Garry Bjorklund (Grandma’s) Half Marathon

Last fall my wife and I ran the Duluth One Mile. The day prior I had run Moose Mountain Marathon, so the only reason I was running the One Mile was to get a shot at a guaranteed entry into the Garry Bjorklund half. As fate would have it, my wife got an entry but I didn’t. At that point I started contemplating doing the full marathon, but thankfully I got selected in the lottery and we both toed the start line of a nice 13 mile race this morning.

My running lately hasn’t quote been what I want it to be. I’m 10lbs overweight, and I’m dealing with some nagging muscle and tendon issues. However, with all the work I did at the beginning of the year, I felt I should still be able to pull out a decent half marathon. A couple weeks ago I managed the North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon, and came in around 2:27. I knew I could beat that, and so today was about getting a little more speed under my legs.

One complication was that I woke up with a bit of an off stomach. Nothing too major, and probably influenced by waking up at 3:45am, but I made the decision to not take any nutrition during the race itself. I knew that this meant I would bonk at some point, but I just hoped it wouldn’t be till later in the race, after I had established some solid miles.

The temp when we launched was still in the 60s, and with an overcast sky it was actually really pleasant. This wasn’t meant to last however, as the sun soon came out, and any chance of rain seemed to disappear. I started planning for cooling down, and overall did a great job keeping my body temp low. Every aid station that had wet sponges meant a fresh one inside my hat. This kept my head feeling great. By the middle of the race I was dumping water down my back, and that kept me fairly cool throughout the rest of the course.

Sure enough, by mile 10-11 I was feeling the lack of nutrition and had to slow way down. My first 10K was sub 10 minute miles, but after that I started creeping up towards 11. I gave myself permission to walk lemondrop hill, and as we entered downtown there were brief moments I had to walk while trying to stretch out my back a bit. All in all though, I ran 99% of the race. I crossed the finish in 2:16, just a minute slower than my goal, but I felt good. Everything in my body seemed to be feeling OK, and I wasn’t falling over from exhaustion.

My wife crossed about 20 minutes after me, and we headed back to the car to get our cooler for a day of lounging on the beach. We had a couple good friends running the full marathon today, and we knew we had some time to kill before they would be crossing. I ended up falling asleep under a tree near Lake Superior enjoying a beautiful lakeside day. Eventually our friends made it across the finish line, suffering through a very hot run with temps approaching 80 degrees.

My friend and I had planned a celebratory beer for when he finished his first marathon, and since we both grew up in east St. Paul near the Hamm’s brewery, I picked out Hamm’s for that special beer. On a hot day, after a long run, it actually wasn’t that bad of a beer, and was very refreshing. We eventually hobbled back to our cars to make the trip back to the casino where we’re staying one more night. Overall, a really good race, and a good time up north.


Beer, running, and geeky things.

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