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Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon: 2013 Recap - Close Call
Husband/Webmaster Bill and I hit the road about noon on Friday for the 6+ hour drive to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon. About 20 minutes into the ride, I realized that Louisville is not in our timezone. That's okay, packet pickup goes until 9 pm. We still have plenty of time, but we now have 1 less hour than we thought we would when we started.
As we approached the Indianapolis area, traffic got heavy. It was moving at freeway speed, but it was a steady stream of cars in all 3 lanes. The car ahead of us made a casual lane change, and revealed a truck tire in the middle of the lane. No time to react, no time to swerve or break, and no where to go, we gasped, held on, and went right over it.
Ouch, that was rugged. But then everything seemed fine. It ended up only being the tread of the tire. The car wasn't making any noises, wasn't off kilter. We looked at each other, shrugged, and continued on our way.
A few minutes later, Bill noticed the water temperature gauge had maxed out, needle plastered as high has it could go. Uh oh, that can't be good. We pulled over at the next exit. As we found a safe place to investigate, the needle dropped all the way down. Uh oh, that might be worse.
We ended up in a bank parking lot. Bill got out to investigate. When it comes to troubleshooting car issues, I am as useful as runny nose at a hypochondriac convention. So, I decide to stay out of the way, and check out the restroom at the Quizno's across the parking lot.
Upon my return, it has been determined that we need to find a car repair place, and need to add water to something under the hood. I am sure it has a name, and reason, neither of which are terribly important to me. We both tried to find car repair places on our phones, which wasn't producing good results, so we diverted our attention to the other task. We head back to Quizno's to procure some water. The very nice owner gave us a disposable food grade container full of tap water. Looking somewhat suspicious as we return to the car, a bank employee inquires as to what we are up to.
We explained the situation, and this very nice man called a friend, and then reported that there is a Pep Boys near by that has a service station. He then offers to lead us there.
Mean while, I am looking at the clock tick away, and thinking what will it take to get to packet pickup on time. There is no packet pickup in the morning. If we don't get to Louisville by 9 pm, we are out of luck. I had tried to contact the race director earlier in the week for another issue, and did not get a reply, so I am skeptical about being able to contact the race director for this. Basically, our choices are get there by 9 pm, or don't run.
After dumping water into some important water receptacle near the engine thingy, we followed bank-man, and limped the car very carefully to the Pep Boys. Explained our situation, and the nice man said he could look at it right away.
After an eternity of about 10 minutes... they reported they had found the problem, and offered to show it to us. He diligently explained all the details of what was wrong, but all I heard was the sound of parents talking in a Charlie Brown movie... and 'hopefully get the part tomorrow'.
It's now 6:25. We are 2 hours from Louisville. What are our options?Rental car. Unfortunately, Pep Boys does not have a shuttle service. About a mile up the road, there was a rental car place. If we dash there, maybe we have a chance.
A young couple in the waiting area overheard us, and offered to give us a ride to a rental car place. We graciously accepted. We got in their car, and we drove for what seemed like forever, and arrived at a different rental car place. The young woman knew that the other place was already closed for the day.
We arrived at Budget at 6:30. They had closed at 6 pm, but we tapped on the door and they were still in there, and let us in. We explained our situation. They had one car left, with some issue. It was safe to drive, but made a rattling noise. 'We'll take it' I said quickly. The friendly staff chatted slowly and relentlessly about nothing, as they processed our transaction, and as I watched the clock just tick away. They were so nice, but it was maddening. It was like trying to catch an endless stream of molasses in your hands.
Bill was signing documents, and I had gathered up all of our belongings, cloaked with more stuff than 'Waldo' on page 1, and was fidgeting at the door like a little kid that drank too much soda. Bill finally escaped from the web of slow moving words and headed towards the door.
A nice voice behind us said "Oh wait a second, now, hmmm, I am not sure, could it be, maybe, I am wondering, did Cindy get that vehicle properly washed and all. We can have it all cleaned up real good and pretty for you in about 5 minutes."
As cheerfully and graciously as I could, I replied over my shoulder "We'll drive it dirty" as the door skirted my heels.
We threw all our stuff in the car, bounced in, and drove out before the doors were even closed.
The navigation on our phone tells us our arrival time is about 8:50. We drive as fast as we can, and just watch the minutes tick, and keep an eye on that estimated arrival time. We should be fine, as long as no one needs to pee, no other problems, no other snags. We need perfect conditions for the next 2 hours.
The arrival time fluctuates by a minute or 2 here and there, but we arrived at the convention center that hosts the expo and packet pickup at about 8:45. Bill slowed down enough for me to jump out, and I made my way down endless halls looking for the correct exhibit hall, and a very rushed but necessary potty stop.
I got my packet with about 10 minutes to spare. Many of the expo exhibitors had already packed up and left. I went back out to find Bill, who was either circling, or finding a place to park.
I rushed back out the entrance where Bill had dropped me off, and I suddenly realized something. I have no idea what car to look for. In all the rush getting the car, I never noted what it looked like. I had that look on my face like my dog when he's been sniffing and wandering, and suddenly realizes he's not in the back yard anymore.
