Monday, June 20, 2011

2011 Midnight Sun Run Obligatory Blog Report

Each of my seven attempts at the Midnight Sun Run (MSR) 10K have had their own theme and this was the one where I needed toothpicks to keep my eyes open and an energy boost along the way would have helped a lot. Nevertheless, now that it's behind, it wasn't too bad.

Not that I'm bored with this race (but a bit more on that later), I was just overtired and jetlagged due to Friday's return from the East Coast. I took two naps on Saturday but felt totally out it all day. The best part of that was that there were no butterflies in my belly. I knew my energy levels wouldn't be super, so I just logged onto autopilot.

Even the starter's canon--a howitzer from 40 yards away--didn't phase me. Went out steady, about 40th place through most of the first mile that included a fair amount of shenanigans from ninja bikers, screaming Roman sentries, and other costume-laden fun and distraction. See Dermot Cole's blog for more pictures.

The nonsense phase was behind us early into the 2nd mile and I settled into a pack with lead woman Theresia Schnurr of UAF and a half dozen or so high school runners. One by one they all dropped off, and by the time we were through the neighborhoods and onto the long straight stretch on University, were were all top 15 or so, with just a few runners strung out after the first (out of sight) and second packs (about 30 or 40 seconds ahead).

I bided my time, and didn't move until the bridge over the Chena at Mile 3. I was able to pick off two or three through the Riverview neighborhood in the 4th and 5th miles. I wanted to hammer it in, but lacked both the zip and bombast to do that and opted to keep it steady, hoping to have a strong 6th mile.

Masters runners Chad Carrol and Mark Lindberg seemed to be just hanging on/fading over the last mile and I was gaining throughout (running 5:47 pace over the final 1.2 miles), but they had enough of a gap to hold me off. Techincally I was 11th place, but one of the high school runners about 40 seconds up was a race bandit so I got credited for a 10th.

Woo hoo!

In seven MSR races that makes seven age group wins (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010--did Mayor's marathon in 2008), and five top 10 finishes (04, 05, 06, 07, and this year).

Seven's a good number. At times I've had visions of going for 10 or 20 age group wins at MSR, but in recent weeks I've been rethinking that. Why do the same thing every single year?

There are other challenges that I'd like to take on that fall on the same weekend, such as the 7.6 mile 4600 foot hill climb at Mt. Washington in New Hampshire--definitely on my bucket list and I'm sort of kicking myself for not applying for the lotter this year seeing how we were on the East Coast anyway last week--and Bird Ridge in Anchorage.

I'll be back definitely, but maybe not just every year.


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