Monday, May 10, 2010

Lake Geneva Marathon 05/08/2010
When I was planning for the Eau Claire marathon I also printed out the elevation map for the Lake Geneva Marathon. I thought that I had done a good enough comparison of the beginning elevation to the peak, and thought that it was comparable to Eau Claire. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I had run once before in Lake Geneva while staying at a friends place and knew that the hills could be steep, I should have trusted my memory over my analysis.

Where Eau Claire has a steep hill, it then has a mile or so of plateau so you can recover. Lake Geneva has a steep hill to tax your legs then you bomb back down to trash your legs. Then there are miles where you’re rolling up and down, it just never stopped. This is truly a torturous course. Who would have thought that 150 feet would make such a difference. If you feel the need to challenge yourself and you don’t care about your finish time then this is the race for you. I think that everyone needs to do a race like this. You shouldn’t always pick the flattest fastest course and try to PR every time out. Sometimes you need to challenge yourself and your tolerance for discomfort. You need to test your mental toughness. Also there are stretches when you are out in the country with nothing to break the wind and it was Green Bay windy on Saturday. This is also a pretty course as much of it is wooded and you can see the lake from quite a few spots.

The more I race the more I have come to really appreciate the race volunteers. These people sit out in the cold and wait for us to come around so that they can give us water and Gatorade (HEED, whatever). They get spilled on and seldom thanked. Thank them next time or I may trip you. If it weren’t for them you’d have to carry your own fluids, and that sucks.

Once again I met some great people at this race, and since it was so close to Chicago some cocky ones. One Cub fan challenged me when I charged up the first hill to keep it up through the race, never did see that guy again dropped him at the 2nd mile. Also met Mike from the Lake Geneva area. He’s a hard working accountant who has lost a lot of weight by running and is looking to challenge himself. He’s never run a marathon faster that 5 hours and I told him I would pace him if he wanted, so I had a buddy for this race. We hung out for 18 miles before the hills got to him. In the meantime we talked about leadership, hard work, training and life. He’s going to go far.

One thing that I don’t like about this area is the traffic. Too many cars, everybody honking and some flatlanders waving you off the course because you’re driving on their road, which of course they don’t pay taxes on. But this is the only negative about this race.

Overall, do this race. It is fun in a twisted way, inexpensive, challenging, and beautiful. It is what marathoning is all about. Don’t go for a PR every time; sometimes test yourself in a different way.

Another BIG plus. We had lunch on Mothers Day with my son in Madison on the way home. The love of my life got to have lunch with her boy, Joe got a break from studying, and Betsy had a chance to fill her big brother in on her life. Yep, I’m a sentimental sap. Did I tell you about the time when Joe scored a goal with 15 seconds left to win the hockey game on Mothers Day? That’s a different blog.
Eau Claire Marathon 05/02/2010
As we drove to western Wisconsin we saw some very beautiful country and I knew that I was in for a very picturesque run. Based on the course map I knew that I was also in for a hilly run. This was also the first time that my family joined me on the road and I wasn’t just driving to the race running and coming home.

This race has a good blend of country, woods and small town feel. The race is very well attended to by the volunteers. A lot of the spectators moved from stop to stop so you saw them quite frequently. I heckled the girl who held up the “I just ate a donut”

Ran with Amanda from St. Paul. She’s an Ultra marathoner not used to running on the road, she’s not listed in the final results, so I hope she didn’t DNF.

The second half of the race was mostly city, very clean but completely into the wind. Not a strong wind, but annoying. I let Amanda draft behind me, no reason for both of us to struggle, and there were no big guys for me to draft behind.

The person who designed this course must have been a friend of mine because from miles 21 to 22 there was a gentle incline then a good sized bump just before the end. What a jerk. Believe me it felt worse than it looks.

Overall, great water stops every two miles. Good support, fantastic volunteers (are you noticing a trend?). Good post race food, not Cellcom quality beer & brats, but good turkey sandwiches none the less.

Also the people of Eau Claire are very nice. No matter where we stopped we met great people. And our waiter on Saturday night was from Allouez, super guy.

Bad news. In my goodie bag was a flier for a new marathon in Wisconsin for 2011 the Sandbox_Indoor_Trail_Marathon . This is billed as an indoor trail marathon on an indoor motocross course. The marathon is guaranteed to be less than 100 laps. I’m putting this one off until 2013, I hope it just goes away.