There couldn't have been more perfect weather than what was given yesterday by Mother Nature for the Monster Dash Half Marathon. Beautiful! We have had the best fall season in Minnesota ever. 80s, 70s, 60s and now 50s. It just can't be beat.
Yesterday was sunny and crisp, as it should be on October 30. Low 40s to begin the race and low 50 when I was done. Perfect. OK, so its not 80, but it is fall in MN.
It was cool to be back at Lake Nokomis. I have run FANS 24 Hour Run here for the past 8 years. It was neat to be back and 'only' running a marathon. I would be home in the same day that I began. What a concept.
I arrived to Lake Nokomis an hour before the start. I didn't realize that the 10 miles and 1/2 marathoners had different starting places so of course I picked the wrong start. It wasn't until I realized that my bib number wasn't the same color as the other people around me that it dawned on me. Oops. I needed to cross Cedar Avenue and begin over there. As I was walking toward the start I noticed the port a potties. The lines were really long. I figured I might as well hang out in a line and use the biffy until the start. Did I say the line was long? It took me until 2 minutes to start time to finally get into the biffy and the gun went off while I was peeing. No worry. Chip time. Didn't matter where I lined up.
I shuffled off to the start in the mass of people. Holy crap. Later to find out there were 9000 people on the course. That's nuts! This is a 10 miler and half marathon and that many people? Wow, this race has really caught on!
I was glad I wore shorts and a long sleeved top. I began to warm up quickly. I wore a belt around my waist so that I could carry my medal back to the start. I decided that instead of taking the shuttle bus from Harriet - the finish - back to Nokomis .. I would run, making a double Monster and getting in 26 miles. I hadn't run 26 in a while so wasn't sure how that idea would pan out..
The costumes were great! Some were very unique. I saw a man and woman running together, each with a huge single breast upon their back. The breast cancer awareness ribbon was in plain sight. Each had a big round breast complete with nipple. Amazing! It wasn't done in bad taste-they made it clear this was breast cancer awareness - not 'look, I'm a tit running down the road' . There is a difference. Really.
I saw a yellow and red person ahead of me. I truly figured they were ketchup and mustard. Then a child from the side of the road yelled out "oh, look at the crayons" guess I was wrong.
Many "Where's Waldo?" were seen, a few Tinkerbell's, Hulk's, a sexy black cat. Fun stuff!
I wore my Garmin 310XT. It was fun to check in with my pace every so often. I was running 9 or less minute miles for the most part. I always felt great, never out of breath or in any sort of pain. I was a bit surprised at how well I felt.
We ran around Nokomis, down Minnehaha Parkway, around Harriet to Calhoun and back to Harriet to finish. All the best parts of the Twin Cities Marathon. There were lots of spectators. I think we were a sort of Halloween Parade for many of the children. I heard on child yell out "What is that big green guy?" I looked around and there was Gumby! Wrong generation!
Many of the leaves were still on the trees down Minnehaha. I couldn't believe it! Beautiful yellow and red, even after the incredibly high winds earlier in the week. Just a beautiful course.
As I rounded around Calhoun I realized I could PR at half marathon distance. I could break two hours if I paid attention. I picked up the speed 845 to 830, 815 picked off the distance. Pretty soon we were back to Harriet and the finish line: 1:56:48. Whoot!
Crossed the finish line, collected my real cool Halloween medal, grabbed some water and headed off back to Nokomis. I felt like I was running slower but my Garmin told me I was keeping my previous pace.A few times I thought I may have been turned around but I had a trusty course map in my waist pack. Before I knew it I was back to my car in 1:58:45.
I was so happy! So thankful to be running again, so thankful for the beautiful day. I stretched and found a perfectly sunny grassy spot. Sat down and smiled to myself. Livin' The Dream.
I'm getting my racing legs back! Next race isn't until February 12 Psyco Wyco 50K. Edited to state: my next race is Tuscobia 50K December 19. Woot! I'd like to find a 50K before then. We'll see.