Monday, October 7, 2013

Twin Cities Marathon Weekend!

Hold on, because it's a long one. I decided to even roll out some headings for readers who may prefer to skim and scan rather than try to read through blocks of texts.

Expo Time

Laura and I love expos. We're kind of strange. When we went to visit our friend Brittany in Chicago, we ended up spending an hour walking through the expo at the Chicago Marathon, despite the fact none of the four of us were actually running the race. In Boston we went to the expo twice (and pretty much ate two free lunches there in Gu, Cliff, and Gatorade samples), and saw a couple of different panels with some well-known running people. I'm pretty sure we'd go to the Twin Cities Marathon Weekend Expo even if we weren't running any of the races.

This year there were two different seminars I was interested in: the Tollefson family and a doctor from the Mayo Clinic talking about what it would take to break two hours in the marathon. I only caught bits and pieces of the two hour dude, but I did get to listen to the Tollefson family panel. Carrie Tollefson is a Minnesotan who went to the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 1500m, and this weekend she was running her first marathon. Her husband, parents, and two sisters were also on the panel. Laura and I love to watch C Tolle Run—her husband Charlie is hilarious.

Laura and I with local celebrity and Olympian Carrie Tollefson
It was awesome hearing them talk about what is was like to be in the Tollefson family. Her husband, Charlie, has done several Iron Man Triathlons, and Carrie's sisters and parents are all very successful people—in life and athletics. Carrie just had a baby and only had 12 weeks of good training before the race. She still ended up running just over a three hour marathon. Laura and I both got to ask her questions, which was also pretty sweet. Now, Carrie has been kind enough to answer questions for me on my blog and in person. At the end, she showed a video of the 2004 Olympic Trials—it was pretty sweet to hear her comment on her race while watching it.

Party Time

After the expo, we rushed home to get ready for our 3rd Annual TC Marathon Party. I would say it was a smashing success. We've had different people there every year, and it's always fun to chat about running, eat pasta, and get pumped for racing.

Laura and Carol with "Prefontaine" in the background
We drug our TV upstairs to put on some running-themed movies, made some pasta, and drank some fall-style beer. We topped it off with some Cliff bars for dessert, then people cleared out early to get some good sleep before the race.

Race Morning

The shuttle buses from the Sears parking lot to the Metrodome just keep getting worse. This year we got there earlier than 2011, and that year I barely made it to the start on time. This year I cut it even closer and didn't get as close to the front as I wanted to. They decided to load one school bus at a time while twenty other buses sat there and waited. After we'd been in line for half-an-hour, a couple volunteers said the 10 mile runners could come to the front, so of course everyone in the back assumed they were the only 10 milers in line, and they peeled out of line to the front. Beautiful.

On the bus
I did, however, make it to the start before the gun when off, and though I was much farther back then I wanted to be, the race was chip-timed, so I was only slowed because of spending the first half-mile weaving in and out of runners to get in a good position. 

The TC 10 Mile

I thought about throwing down a longer race report later, but this one's long enough. My race went well. I went out with a 5:53 mile, and considering the number of people I had to pass, that was pretty good. MTEC Results said I passed 704 runners in the first five miles.

The course was also a little prettier than I remember—maybe the sun wasn't in my eyes as much this time. The route ran along the Mississippi River for several miles—longer than I remember from 2011.

The miles really zipped by, and though my legs were pretty tired from a hard week's training, I felt OK. I came through the halfway point at 29:08, still feeling like I had some gas left in the tank.

At mile 6, my legs started to feel heavy, and I ended up running a couple of miles right at six minutes flat. I was hoping to keep all my miles at 5:XX, but 6:00 isn't too bad. The last section of the race is a gradual uphill, and while it's not overly strenuous, it is hard to pick up the pace before things flatten out with about a mile left.

I saw a buddy I know from Minnesota Running Wild around mile 7, and I had enough energy to give him a thumbs up and a "WoooHooo!" After he yelled, "Turn on those wheels!" At that point, I started to catch up to the second and third place women, and passed another couple runners as well. With a couple miles left a guy built like a fullback barreled by me, but I think he was the only one who passed me in the last couple miles.

