Minneapolis Marathon: A challenge for the long run

Sunday Oct. 16 is a day I will remember for the rest of my life. I had previously run the Mankato Half-Marathon in 2014, and I began training for my second half-marathon during the spring break of 2016 and registered for the Minneapolis half, taking place in June.

The Minneapolis Full and Half marathons were cancelled due to construction. Event organizers were not able to re-route the events. I didn’t let that stop me from running my own 13.1 mile route. After I completed that, I figured I would train for my first full marathon, four months away.

A few minutes before the start of the Mankato Full and Half-marathons on Sunday, I met Jack Lin, a student from Grand Forks studying Entrepreneurship and Kinesiology. “I’m trying to shoot for 1 hour 45 minutes or faster,” said Lin on his specific goal in his first half-marathon.

Lin prepared for the half by completing light weight lifting and mild running, he accomplished that by asking his peers to join him in the weight room or in the trails.

“Probably warm up with light rock, rock, EDM, rap, anything to go along with the mood of the race. And in-between I’ll go with a little heavier music and in the end cool down with some slow down music,” said Lin, when asked what kind of music he plans on running to.

My ten-year-old, 80 gigabyte iPod has about 4,500 songs, I listen to almost every genre, and normally listen to my collection of tracks on shuffle.

Lin ran his first half-marathon that day, an item he could cross off his bucket list. “Something to say I did. Good luck to all of the racers!,” were Lin’s final comments before the race started.

My first five miles of 26.2 were uncomfortable as I grieved over shin splints in my dominant leg. I had purchased new running shoes in March, and with 600 miles over the summer and into the fall, shin splints could have been a result of used shoes. Though, during my tapering two week period, is when the shin splints began.

My most enjoyable and comfortable period during the marathon, was from miles five-ten, where I experienced no discomfort or pain. The landscape along 589th and 586th Avenue was incredible. The morning sun greeted the asphalt road and autumn foliage. The light rays embellished the many colors the trees offered.

At the top of the first incline, mile seven, was probably one of the funnier signs a cheering fan held. “If Trump can run, so can you!” the sign read. “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon!,” was another favorite of mine.

I ran the first ten miles non-stop. After that, I felt I needed a two minute walking break. I ran another three miles before my lungs began burning, from there I started a 60/120 split where I would run for 60 seconds and fast walk for 120.

At mile 13, the thought of quitting entered my mind as I ran in front of my home. Nearing mile 18, an inner quadriceps muscle sharply discomforted me. Mile 20 though, is when both of my quads were affecting me and began sharply disfiguring my walks. It hurt to walk, but had no impact on my running. I had a choice, either run non-stop without pain or continue my walking breaks.

It would make logical sense to run non-stop, but if I hit “The Wall,” it was at mile 21. Mental and physical fog, fatigue and exhaustion had set in. Though I began “carb loading” the week prior, I had zero energy left. Luckily, the water stations were now offering Gel Packs. Gel Packs provided a simple and quick though not permanent solution to my energy levels.

Mile 24 through 26.2 were purely completed by heart and spirit. I sprinted the last 0.2 miles to the finish line. As soon as I came to a stop and walk, my legs gave out. Completely frozen in place, I zombie walked to a massage table where Mayo Clinic Physical Therapists were offering free stretches and massages.

First place (male) half-marathon runner Josiah Swanson, completed the 13.1 miles in one hour and 12 minutes. Cynthia Jorep, (female) half-marathoner completed the race in one hour and 15 minutes.

First place (male) full marathon finisher was Jeff Stuckenbroker, two hours and 41 minutes, followed by the (women’s) first place finisher Coralyn Musser with two hours and 46 minutes.

As I was retrieving my runner’s bag at the end of the event, I met a gentlemen who ran the full marathon as well. This marathon was his 277th full marathon. We briefly shook hands and wished each other luck with our future miles head of us.

This marathon was the most mentally and physically challenging endeavor I had ever attempted. It is one that will remain embedded in my mind for years. I look forward to begin my training for next year’s half and full marathon. I will also pursue triathlon training. Well done and congratulations, to all runners who participated.

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