I ran the Twin Cities Marathon this past weekend. I originally signed up for this race back in January. At that time a lot of people I know were signing up to run the Chicago Marathon, which is next weekend. I almost pulled the trigger on Chicago, but didn’t really want to deal with the logistics of being out there with 45,000 other people. I still kind of like the smaller marathons (if Twin Cities counts as smaller, with 8200+ finishers), and am SO glad I chose this race.I flew in on Saturday and stayed at a hotel that was a couple of hundred yards from the finish line in St. Paul. The course is a point to point which starts at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The buses to the start line conveniently left from my hotel in the morning, so this race could not have been any easier to run. I stayed in the Metrodome (home of the Vikings) until about 10 minutes before the start, which was both a blessing and a curse. Blessing, since the near perfect temperature of 38 degrees made it a little cool to be hanging outside in a singlet and shorts. Curse, since by the time I got outside, it was very hard to get very far in the starting corrals.I lined up somewhere behind the 5 hour pace groups and couldn’t get any further. Since my goal was to come in under 4 hours, this was kind of a drag but I figured I would make it up pretty easily in the first couple of miles. The race was a lot more crowded than I thought it would be however. It was pretty congested for the first several miles, and it wasn’t until around mile 8 that I was able to get past the 4:15 pace group and get into a more aggressive 4hr pace.
I can’t say enough good things about this race. The weather was perfect for running – stayed around the 40’s and not a cloud in the sky. There were people lining the entire course and they were loud and enthusiastic. Alan Page stands atop mile 3 playing his tuba. Somewhere around mile 24 I saw Senator and SNL alum Al Franken on the sidelines cheering people. The course passes many of the MN lakes and provides beautiful scenery, but in honesty I was so dead set on hitting my goal I know I didn’t take advantage of the landscape enough.
I ended up finishing in 3:57:43 which is my first sub-4 after numerous attempts. This is the first marathon that I’ve been able to run negative splits (aided in a big part to being held up in the first half for sure). I heard a lot about this hills going into this race, but I thought it was gently rolling which I think actually helped me. I felt like I still had some left in the tank though and I’m thinking I can do a little better at the Philadelphia Marathon next month. My mile splits are below:
Mile 1 – 9:12
Capital Complex outside the Finish Line
Cathedral of St. Paul (bad picture but it was beautiful to run by!)