When Annie Erickson crossed the finish line at the 43rd annual Grandma's Marathon on Saturday, she wasn't overcome with a range of emotions, but rather just one emotion, excitement.
"All of the pain and tiredness that I was feeling all throughout the four hours and 42 minutes of running just went away, and I was just filled with excitement when I crossed the finish line. It felt wonderful to stop running," Erickson said of finishing her first marathon on June 22.
Erickson, an Ogema native who recently just moved back home from Morris, has been an avid runner for two years. She fell in love with running once she finished her first 10K race, the Dick Beardsley 10K, in Detroit Lakes.
"It turned into my favorite hobby," said Erickson, who graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris in 2016. "It started with that 10K then I moved up to the half marathon and then I thought let's go for the full marathon, so I signed up and started training."
Running has always been a part of Erickson's life.
"Throughout my life, I would run a 5k here and there, but I never stuck to training for this long like I have now," Erickson said.
Erickson signed up for Grandma's Marathon in October 2018 after participating in her third half marathon of 2018, the Wild Hog half marathon, in Grand Forks. She also ran half marathons in May and June last year.
"After running a half marathon, I was exhausted, that was the farthest I had ever ran, but it turned into more of a goal to run a full marathon that I wanted to push myself to achieve because it's hard work during training and on race day," Erickson said.
Training for a full marathon is nothing like training for a shorter race like a 5K or 10K, Erickson said.
"I only did one 5K during my (marathon) training and that was the "Awake the Grapes" at Carlos Creek (Winery) in May. That one was just for fun," Erickson said. "There aren't too many running events in the winter, which was when I did all my training and I wasn't going to be running out in our cold."
Erickson found the Regional Fitness Center in Morris to be very beneficial during the winter training months.
"Most of my small runs I would do quick on the treadmill or track at the RFC, but I took to the road outside for my big mile runs," Erickson said.
Her longer weekend runs were usually between 6-17 miles, she said.
"I absolutely love running the Pomme de Terre path. People camping or biking would wave," Erickson said. "Building up strong lungs and muscles to keep you going for those big mile runs were key to work on throughout the training process."
Erickson plans to keep running and possibly even take in another full marathon in the future.
"It keeps me healthy, physically and mentally," Erickson said of running. "I more than likely will do another (marathon), but I'm not sure which one yet."