My wife and I have a tradition of running the Red, White and Boom Half Marathon as a relay team. We started the tradition in 2013 and this our third year doing the race. Our custom is for me to take the first six and a half miles, so that my wife can get to be the one to cross the finish line.
The first surprise of the race came the night before as I suddenly noticed that the course was completely different from years past. This set off a little bit of panic in the house as we quickly looked up the route so that we could know more of what to expect. It turns out that this new course was actually quite nice, although I had some decent climbs in my leg of it.
We started promptly at 6:30 and I found a nice groove around 9:35 or so. I was moving comfortably and felt that I could push a bit if I needed to because of only needing to go 6.5 miles. There were some larger hills as we headed down Plymouth Ave. and into North Minneapolis, but I managed to make up any lost time on the downhill backsides and keep up my pace. As we rounded the corner to hit Theo Wirth Parky I found the start of the long climb that would bring us to the highest point on the course. This hill was quite memorable in how it seemed to take its time in committing to getting us to the top. Only one small portion was difficult to run, but there was a constant, steady, uphill for quite a while.
Around mile 4 I started to really feel the effects of the weather of the day. The temperature was in the mid-60s, but the humidity was horrendous. To add an insult, there was zero wind. Not even a slight breeze to cool the skin. As I’m running along the parkway I felt like my body just couldn’t cool off because of the accumulating sweat. At the next aid station I grabbed a glass of water, took two sips, and then dumped the rest of it down my back. It was instantly refreshing and I started to feel enough relief to get comfortable with the rest of the run.
The benefit of all that uphill running on the parkway, was the backside which was one of the best gentle descents I’ve ever run. I managed to click off the last mile and a half just a few seconds under 9:00/mile. I felt amazing as I entered the transition area and tagged off to my wife. She then got to experience the second half of this new course while I climbed onto a crowded bus filled with sweaty runners in oppressive humidity. This fact alone made me consider that maybe I should have just slowed my pace and kept running to the finish. I wouldn’t have been an official half-marathon, but it would have probably been good for my training regimen!
I arrived at the finish to wait for my wife, enjoying a nice 8am beer and cupcake. She crossed around the 2:20 mark and we headed for the car. That began another adventure though when we discovered that our battery was dead and needed to be jumped. I ended up having to replace the battery this afternoon, but other than that, it’s been a great Independence Day, and a great race to start the day!