Tag Archives: Twin Cities Marathon

Marathon Taper Begins…

Yesterday, I completed my final long training week of the year. I ran 6 out of  7 days with a long run if 21 miles followed the next day with a 15 miler. I totaled just over 60 miles for the week. Today, I plan on a final bike ride of the season (which will get my cycling total to just over 300 miles…a far cry from the 3000 miles last year). This weekend looks perfect for back to back “long-ish” runs at 12 miles each (hopefully) and then mostly 5-10 k runs until the Twin Cities Marathon and I-35 Challenge.

I was getting burnt out with the training, so getting these last long runs out of the way is a huge relief. The finish line is in sight for the season and I am finally confident that I will actually get there.

I am already getting excited for the DisneyLand Star Wars Half Marathon. I bought a light up lightsaber to carry with me for the photo stops (my wife already thinks (knows) that I am a complete dork, but I am sure that reading this will make her cringe…). Still trying to decide on the second Star Wars race in Disney World in April. If I run that, I would skip the Disney 25th anniversary marathon. Decisions, decisions…and, with registration coming up fast, I won’t have long to decide.

Until then, I need to focus on a few more training runs before marathon madness hits in a few weeks.

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The Final Training Push…

It had been an interesting few months. I had an intense running spring and a busy triathlon summer tailing into an intense running fall. This has resulted in odd training patterns. My last triathlon of the season is tomorrow, but I have not done any recent training swims or rides…opting instead to work on my run (and using one race as training for the next). Yesterday, I did a slow 21 miler. This would seem a little odd and early 6+ weeks out from a marathon, and two days out from a sprint triathlon. But I have 3 marathons in October (nothing in September), including 2 back to back marathons (2 marathons in one weekend).

So, what is the game plan?

Well, for starters, I need to be more careful in setting up my race schedule in the future!

Next, I viewed the triathlons as “fun” events and as an excuse to cross train. I stopped cross training a couple weeks ago when I hit the heart of triathlon season 3 races in 15 days), and focused on running. I figured that yesterday would be a good time for my last long run. Next week, I will shorten the run but will have back to back long runs each week to prepare for the back to back races. I will then stretch out my back to back runs. Next week will be 15 miles/18 miles, then 18/18, then 18/21, then taper.

Twin Cities Marathon will come three weeks later, with a 10k/5k/1 mile combo the day before (so, basically a 10.3 mile/26.2 mile combo). Then another quick taper heading into the dreaded 26.2/26.2 combo. I end the season two weeks later with a half marathon. I am looking forward to the downtime as planning and executing this schedule has been a challenging mess…

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Back To Back Long Runs: Round 2

With two marathons in one weekend (the I-35 Challenge: Kansas City Marathon October 17 and Des Moines Marathon October 18). I need to get some back to back long runs (and increase weekly mileage and running frequency…I know!) Last week was a disaster. I hated every moment. It felt like a chore. I cut the second run short and I went so far as to post that an injury would be a blessing so I could get out of running those races.

Well, Karma has a way…

Two days later I strained my back quite badly. I could work, but barely. I needed help tying my shoelaces. Yesterday, I almost took a DNS at the Minnesota Half Marathon due to the pain. However, the pain had improved enough that I took a chance and it paid off. I completed the Half (and got a new “personal worst” in the process). However, running helped the pain. I was almost pain free by the finish line.

This morning, I was a little stiff, but better then the last several days. The schedule called for a slow 18 miler. I decided to try. Unlike last week, I was enjoying it. I was slow, but I was having fun again. By the end of the run, I was pain free!

This has taught me a valuable lesson. Don’t take for granted the things you love. Whether they are skills, hobbies, work, pets, health, friends, or family. Sometimes we take things for granted, and don’t realize how fortunate we are until these gifts are gone or threatened.

With the turning of the calendar page, a new urgency has come upon me. I have 4 triathlons in the next 3 weekends. Back to back long runs will not be possible. I should have time for a single long run each of those weeks, but not two. After that, I will have three weeks of training available to me before the taper start for the Twin Cities Marathon/10k/5k/1 mile weekend, and that will be my last long run before the I-35 Challenge two weeks later. Time is getting short. But with back to back 13.1 miles and 18 miles, I should be able to ramp up the miles by race day…

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Where Has All Of My Motivation Gone?

