This marathon was not the same as my first for several reasons:
- The first one, you don't deviate from your training schedule, EVER. You know that every training run serves a purpose and because you are scared to death you will suck if you don't get them in, you do it, even when you don't want to.
- First one was in the Spring, I got to train in the fall and winter - which I much prefer for running than the heat of the summer.
- First one was on the flattest marathon course you can possibly get your hands on in the Midwest, seriously - they use it as a marketing piece to get people to run their marathon.
- First one I ran completely alone.
- First one there were four people I knew along the course, otherwise it was perfect strangers cheering me along the rest of the way.
- First one I had to travel and sleep in an unfamiliar bed the night before.
Bottom line I was not as prepared for this race as I was for Fargo. I knew it, my friends knew it, my husband knew it, my mom knew it, my Physical Therapist knew it. But, it didn't matter, I had signed up, paid the entry fee and I was going to run it and I was going to finish - the finish line was the goal - nothing else.
My best friend from high school, Tracy was also running this race. She ran TCM many years ago, I think we were in our early 20's, I thought she was nuts back then and really wasn't in to running and races, etc. I remember her doing it, I recall her training for it and back then she was one of those crazy runner people and I just didn't get it. Well, as you all know, I now get it. I am one of those crazy runner people and now we were going to do this together. We did our 20 mile training run together and we talked about how we would really like to start the race together and stay together as long as possible. We were both dealing with our own demons on race day so we decided up front that if one of us needed to go ahead, they needed to just go ahead, the other person would be okay with that. Honestly, the way my legs had been feeling, I was fully expecting to have to send Tracy on her way at some point of the race and I was okay with that.
Tracy and I made our way to the start corrals on the cold morning - it was 30 degrees at the starting gun. It actually didn't feel as cold to us when we were lined up - we were blocked from any wind and the sun was shining as we started the race through Downtown Minneapolis. Those few miles through downtown were the only miles on the entire race course that I had never run before. Other than that, I had run some form of mileage along all the other parts of the race course prior to that day - either during training or during some other race. It felt great to be in my hometown running this marathon, there was so much support everywhere. You really didn't go far without hearing cheers from the side of the streets. Minneapolis and St. Paul residents really know how to come out and support the runners.
It took a few miles for my legs to get "warmed up" and my hips to not feel so tight. About mile 7 is when I recall feeling pretty good and so did Tracy. We were having a good run, listening to our bodies, fueling when we needed to and enjoying the scenery and the crazy cheering people! My family and some friends were planning on being on the course around mile 11 so when we crossed that 10 mile mark I started to get excited to see them.
We came around the corner on the parkway and I knew we were getting close. And then I saw them, my kids - my girls were seeing me run a marathon! I was so happy to see them. I grabbed a jolly rancher from my husband, kissed him, kissed my girls, said hi to my mom and bestie Melissa and we were back on the road! It was such an adrenaline kick to see them on the course and know they were out there cheering!
My running wheelhouse is really from miles 7-14, I typically feel really good, legs are loose but not too tired and can usually keep a pretty good pace and rhythm. This held true for the marathon. There are hills on this course that you just don't ever really get used to. But, they were part of the journey so we sucked it up.
The half marathon mark was on the west side of Lake Nokomis - Tracy took a quick potty break and I took a moment to snap a pic:
I will stop here cause the last part of the race is where it gets dicey and I could get long winded (shocker, I know!).
And, as you may have noticed, mile 13 and Tracy and I were still together and determined to keep it that way!