Location, Location, Location

This is a topic I almost wrote about yesterday, but it seemed more fitting for today.

Obviously, living in the Midwest, most of my races take place in either Iowa, Wisconsin, or Minnesota (sorry Illinois). Naturally, this gives me quite a bit of location overlap. And I’ve noticed that for whatever reason (it’s probably psychological) I run better or worse in some locations or races.

This weekend (tomorrow), I’ll be running The Run to Exile 10k in downtown Des Moines. This races takes us around Gray’s Lake in downtown. This will mark the fourth time, and third different race, I’ll be racing around the Lake. It is the first time I’ll be doing it in reverse. My first adventure to the Lake was at the Leprechaun Chase where poor pacing, and coming off being sick, wrecked me. The next two times came on the final leg of Market to Market. Both times I dropped good times, but felt awful as I was wrapping up a day long running journey. Will Saturday finally be the race that turns the tide?

The location that has given me the most fits, though, has been downtown Milwaukee. Oh my goodness. Let’s review. My first race in downtown was the Brewers Mini, where I ran on an increasingly ailing hamstring and IT Band. My next trip downtown was for the Milwaukee Running Festival. This race still represents my only DNF. And this past weekend I ran the Rock N’ Sole to my slowest Half Marathon time. For whatever reason, downtown Milwaukee is the scourge of my running.

Conversely, there are places incredibly kind to me. The Beer and Bagel run in Jester Park obviously has been kind to me, with a 1st place age group finish last year, and a 1st overall this year. Market to Market is another race which I seem to be able to run great. I still consider the 2015 edition to be my finest hour running. And the 20 miles I rocked at a sub 6:50 this year was no slouch either. This year coming on the heels of a poorly run Full Marathon.

My best racing location, though, has been Minnesota. Gopher to Badger (predominantly run in MN) has long been a favorite of mine. I’ll even include Grandma’s Marathon as a success here (more so if I had known how to run a full). Additionally, my Half Marathon PR resides in Minnesota at the Polar Dash. Throw in my third overall finish at the Frozen Feet, and you’ve got a lot of success in the north woods.

Like I said, it could be psychological. It could just be my fitness leading into the races. Obviously, conditions play a role in any of these races too. Or maybe it’s just a sign I need to live in Minnesota to enhance my running ability.

Are there any places you have had more success running than others? Have you found a reason for it?

Run: Trail Thursday allowed me my first opportunity to test out the Xodus 6.0 I got to charge through some streams, which let me know that the water-proofing really works on the shoes. The only minus of the shoes was the lack of breath-ability. Oh well. The run wasn’t great for me, though. I love running trails, but running trails the day after some speed wasn’t the best. Now I know why I normally take a day off after speed work. Oof. Race day tomorrow though.

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