Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Minneapolis Marathon Prerace Day 2 and Race Day

Saturday, June 2, 2012

On Saturday, June 2, my family went to the Mall of America.  We are not really mall people, but the amusement park inside the mall really caught our attention.  We decided to get the kids all-day bracelets for unlimited rides that day.  It's a good thing--they rode rides for almost 5 hours straight!  They had the best time, and we liked it since "chaperones" ride free with kids who are 42 inches or under on most rides.  Our daughter was just barely 42 inches!  Perfect!

Mall of America
We ate lunch in between all of the riding, which was Panda Express fried rice for me.  For under $4, I got this whole container. Nice carbo-loading, and very cheap!

Fried rice 
 We got a family picture before leaving the mall.

The rest of the day was spent going to the expo (pretty small), grabbing dinner (macaroni and cheese at a pasta restaurant), and preparing to leave the kids overnight with my cousin and my sister at my cousin's apartment.  Though it seems like a great deal (leaving the kids the night before the race--great!!!), it was very hard for me to do.  I became a paranoid mom, asking my cousin Lucy all kinds of questions like "Does your door have a deadbolt?" and I even cried once.  It's hard leaving my kids!!  But I completely trusted Lucy and Laurie to watch them overnight and while we ran.  Plus, it made the most sense to do things that way.  

Downtown Minneapolis

The map 

Mac and cheese

Lucy, Laurie, and the kids having a "sleepover"
Around 9:00 p.m., Rick and I finally pulled ourselves away from the kids and begun getting ready for the marathon.  Here are my clothes laid out.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The hotel had a nice sign to encourage us the morning of the race.  The race started at 6:30 a.m., and it was no trouble for us to get to a lot to park our car and then walk to the start line.

Hotel sign
All marathons have things go wrong that we don't foresee or can't control.  This race had several for me.    

1. Bathroom Issues
Right before the race started, I was waiting in line for a porta potty, but I decided at the last minute that I would not make it to the bathroom before the race started (the line was moving too slowly since it had half marathoners in it, and their race started later than ours.  They were not in a hurry.).  So I got out of line and peed behind a truck, though I really needed to do more than just pee (sorry for TMI)!  Once the race started, the feeling did not go away, and I stopped in Mile 4 at a porta potty.  I remember being annoyed since I was one of the top women at that point.

2. Calf Problems  
My right calf had seemed tight all week, like it was on the verge of cramping on me.  I felt odd when I pushed down on it.  It bothered me enough to make me contemplate running the Cotton Row 10K last Monday.  It bothered me enough for me to take 3 complete days off from running before the race in an attempt to "fix" it.  It bothered me before the race, but I didn't know how it would feel as I warmed up in the marathon.  Unfortunately, it bothered me in the race.  It felt tight, and I had trouble bearing weight on it.  It affected my gait and my confidence.  

3. Lack of Mile Markers 
Mile markers seemed to be sporadically placed in this marathon.  Like, there wasn't a mile marker for Mile 1, but there was for Mile 2.  Then, there wasn't for Mile 5 (trust me, I was looking).  We went 4 miles without seeing a mile marker from Miles 10-13.  This was really hard for me mentally.  I was looking for that segmentation--that way to break up the race.  I didn't have it.  It was also hard to not know my pace per mile.  Of course, I could roughly divide and see once I did hit a mile marker, but the mental work was too much for me with everything else.

The Race
This is the best I can do for my mile splits, since there were not mile markers for every mile.  I can see that the first 7 miles were a good fight, but I remember knowing even then that this was not going to be my day.  I felt like that pace was impossible to maintain.  A pace that could--and has--felt easy to me in the start of marathons felt too fast.  A small injury (my calf) snuck up on me and greatly affected me today (I plan to write about how I think I got the injury in a later post).  I think at Mile 8 I knew there would be no PR today, but then I started just trying to hang on to other goals. 

I think when you try to run a marathon in every state, you are going to have races like this, races where you meet your "C" goal---to finish.  That was the goal I ultimately clung to today.  Then in Mile 23, I decided that walking the last 3 miles was not going to cut it for me today.  It was painful, but I shuffled along to the finish.  The last few miles were very tough.  I did not notice this as much, but Rick complained that the half marathoners joined up with us in those last few miles.  We shared the course, and it did make it very difficult to maneuver.  

