The Make it By Midnight Marathon takes place annually (6th year now) in Macon, Georgia. The race offers a few unique features: first it is a southern long distance race in the summer, second it has a relatively small field (175 runners) and low entry fee, around $50, and no standard start time. Instead, you can start the race any time after 3pm but you must finish the race prior to 1am. The course is rough, 4 loops of just around 6.5 miles through a gated community, a community without street lights (when day turns to night it is nearly pitch black) and with rough, rolling roads.
Result: DNF on the marathon; ½ marathon of 2:05 (worst effort ever)
State of Mind: Dejected and Angry
Weather: High 70’s, 100% humidity
This race stands as a comedy of errors. First off I drove up to Macon that morning, driving nearly 4.5 hours to get to there before vegetating in a hotel for a couple hours wondering what time I should go start the race. The drive itself didn’t kill me per se, I hydrated, stopped to eat a prepacked salad, and walked around, but overall, the effort hindered my state of mind. In terms of nutrition, I did a horrid job, my breakfast was too light, a smoothie, a banana, and a chia drink, and my lunch followed suit. As the day advanced, I felt weak at times, and tried to compensate, but steered away from a more hearty meal, avoiding grains and other, more solid nutrition. Too many healthy, but still snack foods to sustain a strong effort.
Next, in terms of conditions, the temperature was moderate for July, but the humidity was killer. While I hydrated prior to my effort and carried a bottle throughout, the climate sucked away at me, stripping me of energy and drive. My shirt was damp from walking and soaked through within minutes.
When it came to the race itself, I took the race as more of a training run, something I rarely do. I didn’t feel prepared—while I had tackled many workouts and had some high mileage weeks, I had lapsed on my long runs, staying in the 12-15 mile range, due to a rash of minor injuries. Thus, with a second marathon two weeks later, I just wanted to finish this effort, aiming to go around 4 hours, something I normally can do regardless of fitness. Starting around 6:30pm, I hit steady miles for the first loop, 8:00-8:30. The hills hurt a bit, but were tolerable, and I worked to hydrate. Yet, this hydration was not sufficient, for the sluggish, broken down feeling that can accompany a dearth of fluid began to sneak in. Entering the second loop, my right hip began to ache and my left calf began to tighten. Suddenly, around 9 miles in, I was walking-something unheard of for me.
As I limped through the latter half of the second loop, I declared myself bonked. Being a coach, one learns that there is intelligent running and that which lacks intellect. While I wanted to run the rest (part of me did), my body was sending me signals to stop, get out of the dark (it was pitch black with participants using flash lights, head lamps, and wearing glowsticks), and understand that that day wasn’t my day. Thus I pulled myself out of the full race, they converted me to a half, and I went to eat a late dinner.