Monday, June 18, 2007

Grandma's Marathon, But It Wasn't Duluth Weather

Lake SuperiorWhat a beautiful day it was... with a glorious sunrise over Lake Superior.

The day before had gone without a hitch... Driving to Duluth, registering and greeting friends at the expo, pasta lunch there at the DECC,(just happened to sit with a delightful couple and young daughter from Mpls), and then to the house and a chance to see flower gardens.Grandma's flowersA delicious pasta dinner .. With attention to every detail .. As our daughter-in-law and son always do!!... Pasta dinner on the LakeSalad with toasted pecans

So here we were, at 5:30am, boarding the Lake Superior train to Two Harbors.
We had trained, prepared, made lists, left nothing to chance....
BUT THE WEATHER, of course.Walking to  the startMusic at the start was blessedly less deafening this year.... The National Anthem. (Which was delivered pleasantly, musically!) ... followed by “Chariots of Fire” and we were off and running. Later, we found out that the race start temperature was a balmy 71 degrees. It is not a good sign when we don’t need to wear our garbage bags.. Or even our extra throw-away shirts.. While we are waiting for the starting gun.Runners gathering at the start areaMight have been around mile 4.. at a road intersection... a group of people.. a man out in front... and I shouted: Al... is that you?? And I hugged Al Franken !!!

My Honey’s parents, now age 94 and 97, have been volunteers with their amateur radio communications, on the Grandma’s Marathon race course since the first marathon. WeI looked forward to greeting them at mile seven. Later, they described us.. as we came up to their mile 7 post: “Looked as fresh as if they had merely walked across the street.”Volunteers age 94 and 97
We were having a fabulous time... We were making the time on our bracelets. ... We were going to finish.. And probably even in time to get finisher’s medals? Running along the Lake Shore Drive of Lake Superior... What a joy!
Along the way, our son and friend had a cooler of water bottles for us. (Also a new water bottle carrier I had bought the day before.)
And in about a minute we were on our way again. I love marathons. Sun on the hot white road
Then the sun bore down... Mile 15 to mile 19 ... We think the temperature might have been over 80.. the glare on the white surface of the road. Previously, with regular cups of ice.. and enough cold water to drink and pour over our heads and backs, we had been chugging right along. Now we were scorched.
My hands were so swollen that I could hardly bend my fingers.
At about mile 19, a couple of volunteers shouted out, Was it still fun? And I shouted back, we are having a great time!Duluth newspaperWhen we got to the Lester River and then London Road, we chose the shady sidewalk, but it was too late... We were spent. Water stops had closed down, but gratitude to the friendly young couple somewhere before mile 21 who gave us cups of ice and a man in a truck handed us 20 ounce bottles of water. A woman came with a few left-over orange wedges and warned us that there was no more support the rest of the way.

The cheerful piano concerto ring tone on my cell phone in my pocket, was Honey offering to bike back to bring us water. We are done, I said, Come and get us in the car and drive us to the finish area. Picture below shows his bike on the car.. ready for bringing us water later. You can read about Honey’s marathon run on his Make It a Masterpiece blog:
Bike on the carAmbulances came and went... some people were pretty wasted by the heat. It was time to call it a great run and celebrated survival. We had avoided the medical tents.Survivor!
Twenty-one point two miles (21.2) is a respectable run .. on any day.. and especially on a hot one. The day we have is the best day of the year! It was not a completed marathon, but it was one fabulous adventure. Duluth bridge

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