Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Mile {Race Recap}

I was up at 3:30 am Sunday morning, starting my pre-race routine. Ashley was going to be picking me up at 5 to go to our friend Amanda’s house so we could all carpool together. After I ate my toast and foam rolled, I started to get nervous. I don’t know why. I run 10 miles regularly and this was supposed to be fun. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go for a goal time or just run the race as I felt comfortable. I figured I’d see how the first mile went.

By 6 am, we were downtown hoping that the rain wouldn’t start again. We met the rest of our Team OT Efers crew, snapped a few pictures and talked about the brunch that we were headed to after the race, before I went to my corral.

Once in the corral, I saw the 1:15 pacer. I heard him talking to another runner about the pacing strategy. I heard him say he was going to bank some time to make up for the two mile long hill that we’d hit around mile four.

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I knew that I did not want to even attempt to run with that strategy. Banking time never works out well for me. It was then I decided I was just going to do my thing. I’d run as fast or as slow as felt good.

Just as we were sent on our way, it started raining again. Not too hard, but enough to be a little irritating. The first mile I started slightly fast, but not so fast that I was going to regret it. It was really crowded but we were treated to a beautiful sunrise. As we approached mile three the rain really started coming down and a headwind picked up. It made me so happy that I was only running 10 miles and not the full marathon. We had to curve around a tight and narrow turn to cross the bridge over the river. That was my slowest mile at 7:52.

Once we were on the bridge, the congestion started to break up. This was the part of the course I really remembered from running the marathon three years ago and cheering for my friend Kirsten last year as she ran the 10 mile. I grabbed water at the first water stop I saw and unfortunately got more up my nose than in my mouth. The rain was letting up which was exciting, but it left large puddles all over the street. I tried to avoid as many as I could without weaving too much. I was still consistently a tenth of a mile ahead of every mile marker.

By mile four, the rain had stopped and I had run under the blow up wall. The steepest part of the long hill was starting. I began to slow my pace to compensate. When I ran through the five mile clock (38:33), I calculated I was going to have no problem beating my previous 10 mile time from Goldy’s Run two years ago. I distracted myself by gawking at the beautiful houses (mansions?) I was running by.

I continued to run at a steady, but slower pace as I gradually climbed the never ending hill. It’s so deceptive because it doesn’t look like I was going up hill, but my legs could feel it. After getting to the top I got a little downhill segment where I speed up. One more tiny hill and I was on the flat and downhill home stretch to the finish line. I picked it up some more as I started my final mile to the finish line. It was my fastest of the race, the downhill helped of course. I was still about a tenth of a mile ahead but I didn’t care. My watch was showing I had maintained a 7:34 min/mile pace. Woohoo.

I ran through the shoot with a big smile on my face. I had finally gotten a personal record. My first in any distance since Thanksgiving. I’d also negative split the race.

Official time: 1:16:28  Avg. Pace: 7:39 min/mile

My Goldy’s Race 10 mile time was bested by nearly six minutes. I expected to run it faster than two years ago, but that was a surprising chunk after my lackluster races lately.

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I made my way out of the finisher’s area and waited for the rest of the team to come through. Everyone did so well!

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We made our way back to Minneapolis and enjoyed brunch at Ike’s Food and Cocktail.

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It was a fun morning! Now we’re talking about a relay race next year some time. That would be really fun. I’ve been wanting to do a Ragnar or similar event.

 

The End of My Streak [Race Recap}

Four years. For four years straight, I set a new personal record at every single race I did. Regardless of distance, I was on a roll. Sometimes they were small, sometimes they were big, but they were always a PR. Last night, that ended and I’m not going to lie, it stings a little bit. It’s not nearly as fun to write about but as I share my triumphs, I should also share my disappointments.

Last night was the annual Maple Grove Esprit de She. You might remember last year the course was significantly short. Well this year, they got rid of the 10k option and changed the course which was actually the right distance, if not ever so slightly long. While I loath 5ks, I’m not one to pass up a race minutes from my house that always ends with booze and great company from my amazing running group friends.

Just after 5 pm I drove over to the Town Green where the race was starting. Unlike in previous years, the course was not a loop. We were now finishing at the newly completed Central Park. We hung around for a while sweating before taking our group picture. Unfortunately, thanks to bag drop being at the finish line, we were missing more than a couple members.

