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Marathon #103: 2012 Maritime Marathon (2012/06/24)

The inaugural Holy Family Memorial (HFM) Maritime Marathon in Manitowoc, Wisconsin took place today. It was my 81st full marathon, and 103rd overall marathon/ultra.

Oh my goodness! The 2nd half of this marathon became sauna hot! Pre-race, it had rained. It was nice and overcast, in the 60's F, during the 1st half, but reached the 70's F with the sun out in full force, evaporating all of the rain. We ran along Lake Michigan so were exposed to the sun.

I came in 20th Place overall out of 204 marathon finishers, in a time of 3:24:53.

After 3 straight marathons & ultras "at altitude" in Comrades (Durban,
South Africa) 3,000ft/1,000m, Utah Valley (Provo, Utah) 6,200ft/2,100m,
& Teton Marathon (Jackson, Wyoming) 6,200ft/2,100m, it felt "easy" to
breathe here along Lake Michigan on the shoreline at sea-level, although
all the morning rain did evaporate and turn into sauna-like conditions
on the 2nd half.

I traveled w/ my NYC Maniac buddy Peter Lantin, and got to see
marathoner friends Diana Bolton, Rebecca Sudduth, & Robert "Cowboy Jeff"
Bishton!!! Always a pleasure.

THANK YOU so much to all those who have donated to my Back on My Feet
NYC fundraiser, to help combat homeless!!!!!
If you haven't donated and would like to, please visit:

Manitowoc is Wisconsin's Maritime Capitol, along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and has been renowned for shipbuilding, from schooners of the 19th century and, now to world class luxury yachts built by Burger Boat. At the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, you can go aboard the USS Cobia, one of the 28 submarines built in Manitowoc during World War II. There's a Budweiser plant across from the museum, but I doubt they have tours. There isn't much to do in this town, so I recommend, spending sightseeing time in Milwaukee (1hr 15mins away) or in Green Bay (45mins away).

Packet Pick Up
Wisconsin Maritime Museum
75 Maritime Dr
Fri 6/23, 5-8pm
Sat 6/24, 10am-4pm

I would not recommend the Super 8 Motel on 4004 Calumet Ave. It was only $99 (race discount) and came with breakfast, but is along a highway (stripmall territory) and for late check-out, the best they could do for us was a 12pm check out (the race starts at 7am). Also, Peter & I ended up with 1 full size bed, and not 2 doubles. I did book the place a week before the race though.

The Best Western Lakefront Hotel on 101 Maritime Dr (across the street from packet pick up at the Wisconsin Maritime Hotel), 920-682-7000, would be a better option. It's a better chain and is located in town. They offer a "Schooner Coast Package" for $113.99, including breakfast for 2 and 2 adult admission to the museum.

Courthouse Pub (5-stars on Yelp)
1001 S 8th St
Manitowoc, WI
It's downtown. They provide a free soft drink or microbrew for runners.

Luigis Italian Restaurant (3.5-stars on Yelp)
6124 Calumet Ave (Hwy 151W)
Manitowoc, WI
It's on the highway.

We started on Viebahn St & S 8th St, by the University of Wisconsin - Manitowoc. We ran north along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and then along Mariner's Trail to Two Rivers (named so because the city has the West Twin River & East Twin River on both sides of its downtown penninsula) and turned around at the 13.1 mile mark in Point Beach State Park. There were marathoners, relay teams of 2, and relay teams of 4. There were 15 aid stations, with each having water & Gatorade, located at: Miles 1.7, 3.5, 5.7, 7.6, 9.1, 10.5, 11.5, 13.1, 14.5, 15.6, 16.9, 18.4, 20.3, 22.5, & 24.4. The Mile 13.1 aid station had fruit & bagels, and the Mile 18.4 aid station had G2 gels.


