An Ultra-Wonderful Racing Weekend! Part II- Minneapolis Marathon
Do you look for signs? Do you witness something or experience something and wonder if the universe is trying to tell you something? I can’t say that I spend a great deal of time dwelling on the astrological significance of the things taking place around me. However, I’ll admit that I might have thought otherwise this weekend.
After running Dam to Dam on Saturday, the beautiful epicurean and I drove up to Minneapolis with some friends. The Minneapolis Marathon awaited! We had a delicious dinner at Pizza Luce (pizza and beer is a perfect pre-race meal, right?), and settled in for the evening. 5:30AM was going to come rather quickly, especially considering my even earlier alarm just that morning (I’m still convinced only zombies are awake @ 3:45AM…hmmmm, maybe I should organize a Zombie 5K and include a 3AM start time…food for thought- maybe I’ll get back to that later…anyways….). At any rate, I woke up to my alarm, stumbled around in the dark so as not to wake the others, who were running the 1/2 marathon (which began an hour later…damn them and their “sleeping in”!). I made it out of the hotel room, slipped on my shoes, and headed to the elevator to embark on the 1.5 mile walk to the starting line. I pushed the elevator button, and closed my eyes, my body still in a bit of shock over being up so early a second morning in a row. It took a few seconds for me to realize what was happening…nothing.
I pushed the button again, and then the button for another floor, and still, nothing happened. Really, was this happening? Was I trapped in the elevator at the hotel, less than an hour before running a marathon? Seriously? After yelling briefly into the air, I pushed the call button and spoke to the front desk. They sent someone up, and they reset the elevator for me. The doors opened two floors down (remember the other buttons I pushed?) and I jumped out. I wasn’t on the ground floor yet, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to risk getting back in the elevator. So, was it a sign? Was the universe telling me what I already knew…that this was probably a stupid idea. Like I said, I don’t tend to read too much into things, but this was hard to pass up. At any rate, I headed out of the hotel (after taking the wrong staircase first…I kid you not!), and made my way to the starting line, still in plenty of time.
As the gun went off, I positioned myself just ahead of the 4:15 pace group. Now, prior to this race, my marathon PR was 4:23 (Twin Cities 2010), so I might have been fooling myself, but I felt really good, and was rather optimistic after all the training I had done this season. For the first 12 miles, I maintained my pace, and was feeling really good. That’s when the urge hit me…the undeniable feeling that there was a port-a-potty in my future. At the risk of over-sharing, I’ll simply say that I avoid this scenario during races at all costs. However, I was left with no options. Location was of little important, so I diverted from the race course to find my relief. 4/10 of a mile later, I was back on the course, thinking about catching back up to the 4:15 pacer, who I was sure had passed me after my 2-minute “break”.
The course had been rerouted earlier in the week due to flooding, which meant the addition of a nice little hill with a 12.5% grade. This hill was NOT my friend after 18 miles, but I managed it, and saw the 4:15 pacer just ahead. I had caught her…I had caught my pace! Then she stopped. She pulled over to a med tent as I ran by, and I never saw her again. I found out later that the 4:15 pacer that had crossed the finish line was male, so I can only assume injury had befallen her and she was unable to continue.
I, however, did continue, and although I hit a wall around mile 21, I still pushed through it. As I approached the final turn, I caught a glimpse of my friends on the sidelines, waiting to cheer me on. One dear friend popped out onto the course and ran a bit with me, giving me a play-by-play of what to expect at the end, including seeing the beautiful epicurean at the finish line. As I crossed the finish line and saw 4:15:55 on the clock, I simultaneously erupted with joy and exhaustion. I had PR’d by 7 minutes, and on tired legs, no less! I downed as any fluids as I could keep down, and probably looked a bit rough, but I made it.
After catching my breath, getting some nutrition in me, and regaining full consciousness, we headed out on the walk back to the hotel. The 2-mile walk. I still don’t believe in signs…really.