I started the day with a bit of disappointment because I was supposed to do the half marathon. I have had a leg injury for about a month. It hasn't kept me from running entirely, but with more frequent exercise it seems to be getting worse. I didn't want to chance it, so I transferred my race down. That way, I could still run the race, but not aggravate the injury even more. I'm not quiet sure what is going on exactly. At first I thought it to be a calf strain, but now I'm feeling weakness with pressure, so I'm guessing a stress reaction. Of course I'm avoiding the doctor. I know they would tell me that rest is best!
This was a solo race for me as well, which was a bit different. I must be a runner if I can do races without any friends. I love the feeling of crossing that finish line. I am a social person, so I can strike up a conversation fairly easily, so I wasn't worried about going it alone.
The race got it's name from long-standing rivalry between the Gophers and the Badgers. The first five men and the first five women across the finish line won the border battle! This year, the Gophers took the trophy! GO GOPHERS! I completed my undergraduate at the University of Minnesota so my heart was with the gophers, even though I didn't dress the part for race day.
The 5K was a relatively low-key, non-crowded race. About 450 people completed the 5K. It started in Minnesota and ran across the river border into Hudson, Wisconsin; hence the name Gopher to Badger. :) I was impressed by how easily I parked. I arrived only about 10 minutes before the 5K buses departed for the starting line and I still was able to find street parking easily.
We boarded the buses and I sat down next to a guy named Tom. We chit-chatted a bit and headed to the starting line. We discussed briefly our average paces. I knew that he was going to be a bit faster than me, but I quickly had my goal of never letting him out of my sight. My last 5K that I PR'd I had a finish time of 24:05. I averaged 7:51/mile. I knew that this race was going to be a bit harder with my leg and the humidity, but I wanted to give it my best shot.
The starting line was in a quiet and wooded housing development with narrow streets. Surprisingly, the streets were not so narrow as to where we were hitting elbows. We started at mile 10 of the half marathon, so there wasn't an official starting line exactly, but the race was timed so we did have the racing mats for recording our starting time.
Overall, this race seemed fast and very flat. We only had an elevation gain of about 35 feet which I loved. At one point we did cross the interstate bridge over the river. Not the most beautiful location, but racing by cars I felt gives you a bit of motivation to run just that much faster.
At about mile two, I could see Tom start to slow just a bit up ahead and I thought, " I got him!" I wanted to pass him so badly.. or at least try to finish with him. That's my competitive nature coming out for sure! I just couldn't quite catch him. We both rounded the corner toward the finish line and he finished about 10 seconds ahead of my time. I was very happy with my race finish!
25:24 - 8:04/mile. I'll take it! 74 degrees with humidity made this a perfect 5K. I had a sneaky suspicion that I may win my age group only because I didn't see many women at the finish line. But, the awards ceremony was 90 minutes from my finish and I didn't want to stick around. I found out later that weekend, that I DID INDEED win my division. I was bummed that I didn't stay. Lesson learned.
25:24 Finish Time
1st in my age group 35-39
9th women across finish
58th finisher overall
I was very happy with the medal for this race! Who doesn't want a race medal, especially when it looks like this!!!!
I will be doing this race again for sure! Well organized, affordable, and great SWAG. I was looking back at the women top finishers and I was only 90 seconds away from placing in the top 5 women. I would have been able to earn the GOPHER title. That's my goal for next year!