This is part 2 of my Grandma’s Marathon recap. Check out part one here!
Race day Duluth was plain old weird weather-wise. A few days before racing I start planning my race outfit — this race I had no idea what to pack. The weather the week before the race ranged from the 40′s to the 70′s. At one point Duluth actually was almost 40 degrees colder than 2 hours south in the Twin Cities – YIKES!
To be safe, I decided to bring my entire running closet (plus a cat or three). Seriously.
Race day started off bright and early at 4:30am. While the race started at 7:45am, the shuttles to the start line near my hotel ran from 5:30-6am (this was a huge benefit of this race – being a small town race almost every hotel and mall were shuttle stops!). Since I knew I’d be hanging out at the starting line for quite a bit of time, I decided to have a slightly larger breakfast than I normally do race morning.
Peanut butter on a bagel, coffee, Nuun Cherry Limeade and 1 serving EnergyBits
The weather race morning called for fog and 40′s all day so I decided to go with shorts and a light long sleeve.
Before I knew it, it was time to catch the shuttle and head up to Two Harbors to the starting line – about a 25 minute ride. The starting line was pretty empty when I first got there — with the exception of porta potties and beverage stations – there were TONS! As we got closer to the start there were a few lines starting to form for the bathrooms, but nothing more than 5 minutes.
After realizing there weren’t corrals at packet pickup, I was a little nervous as to how the start of the race would go. In the starting area runners could line up according to estimated time (they also had CLIF pacers with balloons), and surprisingly this worked out really well. The starting line didn’t feel overcrowded and when the race began there weren’t any bottlenecks or slow downs .
The start of the race was beyond foggy – I couldn’t see really any runners in front of me. It was weird but also felt really great…it helped me reinforce that I was running this race FOR ME.For the first few miles I focused on my pace and keep it consistently above 8 min/mile – I didn’t want to burn out early. This was actually one of the hardest things for me to do and something I need to focus on for my next marathon.
The miles completely flew by. Crowd support on the course was phenomenal – it felt like the entire town came out for this race. The course went along Lake Superior but unfortunately due to the fog we couldn’t really see the lake until later on in the morning .
Around the 1/2 marathon point I started to really regret my outfit – it was chilly, but also really humid. I actually ended up stopping to take off my long sleeved shirt – I added on a few minutes to my time from this, but it would have been too uncomfortable to continue on with it.
The course was for the most part completely flat. Around mile 22 (mile 9 of the 1/2 marathon) there’s the infamous Lemon Drop Hill that I was nervous about… but I think I blinked and missed the hill. What surprised me the most about driving around Duluth was how extreme the hills could be (they reminded me of San Francisco..that big), but the course itself was along the lake and flat.
After mile 22 the race flew by and before I knew it I was approaching the finish line. I ended up running the marathon in 4:26:50 and set a new PR!
Overall the race was a great, small town race. I was really impressed with how organized the race was the course (normally) would have been an absolutely gorgeous course. The only downside to the race was how expensive everything was – the hotels realize how small of a town it is and definitely take advantage of it. If you’re from out of town and want to run, plan ahead early so you can get a somewhat reasonable rate.
After the race I got to celebrate my 2nd marathon with my favorite post-race meal: nachos!
That night we went on a dinner cruise around Lake Superior, but unfortunately you couldn’t really see anything due to the fog. Duluth’s serious with the fog!
Medals go with black dresses, right?
The dinner cruise was delicious and a perfect way to celebrate finishing the marathon. It’s been a huge relief to me to complete this marathon – I now feel like I can go back to focusing on my 1/2 marathons and having fun with them. I like the challenge that comes with marathons but I’m ready to take a break from marathon training.