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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Twin Cities Marathon

2010 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon - Marathon
ANNE HOLT Age: 34 Residence: EDINA, MN

Average Pace 10:06 per mile (view kilometer pace)
Overall Place 4934 out of 8212
Sex Place 1630 out of 3394 Females
Division Place 311 out of 644 Females in the F3034 Age Group

detailed results

LocationRace TimeTime of DayOverall PlaceDivision PlaceSex Place
graphic results

You placed 4934 out of 8212 runners overall
runner image
graphic results background
passed by20M to FINISHYou passed 100 runners in the overall categoryYou were passed by 474runners in the overallcategory

It's hard to know where to start... I know I won't be able to express how incredible this experience was.

My Village
The people in my life are far better than I deserve. At one point in the training, I had a status update on facebook that was something to the effect of 'It takes a village to train for a marathon...'. My village rocks. The Marc & Peggy Watt family provided us with childcare on countless Saturday mornings, at ungodly hours. Peggy also bailed us out big time when my beloved training partner/spouse locked the keys in the car at Minnehaha Falls early on in our training. Derrick & Liska Johnson were amazingly helpful at filling in the gaps when the long training runs overlapped with Elise's soccer games. The day before the race, they took her for the better part of the day, which simplified my day tremendously. My parents also provided an insane number of hours of childcare, frequently taking them over night on Fridays, as well as toting kids to soccer, baseball, and other activities.
And the awesome Maher-Klukow family... if everyone on earth had one set of friends as awesome as they are, the world would be a far better place. They helped with baseball logistics on many occasions, and in an act that went so far above and beyond the call of good friends, they took our kids overnight the night before the race. As if that weren't enough, they bundled everybody up and brought the kids out to see us running during the marathon. Despite having completed many events, this was the first time I've ever seen my kids while on the course. Giving them high fives at mile 13 (or somewhere in that general area) was one of the highlights of my running career.

My Run Club
Simply put, the Southdale YMCA rocks. It is not the most shiny or sparkly fitness establishment in town, but I challenge you to find a place with better people. The people at the desk, the teachers, the child care providers, and the trainers leave you with no excuse for not meeting your fitness goals; because they're going to give you what you need to get it done. As a result, a couple of years ago when I saw the sign for a running club to train for 26.2, I knew I was going to have to do it... sooner or later.
True to the Southdale Y, the run club was great in every way. The group was amazing, and leader PJ did a masterful job of taking a highly diverse (in terms of pace, experience, goals, background, etc.) group of runners and giving us all what we needed to complete this journey. I cursed in his general direction repeatedly over the 16 week training program, but the results cannot be argued with.

The Learning Curve
I have to say, there's a pretty steep learning curve involved with this marathon business. While the thought of doing another one causes me some minor angina, I kind of feel like I need to now that I know everything I learned yesterday.
The number one thing I learned was LINE UP EARLY. Even though it might be chilly out, even though you think you need to wait until the last possible minute to pee one last time (you don't!), even though you're happily hanging out in the metrodome with your favorite fellow runners, get your butt out there and claim a spot. My plan was to run with the 4:00 pace group and hang with them as long as I could. By the time we got out there, the corral was so crowded that we couldn't get any closer up than the 5:30 group. This left us with a LOT of runners to get around. Getting around that many runners takes a little extra energy, and when you're going to be out running for such a long time, there just isn't much energy to spare.
The number two thing I learned was, when you get to mile 18 and the going is starting to get a little rough, pull on your big girl panties, buck up, and get your mind where it needs to be. Convince yourself that you are doing A-OK, because you most likely really are. There is no substitute for mental toughness at this stage of the game. This being my first time running over 20 miles, I had never experienced that stage where I was cramping, exhausted, feeling blisters forming, and so very completely spent. Now that I've been there, I feel like I could do a better job dealing with it.
The number three thing I learned was that walking is really not ideal. My mind kept saying, "walk," and I frequently listened. I think, though, that it ultimately made me feel worse. Something about the motion just seemed to tighten my muscles every time I did it. Yet, my mind kept screaming, "WALK!!!". Should life put me in a place where I do this again, I need to find a way to shut off that voice. Walking through a water stop is fine. Once you're past that table, though, get your rear moving.
The number four thing I learned was, if at all possible, run with Tiffany Rittler-Foley. I say this for a couple of reasons. Number one is that, as a very popular group fitness instructor and all-around awesome individual, she has tons of adoring fans. If you run alongside her, they cheer for you, too. Number two is that when she's by your side, you know you are going to get what needs to be done DONE.

The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America
Anytime you google 'Twin Cities Marathon,' this is what you see. That seems like a pretty lofty description, but after running the course on an absolutely picture perfect fall day, I totally believe it. Should they ever want to change their description, however, I think they could easily go with 'The Most Amazing Marathon Fans in America." The crowd completely wowed me. I felt like a rock star out there. It was truly incredible. My favorite motivating quote of the day came from a spectator standing on the bridge over Lake Nokomis. He yelled out, "The best runners on earth are on this bridge right now." How awesome is that?!?!

In a Nutshell
I love running, I love runners, and I love the marathon. I love that someone like me, who was not born with a single athletically inclined bone in her body, who didn't play any sports in high school, who likely would've been voted 'least likely to ever complete a marathon' if there were such a title; can get out there and put one foot in front of the other and get it done. I didn't come to the point of running a marathon overnight. It's been an evolution that has been about a decade in the making. I really cannot believe I did it, but, the results are there. There's even video evidence that I finished! I DID do it. And I might just do it again...

Oddly enough, this quote came to my inbox today, compliments of Runner's World:

The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed.

Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ


  1. Anne,

    This is so awesome! Wow! What an amazing time. Thanks for sharing all of this. I can't even imagine doing a full marathon. Of course, I never imagined doing a half either!

    Proud of you! Did Chris run too?

  2. I have been attending marathons as a spectator since the late 90s when I lived in Chicago. They are great fun for the spectators -- very inspirational to see people like yourself -- the non-elite, the people more like me.

    I was blown away by the 82 year-old man. I think he finished around the same time as you; that's simply mind-boggling.

    Congratulations on a fantastic achievement, and thanks for sharing your experience. It's a fun read.