The program works like this: for the meager sum of $13, you get to run with a group each Thursday at Lake Bloomington. The group runs the same route as the Lake Run, 4.37 miles - which is an accurate 1/6 of a marathon. Over the course of 8 weeks, you run at least 6 times and a lovely gentleman by the name of Kirby records and tracks the time you submit for each run. (Honor system here.) There are NO PERKS in the program: no water stops, no snacks afterward, no music, no organized start / finish line, no well-defined start time even. Just get your ass out there (with your bottle of water and hopefully your dog) and run your ass off! No matter how many times you do the route, Kirby counts your 6 best times and accumulates them toward your Marathon finishing time.
(I hope you're laughing at this point, because I've completed this program TWICE, mainly because it cracks me up! It's a group running program with a great sense of humor.)
At the final TNAM group run, you get your fresh, new running shirt (this is maybe the best part... the shirt has the TNAM logo, and the following slogan: "I did it, but I took my time; 26.2 miles, 8 weeks"), fancy door prizes (translate: little trinkets from the Dollar Store), water and some snacks, and your Official TNAM Certificate of Achievement!
|Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
This year's final Thursday night run was two days into our ridiculous, freak heat wave toward the end of June. It was 103 degrees at 6:30pm when Coty and I arrived, and I didn't even bother to put my running pants on... I had already completed 7 of the required 6 routes, so we were going to do some walking, and not the full 4.37 miles, either, in that heat! I got there and visited with Kirby and some others from the group (several people recuperating after actually running the route - brave souls), then walked around the lake homes and wandered around a bit.
I knew it was time to go when Coty decided to jump into the lake. Apparently she has determined she is not only a hunter, she's a fisherman as well. She heard a catfish or something, and dived in! We were both melting. So I gathered my shirt and my Fabulous Door Prize and my Certificate. My official finishing time for 2012 TNAM (my SECOND "marathon") was 5 hours, 47 minutes, 37 seconds.
Well, look at that! I cut 23 minutes off of my "marathon" time!