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@shinianen

Carver, MN Raving since 2015 Half Fanatics Running in Cheetah Leggings active 3 years, 4 months ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Run Chaska, Half Fanatics

  • Rave race:

    Twin Cities Marathon & 10 Mile

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Bay to Breakers

  • I run because:

    I started running back when I was over 200 pounds. The sense of accomplishment I felt after each run, and each race, made me feel like I was doing something substantial – even if it was only running 12 minute miles at the time.

    Now I just run for the sheer joy of it … and the costumes. Yeah, costumes. They’re my favorite.

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

Future Races

Personal Bests (9)

Race Distance Location Date Result
30 min each Minneapolis, MN Feb 27, 2016 15 mi
Half Marathon Relay Wayzata, MN May 3, 2015 2:20:52
10 Miler Minneapolis, MN Oct 4, 2015 2:32:01
12K San Francisco, CA May 21, 2017 1:52:58
10K Mankato, MN Oct 18, 2015 1:21:21
5 Miler Chicago, IL May 3, 2015 1:00:04
8K Chicago, IL Mar 30, 2014 1:02:53
7K St. Paul, MN 2014 54:16
5K Wichita, KS Apr 20, 2013 29:15

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (60)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
5K Minneapolis, MN Oct 29, 2017 41:55
Kids Run Chaska, MN Oct 21, 2017
5K Shell Lake, WI Sep 2, 2017 39:10
5K Siren, WI Jul 4, 2017 41:04
5K Minneapolis, MN Jun 25, 2017 32:42
12K San Francisco, CA May 21, 2017 1:52:58
30 min each Minneapolis, MN Feb 25, 2017 12 mi
5K Chicago, IL Oct 29, 2016 36:57
10K Minneapolis, MN Sep 25, 2016 1:24:34
5K Waconia, MN Sep 17, 2016 38:12
5K Shell Lake, WI Sep 3, 2016 35:44
5K Webster, WI Aug 13, 2016 38:03
5K Siren, WI Jul 23, 2016 44:21
5K Bloomington, MN Jul 16, 2016 38:04
5K Siren, WI Jul 4, 2016 38:16
5K Minneapolis, MN Jun 26, 2016 38:40
30 min each Minneapolis, MN Feb 27, 2016 15 mi
10K Mankato, MN Oct 18, 2015 1:21:21
5K Pequot Lakes, MN Oct 10, 2015
10 Miler Minneapolis, MN Oct 4, 2015 2:32:01
10K Minneapolis, MN Sep 27, 2015 1:28:30
5K Minneapolis, MN Sep 12, 2015
5K Shell Lake, WI Aug 29, 2015 38:29
5K Webster, WI Aug 8, 2015 33:56
Sprint Walker, MN Jul 25, 2015
5K Siren, WI Jul 18, 2015
5K Siren, WI Jul 4, 2015 34:15
5K Minneapolis, MN Jun 28, 2015 33:28
5K Grantsburg, WI Jun 6, 2015 33:21
5K Siren, WI May 30, 2015
5 Miler Chicago, IL May 3, 2015 1:00:04
Half Marathon Relay Wayzata, MN May 3, 2015 2:20:52
5K Minneapolis, MN Apr 18, 2015 36:16
30 min each Minneapolis, MN Feb 28, 2015
10K Mankato, MN Oct 19, 2014
5K Minneapolis, MN Sep 28, 2014
5K Shell Lake, WI Aug 30, 2014
Short Minneapolis, MN Aug 24, 2014
5K Siren, WI Jul 4, 2014 31:29
Half Marathon Relay Waconia, MN Jun 7, 2014 2:22:21
Half Marathon Relay Wayzata, MN May 4, 2014 2:51:45
8K Chicago, IL Mar 30, 2014 1:02:53
Marathon Little Rock, AR Mar 2, 2014
5K Webster, WI 2014 35:55
5K Chicago, IL 2014 31:16
7K St. Paul, MN 2014 54:16
5K Minneapolis, MN 2014 38:29
Other triathlon distance Grantsburg, WI May 11, 2013
5K Wichita, KS Apr 20, 2013 29:15
5K Minneapolis, MN 2013
Half Marathon St Paul, MN 2013
5K Siren, WI 2013
5K Webster, WI 2013
Half Marathon Wayzata, MN 2013 2:43:29
7K St. Paul, MN 2013
Half Marathon Mankato, MN 2013
Half Marathon Chicago, IL 2013
5K Siren, WI 2013 29:16
5K Shell Lake, WI 2013
5K Shell Lake, WI 2011

My Raves

A couple of weeks prior to the Terror Trot, I received an email from Anderson Races that included a $20 registration discount code good for any of their upcoming fall … MORE

A couple of weeks prior to the Terror Trot, I received an email from Anderson Races that included a $20 registration discount code good for any of their upcoming fall races. Being that cost to participate in the Terror Trot 5K was at $45 by then, the discount meant that even with online handling fees, I could sign up for this race (and take home a fleece and a finishers medal) for under $30.

Ok … you know me. And Halloween. And costuming. And races.

So even though I’m in terrible shape right now, I figured what the heck?!

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This past spring, I was asked to help out with a local 5K race hosted by the Carver Scott Humane Society (CSHS). Race details were still pending at that time, … MORE

This past spring, I was asked to help out with a local 5K race hosted by the Carver Scott Humane Society (CSHS). Race details were still pending at that time, but generally speaking, the race was anticipated to be held in Chaska late fall of 2017.

Though things didn’t quite work out due to my personal schedule and available free time, I thought … well, at least I could participate in this somehow. So, with my son now fully mobile and walking, once I heard there was a kids fun run option for this race that was only $10 (early registration) and allowed adults, it was settled.

Fun Run – here we come!

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As you know, I have run the Shell Lake "Lake Run" 5K for several years now. My first run was in 2011 ... followed by another go in 2012. Then, … MORE

As you know, I have run the Shell Lake “Lake Run” 5K for several years now. My first run was in 2011 … followed by another go in 2012. Then, my first recap was in 2013, followed by more recaps in years 2014, 2015, and 2016.

So you may ask … after two weeks of procrastinating … what’s with the delay in writing the 2017 recap?

I guess you can already sense my “enthusiasm” for this year’s race … no?

… Since this race is not likely to change, I’ve decided to do is ask myself: why is it that I keep coming back to this race?

Here’s the answer to that question, in three parts.

#1 … this race is a built in workout on a holiday weekend, where I’m likely to overeat anyway, and could use the extra help.

#2 … my husband is fairly willing to run this with me, and it’s fun to have a family 5K event to do at least once a year anyway.

And new in 2017, reason #3 …. drum roll … family costume contest!!

