which we totally missed. Fast forward later and we're still lost, in the middle of nowhere. We saw life outside an old run down house marked "So and So and Sons Chairs" so we whipped in their driveway. This old guy (who stared at Brent so long without speaking that Brent thought he was mute) and his son drew us a new map. The last time we had turned around we were actually pretty close. Figures! So, fast forward a few more scenic roads later and we were FINALLY in Tompkinsville, KY. Praise Jesus! What should have been a TWO hour drive took us FOUR hours. Of course finding the inn proved difficult even though the town is tiny and there were several signs about it. Eventually we found it!!!

When we checked into our room there was a super cute little personalized sign welcoming us to the marathon and inviting us to the pasta dinner. How cool is that??? I've never gotten that at a big race. We took a really short nap (our nice long nap had been spent lost in rural TN) and headed over to the pasta dinner. Brent had been thinking about moving up from the half to the whole, so he talked to the race director about it and she said it would be no problem. We also picked up our personalized swag bags and bibs. We went through line and got some pasta yummies and decided to sit with an older guy who was alone. His name is D and he had driven all the way from Wisconsin for this race because it's one of his favorites. He had also run the Chicago marathon the week before and has done 50Ks, 50 milers and a 100 miler. Very cool! For a small race the other runners really weren't all that friendly. No one was really mingling outside their families. While we finished eating a little local "band" (aka some guitars and banjos) performed some Southern favorites - Rocky Top, gospel music, etc while we ate. There were also some door prizes which we NEVER win. I got seconds and Brent got thirds and we headed back to the hotel full and ready for a low key race. Of course we stopped in the lobby for some homemade rum cake first though. =)

The forecast was a little iffy. The rain was to end at 5 am but it was going to be breezy. The "feels like" was going to be colder than the temp, so that was a sign to me to dress warmly. The race temps looked like they were going to stay between 40-45 degrees with a 15-20 mph wind. It was also going to be cloudy until noon, so I decided on a long sleeve tech, shorts, my gloves and arm warmers (aka tube socks). Brent went with the same minus the arm warmers. We shoved a bagel down our throats and geared up. Brent had been going back and forth about the half or the full and I finally told him he just needed to pick and have a decision, so he said the words heard round the world (or Tompkinsville, KY) - "Ok, the full." And there you have it.

I had laid all our stuff out the night before because I ALWAYS forget something. I handed Brent his baggie of Sportsbeans and a baggie with some Motrin/Tylenol in it. He looked at me and said "What is this?? Do I have to take this?? Do you have one??" HA! I told him it was just in case, and that Yes, I had one too, and to please not take ALL of them or get them confused with the baggies of Sports Beans. I was actually carrying them because I was worried about how my massive trail blister would hold up. I took some pictures of it before, just for comparison purposes. It had been fine all week, I had kept it drained but it had sort of irritated me in a short run on Tuesday. I decided not to wear a Blister BandAid because that seemed to bother me while running more than the blister.

With everything in tow we headed to the race site - the Middle School. Everyone was staying warm in their cars until race start. About 5 minutes until 7 we headed over to the start line and mixed in with the people so they would block the breeze. Right on time a couple of race announcements were made - watch out for traffic, there is a porta potty at mile 8 but since this is a rural area feel free to use the bathroom anywhere (HA) and then they said "Yee haw" and people started running. I guess all the guns were out hunting Saturday morning.

And with a Yee haw and a Holler we were off and running..................our 26.2 mile journey had begun!


At 6:10 PM, Blogger redlib said...

Love the rundown of the pre-race. Congrats to you and B, the super-cute couple at the super-cute marathon!

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Danny said...

lol @ redlib's (AKA RHFG's) comment!

it really does sound like a supr-cute marathon...

congratulations to both (!) of you!wow!

At 7:19 PM, Blogger ShoreTurtle said...

You crack me up--part one was very comical.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Running Jayhawk said...

Mike and I are over here reading this in excitement!


Hopefully Brent was coherent enough to swallow the baggie of beans and not aspirin!!

And getting lost...that's something we'd totally do.

At 10:45 PM, Blogger Jack said...

I love the "little" marathons, especially the rural scenic ones. I know all about getting lost in Kentucky - I was stationed at Ft. Knox for two years while in the army.

At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It does sound like a cute little marthon. So you get a real hand lettered name on your bib rather than a number. That's just so downhome, aw shucks!

Yeehaw...looking forward to the rest of the story

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Darrell said...

oops, that was me!

Yeehaw! (when do I ever get to say that)

At 6:54 AM, Blogger E-Speed said...

heehee I love the bib!

At 8:48 AM, Blogger Cliff said...

Wohoo..a marathon trilogy :)

yee haw :)

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Just12Finish said...

What the ... I thought they're supposed to say "git" to start the race!

At 10:50 AM, Blogger D said...

Why aren't people nicer? They were intimidated by you....aha.

Congrats to you and Brent. Looking forward to the rest.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Theoutofshapeguy said...

what a trip. Great job guys

At 8:54 PM, Blogger brent said...

i can't believe you guys BOTH ran the 'thon! that is awesome! congrats to both of you.

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Ah, the web is wonderful.
Two years after your original post I found it because I was searching for something about Tompkinsville.
A runner I am not, but a native of Tompkinsville I am and have traveled over those roads many times.
Glad you made the effort to venture down and give T-ville some of your business.


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