Fortunately, Bill spotted me, rolled down the window, and yelled to me. I got in the car, and finally felt like I could take a deep breath. Ahh. We made it.
We tried to check out the hot air balloon something fun to do thing as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival events. That turned out to be a giant mess. Wall to wall cars, paid $8 to park, shuttled to the end of the world for a parking spot, walked a half mile against a stream of tired families, got to the entry point, and learned it would be another $10 to get in. Yuck. I thought this was just a casual thing where we could relax and see some hot air balloons. Nope. We decided to skip it. Getting out was just as challenging as getting in.
By the time we got to our hotel, it was about 10:30, and we still hadn't had dinner yet. We opted to visit the restaurant in the hotel, and had a yummy sandwich, and watch sports coverage on a tv larger than my bedroom.
After a generous nap, it was time to get up and go run a marathon.
The marathon course was nice. We went through Churchill Downs, but couldn't see a whole lot. We saw some horses on the track. That was cool. Miles 11 thru 14ish were in a very hilly park. We topped a very mean hill at mile 23.
Upon finishing, and finding Bill, I was greeted with... "Nice job and the car won't be ready until Tuesday." Booooo.
We called the rental car place, let them know we'd return the car on Tuesday, and headed back... because we have another race back home on Sunday - the Bear Trax 20K
The score is - marathon #62
sub 4 state #29.
Earth Day 50K & 15M Trail Races: 2013 Recap
As training partner, Dennis Hanna, and I prepare for our upcoming Mohican 100 miler in Ohio in mid-June, we wanted to do the Ice Age 50 miler. Scheduling will prevent us from being there this year, so we looked for an alternative. We found the Earth Day 50K in Crystal Lake, IL.
Dennis declared that he would like to be in charge of the navigation for this trip. Navigation is not generally one of Dennis' strengths, but he insisted he would get us there safely and on time.
On my way to pick him up that morning, my car suddenly, and for no good reason started making a horrible sound. It also felt awful and smelled funny. There was no event. I didn't hit anything, run over anything, nothing. Just completely unprovoked.
It was severe enough that my standard cure for funny noises - turn radio up - wasn't going to help at all. I limped it to the nearby Park - n - Ride, called Dennis, and within 15 minutes, he picked me up and our trip resumed.
I texted husband, Webmaster Bill, let him know the car's symptoms and where-abouts, and then turned my attention to the day and running task ahead of us. Dennis and I will be gone all day, maybe this problem will solve itself while we are running.
Dennis' navigation got us to the start on time, and with no diversions or unplanned tours of Illinois back-roads... Ripley's has been notified.
Our plans are to run the 50K, then head out on a trail that Dennis found for some additional miles.
The 50K course is on a 5+ mile loop trail in Veterans Acres and Sternes Woods park. We will do 6 loops. Northern Illinois is not know for hills, but somehow they rounded up a few, and put them all in this course.
There is a full aid station at the start/finish area. There is a mini aid station on the loop, in a portion of the course that we pass twice on each loop.
After a very chilly national anthem, we begin our loopy organized training run. After a couple loops, we start to warm up, and can shed some of our winter layers.
On our 4th loop, the mini aid station is gone. No, not out of water. Then entire station is packed up and gone, which wasn't terribly fun, as we were getting used to arriving at that spot thirsty.
When we arrived back at the main aid station, they asked us if the other one still had enough water. We told them its completely gone. "Out of water?" No. Gone. They told us they'd try to get some water out to that spot.
After 5 loops, we were pretty ready to be done. This year's never ending winter has kept us from getting out on our local trails. We need to do this run, but our legs lost a bit of enthusiasm somewhere in that 5th loop.
After finishing the final official loop, we grabbed a quick snack, fluids, and headed out right away for our auxiliary mileage, before our legs would catch on that we were supposed to be done.
Satisfied that 31 miles on hilly trails was sufficient trail/hill training for today, we set out to find the paved bike path that Dennis had found. He insisted it would be a nice and flat route for our final few miles.
It took a bit of searching, and help from a resident who directed our unmistakably lost bodies, but we finally found our 'flat' bike path. After about a quarter mile I gently asked.. 'um, how did you conclude that this would be flat?' Dennis insisted that it looked flat on Google maps. Yes, most maps tend to look flat when looking at them on a 2-D computer screen. This trail was so hilly, that there were warnings that cyclists had to dismount, and walk their bikes down the steep grades.
To his credit, after we were on it for about 3 miles, it did flatten out. Yay.
Hoping for a total of 50 miles, we settled for a total of 40, which was still our longest run this season.
We headed home, and on the way back, I learned that Bill had investigated the car situation, and decided that it was indeed not driveable. The following day, a tow truck fetched it, delivered it to the car hospital, where it was diagnosed with a broken engine mount. The car made a full recovery by the following day. Our legs and feet took about the same.
This brings the score to ultras: 22, marathons or longer: 83.
Lost Dutchman Marathon: 2013 Recap
Very short trip to Phoenix for this marathon. Brought our teenage son with us. We very much enjoyed escaping our Wisconsin winter weather for a couple days. Went to Taliesin West. Marathon was nice.
Marathon State number 32.
Sub 4 Marathon State number 29.
Marathon number 59.
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