Those of you who have followed me through the years know NC was home to the Leo's for almost a decade. Our roots were here, my family live there, and we had become established. Being now in MN for almost two years we are slowly beginning to feel like this is home.
This past Sunday reinforced these emotions as I engaged the Twin Cities Marathon (TCM) for the third time. The first year (2002) I ran this beautiful course I helped my dearest to qualify for Boston. Mission was accomplished, but she then missed one step and blew out her knee. No Boston. She was told she would never run again, got microfracture surgery, endured intense rehab, and then by God's grace would go on to race two Ironman (IM) events. God is good...always.
Last year (2012) I decided I needed to jump back in and 'play' as MN was now my new home state. With about one long run under the belt I stared that blasted race clock down and just got under that 3 hr mark. In this year I knew very few Minnesotans and essentially went unnoticed. Drew Hollbrok was the highlight of the day as he nudged me through mile ~23 to keep on fighting. I love Drew.
Enter 2013. I was blown away by the verbal nudges, cheers, and support I received out there on the course. Was it the TEAM Tri kit that made me stand out like a ghoust? Was it that in about a year relationships had become real? I'd say a combination of the two promoted this incredible outpouring of encouragement. Being wired to encourage others and not expect anything in return I was humbled. I was left feeling very blessed, grateful, and at home. I could go on and list the number of people that I stared in the eye (and those I was unable to), but I'd likely miss a name or two. Therefore, I will simply say thank you to all who gave me a much needed nudge when in 'battle'.
That was the key take away from TCM 2013. MN felt more like home to me then never before. Not sure what that "MN Nice" thing is all about by the way.
Quick overview of TCM 2013. In a nutshell, I opted to commit to a very aggressive pace from the onset. In the first 17 or so miles I felt my groove to be at a ~6:15 to 6:25 pace, which would later set the stage for blown legs. I am still standing firm on the use of UCAN and the 160 calorie post from last week. The wheels fell off not because I under fueled, but rather, from pushing a pace my legs were not fully ready to enage. Lesson learned.
My decision to 'dare to fail' produced a lackluster close on that particular day. I will add that I hit a Clif Shot at about 18 miles as I knew where I was and that I needed to get a quick hit of simple sugars. I have come to learn at Ironman one must be willing to alter ones plans on the fly when things go wrong. Things go right and wrong at the IM distance.
I have already begun to plan out 2014 TCM and how I will dissect it. Can't wait to put in 3 to 4 months of training for my new 'IM'. Hoping to recommit to IM in about another decade or so.
In the meantime, I am determined to make MN my home, get the kiddos anchored, buy a house, and create relationships that made NC what it was to Anne and I for so many great years.
Think big, play hard, and dare to fail,