Happy Father's Day! Grandma's Marathon 2015 Report

This photo is from the 5k
Hey Folks!

I hope those of you who are fathers are having a great day! My lovely daughters gave me a card, but of course all you ever need from your kids is to simply be around them.

Yesterday was another Grandma's Marathon, and man, did it kick my butt. Marathons always do that though...some might say that's the point. I was about a half hour slower than last year despite the fact that I had fooled myself into thinking I'd prepared better. I'll have to think about it for the next few weeks. Every marathon is different and it's pretty hard to guarantee a consistent performance (when you're not a full-time, professional athlete that is). It is sweet when things come together and you fly down the course, I've had that happen about twice in 20 attempts.

As always, you know it's Grandma's when you pull up to the DECC and you see Eric Olson's sweet bus sitting there.
Hanging out at these races with Eric is fun because he's Mr. Marathon and everyone within...well the continental United States really...knows Eric and comes over to say Hi. Incidentally, Eric is also the race director of the Gandy Dancer Marathon, you might have heard of it (the event features a relay this year).

We set up the bus, got our bibs, then headed over to the sweet spaghetti dinner:
Now, normally my high-performance athlete diet doesn't allow me to eat servings of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, but it was the night before a marathon and you could have as many as you wanted...so I had six.

We crashed early and we all woke up before our 5AM alarms. The forecast called for torrential rain, and for once the weather people were correct. The clouds were rolling in as we queued up for the bus, and by the time we had finished our first trip to the starting area port-a-pots, the first drops had begun to fall.

Fortunately there was a first aid tent where little old ladies offered us overflowing tubs of Vaseline with little wooden applicators sticking out at all angles. We huddled together watching the rain thunder down. Some of those tiny little runner people needed to affix themselves to guys like Eric and I to keep them from getting blown away by the wind. 

Eric was content to wait in the tent, but I get all excited for Grandma's and I headed out like a moron to stand in the start area and get soaked for 20 minutes before the race started. As I was waiting for the starting gun, who should tap me on the shoulder but Jim Thanig! What are the odds that he would happen to find me in a crowd of almost 4,000 people? I told you that Cyclova gear stands out.

We were shivering pretty good when the gun went off, and I always figure it's best to start a race way faster than you can maintain, blow up, and then limp in like a wounded animal. That's been my race tactic for years and I'm too old to change now!

I blazed through the first half in under 2 hours, which is a personal victory for me. I've only done two sub 2 hr half-marathons in the last 20 years, and they've both been during the first half of Grandma's (in the last two years). Last year I was able to hold the pace decently, but this year I faded at 13.2, and had to run/walk in. Fortunately there were a lot of frat boys out there with beer this year. Every time I saw them I'd scream "WHY IS THERE NOT A BEER IN MY HAND!" and then I'd berate them and make them do push ups as they cheered and I guzzled the beer. Frat boys love it when you abuse them like that.  You're welcome frat boys of Duluth.

I saw the Kelby family out there, they came trotting by right when I was starting to feel the effects of my "blazing" first half. They apologized for not having been at the first two Sasquatch runs, but assured me they'll be at the next one. Incidentally I saw that they ran a negative split, first half in just over two, and second half under 2 for a sub 4 hr total. I didn't think that was possible! Obviously they weren't using the patented method of "run way faster than you're capable of running, then blow up and suffer."  I should teach them that method and observe the massive, positive effect it has on their marathon times.

Eventually, as it always does, the finish line materialized and I collected my massive, awesome medal and my finisher's shirt. I'll be wearing that shirt for the next six straight days. The rains rolled in again after I finished, and it felt good to get into some warm clothing.

The 2015 Grandma's took it out of me. Last year I finished and was able to attend 2 different weddings, this year I finished, changed my clothes and went to bed. That's the way it goes! In fact, everybody was slower except for Tammi who set a PR with a 2:57 (she uses my method...she just never blows up).

Memorable day! Along with the Birkie, the Gandy Marathon, and the Twin Cities Marathon, Grandma's is one for the "must attend" list. The party starts on Thursday or so, and doesn't end until Monday when work starts again (too bad I slept through most of the party).

In honor of father's day, here's my sweet youngest daughter modeling my finisher's medal. See y'all at the next Sasquatch Dash (I'll be there in spirit).  Oh, and also put the "Trails to the Ales 5k" on your race calendar!




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