I was scheduled to run 15 miles yesterday morning. It would be a hot one, so I was up before dawn to beat the heat.

I wasn’t feeling it. Not at all. I wanted to be back in bed. I bailed after 12 miles.

I have three marathons coming up in October (likely my last marathons) including back-to-back marathons in Kansas City and Des Moines (the I-35 Challenge). As I was running, I was questioning why I was doing this. I am not enjoying myself (and haven’t for about 10 months now). I have 12 marathons under my belt. Would three more matter to anyone (especially me).

I thought about downsizing the event to two half-marathons…but I don’t want the time/travel/expense for halfs. I thought about just canceling altogether. Nobody else would care.

In looking back, I had so much enthusiasm heading into Ironman Wisconsin and all that proceeded it. Nothing since has gotten me excited. I was going through the motions in Tulsa, Houston, Pittsburgh, and FANS Ultra. I am going through the motions now.

I am enjoying sprint triathlon (including training, but the commute to the pool and bike trails make it a struggle to get going). I am enjoying the shorter events (but they still have a less painful going through the motions feel).

Part of me wonders if my stubbornness at completing these final three marathons will permanently beat the joy of running out of me. I have caught myself thinking that a minor injury would be a blessing in disguise…that it would make the decision for me. Of course, thoughts like those are just crazy, but it gives you some idea about just how apathetic I am about the whole thing right now.

I remember training for IMOO and reading FB posts about lack of motivation and insufficient training. Posts where people would wonder if they should still run the race, or sell the bib/defer registration. A third of registrants DNS most marathons. I never understood this. Now, I get it. You push yourself too hard for too long and you burnout. I guess I feel like I do at mile 22 of a marathon. I have come so far, but the finish line still seems so far away…it is hard to stay motivated.

Next weekend, I have a half on Saturday (I am fine with that) and will try to back that up with a longer run Sunday. Then, I have 3 weekends of triathlons. I will hope to get one long run each of those weeks. Then, a final short push and ramp up before I taper for the Twin Cities Marathon which will be my last long run before I-35. If I can do the TCM, then KCM two weeks later should not be a problem. DMM will be a sufferfest, but one that I will have seven hours to complete.

I just need to pull my head out of my ass and get it back in the game for one final training cycle. After that, I can park it at Half Marathons and Sprint Triathlons as long as I wish…

 

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Race Report: TC 1 Mile

May 14, 2015.

It day was supposed to be a complete washout.

It was pretty close.

It rained all day. Mostly drizzle, but it never stopped. The wind could not make up its mind. It would be calm for a few minutes, then gusting and swirling the next few minutes. Temps were in the low 50’s.

The race was canceled last year due to tornados (a perfectly reasonable reason to call off an event). It didn’t matter to me since I was out of town. The last (and only) time that I competed in a mile was two year ago.

The traffic to the race was awful. The new venue was questionable. The parking situation sucked. There would be no finishers medal. None of that mattered. I had come here for one reason.

I wanted a PR.

I also wanted to crush my old PR of 7:11.8…

…and I really wanted to go sub 7 minutes.

I just wasn’t sure that I could do it.

I am not a fast runner. I do no speed drills. I only did four training runs geared towards this event (the only four speed drills that I have completed in the last two years).

The old venue was 12 blocks straight down a pedestrian mall in downtown Minneapolis. The new venue is one block over-straight down one of the busiest roads-during evening rush hour. I think the move is due to construction at the old site.

The event is held downtown on a work night. A lot of big companies put on a big corporate teams for this event. All they have to do is put on their company shirt and walk a few blocks after work to the start line. Then they can hang out at a local bar afterwards.

The new staging area is better…there actually is a staging area now. The rain resulted in a sharp decline in the number of participants (about 1600 runners, down from 2600 two years ago), so many of the starting waves were combined. They didn’t announce this until just before the event, and many runners didn’t get there in time.

I parked near the finish line and walked to the start in my company running shirt, shorts, and already trashed running shoes. I was also sporting the garbage bag. Perfect weather for the garbage bag running accessory.

