Sunday, August 12, 2012

Gopher to Badger: Race Report

The day didn't start off the greatest. There was a detour on the way to the start and after trying to find the way for a while, we stopped and asked for directions. Then, tragedy struck. It struck as in I struck my wife with the car. Don't worry, she's OK. We went to switch drivers and as she was walking around the front of the car I took my foot off the brake and rolled into her. I swear I thought it was in park (in my defense I'm used to driving my car, which is a stick).

Anyhow, Laura was fine and the race had to go on. After a warmup and saying "hi" to some MN Running Wild friends, I lined up at the start. I chatted with one guy who said he wasn't sure what kind of shape he was in, but he was going to try to run between 1:12 and 1:15. I knew I wasn't running a 1:12 and there was a very slim chance of me running a 1:15, but I thought I might still have an outside shot if this guy didn't have a great day.

I hit the jackpot for weather in this one: mid-50s at the start, no breeze, and sunny enough to keep it interesting. It warmed up as the race went on, but I never felt like weather was a factor.

About 1/2 a mile into the race another guy caught up to me. At this point the first guy I talked to was about 20 seconds ahead. This next guy was very chatty and said we'd work together to catch up to this guy. After about a mile I told him the pace was a little fast for me and good luck. He had on a bright green singlet and I watched him from then until the end of the race. After about mile four I never saw the first place guy again.

The miles between 3 and 6 were tough--lots of hills and I was getting a little down on myself for not being able to hold the pace I wanted--the guy in neon green was pulling farther away. Finally, however, I was starting to pick it up after a long, gradual hill. At the 10 mile mark I was feeling pretty good and was hoping to run the last 5k fast.

Around mile 11.5 I could tell I was gaining on the neon green singlet. Right before mile 12 we crossed I-94 into Wisconsin and I was about 20 seconds behind him. I had a good pace going and I was sure I could catch him.

pushing to the finish
 Unfortunately I could not catch him. He picked it up just enough to hold me off, and though I finished well I didn't have enough left in the tank to get him. He finished 12 seconds ahead of me, but I did set a new PR of 1:16:37 (they don't have chip time up yet. I had 1:16:35).

My 3rd place award: a runner frozen in carbonite.
It was a good race and I was happy with my effort. My Garmin measured the course as substantially longer than 13.1 miles, so I'll be interested to see what I can do on a different course next year.

You can't even tell that just hours earlier Laura was struck by a small sedan.
Several friends were out cheering including our good friends Brit and Jared. It was great seeing them and we all enjoyed a delicious brunch at Key's Cafe afterward.


Anonymous said...

Nice job PRing.

Poor Laura, I hope she's okay.

Willie said...

Awesome!! 1:16 is huge, the 100 mile week has been good to you. congrats Nate!