Sunday, March 16, 2008

The spirit of a new adventure at the Human Race

This Sunday, I marked another milestone. I ran in my fourth St. Patrick's Day Human Race. Astute readers of my blog will remember me talking about this race last year because this is where the whole race/fun run thing started for me. This is one that will be on my calendar every year.

Impressive statue on the St. Thomas Fieldhouse

In its 36th year, The Human Race takes place at St. Thomas University and runs out-and-back on Summit Avenue. It is a relatively flat and fast course that most of the Minnesota speedsters show up for. This is a well-attended race.

Human Race registration

We couldn't have asked for a much nicer day. Considering just last weekend we were enduring below zero morning temperatures, today we were blessed with 40 degrees and sunshine. What a contrast!

I arrived early to get a good parking spot, and so I could mingle and watch the 5k. I was glad I did because I got to see my supervisor from work! She was there to run the 5k with some friends, so we got to chat for awhile before her race started. I love it that my boss is a runner!

A shot of the 5k start

Fast forward to the start of my race; it was so nice out that this ended up being the first Human Race where I didn't have to wear a stocking cap! Awesome.

The first mile is always a little interesting because there is a lot of traffic to sort your way through. It is pretty congested, but this give you time to take in all of the gorgeous homes along Summit Avenue! :) But things fanned out quickly enough, and I made it through the first mile in something like 7:25.

I ran very comfortably and felt good about my pace; that is, until I was closing in on the two mile mark and the leaders were already running past me the other way! Wow, those guys are fast.

Rounding the corner and turning back west at the William Mitchell College of Law, we found ourselves hitting somewhat of a headwind. It wasn't much, but that combined with a slight uphill resulted in my slowest mile of the day for me between miles three and four. I passed through the 4 mile mark at darn near 30 minutes.

From mile four on home was a breeze, though, and I really picked up the pace. A wee bit of a downhill, followed by flat terrain all the way to the finish line. I crossed in 36:22. Not my fastest 8k ever, but not my slowest by a long shot. And I finished strong. After the brutal winter I ran through, how could I not be pleased? This is a good start to the 2008 racing season!

As is tradition, I celebrated with some post-Human Race Chinese take-out food (Mandarin beef & chicken in garlic sauce from Ming's Garden in Plymouth...yum!). Because the race starts in the afternoon, this gives me a good excuse not to cook on a Sunday!

Ming's Garden rocks!

The fortune cookie I received with my take-out was more than appropriate for the start of a new race season. It is now tacked up on the fridge:

May the spirit of adventure continue to lead all of us on exciting new paths! :)

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