Grandma’s Marathon, Checking the Minnesota box

I made it to Duluth for Grandma’s Marathon yesterday, but to be honest, I was trying to find a reason all week to back out of going. I came up with many reasons. It’s been a long time since I fully trained up for a marathon “properly” (2010 New Orleans being the last), however I often find myself at the start line of races, knowing I need to make some progress towards my 50 States goal.

This often means that I sign up for a small race at the last minute and go get it done. Grandmas was a little different because in a moment of inspiration back in February, I signed up, know that a couple friends would also be going.

I want to thank Tim and Paul for that inspiration this winter, because I wouldn’t have made my way to Duluth if it were not for them. I’ve been wanting to do Grandmas for 15 years and never committed, so I’m happy to have run it. However, I’ll need to go back again so I can experience northern Minnesota for a longer stay. I also got to meet some of Paul’s friends and teammates from the Twin Cities Running Company. When you run a race with others, you almost always have a shared friendship for life.

So.. despite apprehension, I’m very glad I came.

Running the Race.

I knew that my fitness was pretty good, however my total mileage has been lacking. Thus, I wasn’t sure what would happen after 17 or 18 miles. To manage my expectations and control my effort early in the race, I set the following goals for myself:

  1. Make the start line
  2. Finish the race and check off Minnesota
  3. Make my 6th 5k my fastest 5k
  4. Make my 1st 5k my slowest 5k

I thought that if everything went well, I could go under 3:30. If everything went really well, I could run about a 7:45 pace.

The outcome:

I accomplished goals: 1, 2, 3 but I just missed goal 4. Here are those splits:

First 5k: 25:20
Sixth 5k: 22:14
Last 5k: 25:27

I’m happy to report that my first mile was my slowest mile of the day, but my mistake was running mile two a little too quickly. That being said, I did meet my other goals and negative split the marathon, running the second half faster than the first half, despite holding on to a very fine thread the last 4 miles.

Reflection:

While it is really hard to run 3:23 and be “satisfied”, I’m heading home fairly positive about the marathon. It’s probably the best paced marathon I’ve had in a very long time and I pull every ounce of fitness out of my body on the day. But other runners will understand when I say, it’s hard to be happy when you know there’s more out there for you and you are not reaching your potential.

By far the best part of the weekend was hanging out with all the others at the Denny cabin. It’s those opportunities that make being a runner and taking these crazy trips worth it!

Link to Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1042432942

 

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