If there ever was a race that I had zero expectations for, this was it. First, I haven't been running that much these past two months, due to my Achilles, and just general complacency. I was severely concerned about my ability to even run 13.1 miles, much less do it at a respectable pace.
Second, this was my first Team Ortho race. Having worked for TCM for a couple years, it's pretty safe to say that I know the good, the bad and the ugly of event planning, and I went in with a complete understanding of how Team Ortho "organizes" their races. Needless to say, my expectations were low, both for myself and the race in general.
That's probably what saved me.
I woke up on Saturday morning around 6:45, and didn't feel like eating breakfast, so I didn't. I hadn't charged my Garmin, and hadn't given any thought to race day apparel, so I threw on some tights and double layers on top and prayed for less wind than the forecast was predicting.
We picked up friends Joy and Frida. Frida was running and Joy was going to navigate/spectate with John. Traffic was terrible, with everyone and their mom trying to get off at Kellog. We zoomed around and got off at the next exit with very little problem. As such, the race start was delayed 10 minutes, so Frida and I got to dance around in the cold. Brrrr.
My plan was run around 8:30s/9:00s because I didn't think there was any way I could run faster. Frida had said she wanted to run 8:00s and since we were together at the start, I went off with her. Because I wasn't running with a watch, the only way I had to gauge my pace were the pace gourps, and we were right around the 1:45 guy (an 8:01 pace). I figured I would stick with Frida for as long as possible, then drop back when I started to feel crappy.
Long story short, that crappy feeling never really hit, and I finished in 1:45:15. The last three miles were really painful, when both IT bands and my right hip made it feel like I was running through cement. The course was beautiful, and it turned out to be a lovely, sunny day, though the wind was brutal at times.
|we're basically celebrating surviving our walk to the car|
A few thoughts on Team Ortho:
- They have mile markers every half-mile, which was something I had never seen in a distance race. I kind of liked it, kind of hated it, because it was either, Oh, we've only gone a half mile!? or Sweet, we've already run a half-mile.
- They didn't have any splits or timing mats any where on the course, which is super weird. 1. It means you could cheat pretty easily by cutting out most of the course and 2. It's crappy for people who didn't have a chip time due to "human error" at the start.
- There was very little food/water at the finish. I saw some volunteers passing out cups of water, and someone handed me a banana, but it's nothing like what I was expecting on a chilly day after 13.1 miles.
- Team Ortho is known for their gear, but paying $75 for a sweatshirt and a gaudy medal is not more important than a well-organized race. I would run a Team Ortho event again, but not if I cared in the least about my time/race amenities.
- Finally, St. Paul sucks for parking. In case you didn't already know.
To sum it up, I'm pretty impressed with my body's ability to pull off an 8:03 pace, but in the days since, it's let me know it's not happy about it (SO MUCH hip rubbing). Running through St. Paul in the fall reminded me why I love running, and I should probably try to work some back into my crazy wedding-planning, house-renovating, moving, marriage schedule.