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.


  1. Immodium is a God send! Nora so glad you felt good running in that race--until the end. I hate it when my feet hurt. Seems no matter what I do, they always start to hurt really really bad towards the end. Fuckers.

    1. OMG Sue, the final word made me laugh out loud!

  2. you are hysterical - great recap!


Hey, don't be shy, leave a comment!! I'd love to hear from you!!