This year's Brainerd Jaycees Run for the Lakes looked as if it was going to be similar to last year--rainy. It also looked like it might be colder. The forecast was calling for cool temperatures--perfect, and showers with possible snow--not so perfect.
(check out a comparison to last year's race morning photo)
Laura and I somehow got out of the twin cities--through the rush hour traffic and construction, and made it to the expo with five minutes to spare. All the vendors had torn down and the place was pretty much empty besides packet pickup and the Minnesota Pacers table. We picked up our packet, headed to the cabin (at beautiful Grand View Lodge), chatted with the pace team, and rested up for the next day's running.
I was absolutely elated on Saturday morning when I looked out the window and saw a total lack of rain. It looked much better than last year's view. The report on The Weather Channel was also encouraging, showing temperatures in the low 40s. It was cloudy and I was somewhat worried that it would rain, so I waited to see what the radar would say. Another pacer showed me his smartphone and my joy was complete--the rain would stay to the south of us.
As for the race itself, everything was pretty uneventful. Once again, the timing company did not put a mat on the start line, so the race was gun timed, though we had chips to record our finishing times. This worked fine for me as I was about 5 seconds from the start, but I felt bad for those farther back.
I started out with a small group and it stayed pretty small through mile 10 or so. From that point on I had one guy stay with me for the rest of the race until he pulled away with a mile left. He was very friendly and ran a smart race the whole way. It always feels good as a pacer to actually pace someone to their goal. My splits were very even--all between 7:38 - 7:56 (goal pace of 7:49) so I was pretty happy with my effort.
I missed my goal of 3:24:59 and came in at 3:24:48--I must've got a little antsy that last 0.2 and picked it up too much (Garmin says I was at 7:25 pace for the last .2). I was pretty happy with my splits--nice and even. I was also happy that my legs weren't really very sore the next day. The 7:49 pace was fast enough to keep my stride normal but slow enough that I could recover quickly.