Brooke’s Marathon Stories 76-100
76 – Chasing the Unicorn 08/17/2014 Washington Crossing State Park, PA
77 – Rivana Greenbelt Marathon 09/06/2014 Charlottesville, VA
78 – Monster Mash Marathon 10/06/2014 Dover, PA
**79 – IRONMAN Florida Triathon 11/01/2014 Panama City Beach, FL
Because of this unanswered need (and because I like challenges), I upped the ante to run 100 marathons, raise a MILLION dollars, AND compete in my first IRONMAN. (November 1 in Panama City, FL) Let me tell you, IRONMAN training is no walk in the park. This is an event to be respected. Just getting to the start line uninjured is an accomplishment.
I knew I was in trouble — haha — when I asked my IRONMAN coach “Does this marathon work with my training schedule” (remember that I’m still running monthly marathons) and she says, “Yes, it’s a week to taper.” Wow, she considers running a marathon to be a recovery. NICE!
Typical training Saturdays: leave the house by 6AM with three PB&J’s, pretzels, GU’s, and fruit stuffed into the back of my bike shirt (along with bike pump, sunscreen, water bottles behind the seat) and bike 100 miles on the Washington & Old Dominion trail. THEN, once I finally make it back home, run 6 miles. This is called a brick workout. Clearly I collapse and am incoherent for the rest of the day, much to my family’s delight.
Just in case you didn’t know, an IRONMAN is a consecutively executed 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, then a 26.2-mile run. And when you cross the finish line, the announcer proclaims (I hope this happens): “Brooke Curran, you are an IRONMAN” or just “plain crazy” (some of you may be thinking).
In reality, I love the new training regimen and the new goals (like going from not being able to swim the length of a 25-yard pool to swimming 2.5 miles in the Potomac River as a training swim). Last thing to conquer… swim-ANXIETY. I know I’m strong enough, but it’s my fear of drowning (with no one knowing that I’ve sunk) that terrifies me. All I need to do is just survive the swim (without drowning, of course, and under the time cut-off), manage the bike and I’ll be home free on the run (relatively, speaking).
IRONMAN and Marathon Update
I’m still in disbelief… It really happened!
Panama City, FL : Nov. 1
… so RunningBrooke was founded on the principle of pushing limits, doing things scary, and combining a passion for running (79 marathons and counting) with a compassion for the community. It’s all about leveling the playing field.
To celebrate our 5th year, I decided to set my sights a little higher with a new physical goal, an IRONMAN – totaling 9 months of heavy duty training.
This new goal parallels growth in RunningBrooke. It reveals how we aim to expand and be a game-changer for at-risk kids.
The good news is that I made it back from the IRONMAN in one piece and raring to compete again!
The bad news is that the swim portion of the IRONMAN was cancelled. Literally, as we were standing on the beach in our wetsuits in 40 degree weather, mentally steeling ourselves to wade in and pierce the dense breakers, an announcement informed us that, due to rip tides and unsafe conditions, the swim was cancelled.
Many fellow competitors cheered. I was wrecked and felt cheated. A year ago, I couldn’t swim the length of the pool, and I was FINALLY ready, both physically and mentally, to swim 2.4 miles but was not able to test my mettle.
But while I biked the 112 miles, I had some time for reflection.
OK, so the race-day IRONMAN “A Plan” was nixed. In the grand scheme of things, really, “so what?” After I got over it and had time to think and focus on what the “B Plan” looked like, something occurred to me. In some small way, the swim cancellation and the resulting “B Plan” is sort of like what at-risk kids face every single day.
These children’s “A Plan” was squashed simply by being born at-risk. We, all of us, are their “B Plan,” as we fill the gaps, sustain and satisfy their needs.
This is what I thought about through the 112 miles, as I fought against the winds to make it to the next aid station. That, and not getting taken down by superior riders cutting too close as they passed. Sad to say, I got passed a lot, toddling along on my very-decent road bike, but certainly no tri-bike, biding my time til the run.
Still incredulous, even though this was the segment that I was looking forward to, I was happy to run after spending 7 1/2 hours out on the bike course. So pumped in fact that I ran the first half of the marathon way too fast. It was the “high” of doing my thing, passing people, being “almost” done! But as the sun set, and I foolishly tossed my long-sleeved shirt, the early miles caught up to me. I got colder as it got darker, and my mood became dispirited. The lead-footed miles between 17-19 were particularly gloomy; I walked through multiple aid stations and refueled with anything hot and salty, talking to myself and determined to pull it together: “light and loose”, “just don’t stop”, “can’t let people down”.
