The race was held on the Lakewalk this past Saturday. Friday night it began to snow, not too much, but enough to make the roads pretty slick (all the more so when you live in "Goat Hill" - one of the steepest neighborhoods in Duluth). I ventured out anyway to pre-register for the race. Good thing I did as Saturday morning dawned sunny, but cold (single digits to low teens) and with the wind gusting upwards of 20 mph from the north/northwest. I kept telling myself the alternative was 5 miles on the roads in Proctor, so 3.1 wasn't too bad ;->
It was a small, but enthusiastic group that turned out for this inaugural run. Some of the top competitors in the area mixed in with a lot of other folks. Fun to see all of the kids and families out there. Weird though to be lining up a row or two back from the speedsters. The Lakewalk had been swept clear of some of the snow, but there were still patches, especially on the side of the path. Overall though the footing was great and the sun made it feel pretty warm even with the high winds.
Of course, as I do with all races I headed out too fast. Easy to do with a 20 mph wind at your back, but after about 3/4 of a mile we hit a turnaround and... well... a wall of wind. For the next half mile it was a battle to stay on pace and I then determined who it was I wanted to keep in sight for the rest of the run. Once we reached the "corner of the Lake" there was more protection from the wind and that was a relief. On to the race start - and on by. The clock threw me for a bit, I couldn't believe the time on it, mistakingly believing it was a 2 mile split (silly me). I would prefer not to know my splits most of the time as I tend to psych myself out.
The course went on another 3/4 mile or so (less?) and then we came to another cone, a well-bundled race volunteer, and turned around to head back to the finish line. The fun thing about this loop course is the opportunity to see all of the runners a couple of times. It offers a wonderful opportunity to cheer on and encourage lots of runners. I traded "good jobs" with quite a few folks during the race (though someone pointed out I should save my energy for running vs talking). The best was meeting a young kid (friend of a friend) and chatting with him about his plans before the race, seeing him along the course, and then exchanging "good run" comments afterwards while waiting for awards.
The race organizers did a fantastic job. Registration was well organized, t-shirts were great (long-sleeve cotton, black with a stylish logo); lots of water and snacks on hand after the race (including home-baked goodies which I heard were great - think "church lady". I didn't partake for the simple reason I am having trouble with allergies right now and couldn't identify ingredients). The race was a fundraiser for the Central Asia Institute; a non-profit organization with the mission to promote and support community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Prizes were given to the top finishers overall and in each age group. I was out of the running, but overall happy with how I did. I had set a "stars and planets are aligned" goal of 24 minutes based on recent runs, but amended that to anything under 27 minutes due to the weather and a persistent and nagging cough. Finished in 26:26 race time (26:29 on my watch). Good enough for me.
No other running this past weekend and it will be a low mileage week overall due to outside commitments, but that is okay. I have time to continue a build-up before I need to commit to training. So far the IT band is behaving so I am hopeful I can stay injury free and be ready for the Superior 25K on May 16th.
The trouble with hanging around with ultra runners is that they start talking you into thinking about longer races ;-> As we sat around after the race I repeatedly heard - "You can do a 50K, it's only a few miles more than a marathon". "You could do the Half Voyageur and then two weeks later the Voyageur". Dangerous folks - and some people worry about dope dealers! ;->
Did get me to thinking about a 50K in the fall though (see what I mean?!). The Superior Fall races are really close to an annual backpacking trip, so Wild Duluth would be the most likely choice for my first ultra. It is located on trails that I train on, includes some of my favorite spots in Duluth, and runs right by my house - which could be dangerous as this is in the last few miles of the race ;-> If I do decide I am up to it I will be looking for crew on the third weekend in October. Same goes for the Half Voyageur - put it on your calendar - July 11th, I believe. Crewing for a runner is a great pastime, especially if you: * are looking for an excuse to stand around on trails and roads in all kinds of weather; like doling out food and encouragement; enjoy hopping into a car and driving frantically to the next aid station* and are willing to repeat from * to *.
OKC: No progress on the Bird Mittens. I know, stop procrastinating and get with it! I will, but sounds like I have until at least January 2nd to get them done ;-> The Ploughed Acre scarf is now 44 inches long (unblocked). I started the second ball of yarn as of this evening (board meetings are good for something besides governing non-profits and schools), not sure how long I will make this scarf. Any suggestions? I think I know who this is for, so have a "deadline" now. Will probably have enough yarn left over for a hat and then I may have reached the end of the 'eternal cone of yarn".
Sock orders are rolling in (got to love it when a family member points out that they long ago wore out their only pair of hand knit socks (no tears but I swear I heard a sniffle - and a shoe size) so will have plenty of portable knitting to get me through the winter months. Though this does mean a trip to the yarn store as I do not have adequate supplies of sock wool on hand. Well, I do, but they are all partial skeins and, well, it is a lot of work to make stripy socks that way.