On the road again…
Grandma’s Marathon is a great race, throw in their 40th year, and as a midwest runner, it’s a race you can’t miss.
Check out my official review at Bibrave.com
This year, Josh was going to run the full, and a group of friends from high school would be along (Laura, Kate and Laura) for the fun.
We left the Friday before the race, and picked up the rest of the gang in MPLS. The 7 hour ish drive was some what eventful as we detoured around a portion of I-35 that was under construction. With so many people heading north for the weekend, it backs up traffic. However the detour was fun, even saw this giant fish!
We arrived in Duluth in time for the pre race pasta party. It closes at 9pm, an hour after the expo closes. However packet pick up remains open until 11 pm – BONUS!! Anyway back to the pasta, for only $12 you can get a ton of food. Pasta how you want it, salad, milk, all the bread, and ice cream.
The race has no registration options at the expo, it actually sold out in December. They offered a track jacket with the 40th year logo, that was sent in the mail months ahead.
We grabbed all our things, ate all the food and headed to our hotel in Superior, WI. This hotel is great, it has a bus come pick us up at the front door to get to the start of the race. They also offer a runners breakfast starting at 4:45 am. Fruit, breads, yogurts, and COFFEE!!
Saturday June 18, 2016. warm! 7:45 am. race start temp of 72, 80s at the end.
Josh and I made it to the start on the bus, while the others caught up on their sleep. We met up with Gina, who was running her first ever marathon. We also managed to snag a port-o-potty, even though all the lines were crazy long.
The announcer kept telling everyone – how long before the start and the temperature. It seemed like it was 68 degrees forever, and then right before the race started it was 72.
Josh and I parted ways as he found his pace in the starting corals, and I moved my way back.
Race/ course: Starts in Two Harbors, MN and ends in Duluth, running along old Hwy 61, following Lake Superior. The half marathon starts at the halfway point 45 minutes before the full.
I didn’t have a goal going into the race, just finish and have a good time. This was my second time running this course, and I knew what to expect, so I was just going to take it in.
GEAR: OM pack, Brooks ghost, Nathan race belt, pink Sparkle Athletic skirt, Pro Compression socks, Adidas 7″ boy short, Garmin Fenix, BibRave tech hat, xx2i usa1 sunglasses, lathered in 2 Toms.
-FLAT! Elevation change is just under 200 feet – ok so there are some hills, but nothing crazy
-each mile was marked with a sign and a yellow balloon
-lots of hydration stops. Water and Powerade in separate paper cups, and at tables with signs.
-Ice, sponges, gels, oranges and bananas, jolly ranchers at mile 18
-Spectators! All access points to the course had people with signs, ready to slap high fives. The areas in town had bacon stops, donuts, beer (non supported food) Lots of energetic younger people.
-MarathonFoto on course, mostly near the end
-Port-o-potties on the course, lots of them at the halfway point
-Views of Lake Superior
-clocks on the course, timing splits for the online tracking
-Volunteers / law enforcement, they were at every intersection and very energetic.
-Road closed to traffic, entire width of road to run on. Open for 7 hours
-Medical stations manned by the military (not sure what level or branch, assuming National Guard.
I made sure to hit all the water stops, it was going to get warm. I didn’t think it to be that humid, but some disagreed. I think my favorite thing to do was to get a cup of ice and then fill it with the blue Powerade, it was very good. The wet sponges were great too. I also ran with my OM hydraquiver vest pack one, and kept it full of water, either to drink or splash on my head.
Enough can’t be said about the spectators on this course, they are out at every intersection they have access too. Singing silly songs, fun signs and all the high fives.
By mile 15 the race had issued their red flag warning, meaning due to the heat, the conditions were not great. Then by mile 17, they black flagged the race, meaning there was extreme risk for dehydration and things. I’ll be honest I wasn’t feeling any effects of the heat at mile 15, the breeze off the lake felt great! I did take warning and walked a lot and just kept on drinking. From about mile 18 to the finish there was no shade, the sun was hot and I wish I had some sunscreen.
It would have also been nice to see my friends somewhere on the course, I was expecting to see them near the “boat” (freighter) by the finish. However nothing… I figured they would meet me at the finish line…nothing…plus Josh was also running…then I was like ok what’s up?
However I took my moment across the finish line as the song “One Shining Moment” played, with a time of 5:32. I grabbed a bottle of water, the snazzy, heavy finisher’s medal, my finisher’s shirt and a mylar blanket. I proceeded to get some post race strawberries and chocolate milk. I turned my phone off of airplane mode.
I then got a call…”where are you?” Then it was the fun of reuniting with Josh, who was with Kate, because he had spent some time in the medical tent for dehydration. He was better, and some how managed to leave the med tent with a different hat. I sat with them while I ate my strawberries and drank more liquids, it was hot!
We got up, and were eventually headed to Little Angie’s Cantina, where the Lauras had secured a table outside in the shade. I was going to make a stop at the beer first, I earned that post race brew!!! It was a good one too, an O’dell’s IPA. We also hit up the race result printouts.
We all reunited at the restaurant, which was just by the finish line. We ate all the mexican food (pass the salt) and enjoyed the cheering. We topped it off with fried ice cream.
Overall: This was the second year I ran the full, 3rd year at this event. I still love it, and have already made my hotel reservation for next year. Grandma’s is a great marathon!
The gang stayed an additional night in the area. Which was a great idea, we could check out the sights, which we did sans Josh as he needed some rest and still wasn’t 100%.
There is a little candy store on the course at about mile 5, so we piled into the car and headed north. MMM I can still smell the chocolate…we all bought a variety of treats. We also made it up to Two Harbors.
After some time skipping rocks at a road side park, it was getting time to eat again…duh!
So we picked up Josh and found this supper club in Superior. It was like stepping back into 1985. The restaurant was above the liquor store and bar on the first floor.
Josh and I enjoyed some fish from the lake and topped off the evening with a Golden Cadillac. It’s an ice cream drink with alcohol, we were surprised the waitress (also someone’s grandma) knew what it was.
Ok I am rambling on here…but we had a great time in Duluth, we couldn’t leave without eating breakfast at a “greasy spoon”
There was still some traffic backups on the way back to MPLS, so we took some adventurous roads back. Note to self, google maps is not always right, hello dead end gravel roads.
On to the next adventure…