Michael Wardian made a good run at it, but in the end, he found his goal of running two fast marathons in one day to be a pretty tall order.
Still, his double marathon effort on Sunday -- which saw him run 2:31:19 while winning the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Marathon, then 2:57:56 to place 10th at the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas only about 10 hours later -- was a pretty solid effort. Naysayers will point out that he didn't meet his goals of trying to win each race in sub-2:30 time, but at least he had the guts to try it.
The 39-year-old resident of Arlington, Va., a three-time U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier with a 2:17:49 lifetime best, has run numerous back-to-back races, but never two marathons on the same day.
He came up short in Las Vegas because of stomach issues, but still averaged 6:15-per-mile pace on the day, meaning his average half marathon split was about 1:21.
In San Antonio, Wardian ran in second place for the majority of the race, finally outpacing Moses Leuvano at Mile 17. He cruised in from there with a three-and-a-half minute margin of victory. The bigger challenge in Texas was the weather, where temperatures reached the mid-70s.
"I was super pleased with the first race in that heat and for a kinda bumpy course," he said. "I thought all in all it was a decent time."
After winning the race in San Antonio, Wardian and his younger brother, Matthew (who was serving as his crew), boarded a Southwest Airlines flight to Las Vegas. Michael said he checked in later than he should have, though, and ended up in a middle seat and so wasn't able to get up and walk around to keep his legs loose as much as he would have liked.
The race started pretty well for Wardian in VEgas, who reached the halfway point in 1:18. By then, though, he knew he was going to have issues because he had a sloshy stomach and he had to stop for two bathroom breaks.
"I felt kind of good, but my stomach started to go early and my gels were just sloshing around, and then I had to stop a few times to go to the bathroom, which is a no-no in a marathon," Wardian said. "I'm so happy to break 3:00 with all those issues, but man it was fun."
Wardian thinks he probably drank too much water between races and didn't eat early enough. He also thinks he wasted too much energy running around before the race.
So what will he do for recovery? He'll take it easy this week and then get ready for the JFK 50-miler on Saturday in Washington, D.C., followed by the Kinhaven 5K (which he and his wife organize) on Sunday in Arlington, Va.
Then he’s planning to run a Turkey Trot next Thursday in Alexandria, with his next big race being The North Face 50-Mile Championships on Dec. 7 near Mill Valley, Calif. When asked just hours after finishing the Vegas race, Wardian said he'd consider attempting the two-marathon feat again.
"I am always up for challenges and heck yes, I would do it again," he said.