Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Monster Dash - 2014 - Race Recap

Monster Dash was not in my list of planned races. I had not even planned so much ahead in the first half of the year. I had registered for Half-Mara at Minneapolis Marathon. And I did show-up at the start line. But the organizers cancelled it. It caused lot of controversy. Lot of disappointment, as it was supposed to be the first Half Marathon Race of my life. No refund of registration fee also hurt. I spent the next few days monitoring the growing comments on their Facebook page. There I learnt about the Lola Half coming up next weekend and quickly went for it. Eventually the organizers came back with some relief offer - $20 to register among their other races of this year. That's how I picked Monster Dash.

Eventually I learnt this was a costumed race, timed right with Halloween. I am not much of a risk taker. I don't think I have even worn a costume for a costume party. So I did not plan to wear any costume. If anyone asked, I planned to say, I was dressed as a runner. Haha.  After finishing the race, I did feel the pinch of missed opportunity, like I often do. But I definitely wanted to see other costumes.

Race morning was the usual rush. Starting point was at the Cathedral at St Paul. The traffic had backed-up on 35E, much before the Exit 106B. It was obvious everyone was going for the race, but there was nothing else to do. The start time was getting close and there was no other option but to get out and start running. I had that luxury as my hubby was driving me. I feel for runners who had driven on their own and obviously could not abandon the car. Some folks in the cars ahead clapped for me as I ran away uphill. Later, I added an extra mile in my training log :)

The sight at the starting point was overwhelming. Huge huge crowd. And majority of them in costumes. I had dragged my family for this race cause I wanted them to see the costumed runners. Eventually I learnt that I was the one who had most fun. They were bored, hungry and cold being in one area. I meanwhile got to see mind-blowing variety of costumes. One in Nun costume and a paper tacked on back saying "Habitual Runner". I figured the pun after an hour maybe. Couples as Hot-dog and Ketchup. Princesses and Superheroes. I so wish I had carried my iPod for pictures, but I did not have any pocket or pouch for it.

Finally the race started. But it was so so crowded, I must have taken 15 minutes to actually start. The route was very picturesque. First along the Summit Avenue, then along the Mississippi River and then on my ever favorite Shepard Road ending at Upper Landing Park in St. Paul. The direction towards end is great - St Paul downtown is constantly looming ahead and the end never seems near. At no point in the race, was I lonely. That's a rarity, because I am always in the back-burner and trudging along alone. This race was that crowded.

I finished the race at 2:38:41 which is my PR :) Maybe the crowds worked for me and pushed me when I could have walked if I was alone. This race was right at the peak of Fall and the temps were pleasant 58F-65F.

Volunteers and water-stops were perfect. Since this was offered in-lieu of Minneapolis Marathon cancellation, I got no additional gear. The medal was exciting enough.

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