GFGL FIT BLOG: The Aftermath of Grandma’s Marathon

It’s done. I did it! I completed the 2012 Grandmas Marathon, my first and definitly not last marathon! I just got back to my hometown Tuesday night after running all over the great state of Wisconsin pre and post race visiting friends and family. If I’m going to make a trip, then I’m going to make it a trip. The 10 hours of driving the Friday before was definitly ill-advised, as was only sleeping about four hours that night,  but  I still felt ready to go. If you have never been to the shore of Lake Superior and are into the out of doors make it a point in your life. A seriously beautiful town.  I finished a little slower than I had wanted to coming in around 5:40:00- I had wanted to finish in just over 5 hours. But, as it turns out, running a marathon is really hard. Up until the start the whole process was kind of a hurry up and wait situation, which can take a toll on the nerves, but once things got underway everything had a really natural feel to it. Like “I’ve done this before, no big deal”.

I didnt have any nagging injuries during or after the race aside from not being able to really walk down stairs easily.  I just ran my first 5 miles since Saturday and was suprised how how sore I still felt. I don’t think it dawned on me just how big a toll it would take on me physically (I did pass out stone cold on my face for a few hours after the race, but I also expected that to happen).

The people of Duluth were really amazing along the route which started in the country, followed the lake shore and ended downtown on the water. There were bands set up, people handing out orange slices and bananas, college kids and locals more or less tailgating and cheering. It was really a party kind of atmosphere along the whole route. There was about a half mile around mile 18 when I got kind of annoyed with people in lawn chairs, beers in hand, cheering me on. But I’m a cynic and the encouragement really was a huge help in staying motivated.  There were also some really nice people who let me stop and pet their dogs along the way. I had family and friends there cheering me on as well and who were more than willing to take pictures making me realize I never want to see another photo of myself running ever again.

While the humidity was intense in the begining, eventually greenhouse sunshine gave way to clouds and a nice cool lake breeze and most people’s weather worries seemed to vanish. The rain even held off until just after I finished. My question of what people do with all those layers you’re supposed to wear in unpredictable weather was kind of answered–just toss it and forget it. There’s a certain mile marker and heat index when the cost of a shirt really doesn’t matter. There didn’t seem to be too many people sidelined from exposure which is always a good thing. Sadly, there was crazy flooding in Duluth just a few days ago that looks pretty devastating with Grandmas itself in a few feet of water (they even lost a polar bear from the zoo for a little while) Thinking of all those nice, encouraging people and hoping they dont have too many damages.

So what’s next? It took me about 24 hours to even think about ever running again in this lifetime, but Sunday I was already wondering what race I could sign up for next. I think I just got so used to thinking about running all the time and have come this far, why not just keep going? (Kind of like the race itself? Symbolism?) I would also really like to shave some minutes off that finishing time. Early fall sounds like a great time for a ridiculously long run, especially if it’s in the northwoods. There seem to be an unlimited number of races to choose from- adventure races, relays, half-ies, trail runs… I found one in St. Paul, Minnesot
a, that includes in-line skating a half marathon then running a 5K. I did just started a vegan challenge with a friend of mine. Vegan means no animal products what-so-ever. It’s been pretty easy so far, but it has only been a day and  I tend to have a basically vegan diet when left to my own devices so I don’t expect too many problems, but it is grilling season so who knows. I would be curious what I would have to do to be able to train for a race and maintain being vegan- just crazy amounts of protein powders and apples?

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