On Thursday morning, I left for Minneapolis where I met up with my friend Britt who I was running the marathon with. It was so awesome experiencing this with her because we haven’t seen each other in what felt like forever and we always have so much fun together. Britt was driving from Des Moines and picked me up from the airport at about 3:30PM.
That night, we stayed at her friend’s apartment in Minneapolis and then the next morning we left around 9AM for Duluth. Duluth is about 2.5 hours away from Minneapolis, so it wasn’t too long of a ride. The time went by pretty fast especially as I made a playlist for Britt to run to and laughed at her interesting choices of songs in her phone.
The closer we got to Duluth, the foggier it got! Duluth is supposed to be a beautiful city full of amazing views, but we could barely see the car in front of us! We joked that if it was like this the next day for the marathon, we would probably end up bumping into people who were covered by the fog!
Our first stop when we got to Duluth was the Grandma’s Marathon Expo. We figured we would get there fairly early to beat the crowds that would probably come later in the day. There was some confusion with where to park, some attitude from a worker, but we finally got parked and once we got out of the car we were greeted by the “freezing” temps! It was about 50 degrees, which felt even colder with all this 90 degree weather we had both been experiencing lately! I was instantly kind of shocked by the coldness, and was worried that I hadn’t packed warm enough clothes if it was going to be like this for the marathon.
We walked into the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) and were pointed in the direction of the packet pickup. The packet pickup process was extremely smooth and there were no lines at all! After picking up our packets, we looked at all the booths that were at the expo. This was a very large expo and there were booths everywhere! I knew I wanted to get a fuel belt just to hold my gels, so I found one pretty quickly and ended up getting it for 20% off. Next, I stopped at the Sweaty Bands booth and bought a headband because I forgot to bring one. It is always so hard to pick just one, but I settled for a cute silver and black one. Then we looked at all the Grandma’s merchandise, and there was tons – shirts, cups, blankets, magnets, posters, basically anything you could want! I immediately saw a quarter-zip sweatshirt that I liked, but it was only available in men’s sizes and even the small practically went down to my knees. I was disappointed, but I ended up getting a fleece blanket and a magnet, so I was happy with that.
We walked around for a little longer, and then decided that we would eat lunch at the spaghetti area that was set up since it was already open. I had won the spaghetti tickets from a drawing a few weeks ago, so I was happy that we didn’t have to pay $12 to eat there. So we went in line and handed the person our ticket, and we were informed that it was unlimited spaghetti all day long! We were really happy that we could eat it all day long, so we decided that we would come back again for dinner so we wouldn’t have to pay for more food. The spaghetti was really good, it had meatballs and also included a salad, bread, and some vanilla wafers. We also got a ticket for ice cream which was an ice cream sandwich, which was also very yummy.
We looked around the expo a little more after we finished eating, and then decided we would head over to Dick’s Sporting Goods because Britt wanted to get a new shirt to wear for the race. I was happy we decided to go there because I looked at the forecast for race day and it showed that the weather was going to be several degrees below what I thought it was supposed to be, so I ended up buying gloves so my hands wouldn’t be cold in the morning.
After Dick’s, we headed across the border to Superior, Wisconsin, where we were staying at one of the dorms. The hotels for the marathon weekend are booked about a year before, so by the time we signed up for the race in November, all the hotel rooms were already taken. So they have another option where you can stay at the dorms at University of Minneapolis-Duluth or University of Wisconsin-Superior, which is what we chose to do. The rooms aren’t luxurious or anything, but it’s a great deal at $100 per room which includes 2 beds, towels, sheets, and access to showers. Also, there is a shuttle that picks up right at the dorms and takes you to the starting line, and then back to the dorms after the race. If I ever do this race again, I would definitely stay at the dorms again.
We checked into the dorm, put our stuff in the room, and then decided to go for a short 1-mile run. It was so cold and a little rainy, but we knew it was important to get the mile in, so we did as quickly as we could!
By the time we were done, it was about 4:30PM, so we headed back into Duluth to eat some more spaghetti at the expo. This time, it took forever to get parking because it was so crowded and there was a 5K going on, so it was much more packed than before. We eventually got a spot and grabbed some more spaghetti.
After dinner, we went back to the dorms and just relaxed and got everything set out for the next day. We were both filled with nerves and couldn’t believe that when we woke up, we would be getting ready to run a marathon! I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to sleep, but it actually wasn’t too difficult just because I was so tired from all the travel and walking throughout the day at the expo!
On Friday, I will post my full recap of race day!