We trained for 4 months following Hal Higdon's Full Marathon Training - Advanced Program. We ran 5 days a week which included 2 shorter length, 2 medium distance and a long run each week.
I beat the mental game out of my system for the half marathon training so it was a lot easier to jump into the marathon training. It was great having another person to run with and talk/whine about all the aches and pains. I highly recommend running with a spouse--a truly amazing experience to go through together.
The best training advice I received was to incorporate weight training, which I wish I would have done more of. In addition, I would tell others to fight through the mental pain during your training and just try to enjoy the runs!
The 2006 Twin Cities Marathon was what I expected. The race day began at 5:30 am when the alarm clock went off. I got a pretty good nights sleep the night before somehow. We were both excited for the day to finally arrive. My husband's dad drove us down to downtown Minneapolis (luckily only a 10 min drive) and we headed to the Metrodome to stretch and use the portapotties again as I was having fun "issues" that morning from anxiety, excitement and being nervous about the race. Typical me.
At 8 am the gun went off and 10 minutes later we crossed the start line. It was a beautiful, sunny morning with temps in the 50's.
The first 2 miles wind around downtown Minneapolis which is very quiet on a Sunday morning. I thought it was crazy to see how many people are in line for the portapotties at mile 1. I was lucky enough to not have to go while I was running -- or maybe I should say not yet.
We head up the first hill going into mile 3 and then cruise around Lake Calhoun into mile 4 when we see my parents and the in-laws. There was a gent carrying an American flag (the whole big flag with pole) as we ran past him. Miles 5-6-7-8 are great. It's still crowded but we make our way into Minnehaha Parkway that opens up and is beautiful. We see a co-worker of mine at mile 10 and we're still feeling good.
The sun is starting to heat up and temps are reaching the 70's. My shirt comes off and I'm sportin' the bright pink sports bra -- very refreshing.
Mile 12 we see my Dad and Stepmom and get our first GU shots from them and we take them at the halfway mark. We stayed on our 10 min pace 'til about 16 when I started to fade and thought maybe stretching or walking would be good. Not a good idea. We take another GU -- horrible flavors they were handing out -- mental note, bring your favorite with you!
We continue running and make it to mile 20 and I'm back in the game! We pass under a fake wall that said "The Wall" and then up ahead we see "the hill".
We trained on this hill during one of our long runs and it killed us. This time, just like our training, we're walking. We just kept trekking up-up-up.
Miles 21-24 are another incline. Not fun. We are both dehydrated, water stations don't come soon enough. At this point, you keep running cause you have too or you won't finish. A guy ran past us hitting himself and telling himself to keep going. Crazy! People are tightening up everywhere and yelling in agony. We are praying it doesn't happen to us, and it doesn't.
We get to our last water stop at mile 25 and round the corner to our final stretch. We reach the point where we can see the finish line and it is a downhill break from here. I see my step sis and brother and start crying and the emotions start flooding. I kiss my husband and we head to the finish line together. We finished. Marathoners. Hungry. Happy. Emotionally drained and fricken' tired.
I always wondered why people would do this over and over and now I finally realized why. They forget how painful it was and remember how good it feels when they cross that finish line. I will never forget this amazing experience with my husband.