I give this race 5 stars. Excellent in pretty much every possible way.
Expo: The Expo was pretty typical; tons of freebies, info on MN races, raffles, vendors
and I especially love the St Paul Information booth. There was a volunteer taking photos that went above and beyond taking photos of participants. This volunteer at that booth and was using the participants cell phones to take the photos.
He suggested a bunch of poses like “Pretend to be grabbing her to stop her from crossing the finish line, to “Pretend you are breaking the tape”. Those have to be some of the funniest photos I’ve gotten from races.
I had been watching the forecast from the first day that I could see the 10 day forecast in MN. Every day the temperature went up, down, then the rain started to creep into the forecast. The morning of the race the rain shifted so it wasn't supposed
to start until the midafternoon. We walked to get the shuttle buses to the race start. It was a pretty quick ride. Very well organized with plenty of buses and a short line. As soon as we got off the bus it started to rain. Runners
were huddled under buildings with an overhead to protect them. I talked to quite a few runners while trying to stay dry and warm from MN that all gave that same advice about “the hill”.
The corrals were very easy to locate with
a UPS parked right next to each corral. Very organized and always, a very friendly welcoming smile from a volunteer.
We started downtown Minneapolis which was pretty flat. I felt like I was in the right corral since I didn’t
have to dodge a bunch of people. I stuck by the 3:35 pacer and felt good. We left Minneapolis and ran by a few lakes. There were beautiful neighborhoods and a lot to look at. I loved the crowd support. So many people were out
even though it was rainy and cool. The course seemed like it was a lot of down hills. Water stops were well stocked with volunteers and it was pretty clear which tables were power aid and which were water. I have to say, if you wanted extra
water you could actually get a 2nd cup since the line was so long.
Again, a big shout out to the crowd support! The music and the crazy signs acted as a distraction from the fact that I was actually running. I loved the beautiful
course. I felt like I was separated from my body and was focused on the scenery.
As we wove our way by the lakes we had a constant view of planes that seemed to get closer and closer to us. We must have been on the path
to the airport where the planes were landing. As we inched our way closer to the top of the elevation of this sections we could witness the airplanes getting ready to land. The planes seemed to be right in front and so close! I thought that
was pretty cool. Again, another thing to distract your bodies from realizing you were running a marathon.
I was warned many times of the hill at mile 21-22. There was no training that I can imagine that would have helped
prepare me since I LOVE hills but it’s just the timing of this hill (or should I say slight incline). If this “incline” was in the beginning of the race it would have been fine. I had tired legs and boy that incline took the wind
out of my sail. People were cheering and they kept you moving up the hill. I never walked once. I did slow down (some advice from a MN friend that had run it a few times) and I saved my last bit of energy towards for the last mile which is
downhill. That PR smile never left my face. So many people yelled “hey #1350 – NICE SMILE”. It definitely helped me power up and keep going.
This is the street that I waited for.
The street where I was told had the BEST crowd support and beautiful mansions was just amazing. Boy was this correct information. The streets were lined with people screaming with support “You’re almost there!” “You got
this”, it was incredible. That last horrible incline mile seemed to go away in a blink. I was back. I had my smile back and I was going to PR. I felt it.
I LOVED the finish. They had a huge
American flag displayed up high as it was hanging from 2 fire trucks ladders. People cheering, signs, High-fives from kids, the energy was amazing. I knew I was on target to PR. My goal was 3:35. Kim grabbed my hand and said “come on
Jeanne, you got this!” We crossed holding hand with the biggest smile on my face.
When I crossed my watch chimed 3:33:13.
Seemed to be the numbers that were on everything.
Chip time registered at 3:33:11
Seat on Plane – 31 (flight to MN)
Seat on the Plane – 35 (flight to CT)
Seems to be my lucky number.
They had a PR bell – I rang it with pride.
They had FREE massages – I walked right to the tent
and got a massage. There was not wait. There was a young boy at the entrance that asked me how I was feeling. I said “not so great, kind of nauseous” He said “we have chicken broth”. There were a couple
of large containers at the entrance of the massage tent filled with chicken soup. I’ve never had that at the finish line. It was marvelous. It seemed to be the cure of that sick feeling I had at the end of the race. The massage
was WONDERFUL. The young boy that gave me the massage seemed to know exactly where I had pain. Surprisingly pain I didn’t even know I had – he seemed to locate.
Okay – so I got carded. Pretty much
a plus for me in any situation. No beer without an ID. I knew it was formality but for me at my age? Pretty much the coolest moment of the day (other than PR’ing)
Not only did we get a free beer but the folks in this area working
were by far the coolest people ever. They not only gave us directions out of the beer garden to meet our friend but they gave us a couple of beers “to go”. Not sure if this is appropriate to post, but they were freaking AWESOME.
Delta Fight home:
So, I’m an idiot, I am going to take advantage of every opportunity and bragging rights of this marathon. I announced to the flight attendants “We heard that you get free drinks if you ran the marathon”.
When it was time for the beverages, our flight attendant said “Hey, you marathoners, what’s your choice for adult beverage”. BIG SMILE…. and I said anything red and then I thought, tomorrow I’ll be good….
experience and I am definalty coming back for this race…