Tecumseh Trail Marathon - DNF - 10-24-2015 - Details
On October 24th the Tecumseh Trail Marathon was held in the Yellowwood State Forest not far from Bloomington and Nashville Indiana. If you have read this blog during the year you might recall that this marathon was kind of a bucket list thing for me since I've wanted to run it for several years.
Actually, when I was much heavier and living in central Indiana, I remember hearing about this event, thinking it sounded very cool and also thinking that I would probably never be able to do it.
Well, when I looked at the calendar at the beginning of the year and realized that I would soon be 60 years old, I remembered crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon last year and thought, well, Tecumseh is the same distance as Chicago, just on trails. How tough could that be? (later I found an elevation profile that showed 3,500 feet of climbing/ascent and 3,700 feet of descent)
You guessed it, I signed up for Tecumseh back in March and started training. Now, having a goal, every run had meaning. When it was nearly 90 degrees at 6 AM and I had a run to do, I was out the door. All the yoga classes and strength workouts were done to support my running.
As I drove into Bloomington on October 23rd the thermometer in my car read 80 degrees. I was really bummed. So much for a chilly fall marathon. I had not slept good in the hotel bed the night before and was looking forward to getting settled in the host hotel, picking up my race number, grabbing a bite to eat and then going to bed.
I did get to the packet pick up area at the hotel, got my number and sweatshirt and went to say hello to the race director. Turns out his daughter, a little blond girl of 5 or 6, had set up a table and was selling chocolate bars for some little girls group. Of course I had to invest $1.50 in this worthy cause.
So, back in my room for the night, I had all my gear laid out, my alarm set and my trail shoes near the door. I had read for a while and then I remembered the chocolate bar. I figured I'd break off a piece to see how it tasted. It wasn't long before the chocolate was gone and the wrapper was in the trash. Oh well, it's time to turn off the lights and get some sleep. Except I couldn't sleep. I might doze off for a while and then wake right back up. I remember getting out of bed at 11:30 to go to the bathroom and realizing my legs felt fatigued. This really freaked me out.
I met Sonny, who drove down from Indy, in the hotel lobby for breakfast the next morning. I didn't mention it but I briefly considered dropping down to the 5.5 mile fun run since my legs were already feeling tired. When the buses showed up to take the marathon runners to the start line I boarded and hoped for the best.
The fall colors were very pretty but it was near 70 degrees at the start. The trails were very well maintained. I stuck with the fueling/nutrition plan that I had practiced on some of my long runs. I alternated Hammer gel with Hammer Perpetuem Solids.
I was doing really quite well, running the rolling terrain as well as the down hills and walking the steep up hill sections. Around 12 miles we came out of the forest and had a short section on 2 lane county road. As I was turning a corner, I asked someone if there were any bathrooms nearby. He said the woods.
I passed the 13 mile check point and headed back into the woods and was soon on my way up what I believe was the steepest and longest hill on the course. As I slowed down, 2 guys passed me and asked if I was OK. I said sure and they kept going.
Half way up the hill, at 13.6 miles, the GI distress hit and I suddenly realized I was standing in the bathroom. I looked up the trail, saw no one, turned and looked down the trail, saw no one and then looked left and right. It was during this looking around time that I noticed being dizzy and light headed. I finally got far enough off the trail and ...............................................................
When I returned to the trail I considered that the next check point was probably at least another mile and a half away so I headed back to the 13 mile check point to drop out. On the way back I passed the trail sweep who was following the last two women. A realtor from the Chicago area and a rather frantic looking Asian woman. The trail sweep radioed in my race number indicating that I would need a ride.
So if my memory is correct, Tecumseh 2015 is my 2nd DNF. Maybe I was right several years ago, when I thought that I'd never be able to finish the Tecumseh marathon. Or maybe I just had a bad day.
I will admit that while in a hotel room in Tennessee, on my trip back to Florida, I visited the Hoosier Hikers Website and read about their race series and started thinking about 2016.