After months of waiting, I finally got to run the Esprit de She Maple Grove! I look forward to this race each year! As you all know I love the Gildan Esprit de She race series but I also LOVE local races (meaning right in Maple Grove)!
I was little worried about the weather and that will would cause the race to be cancelled. The rain, thunder, and lightening rolled in about 11pm the night before and didn’t look like it was ever going to let up. By some miracle, about an hour before race time that all rolled out and the sun came out.
There is nothing better than leaving your house 30 minutes before the race begins and getting event with enough time to get ID’d for the wine afterwards, talk to two friends you hadn’t seen in years, and still line up with time to spare!
I was supposed to approach this race as a training run for TC10 so that meant training pace. I lined up right in front of the walkers since I was supposed to maintain at 14:24 pace. Before I knew it, I was off. The first little bit of the race the runners have the whole road to run but once we turn the corner we are limited to the sidewalk and one lane of the road. Then about three-quarters of a mile down it is limited to just the sidewalk.
So as you can imagine that can cause some frustration if people don’t really line up according to pace. And then to add a little bit more complexity, there is also a 10K and those runners have to run the loop twice. Due to past experence, I knew running my training pace was going to be a challenge. When my Garmin 920XT buzzed to let me know I had hit my first mile, I thought I saw the pace wrong! 12:38! And I thought, “Okay, nice but slow down, you are not focused on racing this race. You have bigger goals and plans! SLOW DOWN!!”
I backed off or I tried to but soon I was coming up on walkers (obviously didn’t line up according to pace). And since we had to share one sidewalk I had to get around them and of course I picked up the pace to do that. Sooner than I expected, my Garmin was buzzing again. 12:41! I slowed down but two seconds was not going to do it! At that point, I said screw it! The 10Kers were going to be on me in moments, just run! And oh yes, those 10Kers were on me, 30 seconds later I heard the biker leading the first one.
And from that point on the race got a little more frustrating. I felt really bad for the 10Kers because many of the women were not paying attention so they were having to weave around runners and walkers. I heard one walker talk about the rude runners who were yelling “ON YOUR LEFT”, being me, I had to correct her and let her know they were running the 10K. She had no idea and then made a comment about she was wondering why they were still running so fast. I had no words, at that point I picked up my pace. I just needed to finish.
As I crossed the finish line, it dawned on my that my Garmin didn’t alert me to my pace on mile three. I thought I probably just missed it when I was talking to the walker. However, after stepping off to the side and looking at the data I realized the course was really short. According to my Garmin, I had only run 2.87 miles. I wondered if there was something wrong because the course what slightly different than it was the prior years yet it was finishing in the same place.
After that I finally hit the Bubbly Bar and met up with several of the other Esprit de She ambassadors. Deena of Propellergirl brought us all propeller trucker hats! How awesome are they!
I will be honest, I am a little disappointing with the Maple Grove Esprit de She. However, I think it was a fluke because it has been nothing but great in the past. A few of the things I did like was that there were a lot of mother daughter pairs. I love that this series encourages women of all ages to participate! I followed on pair where the daughter ran a little way and then rode in the stroller. The little girl had the race tank top on but of course it was way too big but her mom did great to make it work!
I do also appreciate that the Gildan Esprit de She Maple Grove staff has acknowledged that the course ended up being short. The could have ignored all the comments but they didn’t they acknowledged it and apologized.
All in all it was still a fun evening and I know that it was an off night for Esprit de She Maple Grove. There is no question in my mind, I will still participate again next year!