Saturday, June 19, 2010

Leg pains: profound. Grandma's Marathon: complete

I just got back to the place I'm staying in Duluth after running Grandma's Marathon this morning. Since my legs are pretty much useless at this point, I might as well give a few notes and observations about the famed run along Lake Superior.

  • First off, fantastic venue for the course. Maybe I'm weird, but running alongside a lake has always been something that makes me run better, and there's no lake quite like Lake Superior. There were several beautiful viewpoints along way and the lake was almost always visible. The course was also fairly flat for most of the way. Several experienced runners warned me about Lemon Drop Hill, but aside from it being after Mile 20, it wasn't anything too daunting.
  • The only other marathon I did was last year and had all of 180 participants in it. In fact, the largest race I've ever ran in prior to today had about 1,500 runners. So you can imagine the culture shock I had with seeing nearly 10,000 runners at the starting line. It literally looked like a sea of people.
  • This was the first race I've ever competed in where they had a "beer" option at the later water stations. Considering how my race was going (more on that later), barley and hops was the last thing I needed.
  • Aside from it being a popular marathon in the area, part of the reason I signed up for Grandma's was it's famous (or infamous, depending on your opinion) downtown scene following the race. Since it's 3:00 p.m. now, I obviously haven't ventured downtown yet for the evening. But from what I saw at the finish line, Grandma's didn't disappoint. A live band started playing early in the day, restaurants in the area were busing at the seams with people and the beer tent at the finish line was churning out cups at a frantic pace. Despite being worn down from the race, I'm actually pretty excited to hit up downtown later.
  • As far as how my race went, I was doing quite well for most of the race (kept pace for a 3:10 finish until around Mile 18). But around Mile 17, my left foot started to feel like it was on fire. At Mile 19, I took off my shoe and my worst fears were confirmed: I had a massive blood blister on the ball of my foot. If it had happened later in the race, I might have tried to run through it, but since I had 7 miles to go, I settled into a running/walking combo that pretty much killed my chances for a good time. Making matters worse, both my legs started to cramp up terribly around Mile 24 and I pretty much couldn't shake the pain for the rest of the race. Despite all that, I finished with a time of 3:30:34, not the time I was shooting for, but all things considered, I'm satisfied with how I did.

Now that I've typed out some of my thoughts, an ice bath and a nap awaits me.

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