My first marthon was the Twin Cities Marathon on 4 October, 1998 in Minnesota. I ran 3:39:24. My first half time for the Twin Cities (1:34:50) was actually a fast half marathon time for me. (I had to struggle to beat it in Mahomet.) I collapsed at about mile 18 and staggered to finish with about 14 min miles from 23 on.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul were beautiful, however. I arrived a few days early and stayed with my undergraduate mentor, Ray Mikkelson, at Macalester College. I ran way too much (5-6 miles per day) in the week before the marathon.

Rachael arrived on the weekend and we moved to a hotel in downtown St. Paul. I caught a bus to the Metrodome for the start. I chatted with an experienced runner near the start, talking about how easy and fun the run felt. I left him behind, but met him again as the race turned to parallel the Mississippi at mile 18. He said, now the real race begins, to which I replied "I'm already done." I nevertheless loved trotting along paths Rachael and I walked together when young. Rachael jumped out of the crowd passing by Macalester at mile 23 and helped me reach the finish down Summit Avenue.

Ravi Athale also runs and emailed me a discussion of his first marathon experience.