|Split Rock Lighthouse|
We were pre-warned in the days leading up to the race to expect temps in the 70's and horrible humidity up in the 85% range. The temperature was expected to be perfect, but add the high humidity and it had the possibility of being a REALLY hot race. They also warned us about a chance of rain showers.
Having run a lot of HOT races this year both with and without humidity, I prepared fully and I was perfectly hydrated going into it.
|Northern Coast of Lake Superior|
So after a short 30 minute bus ride into the small town of Two Harbors, more specifically I believe it was a car dealerships parking lot:) Right next to the railroad tracks and on the Scenic North Shore Road. When I arrived at first I just noticed that it kind of felt like it was getting hotter by the minute,
When it came time for the race to begin someone sang the star-spangled-banner. I was in line for the port-o-potties which more often than not ends up being my location during the song in a race LOL. Then the fighter jets flew over, and I have to say it was AWESOME! One moment nothing then they were there and if you blinked you'd of missed it since they were so fast and I swear flying as low as they could so it was even louder for us.
Right after the jet flew over they played the theme from Top Gun "Highway to the Danger Zone." I loved that touch! At that point I was seriously hooked and finally caught on to the race energy and I was ready to go.
The race was so well organized, medical support at every mile (which I didn't need, thank goodness!) Water every other mile starting at mile 3 and a very happy and energetic group of volunteers.
|Two Harbors Lighthouse|
The first 12 miles for me were pretty hot, the sun was full out and there was little to no breeze. But after that the clouds started to roll in, and drop the temperature a little. Then the winds started kicking up from the lake and hitting us with cooler little breezes of air, so to me it was absolutely perfect for running.
Not only that but the course was just beautiful, pine tree's and other kinds lined the street completely forest like. All traffic was stopped so it was only us runners out on the road and the occasional group of spectators who came out.
When the tree's weren't to my left, the beautiful lake was. While the sun was out the lake was just beautiful and blue. When the sun went behind the clouds and the winds kicked up, you could hear the waves crashing along the rocky coastlines. (In my opinion the lake was like being next to the ocean, when it was wavy.)
I don't run with headphones anymore so I just enjoyed nature sounds, runners talk and the occasional stereo or band out on the course.
|Aerial Bridge in Duluth|
I had a first in this marathon, I was cut off by a deer. Seriously, a doe came out of the forest line around mile 21.5 and made a run for it, towards the lake. It was fun to see happen!
I have seen deer before out running but this was the first one who crossed my path in a race. I laugh because now I have been cut off by not only a deer. But in the past I had a huge bull moose come run side by side a few steps with me before cutting me off. I also had a mountain lion come out of the bush once and cross the road path in front of me and I have cut off a coyote while out on a run before.
Guess I have just been lucky to get these opportunities!!!
|Upper Cascade Falls|
However, eventually I snapped out of it I guess I can thank the weather for that. The cooler breezy temps turned a bit colder and the rain was drizzling down on me. When I reached downtown and the red brick made streets I got a little burst of energy. Well it was that or the fact that I was starting to freeze and I just wanted to get the pain over with as soon as possible and get off my feet.
|Lower Cascade Falls|
Thrilled to have finished state #25 and my 32nd marathon overall, I accepted my medal, my finishers t-shirt (love when they give them at the finish rather than before the race! See then you don't have a bunch of first time marathon runners running in a shirt they haven't yet earned.) I gladly welcomed the foil blanket that was wrapped around me (I was wet and freezing!!) I decided to skip any food or drink at the finish, I wanted off my feet and I had a long walk back to my hotel still to go.
Luckily the city is equipped with a skywalk system that connects miles of the city together through climate controlled walkways above the streets and through buildings. I had a little over a mile walk through them before I came out of one that exited right into my hotel. (Also thankful for signs and directions in them, since I really had no idea where I was going or how to get back on my own!)
|Lake Superior Coastal View|
|Duluth Lake Walk|
Being a country girl, obviously Minnesota is a great place for someone like me to visit! Plenty of places to see and so many trails to hike.
Also I am not going to lie, I loved what I call the MinneSLOWtaLK. LOL I just wished more of them had that long slooooow drawn out way of talking, I loved it! They were my favorite runners to listen to while in the race too, LOL LOL LOL..
Great trip, I'd love to make it back someday! Also, this is one of those races that is put on so well and has such a great course that I wouldn't mind running it again!
|Trail in Split Rock State Park|
|Stormy day Superior Lake View|
|Northern Lake Superior Cliffs|