I survived! I was a little nervous about this race due to lack of training, click here for my thoughts before the race. But am happy to say that my 2nd Team Ortho Race went off smoothly!
Since the race was on Sunday, I convinced to friends from my hometown to race with me, I cashed in a Westin gift certificate for a free stay. It was the perfect hotel for us because the beds feel amazing (they actually call them “Heavenly Beds” for good reason) and the location was perfect for walking to packet pickup and the race shuttle.
We went over to The Depot about 5:30 on Saturday night and picked up our packets, a tip for those who like to register last minute, there was a surcharge of about $10 for registering at the Depot. Also, I did not receive the size shirt I had originally ordered, but the size large ended up fitting perfectly! Bonus points for the shirt being super soft, and having a pocket for Gu, slight negative for being totally see-through, although I heard some women traded the yellow shirts in for a men’s shirt which were grey and not see through. I just really like yellow!
After picking up our packets we wandered through the back exit of The Depot towards the where the shuttle would pick us up Sunday morning and stumbled upon a last chance sale. They were offering old Team Ortho gear from other races for $5! We all ended up buying Monster Dash long sleeves and wore them on the shuttle Sunday morning!
Our pre-race dinner wasn’t perfect in terms of pre-race nutrition, but it was delicious! We were able to get spots at the bar of Hell’s Kitchen, I had a ham and cheese panini with poach pears (not sure what they called it on the menu, but it was delicious!) The next time I’m up late in Downtown Minneapolis I want to go back to Hell’s Kitchen to try out their late night happy hour food, I saw lots of yummy options for about $5! (and who doesn’t want a tasty snack while drinking?) I also had a glass (okay two) of wine with dinner. Not recommended, but I liked it.
We got back to the hotel, laid out our stuff for the morning, chatted a bit and then settled into bed.
At 4:45 am our alarms went off and we got going. I brought a toaster so we were able to make bagels with peanut butter in our room, and used the hotel’s in-room coffee maker. (The Westin doesn’t have continental breakfast, and this worked perfect!)
We left the hotel about 5:20 and walked down to the Depot. We used the port-a-potties available in front of the shuttle with no line, and it was a good thing we did! (The lines at the start for those port-a-potties were nuts!) Once we got to the race start, and saw all the people I was a little worried that we wouldn’t start on time similar to the Get Lucky 7k.
There was a lot of debate about where or not to wear our long sleeves during the race, I finally decided to put mine in the gear check, and was very thankful, we ended up having perfect weather!
The friends I was with are speedier than I am, so I gave them hugs and they went further up into the line. I immediately found the last half marathon pacer which was a goal time of 2:45, I wish I had gotten a picture with Erin, or at least told her thank you at the end, because she made me feel very relaxed at the start. She told me her plan was at run for 5 minutes walk for 1 and repeat. I told her that I would probably run slowly without walking at first but my goal was to stick with her during the race.
For the most part I did stick with her. I started out faster than I wanted to, and I think the people who were sticking close to her were feeling pretty good because early in the race they passed me and I never quite caught up. I could see them, but never saw them slow down to a walk. I kept doing my thing and eventually did catch up with them. Erin let me know that her garmin was having issues and they had been running fast, which I knew because I clocked mile 4 at an 11:52 min/mile and they were way ahead of me.
The course started out in a beautiful park, and then into cute neighborhoods, there was a little more of NE MPLS than I really wanted to see (it was just boring), and then finished along the river. I was never worried about getting lost, and the people at the beginning of the race were very sweet cheering from their driveways.
Throughout the course there were a lot of hills. None were too extreme, but there were a lot of them! I wanted to walk up them, I saw Erin leading the 2:45 pace group walking up them, but I really want to be able to run up Lemon Drop during Grandma’s, so I ran up every hill this course handed me. Maybe this attributed to some of the soreness in my quads today, I considered stopping and stretching, but was afraid if I stopped I wouldn’t get going again. This is a mindset that probably won’t work for Grandma’s I’m just not sure what mileage I will be okay with pulling over for a stretching break.
Mile 11 or so took us through St. Anthony Main and they cobblestones did not feel good on my feet! However I know I’ll have the brick roads in downtown Duluth so I powered through it. The ending of the races was really pretty all along the river and since I was finishing pretty late I saw lots of people who were done with their race and enjoying walking along the river with their families. Just after the marathoners split off from the rest of us doing the half I found my friends at the sidelines with their medals on, they pulled back onto the race course and said they would run with me! It was really great to have someone to chat with and my speed picked up, as we rounded the corner into the finishers shoot they stepped off the course and I gunned it to the finish. I let my legs really fly and was glad to feel they still had some juice in them. I finished in 2:43:ish which is 10 minutes slower than I ran the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon last year.
I’m only slightly disappointed that my pace was slower. However the Minneapolis Half is not the race that I’m training for. I’m training for Grandma’s Marathon and I will leave it all out on the course. I checked the Grandma’s Marathon website and they do record times for the finishers for 7 hours, so I have a great chance of making it across and receiving my t-shirt and medal!
If you’ve read through this whole thing, THANK YOU! Other thank you’s need to go out to Team Ortho, I wasn’t so sure about the organization after all the timing, crowd, and safety concerns with the Get Lucky 7k, but I must say that this race was perfect. The shuttle was smooth, the course was easy to follow, water stops every 2 miles, and pacers for even a slow goal like mine. Finally, thank you to my wonderful running buddies. We’re all from the same hometown, we now live in three different cities, and had 3 different finishing times, but it was still one great weekend! I can’t wait for us to do it all again in 18 short days…..ahhh!!!!
P.S. after the race we decided we needed to eat sushi, and ended up driving to Uptown since Sushi Tango was opening at noon. They have an all day happy hour which includes $5 sushi and they have a rooftop!