The 2006 Quad Cities Marathon was better than expected. Here is a recap:
- 995.6 miles run
- 366.8 miles to go
- Race: Quad Cities Marathon
- Place: Moline, IL
- Miles from home: 843.4
- Course Difficulty: 4 out of 10
- Course Enjoyability: 7.5 out of 10
- Weather: Overcast and 60s; brisk wind in places
- Finishers Medal: 7 out of 10
- Donations To Date: ~$21.7k
- I got the chance to meet and mingle with Patti Catalano Dillon, the first ever woman to run sub 2:31, 2:30, 2:29 and 2:28 in a marathon.
- I know it has been a few weeks since I mentioned it, but airlines still suck. Just in case you wanted to know my current stance.
- The winner's time of 2:16:36 was the fastest winner's time of any marathon I have raced this year.
- I surpassed 100 flights for the year, touching down in D.C. Sunday night with # 102.
What a wonderful time I had in the Quad Cities. Separated by the Mississippi river, these four cities, two abreast, on either side of the river offered a small town feel, where you are treated like a king but with all the perks of a big race, an obviously fast course (as seen by the overall winner's time mentioned above) and an overall strong field. More or on that as I get towards the end.
But at the beginning, I was once again surprised by the race director in asking to give a small speech about Fiddy2 at the pasta dinner. (Of course, I should not be too surprised by Joe Moreno, an affable gentleman who is so into making sure that his race is run correctly, that last year, when a train threatened to cut off runners, blocked its path with his truck! You cannot make this stuff up.) But besides the obvious fact that I enjoy talking to large groups to begin with is the addition that unless I speak about Fiddy2 and what I am doing, people might just not know. And, as I assume not everyone who reads these is fully aware of what I am doing, let me reiterate.
I decided to run 52 marathons this year early in April of last year. In its initial planning days, I came across the organization called L'Arche, more specifically a chapter located in Mobile, Alabama which held its own marathon. Learning that L'Arche worked hand-in-hand in helping to better the lives of the physically and mentally challenged, I decided that instead of just running 52 marathons for myself I would take on the additional endeavor of raising money for L'Arche Mobile. While I am far behind where I hoped I would be at this point in the year, I know that I am doing the best I can and at the very least am getting the word out about this wonderful organization with chapters located world-wide.
That was essentially what I told the group eating their spaghetti Saturday night and the applause I received was extremely heartfelt and made me feel warm inside. I wish I could speak at every pasta dinner just for a few minutes to let people know how much their donations (large or small) will help L'Arche Mobile.
After my speech, I sat down and listened to Patti's wonderful story of achieving things that she never thought possible, all very relaxed after a much needed massage from my new friend/masseuse/chauffeur for the weekend, Laurel. This being her hometown, earlier in the day. I had been treated to a guided tour of the John Deere factory (where I saw my friend and fellow runner, Jack S. [his anonymity being protected because of what follows], being a huge tourist and taking pictures of farm equipment and slides about farm equipment, and signs describing the slides about the farm equipment, etc.) and ate at a local sub shop called the Hungry Hobo. I was so taken by their logo that I asked the manager if I could have one of their visors that the employees were wearing. As she acquiesced, I told Laurel I was damn sure wearing that puppy in the race the next day. ( And I did.)
After a sleep that went by too fast, the morning broke and it was time for the 38th consecutive week of lubing up all the body parts which might chafe, fueling the body for the next 3 hours plus of running and heading out. Just another Sunday morning in 2006 for Dane.
1st 8 miles: 56:35
This time was almost identical to last week's first 8 miles but unlike last week I could tell I was in for a much faster run. Around mile 2, I heard a guy behind me ask: "Dane?" and lo and behold I was running with Mike, a runner who I had been emailing for months and who had told me he would be at this race. Unfortunately his description of "blue hat, blue shirt and black shorts" was probably the same description given by 17 other people that morning. Having no picture of him to go on, I was lost trying to decipher which of these guys might be him. Luckily, he found me (I think it is my winning personality; I am sure it was my ears) and we spent the next few miles running together. Having run a marathon just two weeks before he said he would be happy with a 3:20 and we were well on that pace.
