On Sunday, I ran the Twin Cities Marathon. This was my seventh marathon, and third Twin Cities. Philip is from the cities, and my in-laws still live there, so it’s a great race for us — free babysitting, free place to stay, and did I mention free babysitting??
The Twin Cities people know how to put on a race — they have a huge expo, a ton of family events and everything is very, very well organized. It makes the whole weekend just a good time.
On Saturday, we decided to take the kids to the Family Events — which include a Toddler Trot and a Diaper Dash. At first I thought the $11/kid entry fee was steep, but we got a race number, a finisher medal, T-shirts and a pair of baby pants for that. That’s a sweet haul for a kids race!
Genevieve was almost a DNS for her very first race. For the Diaper Dash, you put the babies in a circle, and they have to crawl out of it. When the starter yelled, “Go!”, she basically sat there. And ate her graham cracker. It was embarrassing, especially after I jokingly said to the lady next to me, “I hope your baby trained for this.” Poor Genevieve also got bit at the start. She rebounded quickly, though. She’s a beast, having a big brother and all. Eventually I took her cracker away, and tried to get her to come to me to get it. She crawled about one step, started crying and I decided it was a DNF for my poor girl. She ran out of fuel, I guess. It happens to the best of us, right? Gotta learn how to eat for a race, sweetie.
Jack had a blast watching the mascots run the little Toddler Trot race course, and then he and Philip ran with the 3-year-olds. It was awesome, and he was smiling the whole way, despite the fact that he was just exhausted and it was nap time. My guy. All weekend, he said, “I ran a race! Yeah! I did it!” Now we’re talking, buddy.
Sunday was race day, and I wasn’t too nervous. I am in pretty piss-poor shape, and my goal was to have fun. I’ve struggled with pubic ramus pain for almost two years, and it really affected my training. That and the whole having another baby thing. So I ended up doing about half the training I normally do, and just hoped to hang on and enjoy the ride. I peaked (I need air quotes for that) at 38 miles a week, which I hit one time. I ran one 20-miler (usually do 2-3). I took seven days off after that run because my pubic ramus was so sore. I did a ton of 15-16-milers, a lot of 8-10s and a little cross-training. I didn’t taper, since really, what was the point? I didn’t have the mileage to deserve it, you know? So, basically I crammed for my race. Because THAT works.
A little history: My PR is 3:44, run in Fargo in 2009, the last marathon I ran. I’ve run Twin Cities two other times, both times finishing in about 4:40 — blowing up and dying the whole way. So, I knew no matter what, I could get a course PR.
Poor Philip was up all night with major GI issues, and looked like hell Sunday morning. He rallied, took some Immodium and stood at the starting line, hopeful. I had my traditional race-day breakfast of a bagel and Pepto Bismol. And I pinned on my number, for the First Wave.
I met some friends at the start — Patrick, Erica, Dana, Owen and some others. It’s a huge race, but always fun to see familiar faces. Erica and I had planned to run together for as long as it felt good. We ran together in Brookings (where I was a bandit) earlier this year, and run well together on weekends. Racing with someone is a little different than doing a training run with them, but we already knew we were a good match.
I made poor Erica get out of the potty line and get into our corral, which meant we both stood there having to pee. Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for those around me), I can pee anywhere. Literally. So, I just peed my pants at the start. It’s a little horrifying, and it was more obvious than usual (think splashing, racehorse pee), but oh well. Is it still public urination if it’s all in my pants? Erica just laughed, proving that she also has birthed two children and has no bladder control and that she is an excellent friend.
So, we’re off! The course is a challenge — rolling hills, then uphill from 21-23.5, and then a little sneaky hill at mile 25. My goal was to run aggressively enough to not think afterward that I am lazy, and conservatively enough to not completely die on the hills. I run hills all the time, but you know, they suck after mile 20. And I’ve been beaten badly by the hills at TCM before. I was not interested in having that happen again. Aside: I peed my pants at least four more times. Who wants to race with me?? Anyone??
