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@mnjogger

Osseo, MN Raving since 2017 Boston Marathon finisher, World Marathon Majors Six Star hopeful/finisher, Seven Continents Club, Marathon Maniacs #14784 active 1 month ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Minnesota Distance Running Association

  • Rave race:

    Marathon du Medoc

  • Race that's calling my name:

    NYC Marathon

  • I run because:

    it keeps my waistline in check.

My races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (2)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Holdingford, MN May 12, 2018 3:37:13
Half Marathon New Orleans, LA Feb 10, 2019 1:58:18

Future Races (2)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Marathon Oklahoma City, OK Oct 4, 2020
Marathon Staten Island, NY Nov 1, 2020

Past Races (13)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Virginia Beach, VA Mar 22, 2020
Marathon Des Moines, IA Oct 19, 2019 4:15:35
Marathon Puerto Natales, Chile Sep 7, 2019 5:11:20
Marathon Fargo, ND May 18, 2019 4:18:26
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 15, 2019 4:07:50
Half Marathon New Orleans, LA Feb 10, 2019 1:58:18
Marathon Richmond, VA Nov 10, 2018 4:18:08
Marathon Eugene, OR Sep 15, 2018
Marathon Holdingford, MN May 12, 2018 3:37:13
Marathon Hamilton, Canada Nov 5, 2017 3:43:35
Marathon Berlin, Germany Sep 24, 2017 4:08:51
Marathon Holdingford, MN May 13, 2017 4:02:29
Marathon Big Sur, CA Apr 30, 2017 4:46:00

My Raves

I enjoyed this run and ran it for "fun" vs time. The route was mostly asphalt with some cement now and then. To me the course seemed 60+% shaded. We … MORE

I enjoyed this run and ran it for “fun” vs time. The route was mostly asphalt with some cement now and then. To me the course seemed 60+% shaded. We had a beautiful sunny day to run starting out around 43 degrees rising to upper 50s by the time I finished. There were ample water stops: curiously I found 3 of them within a half mile along one stretch. Only one informal beer stop that I saw 🙂 The course went through some lovely neighborhoods and through parks, so scenic in those regards. Between miles 4-8 were the hills. One hill seemed very similar to Boston’s “heartbreak” hill. Aside from that the course was mostly flat. Parts of the course were out-and-backs, which I personally dislike. Great volunteer and crowd support! The expo was pretty standard. The swag was a nice run jacket. There were not any finisher shirts given away, but you can now buy them online. The only odd thing was the finisher chute and how it was oriented for the post-run snacks, which were located outside the chute area and around a corner. Odd and at that time not obvious to me. Better signage needed. Good variety of snacks available though once you found it. Race communication was good post registration, up to, and after the race. Good mobile app. I stayed downtown and walked to the start. In hindsight I should have stayed in a less expensive place in the burbs because there seemed ample parking available. Others may want to comment on that aspect of it.

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We lucked out with the weather!! We were told to prepare for any kind of weather and that it could change on a dime. Temps were about upper 20s to … MORE

We lucked out with the weather!! We were told to prepare for any kind of weather and that it could change on a dime. Temps were about upper 20s to low 30s at the start (we saw frost along the drive to the start) and finished mid 40s F. I traveled with Marathon Tours who provided transportation from the hotel (where we finished) to the start line. We were able to stay on the bus until the race started. Sunny skies for most of the race. Winds were not nearly as bad as what we heard in the previous year. As I recall, it was only in the last 3 miles or so the winds picked up significantly. This was a marathon where I ran just to enjoy the scenery and ran without regard to time. I stopped to take many photos along the way.

