26.2 miles, 4:48
While sitting at work on Thursday afternoon, annoyed with my job, I did what I usually do when I get stressed, look for a race to run. I was itching to find a race for this weekend. There was nothing on ultrarunning.com so I had to do the unthinkable, look for a marathon. I’m not big on marathons, mainly because most of them are run on roads, which I avoid like the plague, but I thought I would look at marathonguide.com to see if there was anything worth running. I came across the Fallsberg Marathon in
“You have better be in shape if your going to tackle this one...this race is not for beginners. But if your up for a challenge, looking for a GREAT workout, or are just One Tough Old Fart...then this is the Race for YOU!”
Is that a challenge? Hmm, sounds difficult, where do I sign up? I still wasn’t sure if I wanted make the 6 hour drive for a marathon that would involve a good amount of road running. I E-mailed the RD just to see if he had any spots left for the marathon, being that it was only 2 days before the race. He e-mailed me back, telling me I was now entered in the race. Sweet, I guess my mind is made up now.
I made the drive Friday night after work. After stopping at a few rest stops along the way and sleeping in my car I got to the race start at 7 AM Saturday morning. The race was to begin at 9. I decided that in preparation for the unsupported 100 miler I will be running next month, I should wear my hydration backpack and my two hand held bottles to get used to the system. I put a few energy bars in my pack, filled up my water and was ready to roll.
This course has two loops that are, for the most part, separate. The first loop is mostly roads with many large hills while the second loop is mostly rolling trails. This is knowledge that would have come in handy before the race. We started off on a hilly asphalt road. I was confused as to what type of pace I should set early on in the race. I thought we would be hitting the trails soon so I just took it easy. Little did I know the first 9 miles were all on asphalt or dirt roads. About this time I started to wonder “Did I really just drive 6 hours to run a road marathon?” The trails lasted about 2 miles before spitting us back out onto the road and back to the start/finish line where the half marathoners would end there day. At this point I was frustrated because I thought this was a single loop course repeated twice, and I had no desire to repeat that loop.
To my relief the second loop was much more entertaining with more trails. My pace was very comfortable throughout the race, seldom disturbing my rhythmic breathing and never even breaking a sweat. My legs were still feeling the last 2 weekends of racing (100 miles and 38 miles) My joints were stiff, my legs were heavy but they felt steady and strong. Both loops had beautiful scenery. The first took us up and down past corn fields and farms while the second wrapped around sandy trails through pine tree forests. I ran a very comfortable race and didn’t have any trouble running with my hydration pack which was comforting.
For a small race (about 25 registered runs for the full marathon) Fallsberg really hooked us up with the swag. I got a t-shirt, hooded sweat shirt, and an embroidered towel. In all this race was a nice experience. I can’t say I will mark my calendar for it next year, but I’m glad I was able to make the trip this year.