I heard about The Birdtown Half Marathon at the beginning of May, a little late in the year for me to comfortably sign up for a half marathon even though I knew I was capable of a successful race.After looking at their website (thebirdtown.com), I learned they had two smaller distances I could run: an 8k and an 4k. These distances seemed very random to me, but didn't put a second thought into it and I registered for the 8k. An 8k is 4.97 miles, thank you Google. About the race, from the website: "This is the inaugural year of The Birdtown Half Marathon and we couldn't be more excited! Our route will run the roads of Robbinsdale, MN through wooded parkways and around beautiful Minnesota lakes." The mayor of Robbinsdale made a promise that if 400 people registered for the race, he would run in a kilt. Not only did they hit that mark, they passed it and had to cap the number of runners to 650 and CLOSE registration for the 8k as it reached the 200 registration mark. "Proceeds from The Birdtown Half Marathon will go to the Heart of Robbinsdale Community Foundation. Founded in 2007, the Heart of Robbinsdale Community Foundation was created with the mission of supporting and enriching the quality of life in Robbinsdale, Minnesota."
The event was put together almost better than some of the BIG races I've participated in. Check out these pre/post-race area maps:
Those arrows are fantastic for someone like me!! Here's the photos I took during the race: Not the greatest, and not that many, though. Starting area was next to this beautiful lake. The last stretch had a view of North Memorial Health Center, the main sponsor for this event, and where my grandma spent many years as a Registered Nurse in the Operating Room. It holds a few memories for me, visiting grandma at work, and eating lunch with her sometimes after my special doctor visits at the clinic across the street from the Hospital. I still have two pairs of her work scrub pants, they're SO COMFORTABLE. Back to the race... It was a beautiful day: mostly sunny, temps expected to be in the 50s at the finish line, slight breeze. I made a rookie mistake of wearing my finisher shirt during the race, thinking it would keep the wind at bay, not knowing what it would actually help/hinder during my race since I didn't even bother trying it on before hand. There was a small issue with the chip time mats, so the start was delayed. I didn't pay attention to the time that ticked by, I had my music on and zoned out to everything other than the morning run I was about to take on. I was feeling pretty stoked, after-all this was two days after my 12.2 HILLY run (that post here), and I had a deep tissue sports massage just the day before. I was expecting to be in some sort of pain, but I wasn't. At all. It was a little odd, especially since the massage therapist told me to expect to be in pain and if I wasn't in pain then I needed to come in every week to release the muscle tightness which we shall refer to as my entire back. Once the timing system was working, we counted down from 10 and were off. I didn't study the race route, I rarely do, so I just kept up with a few of the people in front of me. We shall refer to them as the only people in front of me, I was in the front part of the corral. We followed a street through the cute part of Robbinsdale toward the bike path; along the way we had a few inclines, followed by some declines. I laughed to myself, probably out-loud, since I am once again running hills on a route I really should have looked into but didn't. We followed a sidewalk into the residential neighborhood, and there were spectators! After the residential neighborhood, we followed the Parkway to the finish line, and the last stretch had a wonderful decline. The pace felt good throughout the race, I was struggling a little bit but just attributed that to my 12.2 miler 48 hours prior without even looking at what my current pace actually was. I just figured it was just going to be a difficult 10:00/mile pace for me to work through, and had to tell myself at least once during each mile that I could, and would, run this to the end. This wasn't a completely closed course, it was mostly monitored by course marshalls, and we stayed inside our orange cones. There were police officers at busy intersections to ensure safety, and some even cheered the runners on. I will be running this event again. The finisher shirt didn't breathe as well as I would have liked it to, by the end of the race I was close to over heating. Thankfully I was well hydrated. My results: WHAT?! Even though I heard the Nike+ Running app tell me I was doing pretty good for pace, I couldn't believe it when I saw the time clock read in the 40s as I approached it! How inspiring I feel every time I think of that, and really believe I will speed up more often knowing how good I felt going that fast for that long! By the mile: 1 mile 9'01" 2 mile 8'59" (fastest) 3 mile 9'06" 4 mile 9'31" I am amazed, ecstatic, inspired, motivated.
Have you had one of these races? What was your mantra to get yourself through something that felt so difficult and ended up be so rewarding?