I’d estimate there were ~200 marathoners. The field spread out over time so there were times I was running alone (enjoying the spectacular scenery!). The first 6 miles or so were packed gravel, and the last 2-3 miles were as well. The rest was paved road. I only had 1 stone in my shoe the entire run, so don’t let that concern you. There were sufficient water stops, as someone else had commented. You need to bring your own container for water as they don’t want paper cups littering the landscape. As I recall there was a porta-potty at only one water stop along the course. There were some at the start too. The mileage along the course was marked, however it was marking down distance to finish. The hills were impressive! I’m a decent hill runner and couldn’t make it up these. I’ve run 25 marathons before this and I’d say the course was most similar to Big Sur, another race with stunning scenery. The course is mostly straight, btw, so no chance of getting lost. As someone else commented, the only confusing part was the finish. You run onto the hotel property but don’t see the finish.
It could benefit from bigger signage and/or volunteers pointing where to go. Turns out the finish is in the back of the hotel out of view. The reception at the finish was lovely. The water stop volunteers were great too! Shout out to the Rio Serrano hotel where the race ended (and where I stayed). Outstanding property and staff!

The attached photo is from the start of the race, as we ran into a cloud.

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I arrived at the Expo when the 5k was going on so getting into the parking lot was a little challenging. I didn't spend a lot of time at the … MORE

I arrived at the Expo when the 5k was going on so getting into the parking lot was a little challenging. I didn’t spend a lot of time at the Expo since I arrived near their closing hours. It was an efficient in-and-out though. Great race poster, drop bag/backpack, and hoodie as swag! The finisher medal has the same design as the poster and is noteworthy for its 4.5″ x 5″ size and inscription on the back that others have also mentioned.

I didn’t have any time goal on this race – just finish! Temps stayed in the low 40s. Winds were quite strong at times (20+ mph on the weather apps) with rain most of the time. At times I needed to just lower my head to charge into the wind. It was nice to start and finish in the Fargodome in shelter. Things were well coordinated there and comfy.

The course is mostly asphalt thru neighborhoods and college campuses and is well-marked. While it is not scenic in the sense of Big Sur, I enjoyed seeing the houses and parks. Final distance was 26.5 for me, so pretty efficient despite turns and out-and-backs. I never felt crowded on the course and never felt alone either. I give Fargo residents a lot of credit for coming out and supporting the race in this weather. Lots of people were at the end of their driveways in the rain or on their porches cheering us on … both young and old. Bands even showed up playing under tents, in garages, and in foyers at the colleges. I feel for the volunteers who stood out there for hours in this weather. Water stops were generally where they were advertised to be with one or two exceptions and enough port-o-potties on the course. The volunteers did a fantastic job throughout the event.

I did not attend the after-party at night so cannot comment on that.

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At the end of the day the Boston marathon is a point-to-point marathon with a 480 ft net altitude change (decrease). In between the start and finish are a lot … MORE

At the end of the day the Boston marathon is a point-to-point marathon with a 480 ft net altitude change (decrease). In between the start and finish are a lot of hills. To do well on this course you need to not only train for hills but train for continuous hills (in my opinion). I’ve spoken with several and read many FB posts of those who ran the same race I did and the common theme was how this race can trash your quads long before you reach the finish line.

This was my first Boston marathon and a great experience all around. I’ve run 23 marathons before this so have some experience with knowing when a marathon is well-executed. I thought this one was well done. At the expo it was very easy to get your bib and shirt without being caught up in the whole expo floor. I appreciated the fact that when you received your packet (bib and shirt) they had a changing area nearby where you could try on your shirt and exchange it immediately if it didn’t fit right. (Ordinarily I get large shirts at races but the the Adidas large truly is large and I swapped for a medium. Same holds true for the celebration jacket and T shirts.)

There are many events going on around the marathon that didn’t seem well publicized. I did several internet searches to find various shake-out runs, meet and greets, and podcast recording sessions that I would not have known about just reading the BAA race material. I appreciated how the city embraced the marathon with yellow and blue decorations everywhere. I loved my morning runs along the Charles River.