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I have been pining over racing Bay to Breakers for years. Running? Costumes? Beaches? Sunshine? California? Sign me up! Yet, for some reason, every year since it came onto my … MORE

I have been pining over racing Bay to Breakers for years. Running? Costumes? Beaches? Sunshine? California? Sign me up!

Yet, for some reason, every year since it came onto my radar, I’ve always been unavailable for Bay to Breakers weekend. But … in 2017 the stars aligned. Well, technically, the stars started to align in 2016, as that’s when my husband realized that point prices were REALLY low for airline and hotel reservations, and he had plenty of points (and then some) to cover us.

So late last fall, with my sister roped in to my shenanigans and our travel reservations booked, we started planning costumes for Bay to Breakers. Because that’s the most important part, duh!

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So there I was on race day, with the announcer in the pool area stating the swim will start in 5 minutes, and I'm playing damage control in the locker … MORE

So there I was on race day, with the announcer in the pool area stating the swim will start in 5 minutes, and I’m playing damage control in the locker room. Good times. Nothing beats feeling like a 14 year old girl all over again. Too bad I couldn’t just tie a shirt around my waist and call it a day.

I suppose it was only fitting to add the above mess to the guaranteed blow out that Tri U Mah #3 was bound to be for me. In fact, several days in advance of gun time, my friend and I who do this every year together were jokingly calling this race: Dumpster Fire 2016.

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Yep, you guessed it. It's 4th of July season and here I am again - recapping the Siren Freedom Five. I guess after 5 years of running this race, what's … MORE

Yep, you guessed it. It’s 4th of July season and here I am again – recapping the Siren Freedom Five. I guess after 5 years of running this race, what’s another repeat, right? I first participated in this race back in 2011, then began recapping it in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 (with a brief hiatus of non-running in 2012 due to basically just being a cheap ass).

For 2017, since I am in no kind of shape, I decided to make the most of my “run” by theming my costume to the max. As you can see above, the night before I inflated about two dozen Lady Liberty torches (purchased at Oriental Trading Company). I figured … WTH. I’m already dressing up like a doofus, and I know I’ll have a stroller on race day to carry the torches … so why not just toss out crap to spectators – right?!? Right.

I think my brain is broken.

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Every year at the beginning of the Rainbow Run race recap I say this, so might as well repeat it again and officially make it a tradition: you may recall … MORE

Every year at the beginning of the Rainbow Run race recap I say this, so might as well repeat it again and officially make it a tradition: you may recall that I’m a founding racer for the Minneapolis Rainbow Run 5K. Since the very first year it existed, I have run this race…

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On race morning, I was fortunate enough to have race packet already in hand (thanks to a family member who lives in Chicago), so all I had to do was … MORE

On race morning, I was fortunate enough to have race packet already in hand (thanks to a family member who lives in Chicago), so all I had to do was get my family fed, dressed and out the door. With the race starting at 8am, I was shooting for a 7-7:15ish departure, but was running a tad behind and ended up catching a cab to the race around 7:25am or so.

Thankfully traffic around the event area was minimal, and street closures weren’t so bad that our cab couldn’t get into the approximate area of the race start, so we had a seamless drop off and transition into the park where pre-race festivities were taking place. Overall the park was extremely jubilant, and we arrived just in time to hear the ever popular “Percolator” song that seems to be played non stop at this race … with a dancing crowd to accompany it…

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Women Run the Cities 10K (6.2 miles) 1:24:34 Average Pace 13:37/mile It's no secret that I love Women Run the Cities. In fact, I love it so much that for … MORE

Women Run the Cities 10K (6.2 miles)
1:24:34
Average Pace 13:37/mile

It’s no secret that I love Women Run the Cities. In fact, I love it so much that for the last three years now, I have run this race. In 2014 I ran the 5K with a friend, and in 2015 I dropped down from the 10 mile to the 10K to “run” (since I was pregnant I don’t know that it was so much “running”, but whatever).

Of course, it would have been ultimate justice to have run the 10 mile for the race this year to make up for last year’s drop down, but … being that I hardly have time to eat and sleep these days, training has obviously taken a back seat. Not that I’m upset about that, it’s just reality.

On a side note to that, my goal has been to get back into a more regular running routine this fall, which is actually happening. But despite getting back into a somewhat regular running schedule, realistically I don’t see myself taking on a longer race (IE 10 miles +) again until 2017.

Anyway – back on point. Women Run the Cities.

For 2016, after much debate, I decided to do the 10K with my sister. Both she and I have lost our running mojo in the last year due to various reasons, and we figured what better than a race on the books to get us up and running – literally. And quite frankly, it worked, as we both obviously made it to race day…

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Waconia's Nickle Dickle has been on my radar for several years. Being the fall festival of a neighboring community, I've always thought to myself "I should really go to that". … MORE

Waconia’s Nickle Dickle has been on my radar for several years. Being the fall festival of a neighboring community, I’ve always thought to myself “I should really go to that”. But, for whatever reason, every year I’ve ended up with a conflict.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I happened to hear Nickle Dickle was on September 17th in 2016, and … I was free to attend!

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The year 2016 marks my 6th year competing in the Shell Lake "Lake Run" 5K. My history with this race started back in 2011 (when I placed first in my … MORE

The year 2016 marks my 6th year competing in the Shell Lake “Lake Run” 5K. My history with this race started back in 2011 (when I placed first in my age category), continued on in 2012, and then began being featured on this blog with reports in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

And – FUN FACT: if you revisit my 2015 post, you may see a hint of me saying I was pregnant at this race and knew it … without officially saying I was pregnant. If you’ve ever experienced morning sickness, go back and re-read that blog – you’ll know what I’m talking about. Officially, though, I didn’t announce my pregnancy until some weeks later. Sneaky, right?

Ooof. I DO NOT miss morning sickness …

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Having done two races on my own post baby, I started to think awhile ago ... maybe it's about time I got baby into his own race? I mean he … MORE

Having done two races on my own post baby, I started to think awhile ago … maybe it’s about time I got baby into his own race? I mean he is 3 months old now. Why not?

So in a nutshell, with the promise of a very froyo finish, this is how baby’s first 5K was born!

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Husband to son: "There's poop on your foot!" Me, thinking to self: This is how this race is going to start? Really? *sigh* Mom of the year award over here. … MORE

Husband to son: “There’s poop on your foot!”

Me, thinking to self: This is how this race is going to start? Really? *sigh* Mom of the year award over here.

As I stated in my previous race recap, race day preparations sure have changed for me now that I’ve got a kid to manage. I can honestly say worrying about who has poop on their foot would never have been anywhere near to a concern of mine on race day prior to 2016.

Mom life.

Yes, I’m laughing at myself. Don’t take this too seriously.

