Here it is! In one little post I’ve compiled what worked for Grandma’s Half Marathon 2017. Since this was my 3rd half at Grandma’s, and I’ve also completed the full and the 5k I’ve learned plenty of tips over the years. So if you’re considering the race in the future and have more questions, let me know!
Packet Pickup: I arrived in Duluth about 2 pm and parked at the DECC. There was quite a bit of traffic due to the kid’s races. My overall parking/driving tip. Is to not sit in a long line, go around, choose to walk farther if it means not sitting in your car waiting to find a spot. Both times I got caught in long lines, it turned out the line was not for what my destination was.
Wandering around Canal Park Friday was a great way to establish where to meet friends Saturday after we each finished running. Although it turns out we didn’t use our prearranged meeting spot since we happened to run into each other in the beer tent.
Pre-Race Dinner: Blackwoods. I highly recommend this spot if traveling with a group, but get reservations in advance if you need a specific time. The menu is large, the food is decent, and the prices are fairly reasonable. Everyone should be able to get something that works for their body.
Race Day! The alarm went off at 4:10 am, and we were heading towards the buses at 4:40 am. They load the buses one at a time, so you really do want to get on the bus at 4:45, even though they say they load until 5:15.
Race Start: Line up with the pacer. If you want to finish in a specific time, use the pacers that are provided. Also, this will help reduce the number of people you have to pass at the start.
Race: Do the best you can with what you have. I knew the race was going to be tough for me. There were times that I was in front of the 2:45 pacer feeling great, and there were other times I thought I would never catch back up. I only chatted with 2 girls on the course, it turns out one of them had a friend in common! The sun came out around the 10 mile mark and I was very happy that I was not running the full marathon.
I consumed a ton of water during the race, typically 2 cups per aid station. Plus ice and sponges. I stole a ice trick from a triathlon friend and put ice down my sports bra and down my shorts. It helped keep me cool even if it did seem weird. I also took 2 gu salted caramel gels, mainly for the caffeine.
Post Race: Lunch at Norther Waters Smokehaus Restaurant (the one up on the hill, not the one in Canal Park). After a quick shower food was of the utmost importance. I saw Northern Waters on the morning bus ride and knew I would want it post race. The Sitka Sushi is my new favorite after many years of ordering either the Cajun Finn or the Northern Bagel.
Recovery: 4 mile walk on Sunday and 9 holes of golf walking (no cart) on Monday! I need to get myself to yoga next, but not sure when that will be.