Sunday, August 10, 2014

Minnesota Half Marathon - StPaul - 2014 - Race Recap

It was HOT, this one ! That's the first thing I remember everytime. It was. I came to know later, that the temps were 82F. And when you add 10F of heat generated while running, its extremely tricky and needs extreme caution in terms of prep. My outfit was just perfect for the race day weather. Anything more and I would have overheated.

I registered for Minnesota Half Marathon because I had not run a Half in St Paul. I wanted to checkout the routes here. My 5K for Securian was a short route in downtown with a bit on Shepherd Road. So I was interested in this one.

I had no place for iPod, so no route  pictures again. But the race start-finish point is at a great spot. Its on Shepard Road, right down from Science Museum. It has a park with path facing the Mississippi River. St Paul downtown skyline can be seen from here. Great place for kids to play and to take pictures.

Race start was on Shephard Road near Spring Street, going NorthEastward and looped back at Mile 2.5. Gwad, was this tortuous ! Yes, the first few miles of a race is always bad, but the sun was killing us. My hat was a savior for me. After a stretch & turnaround, the leaders started running back on the otherside. This early in the race, its quite demotivating to see this. And I was running with my head down, looking at the road below. That's an unhealthy posture - affects breathing and motivation. In that moment of darkness, somebody from opposite side prompted me to look up, cheer up and run alive again. I heard someone  scream "uuper dekh" (hindi for "look up"). I don't know who it was, but it worked. I looked up throughout. Nothing beats the cheers we hear in a race.

After the turnaround, we headed SouthWest. This is a major block of Shepard road, which is right under the direct sun. Trees by the side did not cover the stretch of road. They advise us to run tangents in a race. Well this route had no turns, and no tangents. We might have covered extra, just trying to run in shade, to avoid the harsh sun. It felt never-ending. Thankfully the Mile 9 turnaround came up. Now even if the sun was on the top of us, atleast it was not on the face. There is this bridge which look very marginally slopy, but gwad I hate it in every race ! And then the St Paul skyline seemed so .. far off, I couldn't believe I was anywhere close to finish. There were very few us, but we kept chugging along quitely. And after like hours of quite, I blurted out, "The last mile is the worst". I got some Ayes.

But the last few miles looked beautiful. There were yellowing young-trees lining up. Classic mix of scary & beautiful. Scary because the end banner still looked very far. By the last half mile, I started weeping. No reason I can think of now. But I weeped non-stop. And that is my official race picture, yes.

Gwad, it was done. My finish time was 2:49:05. I was desparately looking for my kids & family for the winners embrace. And I did get it. What a relief :)

Race as such was very well organised. There were sufficient water-stops for this hot day. Musicians and other volunteered cheered along. Race medal and shirt were cute.

But I did a goof-up in my race-day planning. I registered my kids for the kids race. And for some reason, I came here separately and told my hubby to get the kids for 10:30 race. Once I finished the race close to 11 AM, I came to know my error. Turns out the kids race was at 10 and it was over by the time they arrived. As expected, their heart was broken and they were crying. The race organizers suggested both of them to run the route and then they gave the medals & goodies. My kids did run the road and hubby described how they were the only ones on the road, right in the hot sun and crying too. It was heart-wrenching. They did have numerous events for this race and each ones start times were close together in the information. No wonder I mixed-up the times..

2015 Update: Kids ran this very race again, at this very spot again in 2015 and it was awesome experience for them and us.

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