Sunday, November 6, 2011

Run to unite 5k: race report

This race actually happened BEFORE the monster dash half marathon.  It was a really unique race for a number of reasons.  First off, the race was organized by a Macalester student (a Somali student who graduated from Minneapolis South High School) with support from American Refugee Committee (an organization I feel a special connection to thanks to my inspiring good friend who enacts her passion for refugee rights everyday at ARC). Appropriately, the race was a 5k run/walk to raise money for hunger relief in Somalia.  Local organizations and high schools were involved so I saw many a familiar face at the start line on the windy Sunday October morning.

Joan and I decided to run a couple warm up miles over to the University of Minnesota flats on east river parkway.  The course was gorgeous; it covered trails and floating walkways along the river road that I had never run on before.  Judging from the relatively small number of racers (350 as compared to the thousands I am used to), Joan and I thought we may have a chance to compete to be the first female finishers. 
Running around a 7 min pace, we cruised through the woods.  The race totally brought me back to xc races at Macalester.  I was pushing it hard and I was trying to keep up with Joan.  This was total deja vu.  My major moment of near collapse occurred when we hit the first floating walkway.  Initially, I didn't realize that the walkway was floating!  So, I thought that I was FAINTING!  The feeling on the walkway felt remarkably similar to when I passed out riding my bike a number of years ago.  Fortunately, Joan said something like, "I feel like we are in Disney World!  These walkways are crazy..."  I felt immediate relief!

At the turn around, we discovered we were in third/fourth place for the women runners, only to follow another woman about our age and a ten year old girl.  We thought she was our same arch nemesis whom we encountered at a relay race earlier in the summer, but later I discovered that she was the 5th grade sister of one of my Washburn runners!  Hurray!  A new recruit!  We decided to hold our positions and not let another lady pass us.  Sorry ladies.  We crossed the finish line as third and fourth.  I was exhausted and proud; Joan could've run another mile. 

Overall, we had such a great time and I was thrilled to participate in such a cool fundraiser.  The energy of the race organizers and all the volunteers made the race extremely special; a reminder that the Twin Cities is a true hub for positive work and change.
Local high school students playing Postal Service on marimbas (or marimba like instruments).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monster Dash Half Marathon: Race Report

Go Big.  It was the perfect morning for a PR- dad was visiting, the weather was cool and sunny, and I felt energized and capable.  Dad remarked how relaxed I seemed in comparison to other early morning pre-race preparations he'd witnessed.  Running a handful of marathons does tend to put other races into perspective.  That said, I hadn't really built up this race in terms of any consistent training plan.  My fall workout schedule was basically a few short/easy runs, a fast run with my high school runners, and a long run on the weekends.  My weekly mileage was around 30 miles on average.  This isn't very much for me.  Yet, I ran the TC 10 mile a few weekends before the Monster Dash and my time was only a couple minutes slower than last year.  So, I knew I could PR if I was ready to accept a little pain at the end.  I also knew that it was my last chance before snowfall to hit a half marathon PR.  So...why not, right?

Miles 1-3
Mike cheering for me in front of our alma mater!
Easy, fast.  I had on my ipod shuffle and I was loving the tunes.  This was my first race listening to music; it definitely won't be my last.  Running west down Summit is like a reward after running up it during the Twin Cities marathon.  This photo is waving to Mike and Dad cheering at Macalester!!!!
My first split was in the vicinity of 8:40.  Then, my garmin turned off somehow.  I restarted it at the 3 mile mark in case I might want to check my pace later in the race. 

Two block shots please??!

Miles 3-6
The familiar part of River Road heading towards the Ford Plant.  I felt good.  My music died (wah).  I didn't check my Garmin for the rest of the race.  I knew I was running faster than my usual pace on long runs, so there was no point of freaking myself out (if my pace was slower than expected, I would feel bad...if it was faster, I might slow).  I decided to focus on my form, my breathing, and keep up my pace.  I saw Dad and Mike cheering on the parkway right after mile 6! 

Miles 7-9
Looking for me after mile 9.
I could feel my body getting a little bit worn down, but I tried to not let my mind go there.  I kept my pace and focused on not letting this particular heavy footed/heavy breathing woman get too far ahead of me.  She was breathing harder than me so I knew I should be running at least as fast as her.  Dad and Mike cheered me on a little after mile 9!!!!

Mile 10
Got my shot blocks!  Heavy footed lady right next to me.  hee.
It was a real crush to the soul when we passed the 10 mile finish line.  I tried not to look.  I also avoided looking at the pacers and their pace signs.  I tried this strategy after feeling really let down at the Madison Marathon when I fell behind my pacer.

Mile 11-11 1/2
Big uphill in the more unfamiliar part of river/shepard road.  Also there was horrible angsty singer at the top of the hill.  I made a mental note to write a thank you to Team Ortho for the great race minus the 11 1/2 mile band.  Oh my lord.  I wanted to run faster so I didn't have to listen to the depressing music.  I guess maybe that was their intent?
off to finish the race!

Mile 12 to finish.
Slowed down a bit after the big hill but then started to pass people as we headed into the last mile.  I didn't pass heavy breather, but I closed the gap and I wasn't far behind her at the finish line.  I saw Mike immediately after I crossed the finish.  The clock time was 1:51, so I knew I ran a personal record.  When we checked the results at home, I was totally ecstatic to see that I ran a 1:48!!!    I felt like I really hung in there at the end and gave it my all.  I was so excited that my dad was there to see me race! 

Finish line!