Marathon #102: Teton Marathon (2012/06/16)

2012 Teton Marathon (Inaugural) / Jackson Hole Half Marathon
Sat 6/16, 6am for the full, 9am for the half

Josh Melver & Pam Reed (the legendary Pam Reed of Badwater fame)
Redline Running Company
@RedLineRunning on Twitter

Packet Pickup:
Snow King Resort
400 E Snow King Ave
Jackson, WY
Fri 6/15, 5-8pm
RD's words: "You can also pickup your bib at the starting line starting at 5:45am Saturday morning, but your goody bag and t-shirt can be picked up at the finish line after the race. If you are coming in late and want to have a friend pick up for you on Friday night, that is fine as well."
Both Josh & Pam were extremely friendly, they even issued Steven & I $20 checks to make up for the cancellation of the full marathon course (more to follow as you read along).

Host Hotel:
The Inn at Jackson Hole
3345 West Village Drive
Teton Village, WY 83025
Standard Room (double beds):  $119 per night (used Teton Marathon rate), prepaid 7 day cancellation policy, Total $273.94.
Walking distance to finish line / shuttles to Half Marathon start (in Teton Village), not the Full Marathon start (Phil Baux Park in Jackson).
From/To JAC Airport: $26 for shuttle, $60 for taxi (flatrate). Car rental is $60/day, so is a better option and gives you the flexibility to visit the nearby Grand Teton National Park, and also Yellowstone National Park.

From NYC, Steven Thunder Lee & I traveled on AA from LGA via DFW to JAC. We rented a car at JAC. The airport is small but well run and picking up the car rental took no time at all. The airport did not have traditional gates, and we deplaned using a mobile staircase (similar to Missoula, MT) and were greeted by stunning snow-capped mountain vistas! The entrance into the airport had a deer horn arch, welcoming us to "Jackson Hole".

RD's words: "The ½ marathon course is beautiful and you guys are the luckiest people in the world as you get to see it twice!! Thanks for bearing with us on the route change. This note is in way of some last minute reminders to ensure everything goes off without a hitch this weekend. PLEASE NOTE: We are changing the marathon start to 6am since we are now doing an out and back course. This will ensure that you won't have to battle the crowds of the ½ marathoners head on."

"There is only one big street crossing and that is as you turn right off of Hwy 22 onto Hwy 390 (Moose Wilson Blvd?). You have to cross 390 within the first 100 meters to connect with the bike path on the opposite side of the street at the drive-in to a local park."

"Remember, true hydration is at a cellular level and does not happen by pounding 2 gallons of water the day before the race. Those who are not regularly hydrating and try the shortcut will just spend more time in the bathroom on race day! Don't be fooled by the expected cooler weather into thinking you don't need to stay as hydrated. Remember that you are still at 6,200 ft elevation so you will naturally dehydrate faster if you are not acclimated to the elevation. Water stations will be every 2 miles starting at mile 2 (so 2, 4, 6, 8, 10). We will have some setup at the ½ way point but that will make it a 3 mile gap between miles 10 and 13 and 13 and 16. There will be Cliff gels and Jelly Belly Sport Beans at miles 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 20, 22, and 24 as well. Gatorade will also be on tap at miles 2, 4, 6, 8, 18, 20, and 22. There will be port-a-potties at the start and finish line. They will also be at mile 8 and 13 and usually the school has one which will be your mile 3 and 23."

The course was not a typical high altitude "net downhill" course since the point-to-point full marathon course was canceled a week prior, and we had to run the half marathon course backwards and then forwards with the half marathoners.

The full marathoners were allowed to start anytime from 6am (3hrs before the half marathon start, 13.1 miles away at Teton Village), as long as we made it to the turnaround before 9am. We were responsible for self-timing our 1st halfs, and then starting the "half marathon" at 9am.

We started at Phil Baux Park (next to Snow King Resort where packet pickup was) and immediately turned left onto E Snow King Ave, which then turned into W Snow King Ave at S Carcas(sp?) St(?). We followed the flour markings in the opposite direction. The markings were pretty good and we did not get lost, which was my #1 concern going into this non-traditional half marathon x2 course. However, our friend Jeff Hill did miss a turn early on and found himself lost.

