The Birdtown 8k - There will be hills

Last year was The Birdtown's inaugural event, I ran the 8k last year and felt it was a good race for the weekend before my half-marathon on 5/23/15. When I registered for this year's: I forgot about the hills. I forgot how too-fast I ran. I remembered feeling good afterwards.

I wasn't mentally prepared for this race, my sleep was lacking because one of our cats decided a lot lately that he wants everyone to walk up at 5am, and since I rarely have a reason to be up that early, I do not go to bed earlier enough to get a lot of sleep. We left about 15 minutes later than I really wanted to, but I was the reason for that because I didn't have my bag packed the night before like I usually do.

I forgot that the main road to get to the parking area would be blocked for the half-marathon and 4k that started before the 8k, and that the typical road to take as an alternate was completely shut-down for all of the distances. We had to park 5 blocks further away than I would have liked, so we had to walk that much further to get to the start. We arrived at the start line 1 minute before the gun went off.  One Minute.

The weather was okay, the temperature was in the 60s, there was some wind, but the humidity was higher than it should be in May in Minnesota. I was deciding the final 2 miles if I should run without a shirt, as I usually would run with only a sports bra for a top in that kind of weather, but since that required exertion I decided to just think about it instead of act upon it.

Thankfully, I did run this event last year, so I remembered how many potholes and uneven the pavement would be for a majority of the course. I also remembered how little vehicle traffic there would be so I could run on the road for portions that the sidewalk was not comfortable, and run on the sidewalk when the roads wear really uncomfortable. This was MAJORLY beneficial.

Since we arrived one minute before the gun went off, I didn't get to use the port-o-potty before the race like my body is accustomed to, so I had to pee immediately. I didn't see a single port-o-potty until mile 3, which was mentally tough fighting my bladder on all of the hills before getting to 'go.' But once I was relieved, my mood lightened, until I remembered the final hill.

My chip time was 2 seconds slower than last year, even though I did take walking breaks, I also stopped to use the port-o-potty this year, so I did run it faster. What was I thinking? I probably wasn't, but I still felt good mentally. Until 4 hours later when I sat through my brother's college commencement for 2.5 straight hours, my shins started feeling very tight.

Birdtown Results

My shins hurt a lot last night when I finally returned home, and was getting more difficult to walk up the stairs. I slept with my Zensah Calf-Sleeves on for compression, and turned on heated mattress cover to keep the muscles warm. I woke up and they felt healed! I spent an hour in heated yoga this morning, and my brain and body are all sorts of happy now!

Side note: I realized I ran 85.5 miles in April, my highest mileage month to date. WOO HOO!

Next week is the half-marathon, I'm hoping to keep this peacefulness my brain is currently in through the next 7 days. :)

Happy Sunday!

UV Splash 5k - It's more than just glow sticks

Have you heard of the UV Splash? Until 3 days ago, I had not. I saw an ad for it in one of those upcoming race newsletters that list about 10 races, and read the word FREE twice. My thoughts: 1. A FREE race? HECK YES!!

2. What does UV Splash entail?

Here's the link for the one in the Twin Cities:


Doesn't that look FUN?? I'm PUMPED!!

Let me know if you've heard about one of these races, or have participated in one before!!

Medtronic Weekend, Part 2: All the Running

Last month I wrote about planning and packing for this crazy weekend of running 3 races, and attending a 3 day seminar. Read that here. The TC Loony Challenge comprises of 2 races, in one weekend. A 10k at 7:30am Saturday, 5k at 9:00am Saturday, and a 10 mile at 7:00am Sunday. My training was the schedule for a half-marathon, even though my longest mileage was that of race day, I felt it was the best idea considering I would be running 19.3 miles between two days. I made the last 4 weekends look like this: 6.2 miles (10k) on Saturday, and at least 6.2 miles on Sunday. I increased the Sunday mileage each week, with my last weekend having a 6.2 mile run followed by a 3.1 mile walk on Saturday, and a 10 mile run on Sunday. Knowing my legs could handle the mileage, I knew I would be fine.

