Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Garry Bjorklund 1/2 Marathon / Grandma's 1/2 Marathon - Race Re-Cap

We left for Duluth early Thursday evening managing to dodge tornadoes, rain and heavy wind gusts most of the way there.  We stayed about 15 minutes ahead of tonadoes but did get rain and wind.  We heard sirens going through a few towns and saw five tornado spotters within a couple of miles.  It was dark and a little scary but we made it! 

We camped just a few miles from Canal Park in Duluth.  It was actually really nice for us to camp vs. staying in a hotel.  With kids our ages it was nice that they could ride their bikes and have down time in a campground vs hotel.  It worked well.

Friday morning we went to the DECC to get my race packet and have spaghetti lunch.  This also worked perfect because we didn't have to sit and wait for a meal like in a typical restaurant.  {Restaurants have been getting interesting lately and we've come to the conclusion at this point we'd rather get a babysitter and enjoy ourselves when eating out.} 

The Whipper Snapper race was next on tap Friday.  They had all these boys and girls line up and "race".  First were girls under four of which they had like four heats.  Karley wanted me to hold her hand so off we ran.  We were probably the last people to make it to the finish line which certainly didn't matter to us.  Seeing the sun on her face, hair blowing in the wind off the port, looking up at me, while holding my hand was the best mother moment.  She was beautiful, running along so gleefully, proudly, energetically.  The imagine of her has been burned in my mind forever.

After girls ran the boys four and under ran.  Henry was a little unsure about it but in the end he did it and he absolutely loved it.  I was afraid he might not do it.  I was so bummed at the thought of him not running because I knew he would love it.   He's been practicing his running for a few weeks now!  I took this picture on Thursday morning.  He asked if they could go for a "run".  I so love that they are interested in doing athletic things.  I don't even care what they do just so long as they do something to get themselves moving.

It was pretty warm and windy so we went back the campground and made an early night of it as we were all wiped out.  Or so we thought.  Both Henry and Karley were so overtired they were kind of crying and whimpering for much of the night.  It wasn't the sleep I was hoping to get but that's what happens with kids right?

Saturday morning I got up at 3:50 AM showered and got ready to leave for the DECC at 4:30 AM as the bus to the starting line left at 5:00 AM.  I sat with a really nice woman named Katie.  We chatted the whole way {go figure}.  It was a cool morning with overcast skies....perfect running weather!

A woman sang the Canadian National Anthem, The American National Anthem and then the gun went off.  Cheers, cheers, cheers until you got to the start line.  Because I am a slower runner {slower runners line up to the rear so as not to cause traffic for the faster runners} it took me just about three minutes to get to the start line.  When you cross the start line you hear beep, beep, beep as one of each pair of shoes crosses the line.  The churp is the chip that will track the actual time from start to finish. 

I lined up close to the 2:15 pace runner in hopes to stay as close to that time as possible.  I thought if I could at least keep the pacer in my sites {figuring I could see about 1/2 mile ahead of me} I would be happy with my results somewhere at the 2:20 - 2:30 finish time.  The first six miles went really quick.  I was ahead of the 2:15 pace runner and actually never saw him after the first 1/4 mile.  I was amazed.  I started taking water at mile 5.  Then around mile 6 my entire body especially my legs felt like a ton of bricks.  Crap.  I gassed out at mile six or seven.  I kept thinking, "What was I going to do?"  I thought I better just take my gel pack, what was I going to save it for at this point if I was lead?  So I took it and I swear I could actually feel the change in my body and I was totally different in a matter of minutes.  I trucked on.  At rates better than I thought.  Until Lemon Drop Hill.  UGH.  I ran the first half of the hill and if there wasn't a second part I wouldn't have had to walk.  But there was, and I did.  Normally when I walk mentally it's over but that's a long way to walk with your head hung low.  I picked them up and ran on.  It was hard at times but I knew my family and friends were just ahead. 

Then I hear it.....Eye of the Tiger.....ha!  I just kept seeing Rocky climbing the stairs....hearing the words, "You've got to fight Rocky, you've got to fight"  So on they go.  My legs have a life of their own, not connected to my body, except that my mind makes them push on.  I see this amazing sign by a teenager saying, "Hello complete stranger, I am proud of you".  I point at her, smile, give her thumbs up.  She smiles.  I know she understands that her sign made my day {I also saw the man playing bag pipes, cheerleaders, many many signs, a frat house offering beer, a sidewalk lined with troll dolls, men in drag cheering, water hoses being offered to cool runners, among other things}.  Now I see my Dad & Sally.  They are waving, clapping, cheering.  I am glad they got up early and drove an hour and a half to see me.  I keep going but broke down and walked once again.  Only for a short distance, then I signaled for the long limbs to lift higher and further.  Over the freeway, around the corner, more family and friends.  I know they are there.  I see the love of my life first.  I see my nieces, Kris, Dylan, Cole, our kids, my sister, my Mom.  They are all cheering.  I hear cow bells.  I am thrilled. 

I am almost in the chute.  Just around the bend, after the bridge.  My Dad & Sally wait above for me to run under and cross the finish line.  Around one more corner, in the chute.  He calls my name over the load speaker as I finish.  YEAH!  I finished!

Gun Time: 2:15
Chip Time: 2:12:12

I am happy.

I meet my family in the tent area.  My husband hugs me, whispers in my ear how proud he is of me.  I am emotional, he gives me a kiss.  I thank him as this would not be possible without the sacrifice he's made for my accomplishment. 

We end the day at Canal Park by watching our friend Brad run the same spot I did an hour prior.  He's running 26.2.  His first marathon!  He did awesome, trained hard.  His wife sacrificed time as well, juggled schedules to make sure that he got the miles in.

The kids were tired as were we so we headed back to the campground for naps, dinner and after the kids went to bed Adam & I had a campfire and a nice conversation.  I sure do love this man. 

Sunday we drove home, cleaned the camper and had a relaxing day. 

That's my 13.1 adventure and these are the shoes that took me on it.


  1. Congratulations!!!! So proud of you Tina! I teared up just reading your recount of the morning.

  2. That is so awesome! You did amazing! Running is tough but apparently addictive. You go girl!

    Yesterday Amanda was running circles around me on the deck and then more in the grass when we went out front. She seems to find joy in running, too.

  3. Congratulations on your accomplishment. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  4. What a lovely family you have!!!
    Thanks for visiting my blog!
    Looking forward to get to know you better!

  5. Congrats again! The picture of you running is a great one! That is a cute running skirt too!

  6. Glad you stopped by from Jenny's place.
    I would encourage you to visit with the elderly. I know it is daunting with little ones but even if you just take a few toys and let them play on the rug for 20-30minutes, the residents will love it. The added bonus is that over time your kids will develop a heart for the elderly which is a unique quality in young people today.

    Your post inspired me today too. I ran a half marathon a few years ago and it was so empowering. Unfortunetly my running shoes have not seen the light of day for over a year now. Yikes!

  7. Wow, so awesome! Congratulations girl, you are an inspiration!!

    Maybe one of these years I will be running by you. :)

  8. Ooo, I'm newly inspired! Good for you and I am so proud of you, (even though we don't really know each other) that is some accomplishment!!


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