2014 Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon

Duluth, MN – June 21, 2014
(by Scott Leindecker)


Pre race:
I rolled into Duluth and my car temperature gauge read 47 degrees! Almost a 30 degree difference from when I left Bemidji! I am lucky to have a cheap place to stay in Duluth. My friend, college roommate/ teammate, Howie Leathers lives in Duluth. All I have to do is supply the Stittsworth meats for the post race party to get in the door! The evening was nice. A gourmet Italian meal of chicken, pasta, salad, and a couple of Moose Drools then off to bed.

Race morning I was awakened from my REM sleep at 4:16am to the sound of the coffee grinder. I think my heart rate rocketed to 170 BPM. It sounded like a rocket was taking off. Get up, last check of the race bag, grab a coffee, banana, Clif bar, fill my water and out the door at 4:45am to catch the bus to the starting line. On the bus ride up I noticed I forgot to attach my race number to my race bag! YIKES! No worries though, I threw all of my belongings into Howie’s bag and everything was all good.
At the start line we had time to mill around, chat with local athletes and use the mini biff one more time before the gun.

The race: My early plan was to finish in the 1:30s but way back in my mind I thought maybe just maybe I could break 1:30. I knew to do this I needed to average 6:53. The coach in me says to even pace the race, the athlete in me says go out hard for as long as possible and hang on! Well, I went with the athlete plan and pushed the pace early. The first 6 miles in the 640’s 50’s with a race average under 1:30 pace for about 8.5 miles. Then everything went south from there from the 1:30 pace. At mile 10 I recalculated and set a new goal of 1:35. At this point my hip and glute were screaming loud on the cobblestone surface downtown. But by the time you are that far the adrenalin of the crowd takes over and it’s a fun 2 miles to the finish. I looked at my Garmin and it read 1:34.41. I finished 31st in my group, 450th something overall, I made the backup goal. Last year I believe I ran right around that mark. Last fall I hit at PR of 1:32 at Blue OX. In that race I began plenty slower. Hmmmmm………!

After: Felt OK, happy with my race. Found all of the others in the crowd of 8000. The first place to look for my race mates is in the beer tent.

Next: I have not signed up for anything. We will see. Until then I will do some swimming, riding, and running.


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