Still feeling a wee bit Irish, even if it is almost April - the 2010 shirt design
Yours truly on the St. Thomas University Campus
A completely random note about races to those of you who race frequently - is the little change compartment in the console of your car filled with safety pins that were once used to attach your bib numbers to your race clothes? Yeah, mine too.
I arrived early just to mill around and take in the day, which was pretty darn nice. Low 50's and not a cloud in the sky, but a fairly stiff breeze coming out of the north. But really, couldn't ask for much more. Most years I have needed a stocking cap, gloves, and full length running pants.
They have a shoe drive at this event, and runners are encouraged to bring in their used running shoes. They get donated to a local free clothing store. I brought in a sack full of my old sneakers, and they were positively delighted to see me, as I wear size 13's (a.k.a., "water skis"). Apparently, they don't get nearly as many contributions in the larger sizes, so I was happy my big feet allowed me to do my part!
The pre-race crowd
Start of the 5k race
The 8k race is an out and back down Summit Ave, same as always. A lot of the heavy hitters from the local running scene show up for this. It is a well attended race, and it is the start of a season team long points race, so there are many local running teams in the lineup as well. Lots of talented runners here.
The race started, and I settled into my pace. A funny thing happened around mile 1. A runner pulled up to me on the right and said "Jean?" It was Wildknits, a local running blogger. We have been reading each others blogs for quite some time, but had never met until now. How funny that we met in the middle of a race! We chatted briefly and would catch up at the finish.
I was feeling surprisingly good. Admittedly, I wasn't expecting much since I ran 14 miles on Saturday. But at mile 2, I was at a shade over 14 minutes. Not bad.
Between miles 2 and 3 is the turnaround point where we run a loop around the William Mitchell College of Law. Following the race, I got a message from another blogger buddy, Natalie (she was racing too), saying that she saw me and shouted out to me around this area, but I somehow missed that. So sorry, Natalie! I need to pay closer attention out there! :)
I came through mile 3 just past 21 minute, darn near on my 5k PR pace. Where was this coming from? Mile 3 to 4 is the toughest part of the course, if there is such a thing. This section is an ever so slightly uphill grade that, while not difficult, wears on you. And now is as good a time as any to mention that the north wind felt like it was in our faces during the entire race. Weird. Anyhow, I felt like I was slowing down here, but I passed through mile 4 at just over 28 minutes. Looking good.
From mile 4 on home, we are rewarded with a flat to gradually downhill stretch of road. You can see the finish line tents from quite a ways out. I managed to hold my pace and keep it together to cross the finish line in 35:12 (results here). Not only a new personal best for the Human Race course, but a new 8k PR as well!
Depending upon whether or not the now defunct Easy Does It Race in Plymouth was an 8k or a 5 miler (I have 2 shirts from this race - one called 8k, the other 5 miles), I improved my PR by either 1 second or 30 seconds! Any local running historian know the answer? Steve?
I caught up with Wildknits after the race to chat some more, talk running, discuss upcoming races, and whatnot, which was a lot of fun. It was a pleasure to meet you, Wildknits, and I will see you at Trail Mix!
Post-race photo with Wildknits
So, it was quite a day. An unexpected PR, and a nice way to kick of my 2010 race season. The semi-regular post-race tradition of Chinese takeout for dinner (hot & spicy chicken, and beef with Chinese black mushrooms) really hit the spot. And a celebratory glass of Dark Horse "Double Crooked Tree I.P.A." is tasting mighty good as I type this.
Disclaimer: Through the course of editing, I have moved on to a second beverage of my choosing - a celebratory glass of Dark Horse "Plead the 5th" Imperial Stout. I no longer take responsibility for any grammatical errors... ;-)