Thursday, August 14, 2014

Race Recap: Grandma's Marathon

Grandma's Marathon
June 21, 204

State: #17, Minnesota
Marathon #11

This post is a long time coming - but here it is!  6 weeks later and I'm still having trouble processing it.  I am going to admit now, I don't have too much details on the actual racing portion.  I was so focused on my pace that I zoned everything else out (literally, it's a big blank spot).  But here is what I do remember!

The race started at a reasonable time, 7:45, but since it's a point to point, I still had to be on a bus by 6:15am.  Fortunately, my hotel was one of the shuttle bus stops so I just had to go down to the front.  Nice and easy!  There wasn't too much of a line for bus and I was able to board with minimal wait.  The bus ride took about 45 minutes but since it was cold and misty out, I was happy to be inside.

Once we got to the start, I finished my pre-race set up (eating my powergel chews and filling my handheld bottle) and then checked my gear.  Gear check was pretty simple - they had everything color coded and lots of volunteers to help.

Hanging out by baggage check

After checking my gear, I went for one last bathroom run.  They had a good number of port-o-potty's so the line wasn't too crazy.  By the time I got out of the bathroom, there was only about 5 minutes to the start so I made my way to the start.

The start area was pretty open, no corrals, just estimated pace signs.  I lined up near where I thought I would be.

The temperature was definitely colder than I had expected so I was happy I had bought my throwaway gear the day before.  It was lightly misting and there was a strong headwind (always fun to run into).  There was also some really bad fog - I could only see about .25-.50 mi in front of me.

The race started a few minutes after the scheduled time (7:45) and then it was really low key.  I didn't even hear a horn sounding the start.  Suddenly everyone was moving so I assumed it started. 

I planned on starting at a 9:00ish pace and then dropping in the second half.  My plan didn't go quite as well as I wanted, but I was still pleased with it.  You'll see in the paces below, I was a little all over the place in terms of pace.

I kept my throwaway gear on for about the first 6 miles.  It was pretty chilly out and even at 6, I didn't want to get rid of them, but they were pretty wet from the rain so they weren't doing much good for me.

The course was mostly flat with a some rolling hills.  The hills weren't huge, but given the head wind, they felt really big.  The scenery along the course was pretty.  I'm sure if it hadn't been foggy, the view of the lake would have been beautiful but the fog prevented that view.  There was one big hill at 21 and I definitely felt it at 21.  My legs were burning! 

I honestly don't have too much to say about most of the course.  I was really so focused on my pace and each mile, that I was completely zoned out.  There are not a ton of spectators along the course, but those that were out where great.  Personally, I don't mind the lack of spectators but I know that can be a big issue for some people.

I will say, I do remember there being event alert flags that said "Risk of Hypothermia".  That was definitely a first for me.  In the second half, it had stopped raining and started to warm up so the flags went to green for good conditions.

As we got closer to Duluth the spectators increased.  Running through downtown Duluth starting around mile 24 was great.  It's a very cute downtown and I knew I was reaching the end.

I had started calculating my finishing time at about mile 20 and knew that I would be close to PR'ing.  Once I hit 24, I realized that I would PR and had to hold myself back from full on crying.  Those last miles were pretty painful as I pushed to the finish.

Passing the 26 mile marker and turning the corner to the finish line was very emotional.  I was drained from battling the weather and the pace.  I hadn't been sure I would be PR this race (I really wanted too, but you never know how a race would go) and there was my PR in site.  I gave it my all for the last .2 and raised my hands high as I crossed the finish line (with tears running down my face).

In that moment, I was overcome with emotion.  So much time and effort had all been placed into this one race.  It felt great to see my hard work come to fruition.  When they put the medal around my neck, I went a little weak in the legs (although that could have come from the effort put into the race).

I also got my finisher's t-shirt and drink ticket and made my way through the chute.  I got a heat sheet which was key because it was still cold out.  Once that was done, I walked very slowly to get my gear and spend some time at the Finisher's Party.  More on the Finisher's party in another post!

Garmin Splits

Official: 26.2 mi, 3:54:08, 8:57 pace
Garmin: 26.41 mi, 3:54:09, 8:52 pace

Proud owner of a new PR!
Ain't it pretty?


  1. OMG awesome time!! Way to go! I zone out during races too so it's difficult to remember all the little things that happen!

    1. Thank you so much! It was a tough one, but I'm really proud of it. I always zone out, but I really zoned out during this one. Just put one foot in front of the other!