Since I had been out of town for five days, three weeks ago, while I ran Lean Horse 100 Mile, I didn't feel like I should be heading up north to Lutsen to run the Superior races this weekend. So much for 'should'. When I mentioned to Steve a few days ago that I am normally packing drop bags to head up to Sawtooth 100 he asked why I wasn't going to this year. I explained that I was just out of town for 5 days and I felt like I 'should' stay home. He pooh poohed me and said to go up north, enjoy myself and run well. I had already made up my mind to stay home but it is nice to know that he was fine with me going.
I looked at Raceberryjam.com to see what road races were in town this weekend for a training run for Twin Cities Marathon. I haven't run distance on asphalt forever so figured I might as well. I found the Bear Lake Run 10 and 20 mile as well as City of Lakes 25K. I know I've run the City of Lakes before and I think I may have run Bear Lake 20 but I haven't looked in my old log books yet to see for sure.
Twin Cities Marathon is just three weeks away so I decided I'd get some asphalt training in for it. I decided to run 20 at Bear Lake and then an additional loop of 12, making it an ultra distance training run. Maybe TCM will seem easier that way!
People that aren't runners ask me if marathons seem effortless now that I run 100 mile races. No, they don't seem effortless. It's a matter of frame of mind. When the mind knows it is 26 miles it hurts and becomes difficult at 20 miles. It's all in the mind.
Today was just a beautiful day. Warm and sunny, humid. Just how I like it. I can't believe it is 83 degrees right now. I love it!
I was worried about race day registration. The race fills at 1200 so I didn't know if I'd make the cut. I decided I'd give it a try and if I didn't make it I'd head out to run the 50K course at Afton, forgetting the asphalt. I didn't want to run a 50K on asphalt alone. I'd be bored silly. As TCM isn't a goal race for me, it really didn't matter.
I made the registration cut off with a number in high 900s. I was about an hour early so I don't know if they reached the max or not. Lots of people for this road race.
We began at a beach, on a skinny asphalt path. The 10 and 20 milers began together so it was quite crowded but there was Championship Timing so nobody was pushing to the start too quickly.
The race was very nicely done; well organized, great water stops, a picturesque course, actually. There were aid stations every 2..yes, every 2 miles so I didn't carry liquids the first 20 miles. I wore my Nathan vest for gels. I used every aid station! It was real warm so I drank a couple of glasses of Gatorade and a couple of glasses of water at each stop. The two mile aid stations came up quickly. Each station had a theme; there was the White Bear Lake Dance Line and others. I recall the Dance Line because they were cheering madly and were very encouraging.
As I listened to conversations around me it became apparent that many were running their first 10 mile race as well as first timers at 20 miles. How inspiring! It was really fun to listen in on the worries, the experiences, the races they were training for.
One thing that was kind of cool: many of the homes around White Bear Lake have statues of white bears in their yards and hanging from their mailboxes.
The course went around the lake and before I knew it 10 miles were up and I was off for another 10. My first lap was 130. I made a note to now slow it down a bit so that I was up for an additional 22 miles.
When I came around to 20 miles the clock was at 311 I believe. I wasn't wearing a watch so I congratulated myself on being able to hold an accurate pace. I'll take all of the congratulations I can give myself!
As I crossed the finish line I removed my chip and had a couple of orange slices. I picked up my finishers bag and began to head to my car. As I was leaving the race I heard my name called. There was Dave Just, who I haven't even seen this summer. It was nice to see him. He was the only person I recognized at the race!
I walked to my car, dropped off my bag, filled two bottles with Heed, replaced the gels in my vest and headed out for another loop.
At aid station 1 they began to cheer for me, I said "oh, I'm done" then realized I had my number on. I took it off and threw it into the garbage, then noticed that there were still runners out there beginning their second loop.
I decided to put on my iPod and just enjoy the next 12, slow and steady.
When I finished my 30 miles there were still quite a few runners milling about the beach. I hung out for a few minutes and went out and back another mile, calling it a 50K.
I must say, when I first decided to run this race I had toyed with the idea of running it as a time trial for Twin Cities Marathon. I then decided against it and run it as a training run. I was tired at the finish and happy it was a slow training run!
The Bear Lake Run is a good one, I enjoyed it very much :)