Category Archives: Races

Get Lucky 7k Race Recap

Get Lucky 7k

On Saturday, I ran the Team Ortho Get Lucky 7k with Lindsey, Katie and Dori.

For those of you who do not remember, Lindsey ran my first 5k next to me.  Last year, she did her first sprint triathlon and I told her that something that was important to me was that we have the chance to race together again.  When she suggested this race, I was all-in.

My mother-in-law is a saint and volunteers in the medical tent for their races quite frequently.  As a result of this, she had free race credits to use and she shared them with me.  Because running stops being the cheapest sport when you start racing with any amount of frequency and/or going to physical therapy.

After hearing reports from last year about how it took 45 minutes to get all of the runners across the start line, we made the executive decision to join-up with the 7:00 – 8:00 minute/mile corral.  We may have made a different decision had it been warmer outside (it was 20 degrees) but I am 100% positive that half of our fellow corral-mates were similarly situated.

As for the actual race, I had no real goals.  Lindsey and I ran together for the first 1.5k and I felt like I was hitting paces that were really comfortable.   It was going just swimmingly until the 5k. At the 5k mark, I got hit with a horrible abdominal (muscle) cramp.  I tried stretching while walking.  I tried run-walking.  The thing did not go away until I pulled off the race course and onto a sidewalk to do Cobra pose.

It was not ideal (I was extremely frustrated).  Based on the kilometer splits I was running for the first 5k versus the last 2k, I added 3 minutes onto my time.

Finish time = 41:10

That being said, I really have nothing to complain about when I look at my final time.  I’ve only run outside four times since last November.  I’ll live to fight another day.

What we were really running toward was brunch at Moose & Sadie’s.

We all ordered Huevos Rancheros. It was something akin to A Movement.


It was Lindsey’s first time trying them, which in my opinion is a Very Important Thing.  They essentially form the base of my brunch food pyramid as do all other Tex-Mex-inspired dishes. All in all, not a bad way to wrap up the morning.

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Reverb 13 | Prompt 7 | Victory Lap (Imperial Hills Thanksgiving Day 5k Race Recap)

#reverb13 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December that is meant to give us all the chance to reflect on 2013 and the opportunity to write down our hopes and dreams for the coming year. Through December 31st Meredith, Sarah and I will be posting each day with a new prompt. Join us by writing, or join us by reading. No matter what you choose, come with us.

Victory Laps: What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

I know that today, I’m supposed to unpack the personal victories of the year.  The things I metaphorically Overcame.

Anyway, I’m super overdue on a race recap for the 5k I ran on Thanksgiving Day and so I decided that I would do that here instead.


Last year, when I ran the Imperial Hills Thanksgiving Day 5k, I was joined by Billy and Brian.  It was like 60 degrees and I ran in a tank top.  This year it was pretty much freezing.  I didn’t wear all of my running clothes (though I came close).


Billy was in Texas.  Brian was downtown running the Lifetime Turkey Trot with his mother.  So I was on my own. With our neighbors.  And every Goldendoodle in the neighborhood.  Seriously that is apparently the only kind of dog that people own in 2013.


The race is a food drive, so the “entry fee” is actually canned food items for our local food shelf, Interfaith Outreach.


I brought canned tuna.  For some reason, at one point or another, I decided that it was something we needed to have in our pantry.  Reality check: Marcus and I NEVER eat canned tuna.  Ever.  I think we have eaten it a grand total of one time together since we started dating.


The actual race itself was not particularly dramatic.  We ran two laps around the neighborhood and since there were so many twists and turns, it was primarily an exercise in running tangents.

It was not my fastest 5k – my finish time was 29:04.

But, despite all of this, I was the first adult female to cross the finish line.  I know that I will absolutely never cross another finish line first again, be it chalk on asphalt or a proper tape.

So that was sort of a festive victory lap in its own way.

Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Mile Race Recap

Race Day 014 Yesterday was…Antsy.

