Ironman Canada recovery has been coming along nicely – my recent runs have been around 8:30 pace – but I was still a little apprehensive about running hard during last Saturday’s lululemon RUN: twin K 13k.
All that apprehension went out the window, however, when the gun sounded. More on that in a minute…
As soon as I heard MSP’s lululemon athletica stores were sponsoring a complimentary 13k race just down the street in Saint Paul, I knew I had to run it, even though it was just four short weeks after ironman.
Race morning was super chill and started later than normal (6:30a) with our usual pre-race rituals: double shot espresso with full-fat coconut milk + honey and a couple pieces gluten-free toast with maple almond butter + honey. Nick and I left around 7:20a for the Summit + River Road starting line so we could find parking (it’s all on-street). Turned out, it wasn’t a problem; we were there plenty early to snag a spot about a block away. Gotta love races that are two miles from home! It was chilly – 48 degrees – so we stayed in the car until about 20 minutes before race start.
After our quick mile or so warm-up, we met up with friends Suraya + Eric and Sonia and chitchatted near the start. As we were standing there, friend and MOA store manager, Kara, ran over and asked Nick what pace he was planning to run. In a jiffy, he was in a neon yellow t-shirt and the 7:30 go-pher.
I had zero expectations for this race other than to just run and enjoy the beautiful morning. And, given I’d been unknowingly gluten-ated at some point two days before – i.e. unhappy GI – I wasn’t planning to run hard. But, the gun sounded, and Sonia and I were off, the first mile beeping in 7:47. Alrighty then. Not quite sure where that came from, but I went with it. I felt surprisingly good and decided to try run the next seven miles sub-8. Sonia and I split around mile 1.5, and I kept Nick in sight, just 100 yards ahead.
About a mile from the finish… the pack was pretty spread out.
Just after the turnaround point four miles down the path along River Road – a bit narrow for 500 runners – I caught Nick. As we ran together, my heart rate dropped back down to a bit more manageable low 160s. I debated hitting it the last two miles, but changed my mind when I teetered on the edge of bonking and my hammies + glutes started aching. The last mile was hard; there was a lot of uncomfortable, so I concentrated on Nick’s stride and reminded myself I could do anything for 7.5 minutes.
We crossed the finish line in just under an hour – me one second in front of Nick. Pretty certain that’s the first and only time I’ll ever beat him!
And, as we crossed the finish line, we were each handed a black yoga un mat… um, seriously?! #betterthanamedal!
It was immediately put to good use during sunshiny post-race yoga in Shadow Falls Park. My hip flexors and hammies were crazy tight, so the chatarungas, down dogs, forward folds and happy baby… ahhhmazing.
You’d never guess it was a first-time event – high tech bibs with built-in chips, solid support, a great turnout (about 500 runners) and no glitches. That said, the course was a smidge short (my Garmin read 7.93 miles) and for next year, let’s hope the road is closed; the paved path paralleling River Road was a bit narrow and in several places was pretty congested.
Nonetheless, lululemon had the music pumpin’ the entire race, and, per the usual, rocked the cheer and aid stations. So much positive energy, so many smiles, so much love red! These ladies and gents are at the heart of the yoga and run community… thank you for a fab race!
OFFICIAL RESULTS // 59:35, 7:23 pace, 9/398 OA female
Race stats from my Garmin 910XT:
- Heart rate: average 165 / max HR 177
- Splits: 7:47 / 7:49 / 7:21 / 7:16 / 7:24 / 7:30 / 7:32 / 7:29
- Average pace: 7:31