Congrats to all who finished Grandma's Marathon (especially to the men's winner, a local who I've actually met!)
Saturday, I went to the Brickyard and ran up and down the hill from shortly after sunrise to early afternoon, from 69 degrees and 61 dewpoint to 84 degrees. Of course, I didn't want it to be easy, so I didn't bring insect repellent, sunscreen, food, electrolytes... just a 1 gallon jug of water. There were a lot of deer flies - I spent the day swatting them and then seeing ants carry the carcasses off the trail 10 minutes later.
The first 8 or 9 times were exactly as they should've been, heart rate averaging 114 up and down. Then, the downhills were getting a little slower so I started hiking uphill and my heart rate climbed gradually, but the first 15 hills were "just another day at the office." A group of volunteers appeared to pull weeds by the river for an hour and some of them hiked the hill, asking me how many times I was doing it, as they'd seen me do 4 and they were struggling with one; there was a little pride in saying I was on number 18 of 30. One family joined me for #19 and I was pushed faster than I would've ordinarily gone, so the heart rate climbed to an average of 149 (peak of 164). I was asked why 30 times and my answer was, "I know I could do 20 and I couldn't do 40. I'm not sure if I can do 30."
After 20 hills (16 miles), it became a real workout. Each hill was tougher than the one before and my heart rate was no longer dropping on the downhills. Vultures started appearing (this always seems to happen when I run hills and I find it amusing). I was so thirsty by 25 that my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, my hands swelled and my skin turned red from the heat and incipient sunburn. This was not uncomfortable; this was part of the plan.
The last 5 were a real gut-check. The last 2, I was no longer running downhill but was in a survival shuffle, worried about falling. On #30, a couple on a tandem bike went by me uphill (!) and a bunch of fossil hunters spread everywhere (my sister often leads groups fossil hunting here, but if she was there, I didn't see her). I thought about those doing Grandma's and figured someone would tease me if I stopped at 24 miles and they ran 26.2, but there was no way I could force myself to do another hill, so I ran on local streets until my Garmin read 26.21 miles. I did it in 6:58:54, which would've been an official finish in the marathon - I just added 7500 feet of climb.
Today, I feel like I had a real workout for the first time in a long time. I have muscle soreness (unlike after the 100 miler, where I was just super stiff) and feel pleasantly spent. Guess I need to find a tougher hill!
Aid Station: Eugene Curnow
3 days ago