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2013 Fox Cities Marathon

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It’s marathon-recap time! Our Sunday started at 6am when the alarm woke us up. I couldn’t feel too much sympathy for myself though because the family had gotten up at 4am to get Alex ready for his run. We had some crude race maps provided on the marathon website but not much to give us side / connecting roads for people who like to follow along the route by car.

It seems so wrong to be up that early to run 26+ miles!

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As we were driving to the 4 mile point, Mom, Dad, and Matt were getting Alex into the corral and ready to go. He was SUPER pumped!

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We weren’t sure how congested it would be around the starting line so Ben and I agreed to position ourselves at mile 4 and call the family with an update once we saw Alex. Armed with three different maps and coffee from McDonalds, we found the perfect location to wait for the runners. It was absolutely FREEZING when we got into position. We arrived 25 minutes before gun time but were able to cheer on the wheelchair athletes and those that started the marathon an hour early (7+ hour racers).

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We were freezing and still barely awake but I think this morning time was my favorite part of the marathon. There’s something so exciting about being at a big race event like this. Someday, I want to be in it too!

Alex was aiming for an 8mph pace time and he ran by us right on time and looking so excited. In fact, he was bouncing with just a little too much spring in his step. 🙂

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There were no spectators where we were so the view down the street was absolutely perfect. Ben did a great job finding our first viewing location. After calling the folks to inform them that we had an Alex Sighting, we all decided to meet up at mile 8 for the next logical cheering spot. The family got lost halfway there so we ended up swinging down the road and flagging them to follow us!

Somehow we lucked out again at mile 8 – right next to an awesome band! Check out the time and temp below – definitely NOT good weather for standing and cheering but GREAT for the runners!

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We saw Alex’s coach fly by looking amazing and the parents had a bunch of tiny cowbells that we clanged. Then we all kept our eyes peeled for an orange tank top. Thank goodness Alex always picks bright colors.

Team Alex’s cheering squad:

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It was fun to catch up with the family on the starting line news. Apparently Alex was running the marathon with his friend and training buddy Erika but somehow they lost each other in the starting gates. They have the exact same pace and we were hoping they’d be able to find one another along the course.

Sure enough – they found each other! Erika was wearing a neon baseball cap and the two of them looked like they were doing great!

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We left the parents’ car at mile 8 and all crammed into Ben’s car to have him navigate through the course. We had planned out the first two spots in advance but at this point we weren’t sure where to go next. We hit some road closures and dead ends but managed to find them in multiple places along the route – always together and always looking good.

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(Rummage sale? Anyone need a break to purchase odds and ends?)

At mile 18 we noticed Erika was beginning to slow down and start to lag behind Alex. She was grimacing a bit and we knew she’d been battling a running injury a few months prior. We were hoping they’d both have the juice to keep trekking along.

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We needed to stop for a quick spectator bathroom break / beverage purchase side-trip and then tried to figure out where they’d be. The text messages were sporadic and delayed, so we couldn’t rely too much on that info.

We positioned ourselves on mile 22 thinking we’d either JUST miss them or they’d be passing by any second. And then we saw Erika alone:

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We gave her a big cheer thinking we’d just missed Alex and hightailed it two more miles up the course. We wanted to give him one more big cheer before seeing him at the finish.

And we waited, and waited, and waited… and then saw Erika AGAIN.

But no Alex.

We knew he couldn’t have run that fast, so we stopped and waited. Ten minutes later we saw Alex. He said his leg was feeling tight and he was in some pain, but was OK. We gave him a final cheer and headed to the finish.

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Erika flew down the final corral in stunning time. She discovered a few miles from the finish that she was on pace for Boston qualifying time (in her FIRST marathon!) and she pushed it into high gear.

She looked a bit rough crossing – but she made it with a minute to spare!! Erika qualified for Boston!! Whoop!

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Thirty minutes later, Alex was spotted running down the home stretch. He looked fine, just a little slow.

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We found Erika and got a picture with the marathoners and their finisher medals. What a tired but happy group!

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We walked over to the massage area so Alex could get his leg worked on. We were trying to understand exactly what happened. Apparently sometime between miles 20 and 22 Alex felt a sharp pull on his hamstring and had to pull over and get medical help. They treated him for 15 minutes and then had a medic bike alongside him for the next two miles to make sure he’d be OK.

The minute Alex laid down for his massage he couldn’t move. They had three people working on him for over 45 minutes! The wind was whipping and Alex was freezing. They covered him with three of the finisher wraps and a blanket to help him retain some body heat.

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They determined it was a hamstring pull and a sodium deficiency. He needed sodium tabs along the route. At that point they brought some medics back to see if they could get him an IV.

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Two of the medics carried Alex over to the medic tent where he could be treated.

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An hour later he was able to slowly walk around and we were ready to go home.

It was a long, long day. By the time we got home everyone was exhausted. I fell asleep in front of the Packer game and was groggy and cold the rest of the day. Mom said Alex took a hot shower and iced his knees and hamstring. Oh, and took more sodium.

So he didn’t finish in 4hrs or less. Not that 4:05 is a bad time – don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I could finish a half marathon in that time! But it’s sad that it had to happen when it did. Alex puts more miles on each week than anyone I know and because his body is so used to the high level of activity, he’s been pretty much injury-free for years. Now we’re smarter and know about the sodium, so next time (next time!?) should have a better result.

Still, he bounced back so fast I couldn’t believe it. Mom informed me that he put an ADDITIONAL 10,000 steps on his pedometer once the family got home. Crazy boy. 🙂

So we can now cross the full marathon off Alex’s bucket list. Major congrats to him for pulling through and finishing strong!

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3 Responses

  1. Holy cow! What a story! Not only is Alex incredible after still finishing through all of that, but Erika killed it too! BQ in the first marathon?! WHOA.

  2. Wow – I am gad Alex is okay now, but that has to be worrisome to wait and wait and not see him coming!

  3. Great recap. That first marathon is the toughest because you really have no idea what to expect. You push yourself harder than in training and everyone’s body reacts differently. Now Alex is all the wiser. You watch him totally kill the next marathon. As for this one, he should be so proud of his time and that he kept pushing through to the end. Way to go!
    You guys were such good spectators. You can’t know how much it helps runners to have family and friends along the way. You keep us going.

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