Laura and I kicked off the year with a spur of the moment trip to Las Vegas, one of our favorite places. What’s not to love? Red Rock canyon nearby, nature all around, and great food and entertainment at every turn.
Unfortunately, when my mom died late last year we were about to fly off to the Bahamas. Laura was going to run her 100th marathon in the Bahamas – either that or her 100th would have been Mobile, Alabama – not quite as memorable or exotic but when Nana passed we just put the marathon milestone on hold. Now was the time to revisit and we decided that Calico Racing’s “Running from an Angel” marathon would be the perfect choice for Laura’s 100th. Joyce Forier, the one-woman show behind Calico Racing has created some pretty impressive events out here in the desert including night time races near Section 54 – her E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon, Half, 10K and 51K. Laura had been bragging about Joyce’ s ultras since her first one 18 months earlier. She had run two of Joyce’s 50-milers around Lake Mead near Boulder City – one during a heat wave in June, “Running with the Devil” which she wrote about inthe May/June 2008 issue of Marathon & Beyond. Six months, and three hours faster, after that “Baby Badwater” Laura ran the winter version of Devil called ”Running from an Angel.” However, this time around, 26.2 miles along the hilly roads and shores of Lake Mead would be enough. Later we planned to celebrate on the strip with “Love” the Cirque du Soleilstribute to the Beatles. I decided I would run the marathon too or at least see how far I could go. Laura had no idea I had any intention of finishing the thing or even running with her. I had suceesfully gotten thru three marahtons last year after a three year hiatus due to my lyme disease related arthritis. I ran the San Francisco, Maui and Reykjavik marathons in the 4:20 to 5:20 range but perhaps Laura’s 100th was my last. The morning started off nicely and beautifully -nothing like a cool crisp winter a.m. in the desert. At the turnaround point at halfway she came thru at 2:12 and was surprised to see me just 4 minutes behind her. I was confident at the time that I would negative split and catch up to her. I did catch up to her by mile 14 but then my wheels came off for good and I had the biggest crash of my running life. She stayed with me as we hobbled in together more than three hours later for big PWs (5:46) for the both of us but no time to hang out and socialize as I promised the folks at the Vegas Fleet Feet I would stop in for a book signing. Even sitting in the car for the short five minute drive back to our hotel was torture. An our next day plan to make a two-hour pilgrimage to Badwater – a place I haven’t been to since I ran the Badwater 146 exactly 20 years ago – wasn’t going to happen either. I was toast. We did make it over the the strip for the next two days and celebrated our crazy race together with a night on the town and our new favorite Cirque show, Love. And despite my pain, I am glad I finally got to experience this beautiful run around Lake Mead. maybe next time I will bring my bike. Check out: www.calicoracing.com