On Sunday, 8847 other runners and I finished the 2014 Medtronic Twin Cities marathon.
This was the fourth time I’ve done the course and my eighth marathon overall.
How did it go?
Overall, I’d say pretty good. I wasn’t thrilled with my time (4:34) and wished I’d been about 10 minutes faster.
But… I’m not beating myself up about it because I had a great day and a fun time along the way.
Leading up to the race, I was curiously numb about the experience. I didn’t tell many people about it until the final week or so. I think part of that was to give myself an out in case I decided that I wasn’t going to run after all.
Like always, I had so many doubts about my performance.
Did I train enough?
Did I taper too much? Too little?
Am I getting too old for this?
Why am I doing this in the first place?
(Spouse’s comment to that last rhetorical question: “But don’t you do this because you love to run?” Answer: Yes).
The 30 degree temps and high winds the day prior also sent my confidence reeling.
On Saturday, I had to check out the official marathon site for some information about bib number pick-up and came across some great advice for the week leading up to the marathon.
I can’t find the link now, but there were also some coaches who posted advice and one piece in particular really hit a chord with me.
I’m paraphrasing here, but the gist of the message was this:
At the starting line, in the midst of all the chaos leading up to the gun firing, take a moment to be grateful.
Grateful that this race exists.
Grateful that you are here.
Grateful that you are able to run.
Grateful that you can share this moment with other like-minded people.
And that’s what I did.
On Sunday I channeled all of those emotions and it turned into a great race. Mentally, I’ve never felt better during a marathon.
I always think about my Dad when I run, even though he died more than a decade ago. Even though I am not a particularly spiritual person, I really felt a connection to him on Sunday. I could hear his voice in my head and would ask him to give me a push up the next hill, and I’ve never tackled hills better than this.
I also shamelessly got about 200 high-fives along the course from anyone who would dole one out. I love high-fives!
The last thing that really got me going was a surge of crowd support near the end.
In this particular race, there is a turn between miles 21 and 22 where you enter the appropriately-titled Summit Avenue, which takes you up a gradual 2-3 mile incline until the final turn to the finish line at the Minnesota State Capitol.
Since I’ve done the course before, I knew that turning onto Summit meant I was going to make it.
When I rounded the corner, I felt like sobbing with gratitude but instead I grinned from ear to ear and pumped my arms overhead in victory. The crowd went nuts! There were at least a few hundred spectators at that turn and they all started to cheer.
It was the single most awesome moment I’ve ever had while running. That surge kept me cruising to the end.