Sixty-Fifth Marathon Before 65

This should end up being a short one as I try to achieve my next goal of 65 marathons by 65.  If this all works out right I will be a year ahead of schedule.  I just finished up at least a half marathon in all 50 states.  38 states plus DC as marathons and 12 as half marathons.  That number will change as we complete Catherine’s goal of a marathon in all 50 states since I will be right there with her.

My right knee has been bothering me but I chalk that up to 6 half marathons in 7 weeks leading up to this race.  I did not do the typical 16-week marathon training program where you do multiple long distance training runs of 16 miles or more.

I have done 64 marathons already so I know that everything after mile 19 or 20 is going to suck so why practice sticking a knife in my eye.  We did the half marathon here in Fort Collins Colorado and they had a freak snow event 2 years ago.  Catherine froze her ass off whereas I picked up discarded clothes off the side of the road in an effort to keep warm.

Baby, it’s cold outside

We usually arrive for a race two days before the race but in this case, we are getting there three days before the race to help with the accumulation to the altitude. The race itself is basically downhill so you have to factor in the temperature at the start which is around 6000 feet above sea level.

I also have some supplements called, clear lungs, to help out.  I learned the hard way when I did a downhill high altitude race in Logan Utah that your lungs are not the only thing you have to worry about.  Your muscles can cramp up big time due to lack of oxygen.  My calf did that during that race.

It is diabolical how your mind will enjoy the downhill ride whereas yourmuscles are screening for much-needed oxygen however no one is listening.  I hope by 30 second walk breaks every 3 minutes will help.  Another trick your mind will play in you is to try to stay ahead of your plan pace to put time in the bank but it has been my experience that is a fools errand.

This is not my first rodeo but even this best can get caught up in the moment.  They roll up the mats at 6 ish hours after the start and anything before that is okay with me.  They were actually rolling one of the three mats in Istanbul and Catherine tripped over the guy.  You can read about that trip here.

Nothing to it but to do it comes to mind right about now.  You can obsess over the weather, the altitude or whatever but none of that will help you achieve your goals in life.  Preparation and Persistence win the day every time.

My plan is to get plenty of rest, hydrate and rehab my body for the next 6 days.  Foam roller three times a day with some CBD oil on the tender spots.  I tried doing some legs lifts last week but that only aggravated my knee.  We will probably go to the MLK recreation center tomorrow for a good swim and maybe some time on a stationary bike.

We did end up going to the Center and my body really enjoyed the swim.  We then walked the indoor track and headed over to the Botanical Gardens adjacent to Piedmont Park.  The flowers were in full bloom and since it was Catherine’s Birthday it was a nice present to her.

Speaking of Birthday celebrations I can not say enough about the treatment she received from our home hotel, Renaissance Gateway Atlanta Airport, they pulled out all the stops.  I did mention to them that it was her birthday and they all rose to the occasion.

First Shirley, in the executive lounge, had the staff bring up a bottle of Prosecco chilled with two wine glasses along with a card.  The card was signed by the staff and included dinner for two in their restaurant with another bottle of Prosecco.

After dinner, we went back to the lounge where Cherri, had prepared our usual table filled with a pecan pie and an assortment of chocolate covered strawberries, plus happy birthday balloons.  The bar staff fixed me a special drink inspired by me called Jackberry.  They are actually are adding it to their menu.  The ingredients are Jack Daniels, Strawberry Syrup, lemon juice and topped with Ginger Beer.

Undecided as to if I like it better with strawberries or marinated cherries.  Either way Gwen, and her staff made sure to make it a very special day for Catherine with everyone giving her hugs and birthday wishes.  While at the bar we listened to a great duo while we finished our drinks which were also on the house.  It is so strange how they have made us feel at home even though we are nomads.  Turns out we have been staying there for the last 18 months.

Here in Fort Collins, I did something I have not done in years and that is to drive the marathon course.  I wanted to see for myself how steep the decline was from the start to town and it was not that bad.  Everything body wise is doing okay and plan on getting a message later today.

Hate when this happens but I should be used to it by now.  My mind says that 4 hours of sleep is plenty enough so now I have three hours until my alarm goes off.  This always happens before a race or early flight.  All those years of flying planes at odd hours is to blame.

Couple that with getting phone calls in the middle of the night when I was a pilot/’manager at UPS, did not help as well.  No big deal since I can usually function very well on four hours of sleep but will wish I had more sometime during the marathon today.

