And just like that: it’s time for my Grandma’s Marathon race recap! It always amazes me how quickly training goes and before you know it, the marathon that’s been on your mind 98% of the time is over. 

I know. Post-marathon blues. A real thing. 

Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis on a summer day | Crazy Running Girl

 

Anywho. I traveled up to Minnesota on Thursday to hang out with some of my friends, and then on Friday, drove up to Duluth for packet pick-up and a super low-key day.

Hanging out in Duluth, MN | Crazy Running Girl

 

Usually it feels like I am running around like a crazy person the day before a marathon and this was soo nice because it was really relaxing and calm (even went to go see a movie — Central Intelligence — which was a perfect destresser). 

That night, went to the Larsmont Cottages for dinner (more on that later) and did something a little different: fish for dinner the night before a marathon. 

Ledge Rock Grille | Crazy Running Girl

 

It was amazing and made my stomach so happy so I knew it was the right decision the minute I started eating. 

AND THEN —> I found these:

Milwaukee Dill Pickles! | Crazy Running Girl

 

Oh how I miss them down in Texas! The perfect recovery food for a marathon, by the way. 

I rented an Airbnb (THIS ONE —> highly recommend if you are in the area for Grandma’s) and went to bed around 10 p.m. I woke up once at 5 a.m. because I had a dream (nightmare) that I got lost on the course, although I’m not sure how that happens on a point-to-point. 

Pre-race photo for Grandma's Marathon | Crazy Running Girl

 

Alarm went off at 5:45 a.m., got ready in about 30 minutes (my tradition of not brushing my hair before a marathon holds true) and got dropped at the start in Two Harbors. They had this arranged to a T —> it was so easy and traffic flowed really well. 

I went and hung out in the starting corral and about 40ish minutes before the race, it looked like someone was breakdancing in the middle of the road because there was all of this crazy movement. Here it was a DEER that had jumped over one of the fences, must have been confused with all the people and freaked out, but luckily found her way out! She managed to run into one runner, who ended up with quite the story (and hopefully no lice). 

So, about 30 minutes before the race I started to feel like I had to go pee and I was like I can’t do it NOW because I get stressed out if I’m not in the corral early and I knew the lines were going to be crazy, so I decided to hold it and deal with it later. 

The race started at 7:45 a.m. and it was 68* and sunny; a lot of people around me were already sweating and talking about how they were going to scale back the race and not go for their goals because of the weather. At that time, race organizers gave the weather a green –> low risk. 

My goal for the first 20 miles was to run between a 7:50-8:00 pace and then pick it up a bit. Knowing myself, I knew that it would be hard to hold back the first few miles, but I totally managed it. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of what was going on in my head throughout the race:

Miles 1-4:

This is the BEST, such a beautiful day and this pace feels so easy! I just need to keep going like this! 

 

Miles 5-9:

Life is so amazing, I LOVE these views and this breeze feels so good! These downhills make me happy. 

 

Miles 10-11:

Umm, marathons are really silly. Why are we doing this? It’s SO LONG and we are just running. Oh hey, ice at a water stop —> let’s see if this can cool me down. 

Oh hey, I really don’t have to pee anymore. 

 

Miles 12-15:

Almost halfway and still feeling pretty solid! The port-a-potties at the half marathon start still smell pretty fresh, impressive. Ooh, what’s with the yellow —> moderate risk for weather? 

And I still don’t have to pee, so maybe your body really does reabsorb it?!

 

Miles 16-19:

This is not as fun as it once was. This pace doesn’t feel as easy. It’s hot. Where’s the shade? Why can’t we get some more breeze? 

 

Miles 19-22:

Well, hello there Duluth city limits sign. Wow, Duluth must be a REALLY long city because we have so long to go.

And since when is it a high risk for weather?!

And there is Lemon Drop… this hill looks terrible. 

 

Miles 23-25:

Lemon Drop killed me, but it’s time to kick it into gear. WHAT Garmin, I am not really running a 6:40, get it together!? 

Coming in to the finish at Grandma's Marathon | Crazy Running Girl

 

Mile 26:

I don’t think I can nail a sub 3:30 but a PR is definitely possible… come on why is this taking forever?!

 

Mile 26.2:

Did my Garmin seriously just say 3:31.18?! Did I PR by a second?!

Finish line photo at Grandma's Marathon | Crazy Running Girl

 

Turns out, I refreshed my PR… by getting my old PR time, down to the second, once again 3:31.19. I polled a bunch of people and the general consensus is that yes, it counts as a PR. I’m calling it my new-old PR. I am still stunned that I managed to run 26.2 miles DOWN TO THE SECOND. How does that happen? 

Now, it’s not the goal I wanted. I’ve been gunning for that sub-3:30 for what seems like ever and I come pretty close to it. I felt like I ran this race SO SMART. I did a full Honey Stinger at mile 3, and then a half every three miles after that. I took a salt pill every five miles and drank water and Powerade at every stop, while putting ice in my sports bra every chance I could get. 

I think this made all the difference in the world… I also didn’t go out too fast, which I typically do, and didn’t get negative on myself. 

With all of that —> I consider it a WIN. Yes, it’s disappointing that I didn’t get my goal. I didn’t get the PR I wanted and thought I was in shape for. That being said, I feel like this race was a huge accomplishment for a number of reasons and there was no reason for me to get mad at myself for running the best marathon I’ve run in years. 

It’s the hard thing about goals. We push ourselves to hit something great and sometimes, it’s hard to take a step back, and give ourselves the kudos for what we’ve accomplished. Like most things I’ve learned about life this year, it’s all about your perspective. I have plenty to celebrate, and I will celebrate all of that. And when it comes time for me to finally be at the place where I get that sub-3:30? I’ll have plenty to celebrate at that point. 

 

So, back to the Grandma’s Marathon race recap —>

2016 Grandma's Marathon | Crazy Running Girl

 

I loved this race. It reminded me a lot of Boston Marathon, with the point-to-point, the awesome city and residents, and how you have a killer hill in the 20s. I would say it’s jumped up to my #2 favorite marathon (behind Boston of course) and I would love to run it again. 

Grandma’s Marathon was organized to a T… they had over 8,000 volunteers for race day who created an experience of a lifetime.

I loved the course that wove along Lake Superior and had a great breeze most of the way (there are some “rolling” hills that are not very steep, and these are the type I love).

I do feel like the race expo was a little chaotic… they funnel everyone through the main area where the vendors are so it’s just packed full, especially since it’s a smaller space for the number of vendors that they have. 

The one thing to know about this race, and it’s out of your control, is the weather. It could be like this where it’s hot (it was in the mid-70s and pure sun when I finished around 11:15 a.m.) or it could be really cool. Like most races, this is the most frustrating element but it’s not something that would hold me back from running this race again. 

Overall, a fantastic experience and an amazing weekend. More about my weekend adventures in MN + details on what to expect at Grandma’s next week! 

[today is Wednesday, so I am linking up with Rachel, Susie and Debbie for Running Coaches’ Corner!]

 


Do you prefer point-to-point or out and back courses? What’s your ideal running weather? 

What do you typically eat the night before a race? 



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