Preview: Earn Your Mittens

A couple years back, I had heard of this thing called “Earn Your Mittens.” It is a challenge where you run the Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha on Saturday, then the Kalamazoo marathon the next day. I though at the time that I would like to try it sometime. Then last September, I guess I decided that 2016 would be a great time to try it. At the time it seemed like a great idea, now it just seems a little insane. But, sometimes running is insane. Well, the Earn Your Mittens weekend is here.
To make this weekend experience if more insane, after a less than desirable performance at the Carmel Marathon, I will be running the Wisconsin Marathon aiming to run under 3 hours. The Carmel Marathon was 3 weeks ago, not much time for recovery. This will probably make the Kalamazoo Marathon a little unpleasant.
I will be honest, since my coach and I talked about going all out at the Wisconsin Marathon (conversation probably began about 10 minutes after I crossed the finish line in Carmel), I have not thought much about the Kalamazoo Marathon at all. All preperation has been focused on the Wisconsin Marathon and whatever happens in Kalamzoo, happens.  
Here is what I know about the two races. Looking at the map for Wisconsin, it is mostly a North/South course along Lake Michigan. Depending on the wind direction, this could be a benefit. At the time of me writing this blog however, winds will be out of the North between 15-18 mph. Not ideal. Really hoping for the wind to be coming out of the east or west. There is also a chance of rain/thunderstorm.
Also after talking with fellow BibRave Pro, Lisa (who is from the Kenosha area and earned her mittens last year), it is a mostly flat course with a hill at mile 9. So with all this in mind, here is how my coach and I have planned this race out. The first 7 miles, I will aim for low 6:50 pace. This is a few seconds slower than Carmels opening miles. Miles 8-19, I will be aiming for around 6:40. This is when the wind we be at my back the most, if the weather doesn’t change. Miles 20 to the finish is basically what I have left in the tank. It will be interesting with the wind as these miles all head north. Lisa also shared that there really isn’t much of a crowd on the second half of the race so I am not expecting much support.  

Truthfully, with only 3 weeks between marathons, I will be happy with a sub 3 hour marathon. Anything faster is an added bonus.
As for Kalamazoo, there really isn’t much of a plan other than to finish without an injury. I can guarantee one thing, there will be walking involved. If I had to come up with a time goal, I would say keep it under 4 hours. All that I really know about this course is that it is really hilly. Walking up some hills are probably in my future. 
I won’t be alone on this adventure. My wife Tina (you can read her post on the upcoming weekend here), is running the Half Marathon Challenge. I feel bad for how long she will be waiting for me on Sunday. 
When I originally planned on running this weekend challenge, the plan was to run both marathons relaxed.  Things don’t alway go as planned however. So it will be business on Saturday and just enjoy the run (or walk) on Sunday.

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2 thoughts on “Preview: Earn Your Mittens

  1. Enjoy! And welcome to Kalamazoo this weekend – it’s a great town! As for the course, yes there are certainly hills – but there’s also a bacon station! At least there was when I ran a couple years ago.


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