Sunday, June 29, 2014

Grandma's Marathon - Duluth, Minnesota - Saturday, June 21st 2014

This story really starts 6 months ago. Decided to do my 2nd marathon. Was scared, but figured it had to go better than the first one right? The first one I had a baker's cyst in my knee (that I was unaware of) and it popped at mile 5 so I then limped/speed walked 21 miles to finish.  Yes, I know, crazy.  However when it's your first marathon you do just about anything to finish it.

 This time I trained a little differently. I didn't do a 18, 19, 20 or longer run. I only ran up to 17 miles for my longest run. I also did more cross training than other races. Did this help? You will see later.

 Since our friends live in Cedar Falls, which is on the way to Duluth, we left on Thursday evening to travel there, thus taking 1.5 hours out of our trip for later. We stayed with Kyle and Lisa overnight in Cedar Falls! 

The next morning Jason and I went a couple streets over to meet Casey and then travel with her the rest of the way to Duluth. She drove. We found a cute little restaurant in the middle of nowhere in a town called Rush, Minnesota and I had breakfast for lunch. Yum! We arrived in Duluth around 2:30p.m. and checked into our hotel. Then we all went to packet pickup. That went smoothly, however it was super crowded. We ate the pasta dinner there and then went back to our hotel. That night we laid out everything and relaxed a bunch.

 Saturday morning, we all got up at 5 a.m. to dress for the marathon. I felt like I had body glided my entire body. Pretty sure I didn't miss a single spot that would rub, chafe or blister.  I ate an apple pie bonk breaker and a couple bites of a banana.

At about 5:40 a.m. ish we went across the street to catch the shuttle bus that would take us to the start line 26.2 miles away from town to a town called Two Harbors, MN.  The temperature was 46 degrees, but according to it said it felt like 42.  I believed it.

Around 6:45a.m. we arrived at the start line and got dropped off, there was no where to stay warm so I put my poncho on the ground, put all my warm clothes on and layed on the ground curled up for a while.

Around 7:15 a.m. I thought that finding a port a pottie might be a good idea.

About 7:35ish a.m. we lined up for the race that started around 7:45 a.m.  We heard the Star Spangled Banner play.

By around 7:52 ish a.m. we finally found the start line and started running.  I felt good for about the first 8 miles when I realized I had to find another bathroom.  Wasted some time in there.

At the midway point (half marathon) I felt amazing, took a selfie in front of Lake Superior, but then lost the picture later due to me accidentally deleting it.  Also took a really cool picture of the waves crashing in on the beach and rocks, but lost that pictures too.  In fact I lost a bunch of pictures, but thankfully Jason took some too before and during the marathon, otherwise I'd have none for my blog.

At around mile 15.5 I started hurting in my right leg.  My I T band tightened something awful near my knee.  Seriously.  I was so mad.  It only continued to hurt worse and worse and prevented me from running without pain.  I started speed walking with two other girls that seemed to be my same pace.  One from Wisconsin and her name was Kelly, and one from Texas and her name was Melony.  We stayed together speed walking for about 4.5 miles.

At mile 20.8 I called my husband.  I was in pain and ready to be done, but felt that I had done almost 21 miles that I should try and finish.  Jason said he was at mile 21, so only 2 tenths ahead of me.  We had been that close the entire time.  Couldn't believe it.  But he had done a lot of walking due to his plantar faciiatis acting up.

We met up around mile 21.4 I think.  We walked/ran to mile 23 and this is where I hit my wall. I had been really hurting since mile 15 and had already decided if this marathon didn't go well that I would get on the medical wagon and get out.  I had just told Jason that I would find a medical tent at mile 23 and be done.  I was okay with that.  He grabbed my hand and said, "You signed me up for this, I'm hurting really bad too, we can finish this thing together."  Thing is, I was spent and done.  I wanted out of the race and didn't care.  Soon after that, within seconds this guy on the side of the road said, "Great job you guys, you only have a 5K left.  Way to go!"  He was all chipper and happy.  I totally lost it by that point.  I started to bawl.  I said, "I just can't do this anymore, it hurts too bad."  Jason hugged me and said, "I know you can finish, we've come a long way."

After that I ran more than I had been doing in the last 8 miles.  I pretty much ran the last 3 miles almost the entire time. It hurt, it hurt really bad. The I T band was so tight that my right knee was screaming in pain.  I just wanted to be done and in under 6 hours.  Since I had expected to be done in under 5 hours, or in under 5:20 at the latest (since for the longest time I was right with the 5:15 pacer group and I had just barely let them pass but was ahead of the 5:30 pacer group, I was super bummed out that my next goal had changed to being done in under 6 hours.  Seriously this was crazy.  We were out there for so long.  Hate being injured and really didn't understand this.

I saw my friend Clark Zarifis near the end of the race.  He was taking pictures for the company Marathon Foto.  It was great to see him because I knew we were right around the corner from finishing the race.

If you want to see my actual pictures from this company then go to that link, type in Clark, type in my bib number #6582 and then select Grandma's Marathon 2014 for the event.  Or you can try this link:  Link that might work to see marathon pictures from Marathon Foto  The pictures actually display backwards.  If you scroll to the bottom, then you will see me with a white shirt on.  I had that on for at least 17 miles of the race. It was cold out and I never did warm up for the longest time, not sure why, maybe that contributed to my I T band tightening, don't know.  Anyway, I knew to get my pictures, I had to display my bib number so every time I saw a picture taker, I lifted my shirt to display my number.  When you see the blue band around my right leg, that was my attempt to tie the I T band tight and hopefully have it feel better.  It was a wrist band I found on the ground that I used.  It helped, but not sure if it helped a ton or not.  I felt okay wearing it, then it started to hurt after 5 miles, so I removed it.

The end of the race was sweet, there were lots of people cheering you on, even though you took forever to get there.  Jason and I held hands and finished the race.  So glad that is over.

The results are here!  All three of us received a PR today.  PR stands for Personal record.  Casey finished by 5 minutes faster.  I finished by 38 minutes faster than my last marathon.  Jason finished a marathon for his first time.

Will I do another one?  The answer is Yes.  Why?  Because I give everything in life 3 tries. If you quit after doing something once, you will never know if it could have or will go better.  I know I can run a marathon faster than almost 6 hours, I mean really.  I am fit and strong and I know I can run uninjured and feel great.  I see this happen all the time to others who run a lot.  How can I get to that point? Better training is the answer. So I will try again and see how a 3rd marathon treats me.  If that one goes bad, then I'm going to stay with half marathons only.

Jason's personal story of his experience with his marathon is here !
Casey, Jason and I before the race started.
Lots of stuff in the packet.  I love this part.

Taking a selfie before the race.

At the start line with about 6,000 other runners.

Our view of the course for about 20 miles.

Jason's bib and medal

My bib and medal

Kyle and Lisa bought us a cake for finishing the marathon. Very nice of them.
About an hour after we finished the race we posed for a picture in front of Grandma's restaurant.  We are both hurting here, but so happy to have finished the race.
A few days after the marathon with my finisher shirt and medal!  

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