My New Years’ resolution for 2021 is to start writing more and how can you ask for a better subject than to write about running! I am going to start with my first marathon which was Grandma Marathon 2011 in Duluth Minnesota.
I was convinced by my wife that I should run a marathon. I actually started running a few years earlier but really didnâ€™t take it seriously. Sometime in the spring of 2011 I was coerced/convinced to sign up for Grandmas Marathon. I have to admit I was excited and really didnâ€™t know what I was getting myself into.
I live in Minnesota so training for a June marathon starts in the late winter. For Minnesota, late winter can mean April, but I think we started at the end of Feb. My first couple of runs were with the Minnesota Distance Runners Association (MDRA) and were quite pleasant. We did 8,9,11 miles and slowly progressed. With each of those runs, I can admit now that the next week, and the next mile seemed harder and harder. In addition to the miles which I had no clue about, we also had some brutally cold weather. We are blessed with a wide and diverse trail system in the Twin Cities and our meeting point for marathon training was mainly along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. The wind and cold can whip up the river valley and freeze you instantly (ok maybe not quite instantly)
One of my highlights of this training was an 11-mile run that my wife Susan and I did to downtown Minneapolis then a stay at a hotel. I remember being so proud of the accomplishment and the feeling that I could eat and drink anything that night. Looking back now, the distance seems so easy, but then it was really a milestone.
We didnâ€™t really stick with the group but we did follow a basic plan. I think my longest run was 19 or 20 miles and by the time we did these the weather had turned from fridges to steamy hot. Those last couple of LSD runs (Long Slow Distance) were miserable for me and I saw a little in myself of what I didnâ€™t like.
By June were in Duluth and at the start line. Susan (my wife), and Gretchen (Sister), and myself, all lined up for our first ever marathon. As I recall my first half went really well, but I hit the wall hard at â€œLemon Drop Hillâ€ which is mile 21 on the course. I turned into a whiny baby complaining about everything I could muster. Susan stuck with me through the entire thing. We finish together, though as I recall, I selfishly sprinted ahead by a few seconds in the end.
I had gone through terrible shin splints and plantar fasciitis. When I finished I could barely walk. I was in so much pain I vowed to never do a marathon again.
So what happened? I went through 3 years of denial and injury and still running. My wife ran the next year and nearly qualified for Boston. In the next ten years, I will end up running 19 more marathons including one 50k. I have run 5 majors and at the start of 2021, I only need to run the Tokyo Marathon to get my 6th.
My plan for Jan 2021 is to write everyday and share what I have learned over the last 10 years of running.
the story continues… Tomorrow