I walked through every single water station, as always. Splits are:
8.54 Started pretty easy, and spent the first mile chatting with Owen and Erica.
8.16 Caught up to the 3:40 pacer around here somewhere
8.24 Mile 13, ran into my friend Josh here, who was cheering from the side.
9.00 Erica said, “Man, we can DO this,” and that’s when I thought, dear god, don’t blow her race, so I fell back and told her to go. I felt fine, but I was starting to panic — I did horrible training. It’s one thing to know you can finish (I knew I could) to know you can run sub-4:00 (I knew I could) and to still feel comfortable. It’s another thing to be following the 3:40 guy and think, sure I’ll have a 4-minute PR on a harder course, poorly trained. I knew I would start to lose it mentally, and I didn’t want to inflict that on Erica, who was there to PR, and was capable of making that happen.
So I said, “Go!” and she looked back once and I said, “Go, do it.” And she was off. And then I relaxed and was like, OK, this is my run, and I’m going to have a blast.
9.44 Mile 18 — I started run/walking around 16 — just walked maybe a little extra at each mile marker, in addition to the water stops. I still thought I was making OK time, considering.
10.21 Mile 21 — and the hills on Summit begin. I knew it would suck, and it did.
11.24 Fuck you, Summit. I walked a ton. But I never had that, “I never want to do this again” feeling. I just was walking, eating a gel or shot block, and then would start running again when I felt like it. I felt fine, physically and mentally. It was by far my best experience on Summit — even if my splits look like AM radio stations, as my friend Christine would say.
10.30 Saw my friend Christine here, and she was meeting me at the finish. I told her to bring running shorts, since mine were soaked with pee. She is a good friend, and was at the finish with clean shorts.
9.24 Mile 24, and I ran most of the way out from here. Tried to just walk at the water stops. Though I walked a little extra at them.
9.38 There is a hill at mile 25. I was laughing like WHY. Somewhere in here was a woman holding a sign that said, “You = honeybadger. Marathon = snake.” I was laughing so hard. “I’m gonna run this nasty ass marathon! Runners don’t give a shit!” I love the signs people hold up, including the one that said, “Worst parade ever!”
9.54 Come on, lady, you can get there. Just go. I thought I was running faster than this. Lame!
Time: 3:58:22 — watch time, which is about a 9:05 pace, my third best marathon and a huge course PR. I can’t complain. I finished smiling, happy and feeling positive. I had a lot of fun. It wasn’t a great race, pace-wise, strategy-wise or anything wise, but it was a blast.
(Aside: They had my number wrong in the wrong corral, so they fixed it at the expo, but now I am not listed anywhere in the results. So the time above is my watch time. I started it at the mat, not the gun. I hope TCM fixes this, because otherwise, I am nowhere to be found. WTF?)
I hugged the volunteer at the finish when she gave me my medal.
Erica finished in 3:51, shattering her old PR by like 15 minutes. I was so happy for her. Patrick ran a 3:39, a huge PR and, as he said, “I qualified for Boston, IF I WERE A GIRL.” Philip droped at 13, with GI issues. He was in kick ass shape, and I feel awful for him.
I pretty much ran this race completely wrong. I don’t know if I could have held the 3:40 pace — probably for a few more miles for sure. But I really worried about how much I would pay for that at the end, you know? I’ve run an 80-minute final 10K in TCM, and I did not want to do that again. I was OK with a semi-death march, but not a total one. My body held up GREAT. I never stopped because I felt bad, mostly I was just trying to be conservative enough to finish sub-4:00, but aggressive enough to not be a loser. I must have been fine, because I am not even sore anywhere.
I had zero pubic ramus pain before, during or after. It totally must be something with the hormones from breastfeeding. I feel so good, and Philip wants redemption so badly, we think we will head to Phoenix in January.