Twin Cities Marathon
Here is my 10 second race recap: On Sunday I “ran” the Twin Cities marathon. The gun went off at 8. I dropped out at 9:23, just beyond halfway. The pace felt easy. My ribs felt terrible. I cut my losses early to prevent further damage.
This was my 7th trip to Minneapolis with the previous six occurring in July for the Lifetime Fitness triathlon. What a difference a few months make. July: hot and steamy. October: crisp and beautiful. Fall in the mid-West is a colorful spectacle replete with cool mornings and warm, sunny afternoons — perfect weather for running a marathon.
I was granted elite status for this race which was a huge coup. Twin Cities in Motion, the organizers of the marathon, really know how to treat their elite athletes; they provided airport transportation, hotel rooms, a fully stocked hospitality suite, massage, a race morning staging area, a beautiful course jammed with spectators and a general conviviality rarely seen in triathlon. I felt welcome, that my presence at the race was meaningful. I felt guilty about dropping out after their wonderful kindness and it unquestionably made me want to return next year to finish my unfinished business.
Most of the marathon athletes stayed at the host hotel. As a newbie to the running scene, this offered me the opportunity to take a peek into a world that is utterly unfamiliar. I felt like an interloper, although I found most people gracious. I even made a new friend.
The morning before the race, I set out for a run with Jim, an athlete I coach who was also running the race. Two African runners headed out with us. I figured they would pass us quickly and leave us in the dust. Nope. They stayed behind us, which was incredibly disconcerting. Was I running too fast? Surely they should have been in front of us. One of the guys turned back quickly, but the other stuck with us. I had a few pick-ups to do. I sped up, he sped up; I slowed down, he slowed down. My new friend told me that he is from Ethiopia.