A couple weeks ago, I ran my first full marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. It was the 37th annual Grandma’s Marathon, and although a soggy, cold day was an absolutely amazing experience. Here are some of the highlights from the race:
-Running in 50 degree weather, in the rain, with a risk of hypothermia, and still thinking (thanks to all the training I’ve done in a Wisconsin winter), “This weather is perfect!”
-Sprinting the last 200 meters and the crowd going wild when they saw me pulling ahead and across the finish line. That’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else.
-Running past a man who had run all 37 Grandma’s marathons! When asked how many more he’d run, he said, “At least three!”. That’s inspiring dedication!
-High fiving with strangers. I needed those high fives. My most memorable one was with a solider in uniform at the last half mile stretch. His words of inspiration weren’t original, just, “You can do this,” but that felt like it lifted a weight from my shoulders.
-It’s true; marathon runners will be pee anywhere when they gotta go…mostly off in the woods on the edge of a stranger’s driveway…
-The amount of food and water the spectators were handing out was impressive and much appreciated! The girl who handed me a banana at mile 18 had probably never heard someone give so earnest a thank you over a piece of fruit.
-The spectators and volunteers at this race were absolutely amazing! If it weren’t for them, I might have given into the temptation to slow down and walk at mile 17, might not have been able to hold a ten minute pace for the whole race (wow!), and probably would have collapsed to the ground after I crossed the finish line (the med team was amazing, and I owe them a big thanks for their care!).
The greatest satisfaction was working so hard and so diligently, and then seeing my dream become reality.
What’s next? A triathlon, of course!
Runners, please share you experiences training and/or finishing a big race!
p.s. Doesn’t matter how slow or fast you are for a marathon, or any race; as long as you run, you’ve already beaten everyone who never even started!