One of my cousins asked me “why do you run?”. I answered him that running relieves me of stress from daily grind. I also told him that I love seeing places near and far and I am enjoying the experience of exploring the surroundings by feet. As a matter of fact, running brought me to a lot of places already. For this year, I have an opportunity to run in foreign land.
Two weeks after I finished my 2nd TBR Dream Marathon, I flew to MN to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins. I was also privileged to run in the Running Opener in St. Paul. MN, two days after my arrival. It was a new and different experience or may I call adventure. I ran in unfamiliar place around the frozen Phalen Lake with temperature of 3 degrees Celsius against our normal temperature of 27 to 30 degrees Celsius.
On my second day in Minnesota, my cousin Jona and I went to Running Room to get our race kits. We were greeted warmly when we entered the store. The releasing area is just located near the door. They simply asked my race category and name, then immediately handed me my race packet. Included in the kit is the timing chip attached to the ankle wrap. This will be surrendered to the volunteers after crossing the finish line otherwise, I will be charged $30. My cousin registered for her first race 5K category. She was more excited than me.
After claiming our race packets, we proceeded to the venue in order to plan and prepare for the race. However, I was surprised to see that the Phalen Lake, which I will run around twice was as hard as ice, it was indeed a frozen lake. With snow covering it, the air blown was likewise very cold. Every part of me shivered and trembled despite wearing my winter jacket. I started to doubt myself and became less confident if I can stand the weather. But then, I decided to equip myself by buying running cap and gloves for protection.
That night, I was not able to sleep due to a lot of factors like fatigue, time difference and frightening weather condition. To sum it up, I had an apprehension. To comfort myself, I prayed and mentally prepared to just run to have fun so I can enjoy the beautiful things around the park. I also decided not to push myself yet and to give my body time to recover.
On race day, around 7 in the morning, my uncle dropped me off at the beautiful house of my cousin. Her husband, Elmer, agreed to join and drive for us to the Phalen Lake. It was a short drive and we reached our destination faster than expected.
It was a festive atmosphere in the venue despite the cold weather. Some runners were already warming up. Some were drinking hot apple juice which is available free to everyone. I invited my cousin to jog along the route to familiarize ourselves. It was really very hard at the start, I cannot move my legs. I felt wet from head to foot. The cold air kept penetrating my body despite my two layers of outfit.
The race should have started 9 AM but to accommodate late registrants, it was moved to 10AM. The MN Pacers offered the following 10k Pacer Lineup: 44 minutes (7:05/mile), 47 minutes (7:34/mile), 50 minutes (8:03/mile), 53 minutes (8:32/mile), 57 minutes (9:11/mile), 1hr (9:40/mile), 1hr 5 minutes (10:29/mile), and 1hr 10 minutes (11:17/mile) with Pacer Meghan. The runners can join any group so I decided to stick it out with Meghan with target of 1:10.
The race started after a short announcement and countdown. I just followed the flow side by side with our MN Pacer. The course was held on the park trails around the lake. We did not cross any streets or had to deal with any traffic or motorists!!! It was a safe and enjoyable. There were mile markers at every mile and water stops on each side of the lake. It was a very organized event.
After the first loop, I felt warm all over despite the cold air. The sunlight came in brightly, too. I sung praises to the Lord. I continued running with our Pacer, who had never shown any tiredness of sort. She was still in her best form, happy and energetic. She crossed the finish line at 1:08:34 and I followed her at 1:09:29.
We ended up having a beautiful morning of weather and great achievements both for me and my cousin. We took our post race breakfast at Perkins as we need to celebrate a very special day for me and my cousin.
The results and the photo slide show were provided a day after. Thank you Final Stretch, MN Pacers and Gary Weslund for the great race, pacing and slide show/photos, respectively.