Mile 1, 2 14:43
Mile 3 7:13
Mile 4 8:01 (bathroom stop)
Mile 5, 6 15:17
Mile 8 8:00
Mile 9 7:32
Mile 10, 11, 12, 13 33:02
Mile 14 8:51
Mile 15, 16 17:42
Mile 17, 18 19:01
Mile 19 9:32
Mile 20, 21 19:20
Mile 22 10:32
Mile 23 15:44
Mile 24 8:36
Mile 25 9:08
Mile 26 9:29
Mile .2 2:02

3:51:30 official time

A Final Note
If you think you will need a cell phone in a marathon, then carry one!  I am so glad I carried mine in my water bottle holder.  When I could no longer force myself to run in Mile 23, I walked a bit and texted my friends Jane and Julia--"Walking in Mile 22.  Not my day :(" and waited for their encouragement to follow.  Though Laurie was following me with her phone, I went ahead and texted her so she would know that I was okay but finishing slower than expected.  This is not something I would normally do (carry my phone or text in a race), but I anticipated trouble today with my calf, so carrying a phone made sense.

Rick was able to get some pictures off of the marathon Facebook page.

Me, far right, at start of the race

Early on

Also early on (though I already can tell that my gait looks off)

Finish area
In all honesty, I cried with disappointment when I saw Rick (He had gotten a 3:25 and had a good race.).  He knew how badly I wanted to race my best today, to go for a 3:10, and to finish my last marathon before a possible third baby on a high note...and he knew I was not happy with myself.  He understands me so well.  I felt like this was a "last chance" of sorts, though others may argue with me.  I think we should all look at every race as our last chance.  Sure there may be other marathons next season or next year or years from now.  But what if there's not?  Did I give enough today?  If you've read my Chicago post, you know that I love the expression, "One day you will not be able to do this.  Today is not that day."  I really believe in giving each race all you've got.

It's harder to give it your all when your body fails you.  I don't like hobbling in pain to the finish line or having to text people for encouragement during a race.  Given the conditions, I am happy with how I did.  I felt strange when I was done, like I had a lot of fight left in me, but I could not let it out today.  I felt a hunger to try again even though I know that this was the last one for now.  I guess I just felt frustrated.  

The good thing about having a family waiting for you after a marathon is that you are their hero, no matter how you did.  Boy, I loved seeing the kids!  We enjoyed a great post-race lunch at a terrific place called Burger Jones.  It had delicious sweet potato fries and milkshakes and came recommended by my cousin, Lucy.  We ended the trip by repeating the drives we'd made in reverse order (4 hours to WI, then 12 hours home) over this day and the next.

Burger Jones

The whole crew

Post-Race Thoughts
I am glad we both finished State #21.  I am so glad the kids had a great time and that my sister and cousin were so willing to help us out.  I am so thankful that we got our fun family vacation for the summer.  I am happy that I am finally (two weeks later) able to run without too much pain in short 6 mile runs (I did jam a toe after the race, but that is another story.).  I am happy that I am taking a break from high mileage.  I am getting a little lazy, and that's okay.  I am enjoying my summer with my kids.  This marathon will be a good memory for me...but it won't be the one I remember when I'm old and gray.  I did okay; I got it done.  I pushed through an uncomfortable feeling for 26 long miles.  I added it to the list of completed marathons. Mostly, I enjoyed the trip and the company, and, for today, that's enough for me.


  1. First- loved the Mall recap! Sounds like such a fun family day! I went to that mall years ago and I remember the rides inside.

    As far as the race- the lack of mile markers is crazy!! That would annoy me! I hope your calf is healing and feeling better these days.

    Another marathon- done! :-) You still finished well under 4 hours and that even included texting! I am going to have my phone with me when I run NYC in November. I've never raced with a phone but I'm afraid NOT to have one with me for a race that big!

  2. If this trip was all about your result in the marathon it would have been a disappointment. I know you were frustrated, but I'm glad we had such a good trip despite the fact that the race didn't go according to plans. This trip was about so much more: our family time, time with Laurie and Lucy, relaxing, getting away and eating some great food. Let's go back to Burger Jones soon!

  3. Tia, thanks for your comments. The mile markers were ridiculous. I hope they fix that next year. Good luck in NYC!

    Rick, you are right. I really enjoyed the trip. I know you and I have said how great of a trip it turned out to be--we both loved it and so did the kids! That is why I love marathon trips. Even if the race is not ideal, the rest of the trip can exceed expectations! You did awesome, by the way!