This weekend was the Looney Challenge. I feel like it has been a long time since I signed up for this and I have had a ton of different feelings about it along the way. First I thought it was no big deal, I can run 10 miles. Then, I started to panic – oh my gosh! 19.3 miles in 2 days! Next, create a training plan, it will be good. Then, oh my gosh, how am I going to survive my training plan? Ok, I got this, it’s all good and then last week – I’m not ready, how am I going to race all of this?? Ok, just run and have fun. Man, that’s a lot of thinking. I really need to stop thinking so much!!
Stacy decided she would run the 10k and the 5k with me on Saturday. I was happy she decided to. I really enjoy running with her. We truely push each other just the right amount and it makes races so much fun to have company. We left Stacy’s at 5 Saturday morning and I got us a little mixed up on the way. Thankfully we only got about 4 or 5 blocks out of the way and easily corrected and found a good place to park. After going around an extra block or 2, we got on the Green Line train and headed to the race area. We got our packets and warmed up in the tent a little before checking our bags and heading to the start.
The first race of the weekend was the 10k. We started out and since this was a new race to both of us, we just planned to run and see what happened. We started out running up the hill by the St. Paul Cathederal. It really was beautiful as you can see in the pictures from the start area. The entire course went up and down Summit Ave and that is a beautiful street. The trees were all perfectly colored and the houses (or mansions) and the churches were all amazing to look at. The course was a out and back, so we got to run downhill to the finish. We ran fast. I felt like Stacy was pushing us and she felt like she was keeping up with me – I think it’s a little of each. She ended up going just a little (11 seconds) ahead of me at the finish, but I didn’t want to give that extra push because I knew I had the extra 10 miles on Sunday that she wasn’t running. She had started to push a little early and I told her to go ahead and I wasn’t following – it’s all good! 10k new pr – 53:11
Next was the 5k. We had just over a half hour to wait, so we split a banana and made a port-o-potty stop. It got chilly quickly after we stopped running. We got back into the start chute and waited. This race started a little less excitedly – no National Anthem or anything and just a quick “and the runners are off!” There were a lot of people for the 5k, so we weaved a lot. It’s great to see so many people out running. When we hit the turn around, all you could see was a sea of runners. I wish I would have taken my phone out since I actually had it with, but I never even thought about it until after. We took this run easy and finished in 30:15. I finished 3 seconds before Stacy because this time, she didn’t pick up with me. It was so fun to take that one easy too. Great ending to the morning of running.
After the races, we headed to the expo and packet pickup for Sunday. There were supposed to be shuttle busses, but we were told they weren’t having them, so we walked. Good thing it wasn’t any colder, or we may have been icicles! We wandered around the expo a little and picked up my 10 mile chip. We headed to the car and headed toward home. We stopped at the mall for a couple stops and then to Chipotle for lunch – yummmm!! I am so lucky to have Stacy for a friend. I enjoy running with her and hanging out together.
After our little mishap in getting to Union Depot on Saturday, I was a little nervous for Sunday. I didn’t sleep as well because I didn’t want to be late. I got out of bed at 3:45, even though my alarm wasn’t set to go off until 4. I left the house at 4 and got to the parking garage at 5:18. I had printed the schedule so I knew what time to go to the train. It took 30 minutes to get from St. Paul to Minneapolis to the start. I visited with a man a little on the way and also with some women that got on a few stops before the race stop. We arrived and I used the port-o-potty and found a place to stay a little warm, talked with few ladies and even saw the lady named Sue I had met at the Maple Grove Tri. I checked my sweats and found my way to the #3 start corral. I found a lady with a Looney Challenge bib like mine and started talking to her. She had on the cutest pants – they had about a hundred little reflective lines on each side – they were crazy cute. We talked until the race started and I think I owe my good time to her. I followed her as she weaved in and out of people like crazy for the first 2 miles. I felt good, but imagined that I would peter out later for going out too fast. I lost her (I never did ask her name) as she went ahead at the first water stop. I could still see her, but didn’t try to catch up. Just after the 5 mile mark, I caught her again. I asked if she saw her son and she said yes and I went ahead.
I still felt pretty good until mile 6-7. That was the one that I thought might kill me! I just told myself “get to 7, then it’s just an easy 3 miles left and you know that part of the course from yesterday.” It seemed to work. I made it to 7, took a drink and started up again – I’ve got this now I thought. I skipped the water at 8 and ran on to 9. I remembered that 9-10 is the bigger downhill that I had every intention of rocking today. I picked up my pace and wouldn’t let myself slow down I knew I had this race and this challenge complete and I had every reason to push myself and be proud.
I crusied into the finish surrounded by a lot of other runners. I saw that the clock said 1:45 and I knew that I had started a minimum of 12 minutes after the first start corral. I’ll take that time, no matter what it ends up, because it will be under the 1:35 I was hoping for. Offical (new pr)time of 1:29:01. I was simply amazed at that time. Proud and amazed!!
I made my way through the finisher areas. I got some snacks, some chocolate milk and some chicken broth (so good when the chills set back in). I got in line for my shirt and went to change into my non-sweaty clothes, it felt so good to get warmed up again.
I picked up my challenge series medal and headed out to the 27th mile (basically an extended expo area) and picked up a few more goodies. After that, I headed back to the train to get back to the car and go home.
It was a great experience. I am so happy that I did it and I honestly think I will do it again next year as long as I can make it work. It was more fun than I imagined it would be. It was well run and the views were spectacular!! Thank you Twin Cities in Motion for putting on a great weekend of events!!