What It’s Like Running a Goal Race (unsuccessfully)

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Grandma’s Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

When I train for a marathon, I train in two ways. I am either training to run a race that I am interested in or excited about or I am training for a goal race. I have trained and ran five races that I was just interested in running and two that were goal races for me. This year, in April was the first one and last month, Grandma’s Marathon was the second one. Total of over six months of training for these two goal races with Grandma’s being the one where I was hoping to run a sub 4-hour marathon.

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I want to start off and talk about how iconic and special Grandma’s Marathon is. If you live in the Midwest and run marathons or have a “one day I will run a marathon” mentality, you probably have Grandma’s Marathon on your list. I have wanted to run this race for many years now. There is just a vibe that Grandma’s Marathon gives off that people fall in love with. It is remarkable how addicted people get to this race. Everything from the extremely fast course, to the views, to the partying, and of course the traditions. I was stoked to experience all of that.

I felt prepared going into marathon weekend. Almost too prepared because I was feeling a little too confident. Physically I was exactly where I wanted to be. Training went well, earlier marathon showed my potential, and I was able to make it through the Spring season without any major injuries. Mentally, well we’ll get to that. The night before I was running up and down the frontage road between my hotel and Highway 35. In my mind I was going through the list of things I need to bring with me to the starting line. Water, Nuun Hydration tablets, Bib (definitely can’t forget that), long sleeve because it is supposed to be chilly, a BibRave Buff® head band, and my shorts and jersey. I remember stretching after that and my mind was just kind of blank.

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Fighting for a cup of coffee with the rest of the runners in the hotel, I grabbed a cup of coffee and a muffin. Walked over to the free school bus shuttle that was filling up with runners to be taken to the starting line. I sat next to a guy with his headphones on and thought that I would throw mine in as well. I don’t run with headphones so I use them as a pre-run mental clearance.

Running around brand new Chevy cars in the dealer parking lot next to the starting line corral in Two Harbors, MN, I wasn’t thinking about anything. I had my routine and I just followed it. There were no corral numbers so I figured I had plenty of time to jump in the bathroom line and do my pre-marathon ritual. Unfortunately, that was not the case. With about a minute before the starting of the race, I walked into the end of the race corral. Definitely not where I wanted to be. I look around and I see that I am next to Pacer 4:45 and boom the race starts.

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This is where I was not prepared mentally. Instead of running my own race, I ran someone else’s. I am not the best at pacing myself consistently so I chose to try to catch the Pacer 4:00 with whom I planned to run with from the beginning. That was my mistake that I believed caused me to miss my mark completely. By the time I caught up to the 4:00 hour pacer, knew that this was not going to be the race where I break 4 hours. I had to make a decision: try to keep up with the pacer and risk injury or DNF, or slow down and enjoy the race.

By mile 14 the sun was beating down hard. The temperatures where close to 70 degrees and I knew that this was not going to happen. I decided to enjoy myself. I knew that the time is not going to be something that I would be proud of but I wanted to make the last half of the race as enjoyable and memorable as possible. I did just that. I enjoyed all the sprinklers that were set up. Gave HIGH FIVES to all the spectators, tried to look good for the WeRunMPLS crew that was out there supporting the runners, played catch with a football while I ran past the college guys, and even enjoyed a beer at mile 22. After the race, I enjoyed all the free food for all the runners but unfortunately that was cut short. Feeling dehydrated, I had to get back to the hotel and recover.

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I ran my goal race at the best physical fitness that I have ever run a marathon, but I completely missed on the mental side of it. Without any mental prep days leading up to the race and before the race started, I made a crucial mistake and was unable to recover from it. Does it suck? Yeah totally. Marathon training take a ton of time and effort and it is no fun when you screw it up. Am I going to complain about it? Not one bit. By missing my mark, I have opened up the door for a 2018 redemption.

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Grandma’s Marathon 2018, registration opens up October 1st, 2017

How did your races go in the first half of 2017?

Keep The Run On

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Must Have For New Year: Rudy Project

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Rudy Project Fotonyk sunglasses as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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I am very skeptical when it comes to sunglasses. I have had maybe 30 different pairs. They usually break, get lost or get donated away because they don’t fit. It becomes frustrating that it takes that much effort for me to find a pair that works. I have been running with a crappy pair that I stole from my buddy. They are not even meant for running and they kill my ears.

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Lucky for me, I was able to snag a pair of Rudy Project Fotonyk shades earlier this month. Once again skeptical, I told myself that I needed to give these a fair chance. That was before I received them in the mail. All the skepticism went into the trash, just like my other sunglasses.

