Hot Dash 10 Mile - the one where I make all of the mistakes...

Race number 2 in the TCM Summit Challenge is the Hot Dash 10 Mile.

Registration - online, one registration for the entire series of races.  Also, apparently yes I will have the same number for these races, or it has been the same so far. This was a question I'd had from the previous race.

Weather and Wardrobe - This morning I went outside, and saw a full inch of snow.  Oh fuck.  Air temps 28*, winds around 10mph in my face for the first 4 miles.
Top: Smart wool base layer and wind breaker
Bottom: Lined fleece tights
Socks: Compression socks with smart wool socks over top
Shoes: Altra Lone Peaks (I've run both road races this year in my trail shoes because of snow)
Also: gloves came off around mile 1, hat come off around mile 8 and I instantly regretted that decision

Packet Pick Up - I did a light rail/bus combination to get myself to the start line today.  When I arrived, I stopped by the Big Book of Numbers to find my race number, then grabbed my packet.  I estimate it took about 3 minutes and the volunteers were nice.  Bag check was a bit busy because everyone had to wait in line for the stapler to attach their number to their bag, but I used a spare pin so I avoided that line.

Start line - the start line is where things really began to fall apart for me.  The website said they'd have pacers for 11:00/mile, 12:00/mile and 12:30/mile.  I wanted to stay with 12:00/mile, because I knew I could hold it and move up if I wanted.  One was way too fast and one was too slow.  Except the 12:00/mile pacer was nowhere to be seen.  Ever.  The roads before the race were crazy icy and some people from the 'burbs couldn't make it in so I'm wondering if that's what happened.

Course - this course blows.  Even if I'd been having a good day I would've hated this course hard.
Partial Road Closures - Mile 2 -7 were largely on Marshall Ave which was partially open to traffic.  Normally this wouldn't bother me.  I mention it becuase..
Two Way Running Traffic on a partially open road - This course starts with a long out and back section.  Somewhere before mile 3 the leaders started coming "back".  The course got really narrow and very confused with cop cars and lead out bikes telling us to move one way and volunteers telling us to move back because there were cars allowed on part of that street
Industrial NE Minneapolis is boring - The volunteers cheered for us and tried to be interesting.  But we were literally running by seven miles of factories.
Cobblestones at the finish - Whose idea was this?!?

Race - I didn't have a back up plan when the pacer was a no show.  I thought I'd be in a group and just let everyone drag me through this.  I hadn't thought at all about what kind of pace I thought I could hold on my own, or what kind of race I wanted to have (other than "please don't make my ankle worse").   Since I was alone, I wasn't mentally prepared for this race at all and that was the real mistake of the day.  Sigh.  I went out a bit too hard and paid for it near the end of the race.

Finish - I hate cobbles.  Also, there wasn't a big "FINISH LINE" with a sign and balloons that I could see from far off.  Once I turned onto the cobbles I had difficulty telling how much farther I had to run.  Am I there yet?!? 

Race Recommended For - Um, well... I wouldn't run this race again unless it's part of a race series.  The course is not fun.  And the pre-race logistics (ie parking in NE Minneapolis) make it a pain in the ass.  This hurts me to say because the race is well organized and well supported, both things I've come to expect from TCM.  But the scheduling and the course felt like "we needed a spring race and these are the roads the Minneapolis police would let us close so let's see what we can throw together". 

Goals/Outcomes - Before the race I was thinking I'd stay with the 12:00/mile pacer and then if I was feeling good late in the race I'd pull on ahead.  Instead, there was no pacer and I went out way too damn fast.  In the end, I beat my time from October. Barely.  Given the week of not really running, that surprised me.  I wish I'd believed in myself that I had that fitness level in me.  I think I could've paced better and squeezed out a bit more at the end. 

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