I reached the starting line and went to packet pick-up. I received my bib and realized that I had nowhere to put my event shirt (there was a bag drop, but I didn’t really want to walk back here after the race, then walk another mile back to the car). So, I just decided to wear two shirts tonight. It was only one mile after all.

I met some other corporate team members for the mandatory group photo. There were three of us. Two years ago, there were 60. Weather will do that (especially since none of our workplaces is near the start line). We then lined up. I was in the second wave. I got into my start coral and lined up at the 7 minute/mile. I ditched the trash bag with a minute to spare. Moments later, we were off.

The wind had died down (bonus), and the rain was a drizzle. There was some standing water on the course that I had to weave around (puddles could have hidden potholes). The tempuratures was the biggest problem. I have mild asthma which is triggered by exercise in cool weather. This weather would set it off. In my training runs, my lungs would burn a lot more in these weather conditions then if it were 10 degrees warmer. I took my inhaler shortly before the race, but knew that it would impact my chances at a PR. I was right…my lungs were on fire in the first tenth of a mile.

The plan for this event was simple. Run as fast as I can, then try to run even faster, and don’t slow down until the finish line.

Something I noticed about 1/4 of a mile into the race…we were going uphill. It wasn’t steep, but it was constant. We actually had an elevation gain of 140 ft over the 1 mile course (another reason I dislike this new venue…I recall the old course being pancake flat).

Once we got going, the runners thinned out a bit. I was still weaving more then I would like. This is not a good thing on such a short course where every second counts.

I kept glancing down at my Garmin. Sometime, I was in the high 5 min/mile pace, sometimes high 7 min/mile. I really wasn’t sure if I was on track for the PR or not, but I had my doubts. The weaving, the uphill course, and my breathing were all conspiring against me. I was not having the race that I wanted. All I could do is keep pushing and hoping for the best. I finally see the finish line just as I thought that I could not keep up this pace any longer. I was able to maintain for the final few yards.

Finish Time- 6:50.7

New PR (improved by 21.1 seconds).

I have to say that I was surprised given the circumstances. I desperately wanted to finish in under 7 minutes. Part of me dreamed of sub 6:45 and I came very close.

Overall, I am very pleased by the outcome. Looking at my race schedule, I figured I had two chances at a PR this season…this race and my Ultramarathon in two weeks (only because I have never completed an ultra before).

With this race behind me, I need to get one more long slow run this weekend in preparation for the only “A” race on the calendar.

I really hope that the weather is better for that event…

Edit: I was looking at my finish times compared to my new “predicted” finish times based on the Galloway Migic Mile formula. They are surprisingly close (except for the marathon of course).

1 mile – 6:51.

5K predicted – 22:56 (actual – 22:49).

10k predicted – 48:49 (actual 47:40)

Half Marathon predicted – 1:47:29 (actual 1:44:09)

Marathon predicted – 3:52:54 (actual 4:26:15).

So, according to this, I should still have a little room for improvement on the mile given my 10K and HM performance) and have a lot of room for improvement on the marathon…

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The Rapid Mileage Ramp Up For My Spring Marathon

Some runners run diligently throughout the winter…training hard for their spring marathon. They run through polar vortexes, mountains of snow and sheets of ice just to be well trained and properly prepared for their event.

I am not one of those runner.

After sustaining a near season-ending ankle injury training for the Goofy Challenge a few years back, I have limited my winter running to indoor track or treadmill.

Of course, I can only handle 30 minutes (occasionally 60 minutes) of such tedious and mind-numbing boredom.

So, I call it my off-season…which is much needed and quite rejuvenating.

I also naively sign up for a spring marathon?..and I wallow through my off-season.

When spring hits, I look at the race calendar and start to panic at just how quickly my spring marathon is coming up.

Every. Damn. Year.

Last weekend, I did my season opening Half-Marathon. It was a satisfactory 1:59 performance. Far from my 1:44 PR, but better then previous year opening HM performances.

But, the Pittsburgh Marathon looms ahead of me, and closer then I thought.

So, I started my “Half-assed/half-panic rapid ramp up to an undertrained Marathon/Death March training plan”.

My neighborhood is compact and offers a 3 mile loop. My usual “I am not actively training” long run is 5 loops (15 miles). When training, I start adding 1 loop/week until I get to 8 loops (24 miles) and keep doing that until I taper.