Anyway, on 4th of July Monday this year, I again found myself getting ready for the Siren Freedom Five. This was officially my 5th year of running this race, with previous completions in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 …

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Well, folks, it's August. I suppose that means it's time for another go at the Webster Education Foundation 5K. As I said last year, this race is one of the … MORE

Well, folks, it’s August. I suppose that means it’s time for another go at the Webster Education Foundation 5K.

As I said last year, this race is one of the few that I’ve participated in every year since conception. And it’s particularly special to me now, for two reasons: I placed first it my age category there in 2013 (though I couldn’t quite repeat that in 2014), and I ran it in 2015 when I was just suspecting I might be pregnant with my baby boy.

It’s only fitting, then, that this race marked my first go at running with a baby stroller in tow! Right? Right!

Let’s run!

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In honor of my nephew attempting this as his first "real" 5K, where he was going to be keeping pace with adults, for this year's race my sister and I … MORE

In honor of my nephew attempting this as his first “real” 5K, where he was going to be keeping pace with adults, for this year’s race my sister and I went all out and bought some new costumes. Well … if all out means spending $10 on a crappy (yet surprisingly well made) stewardess costume, and a pilot shirt and hat for my nephew.

LOL!

So yes, it’s true. After several years of my nephew participating in various 5Ks that we all attended, for some reason this year he decided he wanted to graduate from participating (walking with his dad) to actually RACING. Hooray!

Knowing this would be a pretty big bite to chew for my nephew, who hasn’t done any training to cover a 5K distance, my sister and I decided to once again use the 2/1 interval function on my GPS watch…

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Having a 2 month old on race day (more or less 2 months) sure makes race morning a different experience. Instead of just trying to focus on getting myself up … MORE

Having a 2 month old on race day (more or less 2 months) sure makes race morning a different experience. Instead of just trying to focus on getting myself up and out the door come 6-7 am, nowadays I have to plan out an entire feeding and changing schedule … for someone else who is quite a bit more work – AND poopy, might I add. Lucky for me, my husband was willing to play limo service this year, which helped my sister and I out quite a bit and really offset my added time of child management on race morning.

The above changes meant that at about our normal time on race day, instead of our usual park and bus process, my husband actually drove us directly to within a block or two of the race start. There, we said our goodbyes and he headed off with my son to our super secret finish area parking. Meanwhile, my sister and I headed to Boom Island Park…

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After having a blast last year, we decided to race Tri U Mah again in 2016. I mean ... who's going to let a pregnancy slow them down? Or an … MORE

After having a blast last year, we decided to race Tri U Mah again in 2016. I mean … who’s going to let a pregnancy slow them down? Or an ER visit for that matter?

So on that note, in what you can see is optimal race condition for me physically, the Saturday following my ER admission I meandered on down to the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center to throw down for my first official race of 2016.

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Sure enough, around the half mile mark or just over, I passed my friends. They all cheered, I waved, and then I carried on. From there, I made it a … MORE

Sure enough, around the half mile mark or just over, I passed my friends. They all cheered, I waved, and then I carried on. From there, I made it a fair distance down the road until I finally decided to throw in the towel and take my first walk break. I think that was around 0.65-0.75 miles. Basically, I slowed to walk at just a bit before the course takes us off the main road and turns right into the local neighborhood development.

Which, by the way, was absolutely perfect for me to run through. Tons of young families were out in their front yards spectating. And every little girl under the age of 12 that saw me, once they realized my shirt had a unicorn on it, gave me a look that resembled something like…

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It's a good thing we didn't arrive at race check-in a second later. We were literally the last ones to get there, and the race directors instructed everyone to begin … MORE

It’s a good thing we didn’t arrive at race check-in a second later. We were literally the last ones to get there, and the race directors instructed everyone to begin lining up while we were still pinning on our bibs.

Once our bibs were on, we followed all the other races as they moseyed from the park pavilion and play area over to the trail where the start line was marked. There, the race director made a few general announcements – you know, the usual stuff like: the course layout, the water stop located roughly at the half way point, and some information about next year’s race. Which, good news there, they are hoping to be more timely in announcing their race date in 2016. (Boy, I sure do hope that’s the case, because the current system simply just doesn’t work for anyone who doesn’t have a child enrolled at this school. People need to have at least a couple month’s notice to make sure they have the day free, and so that they can get registered.)

With the last few announcements made, all the racers sort of sandwiched onto the trail, which is called the Paul Bunyan trail in case you’ve never heard of it. And then, without too much more to be said – we were off!

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The days leading up to this race were a roller coaster for me. For those of you who don't know, the TC 10 mile is incredibly popular and entry is … MORE

The days leading up to this race were a roller coaster for me. For those of you who don’t know, the TC 10 mile is incredibly popular and entry is awarded via a lotto system. For three years I have entered said lotto. FINALLY, in 2015, I got in, and I was thrilled.

Then, despite my best efforts at first, about a month before this race my training went to pot. And to make matters even worse, the week of the race protesters made statements that they were going to shut down the race.

Trying not to worry too much about what was to come, on Friday my friend and I went to packet pickup over our lunch hour, which was pretty fun though somewhat crowded (at least we came away with tons of free snacks). Then, trying to treat everything like business as usual, Saturday evening I worked on my pre race ritual of rounding up all my race gear and hoped for the best…

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All in all, Women Run the Cities proved to again be a well run race with volunteers who are not only enthusiastic but also well equipped to do whatever job … MORE

All in all, Women Run the Cities proved to again be a well run race with volunteers who are not only enthusiastic but also well equipped to do whatever job they are staffed to do. In fact, I don’t doubt that I’ll end up running this race again next year. Though … the distance may be debatable. LOL!

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Last weekend, if you had seen me in the morning, you would have never known it was a race day. I slept in until 7, got up and showered, and … MORE

Last weekend, if you had seen me in the morning, you would have never known it was a race day. I slept in until 7, got up and showered, and even dried my hair. Then, with the unseasonably cool weather, I put on a long sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt and … jeans.

Yes, I just said jeans.

Ok, so let’s set the record straight before I go any further. I wasn’t so much “racing” this event, as I was participating in it with family. See, we had all registered together for this race earlier in the spring with the intention of most of us running (and a few walking with strollers at the back of the pack). And then, something terrible happened and … well, let’s just say cancer sucks.

So, like all good families do, when race day arrived – we decided to pull together and walk this race as a team instead. Regardless of the situation, we were just going to have fun.

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Truly, this isn't a BAD race, it's just not particularly exciting or interesting. My only real reason for running it again this year was the fact that signing up for … MORE

Truly, this isn’t a BAD race, it’s just not particularly exciting or interesting. My only real reason for running it again this year was the fact that signing up for this race would force me to get in some sort of workout over labor day weekend. Otherwise, I’d be sitting at the cabin getting fat. So as I hit about mile 0.5 or 0.75ish and burped … a bit more than a burp … I was not loving life. And was REALLY wishing for some on course distractions. Which unfortunately never came.

