At some point it has to warm up in Minnesota, it has to – right? Somebody say yes……..
Last year for the Get Lucky 7k/21k it was roughly 65 degrees. This year? On March 16th it was about 15. While getting lined up at the start, the cold weather and the slick road conditions were the two main topics of conversation. The third was my friend Darik’s secret weapon to beating me in yet another race.
Darik had in fact taped a Cheetah to his back. Crap, even though I wasn’t trying to race I certainly couldn’t beat him now.
The cheetah attracted a lot of attention, although not everybody got the reference (I won’t tell anybody if you don’t get it, just click here and be in the know: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3R-rtWPyJY). And since we were passing people all morning, a lot of folks got to see it go by and have a nice laugh.
I am running 12 Half-Marathons this year (my friend Stacy is pushing me to do 13 half marathons in 2013 – and of course they are 13.1 miles so there is a lot of symmetry there, something to consider) I figured I should start jotting down my thoughts about them, in case I get any bright ideas next year I can remember what the runs were all about.
The Get Lucky 21k is the only Half- Marathon in Minnesota in March, it also happens to be a challenging run that is very well-organized. 2,663 people got officials times this year, considering the weather conditions that was a good turnout.
The course: The run is an out and back, so there was no net elevation gain or loss. However, the start line is at 792 feet and right about the turn around point you hit 710 feet so the back half of the race is noticeably tougher. Definitely a narrow course in many places, particularly the turn around where you get really bunched up. Not sure about you but the out and back courses are both frustrating (hey the guy that is winning the race is already heading back and I am not close to mile 5 yet) and motivating (hey look at all these people who I am ahead of!). The course itself is not really a draw here, but it gets the job done.
Scenery: You run along the river for a time and on the way “out” on the course get a nice view of downtown St. Paul. The way back “in” when you might welcome some distractions does not offer a lot to look at.
Packet pick up: There were multiple dates, and an option to have the packet sent to you (watch out for those handling charges). You could even get you packet for the 21k race morning, which is nice in a pinch. Thumbs up.
Parking: $7.50 gets you a spot right next to the starting line, or you can find free parking in the neighborhoods around the start. Pay the $7.50! Big thumbs up here.
Swag: A nice “Get Lucky” hoodie, Stain glass finisher medal, free beer coupon on your race bib and you can keep your “Get lucky” timing chip. Thumbs up with a wiggle!
Port-a-potty situation: Honestly this should maybe go at the top next time, really I don’t always need to use the potty (I have a three-year old, it’s called potty) but I really like to know I could without standing in line for 25 minutes. At the start/finish there were plenty of port-a-pottys. Along the course there were a couple but not many. Luckily, I did not need to use any on course so the nice set up at the start/finish gets a thumbs up.
Running with your friends?: This is where I struggle with the “Get Lucky”. There is a 7k and a 21k, and to make it manageable for the number of people (about 10,000 did the 7k) the race is split into two locations. 7k is in Minneapolis and the 21k is in St. Paul. My wife did the 7k with friends and her sister, but we were unable to car pool to the race or really hang out afterwards because of the split location. I don’t know how they make that work with the number of people who run, but it would have added to my enjoyment of the day.
Overall: It was a good time, and I imagine I will be back next year. Definitely a fun vibe to the race and tying it in with St. Patricks day obviously helps with the festivities.
Oh, in case you were wondering Darik did beat my by 4 seconds, that cheetah made the difference.