First off, overall I was very impressed with the marathons. I paid $95ish total for both races. That is pretty good for two marathons with medals and tech shirts. Of course you all know how impressed I am that they did gender-specific tech shirts. Why larger marathons can't is seriously beyond me.
Though the portapotties the last half of both days were rather sparse, I think for the type of race it was the support on the course was good. You go in knowing the tables are farther apart than usual and you plan accordingly. The volunteers were amazing and I made sure to thank every one of them for being out there for us. Spectators were pretty much non-existent, but I think I actually enjoy races like that every now and then.
My main gripe with the race are the open roads. I don't think it makes sense for them to close the roads for such a small race, but a few "Caution, Runners on the road" signs couldn't have hurt. These weren't 25 mph or 35 mph roads we were running on. The speed limit was 55 to 65 mph on some of the roads! I would have been willing to pay a little more to have some police presence on the roads, too.
Now for all those promises I made myself during the second race: While I was running I decided I'd never do another marathon double, marathon with Altitude, or open course marathon again. It will therefore surprise none of you, I'm sure, that I am planning on running the Tahoe Triple next year (you run 3 marathons on 3 consecutive days around Lake Tahoe --complete with Altitude, open roads and, well... consecutiveness).
There is also a part of me that wants to do another double at sea level. I want to know what part of all that torture was from Altitude and what part was from second-day weariness. I imagine what would happen is that day 1 would be faster and day 2 may suck more than at Altitude since you went out faster the day before. But I sort of want to try it to know for myself.
One neat thing about this race experience was the amount of Marathon Maniacs and 50 States people who were there. I guess something small and crazy like this attracts people who are into multiple marathoning or running a marathon in every state. Day 1, especially, felt like a reunion for all these runners who knew each other from other races. Listening and talking to them I felt like what I was doing this year was not even interesting. Everyone there had run a marathon in the past month (or week!) and had one (or three or four) coming up again soon.
I think a lot of people do a one-time running streak of minimum requirement to get into Marathon Maniacs. These people I met lived and breathed this stuff. I found it both inspiring and slightly frightening.
A lot of people have been asking me if I am going to join Marathon Maniacs or try to do all 50 states. The short answer, is "No." The long answer is that I don't see the value of Marathon Maniacs for myself. I've been told (and witnessed firsthand myself) about the camaraderie you get when you wear the jersey at races. That's great. But I don't think I'd wear their jersey at races. I don't see the point of paying a yearly fee to have my name on a list somewhere. I didn't set out to run all these races to qualify for their group. It doesn't define or in any way validate anything I set out to do this year. But that is just me. If anyone is a member and has any other insights, please let me know!
As far as the 50 states thing, currently I don't think I'll ever make it a goal. That is a lot of traveling to a lot of states and would get amazingly expensive. I think at the end of the year I'll be up to 10 states. I do believe 10 is a VERY small chunk of 50. I am finding that I like these smaller, unique races over the big city races so may continue to rack up the states unintentionally. I suppose if I ever got up to 40 I would try to garner up the last 10. But I think that is a long way off and not something I'm currently consciously working towards.
To end, I'd like to celebrate the fact that with these two marathons I have completed 12 marathons in 12 months (July '09 to June '10). The first three marathons of these twelve such a goal was not even on my radar. But I suppose that doesn't take away from the fact that this time period will always be my first 12 in 12.
A video of Bear Lake I shot from a scenic point on my drive back to Salt Lake City. I am sad I never got to see the lake in full sunshine. And holy cats that's a big lake!