A lot to recap from last weekend! Here goes…
This was the first race of the TC Loony Challenge. I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. so I could get up, get dressed, and eat something before heading out. The race started at 7:30 and I had access to a parking ramp right by the start/finish area. I was early, so I hung out in my car for a bit to stay warm. The temps were in the mid-30s. Great for running, but tough for waiting around.
At 7, I headed over to the start area. No corrals or pacers for this race, so I just lined up somewhere in the middle.
My goal was to run about a 10-10:30/mile pace for the 10K. At the beginning, it was the normal weaving around people until the field thinned out a bit. My legs felt good as I got going. We headed away from the Capitol, past the St. Paul Cathedral, and eventually on to Summit Ave. The trees on this street were beautiful on a crisp fall morning.
Before I knew it, I looked up and saw the flag for mile 1. For a second I thought they had messed up and put the flag in the wrong spot because there was no way I could’ve run a mile already. But, a couple seconds later my watch beeped, so I knew it was correct. My pace was where I wanted it to be and it’s always a good feeling to have run further than you thought!
At the first water stop, I did slow down and walk for a few seconds while I got out a couple of chomps, but that was the only walking I did during the race. The out-and-back course continued up Summit and it wasn’t long before I saw the turnaround. Around mile 5, my shin started to bug me a little, but nothing crazy. The last part of the course is mostly downhill which helped for one final push to the finish line.
I crossed the finish line in 1:03:36 (10:15/mile) – perfect! It was just after 8:30, which meant I had about 25 minutes before the 5K started. I got my medal and put it in my spibelt. They had all of the usual post-race food and water. I didn’t want to eat much, but I was feeling a little hungry so I grabbed a small banana and had a Gu with some water. Then I hit the restrooms before lining up again.
The 25 minutes was actually just the right amount of time between races. I started to cool down a bit and was anxious to get running again. I lined up around the same spot I had for the 10K, and pretty soon we were off. There was more weaving around people at the beginning of this race because there were walkers, so I probably could’ve started a bit closer to the front.
As we got going I realized my shin wasn’t hurting anymore, so that little bit of rest seemed to help a lot. My legs still felt good, but I forced myself to keep my pace somewhat conservative. I was going to have to do 10 miles the next day after all.
The course was the same as the 10K – but obviously with an earlier turnaround. Once again, the mile 1 flag showed up faster than I expected. I worked on keeping a leisurely pace and coasting to the end of the race. My legs were feeling a bit tired and heavy near the end, but I still ran the whole way.
I crossed the finish line in 33:31 (10:48/mile). I picked up my second medal of the day and made my way past the food and water. This time, I wanted all the food. 🙂 Then it was back to the car and home to rest up for Sunday.
TC 10 mile
After running 9.3 miles the day before, the 4:30 a.m. alarm came very early. I repeated my routine of getting up, getting dressed, and getting something to eat. The start of the 10 mile is in Minneapolis, but the finish is in St. Paul. I headed to my same parking spot to be near the finish line and hopped on the light rail to head to Minneapolis.
When I got there, I had time to hit up the bathroom and hung out a bit before dropping off my sweats bag. I had brought an extra throwaway shirt, but at the last minute I decided I didn’t want to deal with it, so I left it in the bag and headded to my corral.
The race started at 7 a.m., but my corral wasn’t released until 7:12. As I crossed the start line, I was really worried that my legs would be super tired and heavy. Not the case! The running Gods were with me and my legs actually felt great!
The course started by making your way through part of downtown Minneapolis. Part of the course felt a bit narrow for as many people as there were, so it was the usual zigging and zagging to end up in a spot where you can just run your own pace. Once again, the mile 1 flag surprised me with how fast it appeared. Only this time my watch didn’t beep. I looked at the distance and it said .90 miles. Hmm. A bit off, but I had hope it would work itself out as the course went along.
I found a comfortable pace and kept ticking off mile after mile. We made our way to West River Parkway and through part of the U of MN campus. Then it was on to Mississippi River Blvd — a running route I’m very familiar with. Around mile 5, we were back to Summit Ave. To get on to Summit, you have to go up a bit of a hill. This is also part of the marathon course, only it’s around mile 21 for them. The “Summit hill” is commonly referred to. I get it. My legs were feeling it as I made my way up the hill, and I can only imagine how tough that hill is in the marathon.
Making my way onto Summit felt like familiar territory and it was the home stretch. My legs were definitely feeling all the miles at this point, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I knew Hyedi was spectating around mile 8 which gave me some extra motivation to keep going. I gave her a high-five as I ran by.
Then, for the third time in two days, the cathedral and capitol were in sight. I saw the finish line and the growing crowd of spectators. My legs got a bit of a second wind and I kicked it up a notch.
I crossed the finish line in 1:46:57 (10:42/mile)! I’m actually really happy with my pace for this race and the whole weekend. My legs held up so much better than I thought they would!
I picked up my medals – one for 10 mile and one for completing the Loony Challenge!
Oh, I do have to go back to the mile marker issue I noticed early in the race. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work itself out by the end of the race. My Garmin said 9.95 miles at the end, and then Twin Cities in Motion notified runners later that an error with the lead car cut the course by about .10 miles. Kind of a bummer, but not the end of the world.
Overall, an outstanding weekend of running. I had a lot of fun and feel great about conquering another big running challenge! Signing up to run three races in one weekend is a little crazy, but I’m thinking it’s okay to be a little loony. 😉