I know I can't do as good of a course write-up as Kirk did in the latest issue of Run Minnesota, so I'm going a different route. Incidentally, we'll be giving away copies of Run Minnesota as well as bumper stickers, calendars and other good schwag at the MDRA booth at the marathon expo. Stop by & say 'hey'.
Without further ado, here are some tips to hopefully make your marathon more enjoyable/interesting/less of a suffer fest.
1. One block after making the first turn on to Hennepin Ave, look to your right as you cross 7th street. You'll see the music venue First Ave - made famous by Prince in the movie Purple Rain.
2. As you approach mile 2, you'll pass by the totally awesome Walker Art Museum & outdoor sculpture garden.
3. The guy playing the tuba on Douglas Ave is Alan Page. In 1979 he became the first active NFL athlete to finish a marathon.
4. Just after mile 3 you'll run by the famed "Mary Tyler Moore House."
5. The second lake you run by (Lake Calhoun) is 90 feet deep and is home to some really big muskies. It used to be called Loon Lake. That's all the Lake Calhoun trivia I've got.
6. At mile 10, you'll run by a big bronze bunny. It will be on your right, and children will likely be playing on it.
7. At mile 11, just before the turn on to Cedar, you'll run by my cheering Grandparents-in-law. If you stop & say hello, you'll almost certainly be offered lefse & coffee.
8. You'll be running around Lake Nokomis from mile 11.5-13.5. This is where the famed Lifetime Fitness Triathlon & Pond Hockey National Championship take place. Hallowed ground - or water, I guess.
9. Miles 15-19 can get a little lonely, as the spectators can be thin. However, the views of the Mississippi River are great so be sure to look to your right occasionally. This would be a good place to strike up a conversation with another runner. Here are some topics to get you started:
- What's your favorite running shoe of all time?
- What's your favorite citrus soda? (I gotta go with Fresca)
- Who is the best non-British rock band of all time? (this is a tough one. take away the Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin and what's left?)
- What's the best surface to run on?
- Can I get your phone number? (assuming the other runner is cute & likely to be single.)
- What's the best song to get stuck in your head during a run? (When I ran my marathon PR I had Weezer's "El Scorcho" lodged in my brain the entire time.
- What is the best flavor of energy goo?
- Who would win in a fight? (then you name two people, like Larry King vs. Dakota Fanning. I once had a serious training run conversation about who would win in a fight between the Mickey's Malt Liquor bee and the Honey Stinger bee. Stop by the MDRA booth Saturday between 10:00-noon & I'll give you the details. Short answer is the Honey Stinger bee wins if the fight goes beyond round 1.)
11. There are a few colleges on Summit Ave between miles 22-24. That means there are lots of hot college girls & guys out cheering. Enjoy the scenery.
12. Like, 3 or 4 blocks after the mile 25 marker, on the corner of Nina & Summit is the mansion where my wife & I got married. More importantly, it's just a couple of blocks from the point where you can see the finish line.
13. Get a space blanket at the finish, even if you don't think you need one. You'll need it in 15 minutes. Trust me.
If you have any other need to know TCM info, leave it in the comments below.