Grandma’s Marathon - Part 1

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Yes this is a 2 part post because I have a lot to say!

Half #3 is in the books. It wasn’t my best performance but considering the heat and humidity, I did well. In one of my last post before the race, I mentioned I wanted to complete it in under 3 hours. I didn’t do that and I’m ok with it. I’ll explain later why I’m ok with it.

Race Morning
My silent alarm on my Fitbit went off at 4am and I got my sorry butt out of bed. We had a late night so I was going on about 4 hours sleep. Not the most ideal but what are you going to do. I got all my gear on and had two pieces of bread with Nutella. I checked the weather and it was 63 and humid. The sun wasn’t up yet so that means it was going to be a hot/muggy day. I had a plan in mind of how I was going to run this race and I was going to try and stick to it. That never works so I’m not sure why I even try. Ha!

DJ got up and gave me a ride to the shuttle bus. Looking back, it really wasn’t necessary as she really only could drive me to the end of the apartments driveway as the shuttle busses were blocking the way. There were busses everywhere. There were people everywhere. This was a crazy experience for me. I felt very alone surrounded by these thousands of people. I just kept thinking of my race and what I wanted from this day. I eventually got on a shuttle bus and the driver had the heat blasting. Seriously? It is hot and humid and you have the heat on? WHY??  The ride to the starting line seemed to last forever. I’m sure part of that was the heat and also I just wanted to get on with this race. We finally get to the drop off point and I stand in line for a porta-potty. It was the longest line ever for one porta-potty. The time quickly ticked away. People were sick of waiting and relieved themselves in the bushes. I’m not there yet. We heard the National Anthem and the horn and there were still 20 people in front of me. I decided to screw it, I’ll go later if I really need to. The actual starting line was a third of a mile ahead. So I made my way to the start and right before the start was a sea of porta-potties. Like 200 of them and no lines! WTF? I wasted my time in line when I could have just ventured down here? ARGH! This isn’t a great start. I made a quick stop at the bathroom before heading to the actual start. There were hundreds of people behind me still waiting in line for the bathrooms. It really is silly.

The Start
By the time I actually got to the starting line, the area was pretty much empty. The clock said 13 minutes or something like that which means I started way after the gun went off.  This is not what I had envisioned for my start of Grandma’s Half Marathon. I didn’t have time to be disappointed…I had to GO! The one benefit to having nobody around me at the start was I could start my intervals earlier. I didn’t feel like I had to run the first mile without stopping. There wasn’t anybody around to guilt me! I was going along at a really good pace and just tried to take in all the scenery around me. Around the .75 miles I saw a “Go Kim Go” sign and I thought that is cute, there is another Kim here…but wait a minute. Linda is holding it and Mike is there in his bright neon green shirt. WTF? Am I seeing clearly? I stopped for a bit to talk but they kept yelling “Go, Go, Go!” The left Arcadia at 2am to drive to Duluth to see me run! Crazy!  I was in shock…I’m still in shock! It made me a little teary eyed.  My first mile came in at 12:15. I liked that pace a lot. Mile 2 and 3 were pretty much the same as mile 1. There was the lake and there were houses. Not a lot of people but some people were out in their yards supporting us. It was still very early. I remember looking at my watch and thought it must be 8 am already and it was only 6:45. Ha! It was nice seeing people supporting us. The first water stop was at mile 2 and I took a couple waters because it was already hot. I poured one over my head. Between mile 2 and 3 we lost the nice lake breeze and it just got stale and hot. Miles 2 and 3 came in pretty close to each other at 12:29 and 12:32. I was trying to maintain an even pace. I saw Mike and Linda again at mile 3.  It was great to have somebody to cheer you on.  

The course was not flat by any stretch of the imagination. There were definitely rolling hills. But it was nothing like Lola’s. The great thing about this course is the support.