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As I enjoyed my post race refreshments, I became unexpectedly saddened. Unfortunately, day of registrations must have been much larger than anticipated, as there were more finishers than medals and … MORE

As I enjoyed my post race refreshments, I became unexpectedly saddened. Unfortunately, day of registrations must have been much larger than anticipated, as there were more finishers than medals and the presenters at the finish line ran out. So late in the race, most of the people coming in didn’t seem to mind. But there was one little boy among them, who was maybe 8 years old, that I felt terrible for. He ended up coming in a few seconds too late and missed his chance at taking home a medal himself.

For awhile, I watched the little boy mope around, sad that he didn’t get a medal. I kept trying to figure out who he was with, in the hopes that some adult in his immediate family or extended social network would give them theirs. But nothing. Thinking back to when I was that age, and really wanting him to be motivated to participate again, I grew more and more depressed. I didn’t know if it would be uncomfortable for him if I were to approach him and give him mine, so I sat and debated what to do.

Imagine my surprise then when, before I had worked up the courage to take action, the husband of a young family sitting next to me in the bleachers elbowed his wife. After an exchange of muttered words, she walked over to him and gave him her medal.

The smile on his face was priceless, and my faith in humanity was renewed.

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Despite my lack of training for this race, and my disappointing finish time, overall I thought this was a great race. Why? Well, unlike many of the larger chain races … MORE

Despite my lack of training for this race, and my disappointing finish time, overall I thought this was a great race. Why? Well, unlike many of the larger chain races you see in the big cities, you could tell this race was put on by the heart of Walker’s community – there was a real sense of pride in their offering of the race, and they were truly enthusiastic that we were there … no matter how fast our pace.

Plus, I found the field of participants amazingly friendly. Everyone was genuinely encouraging to each other. Even when someone passed me on the bike course, they didn’t go by without at least a short, friendly hello or comment about the nice day or the beautiful X-Y-Z we were biking by at that specific point in the course.

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All in all, late start aside, this was a great repeat race. With an improved shirt, a 2nd place medal for my sister, and an always delicious pancake breakfast ... … MORE

All in all, late start aside, this was a great repeat race. With an improved shirt, a 2nd place medal for my sister, and an always delicious pancake breakfast … how could we not be happy?

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Since I had done packet pickup the day previous, my husband drove me right up to the race start right around 7:45, which proved to be more than ample time … MORE

Since I had done packet pickup the day previous, my husband drove me right up to the race start right around 7:45, which proved to be more than ample time to line up for the start scheduled for 8am. We spent some of our spare time people watching, which proved disappointing again this year. Well … not 100% disappointing. We did see an elite runner who ran the entire distance with red, white and blue elastic suspenders and shorts (no shirt). And apparently, there was a “strong man” running who had a 4 wheeler tied to his waist, per my husband’s report (I didn’t see him). But, overall the attire was remarkably drab given the festive nature of the race. At least we were amused by the race announcer, who always proves to be an excellent entertainer.

Eventually, with about 5 minutes until go time, the announcer called all runners to the start line. I said my goodbyes to my husband and moseyed over to the start…

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Since the last mile of this race course takes place on the actual parade route of Pride, the streets are lined with the early arrivals who are staking out their … MORE

Since the last mile of this race course takes place on the actual parade route of Pride, the streets are lined with the early arrivals who are staking out their seats for the parade. That means automatic built in course support! Hooray! And as I’ve said in years past, this race has some of the best crowd support a runner could ask for. Everyone there is happy to cheer for everyone on the course, no matter how fast you are going.

So instead of focusing on the fact that I was hot, I had stopped sweating (a bad sign), and I wanted to just stop and walk … I focused on the crowd. And my sister’s pending PR. And I said to myself … it’s less than a mile, suck it up buttercup.

And sure enough, the time passed by, and we made it. With a 33:XX in the distance, I knew we were home free with a PR for my sister … and a bottle of water for me. Hooray!

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Nothing quite gets the adrenaline pumping on race day like seeing a bear lurking around a cemetery roughly 2 miles away from your race start point, waiting for traffic so … MORE

Nothing quite gets the adrenaline pumping on race day like seeing a bear lurking around a cemetery roughly 2 miles away from your race start point, waiting for traffic so it can cross the road. Am I right?

And no, in case you think I’m joking, I’m not. Let’s just say that post sighting, I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the thought of a run out in the country where that bear was roaming free.

But then again, this is a fairly large race for small town Wisconsin, so strength in numbers …? Or maybe it is technically survival of the fittest? I mean, I knew I wouldn’t be the SLOWEST runner in the pack, so if that bear was hungry …

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And somewhere in that last half mile, I just felt my running mojo come home. My stride opened up, and for the first time in almost a year, running actually … MORE

And somewhere in that last half mile, I just felt my running mojo come home. My stride opened up, and for the first time in almost a year, running actually felt … good. Maybe even great.

So imagine my surprise when I pulled around the final corner of the course and saw a 32 on the clock in the distance. Knowing my secret goal was to finish sub 34 (essentially an 11 minute mile pace with a little wiggle room), I was thrilled.

I even briefly debated the final distance, how quickly I could sprint it, and weather or not I could get a 32 something as a final time. But I realized that would just be dumb. That, and it would very likely induce vomiting. So I kept a steady pace, smiled for the cameras, and stomped on the mat as the fire engines tooted and the announcer called out my name.

Boom. Another race on the books.

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While there were a few minor snags in the event, overall, I would definitely consider running again in 2016. Despite the mailing fiasco, which I think was probably an anomaly, … MORE

While there were a few minor snags in the event, overall, I would definitely consider running again in 2016. Despite the mailing fiasco, which I think was probably an anomaly, RAM does a great job of organizing their events and really wants you to enjoy yourself while you’re there (unlike other large race organizers – ahem – you know who I’m thinking of).

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Ah, my nemesis. The Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon. Or as I dubbed it in 2013, the Hilly Hell. You might be able to derive from that fond nick-name that me … MORE

Ah, my nemesis. The Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon. Or as I dubbed it in 2013, the Hilly Hell.

You might be able to derive from that fond nick-name that me and this course … yeeeaaaah, we’re not friends. That’s because the first time I ran the course (2013), I covered the entire distance and ended up with and extremely painful knee at mile 9ish. And, the second time I ran the course (2014), I did the relay and had an emotional melt down around mile 2 due to having just had a miscarriage a few days prior.

