Monday, August 31, 2009

A View of the Finish

This weekend I went out with some fellow runners that I hooked up with on the Runner's World forums. I had my first (and only scheduled) 20 miler ahead of me. The group was meeting up at the St Paul Cathedral and carpooling over to Lake Calhoun to run the last 20 miles of the Twin Cities Marathon route. Since I am no where close to most of their speeds, me and one other runner decided to meet up at Lake Calhoun about an hour earlier and get a head start on the group.

We started out together until we made it to Lake Harriet, where I stopped off for a minute. We ended up meeting back up around Lake Nokomis and ran together until past Minnehaha Park. Unfortunately, around Nokomis we missed the turn to get back on Minnehaha Parkway and ended up adding about 1.5 miles to our run!

Around mile 15, I was still feeling pretty good and strong, so I decided to pick up the speed a little - the rest of the run I was on my own. I was able to keep up a pretty decent pace for a couple miles and then I hit the hills! Why would anyone put these hills this close to the end of a marathon? I walked up a couple steep hills with the hopes of keeping some energy for the infamous Summit hill.

Finally, I turned onto Summit and started the long gradual climb. The hill here didn't bother me, the worst part was stopping at the legs wanted to either keep going or stop - not this stop and go stuff! It was so hard to take that first step after each time I had to stop. Somewhere along here my Garmin informed me that I hit the 20 mile mark...but the Cathedral was not yet in sight. I think mentally I started to stop here - I was out for a 20 mile run, not 21.5 after all. I felt really good though at the 20 mi mark (well, considering I had just run 20 miles that is) and had maintained an average 11:15 pace, which I was very happy with.

That is about when I hit the point where Summit turns...and gets steep! I did quite a bit of walking up that hill. For some reason I got a stitch in my side (that never happens) but I pushed through until I came over the a wonderful view!! As you top the hill you pass the St Paul Cathedral, which itself is great sight, and the Capital building is right in front of you with downtown St Paul spread out to the right - it is a great view...but what makes it even better is knowing that the finish line is right in front of the Capital only a few traffic lights ahead (about a quarter mile) and it is downhill from here! I will say right now...this is probably where I will start crying on Marathon Sunday. After 21 miles mostly by myself I got a little emotional...I can just imagine doing that surrounded by lots of other runners and knowing that I was about to finish my first marathon!! ONLY FIVE WEEKS TO GO!!!


Emily said...

What's with everyone going above and beyond for their 20? Rachel went 21, I went 21, you went 21....And I know how you feel mentally. You could almost pinpoint the exact moment that my heart broke when I did the math and realized I was gonna hit 21. Probably a cry heard round the world. Nice running!

Emily said...

Ok - I see now that you did this 20 mile a few weeks ago. Still I think my comments are relevent :) But I also wanted to mention (because I'm slow) that I also am doing the Monster Dash, and did you do the City of Lakes 25K? I see you ran 25k on Sunday......I ran it too. We keep doing the same races. You might have even passed me at some point!