Grandma’s Marathon 2013

This past Saturday was the 2013 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth!  Last year Joe and I ran it together and this year we were supposed to run together again but I ended up not doing it and was a proud spectator instead!

This year we planned ahead a bit better and got a hotel only a few minutes from the start line.  We were required to stay 2 nights too so we left earlier on Friday and arrived in Duluth around 4:30 or 5pm to pick up our race packets (I still wanted mine, even though I wasn’t running!) and to look around at their running Expo.  Unfortunately the expo was jam-packed full of people and it was hot and the flow of traffic wasn’t that well organized… so we did not stay long inside although the parking lot we parked in was closed off from 5-7 for a 5k race so we sat in the car and watched the 5k racers go by instead!

After our packet pickup we headed to the hotel to check in.  We stayed at a Best Western and ended up with a first-floor pool-side room, although neither of us planned on swimming or anything.  Our room was nice and had 2 queen beds, a fridge and even a microwave.  The first thing I did was embarrass Joe by opening our window and throwing granola outside to a seagull 🙂  After that we headed back out to find a Target for a few items we forgot and then to a restaurant called Burrito Union for supper! Joe had pork in his burritos and I had cod with pineapple salsa… I wasn’t sure it would be tasty, but it was good! I think I might have been one of the oldest people there 🙂

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Hungry Seagull.  He was very appreciative…

Saturday morning came early for us… I was up just before 4am and Joe was up at around 4:30.  By 5 we were out the door!  The marathon didn’t actually begin until 7:45 but between parking and then Joe needing to take an hour+ train ride to the starting line… we had to arrive early!  The weather was very cold the entire weekend… cold, foggy, rainy etc.  We didn’t see the sun, or even very high clouds, the entire time we were there! Joe even almost ran with his jacket on but at the last minute decided to turn it in and race without.

WP_001040Joe was on the train at this point and I was standing across the road watching it go.

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After Joe headed off I went back to the car for a half hour or so until the half-marathon championship people were off and going and then I headed off to the finish line and found some coffee and a blueberry muffin and watched the really fast national championship people racing in for awhile.  Then I wandered around the area for a little bit before deciding I was absolutely freezing so I headed back to the car for a second jacket… by this point the full marathon had not even begun yet!

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A view out over Lake Superior… nothing but fog!

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After I got my second jacket I headed back towards the finish line and stopped about halfway there to watch the half-marathoners (the normal ones) arrive and then eventually the full marathon wheel chairs about mid morning (you can see a wheel chair in the back ground here).

I then spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon wandering and watching different points of the race.  I headed downtown for a bit to watch miles 24-25 and some of the fastest marathoners come in and I found a store selling fleece jackets so I got a new one for Joe… I was worried he had worn his jacket on the race and then it would be wet and sweaty and he’d be cold, so I got him another jacket.  I made a third trip back to the car to charge my phone for a half an hour or so and then eventually I headed up to mile 24 again to wait for Joe to arrive.

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Of course, it also began to rain in earnest.  Joe said out on the course they got rain around the half way point whereas towards the finish line we didn’t get rain until almost the end.  We did have drizzle/mist and fog, but nothing like this until Joe was getting close.  It worked out well too since I broke my umbrella shortly before he arrived here and this picture was taken under an awning briefly but otherwise I was getting pretty wet myself out in the rain!  I bought myself a pair of wooly mittens when I bought Joe his new jacket!

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Joe just past mile 24.  He kept up a great pace the entire race and even ran the last several miles which is something we didn’t do as well last year!  He stopped to walk about a block with me and then took off running again while I took a side road and cut down to another part of the race to see him again!

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Here is goes… off through downtown Duluth!

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It was not an ideal day for a race but he stuck it out!  It was a bit chilly (in the low 50’s), kinda windy, and too rainy although cool and cloudy would be a nice race day… this was a bit too far!

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Here he is coming in towards mile 26…the finish line is just around the corner!

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And here, just a few yards from the finish line! It’s up where those balloons are… they called off his name and listed him as from Minnesota first and then corrected it and said Michigan! 🙂  The security was really good during the race too… you can see the policeman here keeping an eye out.  They were stationed everywhere along with reserve police and I even saw the coast guard and one policeman with his police German Shepherd.  They were always scanning the crowd and when I was having my breakfast near a trash can they even came and I saw them walking down the line opening the cans to check inside those as well.  Everything was safe and sound!

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Here he is at the end after getting his medal and his pretty shirt (I was pretty bummed that I didn’t run with him!) ! I know it looks like he is sticking his tongue out at me, but I’m pretty sure he is in the middle of telling me “Watch out!” because I was backing up into a lady… and I did back up into her, although I apologized and I think I only stepped on her foot.  I wasn’t paying attention!  Plus it was cold and he’d just run for 5+ hours so I didn’t make him stand there more!  Joe finished this marathon in 5:48 which is almost 10 minutes faster than our marathon last year and his fastest yet! Plus, it was pretty amazing since the weather was horrible! And his legs didn’t bother him this year nearly as bad as they did last year.  After last years marathon neither of us could hardly walk and this year he made it to the car just fine!

The rest of our trip was pretty low key! After the marathon we hung out in the hotel room for the afternoon and ordered pizza delivery for supper!  Sunday morning we relaxed for awhile yet and then around lunch time we packed up and headed home to pick up Cora from the kennel and see how everybody else was doing!  They were all doing just fine and even though our weather wasn’t amazing, we had a good time in Duluth!