The trip started Friday morning as the Challenge Factor boys (CF Boys), Matt Mabe and Sheldon Nadeau, arrived at my house. It was a nice drive to Okoboji IA. We arrived about 3pm at The Three Sons for packet pick up. What an interesting place! From the outside it looks like a small rundown building that should be condemned; the inside is a huge multi-level sporting goods extravaganza. Every name brand you can think of and some you have never heard of were featured. The most interesting part is the story of Okoboji University and The Three Sons. It seems of the three sons only one had attended college and only for two years, so no degree. They all yearned for degrees but did not like college, so they created their own university, thus Okoboji University. They made a few shirts for themselves then others wanted them. From there it exploded, it is now a part of the Okoboji culture. Even the local business magazine has people wearing Okoboji apparel on the back cover. Now that is my kind of college!
Onto the marathon… Over the years I have heard numerous horror stories of the Okoboji Marathon. Hot and hilly along with bad water stops and a course on open roads with traffic and bikes from the triathlon that is also going on at the same time. I had heard these stories from veteran marathoners so I was concerned about the event. We picked this event because it fit into the training schedule of the CF Boys. I am training them for the Show Me Challenge www.challengefactor.com, so we didn’t have a lot of options. I regaled to them the horror stories and told them not to expect too much and just enjoy the day.
We started at 6am in a lake resort area with about one hundred other marathoners. I love small marathons! The area was beautiful with rolling hills and incredible houses along the lake. The first eight miles were lakeside with breathtaking views. I had told the CF Boys to run the first half with me and then take off for the second half on their own. They are both great athletes but we had a short time to prepare them for this event, and it was Matt’s first marathon. We had a great first half together, talking about the course and listening to them talk about CF. They are a non-stop positive force in everything they do. They are a pleasure to spend time with, as they are never negative and always looking for a challenge. I have never met anyone so young and so successful. They are an inspiration. That’s enough PR for them.
We were on the highway around mile nine or so and yes, there was traffic and bikes. We never got honked at and the bicyclists yelled words of encouragement as they passed by. I failed to see the downside. We split up at the halfway point as they pushed on at a much faster pace than I could hold. Why is it that everyone I train is faster than me? J If I’m not careful this could have an affect on my self-esteem. Then maybe I could get some sort of government grant to go to a self awareness class so I can feel good about ME. Then again, maybe I should just deal with it and have confidence in my abilities and move on. UMM, self reliance, what a concept, sorry about the rant.
The second half was just as nice as the first, more views and houses as well as nice locals with encouraging words. Personally, it was one of my better days, as it has been a rough year. So it was great to just cruise through 26.2 miles without any problems and enjoy the course and the day, as well as the company of the other runners. The finish was at an old fashioned amusement park and we were bused back to the start. The CF Boys had a great day as well and will be more than ready for The Show Me Challenge.
I thought this was one of the better marathons I have participated in and do not really understand the complaints and whining. But my definition of fun tends to be different than most, though the CF Boys loved it as well. So if you are looking for a summer marathon, I would highly recommend Okoboji.
A bit about The Show Me Challenge: September 8th the boys will bike and run from KC to St Louis. Day one they will bike 100 miles, day two they will complete a 35-mile run. This will be followed by a day of rest, and they will repeat the first two days for a total of 270 miles. This is to kick off their new business, The Challenge Factor, as well as raise money for The Touched By Cancer Foundation. You are going to see big things from these guys in the future, so stay tuned.
Choose to Succeed