It seems that Rev3 was just yesterday. That's not far off. It was just 2.5 weeks ago. I feel like I've barely recovered and it's time to race again! I'll be running my 11th Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon this Sunday. I still remember talking to a woman during my first marathon. She was running her twelfth marathon, and I thought to myself that that was SO MANY marathons. In four days, that will have be me! Aside for my one year at Grandma's, I really haven't branched out much in the marathon world, and that's OK with me. I really love the freedom to race multisport during the spring and summer and then have this race to look forward to every fall. It's truly a spectacular venue. It's right in my backyard with unbelievable crowd support and organization. The expo is HUGE and really fun to walk through (and lots of yummy samples!). It's a beautiful race, too. It starts in downtown Minneapolis two blocks from my hospital. We then pass by several lakes, run along the river, and head up past the University of St. Thomas - my undergrad where I really fostered my love for distance running. Once I'm there, it's the home stretch. Although it's never easy to finish those last 6 miles, I've been running on Summit Avenue since I started college in 1999.
It's funny how much my running has changed since then. My first year of marathon training consisted of 60-70 mile weeks. Now I squeeze marathon training into my tri training. My endurance is still there, but my peak weeks are closer to 30-35 miles. When I ran my first marathon, I only knew one other person who'd ever done one. I ran the race alone except for Steve and my sister Steph cheering for me. Afterward, I went back to an empty dorm room. This year I will be running the marathon with a dozen or more people that I have met over the past few years and am happy to call my friends. I'll have friends all over the course cheering, and my Mom, brothers, sisters, and husband will be waiting for me near the finish line, four of them dressed in crazy animal costumes - a tradition Steve started a few years ago. I have done this race as an A+ race, a B race, and a C -- race. After Ironman 2006, I almost didn't do it at all because I had pneumonia/bronchitis. I've run this marathon with many first-timers - my sister Steph, my brother in law Jon, my friend Janna, and my buds Jess and Maddy.
This race now symbolizes tradition for me. My family comes up, we eat together, some of us run the full, some of us run the 10 miler, and we have a grill-out afterward. The race is always around or on my birthday, so we usually top off our post-race meal with some guilt-free cake.
I really don't know how the day will play out. The weather looks like it will be PERFECT - 40-60 degrees, partly cloudy, and no rain. My last long run, a 20 miler, was at the end of August. Then I started tapering for Rev3, then I was racing Rev3, then I was recovering from Rev3. I know I still have a lot of fitness left, and I felt on top of the world for nearly 6 hours of racing that day. I figure I can muscle through 4.5 hours or less of running. It won't be a PR day, but It certainly has to be better than racing with pneumonia! I think I'll be aiming for around a 4:15 - a relatively practical goal for me. More than anything, I'm going to set out to have fun. I'm going to welcome people to my beautiful cities, encourage a first time marathoner, thank all of the people who come out to cheer for me, and flash my family a huge smile when I see their furry faces just before the finish line!
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