Friday, February 19, 2010

I Kept Up With a Kona Ironman Finisher!

The Team Ortho marathon training group run this morning was completely awesome! I drove around lost for about 10 minutes, but still made it early enough for my "interview." Which, of course, I TOTALLY flubbed, by the way. Caleb, the Minneapolis Marathon race director, put me in front of a camera, showed me the questions, took the questions away, and then started asking them to me while he filmed.

The super official filming area.
The mind-blowing question sheet I had 2 minutes to familiarize myself with (30 seconds of which I spent pulling out my camera and taking a picture).
Naturally, they weren't questions that I should have been able to mess up: What does running mean to me? What's my most memorable race experience? Who can run? What inspires me? What's my goal for the Minneapolis Marathon? But, in my true fashion, I still found a way to mess them up. In the middle of one of my responses, I actually said, "Should I took at you or the camera?" ... He told me to look at the camera. I finished answering the question while looking at the ground.

Caleb interviewing me. Again, I should be a back model.
We'll see if I actually make the cut for the promo video they are making. Oh well! I tried. I also got a Minneapolis Marathon hat for doing the interview. We all know how valuable free stuff is to me. :) I even wore it on the run today.
Here is the entire group that ran this morning. A pretty big turnout for an 8a.m. Saturday call!
This is Pablo, my pacer for the first three-quarters of a mile, until I needed to go around him. :( I'll let him pace me for some of the longer runs, but for now I have a hard time slowing down for shorter distances. Notice the fun running conditions were are on: Nothing but ice!
I guess I'm the only one smart enough to cover my face. Who wants windburned skin?! They do, they do!
We started off heading north-ish on West River Parkway, running the last miles of the actual Minneapolis Marathon course. We then turned on the Broadway St. bridge, and ran down Marshall St. beyond Nicollet Island, crossed over the Stone Arch bridge, and headed back into beautiful, beautiful downtown Minneapolis.

Looking across the Mississippi to Nicollet Island. One of many prides of the cities ... Grain Belt! Have you ever had that beer? It's tasty.
Gold Medal Flour is from here, as is Pillsbury. We apparently like our wheat products. This vintage sign has been standing for more than 100 years, and it even withstood the fire, massive explosion, and deconstruction of the Gold Medal Flour building (the demolished building in the foreground). That sign will always stand, as I'm sure will the Pillsbury's Best Flour sign and the North Star Blankets sign. I think the history of these vintage signs amongst the urban downtown setting is pretty cool. Here is more info.
Pablo was pacing the 9-minute mile group, and a few unofficial people were pacing an 8-minute mile ahead of us. I sort of settled somewhere in between the two groups ... until we got to the Broadway St. bridge. (Also notice the sweet running conditions. Hope no one slips on that and falls into the road!)
The view from the Broadway St. Bridge. So nice!
The group in front me was just out of my line of vision (you can kind of see the last person in the pace group ahead of me on the bridge above), and the group behind me was pretty far back. I didn't know which street I was supposed to turn on, and was feeling a little lost. I knew I would be able to stop and wait for the 9-minute group, or I always just could have headed back on the route I came on ... until out of nowhere comes race director Caleb, running straight at me!

He said something to me like, "Be careful on the ice!" or "You look really nice!" I don't know -- Cupcake was turned up pretty loud. I asked him if he could quickly tell me the roads to turn on and he pointed the way. I settled back into my stride, and 3 or 4 minutes later he's running right behind me. With two miles to go (and him probably sensing my complete unawareness with this area of town), he asked if he could join me.

I paused Cupcake and decided I would attempt conversation. This is a huge deal because: 1.) I hate awkward conversation with newbs. 2.) I don't really like talking when I'm running. 3.) Making awkward conversation WHILE running just sounded painful.

But, he was really great! We talked for a while about Team Ortho and the races they put on, we talked about some of our favorite local races, we talked about traveling, the English language, why Mr. Anastos kept beeping, how we got into running, and other lame get-to-know-you questions. I asked him how many marathons he's done, and he told me he's officially done none. "But how can a marathon race director not have any marathon experience?" That's when he shyly told me that he's never paid entry into a race for just a marathon, but instead he's an Ironman. He's done a number of Ironman competitions around the country, but he really just wanted to do the most difficult one.

"You ran Kona?!" I gasped. (Kona: Site of the Ironman World Championships; only 1,800 qualify to swim/run/bike the choppiest, hilliest, and hottest course in the world -- the bike portion is on a Hawai'ian lava field that reached an air temp of 114F last fall! I am obsessed with watching the insane 9-hour pro competition every year. It's madness.)

"I did." he responded quietly.

I asked for a moment of silence. From there on out, I realized I was the newb.

BUT, how many people can say they ran with a rare Kona Ironman finisher for 2 miles?! I'm sure he slowed his pace to match mine, but I can pretend I kept up with him, right?

Crossing the Stone Arch Bridge, a former railroad bridge that has a bunch of significance to historical Minneapolis in terms of moving goods and people across the river. Here's the lock and dam.
Remember when the 35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis back in August of 2007? The white bridge, the one closest to the camera, is the new 35W Bridge. Verrrrynice. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
The crazy new Guthrie theater. My best friend is a photographer and she frequently takes pictures up in that yellow-pane glass walkout. The views of the city and the river up there are spectacular, though I have never been up there.
Crossing the Stone Arch Bridge (for the third time) back into downtown Minneapolis. I ran this bridge 3 times total so I could get in some extra mileage.
Overall, I'm comforted to know that the last few miles of the marathon course will be relatively easy. Other than the crappy ice we're dealing with right now, that'll all be melted in a month or two, so come June it'll be smooth sailing. There were no huge hills, just a few cobblestone/brick roads I needed to watch my footing on, and plenty of nice views that will distract me from the I-want-to-die feeling I'll have by mile 20 of the actual race.

As I mentioned, the marathon training group has fixed distances they will be running every Saturday up until the marathon. My training plan has me running a few additional miles beyond what they are doing, but I'm excited to still have people near me for the majority of my runs. It'll be fun to explore this historic part of Minneapolis a little more, too.

6.26mi splits: 8:38, 8:35, 8:29, 8:41, 8:47, 8:29, 2:06
Air Temp: 22F

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing so many pics - it's so neat to see fellow blogger's running areas from around the country. Do you guys use any type of "traction device" on the ice??? (ie yaktrax, screw-shoes,etc). Like you, we love to park ourselves in front of the tv or monitor to watch Kona. Everyone who completes that race is awesome. And I bet our 24 degrees this am felt a lot better than your frigid northerly 22!!! Keep up the great work!