Grandma’s Marathon #RaceRecap – Part 2

This is Part 2 of a two part series. Part 1 is here.

I began to take in the scenery, as here it opened up to the water. It was a beautiful day despite the heat. I was happy to even be able to see the lake. For the first run, it was just too foggy to see anything. So, I took it all in this time, looking for the familiar sight of the finish line. I heard you could see it from here, but it was pretty hazy. Still, I recognized these miles from my first Grandma’s. I remember ditching my sweatshirt somewhere around here in 2013. Even today, the clothing left at the side of the road was remarkable. I realized that all of it must have come from the half marathoners as they started an hour earlier. More than likely, it was a little more chilly for them.

I began to pray for mile 18. Not because I needed the fueling, but because I felt like I needed something to do…something to look forward to…something to make the time pass. Why was this taking so long? I even considered calling my husband. It was as though I was bored silly. Really, it was quite surreal. We passed a bar and grill…the Clearwater…and I wanted to remember to tell my husband about it because it looked like a really cool place to hang. And I noted the motel right next door.

We were in the midst of a long gradual hill. Yeah, it was testing me. At the crest was another water stop with the opportunity to soak down once again.

Mile 15: I was listening to Ben Greenfield drone on about coffee enemas.

Mile 16: I thought about the fact that I still had 10 miles to go. 10 MILES. Damn, this was taking forever!

Mile 17: Where was mile 18? WHERE WAS MILE 18??

Mile 18: Finally! I wandered off the left side of the road this time, into the shade, to walk, and take another dose of Energybits and Sportslegs, and another swig from each hydration bottle. This completely parched me. I needed plain water. And I prayed for a water stop. I spotted it up ahead and praised God.


Then, there it was, the Duluth sign…clear as day this time around. We were at the city limits.

It was about damn time.

I took a few deep breaths and prepared for the toughest part of this run. Being in city limits meant lots of ups and downs. I tried to come up with a plan to keep a steady pace on the uphills and try to make up for time on the downhills. I really couldn’t account for my pace at all at this point. I wasn’t sure if I could even get a PR. My gut told me I couldn’t, so I immediately ditched that plan. I had run Grandma’s in 2013 in 1:44:34, so I began to wonder if I could beat that time.

Doing all those calculations in my head brought me quickly to the 20 mile marker. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but when I hit it, my Runmeter said I’d been running for 2 hours, 45 minutes. This gave me an hour to run 6.2 miles to beat that 2013 time. Oh, I was quite sure I could do that. In fact, I had a moment of not so reasonable thought that perhaps I could maybe PR this run!

…if it weren’t so damn hot.

…and if I weren’t headed into the hilly portion of the run.

Back to reality. 20 mile marker. The marathon starts here.

The podcast changed to another Ben Greenfield interview, this one a little more lively. But at this point, I don’t think I was paying too much attention. The crowds were here now, and they were more prevalent as we ran on. There was a guy frying bacon on the right side of the road. AH! My kind of superfood! But I didn’t grab any. I was worried it would just make me more thirsty. As it was, I was stopping at every water stop now. I looked forward to each new one that came along.

Mile 23: The mini steep incline that brings us to the bridge that will cross I35. The volunteer here warned us,

“Walk up this one, people! You won’t be penalized for walking up this one. Don’t over exert yourself!”

Yeah, the course marshals were getting nervous. And I don’t blame them. Many had stopped to walk now, as the heat was a little more brutal here between the buildings. Once we got up and over I35, a little breeze formed off the water. It wasn’t much, but it helped just a tad.

I knew some where here was the final turn where we run the harbor before coming to the finish line. I remember it being earlier than this, so clearly my memory isn’t nearly what it used to be. The final mile actually brought us up against the harbor front. And we still had to cross over I35 again. This bridge was not as trying. And after it, the component was downhill or flat. I passed many runners here. A lot were losing steam. I was losing steam. I realized here that I didn’t take me 24 mile packet of fuel. Too late, now. I wasn’t about to stop.