Yesterday, I did my first 5 looper of the year.

Damn, that hurt (and I was darn slow too).

Looking at the calendar, I will have time to get up to 24 miles one time before I start to taper (first week of the taper will bring the Hot Chocolate 15k). After the marathon, I will do one further 24 miler a couple of weeks later before running the Minneapolis Half Marathon the week before my one and only Ultramarathon.

With the ultra behind me, I will start triathlon training (well, will start that during marathon taper). This will not be too stressful since all of my triathlons will be sprints this year (1/4 swim, 15 mile bike). I just need to get comfortable swimming and riding again. During tri-season, I will try to maintain the 5 loop (15 mile) long run weekly (to have a more solid base) until I start my ramp up for the October Marathon Mayhem…3 marathons in 16 days (Twin Cities, Kansas City and DesMoines) the last two are on the same weekend.

After that, my marathon career will be over. I am surprisingly at peace with this decision. I want health and fitness to be a part of my healthy lifestyle, not to overwhelm it. I am hoping that, knowing that these are my last few marathons, that I will enjoy them more instead of viewing each as just another generic race. Unfortunately, I was still just going through the motions yesterday and I was feeling like training was a chore or burden. Hopefully that will change as the weather warms and race day approaches…

 

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Race Report: Twin Cities Loony Challenge

October 4-5/2014.

Since I finished Ironman Wisconsin, I have struggled with my workouts. I assumed that this would be the case, so I deliberately loaded up my schedule with several running events. The first of these was this past weekend. It was the Twin Cities Marathon Weekend, and I wanted to participate in someway, even if I wasn’t up to the challenge of a full marathon. So, I opted for the Loony Challenge. It is a three race series (10K/5K/10 mile) over two days.

With 3 races in such a short period of time, I knew that none of my finish times will be exceptional. I could follow a few strategies. The first is to pick a race as my competitive race (preferably the first one) and go all out for that event, then I would just get thru the rest of the runs. Alternatively, I could approach this as a long race with break in the middle, and pace myself a little slower. This would give me three pretty good times, and would likely place me higher in the overall standings. I opted for this second strategy. I have already set major PR’s this year for the 5k and 10k. Neither of those were at risk of falling no matter what my strategy was this weekend. But, my 10 mile PR is very weak. I have only run this distance one time, and I was injured at the time. The 10 mile PR should fall, and the PR should be huge, regardless of my strategy. If I decided to focus on this race, my new PR might be stronger. But, the 10 miler was the last event of the series. My legs would be stiff going into this event even if I walked the first two races so, I elected to race the series as best as I could. Even with this strategy, my 10 mile PR should be an impressive improvement…I hoped. As I noted, I have struggled with my runs. My training run pace has been very slow lately, and my legs get tired quickly. This may not be the slam dunk that it should be…

 

Loony Challenge-Day One:

Packet Pickup (Part One):

The weather turned cold a couple of days prior to race day, and I was completely non-acclimated. I had no idea what to wear (and I usually end up over-dressing). I decided to dress lightly and I brought some additional layers just in case. I would have access to the corporate team tent and there is typically a changing room available to us. I arrived at the race site (the Minnesota Capitol building) very early, grab bedmy gear and walked over to the venue. It is cold…and very, very windy. I would need to layer up. Packet pickup could not be easier. I was running both the 5k and 10k today. We had our own packet pickup area and I could use the same bib and chip for both races. They gave me my packet, two race shirts (finally, they had different shirts for the 5k and 10k races…and they were both tech shirts instead of cotton!) and a bonus pair of running socks. I then headed over to the corporate team tent. I was still early and had plenty of time to change into warmer gear. I met with a few familiar faces, had our team photo, and I headed out to the starting line.