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After the picture I tried to stay in the shade as long as I could. I was dehydrated and it was HOT and HUMID (it was nearly 80 degrees still). Blah. You’d think I’d be use to it by now, but no. Does anyone get use to humidity? I was silently cursing them for moving the race from late September to early August. Anyway, I made my way to the front of the corrals with some friends and sweated it out for 10ish minutes until the race started.

I crossed the starting line quickly, going out a bit fast as I chased after a ton of high school girls that were ahead of me. I knew it was going to bite me in the ass. I finished the first mile in 6:50. Bad decision. After that first mile I was looking for the water stop. It was about 1.5ish miles in. I stopped, drank one cup, poured one over my head and continued on. The second mile was 7:13. Already positive splitting.

Once I hit 2.5 miles, I’m pretty sure I stopped sweating. I don’t think I had enough fluid in my body to keep it going. I was overheating bad. I posed for a picture.

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When I thought I’d safely passed the photographer, this is what I was feeling.

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I was done. I just wanted it to be over. I looked at my watch and new that my chance to PR was gone. My third mile was 7:39…ouch. That is a HUGE positive split. The finish line was setup really poorly. We had two tight turns to make a U and had to run on uneven patchy grass.

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I tripped a little bit, but was just so damn happy to be done, I didn’t care. I honestly was so hot I thought I was going to vomit.

Official time: 22:41      Avg. Pace: 7:19 min/mile

I was 22nd overall of 1430 runners and 5th in my age group of 501.

I missed beating my 5k PR by 26 seconds.I was really bummed. I hadn’t really expected it. Yes it was hot and yes I was dehydrated and sore from Orangetheory the previous night, but I’ve gotten so much faster since November. I was kicking myself for the walk break I took to drink the water I needed so badly. Honestly, if I hadn’t walked then, my streak would probably be in tact.

It had to end sometime right? I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, it’s not like I totally crashed and burned, and no one PRs every single race forever. I’m trying to tell myself that one race that broke my streak, doesn’t mean I’ll never PR again. It’s silly to think that right?

After the race I got some free food (which by the way, has gotten worse every year) and even better, free booze while I hung out with the girls.

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Not a total failure of an evening. It evened cooled off nicely after the race. Maybe next year, if it’s in August again, they can start it an hour later.

 

Taking the Plunge

Last summer we were all about jumping in the many lakes around us. When I told Josh that I was going to jumping in a lake in February, he questioned my sanity. Honestly I was questioning it myself. I’ve heard about Polar Plunges for years. They hold them all over the country but I’ve never been brave enough to partake. Well, this year was different. Maybe it was the running group encouragement or me just deciding to make the most of my first Minnesota winter. Which side note, has been extremely mild. I’m actually jealous of all the snow that other places are getting. If it’s going to be cold it needs to snow.

Anyway, back to the Plunge. The Polar Plunge events benefit The Special Olympics both locally and nationally. Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of $75. Thinking about race fees, that’s nothing. I posted a couple status updates on Facebook and thanks to my awesome friends and family raised $125 in no time. With my funds raised, I was ready for the big jump.

Thanks to the advice of seasoned plungers, I knew to wear old running shoes and clothes I could get off quickly. I also was told not to wear anything that might weigh my down because I’d want to get out of the water quickly. I brought my favorite sweatpants, warmest boots and a coat for my post jump warm up clothes. Come Saturday morning I was really excited that we were going to see temperatures in the 30s.

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The event was really well organized. I meet my teammates, went into the warm-up/changing tent and within a few minutes we were getting our picture taken as we prepared to jump.

Pre-Plunge

When we entered the final little tunnel before our jump, I said to my teammates that I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do it. Of course there was no turning back. I was about to jump in water they had to cut through ice to get to.

As we were announced, we lined up and waited for the countdown.

Polar Plunge 1

Here we go!

Polar Plunge 2

Live action :

It was cold and took my breath away.

Polar Plunge 3

Polar Plunge 5

I was slightly worried I wasn’t going to be able to move my legs to get up the steps to get out. I felt like I was moving in slow motion, but I made it out and ran into the tunnels that lead to the changing tent. For once I was thankful for the few extra winter pounds I’m carrying around to keep some more warmth in my body.

Post Plunge

By the time I got into the tent to change I was warmed up. I was actually sweating by the time I was dressed and went to me Josh and the kids.

It was fun and for a good cause. Maybe I’ll do it again next year. If you’re slightly crazy, there are tons of events happening the rest of the winter all over the country. You can find one here.