As for the race itself, I traveled using the services of Marathon Tours. As such my experience differs from most others. I stayed 3 blocks from the finish line at a hotel connected to the Expo. We had our own dinner vs the BAA-sponsored one. We had a private coach transportation to the start line on race day which enabled us to stay on the bus vs spend time in Athletes Village in rainy conditions. My bus left the finish line at 7am and arrived at the start line around 8am. My wave didn’t start until 11am. That is the largest wait I’ve ever had for any marathon including Big Sur. My walk to the start line was entirely on asphalt vs walking thru mud. (I treated this as if it was my only time I’ll ever qualify for Boston so was willing to spend extra for comfort and convenience.)

The race course itself was the most challenging I’ve run due to the continuous hills. I was undertrained going into the race (work schedule, long cold snowy miserable midwestern winter) and had no illusions of setting a PR: My goals were just to make it to the finish and enjoy the run. One favorite memory of the race was in the middle of the first mile when we were headed downhill and there weren’t any spectators at that point. No one was saying a word and all your heard were hundreds of running shoes gliding off the ground. It sounded like a flock of birds. The entire race flew by quickly. The fan support along the course was unparalleled for their enthusiastic cheering. You are running down a two lane road many times and the intimacy of having the spectators so near was energizing. There are water stops every mile (except mile 2) so that also made the time seem to go by fast if you have the perspective of running in the mile you are in. Kudos to the volunteers along the course! One thing I noted along the course is that this is the first time I’ve run a marathon where there wasn’t any wait at the port-o-potties: I guess everyone was in a rush to finish!

I was in Wave 3 and when I started we had overcast skies and about 60 degrees. About an hour into the run the sun broke out and I heard temps climbed to 70 (and humid). These were tough running conditions because there isn’t much shade on the course. I found myself dumping water over my head frequently to help regulate my temperature. My quads were sore but I was still able to climb the hills. Someone advised me not to charge the hills because there are just too many of them, so I held back: Usually I love hills! Around mile 24.6 my right leg cramped up bad. I needed to massage it out and a spectator provided some water as I took some Endurolyte. From that point on I decided to jog it in vs risk another cramp. In my last mile the rain started and by the time I got to the finish it was raining harder with blustery, colder winds. I crossed the finish line and patted myself on the back. I appreciated the mylar wrap and the fact that the post race snacks were already bagged so I didn’t need to juggle things in my hands.

In summary, it was a great experience. I’m grateful to the coordinators, volunteers, spectators, and running community for making this such a premier event. The course was hard by my standards. I’ve never been this sore after a race (granted my lack of usual conditioning probably affected that.) It’s an expensive trip too in that hotel and transportation rates are higher and the jacket, etc all add up. That said if you qualify for this, you have to run it as your reward.

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I've run this marathon twice before, but this was my first time running the half. In my experience with RnR races, the first half is the more energized, is the … MORE

I’ve run this marathon twice before, but this was my first time running the half. In my experience with RnR races, the first half is the more energized, is the most scenic, and has the most spectators. On this day it was overcast and mid 50s at the start, which was perfect for running. This year there didn’t seem to be nearly as many spectators in the Garden District as in years past. There seemed to be a few more in the French Quarter this time though. There are informal beer stops that the locals have and – my favorite – the martini stop! In years past there was one around mile 15 that I was afraid I’d miss but there was one around mile 7 or 8 this time. The course is flat the first half. The corral start keeps people spaced out sufficiently. Plenty of water stops along the course and it seemed a sufficient number of porto-potties. I enjoy the bands along the course, even if I do see them twice on an out-and-back. The race ends in City Park, which I enjoy because you can spread out and soak up the sun (if it’s sunny that day). The snacks at the end were sufficient (gatorade, banana, water, chips, granola bar). Because I ran the half I was able to enjoy the band this time. When I run the full usually the band is packing up by the time I finish. Volunteers are good. Packet pickup is efficient at the Convention Center. This is a great town to enjoy! If you are looking for a shakeout run, there is a path along the waterfront in the French Quarter but it only goes ~1 to 1.25 miles one way. I usually add on to run to the end of the Convention Center: By the time I’m back at the hotel it’s a 4 mile run.

