Mission: Run bold

Running bold.

That was my plan today. Even with some issues the past month, my plan was to run hard at today’s Dick Beardsley Half Marathon and hold nothing back.

Still, I wasn’t sure what would happen out on the course. This race, the  premier half marathon in the region, is my personal barometer for improvement and fitness. And it turned out to be a nearly perfect morning for the race – just a little bit of wind but otherwise terrific conditions.

Personally, the race went very well. It wasn’t a personal best, but it was close as I crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 34 minutes and some change. My hope was to run 1:35, so I walked away very happy with my performance. Earlier this year, I finished the half marathon in Fargo with a 1:33, but several factors gave me more positive feedback for the Chicago Marathon, now 4 weeks away.

Those factors – missing a couple weeks of speed work due to injury, a more difficult course in Detroit Lakes due to some rolling hills, and a 20-25 mph headwind the final couple miles – give me plenty of reason to be very happy with today’s run and put it on par with the time I ran in Fargo.

The Green Silence

Several runners gave excellent reviews for today’s race, and hanging out at Zorbaz was a fun way to unwind afterward. Pizza, beer and the company of friends is the perfect cap to a hard effort at the races. The only blemish on the day appeared to be some mad postal carriers – a couple weaving and cutting off runners on the course, and another jerk who decided he would drive his mail truck through the finisher’s chute. Yes – through the finisher’s chute while runners were trying to complete the race.

The mailman should be reprimanded for his actions for putting people in danger. He actually had more room to drive outside of the finisher area. And the kicker? There are absolutely no mailboxes on that stretch of street. If he had gone up a block and around, he would have gotten to where he needed to go. A friend made a comment to the mailman, who stopped and quipped the mail had to get through. Well, what if an ambulance had to get to a runner and he was in the way? The guy obviously takes himself way too seriously, and doesn’t possess much etiquette or common sense. If the postal service eliminates Saturday delivery, I hope this guy is on the cutting block. It’s one day a year and if he had gone one block around, he would have saved himself time – and not put anyone in jeopardy.

But, since the race was terrific in every other respect, I’ll end on a high note. The “Stretch of Silence” in mile 2, with servicemen in uniform holding American flags, was a great touch. With this year’s race falling on the 9th anniversary of 9/11, it was a terrific way of incorporating a tribute to our history and honoring both the victims of 9/11 and the brave men and women who have served our country.

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