Right before the finish, at the 26 mile mark, they were handing out ice cold bottles of water. I grabbed it and swigged it. Then I made the final turn to the finish. Twenty six point freaking two. Point FREAKING two. That last point two?? It gets you every time.

I’m surprised, but I had enough to pour it on in the end. I heard some in the crowd say, “Look at her! She’s got something left.”

Whatever I had left, I left it at the finish line. I don’t even remember if I waved my hands as I went through. I don’t remember a thing, except spying the clock to see I made it in under 3:40:00. Hot damn!

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They ushered us through to get our medal and I was immediately onto the photographers to get my photo taken. I didn’t want to miss the backdrop photographer this year, so I found him, too. I had him take a photo of my Delaney bib! Hope I can find it.

Then I got my finisher’s shirt. I noticed the women’s were v-neck. I don’t like v-neck. So, I quickly traded it for a men’s shirt with the crew neck.

I grabbed a foil blanket, just for a souvenir, and walked off to find my husband.

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When I found him, he was just giddy over my time! It was nice to see he was paying attention. It was tough for me to get a word in edgewise. And I just needed to keep moving. We kept moving, and I realized I didn’t get any post race snacks whatsoever. I’m not even sure where they were. I know they handed me a drink ticket, but we were already along the lake shore, taking finishing photos of our own and chatting away about the run.

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I kept looking at that lake. I just wanted to jump in. It took all I had not to. But now I’m sorry I didn’t. I think it would have done my muscles some good. I was soaked to the bone, and had come to the realization that I had to get out of these clothes before I started chafing, if I hadn’t already.

We took a good 20-30 minute walk before descending upon our vehicle in the DECC parking lot. My husband had parked it in such a way that I could change out of my wet clothes while using the car doors as cover. I don’t think that was his intention, but I gave him kudos for it anyway. As soon as I was changed and after we grabbed a couple of ice cold waters out of the cooler, we were in the car and off. Getting on I35 South took just minutes. And I begged we stop some place where I could get some eggs and butter…and maybe some meat.

We found the Duluth Grill just a few exits down. Breakfast all day, baby. That is where we went. No lines, no waiting, amazing food. I had the salmon omelette. And no, it wasn’t smoked salmon, but a real, honest to goodness salmon filet with Havarti dill cheese right inside those eggs. Again, my husband ate my carbs. I was so hungry, I forgot to snap a photo. I also chugged down two cups of black coffee. Buh bye nap for the ride home. I was completely buzzed with the high from the run in combination with the caffeine.

We chased lunch with a sugar free peppermint patty. Yeah…life is good.

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On the road, legs UP this time. Not quite a wall, but the dashboard did it’s part. The biggest surprise of the day was coming home to see my official results and that I had finished 8th in my age group.


EIGHTH! Dear Lord. You know I kicked some booty out there. Super stoked and damn proud of what I just accomplished. So, the evening ended with my Manhattan.

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Another marathon. Who’d have believed I could pull off two of them in two months time, and both Boston qualifiers. This medal, however, is the bomb. I had to weigh it.

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Over a half pound of brag bait. Plus, I got my official Grandma’s Marathon 40th Anniversary jacket to go with it. I mean, let’s be honest. It is the whole reason I signed up for this event in the first place.

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There…I said it.

What are the worst conditions in which you ran an event? Did you finish?

One Response to Grandma’s Marathon #RaceRecap – Part 2

  1. Ironically, one of my worst conditions was at Grandma’s last year. Torrential rain before, light showers (turning into a drizzle, then stopping about two hours in…near the half way point for me)…then sunshine in the humid air for a few miles, before cloud cover…and then rain right after I finished. That said, it was such a beautiful course, and the crowd support was non-stop the entire way. I wanted to go back this year,but the registration closed before I could get in (bummer!!). That medal and jacket will taunt me for along time because I procrastinated too long. Congrats on your BQ!!

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