Twin Cities 2019

Twin Cities Marathon

Marathon #65 3rd Twin Cities

This was my 3rd time running Twin Cities and was excited to share this beautiful course and experience this race with my 2 friends Marissa and Marcie.  They were looking for a destination marathon and mentioned that they read my race recap and decided to check it out. I did what any obsessed friend would do, I provided them hotel info, flights, dinner reservations and sent them agendas!

We arrived in St Paul on a rainy fall morning.  My friend Carolyn picked us up at the airport.  She talked about the course and let us know that she would be at mile 25 to cheer us on.  Let me tell you, when you are in another state and there is someone there to cheer for you, having something to look forward to, especially at mile 25 is enough to push you to the keep going!

I had been training for this marathon all summer.  I was doing fantastic until I ran the RiMaConn relay and pulled/strained my hamstring.  I did what any runner would do.  I rolled, gotten massages, tried cryotherapy, floatation therapy, iced, stretched and then the next day I did it again!  I would like to say that I was 95% better going into the race.  This is the one race that I set out to Boston Qualify and then the rest of the marathons we run are “for fun”.  This race was very important to me.  I woke up quite a few times the night before the race and talked some sense into myself.  I gave my own advice to myself that I would to anyone I coach.  “Jeanne, trust your training, you’ve run this distance before, you are a strong runner and know what to do to finish”  I knew it might not be pretty, but I knew that if I had to slow down that I would be okay.  It was enough advice to get me back to sleep and to the starting line without doubting myself. 

The logistics for Twin Cities is super easy.  The Saint Paul hotel we stay at is across the street from the expo, and with the expected cold winters, most of the building are connected by skywalks.  Everything is in walking distance so there is no need to rent a car.  We met our friend David Shannon (that I met in St Paul, that also works at the Travelers) at the hotel lobby race morning and walked around the corner to pick up the bus to the start.  We all started chatting and then noticed the bus driver took a wrong turn.  Part of me was a bit excited that perhaps we would not make it to the start! 

We arrived in Minneapolis near the Minnesota Vikings stadium.  I love that they had lines of port-o-lets! They also have a glass enclosed building where all the VIP runners gathered. We could have been in there too but it’s an extra fee on top of the registration to have a nice warm place to stay.  We were prepared with hand warmers, throw away clothes and heat shield blankets.  We looked like homeless people with our throw away clothing and made sure we took a group photo!

At 7:45 we dropped our gear off at the UPS trucks at our corral.  We got to the corral and I stood between the 3:30 and 3:40 pacer.  I knew I’d never pull off a 3:30 so 3:40 was my goal.  I had a 3:40 pace band on to keep myself in check. 

The weather was perfect.  We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.  There was talk of a tail wind that would help push us the last 6 miles and up the last hill to the finish.  The gun went off and we started running.  It was pretty congested with runners so I just watched my footing.  Mile one, mile two went by in a blink and then around mile three I watched Kim move away from me.  He was trying to Boston Qualify and had a great training season running so strong.  I knew he was going to crush it.

This marathon is absolutely beautiful.  You run by quite a few lakes. The crowd support was fantastic.  I made a point of reading the silly signs.  “Run like someone called you a jogger”, “Run Bitch Run”, “Smile if you just peed a little”, “Hurry up and finish so I can watch the Viking’s, “26.2 miles for 26.2 glasses of wine”.  There were so many families out there sitting on their lawns with there living room furniture cheering for the runners.  There were sections of these clusters of cheering sections and then quiet sections, then more cheering sections, and then none where I could hear the conversations of other runners. I haven’t run without Kim in a marathon in years.  I decided to start dedicating my miles and thinking of that person.  I count 10 things that they do that make me laugh.  I found myself laughing and smiling thinking of these people and all the silly memories.  It’s funny how my mind drifts to memories that I’ve forgotten.  This kept me positive for quite a few miles.

I had read a post on the Twin Cites marathon page that someone wrote some advice.  They said, “no matter what happens, don’t stop running”.  I took this advice and when I wanted to walk, I never did, I did however slow down a bit but never once walked.  My pace was still on target for a BQ and my hamstring started to ache.  I slowed down and calculated in my head “if I did a 10-minute pace from this point on I would still BQ” so I used that logic to get me through.  I knew Carolyn would be at mile 25.  I kept thinking, “you only have 4 more miles till you see Carolyn”, keep smiling.  At this point there were a lot of runners that started walking.  The Minnesota cheering was relentless.  These people were screaming runners’ names to kept pushing them to finish.  Towards the end there were so many runners walking and the worst was the runner’s legs lock up with cramps right before the finish.  I kept going, keeping my legs moving, and never giving up. 

Like seeing an angel, there was Carolyn yelling “Jeanne, there’s that smile” and I yelled “I LOVE YOU CAROLYN”.  Now I knew I was so close to the finish.  Someone yelled “The downhill to the finish is right there”.  I looked ahead and could see the top of the hill.  As I started to go down the hill there was the American Flag that was hanging overhead.  I ran towards it thinking “You’ve got this Jeanne”. The cheering was like the NYC marathon.  I was smiling ear to ear.  I kicked up my pace and ran with all that I had left in me.  I crossed the finish line and started to cry.  Then I saw the best site ever.  There was Kim smiling at me.  I did it.  I managed to finish at 3:46.  I Boston Qualified.  I had a good run too!  No demons, no walking, no bad thoughts, no throwing up at the finish, I did it! 

I got my medal and hugged the woman, who clearly was not a hugger, and kept walking, picking up Gatorade, water, chips and the best of all, chocolate milk!  Kim however was a hugger and gave me a hug.  He said “I had a great race and told me that he finished 3:26!  I was so happy that we both had a BQ time.  We went to the gear check that was SO organized and well managed and then waited for Marcie and Marissa to cross.  I was hoping they loved the course as much as I did.

We met up with them and was so pleased to hear both say that they agreed that this course was absolutely beautiful.  We sat on the lawn at the capital and warmed up on a heat shield blanket soaking up the sunshine.  We made sure we took a photo of us “rock stars”.

Marissa made a comment about the crowd support.  She said, “I felt like I had my own personal cheering sections as they were yelling my name, “Come on Marissa, You GOT THIS”.  I agree, I also need to have my name spelled phonically correct next year on my bib.  I was called many versions of “Jeanne”.  I think next year I’ll have my bib spell my name “GENIE” or “JEAN”.

And, Yes, I will be back next year.    

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