Thought I was back to normal, went 4.5 last Sat, and 5 yesterday. I’m sore from my 5 miles yesterday, that’s not good. I used to not be sore an hour after a 5 miler. So I guess I haven’t recovered yet. Going to rethink this week. Next race is the Monster Dash half on Oct. 29. Here’s my finish vid. Look for the guy in the orange singlet with arms up in the air…
So here it is, the post all of you have been waiting for. Actually maybe just me, I might be the only person who even reads this blog. Anyways…
So I woke up to my alarm at around 5:30, and had a little bit of a slow start. But one thing I didn’t experience was a bad night of sleep which plagues some people. I felt pretty well rested over the past few nights, so that was good. Breakfast of champions was toast with peanut butter and honey and a banana. And then to drink was coffee with pumpkin spice creamer. So very good! I went down to my computer to post a few things on Facebook and DailyMile, and just generally start waking up for the day. By 6:15 I was ready to get out of the house and get going on this marathon.
I wanted to get a bottle of water, so I stopped at SuperAmerica for that and a bathroom break. I was worried about all the port-a-potty line horror stories, it ended up not being an issue. Saw a couple other people that were obviously on their way to the races. The 26.2 labeled socks were a dead giveaway. Plus the ear to ear grin at this hour on a Saturday meant something special was going on.
Drove in to downtown Minneapolis around 6:50 and realized my first mistake. The 10 mile runners were already almost starting, and tons of people were already here for the marathon. In other words, it was packed down there. I had no idea where to park. Luckily I turned down the first road I saw off Washington and there was a spot no one was parked in, but tons of cars were around. I swooped in, and quickly realized why. The parking meter was broken. This must have scared people away, but there was a cop right there and I asked if I’d be ticketed if the meter didn’t show anything. He gave a brief “No” and turned around. Not so friendly… So free parking was a bonus.
I realized I was looking right down the path of the 10 mile run, and it was fun to see the elite women and then men fly by right after 7am. It was still in the upper 40’s so I was in sweatpants and a sweatshirt over my shorts and singlet. This worked our perfectly. I headed to the metrodome, and saw those nasty port-o-potty lines. I ran inside the dome and while there was a huge line for the toilets in the mens room, the trough was wide open. Bonus for being a guy on that one.
So around 7:30 I head out to the corrals. I had heard that it was hard to move around once it filled up so I wanted to be in there early. Ended up getting right next to the 4:00 pacer which is exactly where I wanted to be. Lots of people were out there in their shorts and tank tops already. Seems like that was bad planning because you could tell they were freezing. My sweatpants were 10 years old with holes in them and the sweatshirt came from the goodwill at a cost of 4 bucks. Do yourself a favor. Wear clothes to take off and throw. They donate them anyways.
Finally, the start of the race. I was so excited. It was actually quite surreal. The weird thing is how excited I was about now having to run 26.2 miles. Sort of like being excited to go to the dentist. It just doesn’t make sense. But still, I was excited. The race started off without incident. I was blown away by how many runners there were. I knew it was going to be thousands, but running down roads with the thousands really is interesting. The first mile is through downtown Minneapolis. You pretty much just have to run along with everyone. I wanted to stay around the 4:00 pacer, but quickly realized that there wouldn’t be any jockeying for position for a while. You’d have to do too much dancing around other people, and I wanted to go out comfortable. From mile 1 to 2, it was much the same other than we were getting out of downtown now. At mile two there is a really good hill. I had some advice to not charge up it, way too early. I heeded that and just went with the flow.
Miles 2.5 – 5 were great. We were getting away from the city and in to the lakes section. It’s a beautiful area and the weather was awesome. I should point out that the crowd support is bonkers at this marathon. So that really kept energy high. At this point, I’m feeling great, averaging right under a 9 Min/Mi I think (pace chart later). At around 5 miles I knew my sister/her kids and wife/our kids were planning to try to see me the first time. And right around 5 I see my sister and her boys. She’s got some pipes because the instant she saw me, she was yelling LOUD. It was great. The boys looked a little overwhelmed, but I knew I’d get high fives later. Unluckily, I later found out my wife took a wrong turn and got stuck in traffic that she couldn’t turn around in (marathon route blocking her path). So I didn’t see them at this area.
