Did I mention that I’m a runner? These days I dabble but I used to be pretty good and fairly fast. I’ve run 14 marathons in the past 11 years. Three of those marathons were the Boston Marathon – which means, it’s true. I am/was pretty fast for an old lady.
(BTW: That picture up top – that’s me with my daughter-in-law. Pretty fun to have a DIL that is willing to run with you!)
My last marathon, in June of 2017, was actually called Grandma’s Marathon. I’ver never really known why its called that except for the restaurant (Grandma’s) near the finish line. When I signed up for that race, there was a spot to check whether or not you were a grandma. I checked that box. But there was nothing extra in it. Not even a designation on my race bib. Hmmm…
I’m not saying my marathon days are over but they might be. A significant amount of peer pressure might sway me but it would need to be significant. It’s a lot of work, a lot of time, and I’m clearly no spring chicken. I’m a grandma through and through.
Now I stick to middle distances likes half marathons or 10K’s. I’ve run two half marathon’s this year and a Ragnar Relay.
This weekend I ran a half marathon – Big Woods Half Marathon. I signed up for it about 6 months ago when it was on sale for $20. As race day approached, I debated whether or not I’d do it. I wasn’t feeling particularly well-trained and it was a different type of race than I was used. It was a trail race – which is much different than a road race. It would be run through a state park.
My training had been a bit spotty – quite a bit of traveling for work and particularly poor weather for outdoor running. But then I’ve never NOT run a race I’ve signed up for. Not once. So I thought I’d just go, take it easy, and enjoy the lovely scenery.
The race location was a good hour from home. When I left for the race early Saturday morning, it was lovely and clear, but cold. It was a beautiful drive through some of Minnesota’s best farming country.
Fall and harvest is beautiful in Minnesota. It reminds me a lot of the vast prairies of my homeland in Alberta, Canada.
One big difference is that instead of wide open fields of wheat, I see corn everywhere. I’ve grown to love it like I loved the smell of wheat harvest in the fall in Canada.
There were beautiful farms and quaint little towns all along the way. For some reason my GPS took me down every back road it could come up with. I even got to try my skill on some gravel roads, thank you very much!
I finally arrived at the race location – a beautiful setting outside Faribault, Minnesota. I’d never been there before but I’m glad I made the trip. It was such a lovely drive.
As I got ready for the race to start, it was clear that I was surrounded by people who were familiar with this race, had done it before and were back for good reason. I soon learned why.
Thirteen miles through the most beautiful, fall, forests. It smelled wonderful; that distinct scent of wet and dying leaves. Clearly, they’d had a lot of rain in this area because in addition to the beautiful foliage and sweet smells of autumn, were many, many, many puddles of mud. The blackest mud I’ve ever seen! I tried to avoid the mud as much as I could but it meant all sorts of detours to run around it.
It just became too exhausting to run around it so I just went through it. I kept thinking of the book – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. I’ve read it so many times to the littles. There’s the part where it goes “squelch squerch, squelch, squerch, squelch squerch” through the mud. That’s exactly what it felt like I was doing.
Well, ultimately I finished that race. It was really hard. I mean, so hard. The best part of that race though, was the incredible hospitality of the sweet church ladies after the race. It was the best post-race food I’ve ever had! Hot soup, fresh bread, home made cookies … I’ll take that over a salted nut roll and bag of chips any day.
Today, I feel like I got hit by a bus. I’m seriously getting too old for this. But I’m glad I did it and plan to do it again next year. I think this grandma might have another race or two in her!
Oh … I said earlier that I’ve never missed a race that I’d signed up for. Well, that streak is about to end. I signed up for race that is the same day as one my littles’ birthdays. Easy decision – I’m going to celebrate that birthday out of state instead of running a race out of state. Good choice!
Thank you to my fellow blogger over at Minnesota Prairie Roots who coincidentally mentioned the half marathon in her blog last week! Reading her blog made me just a little more excited to run yesterday.