Y’all know I like to do things in threes..!
The Southwest series was an opportunity for me to knock off three states in three days. My original goal was to do all three fulls in under four hours, but that was probably too aggressive. The elevation (4500’, 6500’, and 4400’ above sea level) proved to be a worthy opponent and my legs just weren’t having it on days 2 and 3. Here’s how it played out:
Day 1 (NM): 3:40
Day 2 (CO): 4:01
Day 3 (UT): 4:08
These races, put on by Mainly Marathons, are anywhere from 5 to 9 days long. They are a great way for Marathon Maniacs to level up or have 50 staters get multiple states in a short amount of time. They also have no cut off times, so if a runner is feeling pressure from the larger races (which typically pull folks off course at 6 hours) they’re a good, albeit expensive option at $130 each.
In exchange for those perks, you have to be okay with running 10-12 out and back laps. There’s no chip. Not even a time clock. They don’t close down roads, so the agreement is typically for a 1 or 2 mile stretch with the city recreation department. I imagine the conversation goes like this: “your people can be here for as long as they want but you can’t go outside these couple of miles”.
Even though the scenery in all 3 places (New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah) was amazing it got really old. No podcast, audiobook, or playlist was able to help on the boredom front. I would think you’d need constant conversation from a running buddy to get around this. I knew these races were fat a*s-esque before signing up, but maybe overestimated my ability to keep myself focused.
I am by no means a super fast runner, but definitely one of the few who showed up to actually race. These events cater to back of the pack runners (exhibit a: there is no podium but the last person to cross the finish is recognized with the caboose award) and this field was here to walk/run and socialize.
Runners are great people by nature and nobody was outright rude, but several people passive aggressively insinuated I was too serious. It was uncomfortable (and not just due to the volume of running!). I’d recommend these events for others who are in the Mainly demographic (prefer to walk/run, need the assurance of no cutoff time) but won’t be doing another myself.
Overall, the trip was made amazing by a visit with my Great Uncle and family. I really got to tap into a side of my Dad’s family I had not known before. We lost my Dad to cancer back in February; connecting with them brought closure I didn’t know I needed.
I also really enjoyed exploring all this area of the country has to offer. In between races and visits, I got to see the Aztec Ruins, be in 4 states at once (AZ, CO, NM, UT) at Four Corners, and saw the Natural Bridges Monument.
In the last 72 hours, I earned States 44-46 and boosted my lifetime marathon count to 52. I’m grateful to be on track to finish all 50 states plus DC by 2021 when I turn 40. After that, I’ll zero in on sub 4 “do over” states and achieving 100 lifetime marathons!