Steven & I ran together for the 1st half. We didn't see any other runners, but it was a nice, serene, & scenic. We took a lot of pictures. They had unmanned aid station with cups of water & Power Aid pre-poured for us, which was very nice. We didn't have to run with water bottles. I thought I took it easy, running a 1:52:31 (this proved not to be the case in the 2nd half, as I could not push). We timed our run perfectly and made it to the half marathon "start" at 8:57am, enough time to grab some water then start the 2nd 1/2. We didn't want to start too early for risk of cramping from standing / waiting around.

The 1st half was net uphill, by maybe 100ft? The 2nd half was supposed to be easier since it's net downhill, but the altitude got to me and I ran a 2:03:45, for total marathon time of 3:56:16, just squeezing in a sub-4 marathon (my worst marathon time of 2012, even worse than Day 2 of my Mississippi+Alabama double in Jan, but hey, it's a sub-4, so I'll take it!) for my 28th state under 4hours (22 more to go for my "50sub4" goal).

The red shirt I'm wearing is the 50sub4 club shirt. Jeff, next to me, is the founder/President! He finished the 50sub4 trek a while ago. This was also State #43 for me. That means I still have to repeat 15 states!

The race was extremely beautiful! The snow capped mountains were visible from parts of the course. The start was chilly at 40F, even in June! It ended up in the low 70's F at the end of the race. We mostly ran on bike paths, but it was difficult to breathe as we are up "at altitude" at 6,200ft (1,000 feet above 1 mile / Denver), easily making it my most difficult sub-4 state. I've had worse finish times in other states, but I was in much better shape for this race (usually averaging 3:20s to 3:30s) and barely ended up sub-4'ing. If you're a flatlander, expect to run 1min/mile slower than what you are used to! You'll feel like you're gasping for air, and even drowning after you drink fluids at aid stations.

Post-Race Festival:
RD's words: "There will be many opportunities to get the needed calories back into your system directly after the race. There will be Water, Vitamin Water, Muscle Milk, pizza from both local pizza joints Mountain High Pizza Pie and Pinky G's Pizzeria, Bagels from Pearl Street Bagel and Rolls from Great Harvest Bread. In addition, we will also have post-race Acupuncture treatments available from East of the Tetons Acupuncture and massage treatments by Chill Spa."

The awards ceremony took place after the last finisher crossed. Pam & Josh gave away a lot of prizes through a raffle (tickets were attached to our bibs). Prized included gift certificates to local stores, restaurants, & yoga classes. They even gave away a men's and women's cowboy hats! With only ~14 marathoners and ~200 half marathoners, your chances of winning something were high. Steve won a yoga gift certificate, but exchanged it for a $10 Haagen Daas gift certificate, which he later gave away to a local. The guy even won 3rd Place AG for the Half, even though he ran a 13.1 "warm up"! He never ceases to amaze.

Closing Notes:
It's so beautiful here and is one of the most scenic places I have been to in the Lower 48. I truly enjoyed my time here and would definitely want to return, either to ski, or spend more time in Yellowstone National Park. We also visited Grand Teton National Park, post-race, as we only spent one full day in town. We were lucky enough to catch Old Faithful Geyser erupt (it erupts every 90mins +/- 10mins)!

The drive to Grand Teton from Jackson was quick, about 20mins to get into the park and another 10mins to the Visitor's Center. From there, it was another 2hrs (less if you don't make random stops to take pictures of wildlife) to get to Old Faithful within Yellowstone. We saw a bunch of elk, but did not spot any buffalo, as they are in a different section of the expansive park.

Near our hotel at Teton Village (where the famous Jackson Hole ski resort is), we spotted cows, horses, and even real cowboys herding their horses.

