25 down, none to go!

A POSTER I MADE FOR MY WALL IS ABOVE (Click to see larger view … REPORT BELOW) I cannot find nor am I sure there was a 1985 medal?

UPDATE: I guess it was hot? 37 runners hospitalized and 7% of the starters required medical treatment…

NOTE (All pictures I reference in this post come after the post – Links to all photo’s I (or others) took is: http://picasaweb.google.com/runallday/Grandmas# )

Well, this is long… Could be boring. To summarize it, I finished my 25th consecutive year at Grandma’s. No clue how I did this year after year. This year was hot, well that is an understatement. But I survived. I was emotional. I cried many times throughout the race, and broke down in tears coming into the finisher shoot. Must have looked strange to many, but it was so emotional for me! When I met Shelley at the finish, I just bent over and covered my head and cried… It was over! That is the short version, much more later…

First, I want to start by looking back:

Things I recall from 1985 — as it was my first Grandma’s and I set a goal of 25 years…

Could not get a place to stay so I stayed at the Best Western in Hinkley.
Michael Jordan (Basketball) was a rookie in the NBA!!!!
New Coke/Old Coke fiasco
We celebrated the Dow Jones breaking 1,500!
VH1 started
Wade Wilson replaced Tommy Kramer as Viking quarterback.
Dukes of Hazard was cancelled. (Yes, I watched it…)
Billy Joel married Christy Brinkley (I had a crush on her!)
But Moonlighting started (Always liked Cybill Shepherd) – This is the first time I heard Al Jarau
This is also the first year for MacGyver. (Loved that show as well)
I purchased my first computer – A Macintosh 512K – I PAID $2,100 OUCH!

In Between

I lived in 4 states (North Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Illinois)
Went through 5 US Presidents (Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, William Clinton, George Walker Bush, Barack Obama)
Three so called stock market crashes…
Nine Jobs (From a cook, waiter, manufacturing, to my current job as a City Planner)
Lived in 12 different homes
Went through 10 cars – Included ex-wife and Son’s cars (Chevy Malibu, Ford Mustang, Honda 600 Sedan, Chevy Station Wagon, Dodge Daytona, Mitsubishi Expo, Ford Fiesta, Kia Sephia, Mazda Millennia, VW Passas)
Went through 5 girlfriends, one wife
Son was born, raised him, now 20…
Couple in the 3:20’s finishes
Couple of 6 hour finishes, many in-between

Now for the report. I have been so obsessed with the race. I had worked so hard for 24 years and did not want to lose the goal on the last race. I left Minneapolis and it was an easy drive. We actually arrived at the expo at 8:30. I picked up my number. Bitter sweet, as it was my last time….

When walking out of the expo, we saw the vendor who makes special racing bibs. See picture (The one that says “25th Consecutive Grandma’s, a Picture of Forrest Gump and run Londell run”.) Cool. I had to have it. We went for a little walk and then went into the expo to eat food I brought with and to go through the bag to get set for the morning.

Everything was looking good. We went to the car in the DECC parking lot and settled for a nice nap. So many things were going my way.

Then I woke up. The temperature said 62 degrees, at 4:30 in the morning. As I slept in the car, I woke to the view of the moon over the adjacent building. It was cool! Then I got up.

Went to the bathroom three times! I was nervous. As I prepared, I almost forgot to take my number. Then at 5:15 AM, my biggest supporter asked “what about your chip?” We had no clue! Two of us tore through everything looking but it was not to be found. I quickly realized I might have left it on the table when we ate the Friday night! What an idiot!

I ran all over trying to get in the DECC. No one could help me. At 5:40 I got back to the car and was just a bundle of nerves. I dumped out my bag onto the asphalt parking lot and looked down, and there it was! Two of us went through that bag and missed it. I was about ready to have my first cry of the day. But all was saved and made it to the buses at 5:50 AM, 10 minutes to spare. This was my first time ever I did not have a school bus! A plush tour bus. Things were looking up!

The ride was uneventful. Got to the start, went to the biffs’ and my stomach was settled. I packed toilet paper in my bag anyway. But the sun was hot. The forecast was maybe 80 for the day and at 7 AM, the temp was 72 degrees. I knew that I needed to run smart, not fast.

I went with the heart rate monitor as my guide. I was going along just fine and getting many comments about my streak. Then I hear a voice, “are you Londell from Chippewa” and there was Carl Gammon’s friend Janine Knutson. She was looking really solid. I was able to get a picture of her. (Thanks to mike, I took a camera.) Shortly afterward, there was Greg Allen. Greg is on #26 consecutive Grandma’s… SUPER. He knows what it is like to make it so many years, through think and thin…

I kept the heart rate in the 120-135 range until about 15 miles. Just like at Afton a few years ago, it was elevated over 155 and I could not get it down. I knew the heat was taking its toll. I also knew, 15-minute miles would get me in less than 6 hours. So I walked, ate ice and rubbed my body with ice. After 20 minutes I was able to start a walk/run pattern of walking 3 minutes and running 6 minutes. I met up with Katie Altrichter, from Bloomington, IL. She was hurting and I needed a friend. We helped each other the rest of the way. She is sure I helped her, but if she only knew, she was helping me so much as well. Good running buddies always make the run easier!

This walk/run plan and Katie kept me under the 15 minute per mile I needed until mile 23.5. I started to feel cramps and Katie was real worn. We decided to walk more as allowed and finish, which we did.

Shortly after 24, I got a big lift. Wayne was there and was prepared to walk in with me. This was a lift I needed and decided I was close enough, I can just keep running.

I saw so many people on the side of the road being treated for what I assumed was heat related issues, I saw more ambulances than ever recalled seeing in my 25 years and people seemed to drop like flies! It was a war zone. Not the way I wanted to finish my last Grandma’s but I guess if you really think you can run 25 years in a row, you better be ready for anything.

I guess I was… This is an emotional time and I cry as I write this… Now, it is time to rest and look for the next challenge… whatever that may be! But first, get the knee fixed and bask in the reward of making a goal I set so long ago… and accomplished! What a rewarding feeling!

Thanks to all who supported my effort. It meant more than you can imagine!

Carry on…



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8 responses to “25 down, none to go!

  1. RunWesty

    Congrats, well done, lookng forward to seeing the pictures. Now Rest up and savor your accomplishment and then worry about the knee and your next adventure.

  2. Helen

    Nice job Londell!! I saw Wayne out there also – always nice to see friendly faces esp when things are hurting! An amazing feat to do 25 in a row.

  3. Wayne

    Congrats, Londell!! And you finished well… smiling, up-beat, chatting it up with those around you. Way to go!! An incredible accomplishment!

  4. Kel

    Awesome job Londell! I can't imagine setting a 25 year long running goal and pulling it off through thick and thin. Wow!

  5. Beth

    Yeah!! Congratulations times 25. I am so happy for you. I loved how you recounted what it was like 25 years ago and all that has transpired. You stuck with your goal throughout all the ups and down and now you can celebrate.

  6. SteveQ

    Great job – I for one can't imagine being injury-free on a given weekend every year for 25 years… or, as you did, running even if injured.Now, rest up and start wondering what the next goal might be.

  7. Carl Gammon

    Very cool poster, Londell. Congratulations.

  8. Scott

    Great job! That is quite an accomplishment, something to really be proud of.

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