Six years ago I ran my first marathon.  I picked Grandma’s marathon because I was told that it was generally cool, had beautiful scenery and was relatively fast.

Running Grandma’s Marathon 6 years ago was one of the worst experiences of my life.  It was hot, humid, high dew point and no breeze off the lake.  I hit the wall at mile 15 and the last 11 miles were brutal.  But I continued to the finish because 5 pairs of eyes were waiting for me to finish!  After finishing in just under 6 hours, I thought to myself that I would never run this particular race again!

Fast forward to June 2012 – I was running Grandma’s again!

Why?  Because my son wanted to run it and was going to register.  I was not to sure what to expect.  I had already experience the worst – it could only get better – right?!?!?!

Arriving at the start line with a friend and my son, the temps were already in the low 60’s and a clear sky.  The sun was bright and strong.  It was not feeling like a good race.  We met up with some other friends and went to the start coral.  Another runner told us that the clouds were predicted to come around 10 AM – it was 7:30!  If we ran conservatively, we might be able to have enough for the 2nd half of the race.

There were four of us running together – Juli, the veteran runner (she was doing her 42nd marathon); Erin, running her 4th; Sarah running her first and myself doing marathon #9.  We decided to run the three miles to the first water stop and then do a walk/run pattern until we hit the midway point.  All was going well, but it was hot. Thankfully there was ice at each water stop and we used it liberally.

At mile 13, as predicted the clouds began to develop and the temps dropped 5-10 degrees! Since the first half of the race was so warm and ice and water were used to keep cool, + sweating profusely, I was now cold since, but the breeze off the lake and the cooler temps felt wonderful!  The next few miles went by relatively quickly and then. . . .

the hip began to hurt and I was starting to lag behind the group by just a few seconds.  Water stops were slower for me and I knew it would take all I had to finish.  But we were still doing well with pace.  By mile 18 we had to slow the pace since the hip was hurting but we were able to run up lemon drop hill at mile 22- albeit a slow run up the hill!  We continued the slower pace until mile 25 and then we ran the last 2 miles – slowly but we ran them.

And we all ran across the finish line together!  Crossing the line in 4 hours 35 minutes – a personal best for me by 9 minutes.

It was a beautiful day and even with the hip issue, I felt relatively good after I got a shower. But what made this marathon so much fun was running with friends from the start through the finish.  There was encouragement for those that were struggling, there was cheering when we needed it and we had the most amazing PIT CREW!  Maria and Jennifer met us at various points along the course with snacks, signs and big smiles.

Grandma’s has been redeemed!

Will I do it again – Probably!

Will I go back?  Probably!