Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Grandma's Marathon:2011

Another Grandma's marathon has come and gone. This was the 35th annual running of the Grandma's marathon that saw a rebound in numbers from recent years. Despite the numbers being down and not selling out the marathon for the third year in a row now Grandma's still attracts elite competition. The winning time for this year overall winner was 2:12:15 by Christopher Kipyego, who narrowly edged second place finisher Teklu Deneke. Check out the finish line video to see how close it was.

I would be finishing just over an hour after these two sprinted for the finish line. Still recovering from a brutal Kettle Moraine 100 race two weeks ago I went into the race feeling fairly recovered, however, with only doing 4 workouts in between the two races there was not much to judge from. I was planning on running with a friend of mine for at least the first half of the race or at least until I felt good enough to take off or bad enough to fall behind, this year it would be the latter. The weather the morning of the race was cold and raining, the forecast said that it would let up a little but temps would remain in the high 40's or low 50's. As Ben (his blog) and I waited to be bused out to the starting line we got wet and cold. When we arrived however, the rain seemed to let up and the temps were right around 50 with a slight tail wind. In my mind this is just about perfect weather for a marathon.

During the warm up I could really feel my left foot and it was sore, probably from hobbling on it for the last 23 miles at Kettle. It didn't feel too bad but definitely noticeable and not a good sign during your warm ups. Other than that I felt ok and the shins, which had been killing the past two races, felt pretty good. All of the runners piled into the starting gate and got set. The race director blew the horn and we were off. Right from the start my left foot felt sore almost like a stress fracture, but I told myself you've never had a stress fracture so you don't really know what that feels like. I had no argument for that so decided to see how it felt after a few miles. My legs felt good and Ben and I were cruising along at about 6min 40 sec miles. Ben wanted to break 3 hours, a pace of 6:52, so we were doing pretty good. I didn't really feel bad but I didn't really feel like I should be going any faster, the pace seemed just slightly uncomfortable, which is good.

The first 4 miles went by before I even knew it, it was nice to run with Ben because we were at a comfortable enough pace to talk a bit back and forth. Miles 5-10 seems to go well and we were consistently hitting 6:40-6:50 mile splits and my foot seemed to be feeling better. Ben predicted that we would cross the halfway point at 1:28:15, we crossed at 1:28:07, not a bad guess. This was great for Ben's goal of a sub 3hour marathon, he has nearly 2 minute "in the bank" meaning he was 2 minute ahead of his pace.

After we crossed the halfway point I could start to feel my shins starting to act up and my legs started to get heavy. At mile 14 I had to stop and get a rock out of my shoe, Ben ran on but I kept him in sight, about 200 yards in front of me, for about another mile. At this point I really started to deteriorate quickly. There was no way that I was going to keep up a sub 7 minute pace for much longer and I didn't. Miles 17-24 were pretty tough (as you can see from me Garmin readout below) I started to run 7-8 minute or higher. I did have to stop and walk a few times, which is something I really really do not like to do in a marathon, but I was struggling my shins really tightened up and walking seemed to loosen them up a bit.

The last few miles of the course run though the heart of Duluth's downtown and there is a ton of great crowd support. I think this picked my spirits up a bit because I was able to pick up the pace for the last two miles. I crossed the line with a time of 3:15:11 not a bad time but a bit off of my normal pace. Normally I would head for the cool waters of Lake Superior to cool down my legs by wading out into the cool water, but on a 50 degree rainy day I opted for a hot shower instead. My legs felt sore and tired but I still enjoyed the race and had a great time.

The two other friends that I knew running both set PR's Ben crossed the line with a 2:56:03 and Edward another friend of mine that does a lot of trail ultras (his blog) set a PR with a time of 3:43:37. A big congrats to both of them, I guess I'm just getting slow in my old age.

Finish Line Video


Sorry I didn't really get any good pictures from the race, but here are the ones that the official race photography company took. Yeah that's right I was rocking the arm warmers.

Last Name:Hanlon
Bib #: 4704
Event: Grandma's Marathon 2011


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