Well it is official, we finished our marathon! Last night we got to our hotel and got some supper so that we could head to bed around 11 or 11:30 and we woke up at 2:30 this morning to shower and drive the rest of the drive to the marathon. It was a bit chilly when we first parked and I was originally going to wear my jacket but I saw that most other people were toughing it out until it got warm so I did the same and was very glad I didn’t have to carry my fleece for most of the run! A little before 6 this morning Joe and I boarded a train (we road in an old converted boxcar!) in Duluth and took an hour train ride (26.2 miles though!) to the race start where we didn’t see much else except for the lines to the bathrooms for the next 40 minutes. Finally a few minutes before the race began we got to use the bathrooms and we made it to the start well before anyone around us actually got to run. It took almost 8 minutes for us to ‘run’ to the actual start and begin the race after the very first people left the chute.
The first few miles were perfect. A bit sunny and breezy and still cool. Joe set a good pace for us and we ran together pretty darn good for it being our first run together ever. No 5k ‘learn to run with your husband/wife’ runs for us, we’ll just go for the marathon! Beginning at mile 3 there were aid stations every 2 miles where we could get water, ice and powderaide and we took advantage of that and drank plenty! I think around mile 5 I finally started to get warm enough to sweat and by mile 8 my knees began to hurt a little bit, I think Joe was starting to hurt by then as well. But we kept going at our pace and I enjoyed myself, Joe tolerated it like a champ but it was my race and he was coming because I asked him to so he didn’t enjoy it as much. The next few miles went by reasonably well but then around mile 18 we started to go downhill. Not because we bonked, or ran out of energy (they fed us well and we also brought some food/gels too), but because the pavement was so hard on our joints and our knees and legs were really hurting us. Unfortunately, a good deal our training includes more forgiving dirt trails so the pavement got us good. We took breaks each mile to walk starting at mile 18 I think, just a tenth of a mile at first but by mile 24 we took a break and walked the entire mile until we got to 25 where we ran the last 1.2 miles to the finish line. Our legs were just killing us. The last half of the race was pretty cloudy and by mile 25 it was raining on us and we were getting pretty cold! We finished at exactly the same time in 5 hours and 42 minutes. We weren’t near the first finishers, but we were very definitely not last either! Even as we were leaving there were more people walking and shuffling in. It’s one thing to be an elite runner and run for 2 and a half hours, and another to have the stamina and will power and stubbornness to keep going for 7 hours and still get there! I give those people credit!
Before the race I had some fig newtons and two granola bars, Joe had a bit of beef jerky and some soda but that was it. During the race Joe and I had a lot of poweraid and I had a lot of water too, I also brought a Clif bar that I ate most of, had one gel, and a piece of banana so I had plenty! Joe didn’t want much so besides having a lot more poweraid than I did he only ate one gel and made it through the entire race! I should also mention that Joe did not train for this race. He is specifically training for his Iron Man and that’s it. I asked to do this race for my birthday which was in January and he agreed. I have been training since then specifically for the race, going on multiple long runs, practicing eating and drinking etc. A lot of my runs were 3-4 hours or longer… do you want to know the longest run Joe ran before the race? One and a half hours! And he made it the entire way! He ran whenever I wanted to run and we walked together on the late miles when we were both sore and all on just a few shorter runs! I definitely would not have made it if I hadn’t have done all the running I did. I was glad to have him run with me today! Although he did mention that he would never do one with me again unless watching from the sidelines counts 🙂
Everyone involved with the race was so wonderful and sweet. The train staff wished us luck and were all so kind, they thanked us for riding with them as if we were doing them a favour and not the other way around and all of the aid station volunteers were just super sweet, wonderful life savers! There were dozens and dozens of kids and adults and people of all different types who were there just solely to feed us and clean up after all of our cups. And with thousands of people running past there was a lot of cups. I had at least one cup at each aid station and sometimes two or three cups. The same goes for Joe. We used at least 36 cups between us and with even just 10,000 runners that would be 36,000 cups and that doesn’t count food wrappers, dropped clothes, banana peels and who knows what else. Wonderful people! And everyone of them were saying nice things and shouting that we looked great and were going good. Many spectators on the side lines were also just as wonderful and shouted encouragement and well wishes. It was really nice! So many nice people to look after us so all we needed to do was run. And of course the medics and race officials and other unseen people like photographers…we didn’t interact much with any of them but they were all there making our day go smoothly for us! If any of you ever read my blog, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
After the race Joe and I were cold and wet from the rain so we got our medals, shirts, a picture taken, some chocolate milk and then we slowly hobbled back to the car. We were almost numb when we finally got the heat on and then we figured out where to go for showers and ended up at a local YMCA where they let us shower for free, with free towels too, in amazing hot showers. It was fantastic to be clean and dry and warm! After showers we headed home, stopping at a gas station to get food on the way.
This was my supper. After eating only minimal calories before and during the race and burning almost 3000 calories during the race we were both starving. I am sure my coworkers who know how much I hate high fructose corn syrup and weird additives etc. will love that this was my supper and it was amazing! I didn’t eat my entire sandwich, it was good but gas station meatloaf is a little bit weird so only half was finished. But then, I also had a tiny box of red hots and a diet Dr. pepper and then later when I was bored some popcorn too! Joe had a similarly healthful supper but his included Doritos and Mountain Dew instead and he had some corn dogs along with his cheese sticks and an egg salad sandwich later in the drive. We were hungry!
Our well earned finisher shirts and medals! I didn’t take any other pictures today ( I had my phone but it was all settled and ready for my run so I didn’t want to get it out at the beginning and the end I was too cold and wet to want to waste time) but the professional photographers got a handful of us and they will all be posted in a couple days and I will share those instead… hopefully the finish line pictures of us turned out good but I bet we look like dorks because we could hardly move!
Now it is 11pm, Joe and I got the dogs and got home here around 10 and Joe went pretty much right to bed after we hobbled around the pole barn to walk the dogs and I am finishing this and then going to bed as well. We are exhausted! Joe managed to come out of the race with a few of blisters and some pretty big areas of chafing from his shirt and shorts that we weren’t expecting (like the collar on his shirt)… plus really, really sore legs and joints. I have one big spot of chafing even though I used body glide and two blisters on spots that I normally don’t get blisters and no blisters on the normal spots… of course! My legs are also sore and one of my knees hurts like heck to bend so Joe says I walk like a pirate and need to walk normal again at some point. 🙂 We’ll see what tomorrow brings but I may go to the SDC to do some very slow easy biking to help my legs recover. I know Joe wants to work on his new gun too but other than that our day is going to be spent doing very little!