Lake Wobegone Marathon: rough day at the office.

Ok, I had intended to do the 50K. Somewhere about half way, I changed my mind. The day came up warm and sticky and I didn’t adjust my effort.

Generally, speaking, when I start hitting rough patches in a marathon/50K effort race, I have about 10K (6.2 miles) left before my body starts shutting down, in terms of digesting water and electrolytes. So, in a marathon I don’t worry if the rough patches start at mile 20, or at 40K in a 50K.

Today, I started to hit rough patches at mile 16….bad news. Sure enough, by mile 22, I had slowed to a 20 minute mile and just wanted a place to lie down.

So I took almost an hour at the mile 23 aid station, but had enough left to walk a couple of 18 minute miles, followed by a 15:24 when I knew that I had 1 mile to go. I was in “keep the effort under control and don’t get sick again” mode.

I didn’t even think about doing the “out and back” for the 50K; I was toast. It still took me 6:58:58 to do the marathon, an all time PW (unless you count my two DNF’s, one in 2007 and one in 2004).

But I was the second male in the “general walk” category; the RW category was won in 4:59. It was hot for everyone.

Ironically, I was the second walker overall (behind the race walker) up until mile 22 when the first lady passed me. Early on a couple of “run/walkers” passed me but I got them back…and they passed me when I was on my back in the aid station. Did I feel stupid! šŸ™‚

Here is the blow by blow: the race is on a long, paved bike path and starts .2 miles away from the mile 108 point on the Wobegone trail (no, I am not misspelling “wobegone”).

So, the mile marker are “X miles to go”, and yes, the RD got the course USATF certified.
Since it is point to point, you risk a headwind and we got one, sort of (cross winds really). Training in Illinois is good training for that! So here are times for the 2 mile segments

2:27 (.2)
24:50 (27:17 for 2.2)
24:56 (52:13 for 4.2)
25:20 (1:17:33 for 6.2)
26:09 (1:43:23 for 8.2) (slight uphill)
25:56 (2:09:39 for 10.2)
25:04 (2:34:43 for 12.2, almost 20K)
2:45:53 (half marathon; they had this marked because they had a half marathon)
24:39 (2:59:22 for 14.2)
25:33 (3:24:55 for 16.2)
27:30 (3:52:26) for 18.2, bathroom stop)
Now the trouble hits hard
29:10 (4:21:36 for 20.2)
31:50 (4:53:27 for 22.2)
Now the 20 minute mile to get to mile 23
1:31:41 (6:25:08 for 24.2) Now THAT is a long two mile time!
33:50 for the final two miles: 6:58:58

No, I didn’t even think about taking the 50K out and back turn around, but I waved at the brave souls who did. šŸ™‚
I saw two. Yes, I was very upfront about not doing the 50K; I think that the mile 23 aid station worker called the RD to let him know that I had left the station and still wasn’t looking too good. šŸ™‚

The only negative about this race: the very fast walkers will be very lonely on this course. Note that I still got “second place male” even with my horrendous finish; most who beat me were walk/runners and even these didn’t catch me until mile 22.

Suggestions I’ll make: more bathrooms for the women (they were lined up at one of the park stations near mile 18) and ice at the aid stations (the staffed ones) if it is hot.

On the other hand, if we could get some fast walkers to show up…well…it would be very interesting. I won’t see them but I think that this event deserves some fast times.

Two HUGE positives
1. The course went past many ponds. The American toads and the cricket frogs were singing their hearts out.
2. NO KNEE PAIN. AT. ALL. No pain killers either; just stomach issues from asking my body to do more than it was trained to do.


May 19, 2012 - Posted by | marathons, time trial/ race, walking


  1. Still a great performance in my book. You also showed the good sense to not attempt the 50k, when I am certain you really wanted to.

    Comment by Byron Oost | May 20, 2012 | Reply

  2. Lauri Berger and I eagerly searched facebook for your results on Saturday and were sad to see you had a rough day. Yeah, I’m finally reading your race report…been a busy week here. Anyway, very nice race report; I’d love to do this race sometime but probably would do the 1/2 marathon. I dislike spring marathons because I don’t like doing long miles in winter. I know, I’m wimpy — your winters are much colder. OTOH, it’s tempting to do one of the longer ones…

    Comment by Tammy | May 25, 2012 | Reply

  3. congrats on your 2nd place finish! Sorry to leave that out of the previous comment. How many walked that day? I’d love to see a good turnout at this race.

    Comment by Tammy | May 25, 2012 | Reply

    • I am not sure as to how many walked. I have a photo on facebook that I will post on this blog. As far as you doing the half: it will be hilarious to watch them have to set up aid stations in time for you! (typically, the fastest is in the 2:20’s or so). They will make a point to do so, but you should probably tell them your intended time. Bruce Leisure is the RD and he is familiar with fast race walkers and will ensure that you are taken care of.

      Comment by blueollie | May 25, 2012 | Reply

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