|Half Marathon State # 14
Half Marathon #27
Headwinds & Hills…. On Sunday, May 15, 2016 I completed my 14th State in my 50 By 50 Challenge in Hastings, Minnesota. I ran the 31st Annual Carpenter Nature Center Apple Blossom Half Marathon. I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the week for a conference for work, so I sought out a race I could complete while I was there. Hastings is about 40 minutes outside of Minneapolis.
This was a small race event with about 125 half marathoners. They also held a 5k & 10k event alongside the half marathon. Since it was a small event, there was no race expo, we just had to arrive about an hour early to get our race bib and a timing chip to attach to the shoe.
There were quite a number of animals to see. My favorite was an American Bald Eagle, which had a damaged claw, who was being cared for. You can see his claw in the close-up picture. Below is a slideshow of some of the pictures from the inside. At about 7:30 AM we boarded the buses to carry us over to the starting area.
At the starting area, they had three different starting lines for the 3 different events. The 5k start was about 100 yards before our half marathon line, while the 10k started behind us and went in the opposite direction and made a loop through the park before continuing the route we went. The race started promptly at 8:00 AM. The half marathon and 5k went to the entrance of the park, and we went right, while the 5k runners went to the left.
There were lots of porta-johns at the start.
With most races, if there has been an incline, there would eventually be a decline to recover. Not here. There were very few declines, but many increasing elevation changes. I told people it felt like steps in that you would climb a hill, only to level off before beginning a ascent again. That being said, I did enjoy the race.
Here is the course route and elevation from my Garmin device.
On race morning, on the drive over to the race I realized I had left my iPod shuffle and headphones, so I was very frustrated. However, when I started to run the route, I found a lot of farm land & scenes along with various crops growing to include the apple trees blossoming. It was a lovely sight to see and helped me when there was no focus. Growing up in a farm town, and now living in a city where there are not many farm scenes, it was a nice run to reflect on the country again.
So the course contained active roads with vehicular traffic. It also covered several hard packed gravel roads. There were a few law enforcement officers to block and maintain traffic at large intersections, but for the most part the citizens of the area know it is going on, and respected the runners on the course. To that we thank you for keeping the course as safe as possible for the runners.
There wasn’t much in the way of crowd support; however, the ones that did come out would cheer us on at a spot, and then jump in their vehicles, and we would see them again a few miles ahead. It was very encouraging. There was good crowd support at the finish line. As for water stops, they had them about every mile and a half. Many also had energy drinks as well for us.
As for my performance, I did really well for the first couple of miles, then after the big descent the hills would continue to pop up, and I struggled a little. I took four or five walk breaks after the major hills to get my breathing back under control, then would be on my way again. As I stated in the opening, it was headwinds & hilly. I have covered the hills, now the head winds. It seemed that no matter what direction we were running we had a head wind blasting us in our face.
In the end I finished the race with a 1:56:59 (8:56 pace) which I was quite thrilled with. I finished 42nd overall. The finish line was iconic in that they used apple baskets to form the finish chute, which was quite fitting. It warmed up quite a bit near the finish to around the mid-50s.
Here is the token race shirt, bib, and finisher medal. There is a close up of the medal on my Minnesota Medal Page.
Finally, I would like to mention the race director, Mayme Johnson. When I decided on this race after confirming my work conference, I got in touch with the race organizer to get more details. Ms. Johnson responded almost immediately, and provided me everything I needed to make the conference & half marathon more seamless. So if you are considering this race, reach out to them, they will answer your every question.
After the race, I headed back to Minneapolis to our hotel, Hilton Minneapolis and cleaned up. In the process before returning the rental car and attending my conference, I updated my 50 States Half Marathon club shirt with the newly colored in state of Minnesota.
When I got back home, I updated my 50 States Half Marathon medal rack that my friends Matthew & Kira Champagne gave me earlier this year. I really enjoy updating the rack with a new state colored in and a new medal.
This is the end of my Spring race schedule for 2016. I will pick up the races again in September when I travel out to New Mexico to run the Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon with friends.