Thursday, June 23, 2011

grandma's recap ad nauseum, part 2

Sorry it's taken so long to get this thing going again.  Dang work gets in the way of blogging.

Anywhoo - back to my Grandma's saga..... where was I again?

Oh yeah - Race Day!!

By the way, this is an INCREDIBLY LONG POST.  Sorry!!

We woke up to rain.  POURING rain.

I had brought throw-away clothes just in case the weather sucked.  I brought clothes for sunny weather. I brought clothes for cold weather.  Remember when I said I had my selections narrowed down?  That was sort of true. I just had lots of selections.

In the end, I decided on my capris, a blue tank, my thriller jacket, and a hat.  I decided against the iFitness belt (big mistake) because the jacket has so many pockets.  I gave AJ my throwaway top to wear.  And we topped off our ensembles with heavy duty garbage bags.  I was SO glad I brought them along!

A quick breakfast in the hotel lobby - oatmeal (instant - blech, and I added too much water - double blech) and a banana..... I also bought coffee but forgot to grab it before we headed out the door to catch the bus.  5 blocks away.  In the rain.  Whahhh.

The bus was packed - AJ and I got the last two seats! Then the long ride to the start.....

The rain pretty much stopped by the time we made it to the start and really, the weather ended up being just about perfect for running.  We had a nice tailwind that ever so gently pushed us along, it was cloudy and stayed in the 50's.  Well, not entirely cloudy.  There was watery sun, not a lot, but enough to sunburn this fair-haired lass.  Not too bad, though!

In all honesty, the run is kind of a blur.  The miles just flowed and I totally enjoyed myself.
One of several pre-race photos where
my eyes are shut. It's my only talent.
So here is what I DO remember:

Running into Lisa from my 30k race - we met while running with the same pace group.  I saw her before the race and then periodically throughout the race. More about this later.

Lots of pre-race posing with AJ for the photographers.  My eyes are shut in EVERY one of them.

Miles 1-8

Around mile 2 or so I was in a pack of women and there were a couple of older women spectators - "Great job, girls!  You're looking good but you have a lonnnngggg way to go - lots of miles ahead of you!"  We all got a good laugh about that.  As my family members would say, "Are ya German?" (In addition to my Irish blood, I have A LOT of German blood coursing through my veins - so I know of whence I speak - we can be a negative lot.)  In their defense, maybe they heard that runners don't want to hear things like, "you're almost there!" when they really aren't, so they were trying to be supportive and realistic at the same time.  Or maybe they just like to be buzzkills.

Saw Lisa 30k around mile 3 and chatted with her a bit.  This was also about the same time I met Cara/Kara who recognized my thriller jacket. That was so fun!

With AJ around mile 8
The run was going smoothly, the day warmed up and about mile 4 or 5 I needed to tie the jacket around my waist, but because I had loaded the pockets with so much crap (HammerGel, ShotBloks, hotel room key, chapstick, TP, etc. etc. etc. - why oh why didn't I wear my iFitness belt??) in addition to tying it around my waist, I had to zip it partway up while it was around my waist to keep it from smacking me as I ran.  Another fashionable look.  I wore it like that aaallllllll the way to Duluth.  I'm certain the other runners WISHED they could look as cool and stylish as me.  I know it, I saw the all envious glances.

Huge surprise around mile 8 when the husband and SS showed up!!  I wasn't expecting to see them until I hit Duluth so that was an awesome treat!!  The husband managed to catch me at seven different points along the race.  He is the bomb!!!

Miles 9-17

Saw Lisa 30k again and chatted some more. Somewhere around mile 11 I left AJ at the porta-potty and kept up with my slow progress towards Duluth.  We figured she'd catch up with me pretty quickly.  But it was not to be - we wouldn't see each other again until the end of the race.  At mile 13 it was my turn to hit the porta-potty.  Because this was the starting point for the half marathon, there were about 100 porta-potties there - no lines!

*TMI WARNING - it gets a little messy here*
Enjoying an orange slice at mile 19 or 20. I walked
EVERY water stop from start to finish.  Lisa 30k is
next to me.
OhhhEmmmGEEEEE.  Despite having been consumed about an hour apart, the two packets of HammerGel must have hit my intestines at the same time.  Until I was in the PP I had NO IDEA there was a fight going on.  I mean,  I knew I needed to go, but holy moly.  This was bad.  I was stuck in the PP for about 8 (yes, EIGHT) minutes..... asking my body, "Are we done yet???  Can I hit the road now????"  Seriously - I was saying these things out loud.  I put Garmin Electra on hold while the revolt ran it's course <so to speak>.  I was not a happy camper.  FINALLY finished up and was able to get back on the road.  Thank goodness the bowels didn't have issues again for the rest of the race.  Whew!

Saw the husband and SS around mile 16 and SS says to me, "Where have you been?? AJ is WAAYYYY ahead of you!" The husband (no doubt seeing the panic in my eyes) said, "No, she's just a little ways ahead of the 5:00 pace group."  Off I went in pursuit of the pace group - and they were nowhere to be seen.  I finally got them around mile 17.

