Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon - 2017 - Race Recap

Having quit Get in Gear Half at 10 miles last week, I was so unsure about Lake Minnetonka. I had signed up for the thrill of it - 2 Half Marathons in the space of 8 days, yeah ! I had done this in 2015. But with the GiG outcome and plantar fasciitis after, I was in panic mode and trying to cancel-refund my registration for this one. My email got a standard response - they would not refund. Very obvious, being so close to the event date.

So with this in background, I whiled away the week in vacation mode. No thinking about the race at all. La la la la. I got in a 3 miler on Thursday because there was nothing else to do and by now the feet-sole pain had reduced. Still not thinking far, I decided to pickup packet on Sat morning. There was absolutely no crowd at the school location, very peaceful. So at night I decided, I will show up at the start location and see how it goes. Star aligned and I could get my hubby to drop me off. Plus point here, was not carrying my car-key in water bottle through the race.

Race morning my hubby dropped me at the shuttle pickup point. And shuttle bus took us to the start line. Among all the races, I find this one unique about its energy of racers converging. It could be because of the location, but this one seems seamless. Runners parking in different streets and converging towards the school for shuttle bus. And then after drop-off near Wells Fargo bank, gathering on the Wayzata Blvd. Its a great place for race start. Wide streets, cozy but spacious for such a large gathering. I guess the residents are inconvenienced only the first few hours, till the last runner has left and cleanup crew has finished. This race is point to point - it starts at Wayzata and ends at Excelsior.

Where is Waldo ?

Race kicked off in pace waves. Winding out of Wayzata through Orno, the first 5-6 miles was like being in Mahabaleshwar. Houses were all cozy hill-station type with perfect natural greenery around. This race is a tour of great real estate. Other runners too felt it so. Afterwards, my run clubbers were posting some of the estate listing on FB to each other saying "This is the one I was talking about".

At the Relay exchange point, I kept wondering if it was the real mid-point, in terms of miles. I don't know the exact mile it was on and since my math-brain stops working when I run, I could not figure it out for the next few miles. That way it kept me occupied. My Run club came to cheer us from the same club. They are awesome ! They clicked me here, as I barreled down hill.

Then came the Tonka bay area. Till here, the views were all of different parts of lakes, boats, piers, fishing groups, people relaxing in their garage on Sunday morning. The Final 12th mile was on Minnetonka Trail. And 13th mile was in residential area, slowly winding to the Finish Line at Excelsior Park. Only in this mile did I felt like yes I am actually going to make it ! This pic was clicked by the MN Series photographer Dave Cameron. He is my favorite coz he has got some great pics of mine in the past races. I am unbelievably serious about it - "no sarcasm" (like I have to add everytime, for my kids).

When I rushed through the last 0.1 mile, I tried to avoid looking at the clock, but a glimpse showed something like 3:12. I did not mind it. I was glad I actually finished. I was still in the race (so to speak). Later when I checked the result online, it was 3:01:53. Woohoo ! That's even better than some of the Half's of last year. And considering the hilly route for this one. Wow myself !

Finish area park was void of past runners. They must have obviously rushed to the return bus. Volunteers were still around, and they had not started packing stuff, so that's positive note. Got my chips and banana. Family was late. I borrowed a phone from a volunteer to call Hubby and joked, "My family thought I will finish at noon haha". This race had a right start of 7:30 for this kind of weather. Ended the morning with a picnic in the park, watching the Lake, sitting by on the bench, facing cool breeze. Beautiful.

Did I talk about the race swag ? The shirt is awesomely cut, very unusual from standard design. Material is perfect - not too flimsy to be cold, not bulky thick to be hot. Medal has a lovely fish design.

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