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I ran this race yesterday (Sat, 11/10/2018). It was my 23rd marathon but first time running this one. This was also my third marathon in three months so I ran … MORE

I ran this race yesterday (Sat, 11/10/2018). It was my 23rd marathon but first time running this one. This was also my third marathon in three months so I ran this one “for fun” and wasn’t concerned about my finish time.

Expo:
They ran a free and frequent shuttle bus from downtown to the expo – very much appreciated! They offered a free bus tour of the course which I found worthwhile and helpful. Upon return I went to the expo that was well attended with vendors. I picked up my bib at the expo. After browsing around I found they had another aisle where drop bags and shirts were given out. If I hadn’t stumbled upon it, I wouldn’t have gotten those things. It seemed a little odd to me the bibs and shirts weren’t collocated. On the shuttle ride to the expo I learned from another runner there was a 3 mile shakeout run downtown earlier that Friday morning that I missed. I didn’t see that in the events calendar else I would have gone.

Race:
Race start was fine. There were ample water stops and restrooms along the course. Later in the course there were two junk food stops that I recall:
I noticed Skittles, gummi bears, M&Ms (plain and peanut). Great volunteers throughout! Cheer zones were well attended and did themselves proud! The route was mostly asphalt with cement on bridges obviously. The course had variety with hills, flats, neighborhoods, mansions, roads along the river, and the long bridge into Richmond. The day I ran temps were mid 40s with a 10-20 mph wind from the north which was unpleasant, though I felt I was sufficiently dressed for it. Finally the last ~0.5+ mile of the race is downhill that I admittedly grimaced through because my legs were beat.

Once you cross the finish line you are given a finisher hat and the fleece blanket. The food tent was fine. Entertainment was good. At the massage tent I waited an hour before my turn, but it was worth it. Thank you to the student volunteers who worked there!

All in all it was a good course and a well-planned event. I recommend it.

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This is my second time running Lake Wobegon. We had a perfect running day: overcast skies with temps starting in the 40s rising into 60s. I PR'd and BQ'd on … MORE

This is my second time running Lake Wobegon. We had a perfect running day: overcast skies with temps starting in the 40s rising into 60s. I PR’d and BQ’d on this one! This is a small town race with at most 450 runners and executed with a lot of heart. Random thoughts:
– Cost is only $60 if you register by the end of Sept. That’s a steal these days! Cost doubles after that.
– This is a point to point race. Buses take you from the race finish to the race start only before the race (and not after the race).
– The starting location is a high school where you have warm shelter in a large gym. Don’t let a cold MN spring morning scare you away!
– You might consider bringing your own drop bag. I found the one provided this year a little too small to hold my thick sweats so improvised with another bag I brought. Granted we staged in a warm gym so maybe I didn’t need all that.
– If you enjoy bucolic scenery this is the race for you! You are running along farmland, lakes, woods, and small towns. I love it!
– The asphalt trails are in very good condition.
– There aren’t a lot of spectators along the course but those who appear a few times along the course are enthusiastic (as are the cows and sheep).
– There is a timing mat at the start and at the end of the race: I don’t recall any other mats recording splits if that matters to you.
– There are mile markers along the course. My total distance (as well as many I ran with) was around 26.4. There aren’t many turns in this course per se: Mostly it’s running tangents along the trail you need to keep in mind.
– The course has a few gradual uphills and downhills. If you require courses with more variety (e.g., rolling hills, large downhill finish) this is probably not the race for you.
– Water stops are about every 3 miles. Sometimes there aren’t many volunteers at these stops so you need to help yourself to the cups on the table instead of being handed them. And don’t expect the long water stops you see at larger marathons. Here there might be just one table on one side of the trail.
– The volunteers facilitating the race are a joy to work with. Good people!
– The prerace pasta dinner at the local church is done from the heart and meets the need.
– The postrace pizza, drinks, and snacks are a nice way to wind down.
– It is worth noting this race has pacers at BQ standard time AND a few minutes UNDER BQ (this year it was 4 min due to the shifting BQ delta). In the 18 marathons I’ve run I’m hard-pressed to think of any other race that does this. I cannot give enough praise to the awesome pacer I ran with!

