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Earth day run 2019 – St Cloud MN

Yes, I’m behind on my race recaps this year! Between work, travel and life, when I have had time to sit and just chill, working on blog stuff has just not been on my mind! Now that fall is here and life is starting to slow down a bit, my goal is to get a little more caught up on all of my summer adventures for 2019!

1st order of business… Earth Day Run in St Cloud MN!

I am asked to work a new (to me) race expo, it usually doesn’t take me long to say yes! Not only do I love working new expos and meeting new people but it also give me a chance to run new places! This was the case with the Earth Day Run in St Cloud MN this year. The only races I have run in Minnesota have been in the Minneapolis/St Paul area, so I was excited to be able to explore new areas in MN!

When I arrived in St Cloud, I learned that my hotel, (The Best Western Plus Kelly Inn) which I knew was “close” to the race and expo was actually right next door! The only thing between my hotel and the convention center was the parking ramp! BONUS!! And to make the deal even sweeter? They were automatically giving all runners a late check out of 1PM! There was no need to beg and plead to get an extra few hours to give myself time to shower and change after the race before hitting the road!

Since I was here to work, I headed over to the expo to get everything set up. After unloading and getting myself ready to work, I had a few minutes to walk and grab some lunch from a fun little Gyro place around the corner,check out a few of the other booths and grab my race packet before the expo opened to the general public.

Late night dinner by the fire, under the stars

After the expo wrapped up and I got all of my stuff packed up, I decided to head down to the restaurant to grab some dinner. It was cool enough outside that they had the fire lit, but yet warm enough to sit outside, so I grabbed a glass of wine and headed out to enjoy the fire while I waited for my food. Perfect way to end the day and get ready for the morning’s run!

Race Morning is always seems like organized chaos… but in a good way. I realized that there was another added bonus to having a hotel room so close… I could run to the convention center to exchange my shirt and bring it back to my room before the race! I realized late the night before that I was accidentally given a 5k shirt instead of a half marathon. Honest mistake, they are all basically the same shirt… just as the 5k or half marathon noted on the sleeve. So, i grabbed my shirt and took a walk! 5 minutes later I had a new (correct shirt) and was dropping it back off in my room!

It was a chilly morning but since I knew it was going to warm up quick, I left the long sleeve behind. Besides, I had the convention center to hang out in and stay warm right up until it was time to head to the start line! I took a look at the course bap, but even looking at that really didn’t give me any ideas as to what the course was going to be like because I have no clue about St Cloud! This was my first trip here, and I didn’t have much time for exploring yesterday since I was working. It’s all good tho, this race was all about seeing a new city and what it had to offer!

Only mission for the day – get back here in time to have a beer before I have to head to my hotel and shower (and still check out before 1pm)

This is the 20th annual race and fro the 1st time ever, the race actually started right downtown St Cloud! By the time it was go time, the sun was shining bright and it was starting to warm up… now time to hope that it doesn’t get too warm before I finish!

The 1st half of the race was mainly through residential areas and a small commercial area. You could see so much of the history of town over these miles! The race used to start on the campus of St Cloud State University, but with the change to moving the race downtown, we now just ran through campus. The pedestrian bridge above was the 1st part of campus, but we wouldn’t actually run thru campus until the last few miles of the race.

With a sign like this, who WOULDN’T I stop?

I will have to say that this is the 1st race I have ever run that had an honest to goodness Beer Stop. Now, I have run races where there are “unofficial” beer stops on the course. Those amazing people in the community that set up their own refreshment station along the course for runners enjoyment. But this was a Beer Stop, sponsored by one of the local breweries!

After a quick stop for a sample or 2, I was off again! 5 more miles to the finish! This last section of the course brought us to the local trail! It was a wide paved trail that followed along the river back towards campus and downtown. It was just what I needed. It was starting to get warm and my legs were not liking the rolling hills of the 1st part of the race. Now, don’t get me wrong, the last part was not flat by any means either, but having the amazing scenery and the river was a welcome distraction!

I thought about taking a few pictures as I ran through campus, but to be honest, at that point, my focus was strictly on finishing! This was half number 2 for the month (2nd in 3 weeks) and 2 more on the schedule for next weekend. My legs were screaming and I wanted to be done. It was a complete mental game at this point!

Seeing that finish line was a welcome sight. I knew that I was over my goal for this race (5 minutes at the Beer Stop kinda killed that!) but knew that I needed to finish strong. I dug deep and left what I had out on the course. The spectators along the last half mile of the course were amazing! They gave me the boost that I needed to get through that last stretch.

After I crossed that finish line, I realized that I only had 20 minutes for that beer and a shower before I had to check out of the hotel so it was a quick dash through the beer line and I was heading back to the hotel!

Well earned bling and beverages!

Post shower, it was time for a quick lunch before hitting the road. What better place for post race refueling… the Pickled Loon for a beverage and some Avocado Taco’s! It was a quick trip but St Cloud did not disappoint! Great little city with an awesome local race! Maybe one day I will get back here so that I can actually spend some time exploring more of what the area has to offer!

Half Marathon #52

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