Sunday, June 24, 2012

grandma's - race day recap!

There was a plethora of porta-potties.  Yay!
So..... back to race day.

We were on one of the school buses taking us to the start line (and getting passed by the fancy-pants luxury buses filled with runners and heading to the same damn start area. I rode a school bus last year, too.  I need to find out where the fancy buses line up and go there next time.)  But I digress.... Anyway, we were on the bus and we saw a wolf - a frickin' WOLF!! - come out of the woods and look at us! That was very cool.

We made it to the start area where they drop us off and we're left to entertain ourselves for the hour or so before the start of the race.  Not sure why they feel the need to drop us off so early but whatever.

The husband and I got into the porta-potty line and each did our business then headed to the hill to find a place to park our asses until it was time to line up.  I have to say, it felt a little bit like we were in a WWII movie, or maybe a movie about wandering through the desert for 40 years..... anywhoo, all these refugees sitting around waiting until we were told to move someplace else....

The husband waiting patiently to stat our trek
to Duluth.  Funny, I have NO IDEA where the red
Solo cup came from.  But hey, party on!
So, we're sitting there, minding our own business when the husband says, "Don't look, but there's a guy by the porta-potty with a massive vat of Vaseline completely lubing himself up."  Of course, my head snapped around as soon as he said that, and I shouted, "Where!!" His response, "DON'T LOOK!!" (That phrase typically has the opposite of the desired effect on me. Race day was no exception.)  So of course I looked, and there was this guy of a certain age (not terribly young), behind a porta-potty and thus facing the multitudes and just going to town making sure NOTHING was going to chafe on him. He applied several coats. He's probably still protected. That stuff is not easy to wash off.

It was pretty disgusting really, but that's one of the things I love about runners.

Oh, and there was another guy who was laying on the ground RIGHT NEXT TO the porta-potty.  It looked like his head was close enough to touch it. And he was all zen-like and just resting up before the marathon, not noticing the wobbling of the structure as folks went in and out. I don't even want to think about the sounds he was hearing. Blech.

More marathon refugees.
Eventually, folks started shuffling towards the start corral so we joined the throngs.  We were on our way when we heard the national anthem so we stopped to listen and sing along.  Just before the singer was done, two fighter planes did a fly-over. Also very cool!

We continued to the start corral and could only get so far before the crowd was just too tight.  Couldn't even get to the 5 hour pace group.

And then we were off!

The first 10 miles or so were fabulous - the miles just clicked by.  But it was HUMID and pretty warm. I was loving the ice cubes and sponges at the water stops. And I was happy that the humidity didn't totally drain me like it usually does.  Maybe I'm finally getting acclimated??

Pre-race: waiting in the incredibly crowded starting
chute to get moving.  We were packed in like sardines.
I don't remember that being the case last year.
And whoa!! See that ballon above the husband's head?
Look at the other pre-race picture of him.....
But OMG, the folks who needed to pee but couldn't wait for the porta-potties....  I'm used to men taking off to the side of the road and letting 'er rip, but this year, I saw two different women drop trou FACING THE ROAD IN FULL VIEW OF ALL THE RUNNERS to do their business.  Go behind a frickin' tree for pete's sake! No one wants to see that.  Even the guys around us were all, "Ewwwww!!"

We stopped at the half-marathon start to hit the porta-potties.  I was in and out in less than a minute.  No 8 minute stop this year - success!!  Thank you, Immodium. I heart you.

Our official half-marathon split was 2:20:53 which was a PR for the husband. We probably shouldn't have been going at that pace, but oh well.  Another lesson learned!

It was also at about the 13.1 mark that the weather went from humid, sunny and warm to cloudy, windy and cold. Huge shift.  The tail wind felt good but I was actually getting chilly as we walked the water stops. My ankles started to bark at about mile 15 or so, and then the knees and hips followed suit, so walking was a blessing.  But it was also harder to get going again each time.  I blame my three week old shoes.  The husband was having similar pains so we started adding more walk breaks when we needed to.

Almost to the finish!
The husband said after the race that he was actually worried we weren't going to finish.  He was having lots of pain - way more than I was aware of.  It never occurred to me that we wouldn't finish. Or even that it would take us more than 5 hours. It's my delusional nature that lets me think I can do things like run marathons so I'm ok with that.

