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Grandma’s Marathon 2021

3:07:17, good for 62nd female. Interestingly enough, that’s the exact time I ran for my very first marathon, also at Grandma’s, right after I graduated college. To the second!

I know I have more in me. For the first time in a marathon, I just was not mentally in it. I wanted to do the training – and loved every bit of that – but when it came to race week, I just was not excited to race the marathon distance. I wish Dr. Asp was still alive; I’m sure he would be able to help me unpack my mental funk. I have never entered a race and not wanted to give it my absolute all! 

Jack got sick the weekend before the marathon. He seemed to be getting better Mon-Tue, but was sent home on Wednesday with a fever. His lungs react to illness like Anna’s: he gets really tight and wheezy. I started to feel off on Thursday, needing to use the bathroom often and trying to calm a pretty upset stomach. My legs felt pretty awful on my runs that week, but it was also 90+ degrees and humid (and had been for the last 2 weeks).

On Friday before the race he wasn’t much better – no fever anymore but respiratory symptoms were worse. Nate brought him in so I could frantically tie up things at work. I get a text that his O2 sats were at 90%. “If they don’t come up after a neb treatment, they are recommending he be hospitalized”, Nate wrote from the clinic. I wrote back that it was 100% fine for me not to race. I wasn’t going to be away from him while he was in the hospital just for the marathon.

Luckily they climbed to 95%, and also luckily, Nate’s mom is an amazing nurse and didn’t mind taking him while we were gone and doing a neb treatment every 4 hours. Wow. So, we handed the kiddos off to grandma and grandpa and trekked north to Duluth.

The race itself was fairly uneventful. Like my taper week workout, I had a hard time finding marathon pace. It seemed like just over 7’s was where I wanted to land, unless I watched my pace and tried to push it down to 6:50. Compare that to a 12 mile MP workout 3 weeks before Grandma’s where 6:50s came super easy to me (I remember thinking that my feet were just zooming effortlessly over the trail – SO FUN!) – that workout and the taper workout/Grandma’s race felt like two different paces!

I was able to log a few miles with Aiden, a former TNC client! He trained with me throughout his collegiate years. Small world!

Above: me running with Maria Hauger. I started working with her at Discover Strength and we both wanted to try for a sub-3 effort. She had a lot more upside to her sub-3 goal (multiple time MN state XC and track champion, D1 at UVA), so we didn’t try to pace with each other for fear my slower start pacing would hold her back. I caught her around the 20ish mile mark and tried to bring her along with me. She finished just a couple minutes behind me. 

Fueling along the course was spot on. I had oatmeal for breakfast, a banana on the bus ride to the start and finished my chocolate UCAN shake just as I exited the bus (about 45 mins before the start of the marathon). I took just two UCAN gels throughout the race and was perfectly fueled. It is amazing to me to think back to the days where I took in 6 or more gels during a marathon and still ended up feeling dizzy/lightheaded or felt myself run low on fuel. The Edge packets are new. So much better tasting than the UCAN paste I made by myself and put in little baggies! Ha. If you’ve been fueling with UCAN during your runs and haven’t tried these yet, I recommend them 100%. 

The one thing that sticks out for me for this marathon is my mental game – or lack thereof. I am really fired up to train as SMART and HARD as I can, and to race shorter distances and set new post-baby PRs. But the marathon? It doesn’t sound appealing to me at the moment. So odd. Why is that? I don’t think I’m harboring any expectations of my previous self, nor burned out from training or racing. If anyone has any thoughts, please send them my way.

I rallied after about mile 22. Then I knew I just had 4 miles left, and my brain somehow could handle “racing” for that distance. The last 4 miles were back to sub-3 hour pace. My form looks more powerful here too.
The finish line is sooo close!

In the meantime, I’m a big proponent of letting that fire come back naturally, so I won’t force it to come back. Rather, I’ll continue to scheme on how to perfect my next marathon build and enjoy the craziness and exhaustion of marathon training. I’m looking forward to testing a 5k; I would love to break 19! I have a 1/2 marathon coming up in early August that should be fun too. The 1/2 marathon post-baby PR is my weakest, I think, so that will be fun to take down.

And then, Boston Marathon in October. I’ll get my marathon racing mojo back by then :).

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