If there's anything that you want,
If there's anything I can do,
Just call on me and I'll send it along
With love from me to you.
-The Beatles, from the single “From Me To You”
After I crossed the finish line, I was greeted by the incredibly nice volunteers, who took off my timing chip, and placed the beautiful finisher's medal around my neck. I then joined my family and friends. How great was it to have them all here? Hugs and handshakes were exchanged, and stories of the race were shared. What an experience!
Post race with Mom, Marc, and Brenda. Notice I am still upright! :)
Eventually we wandered back over to the hotel. Mom, Dad, Marc, and Brenda went over to the Lucky Moose Bar & Grill, which was right next door, for a drink while I showered up. I joined them a short time later for some food (which, by all accounts, was quite enjoyable).
I felt a little bad, because, well, my stomach felt a little bad! I think it was due to the consumption of all those energy gels throughout the race, and I was kind of queasy. I picked away at my salad, and ended up getting a box for my BLT sandwich. But the diet Pepsi tasted good! And it was great to hang out with my family and friends. What a treat to have such special people join me for my first marathon. Thanks, you guys! :)
(Incidentally, it took a couple of hours and a little rest before I came around and was able to eat my sandwich back in the hotel. Any tips from you experienced distance runners? I may need to find an alternative to gels!)
Later that afternoon, my folks and Marc and Brenda took off, allowing me to head back to the hotel for some rest. I came to life after I finally ate, and spent the rest of the evening lounging on the bed enjoying plenty of college football. A nice way to end one of the greatest days ever!
Before they left, Mom had asked me if it was too soon to ask if I would ever try this again. Without much hesitation, I said "Oh, no, I'll be doing this again!" The day was just fantastic. How could I not want to do this again? :)
Needless to say, I slept quite well! The hotel I stayed in was the Country Inn, which was incredibly quiet. Generally I have pretty good luck with hotels at these destination races since most of the people staying there are part of the race. These place are usually fairly quiet because everyone is pretty much on the same schedule! But this was especially restful. Nice hotel.
I checked out on Sunday morning and started my journey back to the Twin Cities, but not without doing a little bit of sightseeing first. As I noted earlier, this is beautiful country up here, and I enjoyed some of the curvy roads in my sporty car. Plus there is plenty of interesting roadside architecture as well, and I was not going to stay within 15 minutes of the world's largest tiger muskie and not go to see it!
The World's Largest Tiger Muskie in Nevis, MN
I stopped for a really good breakfast in Akeley, where I learned that the town of Akeley proclaims to be the "Birthplace of Paul Bunyan," the legendary giant lumberjack of the north woods. To commemorate this, they have this enormous sculpture of Paul in the town park. Most impressive!
Akeley, MN, the "Birthplace of Paul Bunyan"
With that, I had an uneventful the trip back home to the flatlands. What a weekend! A new job offer, and finishing my first marathon, all within a span of less than 24 hours? I can still hardly believe it.
From me to you, I have truly appreciated everyone's kind words of support and encouragement during my training. To my fellow running bloggers Rick and Addy, thank you for all the positive comments you have left on my blog, and for sharing your inspirational running stories and unbelievable race tales. You two are rock stars in my book! And to all my family and friends, especially Mom and Dad, you are the best, and I love you guys! Thanks for believing! :)
So now I slide into the "off season" for running! No more 16 - 20 mile training runs, at least for awhile. Now is the time to slow down, do a couple shorter fall races, enjoy the change of seasons, and start searching for some new goals and pursuits.
With that, here is to a little bit of a break, but also, here is to the next running adventure! :)
The finisher's medal, featuring the Minnesota State Bird
Until next time,
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