|NEW MEXICO - Turtle Marathon
I was not only worried that I wouldn't be able to run this one because of my bum knee, but I was also worried there wouldn't really be a marathon at
all. There is NO information about this marathon available online. Very unusual. The only information I had was from Marathon Guide where past
runners had commented with the details. That's all I had. Since we were going to be driving 7.5 hours to get there, I wasn't going to head that way
without confirming that there was a run, and I could take my time with my knee.
I finally got the race director on the phone, who assured me they would wait as long as it took me to finish. I asked about packet pick-up, and he
told me it would be at the park the day before. When? Well, he didn't know yet, but would call me.
Having received no call, we drove down and ended up magically meeting two other maniacs in the hotel lobby. This really was a coincidence
because it is a super tiny race, with no official host hotel. None of us had found packet pick-up, but one of the guys had managed to get the race
director on the phone who assured him the packets would be available race morning.
I guess I should point out that this marathon only cost $20. Most marathons are about $90.
The marathon started very early, 5:30am, to try to avoid the heat. It was forecast to hit 99 degrees!
Race morning I found my
race number and cotton
t-shirt (past years shirts
had a sweating turtle or a
turtle on it's back, cute
cartoon turtles. This
year's was an Indian
design, the turtle is not
nearly as cute) and a
bunch of maniacs. I
switched on my head
lamp (the one I bought to
hike the lava in Hawaii)
and off we went.
My knee was feeling okay
and I was making decent
time. The sun started
coming up around mile
three. There were two
nice miles through a park,
but after mile two, the
entire race course was an
out and back along the
shoulder of the highway.
The "aid stations" were
basically cases of water
along the shoulder. Not a
bad plan for a $20 race.
I thought the heat, along an unshaded highway, would kick my
butt, but it was very dry and there was a slight breeze, so it
wasn't that bad. I also had Richard meeting me every mile with
ice, so that helped a lot.
I like out and back courses because I get to see all the runners. Being slow, I don't usually get to see anyone, but on out and backs, I see all the
runners as they come back towards me. Once I hit the turn around, I picked up speed and started passing folks. That was kinda fun. Then, maybe
because I was running different because of my knee, or maybe because I hadn't ran a lot since Pike's Peak, or maybe I was just still worn out from
Pike's Peak, whatever the reason, I was hurting. I don't usually get aches and pains during a marathon, but by mile 18 I had taken my 4th Alleve
and 4th Advil. I had slowed way down, but managed to pass two women at about mile 22. That got me thinking. How many women had I seen?
How many had I passed. I remembered passing 5 women (I started dead last.) How many had I not passed? This was a really small race, and I
could only think of two women ahead of me. Could I really be 3rd woman overall? No way to know, but also no way I was going to let those two
women pass me again. That put a bit of spring in my step (and a bunch of looks over my shoulder) for the last 4 miles. They didn't make it easy
either. I really had to hustle and they were trying to catch me. I finally finished, ahead of them, but no race results at the finish line. What was I
thinking for $20?? I got my turtle - instead of a medal. Then had to wait almost a week for results to be posted and to find out I must have forgotten
about a woman somewhere, because I ended up 4th woman overall. There were only 9 women in the entire race! I wasn't even close to 3rd place
time, but I barely beat 5th and 6th!!