Making Moves

The wait has finally ended, as have our days in a small apartment with none of our own stuff. Over Labor Day weekend we moved into our new house! Of course our camera is currently holding the good pictures hostage.

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After closing on the Thursday night prior to the holiday weekend, we drove up with our first load of clothes and such from the apartment. Josh continued our tradition of carrying me over the threshold of our new house. We cleared out our cars and walked the kids around the house again as it had been nearly two months since we were in it last.

New house living room

Ella and I picked up a pizza and we had a little picnic in our new kitchen.

Kitchen picnic

Josh’s parents were nice enough to come up for the weekend to help us get somewhat settled which was really nice. They were even on board with having a ridiculous amount of Mexican food after my 20 miler. Even though I never wanted a hot tub, I really enjoyed the one in our backyard that night.

hot tubbing

Ella really enjoyed playing with her grandparents. She was so sad when it was time to say goodbye.

We have a lot of furniture to buy so we have some empty rooms and incomplete rooms like Ella’s which desperately needs a new dresser. We’ll get there.

Our neighbors have been very welcoming. We even had one bring over muffins. I thought that only happened in movies. It was so sweet. There seem to be lots of kids in the neighborhood and just a 10 minute walk from our house is a great park and a swimming beach which we will be able to utilize more next summer.

Weaver Lake

I’m so excited to be settling in. The return to some normalcy will be great. I may even have a chance to get back to blogging. Imagine that.

 

New Hometown Race

Racing is expensive. For that reason I don’t often do many outside of a marathon or half marathon every year. The running group I joined posted some information about the Rice Lake Classic in Maple Grove on its Facebook page. I was intrigued and decided to check out the webpage. Turns out it only cost $10 for entry, plus a t-shirt. Ten Dollars! Obviously I had to register.

This morning I met up with some of the mother runners to run the 3.7 mile race around Rice Lake.

Moms Run This Town - Rice Lake Classic

The race was small – limited to 350 entries. When we lined up at the start, it was kind of unclear where the actual start was. Amy, who I’ve had the pleasure of running with on several occasions and I loved the older man that blew his whistle to start the race. It was so small town and fun. We started on grass which was wet from the rain we’ve had the past few days…again. Fear of sliding and falling did help prevent me from sprinting out too fast.

Rice Lake is a new trail for me so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Around a quarter mile in we hit the first of many hills. It was short and steep which seemed like no big deal. What I didn’t realize is that there were several of these short steep hills with a few longer ones in between. My first mile was great. I felt good and was pushing myself just enough that I was slightly uncomfortable. I finished it in 7:44.

After that I started to succumb to the humidity. It was only about 70-75 degrees outside but it was so humid you could see the moisture in the air. I was really hoping it would start raining on us. Alas, it did not. I slowed a bit at mile two – 8:01. I decided to skip the water stop because I didn’t want to lose any more momentum.

Shortly thereafter, on the longest hill of the course, I lost my momentum. I took a brief walk break about mile 2.5. The humidity was getting to me and I was overheating. I picked it back up again running through to the 5k mark. I set a new 5k PR of 24:12 (7:47 pace!). I kept trying to push through but around mile 3.25 I took one more short break.

Of course to finish the race there was one more short hill to conquer before sprinting through the grass to the finish line. When I finished I felt like I was going to vomit. I was completely overheated and worn out. It’s amazing how short races can take it out of you and 10 miles can feel like nothing. I was supposed to run 10 total today but just could not handle the weather. I decided that I could probably just do my long run tomorrow.

My watch said I had finished 3.72 miles in 29:26 which was about a 7:54 average pace. With no chip timing and no clear start point, I wasn’t sure how accurate my Garmin time was. I was going to head home but got caught up talking to the ladies and decided I may as well stay for the age group awards.

As we listened to the names being called for the 30-39 age group and I heard the finish times of the 2nd and 3rd place women, I realized I won my age group! I collected my metal and headed back to the group. Amy’s name was called for winning her age group right after me! Then her mom for the 60+ group. Her reaction was the best. She screamed. I loved it.

Rice Lake Classic Age Group Winners

We were happy runners!

When I got home I received my official results. I have to say it was the fastest turnaround on results I’ve ever gotten.

Congratulations JESSICA VAN KIRK on finishing the Rice Lake 3.7 Mile!
Your Time of 29:28 with a pace of  7:58 per mile, put you in 49th Overall!
In your Division of F30-39 your Division Place was 1 out of 55 .
Your Gender Place was 5 out of 142 .

I think this may just become my new favorite annual race.