After the third mile I decided to take some sports beans. I was sweating a lot and I need the salt. I learned not to put a handful into my mouth at once because I have a hard time chewing so I threw a couple in and then a couple more and then I bit into something hard. I’m like WTF? (I thought that a lot during this race). I spit it out and realized it was an Advil. I had forgotten that I put 3 Advil in my Sports Beans bag to have for later. Well I thought what the heck and swallowed them down. Somewhere around mile 4 started the showers. People put out showers/sprinklers to run through and cool us off. I ran through all of them. A family was cutting up banana and giving us some chunks. That was great. I love bananas. Mile 4 was a tad bit slower at 12:37 but still well within my plan of keeping my pace around 12:35 in the beginning. 

The Middle
Mile 5 was the last one along Lake Superior. It was really starting to get hot and I was feeling it. I need to keep myself cool if I was going to keep going. I poured some of my water onto my buff to wipe my face. It was nice but it got warm quickly. I saw Mike and Linda again around mile 5. I think I heard only 9 more to go or something like that. Ha! Mile 5 slowed down quite a bit to 12:58 but my overall pace was still in my desired pace range so I didn’t worry too much.

At mile 6 we had another water stop. From this point on there was one every mile and with the hot day it was needed! They also had ice. I would take a couple of ice and put it in my bra (it works!) and another I wrapped into my buff to cool my face. That worked great too. I’m so glad they had ice. My mile 6 mile was 13:32. I slowed down another 30 seconds. This wasn’t good. My overall pace fell to 12:44. I started feeling like I wasn’t going to break 3 hours. It made me sad but I pressed on. It was also during this time I got sick of my visor. I was hoping to see Mike and Linda during mile 7 but they didn’t catch me again until mile 9 so I carried that damn visor for 4 miles.  Mile 7 slowed again but this time only by 12 seconds to 13:44. It was at this point I changed my goal and said I would try and keep my miles under 14. The heat really played havoc on me but thankfully I wasn’t like some people who passed out. Somewhere around mile 6 and 7, an ambulance had to pick up a runner lying in the shade. Her running friends were all around her and when they started running again and leaving their friend behind I heard one say, “why didn’t they elevate her legs, she didn’t have a pulse!” Yikes. I’m assuming she is ok as I don’t think anybody died. 

Between mile 7 and 8, I saw Kristin, Danielle’s friend and fellow bridesmaid in Danielle’s wedding. She lived nearby. I stopped for a short hello and picture and pressed on. I was really slow at this point. I took advantage of every sprinkler, shower, water, ice, food I could see…except the alcohol. Not for me! 

Coming up to the end of mile 8, I heard what I thought was a polka band. But it was very faint. The closer I got to the mile 8 marker I was sure I was hearing polka music. Yep! There were some guys playing accordions. I took a quick selfie…my first time of this whole run. As soon as I started running I had a huge emotional rush come over me and I was bawling. It was so odd. I don’t normally start crying but that did. I think it was because it was the day before Father’s Day. For a moment it was like my dad was with me. I wiped my tears with my iced buff and continued my trek. Mile 8 slowed down even more to 14:11 but I stopped to take a selfie and I cried for a solid quarter of a mile so I say whatever.

To calm myself down, I started counting steps as I ran and walked. I know this sounds crazy but it worked! I would walk for 15 paces each foot and then run for 40-60 paces each foot and counted it. It distracted my mind and I actually got faster! By this point in the race I was surrounded by a lot of walkers so the fact I was able to still getting some running it was amazing.

I was so relieved to get some bananas, strawberries, oranges and frozen grapes during mile 9. They were so good. I have to remember the frozen grapes! I was so happy to have real food. I saw Mike and Linda one last time just after the 9 mile mark and the horrible Lemon Drop hill. The hill wasn’t horrible but I was tired and cranky and didn’t want to run it. But I saw Mike’s shirt so I had to keep running. Just before them that was a digital road sign that said 4.1 miles to go. I threw my sweaty visor at Linda and kept on going. Mile 9 was a bit faster and under 14 minutes again at 13:58. Woo hoo!

Not long after that at mile 10, I saw DJ and Katelynn for the first time. I told them there was no way I was making 3 hours but I’d see them at the finish. My time was 2:12:50, I was over almost 2 minutes faster than the 10 mile race two weeks ago. That made me happy! But I didn’t think I could do the last 5K in 47:25 to beat the 3 hour mark. I didn’t quit and I thought I’d give it a shot anyways. But that all changed at mile 10.67…

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