30 miles · Grandma's marathon · why I run

30 (thoughts) for 30 (miles) for 30 (years)

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30. Goals for this run: 1-finish; 2-drink beer; 3-don’t kill Chad; 4-be grateful
29. Running against all the runners coming off the buses is a great way to start out slow.
28.  The cops directing traffic like to heckle runners wearing throw-away sweats and garbage bags running the wrong way from the starting line.
27. The group of runners hanging out and preparing on the train tracks is still a mystery.
26. My tiara that said “It’s my 30th” was worth it if only for the rousing rendition of the Happy Birthday song from complete strangers in the starting corral.
25. “Please don’t rain, please don’t rain, please don’t rain.” Must’ve worked, it only sprinkled a bit in the early miles.
24. It’s pretty fun to not feel the need to dodge runners in the beginning crowds in order to keep a certain pace.
23. Lesson learned: talking, laughing and quoting movie lines, song lyrics, and SNL jokes makes me run way faster than my goal 9-min-to-start pace.
22. It’s also pretty nice not to have to take splits or stare at my Garmin too much. In fact, I was more concerned with running SLOW enough, rather than fast enough. It makes looking around and enjoying the scenery much easier.
21. Damn, there are a lot of trees here.
20. We entertain ourselves by mocking the 3:50 pacer who was doing a terrible job (+/- 30 secs/mile in some cases). He was also having the group raise their arms at intervals, which made it look like everyone was going down a rollercoaster.
19. I actually got many good wishes because I wore my tiara. Yay, attention.
18. Being able to walk through the water stations is also a perk of not racing. That doesn’t still mean I’d get stuck behind some idiot who stopped dead in his/her tracks to grab the first cup of water. But I didn’t have to care!
17.  The course was actually a lot more up-and-down than we expected. Not that we studied the course map that extensively before the race. Another perk of not racing: having absolutely no clue and not caring what the course profile is.
16. Is it cheating if you snag a ride on the sweep bus if it’s actually moving slower than all the runners?
15. The views of Lake Superior are nice. You can spot the harbor with around 15 miles to go, and it’s quite mean to see the lift bridge looking very small and far away and know you have to run there. At least we’ve hit the halfway point!
14. Debated stopping and having a mimosa with the two women sitting on their deck in their bathrooms. 30 mimosas is almost like 30 miles, right? Same letter, same chance for extreme pain later?
13. Seriously, so many trees. And official highway signs for a yarn store. Where am I?
12. I felt such a push from the countless people behind me, especially my family and my RWOL friends. I could have very easily pissed people off by taking off to run a marathon during all the family-stuff that was going on after Grandma’s funeral, but because my family is awesome and supportive, they all WANTED me to go. I also know that my RWOL peeps knew how much this meant to me and the reasons why it was so important to do this. xoxo
11. Eating licorice and trying to run, talk and laugh at the same time is dangerous. Coughing up a lung is not something one wants to do during a 30-mile run.
10. The only near-death experience: I had to tell Chad to stop running a pace in front of me. Pretty good for 30 miles. Don’t kill Chad goal: check.
9. “I know I COULD drop it down and go faster, but what is the point? I don’t want to be miserable. This is a training run.”
8. That might have been near-death experience number 2 (for me, this time): telling a competitive runner to not push the pace when the end is in sight and he’s feeling good. Especially when we’re starting to pick up a lot of the carnage from those who went out too fast.
7. But it was quickly forgotten with the first beer station. And the second. I’m not sure how much beer I actually successfully drank, but everyone was really excited I was drinking it and especially that it was my birthday! Drink beer goal: check.
6. Lemondrop Hill is highly overrated. Even mores so than Heartbreak. It’s a highway overpass. If they hadn’t given it a name, I wouldn’t have even remembered it.
5. Chad was sure there would beer at the top of the hill. We had about given up hope and, in a strange turn of events, were even heckling the spectators for beer. Finally, we spotted it. I was handed a small glass and Chad was left hanging until someone just handed him a can. Where is MarathonPhoto when you need them?
4. BACON STATION!!! It’s like they knew I was coming! Cold bacon tastes surprisingly marvelous 27 miles into a 30-mile run. The thought of it now turns my stomach, but it was amazing at the time.
3. This was the most fun I’ve had in a race or a training run. I mean, there was beer and bacon involved. Oh, and a pretty kick-ass bodyguard. I am lucky to have been able to do this for Grandma and for me. Grateful goal: check.
2. Lesson learned: if you want good marathon photos, do not cry the last mile of the race.
1. Grandma, if I have even a fraction of the strength and dignity you did, I will be just fine. You will be missed and loved always.
Finish goal: check.
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