(12 miles in the park this afternoon in a messy snow/rain mix. The only thing I can say is, at least it was warm.)
More TBT. As I mull over doing a marathon in the near future (still not sure when), thoughts keep turning to the last one I ran. So below is another one of my first blog posts, fall of 2012, about the morning of the Twin Cities Marathon, which served as the 2012 US Masters Marathon Championship. I was happy with my performance, but remember that those days and moments leading up to the race were just as memorable:
It’s 5:30am. I feel surprisingly awake and in control. Just two and a half hours from the start and I muster all my racing experience to finish last minute preparations and head out. It’s rote: put on singlet, shorts, warm ups, shoes, watch, grab bag with racing flats and clothes for afterwards, room key…The forecast called for 25 degrees this morning, so decide to bring extra layers just in case.
Outside now, and it feels 25 degrees. It was 60 yesterday.
To warm up, literally, I start jogging to the Crowne Plaza hotel, the elite bus pick up area, a half mile away. It’s dark, frigid and silent, with only steam and parked cars occupying the St Paul streets. A few people in running gear appear out of the shadows, a scene out of a zombie movie. As I near my destination, I see more runners ambling towards the hotel. The cold is actually great for the race, but disorienting at this point in the early dawn.
I reach the hotel shortly before 6, the first bus leaves at 6. The hotel is teeming with runners and volunteers. There are several buses but none are clearly marked for elites. I park myself near the lobby, in a lounge area with some empty seats. I had expected to see a nicely organized group of world class runners chaperoned by coaches and race officials waiting by two set-aside buses. Instead I see a couple of 40+ looking runners, wearing elite credentials, apparently waiting for the bus; one wearing glasses and looking even more nervous than I. I can take him – half joking, half serious. Everybody, it seems, is on his/her own.
None of us acknowledge one another, but probably are secretly glad for the others’ company. It’s a moment of oasis from the frenzy of the volunteers outside and the anxiety in our nerves.
A few elites start for the door and we follow in case the bus is ready. We follow the credentials onto an ordinary yellow school bus and take a seat on the cold plastic seats. More elites, young, old, female, male, white, black board the bus. I have my earphones on, music playing. Not sure if the reality of the marathon has sunk in yet.