TC 10K:

This is a simple out and back course along the last few miles of the marathon course. It is a little hilly with the biggest one at the very beginning. The weather was quite cool and I was glad I layered up. I had no idea what my pace would be. My training runs have been quite slow. I was hoping to keep all my races for the weekend under 9 min/mile but wasn’t sure if that was realistic. By the half mile point, I was in the high 7-low 8 range and my legs felt good. I was exactly where I wanted to be…I just wasn’t sure if I could maintain it. I did. By the turnaround, I was still in the low 8 min/mile. The turn is always a boost seeing relatively few runners ahead of me and a flood of runners behind me. That gave me a bit of a boost and spurred me on. I was still on pace. I passed the St. Paul cathedral on my way to the Minnesota State Capitol and the finish

Finish Time-50:55 (8:10 min/mile)

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TC 5K:

I had about 45 minutes before the 5k. I headed back to the corporate tent, relaxed and socialized. Before I knew it, I had to get back to the starting line. I could tell that my legs had stiffened up during the break. The course was the same, they just moved the turnaround a lot closer. My pace was slower (as expected), but was still in the mid 8’s. I was able to sustain that until the finish.

Finish Time-26:41 (8:36 min/mile)

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Packet Pickup (Part Two)/Expo:

Once the race was over, I headed over to the expo. This is one of the expos that I have most enjoyed, and it lived up to expectations again. Lots of vendors, samples, discounts, lectures etc. I had to come down to pick up the 10 miler bib. Once done, I headed home.

 

Loony Challenge-Day Two:

TC 10 Mile: 1:38:21 (10:31)

I didn’t plan on having any exceptional runs this weekend. I expected my 5k and 10k time to be way off my PR times, and they were. I hoped the 10 mile would be different. I had only run one 10 mile race in my life, and I was injured at the time. My old PR was 1:38:21. Even under this weekend circumstances, I should not only beat that PR, but I should crush It…

The 10 mile race starts 1 hour before the TC Marathon. The TC marathon starts in downtown Minneapolis, takes a long scenic route around the chain of lakes and the Mississippi River before coming almost back to the starting line and then turning into St Paul and to the Capitol. The TC 10 mile starts at the same spot and goes straight to St. Paul. Hence the subtitle “The Shortcut to the Capitol”.

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It was even colder the the previous day, but not windy. I made it down in plenty of time, dropped off my gear and lined up in coral two. The race started right around sunrise. Due to some storm damage, they had to modify the course which resulted in some significant bottlenecks on the course. Fortunately, they anticipated this and took a few precautions. They spaced out the corals a little more then in previous years. They also narrowed the starting chute to space us out a little more. It seamed to work as I never had to slow down due to course congestion. This course is quite hilly. Most of the marathon course is fairly flat, but most of the hills are on the 10 mile part of the course. My legs were definitely still fstiff rom the previous day and my pace had slowed a little. Fortunately, I was still able to keep below the 9 min/mile pace. As the course went on, my legs got more fatigued…especially on the 3 mile hill midway thru the course. I reach the 10k turnaround. My surroundings were familiar from yesterday. I kept moving and I reached more milestones…the 5k turnaround, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. I reached the final downhill and the finish line was in sight. I got a slight burst of energy as I crossed the finish line.

Finish Time: 1:27:50 (8:47 min/mile).

New PR! I broke my old PR by 10:31!

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I go thru the finish area, picked up my medals (10 mile medal and a separate Loony Challenge medal), got my finishers shirt and gear bag. Overall, a great experience with great swag, great volunteers, wonderful community support and a huge PR. Overall, a great way to spend the weekend!

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Loony Challenge Final Results:

Total Time: 2:45:26 (99/391 Overall, 5/12 AG). Pretty pleased with the results!

For anyone who is interested, these are the medals from the “Ultra Loony Challenge” ( 5k, 10k, Full Marathon). I may have to do this next year…

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Edit: Twin Cities in Motion announced that they have made an error. The course had to be altered from previous years for safety reasons. After the race was complete, they determined that the course was short by 0.14 miles. They have issued an apology. My PR was huge, and I would have certainly have PRed, even if the course were longer. I have decided to keep this as my 10 mile PR for now. Since my HM PR is at a faster pace then my 10 mile PR, I am confident that this PR will fall in the near future. It is a little disappointing, but I am glad that the organizers admitted the error and informed participants.

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Flashback Fridays 25: Twin Cities Marathon

October 6, 2013.

