Top Things Learned at Medtronic Twin Cities, as a first timer:
- This is a big one. I discovered your racing chip is not a long distance sensor. In order to actually get credit for splits and, you know, a finish time, you have to put the sensor ON the shoe. You can’t leave it in the hotel room. So, even if you put your bib on your singlet or shirt, make sure that sensor gets on your shoe too.
- Bring a plastic garbage bag or one of the space blankets for the beginning of the race. I had the distinct pleasure of standing with this on for about 40 minutes when it was 37 degrees outside and windy. The picture doesn’t do justice to the 2 inch racing shorts I was also rocking. I was cold and miserable. Luckily, there was a gentleman standing at the start line who noticed my discomfort and gave me HIS space blanket. What a hero!
- Trust in what you’ve done. I ran about 15 miles total the 2 weeks leading into the marathon because I felt so awful. On race day, I felt fantastic, better than I had felt in weeks. Part of it was the adrenaline, part of it was the crowd, part of it was knowing I had trained since March to do it. Just have some faith!
- Arm sleeves were surprisingly effective for that temperature. And they look awesome!
- Nip Guards also saved my life. Find them and use them.
- If you can carry your own water, I would recommend it. Water stops were a complete cluster. My brother, who finished in 3:57, said the water stops were the worst part of the course just because people weren’t really checking to see if anyone was behind them before cutting over to get it. If you don’t carry your own water, just be aware of your surroundings at those points.
- Driving/running the course beforehand. My brother and I had never run the course before, so the day before we drove the course to get a feel for the ups and downs. At mile 19, where the fabled “wall” occurs, we got out and ran three miles easy to get some visual understanding of where we were. It helped exponentially the next day.
- TCM was a race with 12,000 runners. Between my brother and I, we had thirteen people out on the course cheering for us, which means there are tens of thousands of spectators out on the course. The day before, we planned with our family the spots that would work well for parking, we looked at road closures and tried and figure out the best places for them to be.
- Thank your supporters! You’ve been training for a long time and they’ve had to put up with good times and the bad (but mostly good).