The forecast was looking pretty good: 50s. AWESOME!

And then the day before the weekend came, and the forecast turned COLD: Highs in the 30s, with race time temps in the 20s and feel like temps in the teens! AAAAGHH! I had to completely repack my race bag, adding sweat pants and sweat shirts to keep me warm before and after running, and adding a jacket to wear during the first few miles of each race.

Good thing I have enough clothes to accommodate that kind of need. ;-)

My races were good, I kept about a 10:00/mile time both days. My legs were not impressed with the hills, which I didn't incorporate enough of during training, but really weren't happy with the temps. My 10k was just over 1 hour, my 5k was just over 30 minutes, and my 10 mile was just under 1:40. I'm very happy considering the feat I just accomplished.

If you've never experienced a race during the Medtronic weekend, whether as a runner or as a fan, I highly recommend it!! The views along each route are beautiful, it's during the fall leaf change which brings amazing colors to the landscape. The historic houses, the views of the river, and the final leg which over looks the state Capital are AWEsome! I would have taken photos, but with the temps being so low this year it would have killed my battery. :-(

The entire distance, of all of the races, are lined with fans showing their support! It's phenomenal the turnout, especially for how cold it was this year. There are people who had a keg setup, mobile fire-pits, blankets, chairs, signs, hot dog stand, and the police and medical support, along with the volunteers, were cheering the runners on. This was amazing for me, it truly is my favorite part.

Medtronic weekend is the first weekend in October each year, and registration is currently open for the TC Loony Challenge, along with the other challenges. The registration for the individual races is not yet open. Whether you come to run, or just to cheer and tour the cities, you'll be blown away. Here's the website: Medtronic Weekend Hopefully I see you next year!!

How the @thebirdtown 8K was inspirational

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 (, 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:

20140521-145251-53571267.jpg 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. 20140521-150129-54089837.jpg Starting area was next to this beautiful lake. 20140521-150131-54091167.jpgThe 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. 20140521-145250-53570912.jpg 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. 20140521-150130-54090504.jpg 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: 20140521-153258-55978897.jpg 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?

Get Lucky 7K Race Review

"How many miles is a 7K?" This was a common question overheard at the post-race area on the brisk morning of March 16, 2013.It's 4.35 for those of you wondering (I just Google'd it). Team Ortho puts on this race, and I am already signed up for next year! In 2012, runners of this race were in shorts and tank tops. In 2013, the year I ran, runners were in SNOWBOARD gear. Here's my view from the start 'corrals,' they had a lot of runners show up despite the frigid temps! 20131113-172124.jpg I wish the buildings didn't block the sun, it was really cold in the shade. The temps were in the 20s, and the winds gusted to 18 MPH. Along the course it was common when glasses fogged up, and many fingers were nipped at by Jack Frost. Plus, there was ice along our running route. ICE! On the ROAD we were RUNNING on. Welcome to Minnesnowta. The race was great, we were routed around the river, which is always a beautiful place regardless of the season or temperature, and there were a few musical stations along the way to give you something to bounce to if you didn't have your own music. The only down fall was mother nature blowing her cold winds at us, but the sun was out and made it quite fantastic when you were blocked from the wind. I didn't take any pictures during this race, I know my phone would have died from the cold temperature so I kept it in my inside pocket. Here's a photo from the post-race area, though! 20131113-172116.jpg See the little rainbow and pot of gold head band I'm wearing? I rocked that the whole race! That sweatshirt was given to each registered runner, it is great! A hood, lightly lined with fleece, an earbud cord loop right next to your chin, and THUMB HOLES! Such a fantastic shirt, the shirts are one of the reasons I run these races!

What's your least favorite mother nature related race experience? Were you in the above pictured crowd?!?!