I had no appetite (I rallied and ate, but everything tasted the exact same) and I slept abysmally on Saturday night. This is unusual for me before ANY race, much less one I have run before.  But as much as the Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Mile was a way for me to give it a rest and heal, it was also my first chance in two years to Race Intentionally.

For context: When I ran the race in 2010, I had yet to try fueling while running.  We have come a long way, people.  We have come a long way.

S0 I didn’t feel that there were any acceptable reasons not to post a Big Number.  I had already determined that if I had an average run I would end up pulling 3-5 minutes off of my time.  I knew that if I had an Exceptional run, if I could just have one of Those Days where the pavement becomes liquid beneath your feet and you feel as though you have wings, I would be able to hit somewhere near 1:30:00.

And so I flew.  Finishing in 1:30:10 with a 8:26 PR.

Pre-race was The Usual.

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Marcus was more than a little bit curious about why I had to draw A Wing on my foot.  Wings are a bit of A Motif lately, and like most anything else that goes on my body pre-run, it was The Right Idea.

Also, if anyone knows how to properly end a wing (or has an artistically inclined child who is willing to contribute), please let me know.

I put on the one race outfit I’ve found to be a keeper over the past God only knows how many half-marathons and marathons.

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It matches nothing but it is deeply effective.  Doesn’t rub.  Is appropriately warm.  Easy to spot.

Ate some oatmeal.  Drank some coffee.

You know.  The routine.

Since Dannon lives out near us, we headed down together and set-up camp at the Metrodome.  We had similar race goals and were in the same corral, so we agreed to stick together until one of us had to drop the other.

At some point in the last 24 hours, Shauncey and I managed to put 2 and 2 together and established that we were both running, so we made plans to catch-up pre-race as well.

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Her arm warmers are knee socks from Target with the toes clipped, FYI.  I feel like this will drastically improve my toss-arm warmers game in future years.

6:35 AM – We begin our escape of the Metrodome so that Dannon and Shauncey can hit the bag drop and we can get corralled.

I notice that if you are running the 10 Mile and have finished a marathon, you are supposed to wear that shirt.  My bad.

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I think we can all agree that the reflective strips on this jacket are RIDICULOUS.  My arm doesn’t even look like it is attached to my body.

6:45 AM –  Dannon and I make our way up to the front of Corral 2 because traffic in this race is seriously the worst and we want nothing to do with it.

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7:01 AM – Corral 1 has been released.  We get lead into the starting chute.  The 100 or so people in front of us step on the timing mat even though we will not be released for another minute or two.

Mile 1 – The strategy works.  There is no traffic, which is  victory all its own.  We hit the first marker in 8:47 which is…fast.  But it feels good.

Mile 2 – We pass this marker in 8:54.  Better.  As we continue to run along the Mississippi river, steam rises off of the water.  The rising sun’s reflection on the Weisman Museum reminds me of my early morning run past the Guggenheim in Bilbao.  Brighter Than The Sun starts playing on my iPod.  It is a perfect moment.

As we make the curling climb up to the Franklin Avenue Bridge, Angie and Amy are shaking their girl thang with festive chant and dance.  It is hardcore inspiring, as these two will be headed off to Chicago in less than a week!

Mile 3 – We hit the 3 mile mark at 26:something.  Mile 3 is traditionally the place during a run where I finally find my legs.  Today is no different.  Whatever this mystery-pace is seems manageable.

I see Marcus along with Tom, Katie and Sara on the outside edge of the turn and blow some kisses.

Mile 4 – Dannon and I separate as we really start to climb.

I unwrap a Honey Stinger Waffle after the first climb and pray that I don’t choke on the thing,  I usually try to accomplish this at least once during a run.  I don’t really have a stomach for the thing (like everything else I’ve eaten in the last 24 hours) so I choke it down over the next half-mile and put that tally in the Personal Victories column.

Mile 5 – I knew that at this point I would know if I was on-track for the finish time I was hoping for – I hit the 5 Mile mats at 44:44.  I haven’t done a pace run over this distance, so I really have no clue if my legs will hold out for the rest of the race.

