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Grandmas Marathon - RunMarathon

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Duluth, Minnesota
United States
78F / 26C
Total Time = 4h 02m 43s
Overall Rank = 2132/6876
Age Group = M3539
Age Group Rank = 264/636
Pre-race routine:

Up at 3:30 for half a bagel with PB and Gatorade Endurance. After the cramping at mile 23 last year, I was determined to get enough sodium/electrolytes without resorting the the stomach-churning, foul-tasting Ultima swill. I packed 12 Margarita ShotBloks (66mg sodium per block) in my running shirt. Managed to test the plumbing pre- and post bus ride and felt like a million bucks. I even managed to tie my shoes with the right tension on the very first try. A sign of good things to come.
Event warmup:

Portapotties and stretching. The warm-up of champions.
  • 4h 02m 43s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 16s  min/mile

I waited until the last minute to drop off my sweat bag and by then it was all I could do to get as far up at the 5:30 pace group. The start seemed more crowded than last year, but it may have been that I was more aware of all the people due to the fact that I was running alone instead of with someone.

It took 5 minutes to get to the starting line after the official start and scaled back to a 10 minute pace for the first mile, trying to find any open space that I could get. At around mile 3, I made for the side of the road to get a closer look at some of the local natural sites. I felt much lighter and got some spring back into my step after that.

I had targeted a 4:15 goal but found that a very comfortable pace was a little faster than that and just went with it. I kept checking my mile splits and was concerned that I was going faster than I intended, but decided to go with what felt natural. Instead of Ultima (yuck), I popped a ShotBlok just before each water station and took 2-3 cups of water at each station, walking just long enough to swallow it without spilling or gagging. It wasn't until I hit 13.1 in 1:58 that I finally believed that I had a very solid shot at hitting my goal, and maybe a fair bit better.

Mile 17 brought a normally welcome gift: ClifShot! I took 2 Raspberries and sucked one down right away. I paid for that nearly instantly. My stomach started doing sommersaults and it was all I could do not to fill my drawers. Mercifully, the sensation passed within a minute or 2. My wife found the second ClifShot packet when she washed my running shirt Tuesday night.

At mile 20, I was just past the 3:02 mark. Doing the math in my head, I realized that if I was able to maintain a strong but reasonable pace, it was possible to crack the 4 hour mark, but I would likely pay for it for days to follow. At that point I decided to be happy with my pre-race goal, go as strong as I was comfortable, and see where I came in. It was during this period of pontification that I managed to drop my last 3 ShotBloks through the hole in the bag onto the road. I decided to tough it out rather than eat gravel.

Other than the water stations, I only briefly walked 3 other uphill segments for less 45 each. My grandparents and a cousin were waiting at the top of Lemon Drop Hill (mile 22), and my sister and family were waiting at the William Irvin (near mile 26). The last mile was a bear, but I managed to cross the finish line without staring at my watch.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I ran the race 36 minutes faster than last year with no cramps, and managed to beat my pre-race goal by 13 minutes. A new PR.
Post race
Warm down:

I was pretty tipsy after I stopped running. Got my medal and shirt and headed straight for the food tent. Managed half a turkey sandwich, some chips (mmmm . . . salt), and drank a little water. Topped it off with mint chip ice cream, which tasted better than anything I have ever eaten before. I tried to stretch and found that my muscles were actually loose, but just very tired (big surprise there). Found my family and some unexpected friends in the finish area, and headed down to Barnum for a family gathering of fire-roasted meat and brandy. The cap to a perfect day.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The fact that I did not expect to run the race so strong is what limited my ability to perform faster. I may or may not have been able to crack 4 hours if I had known, but I don't care. This was the best long distance race I have ever run and don't think that there is anything to whine about. Period.

Event comments:

This is a fantastic event. Top notch organization, great voluteers, outstanding spectators, and world-class runners. I'm afraid to run other marathons for fear of being sadly disappointed that they don't compare to Grandma's.

Last updated: 2008-01-09 12:00 AM
04:02:43 | 26.2 miles | 09m 16s  min/mile
Age Group: 264/636
Overall: 2132/6876
Performance: Good
Course: Generally flat with the only significant inclines/declines starting with Lemon Drop hill at mile 22. Maybe they just seem more dramatic because you're wiped out by then.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2008-06-24 11:48 PM

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Walworth, WI
Subject: Grandmas Marathon

2008-06-25 8:38 AM
in reply to: #1488241

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McFarland, WI
Subject: RE: Grandmas Marathon

Congratulations Todd!  You smashed your time goal and set a new PR.

As for breaking 4 hours, I think you settle into a pace that is best on that day.  Who knows what would have happened if you pushed harder.  You ran a smart race. 


2008-06-25 1:22 PM
in reply to: #1488241

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Subject: RE: Grandmas Marathon

Wow, what a kick butt race you had! Congratulations on the major PR!!!

I think you and I had the same exact post-race experience. I couldn't do much else but the potato chips and mint chip ice cream were DIVINE.

2008-06-25 1:47 PM
in reply to: #1488241

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Grandmas Marathon
Dude - Awesome effort. Great improvement from prior year. Hopefully meet you in Sep up at Moo..
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