Yeah yeah, I know. I''ve been neglecting the three people who read my blog. My bad, yo. But its summer, you know, like going to the beach summer? nah. Its the working full time taking 8 hours of class, and coaching track summer. That's the worst kind. I'm terribly unmotivated. I need a break. I got one. I need another. But whatever, let me take a break from reading Powell v. Alabama and tell you about my marathonning experience.
So, Friday brought an early wake up call. Early, but later than normal. At 7:30 I got up and busted out 2 miles at 8 minute pace or so. Nothing special, but something to shake out the rust after two days off that week. I had about an hour to shower, eat a little breakfast, and finish up packing before the rendezvous at Heather's where we would all ride down to Duluth. All three of us, plus Heather's foster Dane. See, Heather's an animal rescuer, she rescues Great Danes from abusive households. She was actually fostering two at the time, so she had to take one up to a kennel for the weekend in Stacey, MN. So, the first hour was a pretty tight fit.
We got up to Duluth, checked into our hotel, and went out to eat as a team. Okay, it wasn't with the whole team, but enough of it. After that, we headed over to the DECC to hear Kara Goucher speak. She was engaging and pretty funny too. Plus, she's hot- too bad she's married. After the talk, I got a picture with Kara, only I don't own a camera so I had some guy take a picture of us. Only, I didn't give him my email address so he has no way of getting it to me. That makes me sad. But whatever, after that I met up with a couple folks from Daily Mile that were running Grandmas and took a picture or two with them, then walked around the expo a little. It was a good sized expo, but in too small of a space. Man, was that cramped. And I didn't even get any free stuff. Disappointing. But on the good side, I got out of there and only spent $1 which I was super pumped about. Then I headed up to the TCRC field HQ (AKA our hotel room) to set up the kitchen for the pasta potluck that night.
After that, most of us went out to see the 5k which started at six. It was actually a pretty slow race, the winner ran 16:30, but then people don't come to Grandmas weekend to run three miles. While we were there I saw some guy collapse in front of me. It was pretty scary. The guy was stumbling a round the corner, faceplanted, got up and took a couple more steps, and ate it again. Luckily we were close enough to the finish that somebody was able to come out of the crowd and help him cross the finish. It was weird because its not like he was flying or anything, it was well past the 30 minute mark. It was hot though, so maybe he was electrolyte- deficient or something . Once we saw our two runners cross the line we went back to HQ to eat. Then we went to bed early- everyone went to bed around 9:00 but I was asleep long before that.
Only four of us were running the marathon, with another four running the half, so it was a 4:00 wake up call for everyone. The Half started at 6:30 and the full at 7:30, so the half marathoners grabbed the showers first while the full marathoners milled around and settled into pre race routines. Me, I made my race day breakfast of tea, an apple, a banana, and a blueberry gel. Looking back, that probably wasn't the best idea since I had a good three hours before the gun. But anyways, we hit the door at 5:00 and were at the busses shortly after. We had a good 20 minutes before the busses started bringing people to the marathon start. During which I was cold and repeatedly heard about how brutal lemondrop hill was. When we got on the busses, I was pretty jumpy, but I took a seat in the back of the bus and tried to collect my thoughts.
We got to the race in good shape, a good hour before the race. I stretched out a little, but didn't do any warm up running. Is that good? I'm not sure, I was second guessing myself a lot, but I figured the hay was in the barn, so to speak. The weather was good at the start, in the low 60's. It looked like rain, and I wish it would have rained, but the sun poked through the clouds a little a few minutes before the start. I was running with one of my club members to start, which was really really helpful. I was in good shape at mile 3, albeit a few minutes slower than I had hoped. I had to make a pit stop at a porta potty at the mile 3 water stop which slowed me down a little. After I was finished with that escapade, I ran to catch up with my friend that I had been running with. And I mean I did run after him. I was doing like 8:10's and running through water stops, crazy stuff like that.
I stopped for another pit stop at mile 7, then kept on trucking-- until mile 9. I looked at my watch. 1:12. Are you kidding me? I'm in bad shape both physically and in the fact that a crash- and- burn is immanent. It came, and the middle miles were just a world of suck. I crossed the half marathon mark in a shade over two hours for my second fastest half to date. Then it went downhill. I could feel the sun baking me, the wind coming off Lake Superior, all of that good stuff. I knew I was low on salt and regretted leaving my salt bag in my backpack. We passed a medical drop out zone past mile 13 and I was thinking to myself that wouldn't be so bad right now. I kept going. I wasn't inspired or compelled or any of those things, I just wanted to get my ass in Lake Superior ASAP, and that involved crossing the finish line. Honestly, I don't remember much until mile 22. I definitely did not hit that runner's high though. But, it wasn't that I was worn out either. I felt like I could keep running, and I probably should, but I didn't want to.
Mile 22 through 25 was just one big party. I saw my dad and brothers at mile 23, lemondrop hill. I don't understand what the big deal was, I got up it and everybody cheering was congratulating me, and I was like "that was a hill?" Its little more than a bridge really. There's a picture of me on facebook going up lemondrop and I'm smiling having a grand 'ole time and everyone around me is just dying. I love it. I got up lemondrop, then we came to UMD's sorry excuse for a frat row. No Sigs, but there was a guy trying to get me to take a pull of vodka. Not happening buddy.
I "sprinted" mile 24, which is in quotations because I thought it felt fast and like more effort, but I really was slow and couldn't get any leg turnover. Mile 25 just pissed me off. You Go up a hill, turn right, go up another hill, run down the hill, run parallel to the finish line, make some turns around the DECC, and did the whole thing over again, except this time we ran the extra two blocks to the finish line. Supposedly you could see the finish line at mile 9, but 25 was my first view of it. It didn't make me want it more, it just confused me. Throughout the race, the only things I said, minus the idle chatter with a few runners was yelling "why does Duluth have to be so God d*** far away? come closer" and "Jeezus, we're two blocks away from the finish line... this is bull****, lets just turn left and we'd be done."
It finally got over with though. I ran 4:28:58. Everybody says its your first marathon, feel good about it, but nah, that's not going to happen. I was twenty- eight minutes and fifty- eight seconds of my goal time! that's unacceptable! and what's worse I wasn't even tired, I wasn't that sore either, I just wanted to stop running. In fact, I did go running the next day. Yep, 3 miles in 37 minutes, plus a dip in the Lake.
In conclusion, that was awesome? Will I run a marathon again? I'm thinking late October. Will I run Grandmas again? of course, albeit maybe not next year. One thing I loved was running trough the little towns. They were so friendly. They had their own water stops set up, the High School band was playing, the cheerleaders were out- man, that was awesome. One thing I'll take away from the race is this little girl yelled at me at one of the towns we passed "This is your race" to which I responded, "yeah, but I don't know what to do with it."
More to come, maybe? its 1:00 and I've got to wake up in five hours