The Securian Frozen Half Marathon that I ran today was anything but frozen! I have run the race half a dozen or more times and never have I experienced the kind of weather we had today.
This morning it was 34F when I left the house but it wasn't raining. There was a thin layer of ice over the driveway and Tyler and Steve's vehicles but the roads were just wet. It had rained most of the night.
The roads to St Paul were just wet-not icy, thank goodness. As I approached St Paul the temperature went up to 36F. At least the route wouldn't be slippery.
I found a parking ramp nice and close, covered, so I wouldn't have to chisel my car out of ice when I was ready to go home.
As I waited in line to use the bathroom I watched the flagging twist itself around the posts, it was incredibly windy outside. Wind at 25 mph with gusts to 35. With the warm temps it would only bring the wind chill down to the 20s. Not bad!
Last year the Frozen Half was shortened because is was -20 with a -35 wind chill. Not today!
I walked out to the start line and saw Karen Gall and Wayne Nelson. We chatted at bit, I wanted to ask Karen about the Land Between The Lakes 50 Mile Race she did last year in Kentucky. I think I may go out and run it in March. It would be nice to have a 50 mile race training run in prep for Zumbro 100 in April.
We started to run down the steep hill to Shephard, not icy at all, just steep. It began to rain, just like an April downpour. Incredible.
As I was running along I realized my feet felt awfully heavy. Not tired, fatigued heavy but just heavy. I looked down and it dawned on me that I was wearing my heavy duty Inov 8 Gortex Trail shoes. Why? I could only chuckle at myself. I have been wearing then in the snow and ice each day and didn't even think about wearing my road shoes. How weird. I remembered that my road shoes were in my car, in my gym bag. After the race I was running longer so I would stash my finish things in the car and grab my road shoes for the rest of my run. I also had on my heavy wool smartwool snowshoe sock. So not necessary!
At mile 3 or 4 I saw Steve Quick cheering on the runners. A while later I think I recognized Helen's voice. I know I saw Les out there in his snazzy tights but I lost him somewhere before I could say hello!
It was a real fun race. I decided that I should stay between the 200-210 finishers so that I would not blow up during my half marathon to 50K portion of this run. I didn't want to run too fast and not want to run a long training run. The training run was the goal. The race was to get out of the deep snow and support the area run. Road running feels good by the time the end of January comes along. Snowshoeing is getting old for me about this time of year!
At the turn around I glanced at the clock and read 2:03. Just right. The wind now hit me full in the face. The cool off was welcome, but the added resistance, not so much! There were times when I might as well had been walking against the wind, it was so strong. Runners who had light wind jackets were completely billowed out. It was a funny sight.
Water was available at 4 and 8 miles. I took a bottle at 8 miles, went to the side of the road and refilled my Heed. I was glad that I decided to carry a bottle during the race.
I think going out a person runs up more hills that coming back. I seemed to be able to cruise along more efficiently on the way back once the wind was no longer a factor.
Pretty soon I had only a mile left of the race, running away from the river and up a final real steep hill, I could see the finish line. Wayne was cheering on the side of the road, having finished.
As I finished I heard my name on the loud speaker. I glanced at the clock and read 205. Just right. A volunteer removed my chip and off I went to grab a Caribou drop my trail shoes at the car. There was no ice on my car, just rain. It began to pour as I changed out my shoes while guzzeling down my coffee.
I decided to use my pack for the remainder of my run, 19 miles. My arms were so tired! Thursday I lifted bicep/tricep for 65 minutes and was feeling it. I didn't want to carry two handhelds. Some gels, some heed and I was on my way.
Heading back out along the race course most of the runners had come in. I followed along the river and noticed a few other runners out there that I had seen earlier at the race.
I turned on my iPod and imagined it was the end of winter, a cool spring rainy day.
I hoped I would finish before the parade.I wasn't sure where it began but I thought it was going to start around 3. Before I knew it I was running toward the stop lights where I would turn to lead me back up the very steep hill again..I knew I was almost done. I looked at my Garmin 50 and sure enough..31.5 miles..almost done.
A perfect way to spend a spring like day in January!
Now I really need to put together a race schedule for 2010. Is it really already 2010?