I really enjoyed running through this section of the race. I did a lot of my training around the lakes. Many laps around Calhoun and lots of runs of Calhoun to Harriet and back. So I knew these paths well. 7th to the 8th mile and then you’re making the turn to Minnehaha parkway. This is also a beautiful area to run. The trees were changing and the crowd was still crazy. I’d say throughout the complete marathon there were only 3 or 4 times when there wasn’t anyone on the sides of the road. And it was maybe a tenth of a mile MAX. I actually really enjoyed these quiet moments as well. With all those runners still around you it just got quiet. The only thing you could hear was hundreds of feet hitting the ground. It was a really cool experience. And then bam, you’re back to spectators dancing/screaming to a big stereo blasting LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem. Somewhere in this area I saw my parents for the first time. The big GO DAVE GO sign was back and duck call blasting, thanks Mom. And then my dad with his camera giving me the “papa”razzi treatment. I loved it.
Still feeling good through 9, then 10, then 11. Pace is still on track, and the mind was still doing great. I was starting to have to tell myself. OK just get to 11, and it’s two to the half. Just get to 12, and you’re only a mile from the half. I wasn’t hurting, but I was getting up to 2 hours of running, and 2 hours of doing anything takes some concentration. You go around Nokomis and I enjoyed recalling my first 10 mile at the Monster Dash last year. Funny what a difference a year makes. I got to the half way mark around 1:58:something. Still solid mind/body/pace. Somewhere in this section I saw Jess, Patti and the girls. They had made a sign that I was looking for. Maddi had added a couple pieces to the top of the sign that made it stand out from an ordinary square sign. This is what I saw first, and there they were. It was great to see them. High fives for everyone. They looked a little confused, and I’m unsure of what they expected, but it’s so fast when you run by. A couple seconds of seeing them really gave a boost though.
I knew from the half way mark to the 20 mile mark I really needed to put it in to cruise control. This was going to be a tough part of the course, because it’s a long ways to get to the next milestone (20 miles, the longest I had ever run before). About the time you get past the 15 mile mark you are pretty much to the Mississippi river. This is probably the spot I started to get some initial feedback from the body that things were going to start getting tougher. At 16 I saw my parents again, more yelling, ducks and pictures.
I’m still feeling OK at this point. I was thinking I was going to see my wife and Rhonda again in the 17.5 mile area. The Lake St. bridge is a popular place to spectate. Too popular in fact, they couldn’t get close. This is where I started seeing Jim on the course. He had previously run the 10 mile earlier and was now back helping me out and encouraging. He actually came on the course and would run with me for a little while. This was huge later on. Around Lake St, I also recognized an old friend’s voice yelling at me. Tanya Larson, who I was friends with in college, was yelling at me. I haven’t seen her in years. Spectators, specially people you know = AWESOME. Got through the 17th mile at a 8:55 pace. It’s the last pace in the 8’s that I’d be running.
I’m through 17 now and new it was only 2 miles until the next milestone. Now my body was starting to yell at me. I did energy gels at :45, 1:30, 2:15, and 3:00. And was taking in water/gatorade at the stops. This was what I planned on. I think I did this correctly, but I was running out of steam. My paces slowed a little each mile 18, 19, and then 20. At this point my bladder was feeling kind of full, and I had to make a decision. One more hour feeling like this, or hit the port-o-potty. I decided I should stop, and I’m glad I did. Really had to go, and felt better after.
So here I was at 21 miles. Tired, out of gas, but still moving. This is where they add insult to injury and throw in 2 miles of hills. It’s not like we’re running up a mountain, but after over 3 hours of running, temps heating up, and more miles than I’ve ever run before, any hill was going to hurt. And this hill hurt… The worst part is between 21 and 22. Then 22 to 23 is much more gradual. But after the first hill, it was all (figuratively speaking) downhill for me after that. Paces got in to the 10:20 Min/Mi range, and there was simply nothing I could do about it. I tried to tell myself, go a little faster, get under 10, but when I pushed everything physicall/mentally pushed back. I wouldn’t really say it was painful, it was just utter exhaustion. It’s now kind of hard to remember what it was like at the end. The mind goes to kind of a strange place at this point in the race. You have to concentrate so hard on keeping the legs moving that everything else kind of just goes away. Miles 24 – 26 felt like the two longest miles of my life. It really was only just over 20 minutes. I think I repeated “only two more miles” over to myself about 500 times in this stretch.
