Monday, March 23, 2009

Tie goes to the runner

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of joining nearly a thousand of the Twin Cities' die hard running enthusiasts at an annual rite of spring, the St. Patrick's Day Human Race 8k.

As noted in an earlier post, this was my fifth consecutive Human Race. For the last five springs, it has really marked my official end of winter and the start of racing season here in Minnesota.

The University of St Thomas, host site of the Human Race



As always, the race is headquartered at the University of St. Thomas. The route is an out and back on scenic Summit Avenue. The course is relatively flat (just a few sneaky inclines in the midsection), and from four miles on home, it is ever so slightly downhill.

I just love running this race.

I got there early to pick up my packet. There was also a shoe drive going on to benefit a local free clothing store, so I brought several of my old but decent running shoes to contribute to the cause. Following that, I just milled around, took in the atmosphere, and watched some of the 5k race.

Footage from the start of the 5k race. Race starts are always exciting!



Shortly before the 8k started, I had the pleasure of meeting local running blogger Beth and her husband Mike. Beth recognized me and was kind enough to introduce herself. A very nice couple, and it is always great to meet nice folks who are part of the Minnesota running scene. Thanks for going out of your way to say hello, Beth!

By the time my race got going, temperatures were in...the low 60's? Good grief! In every past Human Race I have entered, the weather was decent. But never had I been able to wear shorts. Today, wearing a light long-sleeved shirt was overdressing!

The race headed east down Summit Ave...right into the teeth of 20-25 MPH southeast wind! The wind was blowing very hard, and you were fairly exposed to it if you weren't running in a pack. But the good news; the wind would be pushing us all the way home once we reached the turnaround point.

This comedic highlight happens every year; I am just shy of the two mile mark, and here comes a cop car with lights on going leading the way. The race leaders go screaming past me in the opposite direction! Those are some fast dudes.

My race was a good one. The first part was slower (wind related), but I really was able to pick up some speed in the later stages of the course (also wind related!). I felt very strong and fluid. The legs felt great. I was having fun.

Yours truly, at the 2009 Human Race



My fastest Human Race 8k was in 2007 when I ran it in 35:42. Yesterday I ran it in 35:42 (results are here).

That's right, folks; I tied my own course record at this race! That was also 29 seconds shy of my own personal record at the 8k distance. I was quite pleased with my performance. And this after I ran more than 13 miles the previous day. I am excited about the upcoming season.

Dinner last night was the semi-regular post-race tradition of Chinese takeout. Some Szechuan beef and hot & spicy chicken tasted mighty fine, and it was a perfect celebratory meal for kicking off my 2009 race season.

Until next time,

Jean
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