"Friendship Day" 2 Mile Road Race

>> Monday, July 01, 2013

To continue Henry's adventures with Dad this summer, we headed "back home" on Friday afternoon. We stayed at my parents house on Friday night, and then spent the morning racing with my wife's family on Saturday. (My parents and my in-laws live about 5 miles apart in southern MN.)

Henry playing in one of my Dad's combine tires.

Running through my Dad's (WINDY) soybean field just before bedtime.

"The gang" pre-race on Saturday morning: my wife's cousins, siblings, spouses of cousins,
girlfriends / husbands of siblings, and my mother-in-law to the far right.

I was aware I could place well at this race, and I honestly hoped there'd be some speedy high school cross-country boys there to help pull me. But I knew I COULD be running in the lead. So I asked Dale what the course was.

Dale: "Turn up there before the bank..."

Me: "I don't know where the bank is."

Dale: "... then loop around and come back out around [blank] store..."

Me: "I don't know where [blank] store is."

Dale: "Turn at 'The Club'..."

Me: "OK, THAT I know." (My "groom's supper" was at The Club about 9 years and 11 months ago!)

Dale: "... then go a few blocks to that other road. You know that road. It's Co Rd Something-Or-Another."

Me: "Nope, don't know that."

Dale: "... then turn onto Linder street for a few blocks, and turn around." (This is what he's pointing to in the photo above as I clear my Garmin.)

Me: "I know Linder Street. Gotcha. Turn a bunch, then turn around on Linder Street. No prob."

The race director assured us there'd be people directing us at every turn, so I was just hoping for that if I was in the lead. She gave us a count-down, and we were off!!

The priest from this town is the 5th from the right in the white! He finished in the top 20!

I shot into the lead right away, with a cross-country runner on my tail (the one in blue next to me in the photo above). I turned to ask him "do you know the course?" He said "No... You?" "Nope!" I said with a smile!

We ran up a little hill about 2 blocks into the race, and I knew I was working - I was already breathing very hard. A women walked out into the middle of the street ahead of me and pointed left. "OK, left it is." We looped around a block, and then I saw a man getting out of a pickup. It was a high school buddy of my Dad's. He pointed to the left. "Thanks Ron!" I yelled and waved. After another block, another person stepped out of a pickup truck to point me to the right. I LOVED THIS SMALL TOWN RACE! There was just always someone in a large pickup ready to tell me which way to go!

It was lightly raining off-and-on pre-race, and now the wind kicked up and it started raining again. It was FINE for racing in (although it sucks to have wind in your face when you're trying to run hard), but I was hoping toddler cousins Henry and Evie back at the church wouldn't get soaked while spectating.

After 2 more blocks, SOMEONE ELSE STEPPED OUT OF TRUCK AND POINTED ME TO THE RIGHT. I swear I'm not making this up. There was always someone in a truck. I turned onto the big straight stretch, and I tried to work hard. I could have been working more for this middle mile (from around 0.5 - 1.5), but it was hard to make myself push any harder. In the back of my mind, I just kept thinking that I didn't want to show up to this small race (of about 100-150 maybe) and smoke everyone. I REALLY wished I had a CC runner in front of me. I was still working, but I could have pushed myself a bit more.

At an intersection about 3 blocks from the turn-around, THERE WAS ANOTHER TRUCK WITH ANOTHER MAN DIRECTING US RUNNERS. This was one of the race director's brothers. So many trucks. So fun.

At the turn-around I saw that 1 CC runner was within a half block of me, and a few more were single-file just behind him. At that point, I figured I had the race won - most CC runners go out hard and start to "die" before the finish. But now I needed to keep the race strong as a good test for my 1 mile road race coming up next Wednesday.

Behind the pole - just after the turn-around. I ran around the guy in the
red shirt (peeking out behind the right side of the tree) as the turn-around.

I cheered on the other runners, and I high-fived some of my family. I hit my watch a little late at the turn-around, and I saw the time read 4:58. Yep, this is going to be a little short. The "long stretch" was now into the gusty wind as some rain fell. It wasn't fun.

Post-race, Jon told me that when he saw the leader coming back at him, he didn't know it was me. He thought it was a CC runner with really fast feet. I was happy to hear that because I'd been working on my turn-over in the last 2 years since my last bad injury - I used to have the tendency to over-stride, but by having quicker foot-strikes, there's less of a chance to over-stride. I've gotten my foot-strikes from around 160/min to around 180/min.

I made all those turns again and booked it to the finish. Henry came running out for a hug when I was 50 feet from the finish line!!

It was adorable, but I had to brush him off and finish first. He chased after me to the finishline:

Close up of that last photo.

He gave me a big hug once I finished and turned-around to see him. It was a lot like when Henry went running out to Pharmie at the MPLS Marathon about a month ago:

Just after the marathon hug around mile 15!

Henry kept telling me "I spit... spit water..." and he kept bending over to spit in the grass:

... then I realized he was mimicking me and the first few CC boys behind me who all bent down and spit a little after finishing! This guy picks up on EVERYTHING!! Ha!

So I finished 1st out of 100 or 150 runners, and I was about 30 seconds ahead of second place. They officially had me at 9:40, but that was only 1.83 miles (as my Garmin and Jon's Garmin both read).


"Friendship Day 2 Mile"
1st out of 100+
9:40 (4:50 pace)

Garmin read 1.83 which was on 10:38 pace for 2 full miles
First lap split on Garmin: 5:20 pace
Second lap split on Garmin: 5:18 pace

Here's my Gamin map of the race. Notice we hit or crossed nearly every street in this town of 199 people:

When I zoomed out another 2 steps, you can see the town in the middle of wide-open southern MN:

A number of relatives' farms are dotted throughout this image.

Here are a couple more family photos from the finishline:

Jon with his wife Steph back among the boys up the hill. Jon's wearing his Grandma's Marathon
shirt from THE PREVIOUS WEEKEND! Running a marathon and then a 2 mile is quite a leap!

Henry's cousin Evie ran the final feet of the race after Steph and Jon finished!
And there's the church where Pharmie and I were married nearly 10 years ago!!

Annie, Brianna, and Mike.

Annie (pink) and Mike (blue) are my brother and sister-in-law, and Brianna (green) is Mike's lady. We're all so proud of Annie - she's lost a lot of weight since spring, and she's hoping we get into the TC 10 Mile so she can run that!! Her and Brianna just had to walk for a block during this 2-miler! NICE WORK YOU 2!! (And way to beat Mike. Ha!)

Afterwards, Henry and Evie ran around and played games with Grandma!

Evie and Henry trying to figure out hole #4.

Picking out prizes.

Henry and I about to go on a hayride around town! Check out his sweet smiley face tat.
(And there's Grandma behind me with Evie!)

Henry driving Uncle Mike's tractor. Where is it safe for a 2-year-old to pull a
hayrack full of kids through town with an antique tractor? Easton, MN, that's where!!

Henry's not good at mini golf.

Aunt Annie = Toddler Wrangler.

So now I have a few quick, short workouts left, and then I'm doing a 1 mile road race in 9 days! I have to start HARD and run stronger than I did at this race. I have to suffer a lot and finish as far under 5:00 as possible! I'll post some of Coach Jen's final workouts in the next few days.


Brent Buckner 8:25 AM, July 01, 2013  

Congratulations on performance and victory. Looks like a great family day!

Kayla 8:21 PM, July 01, 2013  

Nice work! Congrats on the win! :) This reminds me so much of my hometown in Central MN its ridiculous. Although, we are a huge town compared to Easton with almost 500 people and our race covers most of the town in 2.5 miles ;)

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