Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Marathon # 7: 2011 Twin Cities Marathon

Alright people, I just added another notch to my marathon belt after completing my seventh this past Sunday morning running from downtown Minneapolis to our state's capitol building in St. Paul: The 2011 Twin Cities Marathon. And man, what an up and down race it was!

The pros to this year's 26.2-mile adventure:

  • Running as a local elite athlete and receiving those perks.
  • Starting temperature was a perfect 46 degrees. No need for a hat or gloves.
  • Physically and mentally felt very relaxed, ready for a great run.
  • My parents drove from home to cheer me on despite dad feeling miserable.
  • My girlfriend joining them to help navigate the roads and cheer me on.
  • Seeing and hearing cheers from so many familiar and unfamiliar faces along the way.
  • Feeling GREAT running the first half, averaging 6:35/mi.
  • Taking in the beautiful scenery that is fall in the Twin Cities.
  • Being inspired by so many runners to push on no matter how difficult it was.
  • Glad I was able to pick up the pace a few times after hitting a couple walls.
  • Finishing the race by sprinting by several people the last 400 meters down Cathedral Hill like there was no tomorrow to try to break 3:10 for another Boston qualifier.
  • Knowing several of my friends finished their first or second marathon.
The cons to this year's 26.2-mile adventure:

  • Running as a local elite and, I'm pretty sure, being the last of those around my age to finish.
  • Ending temperature feeling a bit on the warm side at 65 degrees. Not as bad as 87 like I experienced at Grandma's Marathon in 2007 though.
  • Physically breaking down at mile 16 and then again at mile 22.
  • Going from averaging 6:35/mi first half to 7:55/mi second half - DAMN!
  • Mentally battling what felt like annoyance from people and music cheering me on when I felt horrible. (Turns out, as I already knew, it eventually helps.)
  • Not recognizing some faces on the sidelines cheering me on who said they were there.
  • Totally forgetting there are small ups and downs along Minnehaha Pkwy that can drain your legs quickly if you're moving too fast.
  • Letting too much time slip while I ran-jogged-walked along Summit Ave trying to figure out if I was going to break 3:10 for another Boston Qualifier.
  • ** Turns out I did qualify for Boston with the +59-sec rule, but the 2012 race is sold out and the rule does not apply in 2013, unfortunately. I can now say I've run five Boston-qualifying marathon times. **
For you major running nerds out there, I was sure to clock all of my mile splits along the way so we can see which I ran stronger as opposed to those that were abysmal: 

6:24, 6:36, 6:36 (20:02 5k) 6:31, 6:37, 6:34 (40:39 10k) 6:23, 6:33, 6:31, 6:34, 6:32, 6:52, 6:50 (1:26:19 Half) 7:15, 6:38, 7:19, 7:38, 8:12, (2:08:27 30k) 8:48, 7:58 (2:19:10 20mi) 7:33, 8:10, 8:11, 8:45 (2:52:11 24mi) 9:05, 8:52 (1.2mi) = 3:10:10 (26.2mi)

And here are my overall results:
3:10:10 -- 382/8535 Overall (Top 4%)
104/911 Age (Top 11%)
329/4857 Males (Top 7%)

Overall, I'm happy with the finish considering how my training went this summer after getting back from my year in Alaska in May. Next up, I'm going to focus on getting in some half marathons, 10k's and 5k's over the next several months to focus on improving my uptempo stamina/lactate-threshold while strengthening my muscles by doing hill repeats and hopefully a semi-religious core/plyometric routine a couple days a week. My next marathon could quite possibly be the 2012 San Francisco Marathon in July, Chicago Marathon in October, or NYC Marathon in November. We'll see how it all plays out.

I'd like to congratulate everyone who participated in this past weekend's Twin Cities Marathon Weekend Activities (TC10k, TC5k, Family Mile, Half Mile, Toddler Trot, and Diaper Dash). This includes you Mark Waller, Bri Rohne, Paul Sanft, Adam Hanson, Eileen O'Toole, Joe & Nikki Dockendorff, and my random #runnerd Tweet peeps who I just recently became acquainted with. 

I'd also like to thank my family, friends, and everyone who has helped support my running endeavors as well as Twin Cities In Motion for being such a great organization to be a part of. With each of you constantly asking, "When's your next race?" there really is no end in sight. The perfect example of this was when I passed Joe & Nikki cheering for me on Summit Ave and said, "Oh man! I'm pretty sure this is my last one." To which they replied, "HAHAHAHA!" - hinting at the fact that they know it's only a matter of time before I end up running my next marathon. See? Some people can really see through your colors when you're at your worst. :)

I'm already looking forward to being behind the scenes of next year's TCM production back on the Media Committee and volunteering at their other various events throughout the year. In the meantime, let's all stay healthy and race fast!