So, you’d think given my less than fond memories of this course, I’d have thrown in the towel for 2015. But … nope. Somehow yet again, I was waking up at 5:15am on a race day, preparing to run a 5.6 mile leg. Because this was a two person relay, and it would be super fun, and costumes, and team spirit, and race medals, and … ?

Sigh.

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Around 5 or so months ago, a group of run friends I know started talking about doing the Hot Chocolate race together in 2015. Ah - before I get too … MORE

Around 5 or so months ago, a group of run friends I know started talking about doing the Hot Chocolate race together in 2015.

Ah – before I get too far in this recap – I have to admit, I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to do this race. You already know that I’m not a fan of chain races that advertise their AH-maze-ING swag, but offset that with enormous headcounts and packed courses. Not to mention, I am … less than impressed … with races that motivate you to burn *some* calories by enabling you to consume *a lot more than you burned* calories at the finish line. (I think races like this give people an unrealistic concept of what’s appropriate post race fueling in comparison to how many calories you actually burn during a run; IE: an average runner burns 10 calories/min, and at a 30 minute 5K pace that’s 300 calories … which isn’t much when you’re trying to offset a post race chocolate feast.)

Hmmm … now that I said the above, I’m realizing this race sounds very Bacon Chase, no?

Anyway, despite my reservations of this race being a “crammed course calorie fest”, and the fact that I haven’t been running much at all since my feet issues last fall, I let a few of my friends who ran this last year convince me to give this race a shot.

OK, ok. They didn’t have to convince me that much to do it. It was scheduled to be on my birthday, after all. I mean, who can say no to chocolate fondue in your honor?!

Not that I’m a chocoholic or anything. But then again, I also don’t exactly like to share my stash.

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Ever since I went to spectate the Wisconsin Ironman last year, I knew I was in trouble. Why? Well, first of all, running is obviously something I already enjoyed, and … MORE

Ever since I went to spectate the Wisconsin Ironman last year, I knew I was in trouble.

Why? Well, first of all, running is obviously something I already enjoyed, and biking wasn’t far behind that. Second, I’ve done duathlons in the past, and I knew they were fun. Third, I have been working on my swimming for about a year now.

So, 1+2+3 = time to start doing triathlons.

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If you like the feeling of a big race, with the accompanying amenities like post race party and nice finisher's medal ... but have ever wished there was more involvement … MORE

If you like the feeling of a big race, with the accompanying amenities like post race party and nice finisher’s medal … but have ever wished there was more involvement by race directors to make the big race feel more personal and fun … well, look no further, because this race is what you’ve been looking for.

Mankato offers the best of both race worlds – it’s big enough to have good amenities, but in a small enough town to make it feel like you matter as a racer. Add in the fact that it’s a slightly rolling course with a big downhill finish during the fall leave splendor … what more could you ask for?

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In looking for some new and interesting races to run for 2014, one race kept popping up in discussions with my Minnesota friends as a must do - Women Run … MORE

In looking for some new and interesting races to run for 2014, one race kept popping up in discussions with my Minnesota friends as a must do – Women Run the Cities (or as I prefer to call it, Women Run the TWIN Cities, since it’s St. Paul and Minneapolis that we’re talking about here).

Seeing that this race offered a 10 mile option with a medal, I thought for sure this would be the race to get me back into half shape prior to Mankato in October. But then, plantar’s fasciitis struck, and I knew 10 miles was not likely going to happen. Or if it did, it may result in some season ending injuries that I just couldn’t afford to have, being an aerobics instructor and what not.

After lots of himming and hawing about how I really still wanted to do this race’s 10 mile distance for the medal, I was told by a friend in my run club that even the 10K and 5K finishers got a medal in 2013. Say what?! Well, that sure made my decision easy!

So, with less than 12 hours before registration price breaks kicked in over labor day weekend, I registered for this race. As did two other friends.

Whoop! Away we go!!

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Knowing that I had no opportunity to medal in 2014, something changed for me on course this year. I think my heart just wasn't in this race. Don't get me … MORE

Knowing that I had no opportunity to medal in 2014, something changed for me on course this year. I think my heart just wasn’t in this race. Don’t get me wrong, I had a fine performance, but I wasn’t LOVING every second of the run.

Aside from a well managed water stop at the turn around point, overall this race left me feeling a little blah… I really don’t recall much of anything worth reporting. The only thing I can say is that in the last 1/4 of a mile, there were three women ahead of me that could have been in my age category. So, as I turned the final corner and started the last straight stretch to the finish line, I decided to try to sprint and beat them to the finish.

I hate to say it, but the age placement awards ceremony made me even more disappointed in this race. Unlike years previous, this year there was only a medal offered to the first place runner in each age category. While I can understand wanting to do that from a cost perspective, to me it seemed that this change took away the one last thing that made this race fun. With top 3, I knew I’d at least have a chance to bring home a medal. With only 1st place… it’s not likely that I will ever medal again.

With my goal of 2014 to register for more meaningful races, the above recap makes me realize – maybe this race isn’t for me anymore? I need some time to think on it… let’s see where 2015 takes me.

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It's no secret that I'm not a Team Ortho fan. Why? Well, there's the time they ran out of food and finisher medals at end the last a half marathon … MORE

It’s no secret that I’m not a Team Ortho fan.

Why?

Well, there’s the time they ran out of food and finisher medals at end the last a half marathon I ran with them. And the time they screwed me out of my free post race beer ticket. And don’t forget about how they flat out didn’t even start the last race my friends paid to run with them due to “rain” (thank goodness I wasn’t at that one, where it didn’t even start to rain until well into the afternoon).

Even when I did the Minneapolis Duathlon last year, I thought the way they handled the weather in regards to race cancellation was sub par…

Given all this, it’s hard to believe that Team Ortho races are basically the most expensive races you can register for in the Twin Cities. 🙁 It’s true! Team Ortho races will run you at least $60-75 when most other comparable, well run races in the area will come in under $50.

So before I even get into this race recap, I’m going warn you not to waste your money on Team Ortho races. Also, I will repeat what I think is the Team Ortho motto: “Be big or go home”.

What does that mean?

It means, as a Team Ortho race, you must:

(1) Be so big that your headcount numbers are astronomical.
(2) Not worry about organization.
(3) Not worry about communication.
(4) Just keep booking and over booking people to race. (No worries if a fueling station, medal station or post race party is under furnished due to overbooking.)
(5) Just keep taking registrant’s money.

So, you’re likely wondering why I even did this race.

Simply put, I’m nothing but dependable. I promised my race partner from last year that we’d do this again, and so we did!

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You're not going to believe me when I say this, but I was really struggling with the idea of doing this race for 2014. I've run it twice in the … MORE

You’re not going to believe me when I say this, but I was really struggling with the idea of doing this race for 2014. I’ve run it twice in the past (once in 2013, once in 2011), and in remembering the long, sunny, hot run … well, I just wasn’t all that thrilled about the idea of doing it again.