Miles 18-26.2

Caught up to Lisa 30k around mile 19 - we chatted again and she asked if I wanted to finish the race with her. I said sure, but that I was in hot pursuit of AJ and wanted to stay ahead of the 5 hour pace group.  She was IN! and we kept going.
My brother, mom & son.  My dad was close but
didn't make the photo.  ((((HUGS!!))))) 
A few spectator notes -

There was a house with about 50 troll dolls lined up along the curb in order of height. Remember troll dolls? Yeah, that was kind of weird. Super funny too!

Drunken college students offering beer, encouragement and free high fives.

I high-fived every little kid with their hand out. You just can't leave a little kid hangin'!

Here's a crazy thing - none of the hills registered with me.  Didn't notice 'em. Not at all.  All my hill training worked!  Even the famed lemon drop hill was a non-issue.  That was awesome!

Saw the husband again at mile 23 - he ran up to me, gave me a kiss and said, 'Your folks and your brother are right around the corner - I'm so proud of you!"  We rounded the corner and went up that last little hill and there they were - yelling for me and clapping.  What a wonderful sight!  My only regret of the race is that I didn't stop to hug them all.  I thought I'd see them at the finish but that didn't happen.  So I feel like I missed a great opportunity.

Getting close to the finish!
Lisa 30k and I kept going and at this point were saying things to each other like, "We're going to do this!!  Can you believe we're actually going to do this??  We're going to finish this thing!!"

More spectator notes - 

There were a few women of a certain age doing Zumba in a parking lot. That took guts. We cheered for them.

Belly dancers greeted us around mile 24 or so.  

There was also a huge piece of rhubarb walking around.  No shit.  I saw pictures of it so I know I wasn't hallucinating.

We started the winding path towards the finish line.  This was the only time we had to run into a headwind.  At the end of a marathon.  Man that was tough! I was really glad I knew the course was so winding at the end, it could have been a real head-messer if I wasn't prepared.

On to the finish chute!  We decided to just go for it.
Heel striking my way to the finish.
Getting closer.....

We were laughing and had HUGE smiles on our faces as we went faster and faster towards the finish.  I'm amazed I had as much left in me as I did.  We raced to the finish and raised our hands and cheered as we crossed the finish line.

Still closer......
Wowing the spectators with my wingspan
as I cross the finish line!!

It was without a doubt one of the most amazing and fun experiences I've ever had!

Ok, two regrets.  Why didn't I take off my
stupid jacket before getting my picture
taken?  Argh!!!  
I think I may have freaked poor Lisa 30k out a little bit. I was SOOOO excited to have finished!! She was ready to give me a high five after we crossed the finish line. A high five?? Hell no - this was hug worthy!!  So I gave her a huge hug and we got our medals and our flowers then I said, "Let's get our picture taken!!"  And she just looked at me kind of surprised-like and said, "ok."  So we got our picture taken together.  I hope she was able to go back and get another one by herself.  I feel bad that I made her take it with me since we really didn't know each other.  But damn, I was so excited!  And it sort of felt like we had just done battle side by side and won.  What can I say? I was feelin' the connection!

She was a good sport.

If you are still reading, let me say again, I'm sorry this is so long!
Let me also say, thanks for reading.  It was such a great day and it's really fun to relive it as I write.

I'll do a third post for the post-race festivities.  If you'd rather I just send you some sharp sticks to poke into your eyes to reduce the misery, drop me a line and I'll get right on that.  

One last note: I ran the first 13.1 miles in 2:32:26 and the second 13.1 miles in 2:24:01.  That means I was about 8 minutes faster in the second half!  I like that!!


  1. LOVE IT!! Totally forgot about the belly dancers. And that was rhubarb? I totally thought it was bacon. Maybe I just WANTED bacon at that point. Whatever it was, I high-fived it!

  2. Nora, you a just a hoot! I hope I can finish a race wih a huge smile on my face! And you just made me determined to work those hills until they feel like ant hills to me.

    Congrats on such a great run, and a great experience!

  3. The thing about the rhubarb was so insanely funny. Bizarre! I love it!

    And stop apologizing for writing so much! It's your blog, and it's a big deal!!!

  4. Great recap #2! I am so happy to see your finish photo and you have such a huge smile on your face! Isn't that adrenaline rush at the end fun?

    I strangely do not remember the trolls but vividly remember the rhubarb. My friend had a disposable camera with her so we stopped about 5 times to take pictures with various people in costumes or bands along the way. That's the fun part about the marathon and not worrying that I have to win! HA! We just ran, smiled and waved at people and enjoyed the atmosphere. There's a lot to look at along the way, isn't there?

    I can't wait to read recap #3.

  5. I finally had a chance to catch up on your race recap. LOVE IT! I'm so amazed at how effortless you make it sound. I need to train like you so I can enjoy my race like you!

  6. Congrats on Grandma's! It was my first marathon and I loved it. Like you I planned for all sorts of weather-except rain. So glad it quit before the start.


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