Monster Dash Half Marathon and the Monster Marathon Series
This weekend marked the 5th and final race of the Team Ortho Monster Marathon Series, the Monster Dash Half Marathon. 4 half marathons and a 5k later, I can finally fill my medal holder with all 5 medallions.
This is my 2nd attempt at the series. Last year, I was one race shy after having to pull out of the Minneapolis Marathon for multiple reasons. Wanting the bragging rights awarded by having a full medal holder, I signed up again for the series last year at packet pick up for Monster Dash during early bird registration. The original plan had been to run 3 half marathons, a full marathon, and a 5k. After a strong start at Polar Dash, the rest of the year was a little rocky. Learning how to juggle my new life as a single mom, running became a way for me to stay sane. Training for any single race got shuffled down the list of priorities. My goal for the year was to be half marathon ready at any given time. I accomplished this. Dropping down from the full marathon at the Minneapolis Marathon to the half, I ran the next two half marathons at an insanely dependable 1:50 (and a 1:51 at women rock. Talk about being consistent). Ready to step it up a notch, I set another PR, this time in the 5k, winning the Minneapolis Duathlon 5k. Which brings me to the Monster Dash.
The Monster Dash is probably one of the funnest races to do each year. 10,000 racers showed up for the half marathon and 10 mile races, many of which were in costume. Superheroes, giant insects, zombies, tutus, and tiaras were everywhere. I was a NFL replacement ref (naughty ref costumes aren’t so scandalous when you throw on running tights under). My friend J, who was running the 10 mile race, and I carpooled and made sure to get to the Cathedral early so that we would have plenty of time to make it through the porta potty line (although this year, Team Ortho did an amazing job of lining the starting area with several rows of bathrooms). We took a quick before pic and headed off to find my other friend Supergirl (no really, she was Supergirl) who had driven down from way up north (she almost lives in Canada) to run this instead of the Savannah Rock’n’Roll Marathon. She’s was aiming for about 2:00-2:05 for her half time, so I found her again and we started off together.
So the original game plan had been to just have fun. Sound familiar. I’ve come to the conclusion that me and “just having fun” don’t go together on race day. Despite having run a marathon the weekend before and my quads feeling every little incline and decline on a primarily downhill course, that whole, I’ve run 1:50 almost every marathon I’ve done this year and dammit I was originally shooting for a PR until that marathon had to ruin it mentality came back. So eat my dust fairies. How super does it feel getting chicked, Superman? I took off, passing the 2:00 group and then starting chasing down the 1:55 group. I knocked them off somewhere on Summit, so it was time to hunt down the 1:50 group. The support for this race is amazing. There are ample water stops, which I took full advantage of remembering the Women Rock disaster. There are bands along the course, rocking out for all the runners and fans. Best of all, the spectators and volunteers were out in full force on a beautiful, albeit little chilly fall morning, lining the streets with their signs and cowbells. It really is a 13.1 mile long costume party!
After getting outrun by a streaker (costume was complete with a nude colored body suit and what I’m assuming was a full color xerox of his ass), I finally caught the 1:50 pacer right around the last water station. 1:50 pacer, you were amazing!!! I wish I had run with her the majority of the course instead of just passing her with little over a mile left to go. She was cheering on all the runners that passed her, yelling out words of encouragement to get them under that 1:50 mark. I have a feeling she helped set a lot of PRs and race goals that day. As I finished that last mile downhill back into downtown, not a cramp in sight, although my quads and IT band were yelling at me words that would make even my grandma blush (she’s who I learned to swear like a drunken sailor from). Clock time was 1:50 (I really love that number) as I crossed the finish line. Doing some quick math, I figured I was somewhere around 1:47. Last year at this race, I’d run 1:46:10, a then PR, on fresh legs after training my ass off to get under 1:50. This year’s results: