Hugh, Dan, and I headed up to Minneapolis on Friday morning leaving at about 8:30 am. I drove the entire way while Hugh navigated with Ms. Garmin and Dan and I talked a lot about running. We stopped at Pizza Ranch in Pella, Iowa which is known for its Dutch population and Tulip festival. We chowed down on pizza, dessert pizza, ice cream, salad, and chicken and then continued on our way.
We arrived in Minneapolis at our hotel, The Best Western, Normandy at about 6:30 pm. After we all checked our e-mail, we went out for a walk in search of food and ate at Chipolte, and headed back to the room. At 10 pm we went down to the lobby for our fresh cookies and milk although the milk was gone. The cookies were quite yummy. Then off to bed and I slept quite well.
On Sat. morning we woke up and went out for an easy 2 mile run. Then back to the hotel and off to the Expo. Arrived at the expo about 10:30 am. It was a decent expo and I actually purchased a few items. It seemed like this expo had some of the best deals I have seen. I purchased a nice Best of Times Running Jacket from the National Running Center. The sleeves zip off, a section of the back is removable and has a detachable hood. I was easily impressed but couldn't decide between bright yellow, blue, or red. I finally went with the blue.
I didn't pack very carefully and forgot to bring a few items. I really needed my SpiBelt to hold my gels and since I failed to pack, I purchased a new one, but a different color so I guess I can now coordinate with shorts. Also, purchased yellow, white, and black Mizuno tank for a good price. I probably should have purchased another pair of shorts, but resisted. Dan found a great deal on his Mizuno shoes and purchased 3 pairs. They did not have my model so no shoes for me. We were at the expo to about 1 pm and picked up a lot of free stuff.
We headed back to the hotel and went out for lunch at Quiznos and on the way back browsed Barnes & Noble for awhile. Among the 3 of us, only one book was purchased. I was tempted by the Masters Running by Hal Higdon. Not sure I needed another book on Running though.
We lounged around our room for awhile and Dan went to mass, and Hugh and I headed to Vescio's Italian for dinner with the Joy of Running group. We had a good time there talking with Kurt, Bill, and Danielle and excellent food too! Then back to the room for more lounging around until cookie time at 10 pm. Dan referred to the lady serving the cookies as cookie nazi since she was strictly limiting people to 2 cookies. The night before the cookies were set out and there were plenty to go around without cookie nazi rationing us.
We got up at 5:30 am since Hugh's 10 miler started at 7:13 am. Hugh and I had our pre-race shake and banana. Dan and I decided to wait as long as possible to leave which was a good thing since we kept the bathroom pretty busy up until the time we left. I think he set a new record and I tied my previous record. It was a short walk to the start line. We lined up between the 3 and 3:15 area. We ditched our shirts shortly before the start and they moved everyone up. After the National Anthem, we were off running.
I had been obsessing on the weather for the past 2 weeks. We started off fairly dry, but it had been raining earlier. The temp was about 50F which was not too bad but some wind to deal with which made it feel cooler. Dan seemed to feel really good when we started as I found my legs not quite feeling that good, but wanting to keep that pace. We ran together for about 4 miles and then legs started to feel better and picked up my pace.
I don't remember a lot of detail for the rest of the race due to the deterioration in weather conditions my brain was somewhat in a fog. I know at some point, maybe mile 5 or 6 I hear a clap of thunder. Shortly after it starts to rain. I think okay this isn't too bad, I can handle a little light rain. I enjoy running in the rain during training runs. Then it starts to pour and continues. Then when I think it can't pour rain any harder, it pours harder. Someone in the crowd mentions something about the rain and I yell at least it isn't hailing.
I'm drinking at every station but not really feeling like I need it that much. I took my Accel gels at each 5 miles. During the rain, I noticed my legs tightening, especially the left quad and right hamstring which really makes me feel uncoordinated. Someone mentions that they bet a lot of runners don't finish because of hypothermia. At this point, I noticed my arms are numb from the cold. Legs weren't numb, but they were cold. I keep running as fast as I can thinking I just want to get this over with as quickly as possible. This felt like the longest marathon I have ever run. By mile 10, I just couldn't believe that I had 16 miles to go. I had a good half split at 1:29:34, but knew there was no way I could keep up the same pace.
I'm still clipping around pretty fast running sub 7s up until mile 15 and by mile 16 my pace starts to drop off. I don't feel that tired as far as breathing but am losing motivation and can't move the legs any faster. I felt that if I try to push that I would send my tight leg muscles into spasm and it was too early for that. Once I have a muscle spasm in a race, it usually goes down hill from there. I decide ease up on the pace. From here to the end my pace just steadily gets slower and more people are passing me than I am passing. I do see a lot of people slowing and some are walking. I wanted to walk but kept moving. I am getting passed by people I remembered running with earlier. I am also passing some that are going slower than me.
Finally, I get to mile 20 and I think I can make it. Then I focus on getting to mile 23, and then 24, 25, and 26. I'm running 8s by mile 23. Earlier I had been thinking I might finish in 3:05, but figure I will be lucky to finish in 3:10.
Finally, I am in the half mile. I am happy to see the finish. I keep thinking the 3:10 pace group is going to pass me any second and that I may see Dan. I cross the finish. I decide to hang out until Dan crosses and I figure that will be soon so look back, hear his name and he is crossing. He had as much "fun" as me. Although he slowed down, not as drastically as me so nearly caught me by the end. He was over 4 minutes behind me at 20 miles, but finished only 1:24 behind me.
As we are walking out we see Hugh over to the side and then Dan's dad and wife come up. Hugh had gone back to the hotel on the bus to get jackets after his race. He had run a PR 10 miler at 1:14:43 and finished before it poured. We went through the post race tent, filled up our goody bags with more free stuff, picked up some Caribou coffee and headed back to the hotel since I was freezing. My hands were ice.
Back at the hotel, Dan and I got in the hot tub, and then later we went for our post marathon recovery walk at Mall of America. Then off to dinner with Dan's family. It was his dad's birthday and we ate at Houlihan's where his dad bought us all dinner.
Back to the hotel and stayed up for our final night of cookies and milk. Cookie nazi was no where to be seen so we had our fill of cookies and it looked like there were plenty to go around. We all slept really well. We had thought about running, but due to the time and the traffic outside decided to wait.
Made it home around 6 pm. Picked up Rusty and Bruno and met Dan at the dog park for a 2 mile run with Copper and Tanner. Hugh ran 4 miles with Rusty.
Overall, it was a good marathon experience although the actual running would have been better if it were a little warmer and less rain. I didn't feel like I really noticed the hills that much in this marathon. I was more concerned with being cold. I feel like I made the best of it and know others had the same problems with the cold. If I would have known, I would have dressed warmer. With only a 40% chance of rain and temp predicted to be in the 50s I took my chances. We had a good time and all finished our races which is always the ultimate goal. The crowds were great standing out there in the rain all the way, volunteers were always there with plenty of water. It looked like a well-run marathon and wish I could have enjoyed it more in dryer weather.
I'm now motivated to get back on track with running, workouts, and maybe get a little more focused with a plan. I had been running without a plan since the Berryman. I do better with a plan even if I can't follow it 100%. It is time to get back on track, clean up the nutrition, regular weight workouts including legs, and running workouts. First, I think I need a little recovery, since I am fighting off a sore throat and Hugh already has a full-blown cold. Otherwise, I feel like muscles are recovering nicely but I do plan to take it easy, at least for a few days.
Here's the stats for marathon:
Pace: 7:14 / mile
Shoe: Mizuno Wave Alchemy 7 (Red/Blue)
Weight: 155 lb
Misc: Quality: 5/10, Effort: 7/10
Field Placement: 330 / 7969 (4.1%)
Age group: 35 – 39
Group Placement: 36 / 745 (4.8%)
Gender Placement: 284 / 4803 (5.9%)
Weather: 50° F, Rain
20 mi 2:19:35
27 3:08 0.42 mi