Road to 26.2

Copy Editor Courtney Kueppers logs her triumphs and tribulations of marathon training in this bi-monthly running column

Story by Courtney Kueppers, Copy Editor

Marathon training continues to pick up steam as race day creeps ever closer. Running buddy Johnny and I now have two more long runs tucked under our orange and gray fuel belt.

Before leaving town for spring break Johnny and I laced up our Asics for a 16-mile trek.

Finding a route that we’re not sick of in Eau Claire is becoming more difficult, especially when it’s 16 miles long.

We decided to follow a route we’ve come very comfortable with: through the student ghetto, up 1st Street toward the north crossing. It’s a nice course that leads us through an older, less hectic part of town. Well most days it’s less hectic anyway, but on this particular day one townie was not feeling very calm; about three miles into the run we passed by an elderly lady loudly scolding the turkeys that had taken over her front yard.

“Scat… Scat!” she screamed at them in her robe. It would have been funny if it stopped there, but the snowballs she proceeded to throw at the birds made the event much more humorous and memorable.

In attempt to mix up the familiar we decided to change the middle part of the route, which didn’t turn out so well.

Somewhere around North High School we missed a turn and found ourselves very lost. When we paused to get our bearings a man slowed down and asked us for directions so apparently we didn’t look as puzzled as we felt.

Since we don’t run with a phone and neither of us are very familiar with much more of Eau Claire than the campus area we truly were lost which led me to think about what a rare occasion it was for me. I rarely go anywhere without my iPhone so rarely am I truly lost. And guess what? We figured it out and got back to where we needed to be. It felt kind of good to have to figure it out on our own without relying on technology.

On spring break something really strange happened: Johnny and I went for a run in shorts and t-shirts. In St. Petersburg, Fla. the temperatures sat in the 70s and we thought it was the perfect chance to get in our 18 mile run.

In St. Petersburg there is really only one main, long road so our route was essentially made for us: nine miles out and nine miles back.

We started early in the morning so the narrow sidewalk was empty for the most part and the air was cool. Within the first couple miles we passed over a bridge and spotted a trio of dolphins swimming below us: you sure don’t see that in Wisconsin.

However, as the run progressed the sidewalk began to fill with more and more snowbirds out for what I presume is their daily walk down the main drag.

Dodging in and out of the sidewalk traffic the run at some points felt as though it was never going to end, but the good moments kept me going. Like when we ran our fastest yet 10K, fastest half marathon and fastest ever mile.

One thing I didn’t leave behind in Wisconsin with my hat and mittens was my clumsiness. A crack jumped out at me somewhere near mile nine and I went down, I have the bruised knees to prove it.

Race day is now only five weeks away and my sore legs are wondering what the heck I’ve gotten myself into, but I truly can’t wait.