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.

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