My goodness, I knew it had been a long time since I've run a 10K but I didn't realize HOW long ago!
Ann Maser and I ran the Victory 10K 6 years ago. I can't believe that it has been that many years. Wow.
Today I ran the Polar Dash 10K. What a blast! I must say, this morning I asked Steve " why exactly am I driving an hour to run an hour, then driving back home for an hour ?" "Well, you haven't raced since Javelina 100 have you? You needed social interaction, you haven't run a road race since Twin Cities Marathon" Oh. I guess I had already asked him that question!
It was cold this morning. -6F in Big Lake. 5F at race start. The race didn't begin until 11AM! It gave me time to shower, clean house and run a few errands before race time.
I forgot about all of the people, parking, etc. Oh my gosh! I arrived near the race at 945-plenty of time! Well, not so. Parking lots were full and neighborhood streets were parking on one side only, narrow streets, homes very close together with driveway accesses onto the streets so you couldn't park along most of the street area. Boy, this sure doesn't happen at ultras..does it!
Finally I came across a church at Franklin Ave and River Road Terrace or something. Luckily there was one spot left! I added a few layers of clothing, changed out of my boots and into my shoes and was all set. I glanced at my Forerunner 50 and began jogging to the start. 1.4 miles I made it to the Shiners Hospital, race start. Lots of people!
Very nice start. Lots of room for everyone inside the facility plus a huge warming tent. Great organization, even pacing groups! I couldn't believe it. For a 10K?
It was even chip timed. I received my chip, an embroidered hat and gloves. Wow again. Nice stuff. Now had to jog back to my car to drop off my goodies! Out and back I went. At least I would now know the way back to the car after the race.
I lined up at the 9 minute mile group thinking I wanted to run in less than an hour. I tried not to think about tired legs and 45 miles of snowshoe running less than 24 hours prior.
The gun blared and off we went. For the most part the road was pretty clear of ice and snow and the course was plenty wide for all of the participants. There weren't too many spectators with the cold temperature! I ran along, each mile was marked with a mile marker on a huge feather-just like Twin Cities Marathon. Amazing. They spend some money to put together these Ortho races. They are really really nice.
Up hill, flatten out, up hill, when do we go downhill? I was breathing hard..well, gasping, and I wanted to go faster. How? I continued on just doing what I could.
Eventually I ran up to another pace group leader. He was leading the 852's I believe with a finish of 55. Well, I figured I'd hang here as long as I could. He began to talk about Trail Mix 50K and said that was his first ultra. I looked over and said that it was mine too, 6 years ago. We introduced ourselves and he recognized my name, my blog. He was talking and running effort sly. Me, not so much. As we made the turnaround I told him I couldn't really talk and run this pace at the same time. I told him I began ultras so I could slow down! At mile 4 I dropped back a bit, he turned around and said "Come on, famous ultrarunner, you aren't slowing down" Oh yeah, I'm slowing down.
I always kept him in my sights and wasn't too much farther behind. After mile 5 there was a huge hill. I decided to run it very slowly, not quite walking, but almost. Sheesh. Tired tired tired.
As I came into the finish I saw the clock turn to :57. My chip will show a bit less, not too much. Yippee! I made my goal of under an hour.
I walked past the finish line and saw that there were volunteers handing out medals. Medals! Medals at a 10K. I couldn't believe it. They are beautiful medals too. Huge, hanging on a lanyard with a clip. Ortho has put together 4 races and each race has a medal that will fit together into a holder, creating this big circle. Very cool. Makes me want to re look at the dates to see if I can run each race. Funny that a cool award would make me want to run the series. It does though.
What a fun race. I walked back toward the hospital, seeing Caribou Coffee, Cocoa, cookies, chips and bread on the way. Amazing.
I don't remember 10Ks being this organized and well done in the past. I'm looking forward to the next one!
I jogged back to my car, the lot almost empty. As I came up to my car a couple asked me to take their picture. They then offered to take mine. Why not?
Quickly starting my car I begin to strip off my wet clothing. I'm so glad I brought dry clothes along. Into dry clothes and heading on home. Smiling, happy that I decided to run this 10K! It really was nice to share the New Year with a big group of runners, doing what we love to do.
Happy New Year!