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This is more of a race report. It was my 17th marathon. There were ~800 marathoners and someone estimated ~1000 half marathoners. Registration was easy, packet pickup was straightforward. Race … MORE

This is more of a race report. It was my 17th marathon. There were ~800 marathoners and someone estimated ~1000 half marathoners. Registration was easy, packet pickup was straightforward.

Race day itself was blustery with rain and ~12+ mph winds. Temps were upper 40s (F) and climbed into the 50s (F). I think it rained at least half of the race: There comes a point where you become oblivious to it. It seemed we ran into the headwind for about 7km of the first 13km, then at the end of the race along the lakefront (~10km). I don’t know how typical this weather was for this race, but this is why we train in all kinds of weather.

This was a point to point race and the mileage was well-marked at every km.
Road conditions were good. There were water/Nuun stops roughly every 3km. We were encouraged to park at the finish line and were bussed to the start. At the start location participants were able to stay sheltered in a heated gymnasium before the race. Bag drop off was also there (bring your own drop bag). Drop bags were transported to the finish line. Parking, bussing, and bag drop off was all performed efficiently and effectively by the organizers.

The course itself could be broken into 3 segments: the escarpment (~22km), the parkway (~8km), and the lakeshore (~12km). The escarpment segment contains some hills but overall I was able to average out to my goal marathon pace by the end of the segment. The parkway segment contains a highway stretch which is a moderate-and-then-some downhill and a short trail path (crushed gravel for ~1km and asphalt for ~1km). I ran
the highway stretch about 30-45 seconds/mile faster than my goal marathon pace: The downhill and wind at our backs promoted that. Despite the rain the trail path was in better condition than I expected and running on it was not a problem. The lakeshore segment was more or less flat but it seemed regardless of what direction I ran it was always into the wind! I fell off pace 30-45 seconds/mile the last 4-6 miles. I didn’t have any more to give.

My PR prior to the race was 3:56 and I trained for a 3:45 marathon using Hanson’s Method. I finished this race in 3:43 despite the weather and slow finish. I am thrilled!! Once I crossed the finish line volunteers were ready to assist me with getting into the recovery tent and refueling. Kudos for that! Once refueled I went to the tent where our drop off bags were stored and retrieved mine.

Possible Improvement – create a changing area at the finish for runners: one for men, one for women. Simply partition off a section of one of the tents.

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Berlin is a great city to visit! For that reason alone this is a great destination marathon. I've run the Chicago marathon before and use that as my baseline to … MORE

Berlin is a great city to visit! For that reason alone this is a great destination marathon. I’ve run the Chicago marathon before and use that as my baseline to compare against since the number of runners is similar. Overall I thought the Berlin organizers could learn a lot from how things flow at the Chicago marathon. That said I don’t know the constraints the Berlin organizers are under.

I went to the Expo Friday early afternoon and it was very crowded. At the entrance to the Expo they even separated runners from non-runners at bib pick up to help alleviate the congestion. What was unique at bib pick up was that they print your bib on-the-spot. I haven’t seen that before, but it meant you could enter any (marathon) line to get your bib. To get your (finisher) shirt you needed to travel to a different part of the Expo through crowds of people. One would think this could be optimized. I felt guilty getting a finisher shirt days before running the race: It should be earned.