Mile 6 – I start to notice that some of the manhole covers on Summit Avenue actually have runners stamped on them which is apparently evoking wildly sentimental feelings.  There are runners!  On manhole covers!  On Summit Avenue!  And it’s the TCM course!

GET A GRIP.  This will continue to remain as a point of fixation until I cross the finish line.

I also start to notice that despite the weather forecast, I am WARM.  Goodbye, sleeves.

Mile 7 – 5K left to go.  The 5K mark in any race is always do-or-die time for me because I remember just How Hard finishing my first 5K was.  Knowing that I could finish that rainy, horrible race is simply…Enough.

Best news: For all practical purposes, climbing is essentially over.

Mile 8 – I think about what, exactly this mile would look like if it were Mile 24 and then I take a moment to snap out of it and appreciate the architecture that otherwise largely gets blacked out.  Summit Avenue is completely swathed in a sunny, hazy fog and the bright fall leaves popping out against the mist is to put it plainly: surreal.

Mile 9 – The last mile of the Twin Cities course, be it the 10 Mile or the Marathon, will always be where all of The Big Things happen.  It is the last mile.  It is everything I run towards.

At 9.5 I see my family.

See also: This is not the worst spot to watch from on the course.

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And no sooner have I left them than the cathedral comes out of the trees and the finish line and the Capitol building appear at the bottom of the hill.

My Happiest, Almost Too Painfully Beautiful To Look At, Only Happens Once A Year-sight.

What else is there to do but run?

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Race Day 008

As I race towards the finish line, I can’t help but to think, I Am Doing This.  I Am Flying.

I throw my hands into the air and cross the mats.

Mile 10.

There are medals and heat sheets and loosely organized chaos as the herd of runners continues to press forward, albeit more slowly now.

Also, filed under: Life-Giving.

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I never ever thought that chicken broth would be such A Thing, but my word.  If you haven’t tried it after a long run, put it on your to-do list ASAP.  It puts sports drinks to shame.

Hands full of food, wrapped in a heat sheet with a finisher’s shirt tucked under my arm, I make my exit.

Race Day 007

Armed with the powerful knowledge that this is a race I will be able to walk after, we make our way back up to Summit Avenue.

It is time.

Race Day 010

Until next year.  365 sleeps.

Race Day 011

Disneyland 10k Race Recap

I feel like I should preface this by saying that I never thought I would get to run in The Happiest Place On Earth.

So I am sure that you can understand how surprised I was when I realized within a 24 hour period that not only would I get to meet Smplefy and his lovely family, but that he in an epic act of kindness would get me to the starting line of the Disneyland 10k.

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It was a humbling gift, really.  A bib.  A ride.  A race I will never forget.

Our story begins at 3:00 AM, under the canopy of the Temecula Creek Inn.  Marcus and I didn’t rent a car for the weekend so Smplefy rolled out to where we were to pick us up.  This basically qualifies him as The Patron Saint of runners.  And as Meredith will vouch as well, The Best Race Sherpa.

Exhibit A: Frozen Chocolate Birthday Cake for breakfast at 3:00 AM.

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Like I said. Best Race Sherpa.

We headed back to the city to collect the rest of the family as well as a friend who was running their first 5k (what a way to kick it off, right?) and then went straight to the park.

I want to say that the drive there took an hour or so, but there was lots of workshopping to be done.  Y’all know how it goes.

For the record, if you are not meeting people for the first time at 4:00 AM, you are not living, kittens.  Another level of sainthood: welcoming relative strangers into your home at that early hour.

So anyway, we made it to the park without a hitch.  Bibs on, hair up, ready to go.

Pro-tip: Even though they have more than enough porta potties, the parking garage bathrooms (which are significantly nicer) are also open before the race.

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They are also a great place to grab a selfie.

