My goal for this years race was to at least match my "official time" from last year (which was recorded incorrectly at 23:00 - I had 23:35 on my watch). I wanted to earn that 23 minute finish honestly. A friend sent me a great piece of encouragement towards attaining that goal:
"Just try to get to the next aid station as fast as you can! You have to make the 23 minute cutoff"
This course is hilly!! If you have ever driven by Knife River on the Expressway or the Old North Shore Highway (Hwy 61) you may not be aware of the hills in town. The race starts out on pavement, then for a short bit uses a gravel road, then single-track to take you up hill to the wayside rest. From there you run roads in and around the fishing village of Knife River. The designers of the course made sure we hit the biggest hills on the way out - and got to see them again on the way back.
Traditionally it has been hot and humid, making for the "Three H's". This year it was humid though cool, with a wind off the Lake (equaling a headwind on the biggest hill of the course and at the finish).
The Solstice Run is a great small town race with generations of families participating in either the 2 mile walk, 5K run or the races for the littlest kids. They also have great support from the community in the form of volunteers and door prizes. One of the regulars is Kathleen Monaghan. She regularly wins the women's race and this year won overall!
It was fun to be able to cheer her on as she climbed the big hill after the turn around.
So, how did I do?
I am very pleased! And it makes me wonder if I should set a new goal to run a sub-22 minute 5K.
Next up though is Afton (50K) and then Voyageur (50 mile).