It was an incredible weekend in Duluth, as it usually is when Grandma's Marathon weekend rolls around every June! Despite threats of smoke and haze from wildfires in Canada, the weather was nearly perfect and thousands and thousands of runners took to the streets of the Northland to run like the wind.

I was one of them for the very first time and I can truly say it was an experience I will never forget. It was also better than I ever could have imagined! I was so nervous going into it, despite training heavily since January. I even spit in Lake Superior for good luck! (Was it good luck? I'm not sure.)

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Nevertheless, I ran the 13.1 miles to the finish line and learned so much along the way. From learning things about the people of Duluth to learning things about myself, it truly was the one of the greatest things I have ever taken part in! Here are ten things I learned while running the race this year:

  1. Your hard work does pay off when training, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.
  2. The volunteers are incredible and every time I saw one, it filled me with gratitude.
  3. People are hilarious and creative and I saw some of the funniest signs ever along the half marathon route.
  4. Every time a group of people were gathered to cheer for the runners, it gives you a burst of energy. My favorite? The group of guys who were blasting NSYNC, which was exactly what was needed at the time.
  5. Eating every single thing along the way wasn't the best idea by the end of the race but I wouldn't change a thing because it made the experience even better.
  6. I wish I would have done a Fireball shot because when else are you going to have the chance to do that before 7 a.m.?
  7. Lemon Drop Hill is not as scary as everyone made it out to be. Ha!
  8. The last mile was incredible but also the hardest.
  9. Seeing anyone you recognized along the route, whether another runner or spectator, gives you a massive burst of energy.
  10. The last mile is the hardest.
  11. A bonus thing I learned: you can do anything you set your mind to and when you do it instead of just saying you will do it, it is the best feeling in the world.

I am already counting down to the half marathon next year! Thank you to all the volunteers, the people handing out snacks and fun treats, the spectators and the people handing out the medals at the end of the race. It's truly an experience unlike any other!

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