Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Bud Break equals 50

Perhaps you remember a post of mine from a month ago where I said the Fargo Marathon would be my 50th career race. Well, it will have to be the 51st!

Sunday morning I had the pleasure of joining a couple of my friends from work at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to run in the Bud Break 5k.

Race headquarters at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is located southwest of the Twin Cities in the city of Chaska. It is affiliated with the University of Minnesota and features over a thousand acres of gardens, prairie, wetlands, and woodlands. It is a most impressive and gorgeous facility.

I met up with Laura and Jen, as well as a couple of Jen's friends, right out in front of the race headquarters. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day. The sky was cloudless and sunny with temperatures in the mid 50's. Another perfect spring day.

Daffodils in full bloom on the arboretum grounds

Today wasn't about racing. It was about running with friends. We started out as a group and waded our way through a lot of the walkers and stroller traffic, which eventually subsided after about a half mile or so. The terrain got somewhat challenging. This was a fairly hilly course that meandered around the arboretum grounds. There was very little flat ground to be found.

Jen motored off and attacked the hills, quickly pulling away, and our group started to disperse. A couple of people fell back, and I kind of hung out in the middle of everyone.

The race course was gorgeous. The trails took us all around the grounds, going up and down (mainly up, it seemed!) into wooded areas, prairie landscapes, and many garden areas. There were signs in each area pointing out the features. It would be fun to spend some time here at a more leisurely pace!

After the two mile mark, I was running alone. I decided to make it interesting by trying to catch up to Jen, who I could see just off in the distance. I stepped up the pace (so much for taking it easy!) and eventually caught up to her with about a 1/2 mile to go and we cruised in to the finish somewhere in the high 26 minute range. The rest of the crew finished shortly thereafter, so we all hung around and enjoyed some post race snacks and conversation. Good times!

Yours truly, with my friends Laura and Jen, before the race

For a $20 entry fee, they sure handed out a lot of great schwag. The fee included entrance to the arboretum, a short sleeve technical running shirt, a beautiful hardcover book featuring the history and seasons of the arboretum, a bottle of water, a free guest pass to a local fitness club, a packet of seeds to grow your own sunflowers, and other assorted trinkets and coupons. Wow!

It was a great day to run, and a lot of fun to spend some time with my buddies from work. I am fortunate to have several folks at my office who are interested in running, and there are plans to do more 5k or 10k races this summer. I will definitely be partaking again.

On to the 51st race... :)

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