The 5k runners scampered off to their corrals right away, but we spent about an hour in the staging/finishers area.  When they weren’t broadcasting the start line announcements over the Jumbotron, there were cast members leading a festive dance warm-up routine, which was 100%  bat mitzvah dance in the best way.

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Dance snap c/o Smplefy.

Disappointingly for all of us, I completely failed to get a snap of the Peter Pan who was really giving it his all.

The 5k began at 5:45 AM and as soon as they had cleared out the corrals for that race, they brought the 10k runners into the corrals for a 6:15 AM start.

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I was in Corral F and I would say that we got going about 20 minutes after Corral A was released.  The Corral Police didn’t seem to be particularly passionate enforcers, so I am willing to bet that you could probably swap corrals without an issue if your heart was set on it.

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The first two miles of the race take place on the streets of Anaheim and then you run into the park.  I saw Smplefy, Marcus and The Daughter right around the Mile 2 marker – this was perfect because it was a really easy place to spot them and I was able to collect a new water bottle.  I can honestly say that I do not think I have EVER sweat as much as I did during this race.

And once we got into the park, I had to start snapping photos like mad.

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If you know anything about Disney Races, it’s that there are photo stops throughout the course with cast members who are ready to take your picture with the characters.  And if you didn’t know that about Disney Races, now you do.  :)

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I ended up specifically stopping for the Monsters University gang, and Daisy Duck.  I did not stop for Chip n’ Dale, Woody and Annie, the Red Queen, Alice or The White Rabbit.

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There were also hundreds of cast members throughout the course who were there to cheer on the runners or conveniently, snap your picture if you saw something you wanted a photo of/with that was not a designated “stop.”

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Running through Sleeping Beauty Castle was easily the high point of the race.

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And, how could it not be?

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From there, it was really a jaunt to the finish line.  I wasn’t running this race for time, but at this point it would be helpful to point out that logistically you could be waiting at a character stop for up to 10 minutes to get your snap.  Also, fair warning, be prepared to weave. But you’ll be laughing while you do it because the costumes are just darling.

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UOT: 1:18:49.

Coming through the chute, every runner was given a snack box, a banana and water/Powerade.  I absolutely love the snack box idea because no one can ever possibly carry the amount of food they are hoping to eat post-race.  That being said, I am EXTREMELY thankful that Marcus brought me a Wetzel Pretzel because what I actually wanted at that particular moment in time was something salty.

Jalapeno Cheese with mustard to dip to the rescue.

Post-race, we really high-tailed it because Marcus and I had a wedding to get ready for (seriously, this was basically a military operation in its precision), but I made sure to take one proper medal snap.

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Gorgeous medal for a gorgeous race.

Crosslake Dam Run 10k Race Recap

To summarize an extremely long story of how this all came to be: I was supposed to run the Get In Gear 10k (my first ever) in April, but my tendonitis was back with a vengeance.  Some girlfriends who were meant to come into town for the Minnesota Half Marathon could not, so I went Up North to the cabin instead.

Not a bad deal, people.  Not a bad deal.

When I run at the cabin, I run in town for a host of reasons, largest of them being the fact that Dru Sjodin is buried about a half mile away from our cabin and if that’s not a terrible reminder of the bad shit that can happen to women, I do not know what is.

So anyway, Mom and I drove into town together because she was going to hit the pool and swim while I was doing my long run.  As we made the turn toward the hotel-turned-townie pool club, we saw handmade signs advertising a 5k/10k.

And as we pulled into the parking lot, we found this situation.  Hello, race course.

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I filled out my first ever race-day registration blank.

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(yes, that is still A Thing)

And grabbed my bib.

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I think we have all come to understand at this point that most all of my racing decisions are made impulsively.  Go with the flow and all that.

I spent most of the time before the race…running, but I couldn’t help myself when I saw this scene laid out in front of me.  I just want y’all to take a look at the four porta potties they made available to the 300-ish runners participating in the 5k and 10k.

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That is TWO MORE POTTIES than my corral for the Paris Marathon.  God, we were basically in the lap of luxury.

