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Week 18: Fought the good fight!

My sixth marathon is now history. This one by time was my second best marathon. It went from going ever so smooth to a struggle and than to I can do this. This one might just be the second most memorable since the first will always be the most memorable.

Prior to the marathon it was great to meet up with another runner that I met over the last year. She was doing her second marathon. Itís always nice to have a friendly chat with someone prior to the run.

Shortly after arriving at the start area I felt a pain in my arch of my left foot. One that I had not experienced for quite sometime. Sure felt like planter fasciitis pain. That is something that I did not need. I worked on stretching my foot off and on for about a half hour. I was hoping to get the kinks out as best I could. Walking into the starting chute it seemed a bit better but still a slight pain.

In the starting chute you can always count on conversing with fellow runners. Itís quite a joyous atmosphere. This year there was a young gal in front of me who had a T-shirt on indicating she was in the 50 state club. Thatís a group of runners who try to run a marathon in all 50 states over how ever long it takes them. She had about a dozen or so states crossed off. I asked her how many she planned on doing this year. She said 10. Wow was my response. I told her good luck as we begin to move towards the start. The amazing thing of talking and being part of the crowd all things just seem to fade away which included the pain in my foot.

From the start all the way to the halfway point I felt in total control. Things were going very smoothly. I was on a pace that I felt was comfortable and was well within a range of getting to the end in the 4:30ís. Life was good at this point.

It was just after fourteen miles when I noticed things were starting too change. The heat was starting to take its toll not only on me but others. I actually become a little confused and couldnít remember which mile marker was up next between 16 & 17. Fortunately it was 17. My pace at this point was slowing but still okay.

I had a small contingent of supporters waiting for me at mile nineteen. Two of my nieces and a pseudo niece were there with some items for me, cold Gatorade, an orange and a nice ice cold wet towel. Itís a great pick me up to have someone along the course.

Shortly after meeting my support crew I got the biggest scare of my marathon running career. I begin to get quite light headed. It was a weird feeling. One that I havenít felt since way back in my late teens. The only difference was there was no inhaling this time. I of course chose to walk at this point. Thoughts of "okay what do I do know?" were racing through my mind. Do I stop and sit or what? I chose to walk and try to focus on staying upright. I did the very best I could to stay calm and breath nice and easy.

Things started to get better after a few minutes. So I slowly picked up my pace to make sure I was doing okay. There didnít seem to be any aftershocks so I picked up the pace as best I could. I walked the water stops from here on out and took a block or two breather about halfway between each mile. Making sure I drank water and cooled myself down. At this point my time no longer mattered.

As with the 5 prior Grandmas marathon once I got to the top of what is called Lemon Drop Hill, I knew I was going to make it. Saturday was no different. I walked it to the top and than begin a nice easy pace down the long descent and onto the street that heads through downtown Duluth. I relaxed quite a bit at this point and did the best I could to focus getting around the next couple of bends.

I had no idea what my time was. I guess while I was getting my carbo chew thing out of my waist pack just after mile 12 I must have hit the pause button on my Garmin GPS device. When I looked at my Garmin at mile 15 I knew 2:02 couldnít be correct and saw that the time had stopped. I restarted it but that didnít help my mind was still a bit clouded and I wasnít able to do any calculating. Basically the CPU in the head computer was down.

Again as in the previous marthons making a sharp turn toward the end at mile 25 is a big rush. Run down a hill, than walkup a hill and from there I ran as best I could towards the finish. Iíll admit a few short walks in there this year. I did manage a couple of smiles and poses for the camera when I went by the photo op spots about a ĺ of a mile to the finish. The crowds along this last mile stretch are quite encouraging.

Finally the turn for home and once again that big adrenaline rush. I have always been able to run this section. The crowd just cheers you on and I know my family is pulling me. I was scanning the crowd as I ran down the chute. I see my daughter hanging out trying to see me, I give her a wave and I was now locked on to the ones I love. I happened to see the clock just past the family and by God I was going to finish under 5:00 and better yet Iíll be in the 4:40ís. I had accepted the fact that I was going to over 5:00 and was hoping it wasn't going to be over 5:10. It was now "never mind the watery eyes just get it done, Tim".

Last year I was able to have my oldest grandson cross with me so this year I grabbed my granddaughter and the youngest grandson to cross the line with me. We crossed at 4:54 something. I was home.

I fought the good fight.

Chip time was 4:48:49.

I said this was going to be last Grandmas marathon. Well stay tuned there might be a change.

To everyone who has followed my progress I thank you. Maybe someday I can support you as you embark on an adventure.

Take care my firends and may the good lord bless you as I was this past Saturday.

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