Friday Sept 15, 2006

Uneventful day. Did laundry and packed. Flight out at 2:30pm. Killing time I called Shelley “so what does say about Duluth weather?” “well… 6am RAIN, 10am RAIN, Noon RAIN, 3pm… oh this is different … THUNDERSTORMS” “…great…”

Landed at St Paul, and it was nice and warm and sunny. Was to meet Christine at the baggage claim as she was flying in from Phoenix. But her flight was late. Once she arrived we headed to the Alamo rental car place. After getting yelled at by a National rental car chick and told “just take any car on the right”, took a PT Cruiser [not sure if that fit the mid-size I got or not, but hey, I’m not one to argue].

The outbound rush hour traffic from St Paul really wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. But about an hour out the highway came to a stop. Phil did tell me they had it down to 1 lane for construction. But to come to a complete stop… we eventually got moving. Took 45 minutes to go about 4 miles. Coulda skated faster. Once we got in the one lane part we started to move. The plan was to register and eat at the expo, but that was now shot. Phil called; he got all the t-shirts for the St Paul marathoners (they didn’t have the finisher t-shirts available at the St Paul marathon 4 weeks earlier), but didn’t get ours since we’d get there “soon”.

Three hours later, we got to the expo @ 9:30. No sign of the St Paul t-shirt folk. And the dinner was already over. So we got our packet (very lame goodie bag, no goodies, just coupons) and our timing chip. Then to the Jubilee 24hr food mart. Got a can of noodles and ‘sgetty Os, and bread and bananas. And had a humdinger of a dinner in the hotel room.

Saturday Sept 16, 2006 – day of the race

Even though there was a promise of rain, got up about 5:30am. Went downstairs for the continental breakfast… bananas, hard boiled eggs, waffles. On the way back up I poke my head out side. SWEET!! It was kinda warm and muggy, BUT NO RAIN!!!

So we gear up and head downstairs and walk over to the convention center for the busses. SON OF A BISCUIT!!!!! IT’S FREAKIN RAINING!!! Not a really hard “oh there’s no way we can skate in THAT” kinda rain, it was the sprinkling “well the roads all wet, but might be skatable” kinda rain.

Cutting through the convention center, you see LOTS of people trying to decide whether to do it. And standing in line for our bus, as the water drips off the brim of my brown Pegasus Flyers hat, I’m still ponder… should we or shouldn’t we. I was trying to get Christine to say “let’s definitely NOT do it”, and I think she was trying to get me to say that…. So we get on the bus.

It rained the entire trip up to the start. (They drive you out 26 miles to Two Harbors, then you skate back to Duluth.)

Murphy’s Law was in full force, the HARDEST rain was at the start. So once you resigned yourself to “dang it, I’m already here, I flew all this way, I’m NOT gonna back out now”, then sitting in a puddle, putting on your skates and watching your shoes fill up with rain water, isn’t so bad.

As I dropped off my gear bag I hear “WAVE 7 TO THE START”. That was me. Oh well, so much for warming up. Slipping and sliding up to the start. And we’re off!! On fortunately, they used foam mats to lay over the timing wires, so the start was not all that graceful.

So I hear from so many folks, “oh North Shore marathon is great!!” “you’ll get your best time there!!” “it’s all down hill”. But I’m looking at the route. It follows the shore line of Lake Superior. Unless they built Lake Superior on a slant, HOW CAN IT BE ALL DOWN HILL?!?”

They way I figured it, it was long gradual down hills (almost Katy trail grade, some a little steeper) with the occasional steep uphill to get you to the next gradual down hill. Was actually really nice… minus the rain.

So anyways, the first third of the route it was raining and the roads were wet, so kinda hard to get a good full stroke. Hitting the occasional tar snake sent me slipping. And a several of the numbers that you put on your helmet littered the road from all the skaters. I hit a few of those and almost went down. About mile 9 the rain stopped. But the roads were still wet. Still grooving along. At this point, dug out the MP3 player for some motivational tunes; Cinderella, Motley Crue, Quiet Riot… you know loud stuff Old School!!

About mile 18 we were lucky enough to get some wind to dry out the roads more. Unfortunately we got a head wind. When I hit the 2 hour mark and I was only at mile 21 I figured my time will be crap so I didn’t push it very hard after that. Along the whole route you did have spectators with cowbells, making noise “good job” “way to go” “keep it up” and one idiot on the porch to me “go gray beard!!”. This one guy was standing in his yard with a pot of coffee and cups, offering coffee to skaters. So I figured what the heck. Wow! Hot black coffee sure beats any goo or power bar!

So the final stretch. It seems we pick up where I35 highway ends. Yup the same I35 that runs through Dallas. That was actually the worse part. Very rough grooved pavement. Though skating in a tunnel on a highway is kinda cool. Then round the bend to the cheering crowd. I hear a “go fuzi” from Christine. And I see Phil as I finish and hand off my timing chip. So I added 3 minutes to my Saint Paul time, not so bad considering I’m soaked to the bone. And if it weren’t for the holes in the bottom of my skates, I’d be sloshing around in water. But that’s probably where all the water came from that soaked my socks.

I de-gear, go in and get my finisher t-shirt. And get a message on my phone, Christine is back at the hotel. I hobble over to the hotel and get a message they are all now at the expo. [and still no sign of the St Paul guy with the t-shirts] So I clean up and catch up with Phil, Timo and Christine for lunch @ Bollisio’s. Had some good skewered chicken salad and pasta and bread and stuff. Then a well deserved nap.

At 5pm headed back to the convention center for the awards. Man what a butt numb-er. They spent an hour just going through the half marathoners. They were suppose to be having door prizes by drawing bib numbers. But half way through that, the gal on the podium started giving stuff out to the ‘loudest’ people. Whatever. We FINALLY got to the full marathon awards. Timo got 4th in his division. And Christian got third. But he head to leave early. We left as people were SCREAMING for t-shirts or bearings or backpacks or something.

We go find a place for pizza. I travel with a very health conscience group. We order a big pizza. And for appetizers? Timo “um salad”, Phil “yea a salad”, Christine “yea a house salad”, me… “I’ll take the fried walleye fish strips”.

We then went to Grandma’s Bar & Grill. Was to be a post marathon party thing. I had a really bad Red Hook, Timo had a Sam Adams, Christine had a rum and coke, and since Phil beat Christine in a game of pool, she bought him a Cosmo, light on the juice… VERY PINK!! Couple more games of pool and chatting with other skaters and we bagged it for the night.

Sunday Sept 17, 2006

Nice to sleep in to 8:30. back to the free breakfast. We had this idea about skating this paved trail behind the hotel that follows the shore of Lake Superior. But when only 2 out of my 8 wheels could actually turn, I decided against it. So if anyone wants some seized up rusted bearings, drop me a lnie. To avoid the whole mess on I35’s construction, we were gonna take a scenic route through Superior, Wisconsin then head south to St Paul. Well first wound up on this peninsula, though the GPS showed us in the middle of the lake.

Double backed and found the right highway. State highway 35. Once we got out of Superior, Wisconsin and able to do more than 25mph, it was a nice drive. Kind of misting and cloudy, and the leaves were starting to turn. Lots of reds and golds. About an hour out, DETOUR. Next thing we know, we have to go east 25 miles.

So we got to see A LOT of Wisconsin. We stopped in Timberland (or maybe it was Shell Lake) for lunch at Our Café. Had some roast beef and cheese curds… mmmm boy!!


So we're cruising thru Wisconsin in the middle of no where and turn on NPR. "Car Talk" is on. [] I USUALLY enjoy their show. Not anymore!!!

So this girl calls in. "I need help. I sold my beetle, now I'm really sad and I don't know what to do."

So the first brother gets on "Who did you sell it to? a guy... no wait, must have been a girl... blah blah blah"

[as the co-pilot giggled. :p]

Real men drive beetles too. Honest!! And put manly flames on them... honest... they do... um... crap.
So our avoiding the I35 traffic only took us 4 hours. Still very scenic. Dropped off the rental, still not sure if I drove off with an Alamo car or a National car. Oh well. Checked out the concourse shops in the airport. Drawn to the big led $179 MILLION bonus ball lottery, Christine bought a ticket. I bought two!

I had the option to upgrade for $90 so I did. So I guess I’m my own biotch this time. I did offer to upgrade Christine. Just want to make sure that was noted!!

I also go to schlep back all the St Paul marathon t-shirts for the folks who did that last month. Unfortunately since Tonya G made fun of my big “princess” bag, there just wasn’t room in my bag for her t-shirt.

On a completely unrelated note, I do have an extra St Paul marathon t-shirt on sale if anyone’s interested.

So I get back to my car, and there's a note on my windsheild. A "Go Fuz", but the rest got blurred by the rain. So whoever left that, drop me a note. :)