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Monday, October 3, 2011

The Semi-Annual, Excessively Long Post Marathon Post

Twin Cities Marathon-- The Sequel

Yesterday I completed the Twin Cities Marathon for the second time.  When I entered for the 2010 event, it was with every intention of getting it done, checking it off the bucket list, and going back to shorter distances.  Yesterday marked my third marathon in a year's time, so I guess we have essentially chucked that plan out the window.  More on that later.

Anyhoo, let's talk about yesterday.  I once again completely hosed the lining up process.  In last year's post race report, I stressed that I had not gotten out to the starting corral early enough to line up where I wanted, which was kind of a bad, bad thing.  It was a mistake that I fully intended to NOT make again.  Well, I didn't, which is good.  But as a result, I did not have time for the all important pre-race emptying of the bladder, which is bad.  I had to pee pretty much from the get-go.  I did start with the four hour pace group as planned, though.  This marks my first experience of starting with a pace group that I actually intended to stick with for the duration of the race.  

I have to say, based on yesterday's experience, I'm not a fan of pace groups.  Here's why:
  1. 4:00 pacer man started us off like a bullet.  According to my Garmin, mile 1 and 2 splits were 8:37 and 8:33 respectively.  Four hour pace is 9:09.  Running is definitely an individual sport, and while we have a lot of common threads, no two runners are alike.  For this runner, that was simply not an ideal starting pace.  I'm all about getting a little time in the bank at some point, but not at miles one and two.  
  2. The pace group concept creates quite the cluster of runners, and for me, it was simply way too crowded.  When we hit the area around the lakes (miles 3-8), it was downright dreadful.   The roadway gets pretty narrow there.  Not pretty.  I think I thought I would be able to just go into cruise control and follow.  That's way easier said than done with SO MANY people around you.  
  3. I hesitate to write this one, because it's going to sound super snotty.  But, here goes.  You get a lot of folks in the area who don't have much business running with the group they've put themselves in (this admittedly would've been yours truly had I gotten lined up with the four hour pace group like I wanted to last year).  There are a lot of people around that simply cannot keep up, yet they won't give up, and they create congestion among congestion.  I'm not proud of writing this, but I'm also not going to delete it, so there ya go.  
I'm not sure exactly when it was (somewhere between miles 8 and 11, I believe), but I came across a biffy with no line, so I decided to fall out of the group and finally relieve my bladder.  I kind of regretted the decision when I got in there and the seat was half covered in crap, but I had to go.  Thank God I have about average hovering skills.  Upon finishing what was one of the most glorious pees of my life (I had to go SO badly), I took off.  I could still see the balloons, but I definitely had a little work to do to get caught up with them.  

This brings me to one of my prouder moments of the race.  Historically I likely would've half sprinted to get caught up with them.  I did a good job of telling myself that I could make up the ground little by little; and that's what I did.  The gentle surge method worked beautifully.  So well, in fact, that once I caught up with them, I was feeling so good that I went ahead of them.  HALLELUJAH!  It was so good to get out of that pace group, I can't even tell you.  Suddenly I had room to breathe, and I liked it!  

I was slightly concerned that the surge was going to come back to haunt me, but I decided to ride the wave; mainly because I couldn't stand the thought of rejoining the cluster around the four hour pacer.  It ultimately worked out for me.  I didn't see those balloons again, and it made for a far less stressful last two thirds of the race.  

Another perk of the surge was that upon passing those balloons, I came upon Chris.  We ran together for awhile, which was nice.  He may not agree, but I enjoyed it.  Miles 13-22 of this course are tough.  Well, hell, I suppose they're tough on any marathon course, but there are some pretty unfortunate hills.  Around 18 he told me he wasn't going to make it to the finish in four hours.  I made a meager attempt at a pep talk, but ultimately ended up leaving him behind.  Don't judge me... we have an agreement for such situations!

Miles 18-22 went pretty well for me.  I'm not saying they were super pleasant, mind you, but I was able to maintain a good pace.  I didn't exactly feel like a million bucks, but one perk of having previous marathon experience is knowing that you don't have to feel like a million bucks.  You just have to keep moving.  

From mile 22 on, I felt impending disaster.  My legs seemed to be on the verge of major cramping.  I was downing two cups of powerade and two cups of water at each water stop in an effort to keep the cramping at bay.  By the mile 25 water stop, the thought of more powerade was wretched, but I got the stuff down and managed to keep it down.  I guess the strategy worked, I definitely did not cramp the way I did at Grandma's.  Certainly not pleasant though!

And... we're to the end of the course (but don't be thinking you're at the end of my excessively long race report)!!  Mile 26 was strong.  Yeah!!!  I managed to clock a pace of 8:34.  I'm pretty sure that mile was more like 11 or 12 minutes last year, so I'm pretty stinking proud of the improvement.  My biggest issue with the end is that I finished near 'suit guy' who had run the entire race in a suit.  I'm happy for him, and he was a big hit with the crowd, but in an effort to garner more attention, he was weaving all over the place and taking up way too much of my personal space.  I was fully ready to punch him if he so much as brushed me.  Thankfully that didn't happen, because I was a little tired!

Now, for the less text intensive portion of the post:

The route:

Please note that I actually ran 26.59 miles (because 26.2 is for whimps).

The bling:

(This clearly is not a photography blog)

The pig (who I desperately did not want to get beat by... and DIDN'T!!):
You can read the full story on "Mudonna" here.  I'm not proud of having a goal of beating a pig running to raise money for Tsunami victims, but I'm also no good at lying.  I REALLY wanted to finish before the pig!

The stats:
back arrow 2011 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon - Marathon 
        ANNE HOLT        Age: 35             Residence: EDINA, MN 

Average Pace 9:01 per mile (view kilometer pace
Age Graded Percentage 58 percent (view time
Overall Place 2584 out of 8531 
Sex Place 715 out of 3676 Females 
Division Place 133 out of 570 Females in the F3539 Age Group
                                     (See complete F3539 results)

detailed results

LocationRace TimeTime of DayOverall PlaceDivision PlaceSex Place

graphic results

You placed 2584 out of 8531 runners overall
runner image
graphic results background
passed by24M to FINISHYou passed 192 runners in the overall categoryYou were passed by 5runners in the overallcategory

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