Turns out, the husband had a secret goal of finishing under 5 hours.  He had always said he just wanted to be ahead of the police car and had no particular time goal in mind. Liar!

We did find ways to keep ourselves entertained during the race.  Listening to a guy hit on a girl while running was pretty funny.  He considered himself something of an expert on St. Paul and told her that he had compiled a list of 200 of the coolest things to do there. She eventually walked to let him go ahead of her. That was around mile 18, I think. 

The spectators were fun too. There seemed to be more in the first half than in the second half, though. Last year once we hit town it seemed like wall to wall people. This year, not so much. Maybe the weather change?  It went from hot to cold so people probably weren't dressed for the wind coming off the lake.

Over the finish line!!!!
But I did see the troll doll display again!

And there was an older guy running just ahead of us all through town. He was either a local legend or had his name on his shirt. Alllll along the route people would shout, "Rudy! Rudy! ROOOOODEEEEE!!!"and Rudy would wave at the admiring crowds. That was fun to watch.

The last 1.5 miles were kind of tough. I totally forgot about the downhill on Lake Drive to the little uphill over the bridge. That downhill left my quads a bitchin' I must say. Then we were wandering around the DECC to the finish.  That was when I had the nasty toe pain with the resulting bloody Injini. I was trying to elevate my mind above the pain when I heard someone shout my name.  It was Bobbi!! I was so excited to see her smiling face!! The husband was dealing with his own aches and pains and got his own lift as we were heading into the finish chute - SSS2 had made the trek to Duluth with four friends and they were cheering us on!  We cruised over to them for high fives and then heard our names called out by the announcer as we ran the last couple of hundred feet to cross the finish line.


I had a great time!  I think the husband did too.....well, maybe not a GREAT time, but at any rate, he hasn't ruled out the thought of another marathon so I'm taking that as a positive sign.

I'll do a post-race recap too, but here's a little preview:

Post race.....
Me at home looking for more balloon pictures of the husband.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

made it to grandma's 2012

To the finishers go the spoils!
You know me, this is the first marathon post.  I can never sum it all up in just one measly post.

So.....Grandma's marathon was just as fun this year as I remember it being last year, but for different reasons.

The husband rocks.  He's been so unbelievably supportive of me through all my training over the past couple of years, and this year he quietly trained for Grandma' dailymile account, no blog....(I guess there's only room for one attention-seeker in this marriage).....he just logged his miles and mentally prepared to run 26.2 miles.

As soon as he signed up for his own marathon adventure, the husband always said he wanted me to run my race and he would run his, and we would meet up at the end. So on the eve of the marathon, I was all set to try for my 4:30 goal,

5:15 a.m Ready to get the party started.
But then, on marathon morning, I had the realization that this may be the only marathon he ever does and as such, my only opportunity to run a marathon WITH him, not just be in the same marathon on the same day.  That made the PR not very important. I decided I'd much rather share the experience with him from start to finish and save the PR attempt for another day.  Hell, I can try for it in less than four months!!

So we ran together. And it was awesome! We kicked ass in the first (warm, HUMID) 13.1 miles, and then needed to dial it back significantly in the second half.  We walked every water stop from start to finish (and those water stops are lonnnggggg) and threw in additional walking as needed.  Our splits were all over the map.  See for yourself:

Avg Pace

When all was said and done, we had a PR for the husband and a PR for the bitter hag!!  Our official times were 4:54:09 for me and 4:54:10 for the husband.  Not sure why I beat him by a second but he's a good sport and seems ok with it.

Post-race!  Ready to nap and then go out for a meal of red meat.

More to come on the day itself.  But I just had to share the proof of my war wound from the day:

Is it dirt?  Nope.
Yep, that's blood on my precious Injinjis. Around mile 25 it suddenly felt as though my toenail had been ripped off.  Nothing so dramatic actually happened but it hurt like a sonofabeyoch. But at mile 25?  No way was I walking at that point! I just kept on going to the finish. I even managed to smile for the MarathonPhoto folks. Yeah, I'm a honeybadger like that.

More stories about marathon day coming up, including the visions of the guy lubing up with vaseline in full view of everyone, and women dropping trou to pee mid race, also in full view of everyone. Runners are gross.  But that's part of the fun!
The honeybadger at mile 25.5.

Friday, June 15, 2012

all we can do now is wait

Peaceful views on today's last training run for Grandma's.
And tomorrow's finish line!
It's here.  Marathon weekend!