The mantras worked! Like coming out of a fog, my spirits lifted and my legs came back! My arms pumped a little harder, the pace and breathing quickened. I could smell the finish line and hear the finish line-announcer, indistinct at first, then becoming clearer and more crisp. Mile 24, then 25 came and went, then at mile 26, it was finally my turn to take the last stretch up the red carpeted street. I heard “Go Brooke!” as I sprinted that last .2 of a mile with steely and bleary eyed determination. All I wanted — like every athlete out there — was to cross that finish line and hear “Brooke Curran or ‘XX XX,’ you are an IRONMAN.”
And I did cross that finish line, and I did hear my name. It really happened! Overjoyed and overcome, emotion sent me to the medical tent with an asthma attack. A little oxygen and chicken broth later, I was walking out of the tent with a huge smile. Onward and upward!
80 – Rehoboth Beach Marathon 12/06/2014 Rehoboth, DE
81 – Celebration Marathon 01/25/2015 Celebration, FL
***82 – George Washington Birthday Marathon 02/21/2015 Greenbelt, MD
February was a bust as the marathon was cancelled mid-race due to snow accumulations and conditions. I made it to mile 12, then ran back to the car for a total of 15 miles. Determined to finish, I did the remaining 11 miles on a treadmill. Just had to get it done!
83 – Reston Marathon 03/29/2015 Reston, VA
84 – Boston Marathon 04/20/2015 Boston, MA
Great to be back in Beantown!
85 – Delaware Coastal Marathon 05/03/2015 Dewey Beach, DE
Through the wetlands and marshes near Dewey Beach. Had my favorite pre-race dinner of pizza.
86 – Half Sauer, Half Kraut Marathon 06/13/2015 Philadelphia, PA
Spectacular trail marathon run through parks and along streams. Came home with a cuckoo clock – best award, ever! — for first Master Female.
87 – Grandfather Mountain 07/11/2015 Boone, NC
Headed back to Appalachian State University for this net-uphill race in the Appalachian Mountains. I remember it being (relatively) enjoyable and scenic.
88 – Chasing the Unicorn Marathon 08/16/2015 Bucks County, PA
Small and congenial, on-site race parking, shaded and historic, another marathon repeat.
89 – Abebe Bikila Day Int’l Peace Marathon 09/12/2015 Washington, DC
90 – Mount Desert Island Marathon 10/18/2015 Mount Desert Island, ME
This is my buddy’s last state on his 50- state marathon quest, so I headed up there to run it with him.
**91 – IRONMAN Florida Triathon 11/07/2015 Panama City Beach, FL
Last Saturday’s IMFL finish (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 run) ups the total marathons run to 91. Hard to believe! People often ask what I think about during all those miles and hours. Sometime a lot, as the exercise puts me into a “flow” where nagging problems become clear. I think quite a bit too about the at-risk kids we all help through you and your generosity.
Sometimes the races are (relatively) easy, and sometimes they are quite hard (high elevations, extreme conditions or temperatures exacerbate the asthma and exercise-induced bronco spasms that I run with). Regardless, the miles are nothing compared to the hardships many people face in our community every day. I feel very lucky.
92 – St. Jude Marathon 12/05/2015 Memphis, TN
Have now officially run 24,000 marathon miles while at the St. Jude’s Marathon in Memphis, TN. That doesn’t even include training miles. Incredible!
93 – Celebration Marathon 01/31/2016 Celebration, FL
94 – George Washing Birthday Marathon 02/14/2016 Greenbelt, MD
95 – DC Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 03/13/2016 Washington, DC
96 – Boston Marathon 04/18/2016 Boston, MA
97 – Big Sur International 04/24/2016 Big Sur, CA
98 – Run for the Red 05/15/2016 Pocono Summit, PA
99 – Conquer the Cove 06/05/2016 Roanoke, VA
First in age group!
100! – Marine Corps Marathon 10/30/2016, Washington, DC
Watch the NBC News Channel 4 interview with Brooke about reaching her 100th marathon goal.
Mad Marathon 07/10/2016 Waitsfield, VT
The temperature was cool, the course had beautiful scenery and LOTS of challenging hills. Despite the hills, I placed 1st in my age group!
Drake Well Marathon 08/07/2016 Titusville, PA
The temperature was cool-ish for August and the course was beautiful with lots of shade. Another 1st place in my age group!
*Brooke pays for all of her own travel costs and related fees. She runs (24,000 miles and counting…) with asthma and exercise-induced asthma.