The town square area in Jackson is fun. It reminded me of Santa Fe, but even nicer. There are lots of hidden stores off of the square, so try walking around.
For carbo-loading, we ate at Pinky G's Pizzeria in Jackson on W Broadway. They use gas ovens, and have a full bar with TV's that show sports games and ESPN Sportscenter. The pizza took a long time to make, but was pretty good. I liked the crust, and it still tasted good the next day. It was cheap, at $23 for a pie, but they allow half-half options. We had Margherita+3 Cheese (no tomato sauce w/ garlic & olive oil). Nearby there are also two other pizza places: Caldera and Mountain High.

A fun bar we visited was Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (they have a steakhouse downstairs), across the street from the square. We sat at the bar on their comfortable saddle bar stools, complete with stirrups! Patrons with cowboy hats were present. At night (busy nights only?) they charge a $5 cover. Their TV's show sports games. We tried elk cheeseburgers, which tasted leaner and healthier than beef, but not as tasty as ostrich. A let down here was that they served no beers on tap.

A great store for gifts is Jackson Mercantile, right off the square.

This area is also right next to a mountain with chair lifts (Snow King), so it's so close for skiing and summer mountain biking.


Marathon #100 Preview - Comrades Marathon (2012/06/02)

Pictured: Comrades House (Comrades Museum) in Pietermartizburg (PMZ)

Social Networking sites:
Another great site is "North Americans Run Comrades" group on facebook.

Recommended Hotel
Durban Hilton

Bonitas-Comrades Expo
Thu 5/31, 9am-7pm
Fri 6/1, 9am-7pm
Sat 6/2, 9am-5pm

Live TV Coverage
Sun 6/3, 5:10am on SABC (national live coverage for the entirety of the race!!!)

Bus Tour
Today, the day before the race, we took the Course Preview Tour Bus from 8am on Sat. We made a stop at Comrades House (Museum). Lunch is provided along with a bottle of Energade.

90K Pietermartizburg
82K Polly Shorts, 732m
78K Ashburton, 671m
Highest Point, 824m
64K Camperdown, 732m
59K Cato Ridge, 732m
50K Bayat's Store, 704m
Inchanga Hill, 762m
Halfway Drummond, 640m
39K Botha's Hill Hotel, 747m
31K Winston Park, 616m
22K Field's Hill, 518m
17K Cowies Hill, 366m
14K Westville Shopping Centre, 229m
8K 45th & Cutting, 152m
Finish Durban, Sea Level

Runner Tracker
My bib #: 17100 (C corral, for sub-3:40 marathoners)
For South African mobile phones only: Text the runner's bib # (race number) to 38132. It costs R10. One race number per SMS. You will receive 5 SMS messages with your runner's splits.

6 official charities
The Community Chest - support 145 welfare and development societies,
PinkDrive - breast cancer awareness,
Sports Trust - invests in 5 schools to promote sport and running,
Starfish - supports children orphaned and/or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in South Africa,
Wildlands - establishes "green jobs", restores ecosystems, supports conservation and protection of biodiversity,
World Vision - tackles root causes of poverty and injustice that affect children in South Africa,

87th Comrades, race started in 1921, women allowed to run in 1976
2011 Starters: South Africans 11,818 / Rest of Africa 146 / International 684 / Total 12,648
2011 Finishers: South Africans 10,290 (87.1%) / Rest of Africa 122 (83.6%) / International 642 (93.9%) / Total 11,054 (87.4%)
2011 Novice Starters: South Africans 2,143 / Rest of Africa 56 / International 417 / Total 2,616
2011 Novice Finishers: South Africans 1,820 (84.9%) / Rest of Africa 46 (82.1%) / International 400 (95.9%) / Total 2,266 (86.6%)
2012 International Runner Entrants: 1,378 (Male 1,043 / Female 335) / UK 238 / USA 236 / Australia 185 / Brazil 122 / Zimbabwe 76 / Germany 56 / Lesotho 37 / Canada 35 / Japan 35 / Namibia 34 / India 31 / Switzerland 25 / UAE 22 / Botswana 20 / 66 countries / China 0

500 runners end up at the medical tent.
Only 1.5% of the field runs a negative split (called a "positive" split).

