Race Recap: Grandma’s Marathon Part 3

Picking up where we left off….Read Part 1 and Part 2.

As I came into Duluth I was a little disappointed that the sidewalks were pretty empty. I finally saw all the “drunk UMD Students” that people talk about when they talk about crowd support. The first group of students I came across were cheering and encouraging. The second group was drunk girls who were more heckling than they were helping, and they were more in need of some water and a nap than I was….but I kept moving through and was surprised when I saw the troll dolls, I thought they were closer to the end, but I took a picture so I could explain the phenomena to my friends afterwards, because some people remember seeing them, and some people don’t.

Troll Dolls on Grandma's Marathon Course

Before the race I was afraid that the stretch leading up to and after the Glensheen Mansion was going to be slow moving and drawn out as the neighborhood doesn’t have many driveways and there are less groups watching the race. But before I knew it, Lemon Drop hill came into view and now I can’t remember if I walked or jogged up it (I assume a little of both). I did take this picture though!  Lemon Drop Hill 2013I hope these pictures help you understand how cold, foggy and damp the race was. Once I got over the hill I text my friend Alex so she would know I was close. I kept moving forward and finally saw her, my mom and my brother (who was in his wheelchair). They joined me on the course and it was such a relief to be with them. I was able to run farther and a little faster and was feeling so relieved.

As we continued down the course people were cheering extra for us. I was very happy that no race officials asked them to get off the course. This is one of the benefits of being slow….you can get away with having an entourage on the course!

As we got onto Superior street I started needing to run a block, walk a block. The speed I had the last few miles was starting to hurt me now, and I only had 1.2 miles to go.

I love Grandma’s Marathon, but the last 1.2 miles is the worst part of the entire thing! You wind around so much, and see so many people who are done, that you just want to be done. But you’re not. During a walking break I heard Dave and Joe call out to me. They had caught up!! They told me to get moving, and that I could talk to my people later. I was slightly annoyed and very grateful at the same time. My “people” got on the side walk, and I went under the overpass of Lake Street. I found a boy somewhat close to my age walking (I was “running” at about the same pace) he said he hurt his knee at Mile 17 and was on the most boring 9 mile walk of his life. This was his 3rd marathon, so I didn’t feel too bad for him. As we crossed the 26 mile marker I took off. I had .2 Miles to go! I started speeding up, grateful that I didn’t have anyone blocking my path, I saw my friend Mara on the sidelines cheering for me, and I heard my name over the loud speaker, I gave my legs one final push and made it over the finish line! Official Time: 5:58:17. I had beat my “under 6 hour” goal!

I walked up to the shirt table (you don’t get a shirt unless you finish for the full marathon) and started taking off my speibelt, so I could take off my red sweatshirt/dress that I had picked up off the road. I handed it to a volunteer and explained that it was garbage. She looked at me like I was a little crazy…but I could care less. That sweatshirt is something that saved me, but I didn’t want to see it again! I put on my new shirt, and hobbled over to have my picture taken. I looked in the direction of the food and medical tents. But was pretty sure all the massage times were taken, and there really wasn’t any food out anymore. I knew I had snacks in the room and would be going out to lunch, so I got my gear check bag and met my friends.

After touching base with them Alex and I went to find my mom and brother. We all walked up to the hotel together, which was difficult, but I made it!

I decided to take a shower and put on warm clothes (I had debated going straight to lunch). And after a mimosa (Thank you Alex!) we headed to lunch at Pizza Luce. I had my typical Bloody Mary (favorite post-race drink) and enjoyed baked potato pizza!

Then we (I) hobbled back to the room for a little more relaxing….I’ll post a Grandma’s Marathon 2013 The Aftermath blog soon!


  1. Congrats!!!!! I agree that the last 1.2 miles is awful. Those stupid twists and turns! I saw the trolls last year but missed them this year. This might sound mean but I like that you only get a shirt if you finish. One of my personal pet peeves is going to a race and seeing people wearing the race tee during the race!

  2. Seriously so inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing and I’m so happy for you! Congratulations on your first marathon and beating your goal, whoo hoooooo!!!! So happy for you and glad your family and friends could be there.

  3. Congrats! Glad you could beat your goal in such nasty conditions! I am guilty of seriously letting the weather psych me out.

    1. Thank you! The rain was something I considered for the morning, but not mid-race, I’m still surprised I didn’t freak out and drop out. Although during one water stop I did ask if we were in danger of being shut down, the hypothermia race flags were out!

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