Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Twin Cities Marathon 2011

This marathon seems to come and go every year so quickly. Running this race with Brando was my third year doing TC in a row. For the third year now, I would not be actually racing TC but doing it more as a joy run and that it was. That said, I did not do any specific training for this run, however you could say my "long run" prior to this was 55 miles (superior trail race).
Brando and I had been anticipating this race for a while and were super excited when TC Marathon weekend finally rolled around. We almost went to the expo on Friday because we were excited to see all the other runners and check out all the expo stations. With me getting my car late on Friday, we decided to just go to the expo on Saturday(miracle). We got to the expo a tid bit later than we expected and were just walking around talking to the representatives from all of the other races. We ended up seeing a picture of Dean Karnazes at an iron supplement station and we both exchanged words of excitement. To our astonishment, the lady working behind the station told us he was going to be here at 2:30pm and at the time it was 2:00pm. We both thought she was playing a cruel joke on us but she assured us that he was actually coming. Brando and I couldn't believe that the guy who we had just read 3 of his books of would be here soon. He had not put anything on his website recently, and by extreme coincidence, we ended up finding out he would be here in a matter of a half hour. After chatting like little school girls and picking up our packets, we went and stood in line to meet him. Karno came around 2:30 and we got to both meet and greet with him. You can easily say that Karno is Brando and I's idol and if we could both pick anyone to meet, it would be him. Karno signed my TC Running CO shirt and also the race bib. We were so pumped up from meeting him we couldn't really contain ourselves. It was so cool after reading all of his books and hearing all the insane things he had done, to actually meet this guy in person.
I had been riding on cloud 9 that day feeling so exciting from meeting Karno, and the race being tomorrow with, 2 other CA's coworkers running it, and also a bunch of supporters from the dorm. That saturday, some students from South Africa were visiting and playing soccer outside of the dorm in the street right outside of Middlebrooke, so I decided to join in. Accidently, I kicked the ball over a high fence and had to jump over and get it. When I did, I felt a pretty bad pull in my lower abdomen which had been bothering me about a week earlier. I had to jump back over the fence and felt my lower stomach hurt even worse. This was a scary pain and initially I thought it was just sore abdominal muscles from practicing for the backflip I intended to do at the finish with the gymnastics team. Anyhow, this pain progressed which led me to believe I had a hernia and spent a good portion of that night worrying about if I would need surgery and how long that would take me away from training. I ended up getting that checked out and was just a pulled muscle so am happy about that.
Woke up in the AM pretty early at Brando's house and had a PB bagel and a Banana. Got dropped of at race by Brando's friend Obel.
The race weather in the morning was a little chill but just right for running. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and you could tell it was going to warm up later. Most runners didn't even start with the warm overlayer they planned on wearing for the start. There was a lot of dejavu feelings going on running through downtown again with such a large group like I had done the previous 2 years. Somehow, the weather has been awesome the last 3 years for the race. Accidentally I missed taking a picture at the first mile marker, as I did last year, but because of missing the first one, I decided the rest wouldn't matter so ended up leaving my camera in my fanny pack until I handed it off at mile 19 with my phone and about 5 gels in it.
It was pretty congested at the beginning of the race and we found ourselves running at about a 10min pace(1 minute/mile slower than Brando had intended on running it. This set us back a bit but we ended up picking up the pace through the first half and was just 2 minutes overpace at the 13.1 mark. Seen my pops at Lake Calhoun, as he had been there the last 2 years. Snapped a quick photo with him and caught back up to Brando. I ended up having to do that a few times with spontaneously seeing people and stopping briefly to say Hi. It was pretty cool all the random people I ended up seeing spectate the run. I say this so much, but I really would love to just spectate a large marathon like that. Would be super inspiring to watch all of those runners working to finish. Also would be fun to watch the Kenyans blow by in the front! Oh ya, I wore the Japan costume again this year but my nametag that I taped on with hockey tape ended up ripping off when I took my longsleeve off so many people kept on cheering to Gopher Swimming, although I can hardly swim. :)
Thankfully I was running at Brando's pace because even at the halfway point I was pretty stiff in the knees. I don't think the legs had enough time to fully recover from the superior race and def don't think that they would have been able to handle doing a marathon at race speed. The miles went by pretty quick and before we knew it we were on Minnehaha heading to West River Road. This had been Brando's and my home turf of running through his past year and my past 4 years. It was pretty cool running this race on our home territory and knowing the location so well. Prior to crossing Franklin, I seen my mom and brother off on one of the sides of W R road. One of them was wearing the other rice patty hat at home, which I got a good chuckle out of. We crossed Franklin Ave bridge and seen a large yellow sign that fellow CA's and resident had made for us. It was sporting all the names of people we knew running the race and had everyone hanging onto it. Kyle O. handed us cold washcloths graciously provided by Caitlyn and after wiping ourselves and giving them back to Kyle we were on our way to Easy River Road. Before long I ended up spotting Karno from the back running not to far away from us. This was super surprising because he had told us he planned on running around a 3:15-3:30 marathon and we were well off that pace. I ended up running with him for a minute or so and dropped back to where Brando was in his zone, battling the later miles of a marathon. We got to around mile 21ish before we turned onto Summit for our last stretch to the capital. Prior to this, there had been tons of fan support along the way, shouting things such as GO Japan!(china, and korea occasionally) but Summit was just Stacked with people on either side. This really helped us keep pace on a relatively rough section of the course. Summit just seems to gradually incline and seep all the energy left from your legs that are already dead. The nice thing about Summit however, was that there was people passing out various alchoholic beverages along the way for runners who chose to indulge. Of course, I could not allow myself to pass up this opportunity so without any resistance, I would stop at everyone presented, and down 2 of the cups of selected beverage, more to please the other partygoers than anything else. The signature I developed by midway up Summit was getting down on both my knees and pouring 2 of the cups simultaneously into my mouth, followed by smashing both the cups together as I got up and caught back up to Brando. The fans seem to always enjoy this so naturally I kept on doing it. It was probably only 4/5 adult beverage stops I made, but by mile 24ish I was feeling a little buzz, more from not having much inside me at the time than anything else. Seen Brian and Paul again by the TC Running CO van and had a Dejavu of rolling into the last station at the superior race, however, this atmosphere was about 100% different than what it was like up there 3 weeks ago. With trying to encourage Brando to keep rolling, we steadily made our way up Summit, reeling in those who had not saved enough energy for this tough part of the race. We finally made it to the home stretch road with the capital in sight we both were able to pick up the pace quite a bit.
Went to a pizza place downtown St Paul with Brando and his family that had been there to support them. After getting some food in, I just wanted to walk around outside in the nice hot sun while the others continued to eat and chitchat.

Overall, it was a great race weekend, with friends completing their first marathons,
getting to talk to our idol, accompanied by so many supportive spectators. Can't wait to possibly race this next year if I am in MN!