However, after taking such a lax approach to race registrations this year, and actually kind of missing having a race on the schedule, I decided what the heck. I figured I’d be in Siren anyway due to the holiday, so this was kinda a gimme. Besides, the cost of this race is exceptionally low – just $15. You can’t beat small town pricing!!

So, just before the June 15th cut off, I mailed in my registration and crossed my fingers that I could start cramming in speed work to get my 5K pace back up. Oh, and I began costume planning, of course.

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Ok, ok. I know pretty much one month ago on the dot I posted my last race recap. And in that recap I said I didn't know when I'd race … MORE

Ok, ok. I know pretty much one month ago on the dot I posted my last race recap. And in that recap I said I didn’t know when I’d race again. But then, the weekend before Lola’s Lake Waconia Half Marathon, something terrible happened.

Team Ortho cancelled the Minneapolis Marathon / Half Marathon.

I know, big surprise … something Team Ortho did didn’t end well. *eye roll*

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t registered for the Minneapolis Marathon / Half Marathon. But guess what? Two people I’ve been hoping to see run a half for awhile had FINALLY bit the bullet and signed up for one. And, of course, Minneapolis was “the one”.

With Lola’s race only a week later, I knew those two had to do it. They were already trained and mentally ready to go. And they were trained at a pace that I thought I might be able to keep up with. So, I pushed them to register and told them I’d join them …

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Last year I ran the Lake Minnetonka Half. It was a painful, hilly hell. For some reason I forgot all about that and registered again for 2014. It was painful … MORE

Last year I ran the Lake Minnetonka Half. It was a painful, hilly hell. For some reason I forgot all about that and registered again for 2014. It was painful again, but for another reason entirely.

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Being that we had such an awesome costume for Get Lucky this year, my sister and I figured why waste it on just one race... and so, in planning our … MORE

Being that we had such an awesome costume for Get Lucky this year, my sister and I figured why waste it on just one race… and so, in planning our Get Lucky costume a few months back, the Shamrock Shuffle excursion was born.

And so this story begins…

Now, let me tell you… Going to a place like Chicago on a Friday night, with race day being Sunday morning, is pretty much a guaranteed set up for race day disaster.

Oh, let me count the ways.

(1) Reserve a hotel room that is about 1 block away from the orange line, have trains go by all night long that wake you up at about 30 minute intervals.

(2) Hear sirens, car alarms, drunks yelling at each other and car horns in between the train intervals. (BTW, it’s never just one horn honk – people in Chicago like to have honk-conversations. It’s always a long hoooonkkkk, followed up by a short honk from another car.)

(3) Spend the entire day before the race being a tourist and walking all of downtown Chicago. Seriously, we were on our feet from 8 am until 9 pm, with our only time sitting being for lunch, a short taxi ride, and a 30 minute break at the hotel when we dropped off our shopping bags.

(4) Eat the LEAST healthy foods possible all weekend, topped off by a terrible dinner the night before the race – after realizing you didn’t stumble across any interesting restaurants on your walk back to your hotel at 9 at night, have a dinner at Wing Stop of deep fried boneless wings, french fries, various full fat dressing dips, sugary soda… and a side of veggie sticks (the only thing somewhat healthy). You know it was a REALLY good for you dinner when the 5 year old that gets in the hotel elevator with his parents says “Mom, it smells like french fries in here” (while mom slaps her hand over kids mouth in embarrassment).

(5) Stay in a hotel with really thin walls, so that when your Russian and Mexican neighbors start having in depth “discussions” with their roommates at midnight on race eve, you hear EVERY. SINGLE. WORD.

(6) And finally, a few hours before you need to wake up before your race, have a bum start sorting through the recycling for cans. Shoot for about 3 in the morning. Right outside your hotel window.

You can guess how I was feeling when the alarm went off for us to get ready to run.

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A few spectators on course take pity on us, and start handing out cans of beer. I always seem to be a bit early or late, and miss all these … MORE

A few spectators on course take pity on us, and start handing out cans of beer. I always seem to be a bit early or late, and miss all these chances – BOO!

And when things can’t get any worse, the mist clears and it starts to rain again. Hard. With the wind picking up. And thunder.

A switch flips in my head. I check out. It’s no longer “I can and I will.” It’s just – I want to go home. My hands are so cold that I can’t feel them anymore. My fingers are locking up and I cannot bend or unbend them. I try to stay warm by tucking my hands under my armpits and keep trudging forward. My pace in the last two miles shows the switch, too. I went from an average of 10-11 minutes per mile to 15 and 20 minutes per mile. Ugh.

Behind me, the police are picking up the cones and letting traffic go through. Ahead of me, since they have steered me off course and down a side street, there is nothing. I am walking on a road that is open to traffic, with nothing to protect me except the sag wagon on my butt and a handful of runners around me.

But of course, the sag wagon doesn’t offer to DRIVE any of us to the pick up point.

A bunch of us runners start to have a hate spiral. We can’t understand why we’re being treated like this, and why there isn’t a better rescue plan given the extreme weather rolling in.

More and more runners disappear as good Samaritans offer people rides back to the finish line.

Finally, I am one of four runners in a clump working their way down the hill. A cop takes pity on us, and offers us a ride to the finish line. I end up in the back seat of an unmarked squad car with two women, lights flashing. Finally, the last runner relents and gets in with us.

This is the best part: he was dressed like Wolverine. Full on foam padded muscles, razor paws, and drinking what must be his third beer – a 24 ounce can of Coors Light. He simply hops in the front seat of the squad car and says “I’ll do you a favor and get off course, but I’m not giving up my beer. I won’t tell if you won’t tell.”

True story.

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Eventually, the crowd was called to attention by a man with a megaphone who talked us through the race course (right, left, turn, turn, dance on your tippy toes and … MORE

Eventually, the crowd was called to attention by a man with a megaphone who talked us through the race course (right, left, turn, turn, dance on your tippy toes and then … what?! I don’t live in this town, so I just trusted that there were good markers on course / wished for a guy in front of me who knew where he was going.) With a few more general directions, finally it was time.

Bang. The gun was fired, and we took off.

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I've done Get Lucky three times, Monster Dash twice, and the Minneapolis Du. Every time, without fail, something has gone wrong due to poor management on Team Ortho's end. Problems … MORE

I’ve done Get Lucky three times, Monster Dash twice, and the Minneapolis Du. Every time, without fail, something has gone wrong due to poor management on Team Ortho’s end. Problems run the gamut from extremely late starts, to lack of goodies at the finish line, to bait and switch offerings (like this promise for a free beer, and then not having it organized so that early packet pickup folks can actually get their beer coupon)… I can’t think of a single Team Ortho race I did where there weren’t a handful of issues during or post race.

