Learn : Marathon Story  

Running Background:

marathon photoI decided to run a marathon because I wanted to test my capacity and see if I actually could do it under an 8:00 minute pace.


I had been running 20-25 miles a week for a year. In March of '81, I started adding 5 miles a week and some longer runs so that by early June I was over 50 miles a week. 10 days before the marathon I did a 20 mile training run at an 8:00 pace and I knew I could do this thing. I averaged 35-40 miles per week during my training.

Race Day:

This was the 1981 Grandma's Marathon with Beardsley, Bjorklund and Moller. The day was perfect for running---47 degrees, cloudy the whole way and minimal wind. I think it took me 4 minutes to get to the starting line when I started my watch. I was determined to go no faster than 7:45 and no slower than 8:00--and I was able to sustain that the whole way. I followed a woman from mile 7 to mile 20 and then she began to lose it . So I ran up beside her and told her to follow me in because she had led me for 13 miles. She kept up for a few more miles but I lost contact with her by mile 23 or so.

All of my training was done between 7:00-7:30 pace so keeping the just under 8:00 pace wasn't too difficult. I was ready for this race. Every time I went out on a training run for those 4 months I envisioned 3:29:37, which was the time I needed to achieve my goal. Coming down that final 1/4 mile finish I could see the time clock and knew I was going to beat that time and it was a very emotional moment. But it was soon all put into perspective when a smallish white-haired woman who had to be sixty crossed the finish line just before me in 3:27:39. Now that I'm 61 and still running I work hard to do 2 miles under a 10:00 minute pace. So that woman is all the more impressive to me. I got a red finisher's t-shirt at the end and have since lost it with little regret because the memory of that race is really all I need for a reward, And to have Beardsley set the course record on the same day was icing on the cake, I think his record still holds, but I'm not sure.

Well, that's all I have to say about that, as Forrest Gump would say. I ran again 23 years later in 1984 and ran 2 minutes faster but it wasn't nearly as good a race. I was all over the place from 6:50 miles to walking for a 1/2 mile at around mile 25. But I got another t-shirt and lost that one too!


I ran a few miles the next day.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Nike Running Shoes
I ran in a pair of Nikes, light brown with an orange swoosh. Can't remember the model. I also used a replacement wedge for my severely worn down heel and it held up. I was dirt poor in that era and I simply couldn't afford another pair of shoes.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

The most central key for me was setting a reasonable goal, training for it and running within myself. And I was a diligent trainer, running through very difficult weather and never allowing fatigue or emotion to dictate whether I would run or not.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm not planning to run another marathon. I'm quite content at 61 to run my 10-15 miles a week at a 9:30 pace with my dog, Isaac, on the beautiful Mississippi River Blvd in St.Paul, MN.

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