Saturday, September 09, 2006

RACE REPORT - Get Ready to Rock 10k

You might recall that today was the day of the Moose Mountain Marathon that I didn’t enter! I think I made a wise decision, and I am happy with it. I’ve been having too much fun running in the shorter races. And since I had originally planned to do a race today, I found a different one to add to my schedule.

This morning I ran in the Get Ready to Rock 10k. The race, currently in its 8th year, was held in White Bear Township, which is just slightly north of the town of White Bear Lake on the northeast side of the Twin Cities metro.

This was a pretty small event (there were around 100 runners in the 10k). There were two races to choose from; a 10k and a 20 miler. The 10k consisted of one lap around beautiful Bald Eagle Lake, and for the 20 miler, three laps. I am still unsure why the race is called "Get Ready to Rock." They had a van playing music at the finish, but most races do something similar. Who knows?

A lot of folks were using the 20 mile race as a tune-up for the Twin Cities Marathon in a few weeks. And, this race course is actually part of the original Twin Cities Marathon course, so there is a bit of Minnesota running history here as well.

(An interesting side note; only a couple miles south of us in White Bear Lake, there was another 20 mile race going on, the Bear Water Run! What are the odds of a town holding two separate 20 milers on the same day?)

Registration was a bit chaotic. In this day and age, most events offer online registration, and this race had two different online registration vendors. Virtually everyone who used a specific vendor did not show up on the official registration list. To the credit of the race organizers, they were incredibly accommodating and apologetic (needlessly so, as it wasn’t their fault) to those of us used this certain vendor and got us all processed manually.

It was a near perfect day to run with temps in the low 50’s. The only quibble would be the strong east wind, but otherwise it was great for running. I was astonished that people were actually complaining about how cold it was. Heck, I have been waiting for this weather for months. Bring on the cool! :)

The race began at 8:30, and we started our counterclockwise trip around the lake. The course was mostly flat with only a few rolling hills to contend with. I settled in to a comfortable pace.

The course was really quite beautiful. The lake is pretty, and there are many magnificent homes along the route. I know very little about the White Bear Lake area, but I am sure this is the “high rent district,” if you catch my drift!

By the second mile, I had passed a number of folks and I realized that there couldn’t have been more than a few runners ahead of me. I felt like I was running alone for a lot of the race (a strange feeling, especially when you have police cars blocking off intersections seemingly just for you!). I was doing pretty well time-wise, and was on pace to set a personal record if I kept it up. I felt quite strong today, so I was very optimistic.

Rounding the south end of Bald Eagle Lake, we turned east and headed into the wind. That offered a bit of a challenge, but thankfully there were enough trees to give us some protection. With about a mile to go, there was perhaps the steepest hill on the course. I actually like these hills because I see them as opportunities to pass people! It was here I made a final pass of a runner who was struggling, and I never looked back as I did my best to accelerate to the finish line.

As it turns out, I won my age division, and I finished 4th overall for the entire race (that should give you some idea of the level of competition here!). More important to me, though, was that I crossed the finish line in 45:28, which is a new 10k personal record by 1 minute and 49 seconds. I ran very well today and couldn’t be happier.

My prize was a really nice Fuel Belt waist pack with a water bottle and a gel flask. That, and a new PR, made for pretty nice birthday presents. Did I mention it is my birthday today? :)

Finally, I must apologize that I took no pictures today. I did not realize that parking was about half a mile away and they were bussing people across a busy Highway 61 to the race start. That being said, the camera and my other gear stayed locked up in the car. I will try to do better next time!

Onward to Des Moines!

Until next time,

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