This was only my second race in 5 months. It was also only my second outdoor run in that time.
It has been a long, hard winter.
Lots of indoor running. Due to the circumstances, I had no expectations for this event. No taper. No carb loading. This was simply my weekly long run. Catered.
It would also allow me to get readjusted to running on concrete, and the cold, and the elements. I could get used to layers again. I could gauge what I have lost over the winter, and what I haven’t.
Team Ortho races are a lot of fun. They are also a white-hot mess. Every time. Just when I think they can’t find a new way to botch things in a new a creative way, they surprise me. But the fun atmosphere, the great race gear and cool bling make up for it. They are always on my calendar. I have learned to just chuckle and roll with it (usually).
This year, they introduced series bib numbers. You keep the same number all year. Mine was 5. How cool is that? I feel like some ultra elite bad-ass pro runner…until I, you know, actually have to start running.
The expo is never much of anything. But, I got to pick up my bibs, chips and swag for the rest of the years events (3 total). They had their own store, and one other. None of their computers were running. Huge lines go get your stuff and you could not check your chip. That was the only problem this year. Pretty smooth for Team Ortho. They tried to take away my number 5 and replacing with 173, but I fought that and they switched it back…eventually.
There were 2 events. The 7k in Minneapolis, and the triple 7k (aka…the Half Marathon) in St. Paul. I was doing the HM. They flipped the course around from last year which was great. Last year, the staging area was in a Ford assembly plant parking lot. This year, it was indoor at the downtown St Paul Union Station (beautiful train station). Indoor rest rooms, indoor bag check, indoor entertainment, and lots of comfy padded chairs. I was able to hang out until 10 minutes before the race. They had a similar indoor heated staging area for the 7k. Great idea!
The weather was brisk. 20F. Windchill dropped it to 11F at the start (still better than -10/-30 at the Polar Dash on New Years Day…brrrr). I was layered for the first time in months. Thermal long sleeve base, running long sleeve shirt, jacket with thumb holes, gloves, 2 layers of tights, 2 pairs of socks (1 short, one long), thermal skull-cap. I was cold at the start, but just right most of the rest of the way.
We self selected starting corals and started with a quick one mile loop in downtown St Paul. Very nice. Then a very unpleasant run in a tunnel (kind of…one wall was open) that was poorly lit, a LOT of potholes, parked cars and ice. I had a few near misses heading down. We emerged onto a wide Blvd along the Mississippi River. This is a standard route in St Paul. Good for running and moderately pretty. It was an out and back course from that point on.
Right from the start, I had left ankle pain. This was new to me. I hoped is was just one of those random phantom pains that would work itself out. It was, and it did. Just a fading memory by mile 2.
The out and back had a few rollers, but nothing extreme. I was impressed with the lack of wind until we hit the turnaround…then I realized that there was a wind. Unfortunately, what was a tailwind was now a headwind. Sun vanished and I got cold for a couple of miles. The sun returned and made for a present rest of the race.
I was pleased to see that I mostly maintained my pace and was able to increase the spread slightly at the end. Actually got a nice little sprint at the finish. I was worried that I would be fading by mile 10, but no issues at all.
Post race…medal, water, chips, nut roll, lunabar, banana, pizza, beer (I never want a beer after running). Post race was indoors again with a heated walkway to the car. Sweet!
Overall, Team Ortho pulled off a nice event. Love the new course and heated staging area. Hooded full zip finishers sweatshirt was great! So was the bling.
Note to Team Ortho: the split at the halfway point was well past the halfway point. I got excited about my damn impressive (and non-existant) negative splits until I checked my Garmin…
Finish Time 2:05:12
Average Pace 9:34/mile
Overall Place 1228/2180
7……10:56.6..1.00….9:40 (potty break)