It’s time for a race recap! Which I actually almost never do. But! It’s a new season, so let’s chat Kate’s Running Season Opener: the Twin Cities in Motion‘s 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile.
Yesterday, the weather reports of sleet, freezing rain, and ice threatened to shut the whole thing down, but at 6:52AM an email came in saying “The events are on!” The first thing I asked myself was, “Self, how do you appropriately dress for a run in a freezing drizzle while the temperature hovers right around 32 degrees without inhibiting the range of motion of your legs, knees, and shoulders?” Answer: It’s not really possible. I threw on some running tights, some Under Armour, a running vest, arm warmers, and mittens, looked at the hobo staring back at me in the mirror and decided that would have to do. Added some charcoal handwarmers on my way out the door and prayed for some sort of heat wave to shine over Lakes Harriet and Calhoun.
There are several race management organizations in the Twin Cities, and I have discovered that some (who shall remain unnamed, but runners, you know who I am talking about) are really good at marketing, but entirely terrible at execution. Twin Cities in Motion is not one of those organizations. They are organized and professional to a T. Which is usually awesome, but this morning I ended up standing around in the frigid weather doing nothing because race packet pick up was too fast and dropping off my sweats bag was too easy. Luckily, I found FREE HOT CHOCOLATE. Which I totally overindulged in (carbo-load, am I right?!) and may have had something to do with how I ended up fighting to not finish dead last… The takeaway of this paragraph is that, whatever I say negative about this morning’s experience has ZERO to do with TCM’s ability to put on a great event. It has everything to do with drinking like a gallon of hot chocolate to try to stay warm.
The 10 mile race was set to started promptly at 9AM and I hung back with the 10 minute/milers at the start. No more than 100 feet after passing the starting line and turning on my Garmin did the entire pack of runners get hung up in a sharp turn + giant puddle combo. If there is any way you don’t want to start a ten mile run, it is with wet feet. “Oh lord,” I thought, “We are not far enough into this event to be having problems.”
After about a mile around Lake Harriet the pack spread out a bit and I found a happy pace. I saw 2 friends who were volunteering around mile 1 as well and that was a bolt of good vibes.
The back half of Harriet is a bit tricky. If you run the lake trail over there, the path is almost entirely flat because it hugs the shoreline of the lake. The road, however, has these rolling hills which you never get to train on because, you know, cars and stuff. One of the hills was sheer ice on the downhill and several runners slipped or slowed to a walk/crawl. I was in the latter camp to prevent being in the former camp. I think a slip and fall at mile 2 would have taken me out of the event mentally and it was too early to risk that. At the back half of Harriet is also when the front of the 5K pack caught up to the back of the 10 mile pack. The 5Kers started 10 minutes after us and these guys were making time. Of course, I said to myself, “Well yes, look at you go. But you are only running 3 miles. Anyone can run 3 miles. I am running 10 miles.” Even though I cannot do a 5K at the pace they were at, long distance running is almost all mental and I will tell myself pretty much any lie while I am out there to get me through.
The rest of Harriet and the first bit of the Lake Calhoun loop were pretty uneventful. Then, I misjudged a pothole in the road and soaked my right foot in ice cold, muddy water. The shock/terror of it made me so angry that I forgot to pay attention to where I was putting my feet and I dropped my left foot into a not-shallow puddle. I looked at the Garmin. 4.32 miles. I had committed my feet to frozen sloshiness for 5.68 more miles. What a complete and total bummer. I sulked about it for at least a mile. The silver lining being that it gave me something to think about other than the fact that I was running ten miles in what felt like a severe winter storm of biblical proportions*.
Around mile 7, I had successfully looped both Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun and was on my way back to Harriet to
cross the finish line run around it again. Last verse same as the first is fun in sing-alongs. Not as fun in running. When I saw my friends again at now mile 8 I told them this was stupid and I paused briefly to share some running banter. I felt better. But then about 0.28 miles later (according to the Garmin) every muscle in my body cramped up. Feet, legs, guts, back, everything. I had to slow and even take several walk breaks. Brutal. I fought it and kept running knowing that the back of the pack was growing nearer and nearer to me, but the tail end of miles 9 and 10 were just… slow. So. Slow. We had to revisit those rolling hills and then just round the east side of the lake. It took approximately 4 hours 16 minutes to go that last mile and a half and I can’t remember the last time I was so happy to see a finish line**. I was pretty sure I was in dead last, but then I remember that I had passed 2 girls wearing hot dog costumes and I had not seen the hot dogs since, so they must have still been behind me.
My goal was to finish/survive and I did. I did not meet my goal time or even beat last fall’s 10 mile time, but given the difficulty of training in the winter and the conditions of the day, I am not disappointed with my finish. There is a bonus to finishing near the end: when I went through the food line they gave me 5 HUGE shamrock sugar cookies and an entire bunch of bananas. So sure, maybe someone won first place but did they take home an entire bunch of bananas?! No. And you can’t make banana bread with a winner’s medal, so you decide the true victor here.
I got a ridiculous runner’s high on the car ride home and was feeling all “Run ALL the mile! Run EVERY day! Running is great! Running is fun! Running! Running! Running!” Reeeeeeeally coulda used that enthusiasm around mile 8.
I ate a piece of cold pizza in the shower. It’s okay, you can judge.
I can only shuffle my feet and I groan like a 90 year old when I stand up or sit down.
My Garmin reported that I burnt 1457 calories in 10 miles. I have been working all day to replace every single one of those and I don’t even feel bad.
My feet are still cold. My soaked running socks are still on the dining room table (this is gross). My somewhat new running shoes look (and smell) 3 years older than they did this morning.
Dude, that was so fun. Can’t wait until the next event!
*Like I said, running is totally a mental game. And sometimes your judgment gets carried away and everything gets polarized. A run is either the BEST run ever or the WORST run ever. And a hazy, misty March precipitation becomes the Storm of the Century.
**Oh, yes I can. Every race ever.