The amount of things I’ve packed into the last ten days is NOT recommended. The only reason I’ve survived all the craziness is because I have an amazing set of family and friends who support me.
Saturday afternoon I headed to Duluth to check in to Superiorman. My VIP entry meant that they mailed some aspects of the race to my parent’s house, where I don’t live anymore. So my parents and brother had to travel in the afternoon also, so I could start the check-in process.
I quickly set up transition, and made the mistake of dropping off a bag of stuff that I needed, but I didn’t note exactly what was in that bag. (You can just see it in the background). I knew I’d have plenty of time in the morning to line things up perfectly, plus I didn’t want it to get accidentally kicked as others did their setup.
After a delicious dinner at Scenic Cafe, I quickly fell asleep. The craziness of the week had caught up to me enough that sleeping on a pullout couch in a strange hotel couldn’t even keep me awake. I did wake once at 3:30 am, but easily slept until my alarm went off at 4:30, I quickly changed and started walking to transition, taking a quick stop for a snapchat. ( @katie_LF if you want to follow me).
I sat in transition from 5 am until 6:30 am when they made us go outside and wait to load the boat. I chatted with strangers about nerves and perceived water temp, and ended up seeing a high school classmate and college classmate that were also racing the 41.5 distance. At 7:30 my high school classmate jumped off the boat, and 4 seconds later I followed. My face was freezing, I immediately wished I had a long sleeved wetsuit. The classmate was backstroking, and another friend had mentioned that as a great way to stay active while probably relaxing a bit. So onto my back I went. I ended up backstroking 95% of the swim.
I was impressed by the ramp, and the crew that assisted in pulling us out of the water, I cannot imagine how cold their legs were! My friends Josh and Dave from the Lakes Area Multisport group were competing in the 70.3 distance race, and my friend Ellen was spectating. She was kind enough to take my picture a few times! So the photos of me, were clearly taken by her, I did not have my cellphone with on the course.
This is from the end of the bike course, and a very accurate picture of the technicalities of the start and finish of the bike. There were multiple on-ramps and off-ramps, all with tight turns, which did not allow for enjoying the downhill, or preparing for the uphill. I was impressed with my speed on Highway 61 express, at some point I saw 18 miles per hour on my watch. I thought I had a little wind holding me back, so when I hit the halfway point I was fairly certain I would finish. The road conditions weren’t perfect, I saw flats, and was concerned a few times that I would hit a similar fate. On scenic highway 61 I started to slow down. I know I saw 16 mph, and it may have been even slower. Thankfully I had my friend Mike’s voice in my head, and I was able to get back to good form, which sped me back up.
Do NOT let this smile fool you. The run was not all smiles and sunshine. I started the “run” with a walk a minute, run a minute interval, which lasted at least the first mile. I heard a spectator claiming “when you get off the bike your legs feel like jello”. She is WRONG. When you get off the bike your legs feel like lead. If they feel like jello you haven’t been riding hard enough. Eventually I was able to run for two minutes, walk for a minute. And further into the course I almost hit running 3 minutes, walk a minute. I still haven’t figured out how to use my garmin in multisport mode effectively, so after a while I finally got it to tell me intervals of running 6 minutes, and walking 1 minute, which I followed somewhat for the second half of the course.
I had attended the pre-race meeting on Saturday afternoon with Josh, and he gave me the tip to put ice down my shorts if it was available on the run. And let me tell you, it felt freaking fantastic!!! Next time I’ll put it down my top as well. I hate the way this hat looks on, but with the sun I was very happy to have it. It was easy to have good energy at this point because I was so darn happy to have actually gotten to the run, and because I didn’t have to do a second lap like the 70.3 athletes did.
In the final mile I saw my parents driving down the road (with Johnny attending they weren’t able to navigate crowds to fully spectate) and I hoped they would park and come find me at the finish. As I crossed the finish line I had a volunteer place ice on my back (which felt awesome), I struggled to catch my breath for a bit, and eventually chugged two bottles of water. I started to make my way towards the transition area so I could call my parents and see if I was able to say hi to them.
I was able to see them and take a quick picture with Johnny (my brother). He was not happy that I wasn’t riding with them back to Aitkin. Instead I took a quick shower at the hotel, and then walked the course backwards to see Josh and cheer for him. The Lakes Area Multisport group has been so influential in the goals I have set in the last three years, and I know I wouldn’t have crossed the finish line if it weren’t for their support.
I spent a few more hours in Duluth attending my favorite places, and generally smiling like a fool before driving back down to the Twin Cities. Monday was a rough work day, but I had two cups of coffee instead of my usual 1, and managed a 4 mile walk in the evening. My hips and glutes are incredibly sore, and my left knee is also in quite a bit of pain.
I had plenty of crazy thoughts during the race for what my challenge should be next summer….Part of me wants to take on Grandma’s Marathon again, another part of me wants to attempt the full 70.3 Superiorman. But I would need to do actual training in order to survive the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. Next I have the Twin Cities 10 mile, so I’m sure those endorphins will make me want to take on the Twin Cities Marathon… For now I’ll just focus on staying active through the winter and see where life takes me.
Do you have any goals for this fall/winter? Or are you already looking at next summer’s races?