Last week, I was on the fence about running Grandma's. My training was terrible for the race. I ran 1 time a week until the end of April then I stopped running and sat at my computer for 12 or more hours a day finishing my dissertation. Then I tried to follow my 18 day training plan but stuff happened. I ran a half marathon (I still need to recap that one). I ran a couple 5 milers after it then my IT band started bothering me. On Saturday, I slightly dislocated my spine. I took lots of Advil. I saw the best chiropractor on Tuesday and Thursday (side note she ran Grandma's too - only she ran really fast -like 2:40). Thursday evening...okay, I am just going to try running it. I can always drop out.
Walking through the parking lot to catch the bus to the start. I hear my name and see a girl I ran cross country with in college. We catch up while waiting for the bus. She is planning to run a 3:30 so we part ways at the starting line. I line up between the 4:00 and 4:15 pacers. I figure I could probably run 9:20 miles or so for 26 miles. I started my garmin when I got to the starting line but didn't look at it once during the race. I didn't want to think about the time. I just wanted to run and enjoy the scenery. The marathon starts in Two Harbors and runs along lake Superior to Duluth. It was cold and rainy before the race but the rain stopped about 30 min before the marathon. We had a nice tailwind blowing us into Duluth and a great running temp 55 degrees.
I started running and passed the 4 hour pacer around mile 3. I felt good so I thought I would just keep going for as long as I could then I would stop and walk. Around mile 5, I hear a guy talking off to my right...Hey I know that voice. I turn and yell Mr. L. It was my high school history teacher. He yelled Julie...what are you doing? Ummm, running a marathon, same as you. Then I continued on. My knee started hurting on the inside from the slope of the road so I went to the middle and started running on the yellow lines. I just kept running and feeling pretty good. Around mile 10, I caught up to the 3:50 pacer. I think maybe I should just hang with these guys but I decided not to so I just keep running my own race.
Whenever I thought about how I was going to bonk and not be able to finish because I was trying to run to fast. I just told myself to think of something else and I could walk when that happened. I didn't know how much fuel I would need. I hadn't mentally prepared for the race because I wasn't planning to run it so I grabbed some Gu for the race. I didn't know how my stomach would handle them because I hadn't trained with them but I took them during the race and luckily didn't have any trouble...I was very lucky during the race.
My friend's husband and kids were working the mile 11 water station so I said hi to them. I was grabbing a cup of water and powerade at each water station. A few miles later, I hear someone yell my full name. It was the brother of a good friend. I keep running and wondering when I am going to blow up...I know it is going to happen. I am picking up the pace throughout the race but I keep doing it anyway.
The miles just kept clicking away. I had the water station to look forward to every 2 mile. Around mile 18, I saw the balloons for the 3:40 pacer and thought I wonder if I can catch up to them. If I catch the 3:40 pacer, I will just hang on to the group and let them pull me to the finish line. Mile 19 - I am closer to the 3:40 pacer but they seem so far away and I am starting to get tired. Just try to get on the back of the group and hold on I told myself. I caught the group just before mile 20. I hear the pacer start talking to the group, "once we hit mile 20 we will slow down" and then he told them to not pass the group and that they needed to stay with him. He kept talking about needing to stay with the group so they could make it to the finish line. I got tired of it so I slowly went off the front of the group.
I thought to myself...what did you just do. You just passed the 3:40 pacer do you really think that you can run the last 6.2 mile by yourself at your current pace? Yeah right. You are going to hit the wall. You know that lemon drop hill is coming up and you aren't going to be able to do it. Okay, so I will just walk when that time comes.
I keep pushing but I have stopped smiling at the spectator. I am just staring ahead. 5 miles to go...I want to be done. 4 miles to go...I only have 4 miles. 3 miles to go...It is just a 5k. You have run so many 5ks you can run another one. 2 mile to go...Is this going to be done soon? Why didn't I train more. 1 mile to go...I think I am going to finish this race and I think I might do it under 3:40. No way....
Turn the corner...stupid lady cuts right in front of me to cut the corner sharp. I almost trip. No way am I going to let her beat me...she almost made me fall with .2 miles to go in the marathon. I pick up the pace a little and pass her. I cross the finish line in 3:34:46.
I really can't complain about my time. In fact I feel pretty lucky that I ran that time. I am a little afraid to sign up and train for another marathon. What if I don't run any faster? What if I run slower with training?