One week after I ran the Mankato Half-marathon (read the recap), I found myself at the start line of the Monster Dash 10 mile. A couple of months ago when I signed up, I didn’t think anything of running two races one week apart. However, once I got to the start line, I was questioning my decision.
Don’t get me wrong, I felt recovered. The soreness from the half only lasted a couple of days (thank you yoga) and I got in two short treadmill runs of 30 minutes. I knew I could do it.
I just wasn’t in this one mentally. My attitude about this race was completely different than last week. Remember my race week plan? I did not stick to that at all this week. I didn’t hydrate well. I definitely did not get 8 hours a sleep a night. When it came to the night before the race, I had no idea what I was going to eat. (I ended up with squash, a green smoothie, and a slice of bread) I almost forgot to charge my Garmin. I had no idea what I was going to wear.
It was a very different race. I had no goals. No expectations. I was just there to run and have fun.
My running buddy, Willa, and I met at my house prior to the race and I was relieved to hear that she had the same plan I did (or lack there of). We were just going to see what happened.
It was looking to be a beautiful day with sun and temps in the 40’s during the race – awesome running weather.
Brette dropped us off at the start with what we thought was enough time to use the bathroom and get a spot in the start corral. When we saw the line for the port-a-potties, I was almost grateful that I was not as well hydrated as I should be. They were at least 50 people deep! Major fail.
As we were waiting to begin, I got to meet Charlotte from one of my favorite fitness blogs, The Great Fitness Experiment. I’m hoping I didn’t come off as a complete dork or like a 12 year old, but it was super cool to see her in person. Hi Charlotte!
After about 15 minutes of trying to stay warm in the start corral, the race finally began and we were off. We kept a pretty consistent pace and just tried to think of it as a training run. Miles 1-5 were pretty steady and we just gabbed away while running.
Mile 1 – 10:29 <– weaving through congestion
Mile 2 – 10:15
Mile 3 – 10:13
Mile 4 – 10:28 <– water stop
Mile 5 – 10:14
At about mile 6 we heard some commotion and a “way to go Jen and Willa”. There was Brette along with some surprise guests, Meghan and Dennis. It was such a motivation to see some friendly faces!
Mile 6 – 10:39 <—water stop
At the water stop around mile 7.5 ish, we got split up. We were starting to catch up to the half marathoners (the monster dash has both a half and a 10 mile and we share parts of the route). Willa got tangled with other runners trying to get water and then I got stuck behind a pace group on the congested route. I did some maneuvering to get around them and just kept trucking. I wasn’t too worried as we’ve always had an agreement not to stress over getting split up – especially if one of us is feeling really on fire (or not).
This next stretch had the two major climbs of the race. I’m proud to say I did not stop, I ran up both of them, chanting “I love hills. I love hills.”. I used to do that when biking and it helped a ton. It seemed to do the trick here too.
Mile 7 – 10:27
Mile 8 – 10:23
At about the 8.5 ish mile mark, we turned the corner to run along Lake Harriet. It was the last stretch of the race with the finish line about half way around the lake. As I was turning onto the lake road, I spotted friend BK and Carin along with baby Grace and dog Carter out for a Saturday run. What luck! Carin came over and joined me for about a half mile and it was such a boost!I had a huge energy surge. Plus, it helps that Carin is a faster runner than I am and I didn’t want to seem to slow. :) She gave me some words of encouragement and told me to pick up the pace for that last mile. I listened. Thanks to Carin, my last 2 miles were my fastest! I finished the race at a sprint and let the roar of the crowd take me across the line. Man, I love finish lines. What a rush.
Mile 9 – 10:05
Mile 10 – 9:56 <-– sweet!
Mile .08 – 7:53 <– sprint!
According to my garmin, I ran 10.08 miles at a 10:18 pace….3 seconds faster than last week’s half marathon. I’ll take it. Willa was not far behind me and also ran a faster pace than last weekend.
My biking friend Scottie and his wife, Mel, ran their first Half Marathon and rocked it!
I’m pretty sure Scott’s cheeks are filled with salted nut rolls.
I love having friends cheering at races – especially when I didn’t know they were coming!
The race in general was a good one. I loved that it was close to home and a route that was very familiar. Plus, Team Ortho always has great gear. This year, all the runners received black half-zip running hoodies – complete with thumb holes. I love it!
The organization in general was pretty good. However, there were a few issues.
- Lack of port-o-potties. Not only were the lines long at the start, there were lines at every one along the route. I was so thankful I didn’t need to use one, because waiting in line for 5 minutes in the middle of a race would have made me very crabby.
- Although they made some route changes to ease congestion, there were still a number of sketchy areas. The biggest one being when the leaders of the half-marathon were passing the 10-milers. The fast runners had to go up on the curb to get around. I felt so bad for them. They did not look happy.
- The water stops were very chaotic. The volunteers were great, but they’re were not enough of them to keep up with demand.
- The post-race area of water and food was a major mess. It took forever to weave your way through the “lines” and get to actual food and water.
Even with all of those things, I would do this event again. It’s fun to run amongst costumes and everyone is in good spirits. Having right in my neighborhood makes it even better.
Next race? I’ll be doing the Diva Dash 5 mile race on 11/13 to celebrate Carin’s Birthday. My goal is to keep up with her as long as I can.
One year ago: Restaurant Review: Café Twenty-Eight