My road to the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon started on February 13 when I registered for the lottery. Actually, it really started when this blog started.
It became official on February 27 when I was accepted.
And it all ended yesterday.
It was a long morning before the start of the race. Always set a second alarm! I thought I had properly set my phone, but apparently it was set for the wrong hour, because I woke up to the backup alarm going off. Breakfast was perfect to hold me over it was great to have a disposable cup to bring on the bus.
I had 1 bagel: one side was peanut butter and the other side was butter and garlic salt both were folded in half so they were easily transported. In the cup was coffee to warm me up.
It turns out being warm wasn’t necessary, when I stepped outside at 4:40 I was a little concerned with how humid it was outside. I drove to the Mall where there a ton of buses waiting and quickly got on and they transported us to the start.
There was a calming view to enjoy. I sat and stretched while waiting for the start. The website had said that there were no bathrooms at the start, so when I saw people heading into the woods, I figured I’d wait as long as possible before heading in. Thankfully I’ve been camping enough that it wasn’t a problem. I finally decided it was time to check out the start and found that despite arriving on one of the first buses, I was running late.
I don’t have a time stamp on the photo, however I did notice that it was 6:16. There was very little information about the start of the race. It turns out that there were numerous portapotties, and I hadn’t needed to take that quick trip into the woods. Oh well!
I finally lined up with the other runners and started to feel nervous.
Once the race started I made sure to take it nice and slow. I hadn’t ran since Sunday, and my legs needed a while to warm up and find my stride. My stomach and finally started to digest my breakfast and I was nervous about finding the next portapottie. I ended up skipping the first one because I didn’t want to lose my stride. It was a big mistake. I stopped at the second one and I think the break lasted about 5 minutes. I took my first Gu around mile 4, and enjoyed the Vanilla flavor.
The first half of the race was along Scenic Highway 61 and it was quiet and beautiful. Some people were sitting in their driveways cheering for us, but for the most part it was just runners and the road. When we finally started coming into Duluth I was very happy, I was finding my stride, speeding up, and was on the familiar part of the course!
I cruised through the Lakeside portion of the race and was marveling at the locations that I used as marked for how much more of the race I had as part of my training plan and how great I was feeling. I did take a second Gu around Mile 7.
When I finally saw the “Holiday Hill” I knew I was doing well.
“Only 4.1 Miles To Go. Great Job Runners!”
I cruised up the hill and was feeling good! I knew it was basically all down hill from there. However I started feel tired, and the small aches and pains that I had been feeling were intensifying. Outside of Valentini’s Restaurant some was passing out grapes, and they tasted great! At Superone there were oranges which I was very happy to take in during a walk up the block so we could get onto Superior.
The race then turned into a portion of what I had run during the Fitgers 5k. The cobblestones on Superior do hurt your feet, but thankfully my last few runs included that portion of the race so it was something I expected. In the last mile I was slowing down to a walk, had a good burst of running, a walk, another more intense burst, and then as I got into the tunnel I slowed to a run. My legs and feet were really starting to hurt. And there was a dad running in front of me holding the hands of his small boys. Had I been gunning for the finish I would have been nervous to hit them, but I slowed and followed them in.
In the end I finished! And my time was 2:33:47, which I am very happy about!
The crowd at the end was very overwhelming, and it was hard to find a portapottie that I could get in without a 30 minute wait. I walked through the food and beverage area but didn’t see anything worth waiting in line for. Instead I went up to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch which had no wait since everyone was down in Canal Park. After a shower and a nap I drove to my parents house for my brother’s 21st birthday party. (Not a typical birthday party as no alcohol was consumed).
Today I am very sore, but I did manage to do the usual wheelchair walk with my brother and Mom. Now its time to pack up as I’m traveling down to the cities tomorrow for more work meetings. Its hard to believe the weekend has already come and gone.
Did you run Grandma’s and have a story to share? Was the Canal Park area fun on Saturday and did I miss out?