October 6-7, 2012
The TC marathon was scheduled to be my first marathon, but I got impatient and ran the Minneapolis Marathon in June instead. That was a small marathon, a small expo, and just doesn’t have that big event feel. TC is the biggest marathon in the state, huge expo, 25000 runners (over the weekend, 12000 for the marathon), and 300000 spectators. It is listed as the most beautiful urban marathon in the country. I suspect that they are correct.
I am very glad I did the Minneapolis Marathon first. The first marathon jitters were gone. And,Minneapolis was a lot more spectator friendly…and I did have a crew that came down for that event.
Now, it was time to prove that it wasn’t all a fluke.
Expo was huge, and packet pickup had to be the day before and in person. This irritated me a little. I had to drive about 3 hours to the expo on Saturday just to get the bib. Yeah, I wanted to check out the expo, but it just seemed like a total waste of time. That’s when I noticed that there was a 5k and a 10k on Saturday…with same day packet pickup. I could go down on Saturday, pick up my Saturday race bib, run a race, go down to the expo, get my marathon bib and come back on Sunday. Also, my company had a corporate team, so we had an exclusive tent and bag drop for all the events.
Of course, I could not decide between the 5k and the 10k. So, I signed up for both. Why just get 2 shirts and 2 medals, when I could get 3?
Saturday morning came around, and I went to get my bibs. I could not get my bib numbers online since the software assumed that runners would only run the 5 or the 10. So, it was the same bib lookup page, and would only give me one of the 2 bib numbers. Grrr…
I get down to the site Saturday morning, and I am told that they cannot start distributing the 5k bibs until after the 10k starts. “But I can’t come get it then since I will be running the 10k…”. Blank stare. There would be about 30 minutes between the races to come back, get in line, get the bib, swap out the chip and get back to the starting coral. Of course, the tent to get the bib/chip was nowhere near the start/finish. I spotted a supervisor and pleaded my case, and got both bibs and chips. Yay!
Fortunately, we had the corporate tent and someone would be watching out stuff. So I slapped on the 10k gear, stowed the 5k stuff and lined up for the race. Nice day for a run.
Gun went off and we were on our way. The course was a simple out and back on the last part of the marathon course. There were a couple of small hills, but was mostly a straight line with a very nice run between the Capitol and St Paul cathedral at the front and end of the race. Overall, nice uneventful run.
Got back to the tent and got a few odd looks as I swapped out my bibs. I guess the marathon organizers weren’t the only ones to think that this was an odd thing to do (note: the following year, TC in Motion introduced the “Loony Challenge” consisting of the 5k, 10k, and 10 mile race. The “Ultra-Loony Challenge” with the 5k, 10k, full marathon was introduced this year…so I like to think that I inspired them to set up this series. Those that do it now get a bonus shirt and medal. Wish they would send me one (hint, hint)…
The 5k was just like the 10k with the same course, but the turnaround came a lot sooner. When I got back to the start, I was saddened to see that the 5k and 10k finishers received the same medal, ribbon and shirt. Of course, I was the only one to get a duplicate. Sigh…
Off to the expo, which was my first big event expo. It was so cool to just stroll around, check out all the booths. Finally got to the back and got my chip and bib. I picked up a couple of things at the official store (this was becoming a pattern…and an expensive habit!)
Next day, I rode with a coworker to Minneapolis. She was running the 10 mile with the same start and finish. She would start first, so she would have a lot of time to kill after finishing, but was kind enough to offer to wait for me and drive me back home.
It was a cool morning…about 28 degrees. Had to layer up. But we could also hang out in the Metrodome before the race. We stayed warm, and did our last minute preparations. We also had out corporate group photos. Then It was time to move to the starting line.
There were 3 corals for the marathon. I was in the back coral, even though my last marathon time should have pushed me into coral 2. I didn’t submit my proof of time before the deadline and they would not change my coral assignment at the expo. This was annoying since I really wanted to join the 4:15 pace group…which was in coral 2. I could see my pace-group from my coral. But, they spaced out the corals by over 5 minutes. That was the only time all day that I saw that pace team. I then made one huge mistake (besides sprinting 9.3 miles the day before). I tried to catch my pace group…and I went out way to fast. That came back to haunt me.
The first mile or two is through the downtown core of Minneapolis. Huge crowds lined the streets. This was the norm. I never saw a spot on the course anywhere without spectators cheering us on. After a couple of miles, we turned out of the concrete jungle and moved on to the chain of lakes (Calhoon, Harriet, isles, Nokomis). We ran along tree lined boulevards and the along the Mississippi. It was starting to warm up…a little. The scenery was great, but I was tiring and hurting by the halfway point. This did not bode well for a PR.
We crossed the Mississippi and into St Paul. I was really struggling by this point. That’s when we hit the hill. It is a 3 mile stretch of steady climbing. Just when I didn’t think I could go on, my coworker (who was running the 10 mile) spotted me. She ran with me for about a mile and snapped a few photos. This was the pick me up I needed. I was still stopping to stretch every mile at every aid station-the legs were cramping badly. But I would finish.
I started seeing the same sites that I ran past several times the day before, but my legs hurt so much more this time. Past the cathedral…the Capitol and finish line in sight. I was able to muster a small burst for the finish.
I got my shirt and medal (this is the one weakness of TC in Motion-great events, great courses, great volunteer, Boring swag). But I had done it. I completed my second marathon…and my first multi-event weekend.