This week started with an easy 3 mile run. My shins still hurt so I wanted a sloooow run. Bill and Rachael went out with me and Bill was ready to go. I had to keep slowing him down. I knew fast runs hurt my shins and I was still recovering from Dam to Dam's fast run. I figured if I took it easy I might be good by Saturday. It was a full week of carb loading. Boy, do I love to eat!
We were scheduled to run another 3 miles and then walk 3 miles. I consciously chose to skip the 3 mile run to rest my shins, but definitely put in a random 3+ mile walk as we wandered around Duluth and around Jewell.
Grandma's will be my first run that I will be running completely blind as I will not be driving the route first. That is part of my mental preparation; I have to know every twist and turn, hill, terrain, every minor detail. I did so much research and talked to so many people that I was comfortable knowing I could do this. This became part of my nervousness, however.
We left Friday for Duluth. It was a rainy yucky day and very hot, but the forecast was predicting 50 degrees and storms for Saturday's race so I was eagerly looking forward to it. We found the DECC for packet pick up and the University of Wisconsin dorms. Pick up and check in went very smoothly and everyone was so welcoming to us. The nervous excitement was definitely growing! We went to a mom and pop restaurant for supper and we had pancakes and cinnamon roll french toast. mmmmmmmm
I got all my stuff set out and my timing chip on my shoe - that was a huge pain. I can't remember the last time I laced shoes. We gave the kids their surprise Team Huegerich shirts. Rachael and the kids were soo excited. I loved the idea we had a big curb crew that was a part of the "team".
I went to bed around 8:15 and slept great...until about 10:30. I shot straight up hearing noise in the hallway. I thought I overslept and everyone was leaving to get to the bus! I looked at my phone and it said 10:30. I was cursing to myself that I slept right through the alarm and completely missed the bus and the start line! I looked at the phone again and it was 10:30 PM. phew! Unfortunately I didn't sleep much after that. :( I think I dozed off a bit, but saw about every 1/2 hour from 12:30 on. I was so wide awake at 2:00AM that got up to go the bathroom. Rachael was awake also, thinking it was time to get up and was starting to get out of bed. I told her she had another 2 hrs before we had to leave. I still didn't sleep, but I suppose the horizontal resting was at least good for me.
My routine GI track was in full swing - ACK! I dug out some garbage bags that we could use to keep dry and warm. The wind chill was 38 - YIKES! I wasn't prepared for cold! I was wishing I brought my tights. Last night I was thinking I would wear my jacket until I got to the start line and then put it in my sweat bag at the last minute. Looking at the forecast at 2 AM however I knew I should probably have a long sleeve shirt. Rachael said she only had a tank and shorts! She didn't pack any cold weather running clothes. uh oh. I dug through my bag and found TWO long sleeve shirts. phew - another hurdle jumped.
We loaded the bus and got to the start line. We had a little warm up jog to the start line and back - about 1/2 mile. My shins felt G.R.E.A.T!! A couple more potty breaks and more walking to keep warm before the crowds started forming. My plan was a 4:15 finish pace, but I was hoping for at least a PR (4:29:02). About 2 minutes before the gun, I heard someone shouting, "GO TEAM HUEGERICH!!" What?! Nobody knows that; who is it? I turned around and saw J there! YEAH! I was so excited. I get so much energy from her and thought maybe she was going to be farther ahead and want to finish around 4 hours. The day just kept getting better and better. :) I knew if we ran with her, we would make at least 4:15.
I never heard the gun, but we crossed the start line at about 3:17 after the gun. I thought that was pretty good. Overall, the run went greeeeeat! About 23 of the 26 miles I ran with a smile on my face, Chrissy Wellington style! If I started to feel tired or like I wanted to stop, I just slapped that smile on my face and my whole body was energized: smile on the outside and you smile on the inside. It was so much fun, yes truly fun. All the little towns along the route had so many spectators that were cheering the entire time. I really felt like a celebrity. The spectators really made the run fun, I just couldn't believe all the cheering along the route!
Running with Rachael has been a great journey and I loved spending so much time with her. We solved lots of tween problems and did some great bonding during all those miles and hours of training.
The first 10-11 miles just flew by. I kept waiting for the half-way mark, but it just sloooowly approached us. When we crossed the mat I looked at Rachael and said, "That was so much fun, let's do it again! We're just getting warmed up!" There were more hills that I imagined, which started to wear on me mentally - keep smiling! Miles 13-18 dragged along. The balloons came by quickly, but yet it seemed forever to get to the next water station.
By mile 20 I could tell Rachael was slowing down and started to look tired. At the 20-mile aid station J kept going as usual and Rachael was slowly getting through the water. We started running again and she said, "This is the farthest I've ever run!" This told me her mental game was waning. J was ahead of us and pulling away. I asked if she wanted to walk. Yes. We walked. I had to go potty for the past 20 miles and we were about 20 min ahead of my plan, on pace for a 4 hr finish, so we ran past a couple portapotties and they were both "green" so I said, "pee and don't wipe - go fast!" We were in and out in about 30 seconds!
I knew we wouldn't catch up to J at this point so we were on our own. That's ok. I was excited to have stayed with J for 20 miles. I was confident we could finish the last 6. I had my cards - notes to think about for each of the last 6 miles. I figured this would give us a distraction and something to think about and talk about. The first one - mile 20 - was reflect on the reasons you started training for a marathon. We talked about that. Each mile we eagerly waited for the next card. We didn't always talk, sometimes we walked, we always kept moving forward!
Mile 22 Lemon Drop Hill. Yep, that was a big one. Bigger than I imagined it. We can do it. There's a top and we're going to reach it! Here we go! OK, my thighs are massive. It should all be downhill from here. We made up THE hill. I imagine J was at least 5-10 minutes ahead of us. We walked a bit and then ran the last few miles. Rachael finally said "It's 415!!" I was confused and she kept repeating it. I finally realized that the 4:15 flag and pacer passed us! ACK! My goal was leaving us! We took off FAST! About mile 23 I looked at Rachael after the card she was not talking and I said, "It's just a quick cemetery loop, to the golf course and home again. Give it all you've got, we won't stop, this is it, this is the end, we can do this!"
I was soooo excited I was almost in tears the last mile. I was also very hungry for the finish line. It seemed like we just kept running and running and turning and no finish line. I knew it was right there. We finally saw it. A few feet before the finish I grabbed Rachael's hand, raised it and said, "Left foot, ready? STOMP!" We finished together: 4:12:22; 9:37 min/mile average pace AWESOME. Completely, 100% awesome! I grabbed her, gave her a big hug - we almost fell over! - and said, "You can stop running now." lol What a proud mama I am!
Total weekly mileage: 32 miles
Total monthly mileage: 79 miles
Total training mileage: 398 miles
Cool factor: off the chart!!