...One week later. It was my "birth week" this week. My birthday was Tuesday. I am now officially 28! I think I ate cake at least 5 out of the last 7 days, and just as I had resolved to clean up my eating a little, my brother Matt gave me a belated birthday gift - 2 huge bags of mixed Halloween candy. This is going to take some serious willpower.
So I owe you a race report. You've probably heard by now that it rained. It rained a lot, but I'll take the rain over last year's heat any day.
The day started out with a gathering of farm animals in our living room. The cow, the pig, and the chicken were back, and this time they brought 2 cute farm girls with them in the form of my sister Annie and Mike's girlfriend Brianna. My mom was there to supervise the craziness. Thanks mom! A hearty breakfast of oatmeal with lots of water was on my menu. Soon we were in the cars and driving to the marathon start - just 5 miles from my house. The freeway off ramp is always the spot that takes the longest to navigate through, and in keeping with last year's tradition, the pig and the chicken began running up and down the street between stopped cars. After we had found our parking spot, I looked over to see Steve doing a pole dance on a street sign in his chicken suit, a sight that was both disturbing and hilarious.
Borsch and I did a little warmup and then went into the Metrodome to stretch. The familiar smell of Ben Gay greeted my nostrils, and though I was disappointed to find out that they had converted one of the ladies' room into a men's room, I eventually found a bathroom to use for the traditional pre-race ritual. We did a few minutes of stretching, and before we knew it, it was time to drop our stuff off with our support crew. We stopped for a picture and then filed into the starting chute. A few minutes later, we were off! I had warned Borsch ahead of time that we had to purposely run slow, because the huge crowd and adrenaline of the morning always moves your legs faster than they should be. We were hoping to keep a 10 min/mile pace, and the first lap was perfect - 9:55! I was a little nervous after my massive side cramp incident at Grandma's Marathon a few months ago, but I think I managed to will away any that were coming on. Borsch kept telling me that he felt "floaty" for the first few miles. He was off to a great start.
I don't exactly remember when it started raining - maybe around mile 4 or 5? I know it was early on. At first it was just a mist, but it didn't take long for the sheets to come down, and that's when my feet started feeling squishy. I should have listened to that inner voice that told me to wear my tri shorts for the race. My running shorts do some awfully weird bunching when they're wet. I still felt great, even though I was worried that the furry support crew was getting soaked.
The rain started to subside around mile 12 or 13, and by then, I was looking forward to finding the farm at mile 15. I had seen lots of friends out there already. Maddy and Luke were EVERYWHERE, Sarah and Trevor brought their dog and one year old son, and Rural Girl managed to navigate her way through traffic to cheer us on too. Thanks for coming out you guys. It really meant a lot to have you out there.
The furries at mile 15 didn't let us down. They were cheering their wet hearts out! The rest of the race is sort of a blur. Our times started to slow down after 15. Borsch was cramping up, and I was feeling like I was running a marathon. Summit was a welcome sight - our home stretch! We saw our support crew at the top of the hill right before mile 26. I let them know that Borsch was just behind me and ran in for a 4:36 finish. It wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but I'm happy with it nonetheless.
A few thoughts: TCM is well known for its amazing crowd. It was down this year by about half I'd say, but I can't believe how many people came out to support the runners. It was simply amazing. This was my ninth TCM and my 10th marathon. I've hit double digits! Borsch and I had passed a guy early in the race who was wearing a banner that said, "This is my 3ooth marathon." What an inspiration. I told him so and got a little choked up. I don't think I'll ever hit triple digits...
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