Saturday, June 06, 2009

Once around the lake at the Manitou 15k

For the second Saturday in a row, I found myself in the gorgeous city of White Bear Lake to run a race! This time, it was for the 27th annual Manitou 15k.

The weather was unseasonably cool with temperatures in the...upper 40's? Brrr, that's kind of chilly for early June. Also, the skies were overcast and rain was threatening. Not the nicest day by any stretch, but ideal for running.

One of the only pictures I took today! :( Sailboats out on White Bear Lake. As you can see, not the prettiest of days!

A couple of my friends from work, Tony and Laura, were also running today, which was fun. They are training for Grandma's Marathon in a couple of weeks, so this was something of a final tuneup for them.

The Manitou 15k is a counterclockwise loop around White Bear Lake, starting and finishing at Matoska Park (which is the gateway to the legendary Manitou Island). We would run through four different cities; WBL, Mahtomedi, Willernie, and Dellwood. There ware many gorgeous homes along the lake shore, and there would also be many scenic views of the lake.

My race was went very well. I took off at a clip faster than I ran last week and pretty much stayed there. With the cooler day, I felt strong and fast.

The race was run mostly on quiet roads, with the exception of the the south end of the lake where the race ran right through the middle of the Birchwood Village Annual Neighborhood Garage Sale (it was a big deal...they even had banners hanging over the road advertising this), which created a lot of unanticipated traffic on the narrow roads.

With the exception of having to dodge weave around a few inattentive "garage salers" (I am sure they weren't amused with our presence, either), the rest of the course was pretty tame. The route was mostly flat with a few gentle hills here and there, so you were able to put on the cruise control and make some good time.

I felt fantastic all the way around and especially towards the end. In the last mile I picked up the pace and even ran down three runners that were ahead of me, finishing in an unofficial 1:12:43.

Another new PR!!!

OK, I have never run the 15k distance before, so it was going to be a PR whatever the time was! Perhaps it would be more appropriate to simply say I established a baseline with which I can measure my next 15k? :) In any case, this was a really good race for me. Anytime I can run sub 8 minutes miles over that kind of distance is a nice day of racing.

By the time my friends finished, the rain had just started to fall. Perfect timing! It held off just long enough. We retreated to the warmth of the Cobblestone Cafe in the downtown area for a hearty breakfast (GREAT corned beef hash!) and some nice conversation. Definitely a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.

It ended up raining most of the day and it never really got higher than 50 degrees. A perfect excuse to stay inside and cook.

For dinner in the evening, I broke from the semi-regular post-race tradition of Chinese take out (which is why it is semi-regular!) in favor of beef and bean burritos with a trio of homemade salsas (pico de gallo, guajillo chile, and tomatillo-serrano). Oh yeah, now we're talking! That definitely hit the spot.

A south of the border fiesta on a plate!

Now if you will excuse me, there is a NASCAR race starting up in a few minutes. Talk about a great Saturday! :)

Until next time,

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