And when I compare that to the fact that I did 15 races in 2013 alone, and none of the other races have any similar pitfalls or execution problems, it begins to make me wonder what the issue is.

So where does this leave me?

I don’t forsee myself doing any other Team Ortho events for awhile… if ever again. With races like Mankato and TC, I’d far prefer to spend my money on events ran by people who know how to organize a good race… not a sub par one.

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Let's just get something out of the way here, shall we? This is the 4th year that I have run this race. Yes, I'm officially a rainbow pro. Also, this … MORE

Let’s just get something out of the way here, shall we? This is the 4th year that I have run this race. Yes, I’m officially a rainbow pro.

Also, this race has been around for 4 years. Which means I’ve been in it from the beginning and I’m a true legacy to this race.

As such, you should now call me…

THE LEGEND.

It’s true! Don’t believe me? Let’s do a 4 years running / Rainbow Run costume review.

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Overall, I have to say, this was a really fun race. It was a nice fast & flat route through an area I would likely never have seen had I … MORE

Overall, I have to say, this was a really fun race. It was a nice fast & flat route through an area I would likely never have seen had I skipped this race (I’ve never made it to Chinatown in Chicago prior), and despite a few potholes and HUGE rain puddles, it wasn’t a bad route. As an added bonus, there where three – yes, three!! – water stops. A great plus for a hot July race… although maybe not so necessary for a rainy day.

You can definitely tell this event is run by people who are truly passionate about it. The woman shown above in the Hello Kitty photo was the main organizer, and she was just so bubbly and cute. Every other word out of her mouth while announcing was either “disclosure” (to announce another prize was about to be drawn, which just made me laugh) or “thank you” – to either the volunteers at the event, the business who sponsored the event, or even to the runners for sticking it out despite the rain and the course snafu (they had to make a last second route change and revert to the 2013 map shown above, which really didn’t bother me at all).

The passion for organizing this event was so strong that it was obvious beyond the announcer as well. The man taking photos post race had the biggest smile on his face that I think I have ever seen, the volunteers at the check-in booth were some of the best I’ve ever had, and the groups at every water stop were not only ready to go but non stop cheering for everyone on course.

I cannot think of a single thing that was disappointing about this race. Even the rain made it an adventure. In fact, I think that’s the heaviest rain I have ever ran in… and it was definitely an experience.

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At some point along the run, I saw a guy cheering in the grass. At first I saw him about 1/2 mile in the distance, and thought "gee that's nice"... … MORE

At some point along the run, I saw a guy cheering in the grass. At first I saw him about 1/2 mile in the distance, and thought “gee that’s nice”… until I saw him grab the ass of a guy running buy, LOL! Then I thought “well… that’s nice as long as I’m not next”. HAHAHA! When I got closer I saw the guy had a bike and helmet, so I assume he had biked backwards on course to find out how his teammate was fairing. BTW, major props to this guy. He whole heartedly cheered everyone on, even me. Twice. Although the second time he cheered me on was when he was biking past me to catch up to his buddy again, and it somewhat scared the shit out of me since I wasn’t expecting it. LOL!

Somewhere around mile 6, I began to admit to myself that running this just 5 days after a half marathon (and still teaching aerobics class on Tuesday, running 5 miles on Wednesday, and doing hot yoga on Thursday) MAAAYYYY have not been my wisest decision in life. But, thinking back to the water stop I took at mile 9 in the half, and how my knee locked up when I was resting, I resolved to just keep running.

Then the hail started. And more 40MPH gusts. OMG! Ugh. I actually started yelling at the wind. Like that would make it stop, LOL!

But, as if the gods knew I was nearing the finish line, the weather calmed down, and I realized I was back in Grantsburg. I only had about 1/2 mile left on course… all down hill, and no more hail. Wahoo!

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As the name of this race hints, there were two types of competitors in this race. Humans... and dogs! I've never participated in a race that allowed animals before, so … MORE

As the name of this race hints, there were two types of competitors in this race. Humans… and dogs! I’ve never participated in a race that allowed animals before, so lining up at the start line was hysterical. Dogs were chasing each other around, yipping, and rolling in the grass. I even got a chuckle seeing a wiener dog at the start – imagine those little legs traveling over 3 miles, LOL! I wondered if the owner would end up carrying the wiener by the halfway point.

All the sudden, when it was time to get serious and await the gun, I couldn’t tell who was more anxious to get a better time – the humans or the dogs! This part wasn’t exactly organized, though, and all the sudden the gun went of with no warning. Ok, here we go, I guess!

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The course isn't to terribly exciting, as you can see on the map. The majority of the race was run on the Gandy Dancer, a crushed gravel recreational trail for … MORE

The course isn’t to terribly exciting, as you can see on the map. The majority of the race was run on the Gandy Dancer, a crushed gravel recreational trail for non motorized traffic that circles the airport on it’s way in/out of Siren, with less than 1 mile on paved road before transitioning onto the grassy air field. Where it got exciting for me was towards the end, at the “race enter mark”.

In case you can’t tell from the map, that’s when you exit off of Airport Road, and actually run onto the active airstrip area.

Wait… WHAT?!

Well, technically we weren’t running on an active airstrip, we were just on the grassy field leading up to the airstrip. Which means that you get an up close and personal experience with anyone flying in to the breakfast. In fact, when I was heading down the grassy knoll, two antique war planes flew over my head. Pretty neat!

PLUS! Runners breakfast is included in race registration fees, which everyone else has to pay $5 for. Breakfast in 2013 included wild rice pancakes, ham, milk, juice, coffee, sliced cheese (yes, this is WI and the breakfast is a fund raiser for the local dairy group)… and ICE CREAM. Heck yes! Ice cream at breakfast. How can you say no to that?!

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Finally, the moment came to announce the top threes. Why is it so hard to be patient when you really want something bad? Top females 12 & under... top males … MORE

Finally, the moment came to announce the top threes. Why is it so hard to be patient when you really want something bad?

Top females 12 & under… top males 20s…

Ok, here it comes: top females, 30-39!!

Nope, not 3rd place…

Hmmm, not second place either? Well, shoot. I may as well get up and start walking back to the car.

And then I hear it. “First place, Natalie Cobb.” I am so shocked that all I can do is let out a yelp of “Oh my god!”

It took me a few seconds to realize I need to hustle up to the announcers and claim my prize… the whole time I’m in a daze, not able to believe I just took first place.

