Friday, September 30, 2016

Women Run The Cities - 2016 - Race Recap

Indeed, it turned out to be a lovely day for Women Run The Cities 10 mile race. It did not begin that way though. Rain poured all night and it was all dark and wet in the morning, even when I left home. I was sure it would rain during the race, so I grabbed my rain jacket. I thought it would last all through and did not want to run with a thrash bag or soaked. But indeed, it was all dry & sunny by the time I turned off Hiawatha Avenue. Temps were an average 65F.

Start point is my favorite - Minnehaha Falls. I picked up my bib & shirt. Race route turned out to be the familiar West River Parkway and Franklin Avenue Bridge, which I ran the previous week for 20 miler. Familiarity is always welcome. Women's only race has a great vibe about it. Not much different from other races, because there are just the same number of women running other races. But it's only in women-only race, does everyone get to hoot politely at the group of shirtless men running opposite on the sidewalk.

Race co-ordination was excellent. Starting point tents with pickups, bag drops, coffee and more. Volunteers at every water-stop were cheerful. Water & Powerade supplied just right. At the finish time, the setup was intact (new for me) and volunteers gave a huge bottle of water with my medal.

Roads were all soaking wet, but not a drizzle from sky. I wanted to save my new shoes from the muck/chikal and ran in my old ones. Clothes-wise, I got to check my Fall gear for the first time this season - full pant, tech shirt and rain jacket. Result: Rain jacket was not soaking, full of locked up sweat, but I could run without it, under these circumstances.

I stayed cheerful and devoid of any pressure through the running. I had my months of training behind me, the one I thought had made no dent/improvement to my capacity. So I did not care about my result, but ran what my newly trained brain told me to run. For the second half, I felt comfortable, to see there were a lot of women still on road. And most of them walking much faster than I was running. And then a lady from behind me said, she was using me for motivation. So then I geared up to stay ahead of few atleast :) Amazingly I finished with my 10 mile PR of 2:07 hours.


Loving this race shirt with hoodie. It will be a great for Fall.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Minnesota Capitol Run - Recap

20 miler is the last formidable milestone of a Marathon training. I can never imagine doing it all by myself. Doing it well, I mean. So it helps that my training group arranged it be an entire big event in itself. Lifetime Run organised the Minnesota Capitol Run .

Start point was at the MN State Capitol Hill. I managed to reach there early at 6:30 am. There were a few tents and like 700 people ! Turns out, there were 755 runners ! There was no bag-check like in races, because this was a group training run. So I had to leave my phone in the car and don't have any good pictures.
But the arrangements were fantastic. A wristband in the beginning, to identify us as part of the group. Since all would run along the common sidewalks, the start was in waves and on both sides of the streets. We started with Summit Avenue, turned towards East River Parkway, then across the brand new Franklin Avenue bridge to West River Parkway and turn around the 10 mile mark and back the same way. There were water stops manned by volunteers and coaches, every 3-ish miles with water, UCAN sports drink and porta-porties. I was surely the last finisher and the very last water stop volunteers stayed back even when it was so late.

I can say enough about the joy of waking up in the dark and driving through a sleeping city to a run start point. Nothing is more reassuring than a car with the 13.1/26.1 or any other running sticker and people dressed in running clothes rumbling around. That's a confirmation that I have arrived at the right destination. Just a matter of finding the closet parking. The biggest benefit of a group run is that I can switch off my mind and brain, and just run even with sleepy eyes, cause everything else is taken care of :) With run-buddies and coaches by my side, I need not worry about anything. And by my side, I don't mean literally, because everyone else run at much faster pace than me and disappear within minutes, but just them being in view, means I won't get lost and run some other route.

It was a perfect weather day. Run was a delight along Summit Avenue, which was lined up by some historical buildings. Their architecture reminded me of the ones near Vidhan Soudha in Bangalore. They are much different than the new ones in suburbs. East River Parkway beautiful, and hilly and it vanished quick. West River Parkway is my usual favorite, the one leading to Minnehaha Falls. Along the way, we run-buddies did weigh-in on whether to run the complete 20 miles or keep it shorter for a time limit of say 4 hours. Since I felt this was my first & last chance to do a 20, I went ahead till the 10 mile mark. I did have lot of company till then. Us anchors did cheer each other to keep moving. The return on Summit Avenue felt more lonelier. I noticed the weather and cloudy sky were identical to how it was at 7 am ! It was hard to believe that 4-5 hours had passed. That's a blessing really. It was 4:30 hours by the time clocked showed 18 miles. And since it was only me around, I shrugged and started walking full time now. The water stop at 3 miles was still active, bless them. And I trudged the last few miles to the car park. By then it showed 21 miles. Thankfully I was not cold or shivering.