Twin Cities marathon 2016!

10 Oct

Twin Cities marathon 2016 happened yesterday Oct. 9th 2016. This is my hometown race and a beautiful course but a race I have not done in 5-6 years so it was very exciting for me to be back out on this course with all the local support. We woke up race morning to cool air temps in the upper 30’s mild wind and sunny skies! It was going to be a great day for running 26.2 miles!


Twin cities marathon day is always special for me as I coach so many athletes that run either the TC-10 mile race or the marathon. It’s the celebration day of months of hard work training, hours of dedication to preparing our minds and bodies to complete the distance we have picked to race! Sometimes celebration day is glorious and sometimes celebration day leaves us a little bitter, sad, and feeling unsatisfied. But in the end we always have to smile, feel proud, feel grateful and be happy when we cross that finish line. As runners we are competitive and we set time goals to chase but the marathon is such a beast so much can and most likely will go wrong and because of that we need to embrace the power in having the guts the heart to even get on the start line and then to cross that finish line and earn that medal! As so many people are scared to take on challenges like this in life, so many look at us like we are crazy and we look at them like they are the crazy ones.

Running a marathon is more about mental toughness than physical strength. I found my mental toughness again on TCM 2016 race day as this has been sort of lost for a couple years but now as I sit the day after the marathon with confidence and a new attitude of how I will take on my next marathon and my next marathon training cycle I have a lot of excitement.

Racing, training all of that is a learning process and you have to be open and willing to learn and grow and I can say that I do a good job of that and implicate that into the training of the athletes I coach. If you get stuck in your ways and not recognize the errors the things that maybe caused you to fail and not reach that time goal you never grow and become better because if you reach your goal and have that success you kind of just keep doing the same thing and not mixing it up. But as I see it failure breeds change, and failure breeds success. Sometimes change is not needed, or at least major change but more of minor change.

One minor change I learned from TCM 2016 is the shoes I race in. For years I have been running in little racing flats, shoes with not a lot of cushion but very light weight. As I look over a few years of training logs and how I feel during the race likes yesterday at TCM the one thing that might be the difference maker for me is my choice of shoes. TCM 2016 was going pretty darn smooth for me (other than my Garmin being way off and completely inaccurate) my body felt great, my breathing, my heart rate all of it was in such control I kept my paces in check and my cadence was dialed in. At times I would think maybe I should slow a touch but it just kept feeling so natural to run how I was so I stuck with it. Until about mile 21! That’s when the legs really began to hurt! That is when my legs felt like concrete like little needles just poking into them the pain was becoming massive and really messing with my head. My lungs and everything else felt great and amazing my legs just hurt!! And would not move.

This is when the race became a major mental toughness battle and this is the part of my 26.2 mile run that made me smile with massive pride and has me confident. In my last few marathons when my body starts to fail me like my legs were I have lost the mental battle by walking, giving into the pain and letting the demons take me out of my game. but TCM 2016 I won the battle! I fought back with positive thoughts, I fought back with strength and I said not today! Today I don’t fail, today I win! I kept saying to myself “gotta have heart” run with a relentless forward motion these kind of positive affirmations over and over to push me.

My pace might have slowed some but I never quit, I never walked, I never stopped I just kept running and fighting and going for that finish line!

The next part of this race that made the day very successful for me was no trip to the medical tent, sure when I finished I asked if I could sit in a wheelchair for a bit and get a push to the bathroom so I could change into dry clothes but no see the DR’s and getting probed and IV’s jammed into my arm. I seemed to have managed my nutrition quite well all thought the last two miles of the race I was pretty sick to my stomach and felt like puking. I think it was maybe too many gels, chews, PowerAde drinks etc… But I was not completely dehydrated and I was able to still function; so success!

My pacing strategy; goal was start slow then pick it up then hang on! I was not chasing a PR time I knew my limitations, I knew my fitness and if I chased a sub 2:39 time it would leave me in a bad place so the goal was Run smart! Run with heart! If I had a time goal which I guess I did it was around 2:42-2:44 I felt like that was my zone. So my first 5k was quite slow much slower than I typically run at a race like this and then after the 5k I eased into a pace that felt smooth and in control and that pace turned out to be faster than I imagined but still a pace I had run a lot of during training 6:03-6:06 zone I stayed here for a long time just clicking off miles focusing on even effort. And I feel like I did a good job of this until mile 20-21 when I felt things getting harder, the legs saying dude we are done! This is where everything got off track. When I hit the half marathon mark at 1:19:58 I said perfect I can positive split the second half by up to 4 minutes and be within goal. Well that positive split became 6 minutes and left me a couple minutes outside my goal. But any of you that know the TCM course the second half of this race is way harder than the first half! So most likely a runner will positive split this course.  But 6 minutes was too much, so like I said the legs just failed me and the only thing I can think of based on how the rest of me felt was the shoes, the light racing flats finally just gave out and the pounding my legs had been taking for so long just accumulated and caused them to hurt like hell.  So the finish fast and strong part of the plan did not happen.

But TCM 2016 was one of my better marathon times in a couple years so I was pleased!! 2:46:20 is not a bad marathon time and finishing 67th overall in a field of almost 9000 runners!

As for all the athletes I coach.. well like I said earlier the marathon is a beast it humbles the fittest of athletes and it can leave us empty sometimes. So some had a lot of success and some were left with some disappointed of falling short of goals. But to me everyone was a major winner and inspiring! Because they all had the guts to get on the start line and finish even when the body quit on them. And for that they all need to be proud!! Because coach is very proud!

I think it’s this great challenge of the marathon, how hard it is, how humbling it can be that keeps us runners coming back for more and more. Chasing time goals, taking on new courses and always trying to win beat the distance. The marathon needs to be respected! And then the marathon will reward you with success! To complete a marathon and especially in time goal fashion you must not ever cheat your training, you must always stay dialed in, passionate and committed to it! There is no short cuts with the marathon you have to take it head on and hope you can be stronger than it on that day! Step one to beating the marathon begins in your head so train the mind, build that mental toughness and once you have that then and only then do you have a chance to beat the marathon.

Twin cities marathon 2016 will be a day remembered a great day with friends and a day that I won the mental battle! A day that I never quit, never gave in and for that I’m very proud today!

I left it all on the roads….


Happy Running

Coach MB 





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