Race Entry to Grandma's Marathon: $60
Housing at St. Scholastica College: $75
Plane Ticket to Minneapolis: $298
Two Days Car Rental and Tank of Gas: $65
A Marathon Time of 2:59:59: Priceless
Well..it would have been anyway. At the very least I wanted to beat the woman who withdrew her offer of housing in Duluth, but in the end she whupped me soundly, finishing about 7 and a half minutes ahead of me. After 8 brilliant miles and 18 painful ones that tested the fibre of my soul, I crossed the finish line under a clock that read 3:03 flat. (My chip time was 8 seconds faster.) That's a six minute PR for me and while I am disappointed that I didn't break three hours, I'm still very happy with how the race went.
It's easy to second guess yourself after the fact...I should have gotten more sleep the few nights before the race, I should have arrived in Minnesota a day earlier, I shouldn't have raced a 5K the weekend before, I should have run the first few miles more conservatively, I should have slurped down one more energy gel, I should have worn different shoes...but that's really just a futile mind game. When it comes down to it, I'm not thinking, "I should have trained harder." As for my next try at the holy grail of marathon times though? I'm going to train harder.
Duluth itself was beautiful. Unexpectedly so. When I came over the rise of Route 35 and saw the city spread out far below me on the edge of the lake, it was really breathtaking. I hadn't realized what a dramatic setting it was. I don't think I'll be buying property up there any time soon without finding out just how bad the winters really are, but the (short) summers must be heavenly. In hindsight, I would have liked to have had another day to just explore the area, but there wasn't any way for me to change my plane ticket to Sunday.
I'll post my mile splits tomorrow, so everyone can judge and condemn me for my foolhardy pipe dream of 2:55, but when I was there in the moment, I just felt like going for it. Yes, I "died" over the last few miles of the race, but "dying" at the end used to mean 10-minute-miles and now it's more like 7:30s, so I definitely am a better, smarter runner now. This sub-three thing is going to happen eventually, I have no doubt.