This road was our start corral.

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The actual start line was a pair of cones.

Kindly a mother and daughter from Cloquet obliged my request for a snap.  I felt like it was important to commemorate this Important Moment in my running career.

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After a bit of spoken word announcing (including directions on how to properly follow the course), we were off.

This was approximately 1.5 miles into the race.  The first mile was a loop and then we set to the rest of the course.

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And, of course, we went over the dam and the bridge crossing the Pine River, which, leads directly down to our lake.

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To summarize everything between Mile 1.5 and the end of the race: I tailed a pair of runners for the entirety of the race, which was nice because I had no real pace goal beyond running sub-10:00 minute miles.  We ran on an open road for Miles 1.5-3, which was just festive as all get out.  My legs felt bricked most of the time and they had water stops at Miles 3 and 5.

Mom asked me how long I thought it would take to finish the race, so that she could be at the finish line.  I mean, it was sort of a big day.

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I teased her more than a little bit afterward about the fact that I had tricked her in coming to yet another one of my finish lines.  But I really did look forward to seeing her there.

My final time was 57:08.

These people did not skimp on the post-run snacks either – there were bunches of bananas, too many varieties of juice and Gatorade to count and most importantly, these beauties.

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The sprinkle-a-day-diet is going strong people.  Related: If you get the chance to stop by Reed’s in Crosslake, they really do have a good thing going on where their maple-frosted donuts are concerned.  My Word.

And then, just for kicks, there was this shell I plucked up in the lake while I was actioning yet another White Trash Ice Bath.

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TC 1 Mile Race Recap

Last Thursday night was the Twin Cities 1 Mile.  Weekday race day, what?

01 TC1

Yes, I wore shorts.  Because as it stands right now, the 1 Mile is the only time of year that I’m willing to sacrifice function for fashion and run in shorts.

Yes, I wore a fleece-lined top.  Because even though last year it was something like sunny and 90, this year it was 50, overcast and windy.

But back to the race itself.  What’s the deal?  We are adults and not a high school track team.

The best way I can describe it to you is that (1) it’s an excuse to run down Nicollet Mall, (2) about 1,000 finishers get guaranteed entry into the 10 Mile in the fall which is a competitive lottery-only race (3) post-race everyone sets-up camp at one of the bars on the mall (Nicollet Mall is not a road that is open to regular traffic) so that you can watch pros run.

In short, it is very…festive.

And I was running why?  For the hell of it, really.

When I say that I had ZERO GOALS for this race, I am Not Kidding.  ended up DNS-ing the Get in Gear 10k a couple of weekends ago so I honest to God just wanted to run a pain-free mile.  Surprise-surprise, I’ve been battling tendinitis again.

The obvious inscription.

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After running a bit of a warm-up with Dannon (we drove down together from Plymouth) we promptly ran into Carrisa, who was the mastermind behind this year’s Derby.

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It was The Business.

And then proceeded to run into all of the other big names.  Like Kingsbury and his ultramarathoning running partner, Megan.  We’ve tweeted back and forth enough that it was really just…time.

Since some members of our little running party actually had race goals, about five minutes before race-time we wove to the front of the corral where we found quite a few members of the Minnesota R.E.D. running club (AKA Ben and His People) as well as Hannah.

We took a moment for a pre-race photo-op.

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And then, as always, we were off.

The result?  7:41.3 for a PR! My old mile PR was from high school (!) and it was 7:43.  There was zero thinking and only doing.  I know that there are a lot of runners who eat that time for lunch on a daily basis, but all things considered, I am VERY proud.

Pretty much everyone we were running with shaved some serious time off, so it was fun to be able to celebrate afterward at Brit’s.  Like I said before, the post-race celebration is an essential part of this event.  I think we can all agree hoisin chicken wings and a pint are always the best recovery.

On our trek from the finish line we ran into Hannah again.

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And Angie, who worked some cheering and drinking into her marathon training plan.  That’s commitment to the cause.

