Wow. Plain and simple, what an awesome run!
I couldn’t have asked for a better place to complete the the longest single run of my life. All of my worrying about my sore left calf muscle was nullified by the scenery and surroundings of the route I took in Minneapolis this morning.
But before I get to the the actual run, let’s talk about the night before. I really wanted to run a good time, make sure I didn’t run out of energy, or cramp up, so I had to prepare myself.
First I read this… to get some advice on what I should eat the night before. So, after reading it, I ordered this from hotel room service.
And I don’t even like peas, but apparently they are complex carbohydrates. Who knew? The chicken was ok (I asked for it plain), and the mashed potatoes were average. But that wasn’t the point. Carbohydrates were the goal.
I woke up at 6:15 when room service knocked on my door. A banana, raisin bran and bagel with peanut butter were consumed before and after my quick shower. I grabbed my two GU energy gels, put five sports beans jelly beans in the pocket of my shorts, filled my two 8 oz. water bottles with grape flavored Powerade Zero and headed out the door.
I was back a few seconds later when I realized I forgot to grab the big Powerade bottle I wanted to bring with me for after the run. Then I headed out the door again. I was back a few seconds later when I realized I forgot my car keys (at this point, I hear my wife laughing at me in my head). Then I head out the door again. Third time is a charm!
To get where I need to start, I drive through Uptown Minneapolis, passing right by the restaurant where I went to dinner with a high school friend and her husband just a few nights earlier. It’s a very cool, trendy sort of area.
The only problem with this area is that it can get a bit sketchy in certain areas. The road I decide to do the first 5 miles on (Lake St.) is a tad bit rundown in certain parts. But I figure nobody is going to mug me at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I sure did get a lot of odd stares though.
After taking two days off, the first few miles were pretty tough. I just felt kinda weak and sluggish. Then again, I wasn’t very motivated by the urban scenery.
After completing the first 5 miles, I hit the lakes.
Man, what a beautiful spot. There were hundreds (and I’m not exaggerating) people running, biking and walking on a gorgeous day. With temps in the low 70s and a slight breeze blowing, the morning was perfect. As I went around Lake Calhoun, I started to feel stronger and get into a good rhythym. My calf felt ok and I was making sure to maintain a comfortable pace. I knew I was going pretty quick because not a single person passed me.
When I got halfway around Calhoun, I stopped for a few seconds to ask for the right way to get to Lake Harriet. After making my way through a connecting street I ended up at Lake Harriet. All around, people were setting up for picnics and there was also a concert setting up at a band shell. Lots of activity everywhere.
After going around my second lake, I cut back over to Calhoun and finished making my way around the second half. From there, I cut over to Lake of the Isles for the final 3-4 miles. At this point, I notice two things:
1.) The Body Glide I applied to certain “areas of concern” is starting to wear off, so I have to take my shirt off and tuck it into the back of my shorts. Chafed nips, yet again! Ok, that’s it…band aids next time, I promise myself.
2.) My back starts to hurt. This has never happened before. I really think it’s because my shoes are toast. I vow to get new ones before my next long run.
Finally, I finished all 15 miles and stop running when I reach my car. I’m anxious to see what my time was. (I use a stop watch on my iPhone, but don’t run with it) Even though I feel like I kept my normal pace, I really have no idea to expect. Sure enough, I broke 2 hours and finish at 1:55. I’m pretty happy with my 7:37/mile pace.
Even better, my legs feel stronger than they ever had after any of my previous long runs.
With some time to kill, I drive a few blocks over to see the house where my father-in-law grew up. There was a garage sale going on!
After snapping a few shots, with the guy in the chair giving me the evil eye, I drive around the block to see my wife’s aunt, uncle and cousins. I can just feel the brownie points stacking up!
Oops, I ring the doorbell at the wrong house for about five minutes. It’s a nice-looking house, but it’s the wrong one.
Then I make my way over to the right house a few doors down.
Overall, it was a VERY eventful morning in Minneapolis. A great run, with perfect scenery topped off with an unexpected visit with extended family. That’s tough to beat.