The husband and I drove up to Duluth last night and checked into our hotel. We didn't mean to have an extra night in Duluth but I screwed up our reservation by not reading the fine print on the lodging webpage.  After debating about it, we decided we would drive up Thursday evening after all, and then maybe Friday would be more relaxing.

There was a bit of confusion regarding our reservation.
a. January - I booked the hotel for two nights.
b. Confirmation e-mail (received immediately post-booking) states two nights booked.
c. Confirmation letter (received via snail mail one month before marathon) states three nights booked.
d. Call hotel and am informed that there is a three night minimum.  Ugh.
e. Try calling other hotels to see if we can find a room for just two nights.  Yeah, one month before the marathon. We're SOL.
f. Send check to hotel (because they can't just take a CC over the phone, they have to MAIL an authorization form first, that I sign and send back to them.  Huh???  Well....ok, I'll just mail a check then.)  Check is for the entire amount on the confirmation letter, which states three nights.
g. Last night: Arrive at 10:30 p.m., check in a front desk and are informed that we had only reserved a room for TWO nights. You're kidding right? So much for relaxation.
h. Luckily, they did have a room available, and it's directly below the room we'd booked for the weekend so we'd just have to switch rooms in the morning. And we would even be getting some money back because the one night room is a little cheaper than our reserved room. Ok, sounds good.
Post last training run. High humidity. Squinty and sweaty.
i. One night room is quite lovely and right on the harbor.  Jacuzzi,  Fireplace. Very pretty, very quiet and comfortable.
j. Go for a run in the morning, when I get back to our room I see a hotel employee who says our other room is ready, she'll go get keys and we can move as soon as we're ready.
k. Move to the new room which is bigger than the one night room and has a sitting room overlooking the harbor. And a jacuzzi.  And a fireplace.  And a bag of goodies for before and after the marathon.  What a nice treat!!!
l. Phone call to our new room from the front desk: husband takes the call and the hotel is saying we owed for the one night room because we only had reservations for two nights.  (Good thing he answered.  I would have been all, "What???  No f'ing way. That can't be right. I KNOW I paid for three nights!!")
m. Find confirmation e-mail and see that yes, indeed, we did pay for only two nights.  Shiiiiiittttt.
n. Go to front desk to pay up.  Chat about the marathon with the two people working as they help us sort stuff out. Mention the confusion between the online reservation and the confirmation letter.
South Pier Inn. I highly recommend this place.
o. Guy at desk says he looked at the letter he sent and realized he made a mistake when he typed it up. So he's NOT GOING TO CHARGE US FOR THE ONE NIGHT ROOM.  How cool is that?

I love being the recipient of excellent customer service.

Plus, I think this qualifies as Free Stuff which is even cooler.

After getting our room stuff sorted out, the husband and I headed to the expo for packet pickup.  Not quite the clusterf%ck that AJ and I experienced last year, which was nice.

Got our packets and did a little expo shopping.  I got another pint glass (tradition) and another sticker for my car.  I'm not sure I'm going to put another one on the car though.  We'll see.  it might be overkill.

Yay for new Injinjis!!
Oh, and I went to the Injinji booth to get some new socks and when they found out that Injinji's are really the only socks I wear, I got a HUGE discount on my purchase.  Score!!!  (Kind of like getting a pair for FREE.)  Too bad I waited until AFTER I paid to tell them I have a link to the Injinji website on my blog.  They just might have paid me to take the socks.  Or maybe not. Yeah, ok, probably not.

I also found the gel I like (Ignite Naturals Reload gel) and Honey Stingers galore.

Tomorrow's weather forecast looks nasty - thunderstorms, moderate heat and 95% humidity.  Should make things interesting. I have no idea how it's all going to shake out.  All things being perfect, I think I have it in me to finish under 4:30.  But knowing how I tend to crump in humidity, if the weather is a huge factor I'll be happy to match last year's pace.  And hey, if I match last year's pace and don't spend 8 minutes in the frickin' porta potty at mile 13, I'll PR no problem!

So..... the training is done. Carb loading has been a success. Hydration has been good. Outfit is picked out and the timing chip is securely fastened on my shoe.  An early dinner and early to bed.  All we can do now it wait for race day and see what Grandma's brings. 

<contented sigh>

I'm ready for tomorrow.