I successfully ran the 2008 Twin Cities Marathon yesterday, and what a marathon it was. What started out as a cloudy, cool Sunday morning (perfect marathon weather in my opinion), quickly shifted into a crazy, weather-wild intense run from Minneapolis to St. Paul. The rain started within the first 2 miles and continued (very heavy at times) until mile 14. By that point everyone was completely soaked and there was no chance of drying off in the 51 degree temps. Looks like my 18-miler during Hurricane Hannah was excellent practice for race day!
Surprisingly, those first 14 miles flew by quickly. Actually, for the most part the entire race went fast. Kathy and I managed to keep our initial times way under 10 minutes a mile, and for the most part, my injured body was handling it well. Around mile 14, however, the cold weather stiffened up my joints and it became harder and harder to keep up with Kathy and her magic shoes :o). Remembering some advice from a great coach “run your own race,” I gave into my body and focused on maintaining a pace that felt right for me.
I finished at 4 hours and 33 minutes - not bad for a first marathon! When it was over and I ran across the finish line, I actually felt like I had more energy to keep going. My muscles, on the other hand, were completely spent. I held back on my speed for the second half of the race because there was a promised huge incline from mile 21-23. It actually turned out to be a very gradual hill, and I barely noticed. If I had known in advance, I probably would have tried to exert myself more. Maybe another marathon is in my future :o).
The entire city (on both sides) was out to watch the event in what was likely horrific weather to stand in (not just run in). Regardless of the pouring rain and cold temperatures, people flocked along the course in huge packs, playing drums under bridges, blasting the Rocky theme song (that was my favorite), and holding out funny signs. My favorite sign near the end was someone who held the words “Remember your reasons for running.”
I also loved the people watching throughout the race - people who were running their 75th or 300th marathon self-identified with homemade t-shirts. One guy wore no shirt at all, and displayed about 15 smiley face tattoos for the crowd. He tried to get everyone to yell as he ran by. The Minneapolis side was definitely more receptive to this than the St. Paul side :o). Families threw huge marathon-watching parties on their lawns, complete with moon-bounces, barbecues and fire pits, mimosas, and huge crowds of people. Others manned tables that handed out bananas and oranges or Jolly Ranchers. A few tables even offered beer to runners. Needless to say, I avoided anything but water, Gu, and bananas during my run :o).
Here are a few photos I managed to take before and after the race:
Wearing a pink shirt and sweats to stay warm during the early morning, as well as my new Twin Cities Marathon hat. I’m holding hot tea to keep my hands warm, and a baggy of advil (which also held my camera
when I was running!).
Me and Kathy stand a block away from the race start, in front of port-o-potties just ready to be used! Incidentally, despite the promises of disqualification for public urination, I saw hundreds and hundreds of people pee in the bushes (men and women alike!)
Waiting in Corral 2 for the race to begin. It only took us about 5 minutes to cross the start line once the gun went off.
Finishers cover themselves in Mylar blankets to stay warm after the race. These were a welcome treat for all of us - coveted as highly as the marathon t-shirt and the medal!
Unfortunately, although I wore my Friends t-shirt the entire time, the only pictures I have of myself (yes, I carried a camera the whole way) were before the race when I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt on top to keep warm, and at the end, when I put on the marathon long-sleeved t-shirt because my clothes were drenched through and I was having trouble staying warm. Regardless of pictures (and I’m hoping the official photographers will grab some real shots of me running), that shirt was great to have as people cheered on “Friends” and one runner even ran past me to ask about it.
Overall, it was a tremendous experience and one I may definitely have to do again in the future. For now I will focus on getting back to normal. After the race Kathy and I spent some time in the hotel hot tub, played in the pool with her nieces, and even took a spin down the indoor water slide, because we could. Last night’s sleep was pretty painful, but things seem to be loosening up a bit already. Kathy says marathons are like childbirth - soon you forget all the pain and look forward to putting another one under your belt. Chicago 2009? Kathy? :o)