Race Report: Bemidji Blue Ox 26k 2022

I went back to one of my favorite semi-close to home races this past weekend and this time with all four boys + my parents to cheer me on. That was pretty special! Leo isn't able to make it to October races due to the sugar beet harvest but it sure was great to have this group with me. 

Watching mom take off!

This year was a little different than the previous times I have raced the Blue Ox, in that I ran a 26-k's instead of 26.2 miles. The race weekend ended up with the most beautiful Fall weather you could ever ask for. As far as I can remember, I think this was the most beautiful Blue Ox Marathon I have ever ran! 

As far as the course goes, I basically skipped the first 9-mile loop and a mid-race out-and-back with this shorter distance. The 26k distance served as a nice training brick for the California International Marathon coming up in December and was an amazing experience. 

While some of my 26.2 race years here have been downright miserable in the end, I pretty much loved that 26k! 

Amazing fall photo that my mom took!

My goal going into the race was to keep an even 6:45/mile pace, essentially practicing and gaining confidence to hopefully keep that pace for the full marathon in California. I debated on wearing headphones for this because the full marathon distance can get so lonely at this smaller race. Thankfully I decided against it because the 26k was anything but lonely! 

After only a few miles mostly solo, I was running through the half marathoners and had their company (and a ton of people weaving - mixed feelings on that!) for the rest of the race. I do enjoy running with other people and it was nice cheering each other along! 

Splits that were a lot more even on paper than they actually felt! 

As we hit the rolling hills portion of the race, Coach Pooley told me to run up at a 7.5 effort and then speed up to a 9.5 on the way down. That worked beautifully and this was the first time ever that I didn't walk or really even struggle on those hills! Lets hope that translates to stronger hill legs for the upcoming marathon - and maybe I can come back next year and kill the hills running the Blue Ox full marathon instead :) 

The Psalm I thought of throughout this race (and in the course of life in general): Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24. There is no use in shrinking back and being intimidated by hard things to come. Face them head on, with the strength, courage and hope that comes from only our Lord Jesus Christ.
What we don't see: my left big toenail, deciding it hates me (I didn't even know!)

Almost everything went off without a hitch in this race! There was no need to carry my own hydration this year, as their aid stations were back to normal now after covid. The biggest troubles were trying to weave around half marathoners while running on the side of the highway with traffic and a teeny road shoulder to squeak by on. 

And then stopping a car from pulling out in front of me at the final stoplight, a mile or so out from the finish line! I put my hand up to signal "STOP!!!". In hindsight, good thing the person actually did stop because my legs didn't stop running either. Had it gone the other way, I may have been Blue Ox 26k roadkill... Hopefully volunteers will watch that intersection next time though I do understand that recruiting volunteers is no easy task. 

1:48:13 and an automatic PR - this is likely the only race course I will ever run as a 26k :) I wanted to finish under the 2-hour mark at least and it happened! The pace felt good, hills weren't terrible and I wasn't limping away at the end of this one. And the other thing - I felt like my legs didn't have much power at the Dick Beardsley Half last month and I ended up beating the time I ran there during this 26k effort (1:27:07 at the half). So that's encouraging that the training progress is being made!

After congratulating my fast friend who won the half (and I missed out on celebrating with another friend who won the 10k on Friday!), the family & I headed to find food and the Paul & Babe playground. We couldn't miss out on this perfect park-playing weather! 

Happy 10-Year Anniversary, Bemidji Blue Ox!

6:39 per mile, not 6:29 ;) 


Popular posts from this blog

#RuntheYear 2022 + Knockaround Slingshot Snow Goggle Review

A Gentle Feast: Cycle 1 Term 1 & 2

Save Those Toes | KT Tape Blister Prevention