It’s been awhile now that Google has allowed you to create your own custom Google map. It’s really slick, it takes a little time to get used to, and I hope to get better at it while improving on my first one.
The St. Paul Inline Marathon (SPIM) takes place on August 19th up and down Shepard and Warner Road in St. Paul, Minnesota, and I created a map for it. Some notes:
Green Box = Starting Line
Orange Box = Finish Line
Blue Boxes = 1st Lap Mile Markers
Maroon Boxes = 2nd Lap Mile Markers
Black Box = Split Mark
Push Pins = Water Spots and Medical Aid Centers
Red Lines = Rough Roads
Here’s a Google Maps link that lets you get all interactive.
For the five-wheel, lycra-wearing skaters, this doesn’t mean too much to you. This year it sounds like there will be a ton of first-time skaters though (I was one last year), and this can hopefully provide some course insight.
I can’t imagine people who actually run 26.2 miles and have mad respect for anyone who does. Just skating it is a challenge for me, and here are some tips for first-time skating marathoners:
1) Drinking Mountain Dew before the race is not smart (from self experience). Drinking a half or full liter of Gatorade is smart. There are porta potties in the warm up area, or you can just sweat it out during the marathon.
2) Cramping up sucks. Grab water whether you are thirsty or not. There are wonderful volunteers at many spots that stick their arms out with bottled water so you can grab one on the fly.
3) Draft behind strangers that you feel you can keep pace with.
4) Acknowledge anonymous fans cheering you on. They have the easy part.
5) Buy new wheels and Abec 5+ bearings a week before the marathon, and put five or ten miles on them to loosen them up.
6) There’s a side trail that literally parallels the course. It can be bumpy, but it can get you used to the hills on Shepard Road (anything west of 35E is basically too bumpy for inline skates).
7) If you get some longer skates in beforehand, find out where you blister up. Then, buy some moleskin padding (in your normal grocery store or Target, either in the bandage or foot care area) and cover yourself up.
In the meantime, check out some of the SPIM sponsors.
Most importantly, enter the event and have fun!