Once we arrived, we got down to business and settled in to watch the pros run.

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And Ben engaged in some compulsive picture-ruining.  I like to think that the black and white filter made him look especially terrifying.  ;)

Paris Marathon Race Recap

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A week later, it is still hard to believe that I finished Marathon de Paris.  That a four glasses of wine-deep impulse-registration ended with me standing in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe.  That I coincidentally already had tickets to France when the marathon was being held.  That I am physically at a place where finishing another marathon is in part of life.

In the heat of the race every feeling, every emotion, and every thought is simply brighter.  And the moment you cross the finish line it is as if you have woken from a dream.  You have photos, times, a shirt, a medal to prove that you were there and that those hours actually happened.

And yet, though you were surrounded by thousands of people and watched by thousands of pairs of eyes, it is up to you alone to believe it. 

I hope that as I continue to run, I never lose this feeling of sheer awe and wonder.  That I never take 26.2 miles for granted.  I run because I can, but really I run because the process of training for and running the marathon is my willing journey into and through the refining fire.  I run to become the best version of myself.

When I dream at night, I dream of being a marathoner.

Marathon 1

On April 7 I woke up at 5:00 AM, which is pretty much my Universal Race Wake-Up Time.

Getting ready for the trip, I had shoved all of my running gear into a backpack to carry on the plane and had packed a breakfast (oats, raisins, granola, pecans) for myself as well.  Since I have yet to stay in a hotel room when I am traveling the night before a race/long run that is equipped with a microwave, I’ve pretty much perfected the oats-soaking technique and worked off of that.  I also dumped about half a container of caramel yogurt into the lot that had been sitting on the windowsill overnight (AKA our white trash refrigerator) along with a cup of Starbucks that I had sourced the day before.  It’s impossible to overstate the wonders of drip coffee on race morning.

I have to say, this really was the best morning-of.  Between texting/chatting/tweeting/e-mailing with everyone back home who was about to tuck in and cruising the tweets and snaps via #ParisMarathon, I was just so…full.

I also did a bit of pre-race inscribing.  I don’t know what it is about distance racing that makes me want to put things on my body, but I’m done fighting with it.  Give me a permanent marker before the sun is up and let me be.

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At about 7:45 AM, we decamped.  Dad walked me down to the St. Michel metro station, which was just a few blocks away, and I was off.  There were so many runners riding along with me that by the time we got to the stop at Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, the cars were absolutely packed, which I expected.  The mood was very festive, and yet everyone was silent.  I was thankful to have found a seat next to a lot that I think was from Denmark.

Which brings me to my next bit: we had great bibs because they had your nationality on them as well as your name. The vast majority of runners were French, but it was fascinating to see who hailed from where.

After getting off the metro, it took me about 15 minutes to get out of the station.  Charles de Gaulle-Etoile is a relatively large station to begin with, but it made even more sense when I emerged into the light to see this.

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As I flipped back through the blog, I noticed that I never shared this tidbit with y’all.  About two and a half weeks before the race, my right foot was throwing a fit.  So I hopped on the bike for a week to rest it up, because the hardest work was already done.  Miraculously, while we were in Paris, my foot felt fine as did my runs through le Jardin du Luxemborg until April 5.  At which point, suddenly things were The Worst again.  So even though I was extremely calm, I was not terrifically confident.

So anyway, I got into the rose corral at the top of the road.  During registration, you had to select a corral and I chose 4h30.  Had I really thought that through, I would have bought myself a bit of extra time on the course and selected 4h00 or 4h15, but thankfully, I didn’t have any problems at the finish of the race.  All is well that ends well.

I would say that by the time I got there (8:10), the corral was 2/3 full so, I hopped into a line for one of the two potties in our corral knowing that there would be a serious wait.  I had read that the bathroom situation was abysmal for this race, but it’s hard to believe that a major marathon would only provide two porta-potties per corral until you see it with your own eyes.  By my math, I’m fairly certain that the ratio of bathrooms to runners for all corrals was 1:2200.

