Posted by: Susan Loken | October 5, 2010

Arriving in Twin Cities – Race Day Count Down!!!

Just Keep Believing and Your Dreams will come true!






Going into each race I have 3 goals. Below were my goals for the Twin Cities Marathon.

  1. Dream Goal…Run a 2:44:30 Win my 4th USA Masters Championship Title and qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials.
  2. Realistic Goal…Run a sub 2:46 to qualify for the 2012 Olympic trials
  3. Not my day Goal…Finish the marathon and never give up 

I’ve run 25 marathons since beginning this running journey 12 years ago, and this is the first marathon that was way beyond my Dream Goal, in fact I’m still pinching myself to see if it’s real.

I arrived in Minnesota last Friday afternoon alone. Unfortunately Bill wasn’t able to join me because his dog (of 15 years) became sick Thursday night and was told she needed to be seen Friday by a specialist for an urgent surgery. I hid my disappointment (held back the tears that wanted so badly to flow) from Bill as he dropped me off at the airport. I know how much that dog means to him so how can I be so selfish to ask him to leave his dog (that may die) and come support me for during a race.

Once at the Minneapolis airport the wonderfully nice marathon volunteers greeted me and called for a shuttle to get me to the host hotel. On the shuttle was a delightful girl named Ruth Perkins. She was a wide-eyed, sweet, inexperienced and a young new runner. This was her first attempt at trying to qualify for an Olympic Trials. Boy, have I gone full circle. It seems like yesterday I was the wide eyed, sweet, inexperienced and older new runner. Now, 7 years later (of competitive running), I am the Veteran runner that the new young runners look up to and ask for advice.

It was sad checking in alone and not sharing this experience with Bill, but I received a very warm welcome from all the folks when I arrived at the hotel.  You see, I’ve spent my entire running career racing at the Twin Cities Marathon and I’ve become very close to the amazingly wonderful and warm Elite Coordinators (Rick and Carol) and the volunteers (the same volunteers keep coming back each year, they are the best ever!)  So coming to the Twin Cities Marathon is special for me because of the people who make this event happen, as well as the race itself.

I’ve run the TCM more times than any other race.  This will be my sixth time running here! Here are the results of my past races!

2004 (age 41) 2:44:26 2nd USA Master Champion and 15th overall

2005 (age 42) 2:43:10 1st USA Master Champion and 3rd overall

2006 (age 43) 2:44:34 1st USA Master Champion and 15th overall

2007 (age 44) 2:48:46 1st USA Master Champion and 7th overall (extremely High Temperatures, training in Arizona pays off!)  (picture to left is from 2007)

2008 (age 45) Dropped out at mile 13 (Extremely cold and wet Temperatures equaled hypothermia,       training in Arizona doesn’t pay off!)

2009 (age 46) Retired (so I thought!)

2010 (age 47) 2:44:43 1st USA Master Champion and 13th overall

(Picture below  from race in 2007)

It’s a fine balancing act the two days before a marathon. You need to keep busy enough so your mind doesn’t go crazy thinking about the race, but you also need to relax and rest. I like to watch inspirational movies to keep my mind off the race, and to motivate me.

After I got settled in my hotel room, Bill called and said his dog didn’t need the surgery after all and he was catching the next plane to Minnesota.  He figured he’d get to the hotel around 1 am. That made my day! After being “retired” from running for nearly 2 years Bill is the one that encouraged me to start training again. We are in this together – I didn’t want to race without him there with me!

Friday night I had a wonderful dinner with my Bandito teammates, Ron, Dan and Suzanne. Three of the nicest people you could ever meet! Ron and Dan were also running the marathon; Suzanne ran the ten mile race scheduled Sunday morning.

Saturday we slept in, had a nice breakfast, walked around the expo, went to the Elite Runners’ technical meeting, watched a movie, had a massage and enjoyed the pre-race pasta dinner. Ahhhh, I was in heaven because Bill was able to share this experience with me.


  1. Congratulations!! This is the most magical story ever. Love you both. I am so very blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.


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