As we were heading out the door of my apartment Dan told me to bring my lightweight Gel Hyper-Speeds. Thought maybe it would be nice to get in a run up in Duluth w/ them.
It was a super fun drive up to Duluth w/ Dan as we rocked music from my iPod w/ the windows down. Man, how fun are road trips with a good buddy. We made a quick stop at Jay Cooke State Park
and it was tooo fun. It was so invigorating being up in the cool Duluth air and seeing these unbelievable views. Ended up finding a bib through one of Jeremy's clients and looked like I would be running it.
We made it to Dan's house and later met a bunch of people at a restaurant. Hung out there for a while and at about 10pm we went to Little Sleezy to get a pizza for me.
Not the biggest fan of meat but it was the only pizza they had left after they were technically closed. Felt pretty full but ate a protein bar for shits (pun intended) and went to sleep.
Woke up in the AM and was still full from the night before. Had a cup of coffee for breakfast and thought about what it was going to be like running my first marathon (aside from during Ironman) without orthotics and in addition, with a shoe that was 30% lighter than my regular shoe I put my orthotic in. Common sense would have ruled most people away from running in circumstances like this but it's always fun to test the limits.
Drove over to where Edward and Alicia were staying and we got dropped off at the start line. The weather was cool and super super super foggy. We could barely see the street lights from 20ft away because of how thick the fog was. Made it to the start line and met w/ some others before starting off.
Was starting to think about if I should just try and run w/ Dan/Edward trying to get 3:05 even though I knew I would not be able to keep pace. Impulsively, decided to start w/ them and was going to find out what would happen. In the previous three weeks, I had not been able to do much running and the legs were pretty trashed from the hundo and was real curious as to what was going to happen.
When we were in the starting shoot I ran into my co-worker from the running room Wilder and wished him luck (nice job getting 2:56!).
Edward, Dan and I started off the race hitting about 7-min miles and were keeping things relaxed. It was exciting having the train on our left side blowing it's horn. Immediately, the shoes felt amazing due to having no orthotics in and such lightweight shoes on. This was the first time in the last 3 weeks I ran over 3 miles at a 7min pace and although the legs did not feel fresh, the pace did not seem unbearable.
At around mile 10, Edward decided to slow his pace down and Dan and I were wondering if we should stick it out with Edward or go on and still try to get 3:05. We continued on at a 7min pace and just held onto that for a while, following the 3:05 pace group. Dan kept on commenting how amatuer the pace-leader was which was kind of funny. It was a blast goofing off w/ Dan as the miles slowly ticked by however it was a bit intimidating running w/ him as he's done like 50+ marathons and has a humungous running base. Not knowing how my body would respond later in the race, just kept on and was looking forward to the first gel station at around mile 17. Ate one and grabbed a couple for the road and the legs were starting to feel it. My calves were starting to get really sore from running more on my mid-foot. My furthest run in the Hyper-speeds prior to this was 3 miles and the calves were definitely getting a new type of workout. Around mile 20 or so I needed to use the bathroom but was able to thankfully hold off (perhaps because all of the excitement once getting into town). Soaked up a lot of the energy as we got closer to the finish and Dan helped me keep onto the 7min pace.
Edward finished not long after us and we all hobbled over to a pizza restaurant real quick before Dan and I headed back to his house to grub. Ate some fish and snacks and his mom had an awesome sushi set-up w/ tons of different food. We ate and drank, later making our way down to the Canal for the post-marathon festivities. There was not many people up there yet, as it was still pretty early and the temperature was not very ideal for outdoor concerts. Dan ran into a ton of people he knew and we putzed around town for a while and had some drinks. Met some of the Elites in the band tent. Met another Elite J1 and his gf at a restaurant for a bit. Hung out w/ his buddies in bars for a while then headed back to his house. It felt good to get back and sleep. Woke up with the legs not feeling the best but nothing unexpected.
It was an ongoing joke that weekend to call running "jogging" and on the way home we stopped to jog on some of the Voyageur course on the Superior Hiking Trail. Need to hang out w/ Dan more to do fun stuff like that.
Happy and grateful I was able to run this race and experience another year at Grandma's. Was surprised that the legs were able to hold onto a pace that is only 5 minutes away for a PR which either tells me one of two things: either I sandbagged a 2:59 back in October at Twin-Cities and should be able to run relatively much quicker with proper training and/or made fitness gains during the 100 that translated to a decent time at Gma's.
The last couple weeks since Grandma's, I have taken the most extended break from running that I have within the last couple years. Want to make sure the legs recover and are ready for some running in Japan. Have been active though biking/rollerblading and walk commuting once in a while to work. So excited to do some shorter/faster runs within the next few weeks. Really miss the Hyland Friday AM runs and speeding up at the end with a bunch of guys.