1st half: 1:33:20
A full two minutes faster than last week showed that I felt much better not wearing a huge basketball jersey in hot weather. A little kick before the half was provided when a local band was playing Rock and Roll Part 2 (better known as the "Hey Song"). They hit the "hey" part right after I went by and I threw me hands in the air for the first two and then did a little Charlie Chaplin-type heel click on the third. This led to a background chatter of:
Flutist: "Isn't this mile 13?"
Band Director: "Yeah. Just down that hill is halfway."
Flutist: "He has far too much energy."
Perhaps, but it did not stop the Paavlovian response of "Let's. Go. P.S.U." from coming out of my mouth after that final "hey", which is the chant I will be doing next week in Beaver Stadium.
Around here, I had pulled away from Mike a little bit but knew he was not too far behind. I had also seen Jack in one of the out and back parts and he was a lot closer to me than expected. I wondered if he was going to set a PR today. I was pretty sure it was a 3:26 for him. (Jack is old, give him some credit.) (I am kidding.)
Mile 16: 1:53:00
Four minutes faster than last week and still feeling good. Unfortunately, this area is where the windiest section of the course was and I began to feel its toll as my mile splits started to steadily decline. Run mostly on the shores of the Mississippi and sometimes on an island in the middle of it, there was always a stiff breeze. As the temps warmed up a bit, the wind was cooling and welcome but also swirling as well.
In order to try and make my mile splits look better in my mind, (one of the many games you have to play in a marathon), I would see the miler markers approach and push it hard. Of course I would then feel my energy ebbing and would have to back it off just a bit in order to make sure I still had the gas at the end. But it worked for a while, at least.
Here I would like to note a really nice touch done by the Quad Cities marathon people, which was tethering large balloons on a lengthy string to each mile marker. You could see them from about 90 seconds away (at my pace) and it helped you visualize small goals in order to pick it up when you were struggling. I am a fan of this idea and wish more races would do something similar.
Mile 24: 2:55
Holding steady at approximately 4 minutes faster than last week (and I have no idea why I am comparing this race to last week's by the way, so do not look for the correlation), I knew I would finish in a good time. Coming off a bridge at mile 20, I saw that we had a 3 mile out and back to the finish. It was then I noticed a thin runner sprinting back at me and realized this was the leader. Damn near 6 miles ahead of me and I was hardly slacking. Wow. I will be honest, this sapped a little energy from me and I can see why many runners who might be a little slower get demoralized when runners pass them in similar situations.
At the turn-around heading back, I once again saw Jack far sooner than I expected and was totally excited for him. Plus it gave me a kick in the ass, as I assuredly did not want to get beat!
So I turned it on a smidgen and passed a few runners who had passed me in the last few miles. I then saw Laurel. Competing in her third marathon, she definitely looked a bit tired. I guess massaging elite runners the day before had probably taken its troll on her. In addition, at this point, the sun had broken through and the weather was getting warmer by the minute.
I could see that it was possible to get a 3:11. But honestly, I was beat. Plus, earlier this week, when asked what time I thought I might get by a good friend, I had thrown out the number: 3:12. No reason why. Just said it. So I decided to stick to that and cruised in to the announcer yelling: "Here comes Dane Rausch…Roshen…Roochen…from Arlington, Virginia!" It is really not hard at all. Three syllable. Raus (like "Ow that hurts!") Schen and Berg. But an A for effort goes to the announcer and really, for all the volunteers and spectators at this race as you can see they take great pride in putting on a wonderful event. They succeeded.
I took a big lumberjack step on the finisher's mat to signify I had arrived and my time read 3:12:25. Good enough only for 34th overall (I told you this was a STRONG field) but my second fastest time of the year. In fact, the four races I ran in September were my 4 fastest times of the year to this point. So much for the naysayers who told me my body would break down as the year went on.
Now, where's my walker?
Ends up that Mike ran a stellar 3:18, far faster than what he was hoping for on the day; Jack crushed his Personal Best by close to 4 minutes in running a 3:22 and Laurel, who got hit with some stomach issues in the last 10k, gutted out a fine performance given the circumstances. I had a chance to once again thank so many of the racers and volunteers at the end of the race and then had the pleasure of riding to the airport with some of the elite Ethiopians in the race. Very nice guys. Who can beat me by like a friggin hour.