Running Dirty. Eating Clean. Loving Life.

Free to Run 4 Mile – July 4th, 2012

My sister and I after the race

First off – I’m the (new?) RRCA 4 mile women’s open division champion in the state of Minnesota.  BOOYA!!!!  I’m a little sad that I have to wait for my new race hardware to come in the mail.

It’s become sort of a tradition with my sister to find races when she is in town visiting.  I have a hard time resisting peer pressure when it comes to races, so it’s usually not that hard to talk me into running just about anything.  This year, we picked the Free to Run 4 Mile race at Lake Phalen.

And we’re off

I should have probably learned my lesson by now that July 4th races are usually a really bad idea.  It’s usually hot and humid and I spend most of the race cursing myself for being stupid enough to be talked into yet another one.  This year was no different.  According to the weather app on my phone, the heat index was already in the mid-90s at 6:30 am.  Not exactly ideal race weather.  And 3 days before racing a trail 25k.  Brilliant move!!  Ok, so it’s just a fun  4 mile run.  A little warm up for Saturday’s race.  No need to kill myself.  Just go out, get a few kind of quick miles under my belt and go home and have some beers.  Except anyone that has met me knows that whole mentality lasted all of about 5 seconds before switching into my usual race mindset of “Kick some serious ass!”

A little over a mile in. That smile is from seeing sub 7:00 when I hit the mile mark.

This was my first short (aka sprint) race of the year.  The last time I had run anything under a half marathon was Thanksgiving.  It became pretty clear early on in the race that I had forgotten everything I had learned about pacing and not dying during a shorter distance race.  I lined up just behind the really fast looking guys.  Turns out they were really fast and trying to keep up with them for most of the first mile was really stupid.  But I did manage to pull a sub-7:00 first mile out of thin air somehow.  It may not be world record pace, but I was pretty damn proud of myself.

The next 3 miles were pure hell.  It was hot.  There wasn’t much shade.  I wanted to puke.  The handheld water bottle I was running with was being emptied fast.  I knew I was in 2nd place, nowhere near being able to catch up with the woman in first (more on her later).  I had no idea where the 3rd place woman was and wasn’t about to let someone pass me right before the finish.  There was a little hill right at the finish. I could see the clock was right at 30 minutes.  I booked it up the hill to finish is 30:41.  I was quickly corralled by the race officials and told not to go anywhere because they needed a photo (yay?!?!?) of the top 3 women.  Wet t-shirt contest anyone?

Booking it to the finish line

The medals hadn’t arrived in time, so no bling yet, but I did have a chance to visit with the woman who smoked by me right before the first mile marker.  She looked vaguely familiar, so we started chatting and I was trying desperately to figure out where I had seen her before.  Turns out that she had gone to the high school I work at and is a member of the athletics hall of fame.  I have walked by her photo at least a thousand times over the last 7 years.  Mystery solved.  We ended up having a great chat about the people we knew (I work with her old track coach).  It’s funny how small a world it is, especially in the running community.  She introduced me to the family.  Her son inherited her speediness.  After talking with her for a while and having my photo taken with her and the girl who finished 3rd, I cheered on the other runners while waiting for my sister to finish.  Made friends with several of the volunteers (thanks to all the race volunteers for the great work that you do!!).  Bought some new racing shoes.  Made a mad dash to the bathroom right as my sister was finishing 😦

Top 3 women finishers –

Next up is the Afton 25k Trail race this Saturday.  It should be a little cooler and much shadier.  I’m excited to get back onto the trails for the next few races.  Look out for that race recap sometime this weekend or early next week.


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