Ha! I ran a race. I was going to make a post about my goals, but didn’t make it a priority. It wasn’t a race I trained specifically for, so I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. To the point where I didn’t even look at the course in detail, and didn’t really look at how I was even going to get there/park/other stuff until this morning.
Division (F 30-34): 196/243
Heart Rate: N/A
(I swear these were my goals, not just goals I made after the fact to make myself look like a rock star.)
What I ate the night before: bratwurst (I was at a hockey game) and Chex Mix
What I ate on race morning: Clif bar
What I carried with me: water + electrolytes
What I wore: t-shirt, shorts, arm warmers, buff as headband, ball cap, tall socks (that fell down)
Gadgets: GPS watch, fitness tracker
Discussion: That was very cold.
The early forecast made it seem like it was going to be in the low 50s on race day, but then started creeping down into the 40s, so I quick ordered some arm warmers since I didn’t want to wear a long sleeve or gloves, but didn’t want to be cold at the start. It was about 33F when I left my dad’s house Saturday morning for the race (with a stop to buy my morning snack, and then another stop at the ATM in case I had to pay to park, which I did not), but I figured it would warm up a bit and by the end of the race maybe be like 40F. I was going to be running for about 2 hours, and the race started later in the day (9:15). News flash: it did not warm up much. It was about 35F at the end. Ugh.
I slept ok the night before, which is always a crapshoot for me. I wasn’t at home, which always makes it tougher to sleep, and I often get too amped up or anxious about races, so I stay up half the night or more (like my DNS at Curnow). I did dream about being late to the race and forgetting half my gear, whoops.
I felt a little rushed trying to get to the race, since I thought I might need cash, and the ATM was broken at the convenience store where I stopped to get my Clif bar, so I had to stop at a drive up ATM further on. I was worried about needing to pay for parking. Then I ended up parking on the street, so that was a waste of time. I sat in my car with it running and got all my stuff together. At the very last minute, I decided not to wear my jacket, and left it in the car. I ran the half mile from my car to the race start, then found my friend and talked to him for a little bit. He wanted to start closer to the front than I did, so we parted ways. I was a bit chilly, but not shivering. It was overcast and there was an unpleasant wind.
The race started but I didn’t make it over the timing mat until 2:38 had passed. Fine with me. I dodged and weaved a little bit but since we were running on closed streets, there seemed to be more room than normal. We did a quick zag down and back a couple of blocks right away, and then crossed the Mississippi River on 8th Ave NE. The bridge was of course a bit of an uphill but it wasn’t too bad. The route then followed the river down past the mill ruins, underneath 35 W, underneath 94, and down just past Mississippi Gorge Park (though that was on the other side of the river). I wish it had been later in the year, or that spring had already arrived, because I think it would have been more scenic, but it was cool to run by the Mill City Museum and the Guthrie and all the other great stuff along the river front.
This course is not flat, by any means. I didn’t really know what I was in for, so I actually am extra pleased with my pace results, since there were several significant hills. I ran them all, even though it felt kind of terrible. This was ultimately a training run, but I still wanted to see what I was capable of, so I didn’t hold back much. I didn’t know the route at all, so I couldn’t come up with a race plan, I just went with it. I knew my GPS was off, so I just switched my watch over to display elapsed time whenever I came upon a mile marker (they had these nice big flags, so I could see one and quick switch over), and made sure I was under 11:oo pace (since my watch was measuring long, it had me at a great pace!).
I don’t remember much about what happened after crossing the river for the first time, and the turnaround. There was a very nice downhill that I knew would become a very unpleasant uphill. Between miles 3 and 4, I passed 4 or 5 different splatters of puke, probably from the same person. Look, in a 10 mile race, if you’re throwing up less than halfway in, you are either going too hard, or you are too hung over and need to call it a day. Gross. Puke in the grass, at least.
I was able to fly through the aid stations because I had my handheld. There were great, enthusiastic volunteers all along the course, from the water stations to the turns (every turn had a volunteer, so great!), and I was glad I had the breath to thank them. That was actually my best way of gauging my effort level: I was able to thank volunteers in full sentences, so I wasn’t going out too hard. Shortly before the turnaround (which was at around 5.5 miles, I think), I caught up to my friend and talked to him a bit. I hit the 5 mile timing mat at a 10:54 pace, which was just under goal pace. I kind of liked that the turnaround was a little past 5 miles, because it meant I already had less than half the race to go.
I caught the 12:00 pace group (who had started much farther up to the front) in the early miles, and in the back half, I realized I was closing in on the 11:00 pace group. I knew since they started ahead of me, as long as I stayed ahead of them, I’d finish under goal pace. I got ahead of them just before a hill, which kind of stunk. The pace leader told me to keep my head up, which was a good tip, since I’m always dropping my head. He said it shortens your stride on uphills. Interesting! I did my best to hammer up the hills and then keep my legs churning til they recovered.
The course crossed the river at the Stone Arch Bridge, and went past St. Anthony Main before crossing onto Nicollet Island. I thought oh, this nice downhill must be close to the end, but then no, the race took us back up another uphill as we crossed back over onto the east bank. There was yet another uphill before the finish, but then a downhill and a nice flat finish just short of where the race began.
Here’s my race results link, which has my finish video, in which I look super amazing. I’m the only person in shorts. (When anyone commented on the shorts, I replied “I live in Duluth,” which they all found sufficient for an explanation.) I felt great, cruising into the finish line, even though the surprise hills at the end threw me a bit. I had tried to get my final kick going a couple times before realizing oh, there’s another hill, gotta hang on, but I still had legs left to finish strong and happy.
I waited around for my friend to finish, and that was probably not the best idea for me, health-wise, because I was sweaty and it was still cold. I cheered him on just before the finish, and then met up with him after he left the chute. We talked for a little while, but I absolutely had to get going because my hands were getting cold. I got my finisher’s medal and walked back to the car, feeling miserable because my hands were just getting redder and colder by the minute. I made it back to the car and sat there for a few minutes (I put my running jacket on right away) before my hands recovered enough to drive. I picked up bagels and a latte on the drive home, though I was still chilled (and had to stand near the door while waiting for my coffee, getting a blast of cold air every time it opened) and really should have gone straight back. I recovered at home for awhile, finally getting the chill to go away by wrapping up in blankets, then taking a shower about half an hour later.
The race was pretty fun! It was a nice challenging course, and a positive way to kick off my 2017 race calendar! The race jacket, which came with my entry fee, is great for one reason: ZIPPERED POCKETS. I don’t have enough running gear with zippered pockets in which to store my car key. This race also helped me build confidence for Chippewa Moraine: surely even on trails, I can still hit those cutoffs. If I can run a hilly 10 mile road course in under 11 min miles, I can run 15 miles at less than a 15 min pace.