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Running Background:

I consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for hobby. I decided to run a marathon because I like the challenge of running long distances. I think the physical aspect is the relatively easy part. The hard part (and the one I enjoy) is the mental games you encounter in the latter half of the race. I also like to set goals for myself and strive for improvement no matter what the sport. My ultimate goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon someday.

Training:

I trained for 5 months to get ready for this race, and I didn't follow a specific training program. During my training I averaged 45 miles per week.

The best advice I received is to make my long runs on the weekend replicate what I'll actually do on race weekend (without running fast). Do things like carbo load the night prior and hydrate well. Make a routine so that your body knows what to expect and the only adjustment you make during the race is running a little faster.

Race Day:

The 2007 Deadwood Mickleson Trail Marathon was an enjoyable race although it turned out tough for me for several reasons. I started out slow like I normally do (~8:30 pace). I knew the first half was gradually uphill so I definitely didn't want to burn out early. After the first mile, I noticed the mile markers were out of place by about .75 miles. I only run with a regular watch, but several people around me had the GPS/watch combo on their wrists and as we passed mile 3 they said they had about 3.8 miles. I was a little confused since I normally rely on the mile markers.

Normally I start picking up my pace around mile 5 and settle into "race-pace" by mile 7. With the mile markers off, I chose to go by my watch to start my pickup and unfortunately started too early. It was also my lack of experience in running a marathon where the first half was a gradual incline which led to me hitting the wall much earlier than normal. Around mile 19 there was a serious downhill covered in mud from recent rains. Normally my legs would welcome a downhill, but this one actually forced me to stop and walk down it.

Overall I enjoyed the scenery and relative solitude of the race. When my mind was trying to tell me to stop, I would get lost in the beauty of the Black Hills. I don't think this is a race you should attempt if your going for a PR, but definitely do it if your in for some exploration.

Recovery:

My recovery was pretty rough. The quick start hurt my muscles early on and pushing on to the finish line just exacerbated the issue. My knees suffered the most. I took about two weeks off after trying a few short 3 milers the week after. Recovery was a mix of icing every night and constant stretching throughout the day.

Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Take it easy and just enjoy this race. Let your mind get lost and don't think about your running pains.

Plans to Run Another:

I planning to continue to run marathons because I enjoy running and meeting different folks at the races.

For my next marathon, I'll pay attention to the course and make a careful decision on what pace I should be running.

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