Sunday, November 04, 2007

Running for Rocky

We were greeted with a glorious fall day here in Minnesota. Crisp, cool air, abundant sunshine...can you think of anything better to do than run in a race?

Go Gophers!

Sunday morning I participated in the Rocky's Run 5k. The race is a cross country event that takes place on the University of Minnesota's Les Bolstad Golf Course.

Rocky's Run is held in honor of Rochelle "Rocky" Racette, a University of Minnesota cross country runner with wonderful spirit who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1981. The race benefits the Rocky Racette scholarship fund. Please check out this fantastic story on Rocky for more information on her inspirational life story.

And now, to change the mood completely, here is one of the funniest things that has ever happened to me at a race:

Before the race, I was wandering around and was approached by a smoking hot runner girl. We struck up a conversation, and she was asking me questions about the start and finish, we talked about racing, marathoning, etc. Then we looked over at a tent that was being raised where the U of M cross country team was setting up shop. The conversation went something like this:

Runner girl: "The cross country team is here. Are they running today?"

Me: "I think so. At least they did the last time I was here."

Runner girl: "Oh, are you a member of the team?"

Five minutes later, after I picked myself up off the ground from a fit of hysterical laughter, I said no and indicated I was just an average runner with plans of finishing deep in the field! However, I was deeply flattered that I could somehow be mistaken for a Division 1 college running stud... :)

Anyhow, as I said, it was a gorgeous day, and we lined up for the start of the 5k. This race brings out a lot of the great local cross country runners, as well as a lot of local race teams, so there would be some speedsters out there. The U of M women's cross country coach gave the prerace speech and introduced his team, who had just won the Big 10 championship!

There was also a moment of silence for Ryan Shay, the runner who collapsed and died during the US Olympic marathon trials this weekend, along with some parting words instructing us to enjoy every day.

A shot of the course, still showing some colors

The race started, and all those speedsters disappeared in front of me. I had forgotten two things:

1. Trying to be fast is not easy
2. This course is really hilly!

All summer long, I had been training for distance, not speed, so I felt like I was laboring a bit. And, the course is constantly going up and down. So I was trying to be fast on hills. Not a good combination for me!

But that is not to say the race was not fun. It was immensely entertaining! The course looped around this beautiful golf course. Some of the leaves on the trees were still hanging in there, the sun was shining, and the weather was ideal. Minnesota was blessed with a fantastic day for running.

For most of the race, I was tagging along with one of the members of the U of M team. We kept trading spots. I passed her on downhills, she passed me on uphills, and eventually she pulled away from me at the finish. Hey, at least I was kind of hanging with a collegiate runner!

A photo from the start of the 8k

I haven't seen the official results, but by my watch I finished in 24:14. That is EXACTLY the same time I had when I ran this two years ago! How funny. Hey, at least I am consistent, right? :)

A celebration of life expressed through running on one of the most beautiful fall days ever, and all for a good cause. Does it get much better? I will run for Rocky any day.

Until next time,

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