Thursday, October 15, 2015

Patriot Power Run 5K 2015 (Big & Little Skellys)

Patriot Power Run 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 16:18/mile

In honor of my nephew, last weekend my husband and I hopped in Bubba (our airplane) and flew to Northern Minnesota. 

Well, sort of in my nephew's honor, I mean.

You see, every year since he's been in elementary, my nephew's school has hosted a 5K fundraiser.  But unfortunately, the race has always been on the same day as the Twin Cities Marathon.  And to make matters worse, the organizers each year have waited until the last second to open registration and have only offered registration via paper submission.  This, historically, has made it almost impossible for me to get my forms in before registration closes.

In case you think I'm exaggerating, here's an example of how last minute they are: this year the race was to be held October 10th.  Registration forms went home with students October 2nd, and had to be returned by October 6th.  (Or you could pay $5 more and just show up on race day, with no guaranteed shirt to take home after.)

Yeah.  Yikes. 

Literally NO time for my sister to mail me a registration form, let me fill it out and then mail it back. 

So, imagine my surprise this year when the race was moved to a Saturday - that wasn't on Twin Cities Marathon weekend.  And even more, my surprise that the race organizers offered an online registration option.

Win and win. 

So why not talk my husband into do the 5K with me for the trifecta?

Done!  Let's run this thing!

(How have I managed to talk my husband into doing two races this year?  I guess because I'm pregnant, he must be feeling guilty.  Whatever!  As long as he's doing a 5K with me, I'll take what I can get!)


Anyway, with a last second registration and a short ride in Bubba, around 8:30 on Saturday morning I found myself milling around the Brainerd airport waiting for a ride.  Not long after our landing, my sister was there to pick us up. 

After a short drive from Brainerd to the race locale, with a short pit stop at home to grab the niece and nephew, the five of us found ourselves at race check-in.  There we were handed our bib numbers and this year's race t.  (Which I was a little bummed about, because with my growing belly I had registered for a size up, and I was hoping to get the same kind of shirt as last year so I could wear it through the winter as casual clothing - last year's shirt was a long sleeved cotton T while this year's was a performance poly.  Oh well.)

As a side note, it's a good thing we didn't arrive at race check-in a second later.  We were literally the last ones to get there, and the race directors instructed everyone to begin lining up while we were still pinning on our bibs.

Once our bibs were on, we followed all the other races as they moseyed from the park pavilion and play area over to the trail where the start line was marked.  There, the race director made a few general announcements - you know, the usual stuff like: the course layout, the water stop located roughly at the half way point, and some information about next year's race.  Which, good news there, they are hoping to be more timely in announcing their race date in 2016.  (Boy, I sure do hope that's the case, because the current system simply just doesn't work for anyone who doesn't have a child enrolled at this school.  People need to have at least a couple month's notice to make sure they have the day free, and so that they can get registered.)

With the last few announcements made, all the racers sort of sandwiched onto the trail, which is called the Paul Bunyan trail in case you've never heard of it.  And then, without too much more to be said - we were off!


Though my sister and I are seasoned runners, being that we had an 8 year old runner and a 3 year old in a stroller with us, we started at a very conservative pace.  Which of course, is what I had promised my husband, and why he agreed to participate in the race.  Yet despite our handicaps, we managed to keep a respectable pace for the first half of a mile, coming in around an 11 or so minute mile.

I think it helped that my nephew was determined to win an age placement medal, so he wanted to try to run as far as he could.  LOL!

Of course, though, eventually he needed a walk break (as did I, given my morning sickness, which is getting better but still not totally kept at bay).  So from the half mile mark until around maybe the 1.5 mile mark, we did random run/walk intervals.

Unfortunately, though, after the 1.5 mile mark, the wheels kind of came off.

I'm not exactly sure what happened, but my nephew just ran out of steam.  Part of it may have been due to his insistence that he not take off his hooded sweatshirt, despite running in 60-70 degree weather.  Part of it may have been that we were at the back of the pack and he knew we weren't going to win.  But whatever it was, whenever one of us mentioned another run interval, he was having none of it. 

Well.  At least the course was nice and level.  That at helped our pace a little, right?  Heh.

Despite our slow pace, we seemed to manage pretty OK on course.  That is until around the 2 or maybe 2.25 mile mark, when it became apparent that this race could use a little more human support on course.  As it stood, the race was marked with blue arrows spray painted on the road, and teeny-tiny little American flags stuck in the grass.  And I mean tiny.  Like ... well, like this:

On a straight out and back course, such little markers would be a non issue.  But when you have a curved section where you have to cut off the main drag to pick up some extra mileage ...

Yeah, it's an issue.

Good thing my husband was with us, since it was his eagle eye that caught the flag.  The rest of us totally missed it and were going to blindly follow the heard in front of us who had continued on, missing the flag themselves.

Just call us lemmings.

Anyway, though most people didn't follow the correct path, we took the turn and continued on.  And not long after, the finish line was in our sites and we were done! 

BOOM!  Time for a celebration photo.

Like my sister and my InkNBurn?  Oh yeah, baby!  (Baby in my belly, that is.)

At the finish line, there was a bounty of bottled water, granola bars and bananas.  We all gladly munched away while age grade medals were awarded.

Sadly, my nephew did not place.  But, thanks to a small participant field in her age grade, my sister took one home.  WHOOP!  As such, we decided that called for a celebration, so we walked to the local sports bar and ordered lunch.  Mine was a hot turkey sandwich:

What?!  The baby made me do it.  ;-)


And that's the story of how race bib #67 joined my collection.  Which also happens to be my 6th race (of sorts) since the baby has been on board.  I sure hope they enjoy running with me, because we've got at least one more race on schedule for 2015 ... next weekend, to be exact!

So, here's to another race soon!


  1. Awwww, congratulations to your nephew on his enormous accomplishment! So special that you were able to be there with him on this occasion! Awesome that your husband did the race, too! That sucks about the poorly marked course. I usually never pay attention to course markings - I'm a total lemming. Good thing your husband caught it!