The Saturday shake out run to Olympic Stadium was nice and had many nationalities represented. Entering Olympic Stadium, seeing where the Olympic torch was and seeing the Olympic rings was inspirational. Partaking in the light breakfast they offered afterward wasn’t very orderly as people seemed to rush the food stands. “Crowds” was going to be the theme of this weekend.

The race was Sunday, the same day as national elections. I was a little out of sorts because the map of the starting area didn’t show the bag drop off area. Textually they described it was near the start of each corral but I would have liked the visual as well printed on the map. I don’t want to leave things to Fate on race day morning and like to have things planned out. People did bring “drop” clothes to wear in the corrals. I mention that because I saw someone’s Facebook post weeks earlier stating drop clothes weren’t allowed (not true).

There were 3 waves for approx 40,000 runners. I started among Wave 2 near the 4:30 pacers. It seemed there was always a wall of people in front of me throughout the entire race. For that reason I didn’t feel I could “race” this … it would have involved weaving in and out of people probably the entire race. I finished 4:08 which was pretty reasonable for me. Another person in my group ran with Wave 1 and finished 3:23. He commented he wasn’t as blocked in as I described and he could race it. I guess it all depends where you start. On that note, the corral you start in is based on your marathon best from the past 3 years. Corral placement is not based on what you anticipate running which is how some other marathons do it. That said there were a complement of pacers in each of the three waves, e,g, 3:45,4:00, etc hour pacers in each of the waves.

Along the course I thought there was good crowd support and cheering. The volunteers were great. Water stops seemed to creep up on me. Better visual cues that a water stop is coming would be appreciated. Water stops later in the race had tea as well, sometimes comfortably warm which was welcome on this day. The plastic cups used at the water stops were hard to work with while running: I prefer paper cups that you can fold and drink on the run.

I was perhaps too focused on my running to notice the landmarks we passed. The roads would widen and narrow at times and I wanted to anticipate how I’d merge into the crowd of runners. Road conditions were pretty good overall but you did want to watch you step. Running through the Brandenburg Gate to the finish was pretty cool.

There were several who traveled with me to run this race. We compared the distances on our running watches at the end. The mileage varied from 26.4 miles to 26.9 miles.

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If running amid midwestern landscapes invigorates you, this is the race for you! I ran this yesterday for the first time after running 14 other marathons domestic and international. Registration … MORE

If running amid midwestern landscapes invigorates you, this is the race for you! I ran this yesterday for the first time after running 14 other marathons domestic and international. Registration was capped at 450. It’s a paved trail mostly tree-lined and partially shaded. The course is reasonably flat and passes thru four small towns. I never felt crowded on the trail. Race organizers did a nice job of putting this together. Before the race we were able to stage inside the gym of a local school (vs sitting outside). There were sufficient water stops along the way and other runners were always in view. I was pleasantly surprised at how much crowd support there was along the course given how small this race was. Weather started low 50s and climbed into the 70s towards the end, which became a challenge. (Anecdotally I heard last years race had temps start in the 20s and climb to the low 40s!) A nice race shirt and medal were our rewards. It’s very likely I’ll run this again.

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This was my 14th marathon but first time running Big Sur. What a breathtaking course this was! There are many hills on this course, but if you incorporate hill workouts … MORE

This was my 14th marathon but first time running Big Sur. What a breathtaking course this was! There are many hills on this course, but if you incorporate hill workouts into your training you will be fine. Don’t be intimidated by them. Our weather was sunny, ranging from mid 40s to low 60s. Some parts of the course had wind gusts, but they were manageable. Every mile was marked with an entertaining sign. There were several bands along the course playing a variety of music. Water stops along the way were well done. Overall a well-coordinated race. I appreciated the group entry lottery option (despite not winning). I encourage others to enter the subsequent lotteries (individual and last chance) if you don’t get in with the group lottery. The Expo was average size and functional. It wasn’t clear until we got to the Expo that the morning bus tickets to the start line are timed, so if you are with a group make sure you all get the same bus time (and bus starting location).

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