I did, once oversleep prior to a race so maybe that is also a factor.  It was my first marathon after open heart surgery, 3 months prior, and we were in Berlin in 2014.  Unlike this race where we have to catch a bus at 5 am to the start, our hotel was just down the street, in Berlin.  Turns out by the time we got to the start our corral was crossing the start line.  No pre-race stretching for us.

Till this day I still ask myself why I run marathons and I keep coming with the same answer.  Because I can.  That sounds simple enough but in reality, it is part of my DNA.  Not the part about being a long distance runner but more about the fact that I like to do things a bit different than anyone else.

Selling ones home and being a nomad/presticarin for the last 4 plus years would be another example. It is a little known fact that less than 1 percent of the population have run a marathon let alone 65 times.  Another little known fact is that less than 1 percent of commercial pilots are Black.  Since I am/was both that makes me an extremely rare breed. 

Turns out, it is like riding a bike.  All the required preparation with hydration, GU and supplements came back to me like it was yesterday.  I was worried about how my body was going to react to all the previous races and the altitude but all for not. 

No major body part had any concerns over the 26.2 miles and my lungs were in their happy place the entire race.  If you fail to plan you plan to fail comes to mind and we followed my plan to the T.  Once again Catherine and I crossed the finish line hand and hand and with a huge smile on our faces.

The race announcer mentioned the fact that all couple finishing together must finish with a big kiss and I did not disappoint.  It was a well-organized race and they had, beer at the finish.  The weather gods cooperated even though it was a bit chilly at the start.

The first 13 miles were basically downhill with a few rolling hills to keep it interesting but for me, it seemed like we went up a slight uphill for the next 7 miles even though the map did not agree.  At that point with was pretty level as we worked our way back to town mostly on a very nice paved trail.

I usually listen to music during races but the sound of the nearby stream was 10 times better than any song on my .playlist  That lasted for about 15 miles.  I switched to music then until mile 25 when I switched to a meditation session on gratitude.  It was pretty cool to listen to what she had to say about gratitude and I incorporated it into what I was doing and thinking at the time.

I am very grateful to be able to do these race and especially grateful to be able to do it with Catherine.  There are some things, because of her early onset Alzheimer’s, she won’t remember, but I can be sure this race will not be one of them.

This was her 46th state and marathon number 79.  It was merely my 65th marathon and turns out I am a year and two months ahead of my goal of 65 marathons by 65.  Time now to concentrate on her goal of all 50 states then we can move on to all 50 states as half marathons.

While we were in the area we were able to have dinner with Joanne, who we met three years ago on an Easter Island tour with Marathon Tours.  We were able to meet for dinner halfway between Denver, where she lives, and Fort Collins.  It was great to catch-up at the twisted noodle in Longmont.  One of the things I remember most about her is the fact that she loves to do headstands everywhere she goes.

She did not disappoint and did one for us after dinner.  Catherine and I have been enjoying catching up with folks that we have met along the way as we run all over the world.  The next evening we met Jacqui which is our all time favorite tour coordinator with Marathon Tours.

She lives in Boulder and had just flown in from London off a marathon tours trip two days prior and it was great seeing her.  The last time we saw her was last February in Jerusalem and have done many trips with her.  We will see her again in September when we go to Patagonia.  She is so very special to us and even though she does not like cruising she did go to Antarctica because we were going.

Cat and Jacqui in Jerusalem

We are now headed to San Diego to see my oldest son, Aaron and his fiancée, Kelsey for a few days.  We will also meet up with Ana, another runner that we have crossed paths, in Madagascar during our journeys.  She just adopted her second poodle and is training Misty to run like Mimi.

Baller Aaron

From here we are off to Loreto Mexico for some much-needed R and R for two weeks.  Then it is back to ATL for 3 days then on to Casper Wyoming for state number 47 for Catherine.  We did the half there last year and understand many folks got lost, on the full, since the route was not well marked.  They have assured everyone that they have fixed that problem but I will still pay close attention since doing extra mileage is not my cup of tea.

Before we left San Diego I had to try out a place called IFly where you can pretend to skydive. It was a blast and now I am ready to jump out a perfectly good airplane. There is actually a marathon in Florida’s where it start off with everyone skydiving. Here is the link.

Overall I am very pleased with our performance in Colorado.  Our time was 15 minutes faster than my previous marathon, three years ago, in Prague and only a minute slower than my Boston Marathon time one month prior to Prague. 

I am actually looking forward to our next marathon and being right there with Catherine when she achieves her goal of a marathon in all 50 states next September in Portland Maine.

Nothing clever to close with but here is something they have on the wall adjacent to the elevator at our home hotel.  It does give you something to think about.

Might as well have a goal to live to 100

Anything less would be a self profiling prophecy

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