Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Minneapolis Half-Marathon Report: Race day!

This is late, but I have been working on this one for awhile here and there. It's a long one!

After the LLS inspiration dinner we headed home and got the kids to bed with grandma's help.  I then laid out all my stuff for the race (shirt, shoes, etc) packed my bag with extra clothes for after, and went to bed.  Before I knew it, the alarm went off at 5am to wake me up.  I groggily got dressed and then had a quick breakfast of bagel and cream cheese and a banana and drank some gatorade (yummy).  I then drove downtown to the Depot to meet up with the Team (check in at 6 am..whew!) while Maria, Grandma and the kids were coming down around 9:30 since it would be hard to keep the kids occupied for so long.  I nabbed a free spot on the street across from the Depot and headed over and met up with my Teammates.  We all were milling about, getting last minute touch ups:

Team Ironman!

Like the Tutu? Custom made I hear....

Dana was showing off her decorations in the back...really

I was taking pictures and of course talking about this or that and finishing up my Gatorade (bottle #2) because it was cool (60) but it was going to be a sunny warm day.

Me getting a picture taken of me getting pictures...hey it was early!

Everyone had a lot of friends and family there to wish them well and also to man/woman cheer stations.  Mark, who was running with us but then got injured and couldn't race, showed his support for dressing up as a member of the TNT cheer squad with Elizabeth's sister.
Kamberg, Krysty, Klapatch and Krew.  Like those shades Mark!

After everyone had checked in, we had our group photo at 6:20 and then we all went en masse to the start line. 

All 84 of my Teammates!!! GO TEAM!
At that point it was deserted with 30 mins or so till the gun went off, but there was a silver lining (or porcelain I should say) to getting there early.  NO LINE AT THE PORTA-POTTIES!  Which I definitely needed to hit up before the race started after all the Gatorade I had drank.  Before I did, I got a picture with my Teammate, Phil at the start line:

Ready to bust out 13.1 miles!

The corral started to fill up, and the sound of slamming porta-pottie doors soon began to take up a rhythmic beat to the counterpoint of the all the voices of the runners as all 4,800+ began to gather.  I took up with 5 of my Teammates (Ashley, Sherillia, Megan, Elizabeth, Larry) and chatted about the race as we waited.  Soon enough there was 5 minutes before start and you could feel the energy start to ramp up.  Sherellia and Ashley were a little nervous, but I was mainly pumped because it was sunny! And I had some Coldplay blasting through my headphones, so it was a perfect way to start! Lets go!

Mile 1-2:  After the start I ran with Ashley and Megan, dodging some potholes in the street until we turned and ran down past the Mill City Museum/Guthrie and headed toward Nicollet Island. I felt good, we were going a easy 11 min pace, until about 1.5 miles in my calf clenched up real tight.  I kept going hoping the pain would subside.

Miles 2-3:  After almost another mile of running and pain getting worse (I was starting to limp/run) I stopped and stretched my calf for 30 seconds, then started walking to see if that felt better.  It did, and I stopped 2 more times to stretch and then was joined by one of my Teammates, Rachelle, and we started running over the bridge to Nicolet Island.

Miles 3-7:  Wow. I felt great during these miles (minus the uneven cobble stone streets) and I even sped up and had to slow down because I felt so good.  The calf wasn't angry at me anymore and I cruised along and ran across the scenic Stone Arch Bridge.  Someone saw me and took a pic:

Bald head and nice ass, huh?
I guess they got my good side on that one!  Alie's picture had fallen off by then (I was asked 3 times if she was my daughter) probably because I was sweating so much!  I continued across the bridge waving like a ham at the photogs (was hoping I would get in the paper, no luck) hit up the water station and ran through the finish, and then thats where the party ended.

Miles 7-9.5:  HILLS. AND I MEAN HILLS.  There was a big ass hill to climb and soon as we passed mile 7, it was a doozy. I was working to get up it, and people were walking as fast as I was running...yeah I'm slow.  But I persevered and kept going and around mile 8 was a TNT cheer squad waiting for me:

Thanks Sandy and Mark!
Buoyed by the cheers I kept going despite now my calf was hurting as well as my feet (did I mention I had done one long run of 8.5 miles only to prepare for the race? Apparently my feet realized this and were not happy!).  The turnaround was soon, so I kept going and smiled for Paul, another Teammate taking pictures as we all passed by.  I have to say after the race, everyone was like Jamie you were smiling the whole time! Which was true I guess, I kept smiling and yelling encouragement the whole way to the Team (I know I am THAT guy who shouts and pumps his first and yells "WAY TO GO" alot, and I am sure some people wanted to punch me!).  I was having a good time despite my foot/calf pain.

All smiles and this a parade?
Miles 9.5-12.5:  I was run walking at this point, forcing myself to keep up with this one guy who had a Celtic cross tattooed on his leg. I wasn't going to let him out of my sights. I got a reprieve going back down the big hill, but then had to go up another. I fell in step with the celtic cross guy and we chatted as we both recovered.  This was his first half, and the heat was getting to him (75 isnt hot but in MN it feels like it!) I was feeling better, and I saw that last hill looming before me.....

12.5 to the 13.1:  I slowly pushed up the hill, knowing the end was near.  At the top I slowed to get my breathing under control, and I could see the flag lined path to the finish. I picked up my legs and started again, and I heard the crowd ahead.  In my mind I thought, finish strong! As I came around the turn I could see the final stretch and I gave it my all and sprinted toward the Finish.  I blew past a lot of people walking and heard Maria and some of my Team start shouting go Jamie!  I kicked it up at the last 20 yards and blew past the 75 year old power walker in the neon green runners shorts (he did the whole thing walking and nearly beat me....good for him).  Wahoo!!! I did it! Here's me at the finish:

Why are my eyes closed? Do I do that when I sprint?
My official time was 2:46:16 I think. I'll take it! After struggling with injuries all season I am happy to finish!

Post-Race:  My mom, Maria, and the kids got there 15 minutes before I crossed the finish, there were issues with the light rail so had to take the bus.  I was glad they got to see me finish, and my Mom was very proud to see me accomplish that.  I grabbed my medal and some post-race food (most of which the kids ate) and went back to the TNT tent and got my stuff.  We didn't get a chance to stay too long, my Mom's flight left at 2pm for NC, so we went home and had lunch and took some pics with grandma before she left.

The race was great, our Team raised almost $165,000 for blood cancer research.  That is truly amazing!  Alie, my personal honoree, couldn't make it to see me finish, but she was there with me when I crossed that line.  Team in Training is a wonderful program that can help you achieve things you never felt possible mentally and physically.  The people I have met and trained with since February are now my friends, and its been awesome!  I will continue this fall with the Team, and I currently training for my second marathon! 

Next up, my goals on my upcoming triathlon.....but here are some more photos of my TNTers during the race:

Betsy, Val, and Kristine our Coaches!

Lauri, a survivor and our Honored Teammate
Go Tanya! This was an awesome pic of her, all smiles!

Go Bob and Megan!

Way to go  Elizabeth!

Elizabeth K was also all smiles!

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