June 15, 2008

Sour Grapes Race Report


No, the race wasn't boring. My thoughtful neighbors decided to have a "Friday the 13'th" party Friday night, but apparently they forgot that Friday the 13'th ended at midnight. The hootin' and hollerin' finally subsided at 4:30 am on Saturday. My alarm was set for 4:45 to get up and drive to Brainerd for the Sour Grapes Half Marathon, another race in the MN Trail Run Series.

After a few sprinkles in the Twin Cities, the skies cleared and it was a beautiful, cool, sunny morning by the time I got to the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd. I wore my day glow orange Superior race shirt, so Jim and Wayne found me easily. Actually, Jim had his on too - we were easy to spot :) The 3 of us are trying to "shoot the moon" and run all 12 races in the MN Trail Run Series - I didn't see any other "regulars" that I knew.

We lined up along side the 10K runners for a mass start, and off we went onto the wide trails of the arboretum. The course is basically a 10K loop that the half marathoners run twice, plus a little bonus loop. My main goal for this race was to experiment with a new electrolyte replacement strategy since I've been having problems with cramping (results are here). Jim said his strategy was to start out slow, then taper ;)

The race was extremely well organized and the course was well marked. There was a "central" aid station that we kept passing as we looped along the maze of trails, so you would hit the same aid station from a different direction every couple of miles. Since I was carrying my own recipe, I didn't even stop at the aid stations except once to refill my bottle - nice way to save time.

The course itself was run on wide trails - probably old logging roads. A few bumps, but pretty flat and sandy. There were some nice long stretches in the woods mixed in with some gently rolling sections of more open terrain. It was hot in the sun, but there was a nice cool breeze and bugs weren't a problem. No technical running at all, and my foot didn't bother me during the race. (Different story after the 2+ hour drive home - back to ice and Aleve). Sleep deprivation had my mind wandering, and I really don't remember much about the scenery. I do remember that my 10 mile split was about 10 minutes faster than my run at Chester Woods last weekend.

Finally got to the finish line and headed over to the post race spread. Quite a bit of food available - deep fried turkey, pizza, pasta salad, home made baked goods, baked beans, watermelon, etc. I just had some pizza and pasta salad, then decided to change into some dry clothes and head back to the Twin Cities.

Thanks to RD Jeanne and her crew - there were LOTS of volunteers, all of whom were organized,very friendly, and enthusiastic! And whoever was in charge of the weather couldn't have done a nicer job :)


Wayne said...

Good job, Kel. No cramping is good news. 5 down and 7 to go -- including the biggie: Moose Mountain! See you at Afton... I might start driving around with my windows up and heat on for that one! :)

phillip said...

Come on, all three of you:
Shoot The Moon!

A wonderful goal and a heck of an accomplishment to complete.

It's nice that all of you are supporting each other in the mission at hand.

Phillip Gary Smith

Runnin-from-the-Law said...

Congrats Kel! Glad the foot wasn't bugging during the race. Rest up!

Wayne said...

A quick look at the data and John Pitera has done all the races too. I would probably recognize John but can't put the face with the name. Maybe he was the 3rd 'superior orange' guy, with the "kicked the snot out of..." hankerchief? It is nice seeing familiar faces at the races, and knowing others are also going for the slam.

SteveQ said...

I was signed up for the race, but blissfully asleep when the race started. Kinda wish I'd been there, but I'd have finished dead last.

Steve said...

Way to be a warrior, Kel! Looks like you're on your way to shooting the moon. Keep it up and see you at Afton!

Jean said...

I grew up not terribly far from Brainerd, yet I am embarrassed to say I have no idea where the arboretum is! :) Sounds like a fantastic race, Kel. I might have to look into this one next year.

Continued success with you racing season! :)