*The 7K is now Minnesota’s LARGEST timed road race with 9,797 finishers! Which I have to keep reminding myself every time I want to complain about things that I didn’t like about the race.
When I signed up for the race, I realized with a 9 am start time I would have to get up very early in order to leave from my home (I live 3 hours away). And I wasn’t in the mood for a 5 am wakeup call, or a 3 hour pre-race drive. So I stayed in the twin cities with my grandparents.
I planned on getting up at 7, rolling out of bed and into race clothes, and figured I only needed 15 minutes, my body woke up about 6:30 so I decided to get going then instead. And was glad I did! A friend stayed over with me, and I learned that I really should pack extras just in case, we almost had to make an extra stop for socks, but it all worked out! We arrived at another friends’ house at 7:35 who had picked up our bibs in exchange for riding with us to the race start. The roads were super icy, and we started wondering if the race would have a delay due to the ice (we were hoping they’d throw down some salt).
Another friend has an apartment 3 blocks from the race start so we were able to leave our vehicle at her place and then walk to the starting line. Prior to leaving we all did a check on how many layers we should wear. I had my 2 favorite warm Nike tops, so I knew I would be good. I wish I had brought my sunglasses, because the sun was super reflective off the ice.
We made it inside the race barricades with plenty of time. One friend had to use the bathroom and I was a little afraid the race would start before she was back. That worry was unnecessary we arrived at the race ready to go at 8:50 (race start was 9) and we crossed the start line at 9:35. There were people walking past us with medals while we were waiting. We were not happy. We were whiny. We kept talking about what we could have done with that 35 minutes. At first sleeping in was a top request, then just the simple idea of feeling less rushed this morning, and then the cold set in and we wanted coffee with Baileys. Stat.
Once we finally crossed the start it was race time. Kind of. The course was completely icy. It was impossible to get a full sprint on that terrain. And despite the corral style start, it was still very crowded. Both my knees were tight at the start of race so there was no way I was going to keep up with some of my speedier friends. Thankfully I had a friend who was willing to hang with me and we had a great time chatting throughout the course.
I was happy to not notice the kilometer markings until the 3k. The kilometers seemed to go quickly, possibly because I’m not positive the correlation to miles, so I just was running and chatting. I didn’t look at my garmin for pace during the race. I was just trying to not fall, and not kick someone walking.
The last kilometer of the race was frustrating. I wanted to really pick it up and finish, however there were so many people walking 2-4 across it was difficult to go around them, especially considering the course conditions. I finished just under 52 minutes and was surprised to hear my speedy friends finished in under 49 minutes, so there’s a chance I could have kept at their pace had I not been so concerned about falling!
I was very thankful that the race ends with only a slight uphill. When we were walking through to receive medals and water it was a straight uphill that would be fun to see how it affects a runners finish, but only fun until you would have to do it. The post-race fuel was thinning out, but as far as I could tell there was enough for everyone!
We walked back to my friends apartment to change out of race clothes and then headed to a nearby restaurant to eat, before heading to Kieran’s for our free beer!
Kieran’s happens to be my favorite place to get a drink before a Twins Game, but I’ll recap the actual bar this summer when I can have my own pictures. I have to talk about our experience there in relation to the race because we met the Race Director! This was my first time getting a chance to speak with a race director, and it was a complete chance encounter. I did mention our frustration with the slow start, and he did make the comment that went something like this “Its a fun run, so expectations are different. But we need to work on the start time”.
I’m glad he recognized the slow start, and while I had a great day, the race wasn’t really advertised as a “Fun Run” yes it was a fun atmosphere, but once I pay $65 for a race, I take it pretty seriously. A “fun run” is $20 or less for me.
In the end we talked for a while about different races across the country. He mentioned he has a friend who does over 150 marathons per year! Part of me wanted to call “BS” on it, but I guess it could be done…maybe? It was inspiring to talk to someone who thinks a half marathon is a walk in the park, but at this point I’m still trying to figure out how I’ll get my body to do 16 miles and then finally getting to the full 26.2 miles.
Will I do this race again? I’ve been trying to decide and it has been a roller coaster of thoughts. They have announced on the Get Lucky facebook page that there will be assigned corral starts next year, which is a great move! However it was $65. The sweatshirts we were given are awesome (I wore my all day that day) but I don’t do races for the clothing offered. I guess it depends on my friends, if someone asks me to do the race with them, I probably will. But I don’t think I’ll organize a group on my own. I did have a friend get a Sub 2 hour race at the half Marathon in St. Paul, and am thinking that would be fun to try! (so long as the conditions are better than this year!)