A few years ago, my wife Ashlie and I decided to set a goal together. That goal is to run a marathon in each of the fifty states and join the 50 State Marathon Club. Today, nearly seven years after my first marathon, I have a grand total of nine marathons in eight distinct states, and Ashlie has eight marathons in eight states. Whoops. Looks like we better get our butts in gear! Luckily, we should be knocking three states off our list this year, starting with North Carolina, where we both ran the Tobacco Road Marathon on March 16th.
We both ran it as a long run, meaning we didn’t care about time and did not try to race it. I did, however, pace the amazing Lynn Youngman, who is incredibly fast, so we ended up running it in 2:59:13, which was enough to get Lynn her first ever sub-three hour marathon and a terrific second-place finish. Ashlie ran just a hair over four hours, which is incredible considering her first ever marathon was a 4:20 at Disney. Obviously, both us being able to “jog” a marathon in times faster than our debuts says a lot about how we have improved as runners.
Next up is the Colfax Marathon in Denver, Colorado. Ashlie is presenting at a national nursing conference in Denver, and the marathon is the day before the conference begins. We are both trying to race that one; Ashlie hoping to run around the same time she posted in Columbus (3:50) and I am trying to finish top three (which I can reasonably expect to do with a low 2:40s). We are flying into Denver a week in advance in order to acclimate to the elevation, which may pose a problem to us sea-level runners.
Also, I would also like to add that I decided to introduce a wrinkle to my goal for the 50-50. Instead of just finishing a marathon in each state, I want to qualify for Boston in every state. This way, it becomes more of a challenge. I can always hop in a marathon and stagger my way to the finish, but I have to be in pretty decent shape in order to run under 3:05. Granted, this time goal will change as I get older, but I also expect to exhibit typical behavior and slow down as I age. Trying to BQ will force me to keep training, even if my times get slower and slower.
Of course, this restriction does mean that I will have to go back and run another marathon in Florida, as I ran the Disney Marathon in 2008 with Ashlie as her first marathon. But I have my whole life to do that. Maybe I will do one when I retire and move down there. After all, the BQ standard for men 65-69 is 4:10. I hope I can still run that long when I’m that old!