Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grandma's Marathon 2011

What a weekend! Grandma's Marathon celebrated their 35th year and nearly everyone in Duluth seemed to show up to cheer on the thousands of runners. It's always one of my favorite weekends of the year. Even when we have no idea what the weather will do, we're all ready to run - 5k, half marathon, and marathon along with the little kid races. So much fun!

Ella & I headed down to the running and health expo at the DECC the morning before the race.

After picking up my race packet and doing a little shopping, Ella prepped for the weekend with her race banana.

This is the fun magnet I found at the expo. Couldn't resist.

After a night of pouring rain, we woke up at 4:30am to yet more rain. After dropping Shauna at her shuttle for the half, I picked Jake up and headed to Canal Park to catch the train to the start. Seriously! A train to the start! This is the same train we rode the day of our wedding. Just adding to the good memories.

Yes, it was a bit of a bummer that it was still raining. Although it's better than crazy heat, which is often the case the day of Grandma's, rain isn't super exciting when anticipating a 26 mile run. I see that pouty face, Jake.

It was a pretty relaxing ride to Two Harbors. It took more time to get there than if we had taken a shuttle bus, but all we'd have done at the start was stand around. I think we'll opt for this every year.

Jake took a little snooze.

Would you believe that as soon as we stepped off the train, it stopped raining?!

The crazy duo prior to the big race.

While waiting in line to use one of the million porta-potties at the start, we ran into a couple friends, Jonne and his buddy. I knew this would make for a great start to the race. Seriously, those two with Jake make a hilarious group. Once we made it across the start line (8 minutes after the official start of the race - that's how many people run this thing), we were off!

I have to admit that there were a few scares with Jake's knee. In just the second mile, I thought we'd have to find a medical tent. Jesus heard my prayers, though, and Jake and I got to do our first run together. The miles passed...and passed...and passed. 26 miles is a long way! We finally reached the edge of Duluth at about mile 19, which has a tendency to make it feel like we're practically finished.

And then we DID finish!

I was quite pleased to have improved my time by just over ten minutes from last year's race. Final time: 4:43. I'll take that!

I've never understood why so many people want a beer post-race. Seriously? It's never looked good... Until this year. I don't know what changed. Maybe it was the chilly weather. (Probably not. I would have gone after a hot chocolate if that was the case.) Jake and I proudly took our free drink tickets to the beer tent and got our prize.

I admit...I only drank 1/4 of mine. Then it didn't taste good. I suppose I got it more for the experience. The real treat for finishing were cupcakes! My lovely friend, Miss Anna Plys, has recently started a cupcake shop out of Duluth. She's amazing. Truly. Here was her stand on the corner in Canal Park by Little Angie's. All those little flags on the top of the cakes said FINISHER. Cute.

Thank you, Grandma's Marathon, for another weekend of memories. We'll see what next year holds. Another 26.2 perhaps? I'm going to let another few days go by before making that decision. Besides, registration doesn't open until July 1. That and I've got a midnight 5k to prep for on Friday night.

This is fun video that was made by Carrie Tollefson, an Olympic runner. It gives a pretty good picture of the great weekend.

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