Sunday, May 31, 2015

Minneapolis Marathon 2015 - Race Recap

Got up at 4-430 AM; left home at 5:30 AM; race start at 6:30 AM at Theodore Wirth Parkway

It winded from there to NE Minneapolis via Art District. Downtown was in view and I thought, "So 20 miles is this close !" But Half Marathoner turned towards Guthrie Theater, while we Full were diverted to UofM hills towards Minnehaha Park. Now that took up like the rest of 15 miles.

On the way, everyone cheered "Keep Going", "Good Job", "Keep chugging". At Mile 19 turn-back, I looked back to see only few specks for company. And the 6:00 Pacer was gaining. I remembered the cutoff was 6 hours and rest would have to take SAG Wag. I tried to muster all my strength to go faster. But impossible. Then the 6:00 pacer caught up with me and his pep talk helped. I let out a desperate "I want to finish under 6" cry. He was like - you can do it, stick with me and you will be under 6, you have trained. He did the run-walk and I stuck with his pace from 19 to 23. After Mile 23, there was one last hill of this road and the beginning of the crazy UofM hills. So I gave up and said I will walk now.
6:00 hour Pacer

At around Mile 24 the SAG vehicle came around and said in polite US-English, "Aaja meri gadi mein baitja".
I said, "Chal hath saale"
He gave me water & said this was the last glass. I am ever grateful to him for that.
Every water stop & orange markers were being removed.
At one last confusing junction , the cycle volunteer pointed us to the correct turn.

Everyone was dismantling everything at Guthrie Theater. They had removed the last chip reader but Clock showed 6:11. Since I had started in a late corral, I knew my time would be even less. Some kids were playing around. I was simply thrilled to reach the end point and was running in the winner pose - arms up in air, smiles wide . I asked to no one, "Where is the finish line ?" and a helpful girl pointed, "At that no-parking sign annnnnnd you are done" Yeaaaa ! Then the chip-reader owner came running with a machine and marked me complete. And that's it - My First Full Marathon was complete !

Volunteers helped me with my bag check, food packets, medal & photos. All water stop volunteers were super efficient, cheered all along & bike marshals were helpful and the medic I consulted was helpful. I am so thankful to all of them and the 6:00 Pacer.

At around 1 pm, one super-senior arrived for his finish and I wished him & pointed him to the food store and walked away for my new destination. I thought I would have to walk all the way, but  luckily found a taxi. Rode to best-friend's hotel where my kids were on play-date. Driver politely asked about the race. He joked that once he signed up for what he thought was 10K but turned out to be 10M ! I was too happy & relaxed.

Among injuries I found my first under-feet blister, my big toe is throbbing bad, my bra line is completely chaffed and burning . Sunburn on my arms & legs are itchy. Once Aleve wears out, my knee & shin pain along with soreness will set in. New kind of chaffing was my bicep rubbed the shirt - it started after the hour 3. But boy am I happy - I finished a real Full Marathon.

In this race, my outfit  and weather were perfect. Temp was 45 F at 5:30 but I did not overdress like I usually do. No jackets or layers. Not a single extra gram of weight. That's my learning, in this year of running.
  1. ASICS Women's GT-2000 3 Running Shoes - which I had trained in. So no shin swelling this time.
  2. Single Technical Tee and capri pants
  3. Golf cap to shade from the sun and prevent my hair from flying away.
  4. Carried Gu packets in my hands and ate one every hour
  5. Huge spray of sunscreen
  6. Chap-stick - lips get dry & burn because of wind, sun and sticky powerade
  7. Body glide / vaseline to prevent chaffing
Full race started at 6:30 AM and Half started at 7:30 AM (one hour after the Full started). While I chugged at Mile 9, the Half leaders passed me by. Some muttered encouragements to me. And on the road to Minnehaha, where the other side was for the turnback runners, I could see the leaders and the middle. I know most of them were Relay runners, but it was very demotivating till Mile 19. And scary after Mile 19 for the fear of disqualification. Then for my bicep chaffing, I stopped at the medic for some bandaid or vaseline. There was a chair out there and I slide in to tighten (or loosen) my shoe-laces. That totally changed my momentum. I now know I should'nt ever do that.

Running beyond 3 hours is kind-of boring. Or maybe the scare of SAG's disqualifying me was the thing. I could have saved my 11 9 minutes in a lot of places. I should have slept well at night instead of waking up every hour and dreaming all dreadful things. I need not be so nervous for weeks. I should have trained better/seriously. That's hindsight. But this was my first & I finished it! So everything is excused now ! It also erases all bad memories of last year's cancelled Half Marathon due to thunderstorm.

It took me almost 2 years to dream, dare and try. And one item from my bucket list is ticked off now.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon - 2015 - Race Recap

I registered for Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon on an impulse. Just to bolster my confidence for the upcoming Marathon. I had it on my calendar but never did register till few days back. I did not trust my schedule to let me any long run before Marathon and opted to pay for a long run with the convenience of water & other support. Plus I got curious to see the route. I have never run this race before.

Packet pickup was on Saturday. We had not been to this area, so it was useful to scout the route to start line. And on 3rd May Sunday morning, all of us left home early.  Hubby dropped me at the school for the shuttle bus to starting line and then off he went with kids for breakfast. It was a pleasant 75F, with summer just about to start, and so a pretty good crowd. Just the right kind of day to be outside.

The starting corral was very slow moving. It was in a quint little town streets, with cute shops and sculptures everywhere. Soon after the race started, there they were. Hills. And then around some lakes. And then hill again and ponds, and hill and lake and that's how it went. By the time I reached 5.5 mile, where relay exchange happened, I realized there were freaking hills in like every single mile. I was muttering fk in pretty much every breath. And here, my feet cushion below my toes started hurting. Like I had cement for sole in my shoes. I was worried I would have to dropout, but turns out I was stronger than that. The pain disappeared after 2-3 miles.

Rest of the route wounded around the large part of a lake, right in front of the houses. But it was hilly throughout. There were lake houses dotting the route throughout. At 10 mile point , a father was working in his lawn and kid was eating ice-cream, I heard the kid say, "But they are not running" :D And father clarified, "Ya they have run a lot & are tired." Good to hear the defense. At the starting line, I had seen an Indian couple in their late 40's and then at mile 11, where the lady had some knee pain. But they stuck together and I saw them at the finish line later.

I could not appreciate the views - tiny towns, greenery, houses with acres for front-yard, ponds & lakes. They were beautiful. People stepped out of their house to cheer the crowds run. Reminded me of the Lola Half route in Waconia from last year. I won't be doing Lola this year because its 1 week after my scheduled marathon. Both were similar views. I so wish I had carried my iPod for pictures. But all my summer races without jacket are without any route pictures. I did not train to run with the shoulder patch or belt to carry the iPod.

This race was 10 days after the Get in Gear, which had my personal worst performance. So I could use the learning's which were fresh in my mind. My outfit was minimal. No jacket at all. Shoes were well-worn.

The finish line was at a beautiful location in Excelsior. Commons Park was at a beautiful rocky beach of Lake Minnetonka. It was soothing to sit by the side, pleasant water spray and waves.

This event also had a kids run. It was fun for my kids, who met another friend. They are always thrilled to get the Medal, Shirt and  Mall of America Nickelodeon tickets.

My T-shirt and Medal for this race were quite good.