I will get right to it and let you all know that I ran a 2:50:50 at the Twin Cities yesterday. Click Here for my Stats Link That is the fastest marathon I have ever run by 75 seconds keeping my “PR in Every Marathon” streak alive. I had an AMAZING time. The experience is one I will never forget. I ran with some of the greatest friends a runner girl could ask for. 7 out of the 8 of us ran a PR. The one who did not PR did something silly like stop to tie his shoe for 2 minutes or something. I need to thank the Mr. for all his support. He always knows the perfect thing to say, the perfect advice to give. Also I must thank Running, Etc. They literally outfitted me from head to toe, gave me countless words of wisdom, and course advice. So so grateful!!
Now let’s get down to the dirty details. Friday morning I checked into our Minneapolis Hotel and texted my friend our room number. (The Mr. did not come with me.) She replied back “What an awesome room number.” I had to think about it for a minute then I realized it was FATE. See the picture below….
We grabbed our bibs Friday. The expo was okay, nothing too impressive. I was a bit taken back by how many booths were serving meat. You all know I am a carnivore at heart but right before a marathon, sampling random meat was not on my to-do list. Is that a Mid-West thing? Saturday we hung out at the hotel, ate tons, laughed way too much, and watched tv all day. I had Ricotta Gnocchi for dinner that almost made me cry, it was that good. If you need a hotel to stay at for Twin Cities I recommend the Renaissance Depot Minneapolis. An easy $2 light rail train ride from the airport and 800 meters from the starting line.
Usually pre-race I have some nerves but never anything too terrible. For some reason though I could NOT sleep the night before the race. We had the most comfortable beds and had lights off by 9:30 and I literally laid awake for 5 hours. It was ridiculous!! I’ve had insomnia before but nothing like that. I had not had caffeine after lunch that day either. It was weird and somewhat stressful but honestly when my 5:30 alarm went off I didn’t feel the slightest bit tired. I was excited and ready to go!
Twin Cities Marathon lets you stay warm prerace inside the Minnesota Viking Stadium. I was worried that the bag check and starting line area would be a congested mess with 14,000 people trying to exit the stadium but it was not at all. I was so impressed! Corrals were spacious and easy to get to. I was able to get striders in near the starting line, wished my guy friends good luck, and then I purposely walked back into the middle of corral 1. I did NOT want to go out too fast.
As you can see from my stats link, I did not go out too fast. I followed my race day plan and started conservatively. The pace felt easy and I was very excited. I broke the race up into 5 parts, 4-5 miles & a 10K. The first 15 miles went by FAST because there was so much to look at. The course was gorgeous. The spectators were fantastic! There were many curves and turns on the course so running tangents there is VERY important advice. I did my best but with the crowds in the end I had an extra .30 on my Garmin. The trees were dropping colorful leaves and the lakes provided the perfect background. The first half I ran with a smile on my face. I felt strong and the spectators made me feel like I was as speedy as Kara Goucher 🙂 One woman told me I was in 4th place. I knew this was NOT TRUE at all but it made me grin at the silliness. I thought “Yeah, I’m in 4th place if all the elite girls were hit by a bus! lol”
Truthfully I REALLY wanted to squeeze in the Top 20. I knew there were many speedy girls racing. The Masters Women had their Championships that day. I started out slow and then I made it my mission to keep my eyes up and pass every single girl I saw. I believe I did this, but can’t say for certain. I was told that I passed 100 people from the 5K mark until the finish!! I worked my tail off for that and ended up 15th female.
Around Mile 4 a guy asked me my goal and asked me if I wanted to run together. I’ve been lucky to have this happen to me in all but one marathon. It makes a HUGE difference mentally. We ran step for step for probably 12 miles. In the end we both ran 2:50’s! Do not be afraid to ask a stranger to pace with you. 9/10 they will be thrilled. I also feel a bit guilty because at one bridge I yelled at another man. This never ever happens. He had been running behind us for awhile…chatting a bit too much for my liking. Then we hit a bridge that was probably only 400 meters long but the wind was STRONG. We didn’t have anyone to block it and he runs directly behind me clipping my heels! I didn’t mind at first but then I’m like “Really? I’m doing ALL the work! Move!!” It was absolutely out of character for me.
I could talk about the hills between mile 18-24 but I’ll sum it up fast….they kicked my tail. My pace faltered by +15 seconds….ulgh. Unacceptable.
The last 5K is what I live for when it comes to marathon training/racing. It is absolute agony but I truly love it. It takes 100% mental and physical focus and if you let go you can lose everything you have worked so hard for in a heartbeat. The hills had beat me up so bad. I didn’t even know if I could pull off a PR at that point but I was NOT giving up. When you hit the last 800 meters, it is a plummet down to the Capital Building (GORGEOUS view by the way) I knew I was very close to not PRing and I felt like I was sprinting with my eyes on the clock. I immediately saw two of my friends and they looked at me and without a word gave me a thumbs up or thumbs down question. I gave a thumbs up.
While I am proud of my placing and to say that I set a PR, I won’t lie….I wanted to run sub 2:50. I am happy with my performance because I gave it 100% that day, I never let up, I was aggressive. I stayed tough when I was in agony and set a 75 second PR on a tougher course than my past PR course. It seems so obvious to me now though…I had only 3 days of hill training my entire marathon cycle. Two in Pennsylvania when I ran races and 1 at a man-made park here in Virginia Beach. Other than that ALL my training was on flat trails & roads. Virginia Beach is FLAT. Huge mistake. When the hills came I was not prepared. There is no excuse. My pace faltered when there was no wiggle room for error. So Yes, I am happy with my race, but I have a twinge in my heart that says I should have done more race day specific preparation. Live, Learn, Train to Fight Another Race.
I cannot believe that I am a 2:50 Marathoner!! Thank you all SO MUCH for all the texts, emails, FB messages. Thanks for following my journey here. For now I plan on taking a few weeks rest, eat lots of Halloween candy, and sleep in for awhile before I start the training cycle all over again for Boston 2013!