Monday, August 8, 2011

Race Report: Run for Blood Quarter-Marathon

On the morning of July 30, future hubs and I ran the Run for Blood Quarter-Marathon.  Our friend, Luther, is a financial planner, and his company was the title sponsor.  He'd spent the last couple years persuading us to do his race (the quarter-marathon was added this year; before, it was just the 5K), but Mark and I always had something else going on the day of the race.  This year, we made sure we added it to our race calendar early!  Plus, the distance was unique... an instant PR! :)

The race started at 8:30.  With the hot, muggy weather we've been experiencing this summer, I was hopeful that we may catch a break with a nice cool day, but the weather was not in our favor.  There were few clouds in the sky, and it was plenty warm by the time we started the race.

We arrived early enough to chat with Luther, as well as other people we knew through Team Ortho (e.g. Kim, Lisa, Don, and John).  We also made sure we got our photo taken with the local Elvis impersonator.

Photo courtesy of Wayne Kryduba Photography
I also participated in the group warmup, led by Lois Tiedemann Koffi, a personal trainer and race sponsor.

Can you see me off to the left in the yellow Adidas singlet?  Photo courtesy of Wayne Kryduba Photography.
As the runners congregated before the start, I positioned myself between the 8:00/mile pacer and the 8:30/mile pacer.  I have a tendency to start out too fast and fade at the end, but I thought that I might be able to keep an 8:20/mile pace going.  Mark was back by the 11:00/mile and 11:30/mile pacers.

At 8:30, Elvis started the race with a "One for the money/Two for the show/Three to get ready/Now go, go, go!"  Best race start ever!

I kept the 8:00 pacer in my sights for the first mile and tried to reign in my pace.  I didn't want to start out too fast, but I noticed my pace dip below 8:00s a couple times.  The first mile always feels too easy.

Mile 1 - 8:09

The quarter-marathon circled twice around Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.  I run around Calhoun a lot during the summertime, particularly during my long runs, and plenty of local races are held at the lake each year.  It was nice to run a familiar course.  I'm glad I reigned in the pace a little more.

Mile 2 - 8:20

For such a short race, there was plenty of on-course entertainment.  Besides Elvis at the start line, bagpipers, belly dancers, Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Timberwolves cheerleaders, and a cheer squad and drumline from Eastview High School in Apple Valley lined the course.  Plenty of distractions!

Mile 3 - 8:13

The leaders from the 5K race, which started five minutes after the quarter-marathon, had passed us by this point in the race.  For a split-second, I wished that I had done the 5K because the mercury was rising and I was sweating buckets.

Mile 4 - 8:35

By this point in the race, I lost the 8:00 pacer.  The heat was getting to me, and I noticed I was spending more time lingering at the water stops.  I was taking a few more walk breaks than I wanted to as well.  Why is it so difficult for me to acclimate to the heat?!

Mile 5 - 9:03

At this point, the 8:30 pacer had caught up with me.  I stayed on him for a while and passed him, but he passed me again when I took a walk break, and I never caught up with him again.  However, I did keep him in my sights for the rest of the race.  He proved to be a nice carrot for me, the rabbit, to chase. :)

Mile 6 - 8:31

My gosh, I couldn't wait to be done running!  The sun was beaming down on us runners and there was barely any breeze.  The finish line couldn't come soon enough!

Last .55 miles - 8:18 pace

I finished strong across the finish line, but immediately after I finished the race, I thought "Where are the porta-potties?"  I had to go to the bathroom so bad!  This never happens to me at races!  I got my finisher medal and headed straight for the race village.  Fortunately, there were no lines for the porta-potties, but I certainly wish they smelled better!

After my potty break, I picked up a bottle of water, a cookie and a sample of a sub from Subway.  I was mostly thirsty, but also hungry.  Starbucks also had a booth in race village, so I picked up an iced tea and headed back to the start line to wait for Mark.

Kim crossed before Mark and mentioned that he twisted his ankle.  Immediately, I was concerned and asked if he was okay.  Kim said that he was walking a lot, but that he was doing okay and that his ankle had been bothering him yesterday.  That's funny... he never told me about it before the race.  Perhaps he thought that my knowing his slight injury would make me worried or stressed out.  I kept my eyes peeled for him as I watched runner after runner finish the race.

Finally I saw him, running across the finish line in 1:22:18.  I accompanied him as he made his way through the finish chute and on to the race village to get some food and beverage.  Mark said his ankle was bothering him, but he walked a lot just to be safe.  He appeared to be walking normally, so my concern lessened.

Here are my stats:

Official finish time: 55:42
Average pace: 8:35/mile (according to the results site; The Red Dragon listed a faster pace)
Overall place: 48/208
Gender place:13/123
Division place: 2/23 (25-29 age group)
Yes, I won second in my age group!  Trust me, no one was more shocked than I was.  I felt like I didn't run the race as well as I could have, and I definitely had one of the slower age-group-winner finish times.  However, I did the best I could in the weather.  I won a $50 gift certificate for a personal training session at Fitness 19.  Too bad it expires on the 15th of this month!

The swag: shirt, medal, bib number and coupons!

Close-up of the finisher medal.  We liked the medals!
Overall, Mark and I liked the race and hope to participate in it next year.  I just hope they start at least an hour earlier next year because of the hot, humid Minnesota summer weather!  We also hope to donate blood at the Bloodmobile they have at the race site.  We didn't want to this year due to the wedding shower that was hosted for us later that day, but we'll plan on it for next year. :)


  1. Cool medal. The heat, as you remind me often, is a killer! You did great - don't worry another second about the pacers. I like the idea of having a carrot/rabbit- will incorporate that into my mental games I'll certainly be playing in Chicago. This race had a lot of perks and fun things - group stretch, pace groups, cookies, subs, starbucks - wow! Girl - I love that you headed to the porta john before you got a bottle of water. A girl with priorities.
    Love the photo of you and Elvis - cute!!!!!
    Great recap. Glad it was a good time for you and future hubs! :)

  2. Great pace! I agree with Wells, cool medal!

  3. I've never heard of a quarter marathon before, but it sounds like a fun, well put together event. And I'll third the notion: cool medal! Congrats on your age group placing!

  4. Sounds like a great race (but YES an earlier start is needed in the summer!) and I love that they host a blood drive at the site, too.

    Congrats on finishing strong! I hope Mark's ankle is okay.

  5. Well done and congrats on the 2nd place for your age group! That is a great pace you ran. Awesome shirt and medal. You did great!

  6. what a great recap! This sounds like a super fun and great cause race. Way to go on the age group win too!!!

  7. You did great! 2nd in your age group is just awesome!

  8. That medal is cool!*

  9. What a fun report! Congrats on your new PR ;) and your 2nd place award. I did a Quarter Marathon this year, too. The distance is just too unique to pass up. Your race sounds a lot cooler though - not temperature wise, but entertainment/post-race. We didn't get Elvis or cheerleaders! You are so speedy. I mean your paces including walk breaks?? I can't even do one mile running non-stop at that pace. You're so awesome!!

  10. Super congrats on the 2nd place! You are a running rockstar!! :) Oh and I am loving the medal!! :)