The Minnesota 1/2 Marathon has always been a unique event, and a fun one to pace. The race also includes some rollerblading events, including a duathlon. This year the weather was cool, and there was a slight breeze keeping things fairly pleasant. As the race went on, it was a little on the warm side, but mainly because there isn't much shade and it was very sunny. Last year it was overcast, which made things a little more comfortable.
I was pacing the 1:35 group, and I started out with a nice group of 8-10 people. The group wasn't real chatty, but they did laugh at my lame pacing jokes every once-in-a-while. My favorite is, "if you think I did a good job, let the race officials know. My name is Nate. If I did a bad job, my name is Dan."
One tough thing about Minnesota 1/2 is that the mile markers always seem to be a little inconsistent. I did my best run a steady pace, but it's tough when the miles don't seem to be accurately marked. It went OK though, and my group stayed with me until around mile 8 when some fell back and others went ahead. At that point I had two runners with me.
Around mile 10, one of the 1:30 pacers dropped back to run with me. He'd dropped his key, so after he found it he came back and finished with me. Around mile 12, the last two guys with us picked it up for a strong finish. We did a pretty nice job coming in at 1:34:59.
Laura also did the race as a training run, and she had fun as well. Here's a picture of us getting pumped for the race:
The very next week was the Gopher to Badger 1/2 Marathon. Unfortunately my favorite pacing singlet was taken, so I had to wear a small, which was a little on the tight side. Despite the wardrobe difficulties, I still had fun.
I paced the 1:35 group again, but this time I co-paced it with a guy named Curt. He's been doing quite a few marathons, and the 7:15 pace was pretty comfortable for both of us. We chatted quite a bit, and we also had a decent-sized group the whole time.
This year they changed the start line location and the first several miles of the course. It was pretty nice as they cut out one of the beginning hills--I'll definitely consider racing this one again next year. The course is also one of my favorite as it finishes by crossing the I-94 pedestrian bridge from Minnesota to Wisconsin, and heads downhill to the finish at Lakefront Park next to Lake St. Croix.
Two of the members of our pace group were shooting for a PR, and they both made it as they finished right in front of our 1:34:50 finishing time.
Laura also did this one, finishing faster than her previous week. It's nice for her to use these 1/2 marathons as training runs as she gets ready for the Twin Cities Marathon in October. Here's some pictures from the race:
|Laura and I getting pumped for the race.|
|"Spot on" Minnesota pacers.|
|Laura cruising into the finish.|