Course Records
Down: 2007 - Leonid Shvetsov, 5:20:49 / 1989 - Frith Van Der Merwe, 5:54:47
Up: 2008 - Leonid Shvetsov, 5:24:47 / 2006 - Elena Nurgalieva, 6:09:24
Most Wins - Bruce Fordyce, 9
Longest Gap between 1st & Last Wins - Wally Hayward, 1930 & 1954, 24 years (5 time Winner: 1930, 1950, 1951, 1953, & 1954)
Notable Americans - 1994 Winner Alberto Salazar (winner of Boston & NYC multiple times), 5:38:39 Up / Ann Trason 1996 Up & 1997 Down

2012 Notable Runners
Stephen Muzhingi (Winner 2009-2011, 5:32:46 Up in 2011)
Leonid Shvetsov (Winner 2007-2008, Up & Down Course Record Holder)
Elena Nurgalieva (Winner 2011, 6:24:11 Up, 9 finishes, 6 Wins in 2003-2004, 2006, 2008, 2010-2011, Up & Down Course Record Holder)
Olesya Nurgalieva (2nd place 2011, 6:24:36 Up, Winner 2007 & 2009)
Kami Semick
Zola Budd
Michael Wardian
Marshall Ulrich

Race Day
Breakfast at the Durban Hilton begins at 12:30am. We had to board our buses between 2am & 2:30am.

The race began at 5:30am at the City Hall of PMZ. The finish line cutoff is 5:30pm at The Sahara-Kingsmead Cricket Stadium in Durban, 89.28K (56mi) away. The "down run" is longer than the "up run".

There are 8 corrals ("seeding batches"), letters A to H.

Race Day Schedule
5:30am Comrades Marathon start
10:40am (5hr 10mins) Cut-off at Cato Ridge
10:55am (5hr 25mins) Expected arrival of Male winner
10:25am (5hr 55mins) Expected arrival of Female winner
11:30am (6hr) Wally Hayward Medal cut-off at finish
11:40am (6hr 10mins) Halfway cut-off
1pm (7hr 30mins) Silver Medal cut-off at finish
1:30pm (8hr) Prize-Giving Ceremony (Awards Ceremony)
2pm (8hr 30mins) Cut-off at Winston Park On-Ramp
2:30pm (9hr) Bill Rowan Medal cut-off at finish
3:30pm (10hr) Cut-off at St. Johns Avenue Pinetown
4:30pm (11hr) Bronze Medal cut-off at finish
4:50pm (11hr 20mins) Cut-off at 45th Cutting - Sherwood
5:30pm (12hr) Last Gun: Race Ends
5:35pm Closing Ceremony

The "mile" markers were in KM to go, not KM run so far.

Aid Stations
47 aid stations (table refreshment stations). They contain some combination of Energade, water, Pepsi, chocolate, oranges, bananas, potatoes, biscuits, vaseline, Amica Ice, Mageu Number 1, Mega Load (our tour bus guide warned us this is nasty, it's commonly eaten by the Blacks [term used by the guide] in South Africa), among other treats. Drinks are served in "sachets".

The 1st aid station doesn't appear until 4.8km, and the last one is at 86.2km (2.8km to the Finish). Most have its own corporate sponsor. The tables are 600m long, and are on avg 1.8km apart, with the closest being 1km apart, and the longest being 2.7km apart. There is aid everywhere! There were portable toilets are every station.

Reebok finisher's jackets are given only to those who finish the race in Reebok running sneakers. The race shirt given at the Expo is by Reebok, as is the hat given to the 1st 16,000 registrants.

NED Bank is a major sponsor, and sponsors many of the elite athletes. If you wear a non-NED Bank or official Comrades hat, are the only official branded head gear you are allowed to wear. The race marshals may ask you to remove it while on the course.

Bib must be worn on both the front and back of your jersey, not your shorts.

Drop Bags are called Tog Bags.