The crowd support for this race is absolutely incredible. There are very few places along the course without people cheering runners along, and there is a great feeling of support the whole way.
Earlier this week, the weather forecast did not look promising. I think I saw rain, wind, and cold (35 degrees) on tap for Sunday. Fortunately, that was not the case, and it was perfect running weather. Cool (45 degrees at the start), no wind, no rain, in fact, there was hardly a cloud in the sky!
Like most major races with a point to point course, there are shuttles to take runners to the start line. Last year I took the shuttle and remember that it was a pretty quick and painless ordeal. This year my company offered a shuttle for employees, plus free parking near the finish line. I signed up for the 5:15 shuttle and pretty much had the whole bus to myself!
|The loneliness of the long distance runner....not sure what that spot is!|
Wow that was a long paragraph about bathrooms. But, as you might have noticed, the bathroom situation at races is an important factor to me (and probably to most runners).
Anyway. I headed towards the start with about twenty minutes to go. I had a long sleeve on over my tshirt, and I had planned to take it off and give it to Meg to hang onto for me at about mile three. I also had a cheap pair of gloves on, and my white "Dave Wottle" hat. I have to admit, my outfit choice was pretty spot on for the temperature. I saw some people in sport bras and shorts and others in spandex pants and winter hats! Only in MN, right?
So. The race. Here is a link to the course map:
Miles 1-5 (7:22, 7:03, 7:13, 6:40, 6:57)
As I mentioned in my last post I have not been doing great training this summer so I wanted to go out a little modestly. The first mile is always pretty crowded and there are a couple sharp-ish turns. But it is also downhill! So that is nice and makes it easy to run easy. The second mile continues on the river road, and isn't too exciting. Mile three is kind of annoying, including up a pretty long climb up to Franklin Street, where you cross the river. There is always a huge crowd of spectators on the top of the hill and on the other side of the river. Once you cross the river you hit mile four, which is pretty uneventful. I honestly can't remember much of this part of the race. While mile four is uneventful, mile five is kind of a pain in the ass. There are two pretty long steady hills during this mile, one right after the other. Once you are at the top of the second hill you are at St. Thomas.
Miles 6-10 (6:52, 6:49, 6:37, 6:33, 6:11)
Mile six starts pretty close to St. Thomas, and at this time the course turns right and then left onto Summit. Again, such great crowd support here to the end of the race, which is great. Summit does not seem to be a hill when you are driving it or doing an easy run, but at this point in the race you can definitely feel the incline, especially as you approach Snelling Avenue. If you look at the course elevation chart, you are basically running uphill from miles 5-7. Mile 8 starts right around Hamline Avenue (Mr. B was out cheering here! Yay!) and is another slight uphill to Lexington.There is a little hill by Dale but it is worth it because the last mile is the best- Summit turns left and starts going downhill to the finish. Once you pass the St. Paul Cathedral you can see the finish line and all the crowds lining the streets. That sight, plus the downhill, plus the adrenaline of being almost done, is enough to get you to the finish!
Total: 1:08:21, 6:51 pace (my mile splits only add up to 1:08:17 so I must have hit the start button too late or the stop button too early).
I am actually really surprised by my time. I felt pretty relaxed the whole time until miles 9 & 10. There was a guy running exactly my pace the whole race, and I always find it is easier to run with someone. We briefly chatted after the race and he had run the 5k and 10k the day before...so a pretty lazy weekend for that guy. When I got to mile 9 I could not believe how quickly the race had gone by! It was so much fun- I really think this is a great event and would highly recommend it. From the volunteers to the spectators to the challenging yet fun course, it is just wonderful.
|Organized Chaos- heading to the bag check & shirts. Shiny space blankets galore!|
|This picture is included to prove that the weather was perfect, and because PUPPY!! Races should randomly award puppies to runners.|
|2011 vs 2013|
Have you ever run any of the Twin Cities weekend events?
Would you rather....get a race medal or a beer after a race? I like race medals but have a lot. They should hand out beer in commemorative mugs.
Do you take those shiny heat blankets after races? I don't...they freak me out. I think it is the crinkly texture.