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Learn : Marathon Story  

Running Background:

I consider myself an advanced runner and I primarily run for fitness. I decided to run a marathon just for the sense of accomplishment. As the marathon takes a lot of time and training, Twin Cities gave me something on which to focus. I had always hoped to run the Boston Marathon some day. This year I would try to qualify.

Training:

I trained for 4 months using a combination of the Hal Higdon program (intermediate) and the one available thru the Grandma's Marathon website. During my training I averaged 45-50 miles per week. In terms of training advice, I would tell others to make sure you fit in the long runs.

Race Day:

The 2006 Twin Cities Marathon wasn't quite what I expected. My goal was to run it around 2:50 and I missed that by 9 minutes. I went out just a little fast, at 10-15 seconds per mile under my pace. I knew better but, of course, felt good at the time. Given the hills from miles 20-24, temp around 65 at race end, and going out fast, I suffered some at the end.

As for the Twin Cities marathon itself...top notch. Beautiful city, great fall colors, and very well-organized. Probably not a PR course, but definitely a "must run" Midwest marathon.

Next time, I plan to go out slower. Also need to reconsider fuel. Stayed hydrated but may have benefited from a third GU (took at miles 10 and 17), but I'm not sure about that. Also plan to do a few more training miles around race pace or a little faster.

Recovery:

My recovery wasn't bad. Ice or cold water bath after the run (and after the long runs during training). Seemed to decrease the pain acutely and allow faster recovery. Also took in some protein-rich foods within the first couple of hours of running. Again supposed to speed recovery and also a nice change from almost 70% carbs in the 3 days before the event.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Nike Air Structure Triax
Great trainer, very stable -- especially for those who tend to over-pronate. All this and reasonably lightweight.
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Garmin Forerunner GPS Wristwatch
Great for pacing. Have model 101 but newer models even smaller. Also comes with heart rate monitor.
Search on Amazon.com

Band-aids
Band-aids over the nipples. No chafing.
Search on Amazon.com

Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Even for an experienced runner, finishing the marathon still feels like an accomplishment. Training takes commitment. The race itself takes most people a little beyond what their bodies want to do. But, in the end, it's all worth it.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm hoping to run Boston next spring. In terms of getting ready for that race, I'll try to log a few more training miles around race pace or faster, and I'll focus on going out slower and refueling (GU) at the appropriate times during the race.

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