Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Grandmas 2014

I ran (to be more accurate - walked, hobbled, ran, repeat sequence) and ultimately made it across the finish line.

Ok, there is a bit more to the story. It was 22 days and 12 hours after my knee surgery (the picture of my knee is 7 days after surgery) and I had all of 2 runs to provide me a running base. I ran 2 miles on Monday and it felt better than expected and then I did 7 miles around Harriet and Calhoun and it went ok. I thought I could have gone a few more miles but another 19 miles seemed like a whole lot more than I was capable of.

We again camped at Pattison State Park just south of Superior, camping in Pattison works out so well it is amazing. Granted we did have to deal with campground bathrooms and no cell phone service again but it works out better than a hotel and is a whole lot less expensive (granted if you ask our daughter she would disagree). We arrived on Thursday to a misty foggy day with temps in the low 50's. We got our camp setup and got ready for a nice cool and wet camping experience. The weather had us questioning why exactly did we come up on Thursday? Between the cold and the rain, I am not sure any of us slept that great.

Friday the weather was the same, cool, misty, foggy, a normal summer weekend in Duluth :-), since we got to Duluth on Thursday it allowed us to have a leisurely day on Friday which reminded us that's why we came up on Thursday. I should admit that on Friday I was pretty sure that I would not be running instead I was thinking that I would enjoy watching my daughter run the 1/2 and take in Grandmas as a spectator. I was having off and on pain as the knee had swelled a bit after the 7 miler. I told myself I would make my final decision the morning of Grandmas as maybe the knee would be pain free. So, we picked up our packets, ate lunch in Canal Park, took in the expo, listened to Marshall Ulrich, had some tea at Caribou (we all enjoyed having their free internet). After that we went over and ate spaghetti and returned to camp.

Our alarms went off at 3:30 and we got going fairly quickly and were off to the DECC as my daughter wanted to ride the bus to the start line. I dressed like I would run but I kept thinking that to do so would not be a smart decision. If I stepped wrong it hurt but if I stepped right it was fine so I just needed to step right :-). With that thought, I was debating maybe start and get in as many miles as I could but even that seemed like a bad idea. We got our daughter to her bus and I was about to tell my wife that I was not going to run when she said "you know you will regret it if you don't try", with that I said what the heck and grabbed everything I needed and went for a bus.

I got to the start line and started looking for two people I knew were running and that I should/could run with: Mindy and Londell. Londell was running his 30th Grandmas and Mindy was running her second marathon, her first Grandmas. I didn't see Londell but found Mindy, we discussed our race strategies (or lack there of) and decided to start together. Mindy had joined our running group at our church and then had decided to run Twin Cities last year. My wife had said she hadn't been training too much which she confirmed as we waited on the start.

My plan was to run using the Galloway method of 1 minute running/1 minute walking. Mindy wasn't sure about that method and decided to run her own race, so she was quickly out of site. It was about a mile into the race when my wife sent me a text and said our daughter looked good. About a 1/2 hr later I got a text or a call that she was in tears and in a lot of pain. Of course I then thought what am I doing out here, I should be there to help out. As I waited for the next update, I was thinking that maybe I could get someone to give me a ride to the finish area. I of course thought of her running through a stress fracture and other serious issues. My wife and I continued to text about her progress, she was able to finish and went right into the medical tent. When she emerged from the tent, she said that they had told her that she misaligned hip which had caused her pain. They were able to help relieve the pressure with manipulations/massage. Thankfully she was ok.

The run-walk method worked about like I hoped but as the miles started to increase I noticed that the camber of the highway was causing discomfort. It seemed like I needed to stay centered or on the right side. I can't remember what mile but I caught up to Mindy and she did the run-walk with me for a while. She too was having some hip pain. About then I saw Londell and his son Jordan, we talked for a while but since I was being anal about my run-walk I took off fairly quickly (great job Londell!!!). I knew staying consistent was my only chance and if I got off rhythm I might be in trouble. Mindy slowly fell behind as I continued with my run-walk method, my daughter called and said they were going to make it on the course around mile 16. I had asked them to grab me a dry shirt and my TCM brooks pullover as I was concerned it was going to turn colder especially if I slowed down as expected.

As I came up to them my wife commented on how much I was limping, I knew I was as we kept getting shooed to the left side of the road (emergency vehicles, buses and race official) which caused more and more discomfort so I knew I was compensating. I debated quitting as I really didn't want to damage the knee and I was pretty sure that I was getting near a breaking point. I decided to continue on but only made it a 100 yards before I turned around, I had more pain than I had expected and was thinking I had done more than enough. I was discussing it with my wife and daughter and told them that I thought I should quit, about then Mindy came up to us, we both discussed quitting and she decided to continue, my wife mentioned the traffic into Duluth and I decided to go ahead and join Mindy. I expected she would be doing a bit of walking and was thinking it would minimize the damage.

I saw Wayne and Lisa at mile 18, chatted for a few minutes, took back off to catch Mindy and we then continued on together. I had my sip of beer around mile 20, saw my wife and daughter just past the Edgewater where they mentioned that we had looked better earlier. I was having a blister issue in addition to the knee pain so it wasn't as easy as I thought it might be. The nice part as we got into downtown Duluth, the weather cleared up and we could see boats out in Lake Superior.

We made it to the finish in 6 hrs 11 minutes, a bit slower than I had hoped but it did get me my 14th Grandmas finish. So I guess I will need to run it in next year, how can I resist getting my 15th finish in 2015.

If you are curious about how the recovery has gone, well it's been a bit slower than I hoped, the knee is a little painful when I run so I am taking it easy. I will probably forego Eugene Curnow and focus on St. Paul with a nice easy 8 week ramp to get back into marathon shape. Turns out I also got a nice sunburn, considering the 15 minutes of sun that was a surprise. The funny part about that is, I like to wear my hat backwards which meant that I had a nice crescent moon burn (from the gap in the hat) which provided my family and co-workers a great deal of amusement.

So am I happy I went for it, absolutely.

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