As the horn blasted and everyone took off running, my main thought was: “Shit! I have to pee already!”
Just minutes prior, as I had entered the starting corral after what I thought would be a brilliantly timed bathroom visit, I had semi-jokingly declared that this was going to happen. I either know myself too well or this was the worst kind of self actualization.
Too late to analyze my strategic failings now because, after months of training and years of delays, I was running the Twin Cities Marathon.
This last weekend was the longest run of my marathon training. This was my “dress rehearsal,” in which I ran 22.5 miles, mostly at my intended marathon pace of 8-minute miles, with intermittent breaks at a slower pace. I have three weeks until the big day and I am officially in the “taper” portion of my training, which is a gradual lowering of my miles so that my body feels fresh by the time I enter the starting corral. I figured this would be a good time to check in about how my training has been going.
Overall things have been going pretty well, but I definitely had a couple of learning moments. Particularly, I have learned to pay attention to nutrition/hydration on my long runs and have really leaned into the benefits of a slow recovery run.
Ever since I ran my first half marathon in 2018, I have had big plans for running the Twin Cities Marathon. Then, of course, life got in the way. In 2019, I had my hernia repair surgery and in 2020, society collapsed. So here we are in 2021 and I am (finally) registered to run my first marathon.
2020 was a rough year for all sorts of in-person events and road racing was no different. After recovering from a surgery and doing last year’s Securian Winter Run 10k, I had a big year planned that was meant to culminate in running my first marathon in October. Alas, in March came the first delays and then the eventual cancellations. Race entries already purchased were converted to virtual races with small discounts for the next year.
2021 is looking more promising but it is a very different landscape. Many popular spring races have been rescheduled for fall. Others are still playing it safe and simply going virtual for another year. Out of the wreckage, some race directors have gotten creative and reimagined what races look like.
Last year my big plans for the running season were dashed by a hernia repair surgery and the drop in motivation I had once that was scheduled. About six weeks after my surgery I started doing some short run/walks with Britt and transitioned those into longer runs of a few miles. I also started a new job around this time, which is conveniently located close to my running store. Right before the holidays I went and bought myself some new running shoes and committed to getting back into enough form to race the Securian Financial Winter Run 10k. (“Race” is here used extremely loosely… I am mostly content as a ‘middle-of-the-pack’ runner.)
Fitger’s 5k is an annual race in Duluth, MN. In 2018, it was on the list of races (USATF MN Team Circuit) in which my team competes. I assumed nothing would change in 2019 so I reserved us a room at Fitgers Inn over 6 months in advance thinking I’d hit two birds with one stone: I could participate in one of the team races for the year whilst Britt and I would get a little weekend trip to Duluth.
In March, when the snow is just starting to think about melting, the road running race season officially kicks off. USA Track and Field (USATF) Minnesota race teams compete in a series of races starting in Spring with O’Gara’s 8k and ending with the Twin Cities Marathon’s shorter option, the Twin Cities 10 Mile.