Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Women Run the Cities 10 Mile Race

Race season has finally begun for me! I ran the Women Run the Cities 10 Mile race in Minneapolis, MN on Sunday, and it was awesome.
Packet Pick Up: Packet pick up was available at a local sports store a couple days prior to the race as well as on race morning. I normally like to pick up my packet prior to race day, but since I didn’t arrive in MN until Saturday afternoon, I had to wait until race morning. Luckily this wasn’t a huge race (2700 total participants in the 1 Mile, 5k, and 10 mile race combined) and the volunteers were very organized and efficient, so I had my bib and shirt within 5 minutes of arriving to the race site.
Course: The course was out & back along the Mississippi River with a short jaunt across the river into St. Paul. We were running through a very pretty neighborhood with some great old houses to look at (I love to “shop” for my next house when I’m running in a new place), and the views when we were crossing the river were stunning. My one complaint about the course was that the 5k runners merged with the 10 mile runners with about a mile and a half remaining in the race, which meant that I spent the last 10 minutes or so of the race trying to navigate through a crowd of 5k runners who weren’t running at my pace. I heard from my friend and sister who ran the 5k that their race started about 18 minutes later than scheduled, so I’m not sure if that had something to do with the congestion.
Aid Stations: There were six aid stations along the course. Gu gels were available at two of them. The aid stations had plenty of volunteers, so there weren’t any slow downs waiting to get water. It would have been nice to have had Gatorade available at a couple of the stops.
Post-Race Goodies: Free Starbucks….need I say more? I was really impressed with the food and drink selections at the end of the race. They had your typical bottled water, bread/bagels, and bananas, but they also had bags of Old Dutch potato chips, mini Pearson Salted Nut Rolls (yum!), bags of BoomChickaPop Popcorn (produced here in MN and so, so good), and full size bottles of Muscle Milk and Muscle Milk Light protein shakes. I LOVE that they had Muscle Milk there. I understand why post race food options are usually so carb-heavy, but I always feel like the need that some of us have for protein is over looked, so I was thrilled to see the Muscle Milk tent.
Swag: The shirts for the 10 mile race were long sleeve, half zip technical shirts – I was really happy to see such nice shirts for a 10 mile race. The medals were also high quality, fun, and bright – the design was perfectly suited to a women’s race.

Results: This was my first 10 mile race, so I was guaranteed a PR. I wanted to use this race to gauge where my speed and conditioning were in relation to the end of marathon training in May. I anticipated that I would be a bit slower because I haven’t been as focused on running this summer, but I was going to leave it all on the course because I knew I had a week of vacation and taking it easy coming up before I officially kick off marathon training in October. I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up finishing in 1:15:14 (7:32 pace), which put me at 36 of 1129 finishers. According to a calculator of equivalent race times based on the Jack Daniels Running Formula, I am still right where I was in May. I guess training with future IronWoman Maria all summer has paid off. :)
Overall, I would highly recommend this race to any women in the Minneapolis area, and if I ever happen to be in town for it again, I will definitely participate. I especially enjoyed it because my sister Miranda and my best friend since second grade ran the 5k. Both Miranda and Jolene are relatively new to running, and it was so exciting for me to see them finish strong and to be able to share the sport that I love so much with two amazing women who have been constant sources of support and encouragement for me my whole life. I wish we would have gotten a picture together, but we were all a little focused on getting out of the cold and getting food into our bellies after the race. Next time, I guess….and I know there will be a next time since Jolene is already signed up for the 10k in Fargo next May!

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