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There are two important things when it comes to sunglasses for me; the need for them in Minnesota and the fit/quality of the product. It may seem that sunglasses are not needed in MinneSNOWta. Heck, it snows all the time here right? Not quite. Since there is so much cold in Minnesota, it is important to be protected. The Fotonyk’s delivered on that front. They covered my eyes from the cold so that when I ran, the wind and the air would not cause me to tear up or hurt my eyes. Also, it is extremely bright here when fresh snow is on the ground. So even when you are running and not staring at the sun, you need to project your eyes from the bouncing reflections.

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Quality of the product has always been an issue for me. Everything from the fit, to the lens quality, to the material that the frame it is made from. These sport sunglasses get the job done. You can feel that the material the frame is made out of is quality material. The frame is also adjustable, The nose guard can be adjusted to the needed fit and the needed size away from your face. This was really helpful. Also, the frame’s lower part that goes below the lens can be removed. This helps to adjust to your style and it allows for changing out the lens. Speaking of the lens, this is where you cannot put half the effort into. The Fotonyks kill it on the quality of the lens. The lenses use Rudy Project’s technology to allow you to utilize the maximum surface of the lens and they are interchangeable so that you can put a new color on or a clear lens when you are running in cloudy conditions.

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The only criticism that I have is that they are a little tight on the face. That boils down to the fact that I have a weird face. They fit great on a medium sized face and even for they still do what they are intended to do. Each pair of sunglasses that they have is labeled with specifications and what face they fit best. For me, I am going to continue to wear them and run in them. I am not looking in the mirror when I run so it does not bother me that they are a little small looking. The quality is great and so is the performance. If they took them away from me, I would spend the $150 on them.

Keep The Run On!

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An Up and Down Roller Coaster Race

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Madison Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

After putting so much time, effort, and miles into training for a marathon, it can be really hard to have to come to a realization that you are not going to be able to reach your goal because of an injury. I start by saying this because of two reasons; the first one is because this is what happened to me during the Madison Marathon, and the second is because there were so many people throughout the race that encouraged me to continue to fight through it and push through to the end.

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I “ran” the Madison Marathon on Sunday, November 13th, 2016. I was super excited about this race because I was representing BibRave at the race and there were three other BibRave Pros at the race running the full and half. My girlfriend and I came in to town on Saturday mid-day. We checked into our AirBNB, which I highly suggest to do since there are plenty of options around town. We went straight to the expo to pick up my bib and check out what the expo had. Unfortunately, the expo was nothing exciting. It was super easy and quick to get the bib and my long sleeve running tech shirt (they are awesome). We met up with the Angie (@AngieMaskeBerka) and Gina (@hanzelboyzmama), the other BibRave Pros, and headed to an Italian restaurant to get our carbo-loading on!

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The morning of the race, we got to the capitol early to meet up with Casey (@beardontherun), the fourth BibRave Pro running the race. We took some sweet pictures and I was on my way to my typical pre-race ritual. I won’t get into the dirty details of that. The weather was crazy good for this race. I comfortably ran in a tank and shorts the whole time. The first half of the race starts at the capitol building, runs through the arboretum, then through UW Madison, and then back through the city. The second half is a little boring but the last 6 miles are pretty sweet. The course is pretty hilly but if you train for it, it’s all good.

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Here is the crappy part. At about mile 16, my previously injured quad decided to give out. It was everything from annoying to purely painful. All the miles, all the running, all the commitment slowly started to go down the drain. I started to do a combination of light jogging and walking, which towards mile 20 became a slow and steady walk.

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Here was also the great part. As much as I struggled and as painful as it was; spectators and runners got me to that finish line. So many people told me, “keep it up,” “you got this,” “don’t give up!” Everyone was so encouraging that it made the longest hour and forty five minutes of my life feel not as long.

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The race finished at the capitol with the announcers congratulating me by name as I crossed the finish line. I got a medal and a photographer snapped my finishing picture. Panera Bread gave me an awesome bag with food. I’m pretty sure that was the best turkey sandwich, bag of chips and a cookie I have ever had. Also, Michelob Ultra gave out the very deserving beer.

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In the end, the Madison Marathon is a very scenic, hilly, beautiful, well organized race. For me, this will be written off as a scratch, but now I have a reason to come back and run it again! Thank you Madison Marathon for the awesome race and thank you all the spectators and runners for pushing me to cross that finish line.

Keep the run on!

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