With a little less than a mile to go, a dude in a Run n Fun singlet pulled up next to me and made like he was going to pass me. I'm glad he did, because it really got my inner competitive beast rattling my rib cage. I picked it up and kept him from passing me, and for the last half a mile he'd pull even, the unreasonably competitive creature would pound the walls of my chest cavity, and then I'd pull ahead. I ended up beating him to the line by a second, though I was wheezing like a two-pack-a-day old lady whose riding cart broke down in the Wal Mart parking lot 10 feet from her car, causing her to have to carry her six cartons and Virginia Slims and case of Slim Fasts the rest of the way to her Caddy.

Anyhow, it was probably silly to sprint to the end. Though I only beat Timmy to the line by a second, his chip time was 28 seconds slower and he's seven years younger than me. I was going to tell him "good job" and thank him for pushing me to a fast finish (my last mile split was 5:26), but he put his hands on his hips and wouldn't look at me. Here's the finish video. I wasn't going to chase him down because at that point I saw my friend Linda. She was passing out mylar blankets, and she was much friendlier than Timmy (I don't know if he goes by Timmy—could be Tim or even Timothy).

Then, one of my old co-teachers from Quest Academy, DJ (a fellow Children's Country Day spouse), and his two kids were passing out bananas! It was like half the people I knew were giving me stuff.

DJ got a nice shot of me after my finish.

After a quick massage, some food, vegetable broth, and a chocolate milk to go, I saw our friends Brittany, Jared, Zach, and Brit and Jared's little twins. I talked to them for a while before heading to to the car to grab some stuff and change. Then, I jogged up Summit to watch the marathon. Oh, and I finished my 10 mile in 58:25--six seconds slower for then my 2011 PR.

The Marathon

I jogged up Summit, hoping to meet up with the Running Wild buddy to cheer with him for a couple hours like I did two years ago. Unfortunately, after jogging for three miles and walking another half mile, I saw him and his daughter passing me on Nice Ride bikes, and they were going the other direction. "Where you going?" I asked.

I didn't hear what he said—something about a hill. "How far is that?" I said.

"About three miles," he said.

"That's too far," I said. And it was. I stopped right there and watched the race for about an hour. Here's some shots of what I saw:

Lead pack of men, Sergio Reyes (finished 4th), Josphat Boit (finished 2nd), not sure who's in third

Male winner, in fourth place at this point, Nick Arciniaga

Female winner, Annie Bersagel

Carrie Tollefson

After watching for awhile, I walked down to a park I'd passed early to get a picture of the beautiful fall day. Though it had started raining a little, the view was still great.

The whole time I was getting text updates on Laura, so I decided I would jog back towards mile 24 when I got the text that she was there. In the meantime, I watched under a tree and struck up a conversation with another spectator who offered me a beer. Awesome!

So here comes Laura, all smiling and stuff, looking like she's out for a jog in the park. At his point, she's already ran 24.5 miles! "I'm feeling great!" she said. And she was. She was moving at a nice pace, despite having hurt her back on Friday, going to the chiropractor twice, and icing and heating it for 24 hours. We ran for about a mile together before I peeled off and tried to get a couple shots of her. The crowds where thick, however, and my hands were cold, so this is the best one I managed:

She flew into the finish, and while it wasn't her fastest time, it also wasn't her slowest and her back was fine. We met up for a finish photo and the Capitol, then headed for Applebees for some much deserved post race chain restaurant food.

It was a great weekend—nice running weather, good friends, and the Huskers won decisively. I had a tonload of people I know finish the marathon and 10 mile, including one of my Running Room 10 Mile Clinic members, who ran a personal best time and shaved almost a minute per mile off her time from last year.

The only downside to the weekend is I think I might be coming down with a UTI. Talk about photo finishes—I barely made it to several different bathrooms—two different port-a-potties while I was watching the marathon, a Starbucks near the marathon course, and Applebees after the race. I guess I'll be gulping down cranberry juice and gallons of water the next couple days. Stupid kidneys filled with stones.

Happy Running!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog. I ran across this as I was doing some research on Carrie Tollefson, and, lo and behold, I found another Huskers fan. I also see we've run some of the same races, but you are much more accomplished than I am.

Congratulations on your race results, and GBR.

-- Mark Smidt