Thumbs up for that.

Marathon 5

I found myself next to a Canadian expat living in London who immediately told me that she didn’t trust her training (what I didn’t tell her: If you don’t trust the work you put into a race, you probably are not going to finish) and asked me if it was true that they stopped giving out medals to the finishers after 5:00 (what I didn’t tell her: that was numero uno on the list of shit I had no intention of finding out ever).

We were then joined in line by trio of Texans, one whose sister-in-law actually lives in Plymouth.  Because home always finds you where you are.

Mid-conversation with this lot, It was at this point that I realized there was no french class role-play for what I was about to ask the women behind us.

Me: Parlez-vous anglais?

Ladies: Blank stares.

Me: Est-ce-que illegal pour urniation public ici?

Ladies: Uh..pee pee?  Ici?  C’est illegal. Mais (offers me her jogging poncho).

Me: (I refuse the poncho and smile)

The gun time for the race was 8:45, but since we were in the back corral, we didn’t get released to walk down to the start line until about 9:35.

As I was still standing in line for a bathroom at that point (it had been an hour with no end in sight), I walked over to the curb and popped a squat to log my first public urination ever on the Champs Elysees.

Blessedly, I had brought a wad of TP because I had assumed that if I ever did make it to a bathroom, it would be completely out.

Y’all know me.  Keeping it fancy.

And as soon as the other women caught on to what I was doing, I was joined by throngs of them.

I wish I could romanticize our walk down the Champs Elysees when they released us to the start line, but honestly, at some points we were walking over a 6″ bed of toss clothing and at other points we were dodging ponchos that runners had been shitting in.  So mostly it was a minefield and not so romantic at all, because we were all looking down instead of up.

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Pro: Even though it was a bit chilly at the start, we had a cloudless sky and a forecast of 50 with winds at 4 MPH.  It was honest-to-God perfect race weather.

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I was on the left side of the corral (it split in half) as we approached the start line, and they released us first.  I crossed the line, started my watch and said the Shehecheyanu.

I was following the 5:00 pace group at this point because I really had no gauge on how my legs were going to feel after hiking around the city for a week, or you know, because I did nearly all of my training for this race on a treadmill.  After looking at my training log, I can tell you that I logged a grand total of 10 runs outside.  Also, I’m really glad that my training strategy worked, but seriously, don’t be me.

Marathon 8

The first few miles were a blur – running past the obelisk, the Tuileries, the Louvre.  It was beautiful and I was busy being my own worst enemy.  You know those runs where you can’t escape yourself and a mountain of self-doubt?  Yes.  That.

Until Mile 2, where I saw massive yellow sign on the course that had quite a bit of enthusiastic German written on it and a depiction of a giant snail.  I will never know if that sign was pro-or anti-snail, but to me it was a sign from God, since there were probably only about a hundred signs on the course total.  So I threw my iPod on, said a prayer that the battery would last longer than 4 hours and got going.

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At the 10k-ish mark, we entered Bois de Vincennes, which was at one point the royal hunting grounds before the construction of Versailles.

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We ran through the trees, past the lakes and in front of the palace there.

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This also the point where I broke away from the 5:00 pacer.  It didn’t feel terrifically slow, but my legs were feeling just a bit better than that, so it was time to bid Monsieur Lapin adieu.

Shortly after one of the water stops in le bois, I had a nice conversation with a couple of ladies from New Zealand as we ran past the (closed) zoo, which involved all of us speaking a bit of broken French before we realized we parlez-vous-ed anglais.

Emerging from the park, we found ourselves at some sort of high point and were able to enjoy a nice downhill for a spell as well as a great view of the city.

At Mile 10 or so, I pulled off my pink top – I am positive that the temperatures were above 50 at that point because I felt like I was roasting.

I also took a number of snaps of the blue line (and my shadow with it!) as I ran, which is an incredibly cool Marathon de Paris tradition.  So what is the blue line?  The blue line is how they mark the marathon course throughout the city the day before the race and it remains until it is washed away or worn off by traffic.