And then, reality sinks in as I start to walk back to my husband. For all the years where I thought I’d never weigh less than 200 pounds ever again, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d EVER take first place in any kind of athletic event. Even as a kid, I was always the chubby one on the side lines, dreading PE class and hoping to make it through any mandatory athletic event without making too much of a fool of myself. And here I am, holding a medal for first place. I proceeded to lose it when I’ve cleared the crowd, full on bawling on the way to the car. Not out of pain or anger, but out of sheer pride.

It’s times like this that I can’t believe who I’ve become. Not only a PR, but first place. Who is this person?! I don’t know, but I’ll keep her!

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The recap referenced in this blog was for the "old course" at Como Zoo, only used in 2013. This year also included a much different quality race shirt, and was … MORE

The recap referenced in this blog was for the “old course” at Como Zoo, only used in 2013. This year also included a much different quality race shirt, and was sponsored by General Mills (hence a bountiful post race, processed food buffet). Reference my 2014 recap for updated information.

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This past weekend I ran the Lake Minnetonka Half... or what I will forever think of as "Hilly Hell". My short race report is: this wasn't my best performance, but … MORE

This past weekend I ran the Lake Minnetonka Half… or what I will forever think of as “Hilly Hell”. My short race report is: this wasn’t my best performance, but I finished, which is more than a lot of people can say.

My long race report goes something like this…

Yes, I know. I live in Minnesota. And it’s been snowing. Since last October.

So, why did I think it was a good idea to sign up for a half marathon that would likely force me into doing my training either in the snow, on a crummy indoor track, or even worse yet… on a treadmill?

I don’t know. I blame my gym buddies. Peer pressure. You ladies know who you are.

Or maybe I’m just an idiot.

(I know you are all voting option #2 on that one.)

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Do you ever have a day where you get up and you just know it's not your day? You can't put your finger on what, but something is just... off. … MORE

Do you ever have a day where you get up and you just know it’s not your day? You can’t put your finger on what, but something is just… off. It’s almost as if you could listen to Fred Durst sing Break Stuff about 100 times on loop?

Needless to say, guess who was in a super good mood to race on the 4th of July? This girl!

So. Race day. Hooray (*sarcastic eye roll*). I didn’t even know what my problem was. It’s not that I was crabby, or tired, or upset about anything in particular. The only thing I could put my finger on definitively was that my motivation was registering at about a -6 on a scale of 1 to 10.

If you haven’t read much of my blog, you’re going to think that my race stories always end up grumpy since my last few haven’t been super-duper chipper. Don’t worry – I do actually enjoy this stuff. It’s just that every so often I have a day like this. I think we all do. And for lack of any better way to describe it, I just call it a poopy mood day.

So despite the fact that it’s the 4th of July and I have a wonder woman costume picked out, I stuff down my standard race morning banana and proceed to the start line of the Siren Freedom Five in a poopy mood snit.

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Bad news. Race weekend, ice storm hits. Ugh! The previous year's race was 80 degrees and sunny. WTF! Well, we'd already paid the race entry and signed up for the … MORE

Bad news. Race weekend, ice storm hits. Ugh! The previous year’s race was 80 degrees and sunny. WTF! Well, we’d already paid the race entry and signed up for the shuttle bus running from my local community center, so … what do you do?! Just suck it up!

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Since this was the third time for me on this course, once we started running, I didn't really care much about the sites. I'm already familiar with the modest lake … MORE

Since this was the third time for me on this course, once we started running, I didn’t really care much about the sites. I’m already familiar with the modest lake homes amongst the trees and shoreline of Shell Lake, so I spent most of my race focusing on my music and checking my pace on my watch.

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This race was sold to LifeTime Fitness at the completion of the 2013 race. I was highly disappointed to hear that news. The previous managers of this race did quite … MORE

This race was sold to LifeTime Fitness at the completion of the 2013 race. I was highly disappointed to hear that news.

The previous managers of this race did quite well given the 2013 conditions. Many, many people were on course who were not properly trained (I myself saw a few fainters within the first 3-4 miles, and someone who messed themselves at mile 6 – and I heard plenty of other people had issues as well), so I cannot imagine how over stretched the medical staff was. But, the staff managed things so well you would have never known.

And of course, you can’t beat finishing a half marathon with a slice of Chicago deep dish.

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Runner after runner thundered by. So many looked like they were going to be sick when they saw the twinkie box that I debated putting it away. And then... there … MORE

Runner after runner thundered by. So many looked like they were going to be sick when they saw the twinkie box that I debated putting it away.

And then… there he was.

A stranger ran by and read my sign. As he passed me, we had eye contact for at least 10 feet. I thought I was guaranteed to finally get my first twinkie out on course.

Unfortunately, he kept going. Eventually, I lost sight of him. Darn, I thought that was finally it! Disappointed, I turned my focus back to runners coming my way.

But before I could even refocus, I heard it.

“I just have to have one. I can’t resist it.”

HE CAME BACK FOR A TWINKIE!

The guy I had lost sight of actually doubled back at mile 24 to grab a twinkie. From me. I just about died laughing. All of us cheered in victory that someone finally took the first twinkie. Hooray!

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If you like the feeling of a big race, with the accompanying amenities like post race party and nice finisher's medal ... but have ever wished there was more involvement … MORE

If you like the feeling of a big race, with the accompanying amenities like post race party and nice finisher’s medal … but have ever wished there was more involvement by race directors to make the big race feel more personal and fun … well, look no further, because this race is what you’ve been looking for.

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I want to love this race, I really do. A half marathon, in full Halloween costume, on Summit Avenue in St. Paul. How could you not? Well... in two words, … MORE

I want to love this race, I really do. A half marathon, in full Halloween costume, on Summit Avenue in St. Paul. How could you not?

Well… in two words, Team Ortho.

I find that Team Ortho Minneapolis is having a lot of reoccurring problems from race to race, and that has become a large enough issue for me that I’m re-evaluating if I ever want to participate in a Team Ortho event again.

In fact, in the 2013 racing season I began to wonder if Team Ortho really cares about the quality of their race as much as they do the quantity of participants they have. I can only say this fairly because I completed two of their races in 2012 and three in 2013, and I have noticed a significant decline in quality, and yet a tremendous push by them to register more, More, MORE participants.

Do yourself a favor and run the Mankato Half the weekend before. Much more organized, better overall race environment, and a wider variety of race distances available.

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Of course, the first year I run this, I medal. I haven't been able to repeat it since. Figures!! Yeah, that's right. In 2011, placed 2nd in my age category. … MORE

Of course, the first year I run this, I medal. I haven’t been able to repeat it since. Figures!!

Yeah, that’s right. In 2011, placed 2nd in my age category. And I’ve been chasing the dream ever since. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Running this race in 2012 and 2013 was fine and all. But I’ve been wanting to take home a medal ever since I got my first taste of it way back when.

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