Sunday, November 08, 2009

Rocky! Rocky!

U of M flag flying proudly at the starting line of Rocky's Run. Other Big 10 Conference schools were represented in the background.



Fueled by my homemade bacon and some eggs for breakfast, I was ready to run on Sunday! I had the pleasure of joining nearly a couple hundred cross country running enthusiasts at this year's Rocky's Run 5k.

This race is held in memory of Rocky Racette, one of the all time great University of Minnesota runners. It is run on the U of M Les Bolstad golf course, and it serves as a fundraiser for the Rocky Racette scholarship fund. This is the fourth time I have participated in this event.

Yours truly, milling around before the race



We were blessed with a glorious fall day for the race. In fact, every year I have done this, the weather has been good. Early November in Minnesota can be kind of interesting and unpredictable, so I will take temperatures in the mid 50's with some sun trying to peek through mostly overcast skies!

A view of the Minneapolis skyline from the U of M golf course



As per usual, the U of M women's cross country team was well represented. I am always in awe of how fast they are. This race also draws a lot of current and former cross country runners, so for a small little cross country race, there is an awful lot of talent.

Runners warming up prior to the start; U of M team in maroon and gold warming up on the right



The race starts, and we all take off down the driving range. It never fails, but every year I always forget one thing when I come to this race:

This course is more hilly than I remember!

In fact, there is very little flat ground of any kind on the course. The terrain is rolling and is constantly going up, down, and even sideways. This is a challenging little track to run!

Despite the hills, I was feeling pretty good today. I didn't wear my watch and had no idea how I was doing, so I just ran.

Given the nice temperatures, I was surprised to see a number of cold weather running outfits. Lots of tights, long pants, and even gloves. I passed one person wearing pants, some sort of polar fleece shirt, gloves, AND one of those earmuff/headband things that skiers wear. I was hot just looking at this runner!

I felt pretty strong, trying my best to maintain my pace on the uphills, keep my balance on the sidehills, and take advantage of the downhills. I passed a number of folks over the last couple of kilometers. Having come off of a marathon, it is remarkable how quickly these 5k's get over with! I crossed the finish line in 23:59 (results here), so this was my fastest Rocky's Run time ever. For what it is worth, my previous times at this race are 24:10, 24:14, and 24:15, so I am also a model of consistency. ;-)

This year's Rocky's Run shirt



So, with that, another Rocky's Run is in the books, and we are close to completing yet another race season here in Minnesota. It was a great day to be a runner.

There was an 8k race following the 5k. I usually stick around to watch a little, but didn't this time. There was lasagna to be made... ;-)

Lasagna with Italian sausage, mushrooms, and homemade red sauce...mama mia!



Until next time,

Jean
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