It was dark out as Erin and I drove to Detroit Lakes early in the morning of the event. We parked at the high school and walked over to Washington park. Packet pickup was well organized and I went through quickly. We had some time to kill as I tend to be early for events like these and fortunately we found many runners from the Fargo area that we knew to talk with. When the time came to line up to start I was surprised at how large the event was. I lined up towards the back of the crowd and waited for the start. I was far enough back that I didn't hear much of the starting announcements or even the signal to get going, but after a little bit saw the people head of me start to move and I trotted across the starting line.
The race starts with a 2 mile loop into town away from the lake before meeting back up with the lake and running around it for the last 11 miles. As you start heading away from the lake you run about a mile uphill before you get to turn around and head back downhill. Heading up the hill I wasn't quite holding myself back as much as I should have, but it wasn't disastrous either. The crowd is a little deceptive to start this race, some people are only running a 5k and start out at the same time as you. If you're using others to gauge your own effort you can easily get misled. As I was finishing the in town loop the 5k runners split off and the half marathoners start their run around the lake. I was glad to be back to some flat ground again and I was enjoying the view out over the lake. Crowd support was not nearly as good as when I'd run Fargo, but this was to be expected based on those I'd talked to that had run the event before. 3 or 4 miles in there was a DJ setup on a trailer playing Black Betty as I passed. I remember thinking how perfect the beat of this song was for running and what a nice pick-me-up it was.
As I continued on around the lake the flat terrain gave way to some hills. I wasn't really expecting much because I thought it would be flat all the way around the lake. After a particularly long uphill I was coming down a steep short downhill and I saw Erin and Rick. I didn't expect to see Erin during the race, but she had met up with Rick and they drove some of the course. I dropped a couple of empty water bottles with them and continued past the relay exchange station. By this point in the day it was starting to get warm out and one nice person had setup a garden hose on a ladder with the spray directed at the road. It was very refreshing as I ran through it. Towards the end of the race I struggled, the rolling terrain adding difficulty I wasn't mentally prepared for and the warmer temps took their toll. The last few miles felt like they went on forever, but eventually I was turning the last corner heading for the finish line. I was proud to get my finishers medal and glad to be done running for the day. I had some post race munchies as Erin and I tried to figure out where we wanted to go eat. We didn't really feel like joining others at Zorbaz so we opted for Perkins. As we entered the restaurant we ran into Rick and Kristy and joined them before heading back to town.