And then it happens. You break out of the miles of city blocks on Summit Ave. You are faced with a downhill and the huge American flag hoisted up by two large cranes. The state capitol is there, and the finish is past the flag. Running down that hill and under that flag is awesome. It still hurt, and it still took everything I had to not just fall over, but now it was obvious this adventure was coming to a close. You get under the flag, and you probably have another tenth of a mile, but it’s through this chute almost. The crowd on the sides are going nuts, it was a cool experience. Finally, under the finish line, and it’s over…
Some other notes about those last 6 miles. I saw my wife and kids in there again around 22 I think. Talk about a sight for sore eyes. That gave me a much needed boost. Rhonda and the boys were out there again as well. Jim was out there with me a few times as well. I don’t remember exactly when. But I needed it each time. The only time I stopped was to go to the bathroom once. The only time I walked was the last couple of water stations, and only for a few steps. I simply didn’t have it in me to do the dance around all the people around where they were handing water/gatorade. No problem earlier in the race, but at that point, it was forwards only, no side to side movement was possible.
To the three gals that passed me at mile 24. Chatting as easily as if they’d been sitting at Caribou for the past 3 and a half hours. “This is so much fun, I can’t believe how awesome this is.” As much as I wanted to trip you, I’m also in awe of your ability to pace yourself to still be that comfortable. Many people passed me, and I passed many people in those last few miles. The dejected look on the faces of those walking at this point were humbling. I was right there with them, I wanted to walk, but I also knew I wanted to finish and look back and gave it my all. And that’s what I did. I left it all on the course, when I finished, I had nothing left.
Past the finish line, I got my solar blanket thingy, but really was too hot. Passed EMS because I felt fine. Grabbed Gatorade and a bottle of water. Got a banana, and chips and nut rolls. And then started feeling really light headed. So then I sat down for 5 minutes. After that I was feeling fine, and there were no other issues. One of the best things they had was ice cold chocolate milk. It was SO good. Oh yeah and piping hot soup. I passed on that, maybe if it would have been colder. But by this time it was in the low 70s. Walked through and got my medal and my finisher tshirt, and then it was off to find my family. I’m somewhat of an emotional guy, and I could feel it right under the surface so when I saw my folks it was overwhelming. I held it together OK though. Few tears to get everything back on track and I was good to go.
So that’s it. Downtown St. Paul is crazy at this time on race day, so we had to do some coordinating to find everyone and get out of there. But it went fine and we were on our way home.
It really was an unbelievable experience. 26.2 miles is a looooooonnnngggggg ways. That’s a distance to respect. I can’t thank my family enough through this entire experience. My wife and kids letting me be gone lots of Saturday mornings on long training runs. And then putting up with me talking about it all the time. And then the crazy morning (with Patti) of driving all around town to see me run all around town. My sister and her boys following me around as well. Thanks to Jim who got me in to this ridiculous endeavor. All the advice/encouragement over the months has been awesome. And then running with me when it got tough, that was huge. Thanks to my parents for being great parents who always encourage and believe in me.
Map with timings:
In the end, always remember to be humble. No matter how good you think you are at something, there’s always a pink pig that can do it a little bit better. He beat me by 4 minutes.
Fun fall weekend activity, made better that we paid half price for admission due to a livingsocial.com deal. To be honest, at 9 bucks a shot for everyone over 36″ tall, it’s kind of a pricey place for what you get. But the deal made it worth it. We bought some tickets to get Maddi and Sophie up on one of the air bounce attractions. It was tough for them to climb it, so I got in on the action too. At one point, kids almost got crushed be me and everyone else, but it was a fun and wild time. The corn maze was impressive, without the map, you might actually get lost in their for a while. Good times overall, I’d go back, if I can find another half price deal