I ran in the rain and it was ok.
I’m happy to report that the No-Burnout plan is a fair success. I did the 5k-10k specific workouts I described, plus some progression runs and some strides, with at least two easy days between hard workouts. That’s pretty minimal compared to what I was doing five years ago. Even so, my usual final dress-rehearsal 5k workout (5x1k at 5k effort) wore me out badly, and I took it easy for the ten days before this race.
With all the rain in the forecast, I let go of expectations. At first Accuweather warned of a possible thunderstorm, so I signed up in the final hour for online registrations, the day before the race. At that time, the forecast said 50% chance of rain at the start, 50’s with low humidity, 8 mph winds. Great conditions except for the rain. I got out my old rain poncho, which made me look like a dork but covered me up so much nobody recognized me at first. That was kind of a bonus.
I soon found my teammates. They reminded me of another bonus: this rainy weather was a lot better than the humid crap we had last year. And we had a van to store our stuff while we ran. I made it to the start line still warm. What a relief. I didn’t get many photos, but you’re glad about that because it means this will be a fairly short report.
A lot of fast runners show up for Brian Kraft, but under 500 runners total. What seems like a low-key spin around a lake turns out to be an impressively fast race. Prepare to be blown away by This year’s results: 421 runners with an average finishing time of 22:25. A median time of 19:10 for men, 23:27 for women.
Most of these fast runners are humble, gentle souls, but at the start line, you gotta watch out. I’ve been good lately at lining up carefully. My stats show that I passed 35 runners and was passed by 32, so I started in the right spot. It did make for a slow start, but soon I settled into a 6:50 pace, give or take a few seconds. Based on how my training had gone, I wasn’t sure how long I’d hang onto it. I passed some teammates I’d been unable to catch at last year’s City of Lakes, but still felt good. Before I knew it, I was over halfway done and still holding on strong.
The whole race went like that. Solid, steady, in control. I never felt really crappy at any point, and had a tiny bit of extra speed in the final kilometer. This makes me think I could have run the whole thing faster and possibly beaten last year’s time. Maybe I could have and maybe I couldn’t have. I did stay true to Goal #1; I hung in there and finished feeling good.
I had a lovely cool-down with my lovely teammates and then we went to Nokomis Coffee and I finally got the lovely nordic waffle breakfast sandwich I’ve been wanting to try.
While at breakfast, I got some texts from other runners who had gotten in and dry at other places. I got in touch with Dash, knowing he was trying for a PR in this race. He hadn’t been sure he’d go sub-20, but I was sure. A few speed workouts, some focus and fairly decent conditions were all he needed. Our running club, Twin Cities Running Experiment, is now 4000+ strong according to Meetup.com. Dash once said “We push and pull each other.” I think that’s still true.
A bit of analysis on my own race: My age-graded performance from the MTEC results shows I’m at 75%, about the same as last year. My gun time of 21:24 puts me 6th among women in their 40’s, which gives me hope for what I can do when I’m in the 50’s age group in a couple years.
Looking back at previous results, my best performance was at age 45, when I ran a 20:08 gun time, just a second faster than the previous year’s time. And looking back, I wasn’t even happy with that. These days, I try to be happy with what comes. I still get the blues sometimes. Especially if I’m cold and wet after a race, I’m prone to the post-race crash. Trying to describe this to a teammate, I said it’s like being a toddler – I’m cranky and weepy and I don’t know how to express it, I know I need a nap but I can’t calm down for it. These days I know when it’s coming, so I made it home before I got to the breaking point. I recommend an epsom soak after a cold rainy race. I’ll be okay.
Another bonus: My feet were wet for so long I was finally able to get rid of some calluses.
I hope I’ve made some happy memories. Running with a team helps a lot. Just look at these beauties.
Next up will be the USATF Minnesota Association Open & Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championship on Sunday, June 9. I’ve never run a track 800 meter race, so maybe something new will cheer me up.
I have some thoughts brewing for more blog posts, too. I’ve talked to so many athletes and we all have some struggles, though we all smile big for these photos. Running becomes a coping mechanism, and sometimes it mirrors the ups and downs of whatever you’re coping with. For now, I just want to say thanks to everyone who was willing to get wet and messy to be a part of this great day.
Of course, now it stops raining.