Monday, October 5, 2015

Cheryl’s Big “Boston Qualifier Marathon”…Twin Cities Marathon Finish!

 The Whole Point is to Qualify for BostonI’m not sure how to begin with this one.  With an Ailing Camera, Uncertain Race Viewing Route, and General MAYHEM the entire episode….I’m simply happy it is over and we achieved what we were aiming for….Namely:  The Boston Qualifying time.    And get a big city Marathon finished Specifically:  A marathon Finishing time that will be good enough to “guarantee” ( ok, VERY good chance to gain)  entry into the Boston 2017 Marathon.



Random Strangers Even though the Camera was acting up. ( on a side note…it is fixed!   We swapped out the lenses with the spare we had lying around..and the camera works great.   Proving that the Lens is the part that is malfunctioning….Whew!) I still managed to take a staggering 705 pictures!   Many of random runners in a ocean of faces and colors.   I failed to capture Cheryl in either the start, OR the half way mark.  The best I could do with the camera and crowds I thought if I took copious amounts of random pictures of strangers in the crowds,  we would eventually identify her in a “Where is Waldo” kind of way.   Alas….it was simply not to be.   But I was just happy that I was taking pictures at ALL….!


Most of the pictures are blurry….some are off aim, redundant, or meaningless.   So,  I did my best to wade through then and try to clean up as many as I could with either cropping the bad stuff out, or deleting the blurry ones.   I cut it down 450 pictures….most of them are still random….but it gives you the idea of the size of the crowd.

With that all being said…let us begin…..

Cheryl wakes us up early We arrived much earlier that we probably had to for this one…but we wanted a good parking spot….figuring that the huge crowd and protesters were going to make the day complicated.  ( It did not happen…I’ll explain later) We easily had our pick of parking spots and found where the start line was located.  A bit of a chill in the airThe day started out “ok”  with temps around 65 degrees….However…It quickly began to get Colder as the sun began to rise.   This caused Cheryl to shiver uncontrollably as we looked for a warm spot to wait the hour and a half to start time.  Luckily,  Cheryl was prepared ( somewhat) for the cooler start ( it ended up being 44 at the start!) …wearing a shirt instead of a sports top to run in.Time to drink Coffee   

You know it had to be cold for Cheryl to drink Coffee in the morning.   We missed our usual tradition of buying a donut and a coffee/pop because of our insanely early start ( the gas station was not open at 5:30 A.M.!)  So,  with little sugar or caffeine, With Polar Fleece Off,  Cheryl shivers!Cheryl was forced to accept the free Caribou Coffee.   In  a pinch, it was a good thing. 

Picture From Ground levelI was able to climb on a ledge to take pictures of the start above the crowd.  Other people had the same idea, so I still had to fight for my territory…but it was still better than being at ground level. Picture from "elevated" level!   The start for wave one began, and…Even thought I knew Cheryl was in this first wave,  I still could not find her.   I feverishly snapped pictures of the crowd, hoping to discover her swimming with the tide of runners later.   We still can’t seem to find her in any of these pics.

Not half way point, but close enough!After the first wave,  I ducked out before they sent off the next groups.  I was hoping to get to the half way point before the Elites ran past.   It was a race against the clock….and a risk of finding parking and being able to still capture Cheryl as she ran by.   

The Twin Cites is a Labyrinth!  A serious maze of streets and avenues that do not match up with the map that is provided.   I programmed into  the computer the corner of the course I wanted to find,  and Garmin( the computer) took me to a totally different place!    The spectators grow!   Spilling out into the road! After circling around a couple blocks…I stumbled upon  a police check point and decided it would be best to wait there.   People had gathered, so I figured this was “some point” in the marathon….but probably NOT the point I originally set out to find.   Luckily, I was VERY flexible for this race.   I warned Cheryl I may not find the half way in time….so we had an understanding…

As narrow as this is,  Cheryl slips by unnoticed..  As you can possibly see from the pictures,  the crowd support was great!  Perhaps too great…since the spectators crowded into the road almost preventing the runners from passing.   And here they were worried about Black Lives Matter blocking the path….Cheryl said she could have stood LESS crowd support for this race….but the people were eager and full of cheer….so it all worked out. 

by the time this pacer appears,  I figured I had missed her....At some point…when the 3:35 pacer passed by….I realized I must have missed Cheryl.  Given the narrow area, I was not sure how…but I accepted that I had missed her and, despite taking 170 pictures of the passing runners…still managed to miss her completely!    I quickly headed to the finish line.   SMALL NOTE:  The In Race Texts that were sent…(whenever Cheryl would cross a mat,Time to head for the Finish!  I would get a phone message telling me where she was)….WERE OFF BY 10-15 MINUTES!   In other words,  she would cross a mat at 8:30….and I would get the text at 8:45…..she would have traveled almost 2 miles in that time.   I was waiting by the 8 mile mark and after I gave up on her, I got the message that she has just crossed the 6 mile mark.   It was very confusing…..but…..I stayed Flexible and made the command decision to catch her at the finish. 

 The runners had thinned out quite a bit at this point. At the finish,  I managed, ( somehow) to find a parking place for free! CHERYL IN THE DISTANCE!  Then I discovered that Black Lives Matter had not disrupted the event as planned, instead assembling behind the capitol building out of sight.  ( I actually never saw any sign of them whatsoever. )  I raced to an area where I could capture Cheryl as she approached the finish line. Cheryl coming on strong!  I barely missed the first female finisher, but Cheryl was just over an hour away from that.      I was happy to have the time….I was still babying the camera…trying to get the focus and speed shots to work on command.   I finally got the Text Message that Cheryl had crossed the 24 mile mark…when I saw her.



 Chery blows by!  Not even hearing my cheers! I snapped as many pics as I could.  Cheryl






Cheryl in the "runner's quarenteened" area The fence it to keep ME outside... Finally,  she entered the “runners only” area and I waved her down and motioned that we would link up at the designated area.   Cheryl didn’t want to hang around much,  just take a break and show off her medal.   The Longer we waited,  the larger the crowd we decided to head back for some Cold Stone Ice Cream and a shower at the hotel. At the end of the day…here is the Tally:Cheryl takes a long deserved nap And shows off the medal.  

Cheryl’s finish time :  3:33:20   11 full minutes faster than the 3:45 needed to qualify for Boston….They hand out the finisher's shirt to "finishers" after they finish....imagine that!.As long as 2017 is average…we are going!

Cheryl’s over all place: 1249 out of 8579 total finishers.

Cheryl’s female Place: 264 out of 3805  total females.Cheryl with her "Second Cup" of coffee.

Cheryl’s Age Group Placement: 25 out of 505 females age 40-44 group.

She maintained an 8:09 per mile pace, and set a new personal record for the half marathon at 1:40:30.    Most of her Miles in the early part were Sub-8 minutes with the fastest mile being mile three  7:19.The crowd we decided to call it a day and head for Ice Cream 

  So.  This post is really long….and I’m really tired.   There was much more to embellish, but I’m simply happy it is over now.  Subaru acted like a champ,  BLM did not mess up the run,   Police did not arrest me for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.   So….Everything worked out…as it usually does….and ended with a happy narrative.   Oh!  And I ended up paying only $4 in parking the entire day!   How AWESOME IS THAT?!!! So Now that She has qualified for Boston...

So, Now there are clothes to unpack,  a cat to feed, and beer to drink…( I’ll have to blog about this one later…) There is only one option left! and Cheryl has to pin up her medal while I try to fix the broken Lens for the Camera… other words.  Life will continue…but this time….as a Boston Marathon Qualifier!

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