Today’s race was excellent. The highs were so high and the lows were so low.
This race started as all of the others do. The night before with a festive meal. Yom Kippur consumed the two days immediately prior to the race. I’m sure you can all imagine how that was unusual. Saturday night was actually break-fast (I didn’t fast this year) so I brought my meal of choice with me! I downed: one order of chicken tikka masala, one order of peshwari naan, two vegetable samosas. It was delicious and effective. Truly, if you are not on the pre-race Indian/African train, you need to be.
Traditionally, the starting area of the race has been staged at the Metrodome, which was wonderful because October mornings can be chilly and the stadium had climate control, ample/non-porta potty bathrooms, etc. Since the Metrodome is gone and the Vikings Stadium is under construction, all of the pre-race staging was done outside. This was…fine. It was chilly (36 degrees) so I wore a toss sweatshirt and gloves and I brought a heat sheet with me as well to wrap my legs. This was inspired.
The start of the race was pretty uneventful. A marathoner sang the national anthem with some whimsical touches and then we were off. I was in Corral 2, so we were released six minutes after Corral 1.
When we ran out of the city and down to the river, the sight of the sunrise over the river was so incredible that I involuntarily sobbed. It was hidden by all of the buildings downtown and it was hot pink waves against a gray sky that was so striking. I usually have “an emotional moment” at some point during my races, so I suppose that this one was no different.
Sobs aside, my first mile was 7:38. I was so surprised I had to double-check my watch because I thought perhaps I had mis-read it. I had not. My goal for the race was to run faster than 9:00 minutes per mile, but that was not the sustainable pace I was searching for. Did I mention that this was also quite possibly my most inconsistently paced race of all-time.
All of the rain this summer caused a mudslide on a hill directly adjacent to the course (and alongside the river) and thus the course had to be re-routed to deal with this. The solution was to instead push the runners through the East Bank of the University of Minnesota campus. On one hand, I appreciated that because I am an alumna, but it also added probably a half-mile of heavy climbing to an already hill-heavy course. That was not so great.
Where nutrition is concerned, the functional part of eating Oreos on the run worked – I was fueled. The practical part failed me. I had not practiced eating them outside in cold weather and thus the crumb-snot mix proved nearly suffocating. I would/would not recommend this practice.
At Mile 9, I felt some serious pressure around my right knee, but nothing that was serious enough to compel me to walk. I did stick to my “pace” instead of sprinting outright through the finish, but I think tomorrow I will have a better understanding of whether or not I made the right choice there.
My finishing time was 1:28:16 for an 8:50/mile pace.
I am so proud. I really wanted to bring in a time with a sub-9:00 mile average and I did. I know it didn’t happen by accident. I know I trained hard for it. But still, on race day, anything can happen. Marcus, as usual was a total champion. He woke up at 5:20 AM to take me to the start line, he cheered for me at Mile 3. He parked the car up Summit Avenue and he met me at the finish line. He is the best support squad I could ask for.