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Shortly after the half-marathon point, I found Kristen who was one of my Texan friends from the start line.

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She and I ended up sticking together for the next five miles or so as we ran back towards and along the Seine.

Oh look, Place de la Bastille in the distance.

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Notre Dame.  In the distance.

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This is also the point on the course where we started running under bridges and through tunnels, which gave us a decent amount of shade and a bit of an elevation change.  The Marathon de Paris course is relatively flat, so a bit of terrain here and there was welcome.

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And, best, The Eiffel Tower.

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Kristen and I ended up separating (she got struck with a cramp) shortly before the Mile 18 water stop, which was also the point at which I found my parents, Sally and Vicki.

Dad insisted on taking some snaps and I ditched my pink top with them.

Marathon 21

I was feeling just massively gleeful and exuberant at this point.  Probably because I felt good.  Probably because I had just spent the last hour running past the Bastille, Notre Dame (I finally saw the flying buttresses!), past Musee d’ Orsay, the Tuileries again and with a nice view of the Eiffel Tower for ~2 miles.  It is so truly impossible to explain how painfully beautiful this course is and how incredibly distracting all of it was.

The course started to narrow here, partially because spectators were crowding the course  (I think we were down to about half of the road) and partially because as we came up to the 32km point, we were starting to move into a massively residential area and in the direction of the Bois de Boulogne, which is the woods/park/garden on the west side of the city.

There was also a lot of traffic here because there were just loads of walkers from earlier corrals who had (bluntly) awful races and were waging a war of attrition with the idea of finishing.

What I can say about Mile 20: I did not hit the wall.  After having so many truly wonderful long runs during this training cycle and such a great 20 mile run leading into the race, I was legitimately terrified that my luck would run out during this race and that I would be in a physical or mental situation that was untenable.

Instead I said The Lord’s Prayer, remembered the words, “Let us run with perseverance the race set before us,” and understood that I was going to finish the race running.  That I had already written my own story, and that it was up to me to claim the finish that I wanted and the finish that I deserved.

To feel so mentally strong and so confident at that part of the race made such a difference in how I ran the last 10k of the race.

At Mile 22, I would hit the wall running and realize that I still had two more Honey Stinger Chew packets attached to my person at that point than I should have.  #fuelingfail

Did it really matter?  Absolutely not.

Around this time, I realized that situating the last three-ish miles of a marathon in the middle of a wooded area makes it look more like a death march for most of the participants than a foot race.  See also: running on cobblestones this late in the game is massively painful.

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From here on out, the race is somewhat of a blur.  Since they marked every kilometer AND every mile, that made the time pass a bit faster, but what really fueled me was running to Mile 24.  I knew that once I got there, I only needed to run one more mile before I could start celebrating.

So, at Mile 25, I gave the marathon medal being dangled over the course a kiss, took a sip of red wine and enjoyed the ride.

At 42.195k, I raised my arms into the air with the Arc d’Triomphe in front of me, said the Shehecheyanu again and stopped my watch.

Marathon 24

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Official Time: 4:54:06

There’s not much to be said about the finisher’s chute, beyond that it is massively long, and that instead of doling out heat sheets we received honest-to-God ponchos.  I ate a bit of banana, grabbed a couple of waters (all of the water on the course and the chute was bottled), and chatted with a woman from Finland and another from New York.

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As Mom and I were walking to the metro station from the finish line, I mused over the irony that after bike-training all summer to recordings of the stages of the Tour de France, I ran through bits of the final stage.

Everything comes full-circle.

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Including my participation in the French hot bath (recommended in the Marathon program!), because those people do not believe in ice.

Race of my life.

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And when I dream at night, I dream of being a marathoner.

For much better course snaps, and the story from the 3:00 corral, click here.  Also, he captured The Clown That I Saw Chasing Another Runner, so it really is a worthwhile read.  And here is another.