I wasn’t planning on running this. My fall marathon would be Detroit in 2 weeks. However, I had recently qualified for the Half Fanatics. That made me want to become a Marathon Maniac as well. To qualify, I had to run 2 marathons within 16 days, or 3 marathons within 90 days. TC marathon was 15 days away from Detroit. Being my hometown marathon, it added no travel expenses…just more physical pain and suffering. It was the only opportunity if could see of completing this within the next year.

I had already run the TC marathon last year, and it’s a beautiful race. But it has a big hill at the end, making it not PR friendly. That wasn’t my goal. Yesterday, I ran fast, and smashed my 5k PR. Today was about running far.

The expo was nice as always. Packet pick up was smooth. The whole weekend was cold and rainy.

A friend and coworker was running the 10 miler. Her husband and a couple of mutual friends were coming down to cheer her on. They offered to drive me even though she would be done hours before me.

We headed down to the Metrodome. It’s open to runners pre-race to get organized and stay warm. We were both on the corporate team and went down for our group photos.

She went to her start line. I would start an hour later.

The weather had not improved by the time I started. I went over to my coral and picked a pace team. The group I chose was a little bit overly optimistic.

The first part of the race was great. It really is a beautiful urban course. We wound thru the Minneapolis urban jungle before emerging at the chain of lakes. By this time, my overzealous coffee consumption was catching up with me. No porta potties but plenty of bushes where other runners had the same idea. I ran into the bushes, and managed to run right thru a huge clump of burrs. When I emerged, I noticed that I had thousands of them all over me. Man, do those things cause some serious chafing! The next 15 miles, I was focused on plucking them off of me…

Around mile 10, we hit a bottleneck, and we got packed in pretty tight. We were so tightly packed that the runner behind me clipped the back of my foot pulling my shoe right off my foot! I had to circle back, find it, wade thru the oncoming runners, retrieve the shoe, and get it back on. That was the last I saw of my pace group.

By mile 17, my legs were cramping and the rain had started. I stored my ipod in a ziplock bag and kept going.

Mile 21, the long hill. This killed my remaining energy. It was a death march from that point on. A mile later, I saw my friends and stopped for a couple of minutes to chat. That gave me a little boost. It didn’t last long. My legs were in rough shape. I was stopping to stretch every mile or so. Finally, the finish line was in sight.

Finish Time-4:42:56

I grab my medal, shirt and food. Got better food in the corporate tent. Retrieved my drop bag and met up with my friends for the ride home.

Step one of my Marathon Maniac quest was complete…

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Flashback Fridays 24: Twin Cities 5K

October 5, 2013.

It was a cool fall morning. Looked like rain.

I didn’t care.

Ever since Disneyland, I had been haunted by the 5k.

It was a PR, and a big one.

And, it was an untimed fun run. I forgot to look at the clock. I forgot to click my Garmin. I had no idea what my PR was. Low 24 minute range was my best guess.

I signed up for this event for only one reason…redemption. I needed to get an official PR. I would sprint the whole thing, or fall over trying.

Weather was perfect. I had access to to the Corporate Team Challenge tent. Sweet. Private bag check, food, coffee, porta-potties.

I got ready, and posed for the team photo. Lined up as close to the start as I could, and flew out of the gates.

I was passing a lot of runners. I kept looking at the Garmin and telling myself that it wasn’t fast enough. I would look ahead and find someone a little faster then me, and force myself to keep up.

The rain started. I barely noticed.

It was an out and back run. At the turnaround, I was finally able to see those behind me. There were a lot of people. I could not believe what I was accomplishing. But the race was only half done. I tried to push myself a little harder. I can finally see the finish line.

A co-worker had come out to cheer me on and to take a photo at the finish. Her camera was still in her purse. She had not expected me so soon. I wave but don’t slow down.

I cross the finish line a few seconds later, finally understanding what it is like to completely leave everything you have on the course.

Finish Time: 23:29

Age Group Place: 10/79

Overall Place: 149/2447

Allina Corporate Team Place: 1/45

I spent the rest of the day amazed with the result. I had always viewed myself as a slow runner. This changed my opinion. I was getting better at the short course. I was getting faster…

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Flashback Fridays 11: Twin Cities Marathon Weekend

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.

Sweet.

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.

10k-52:09

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…

5k-26:25

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.

Finish time-4:46:49

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.

 

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