Learn : Marathon Story  

Note from Editor: Amy is a member of Marathon Maniacs and was named the Outstanding Female Marathoner of the Year in 2006. In 2006 Amy ran 34 marathons with 15 top 3 finishes. Amy ran this particular marathon with Dean Karnazes during the North Face Endurance 50. To read about Dean's experience at Deadwood and running with Amy, visit his blog.

Running Background:

marathon photoI consider myself an advanced runner and I primarily run for hobby. Dean Karnazes chose the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon course for the 10th run of his Endurance 50 tour (50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states) during the fall of 2006. Since it was early on in his quest, and a weekday, there weren't a lot of people signed on to run with him. I had only run the half-marathon at Deadwood, and saw this as a great opportunity to do the entire 26.2. (I was running a lot of marathons in '06 and was ready to go.)


I don't follow a specific training program when preparing for races. I just run marathons on a regular basis, so I'm pretty much always ready to go. As a Marathon Maniac, I was intent on earning the highest level of "achievement," which is 10 stars. To do that, I needed to run at least 30 marathons in 30 different states in one calendar year. I'd already run South Dakota in '06, but not Deadwood, so it was a great experience.

In terms of marathoning advice, I've heard people say you can't run more than 4 marathons in a year without hurting yourself. Obviously this is something I don't agree with based upon the fact that I ran 36 marathons in 2006 and all but 2 were Boston Qualifiers for me.

Race Day:

The 2006 Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon was better than expected. We showed Dean many of the things that make our state special: a gorgeous setting in the hills, a challenging course (yet on a rails-to-trails course, so gentle on the bones), enthusiastic, talented race directors, lots of wildlife and the serenity of a setting without the madding crowds.

I've never run a marathon where I've gotten such fantastic individual attention--when there are only 2 of you, there are no porta-potty lines and the water stops are total replenishment stations (Dean eats a lot along the way. Even so, it doesn't make his butt look big.) In fact, the organization was tremendous--from his people, and from Jerry Dunn, the race director of the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon, who ran with us at several points. We had mile markers, crowd support, porta-potties and unique finisher medals made from Black Hills Alabaster. We also had Jerry's remarkable wife, Elaine, who brought along a bevy of 8th grade girls to offer crowd support (for all of us) and swoons for Dean ("is he a model?" one asked Elaine.)

Maybe this won't seem like much to non-runners reading this, but my experience was that of running a regular marathon (albeit with lots more individual attention--I ragged on Dean a bit, telling him he's going to get spoiled) with all the ups and very few of the downs. I run a lot of smaller marathons, where after the initial miles, the crowd thins out and I'm left running solo or, on a good day, with a person or two who'll talk as we tool along. Dean and I just chatted the way you do in any marathon. Our conversation ranged from shoes (of course) to courses we've run to raising kids. [Yes, we also touched on the obligatory runner GI issues topic.] This was my 24th marathon of this year, and I offer this observation as real praise. When I find good company to pass the time with in a marathon, then it's a special race.

I left soon after we finished (for work--I had a hearing at 3 pm) feeling great that I'd finally run the Deadwood Marathon and in the company of a fellow runner who appreciates and shares the lure of taking to the trail or road and just covering the distance. The first 13 miles of the course are uphill at altitude, and I've headed out to Casper the past 2 years, feeling really guilty for doing so. (I'm such a wuss!) Thankfully, Jerry still speaks to me.

So, while my experience was not on the actual day of the marathon, the course remains as beautiful as it was when I was on it, Jerry is Jerry, meaning the attention to runners and the details that matter are all there, and a chance to run in God's country with some of the friendliest, warmest people around.


I didn't have any problems with my recover. I eat carbs right after running, protein for dinner, and get a good night's sleep. I also balance running with strength training and rest days.

I also ran the race slower than usual--my times in 2006 averaged 3:30 with several in the 3:20s (then there was the 5 hour trail marathon in the Rockies). The Mickelson Trail is a lovely "tame trail" I recommend, and I am so NOT a trail runner!

Running Gear Recommendations:

Injinji Socks
I used to suffer from blisters, always awaiting the familiar "ping" at mile 18 or 20 or 22. No more problems since Injinji. I should buy stock in the company.
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Since I run a lot of marathons and tend toward stomach issues, I carry my own sports drink so my system is familiar with it. Accelerade is it for me, and worth the effort it takes to tote along my own bottle.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Run the distance that is right for you. Don't run a half or a full if you enjoy shorter distances. (My dog is a retired racing greyhound -- he loves to sprint. Marathons to him are for meeting me at the finish line and sharing a recovery bagel!) I just don't enjoy 5Ks or 10Ks -- they hurt!

Plans to Run Another:

I'm planning to continue to run marathons because the distance suits me. I've run 9 thus far in 2007. They are a fantastic balance to work and help me maintain perspective.

The last 2 marathons have been after some tough weeks at work. I'm going to eat better and try and get more sleep the week before the next one.

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