Run-of-mine adj : 1: UNGRADED, UNSORTED, CRUDE, UNREFINED: not ground or treated 2: ORDINARY, MEDIOCRE, RUN-OF-THE-MILL <run-of-mine college graduate> 3. Ore or coal as it comes from the mine without grading or sorting for size or quality

4. That last run, the one that keeps you going back for more – it’s yours and yours alone.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Race Review - Lake Johanna 4 Mile

First, I should say that this race isn’t a full-fledged race, but more of a spring tune-up type of affair.  The Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA) puts it on, and it’s free for members – membership costs $25 per year.  In fact, it’s a members-only race, but the fact that my $20 (I got a deal for signing up at another event) got me 3 free races got me to fork over my dough-re-mi.  (For those of you in MN and interested, the other freebies are a 7 miler next weekend and a 4 mile trail run in April).   I just joined the MDRA a coupe of months ago, so this was my first race with them.

Overall, it was a fun race, and, more than anything, it was good to get back out and running with a pack of people again after the winter.  It was my first race of the season.  Big props to MDRA for scheduling it at the crack of 11:00 am - the sun was up, and so was the temperature, kind of.  

The course was basically a four-mile loop around Lake Johanna, which sounds really nice, but actually only the first and last half miles were within sight of the lake.  The rest was going through residential neighborhoods, which I don’t mind at all – most of my running is through neighborhoods, at least as I begin my runs. As I’m sure that you can relate, the only really tough thing about running through a quiet residential neighborhood is resisting the temptation to steal garden gnomes.  My running jacket has really small pockets, luckily, so I was able to restrain myself.  Most of the good gnomes were already taken (I'm a very middle of the pack runner) or solidly frozen into the ground anyhow.

The only other thing about the race that was iffy was that about a mile of the course was on Snelling Avenue, which up in those parts is a two-lane, divided highway with a speed limit of 55.  It had a generous shoulder, and we were running against traffic, but it still made me extra vigilant, especially as I was running in the couple of turn lanes that were on the course.  You never know what kind of yahoos are out on the roads.

The course itself was nice, with just a couple of hills, none too steep, and just right for a challenge.  The people running the event are super nice as well, and the registration was easy – no advance registration, and the race was just for members, but they were very welcoming and I saw that several people in line with me joined the MDRA today.  Pfff.  Newbies.  They are most assuredly not old-timers like me, who joined, like, a whole two months ago.

It wasn’t officially timed, but there was a big clock at the finish.  This wasn’t a big deal to me, because my race time was measured by the good people at Nike+ and NASA.*  Plus, and even more important in the end-of-race discussion, there were cookies, bagels, and juice (you like-a the juice?) and water.  Plus, they has a huge table of door prizes – jackets, shirts, race entries, hats, gloves, and my favorite category of swag, etc.  I won a really nice piece of J.S. (Jack Squat).  Drawings and raffles aren’t my thing – I never win (I know everybody says that, but I have literally never won anything in a drawing or a raffle).  It was fun to stand with everyone else and pretend that I had a shot at it, though.  [Cue the violin music here, playing for ‘poor me.’]

All in all, it’s a really nice race – very casual, and all of the organizers and runners were chill.  I got some comments about my fluorescent Skechers Go Run2s (more on them in an upcoming post).  More than anything, it was good to be back out, especially after running alone in the dark of morning all winter.

I apologize for no pictures - I'll make sure that my phone is fully charged next time I'm out.  Bad, bad, newbie blogger (picture me hanging my head in shame...)

Thanks for reading!

* I always like to think that NASA is involved in my runs because they probably had a hand in getting the GPS satellites into space.  In fact, I’d like to take this opportunity to thanks them for being an official sponsor of this blog and my running in general.  Welcome aboard, NASA!

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