Related: 40x40 List
Date completed: Saturday, September 26, 2015
This 40x40 activity has an asterisk after it because I stopped short of completing the route in its entirety. While we technically walked the distance of a marathon (calculations on three aps range from 26.22 to 28.85 miles), we did not make it to the finish line according to the Medtronic Twin Cities marathon course finish line map. Our mile markers were off because we had to stick to sidewalks and trails to avoid being killed by walking in the middle of the street like they'll being doing on race day. Also, I missed the turn off Minnehaha Parkway onto E. Nokomis Parkway and we had to retrace our steps to get back on track.
This year, Scott and I have taken several long distance walks many of which were more than 20 miles with the longest being 31 miles to complete the entire Grand Rounds Trail Loop. For this reason, I'm left perplexed as to why walking the Twin Cities marathon route was so difficult for me to complete. A few hypotheses:
The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon's registered tagline is The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America® so who wouldn't want to experience it? I have no interest in running a marathon and this particular event is not open long enough for walkers. So, my only option is to complete it on my own. We were working off of this year's course map but since it is next to impossible to read, I also found a Google map from a previous year to use on my phone. This led to some confusion around Cedar Avenue so I now understand why the organizers stress that the route is subject to change.
The starting line
With all of the construction happening near the marathon's start, it is hard for me to imagine what it will be like on race day. It feels like a giant mess and it wasn't the most beautiful urban start that is for sure. On the way to the start, I picked up a cold press from Caribou which felt appropriate since they are a silver level sponsor and their logo is all over the course map. That said, when will I learn my lesson that drinking coffee on long walks is a terrible idea when public restrooms are few and far between?
Miles 1 - 4
The first four miles of the route takes you by historic downtown buildings, tree-lined residential streets and beautiful homes, and the first of four lakes.
Miles 5 - 8
As we walked by Lake Bde Maka Ska (Calhoun), Lake Harriet, and Minnehaha Creek, I wondered if runners are able to appreciate their surroundings on race day? This segment of the course is an area we walk through regularly as we live between mile 8 and 9 on the course. Here's Scott and our neighbor Barbara cheering on the marathoners last year.
Miles 9 - 12
During the next four miles, I screwed up and didn't turn where we were supposed to. After stopping at Caribou Coffee on Cedar Avenue we continued west on Minnehaha Parkway instead of turning onto Cedar Avenue. We went back to Cedar and then walked on it until E. Nokomis Pkwy which is what the course used to do but this year runners will go around a small body of water west of Cedar Avenue.
Miles 13 - 16
At Minnehaha Park, it felt like we were in a race because we arrived in the middle of NAMIWalks Minnesota, an event to raise awareness about mental illnesses and eliminate the stigma of mental illnesses.
Miles 17 - 20
The walk along the Mississippi River is one of my favorite walks in the city. We opted to stay near the road but normally I like to follow the trails that offer better views of the river. We were running out of water and so we took a quick break at Dunn Brothers at Lake Street. When we got back on the course it was a short while later that we were able to enjoy one of my favorite views in the city - looking west on Franklin Avenue bridge which is mile 19 on the course map.
Miles 21 - 24
Oh hi St. Paul! When we crossed the border into St. Paul I got a second wind and felt hopeful that we'd make it.
Miles 24 - 28
Oh man how wrong I was! I think I started limping around Lexington Avenue and I knew in my heart the end was near. Scott was willing to keep going but his "are we there yets?" were gaining frequency. Just when we reached my favorite stretch of homes on Summit Avenue near the Cathedral, I called it.
The Finish Line
I was so tired, sore, and discouraged that I didn't take a photo of our made up finish line. We decided to call it quits when I discovered a Car2Go just off of Summit Avenue and Farrington Street. After we arrived home, we exited the vehicle and could barely walk. My hip still hurts today. So, I guess quitting before we crossed the actual finish line was the most responsible decision we could have made. This is a beautiful route and I encourage everyone to experience it walking, running or rolling.
The Nivens Family