Fortunately, it's a small race in a very small town and the logistics from the hotel will be simple, even in the car. I crawled out of bed and started getting dressed, pulling on my running gear and shoes, sipping a glass of water as I moved along, and then taking a few minutes to eat some Cheerios and a banana.
This far north the sun is well up in the sky at 6 AM and I had just a short 5 mile drive to parking at the far end of Pioneer Park just west of the main downtown area. I lingered in my car, sipping some more water, then walked over to the portapotties - no lines....amazing!
Someone I know back home in TX felt certain that it was going to be very cold for my two races in the Dakotas. I disagreed. And I am pleased to say that he was very wrong. The weather was spectacular!! Sunny, comfortable temperatures of 50 degrees at the start, then warming up to 69 degrees by the time I crossed the finish line. Forecasts are for the same weather at next week's Fargo race.
As we lined up at the start, I could tell that this was going to be a very small race. There was a cap of 600 runners on the half and full marathon. I knew that the half had sold out, but don't think that the full was a sell-out. It was a small little group of runners lined up to start.
We were sent on our way at 7:00 AM and within the first few blocks I was apparently bringing up the rear of the pack. And then I heard the chase vehicle slowly idling along behind me. Drat! Another mile or so later I realized that the chase vehicle was no longer immediately behind me. I looked over my shoulder and could see that it had fallen back a couple of blocks and was now behind another runner. Thank goodness, I wasn't the very last runner - the caboose!
The race route was a revelation. It dipped into a really pretty park and then continued on toward SD State University campus, running in among the buildings and exiting out on the north side before we continued east.
|Pleasant and interesting race route through the streets and parks and neighborhoods of Brookings|
Data from my Garmin GPS watch
Flowering trees were everywhere! Mostly crab apple but many white flowering trees and shrubs as well. The deciduous trees were just showing that faint blush of light green along their branch tops.
We crossed over the main road through town at about the midway point and then continued through really pretty residential streets until we reached a beautiful grassy park, where we picked up a paved trail that took us up to the top of the only hill in town. It was a great view!
All I had to do was just keep plugging away and I knew I'd soon be at the finish line. I have learned from many past races that many runners start out way too fast. They let the excitement and adrenaline control their pace and then the wheels start to fall off for them in the last few miles. So as I plugged along through miles 9, 10, 11, I began to overtake the runners in front of me, one by one, until I reached the finish line. At least I wasn't last! In fact, I came in third in my age group!!
|Very happy to have state #48 done.|
Finished at last, and a very nice finisher medal, too!
|Very nice finisher medal for such a small race|
I climbed into my car and headed back toward the hotel, stopping along the way for a cappuccino at Choco Latte Cafe, a great little coffee shop recommended the evening before by the waitress at Applebee's.
What my 50 States map looks like now:
|50 States map. Just a couple of little white spots to color in|
Now to relax for a few days in St. Cloud MN before moving on to Fargo and my 49th state next weekend.