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Race Recap: TCM Hot Dash 10-Mile

March 9, 2015

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Over the last few years, my family and I have participated in (and spectated) quite a few Twin Cities in Motion events, including:

Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon
Medtronic TC 10-Mile
Red, White and Boom Half Marathon
Valentine’s Day TC 5k
Irish for a Day 5k and 10-Mile
TC Kids Fieldhouse Fun Run

In my opinion, TCM puts on rockstar worthy events that are very organized, fun, well staffed and volunteered, and popular. The Hot Dash, a substitute for their usual Irish for a Day race, was a step up from last years race in many ways. I also think the race could use a little improving. I am sure in the next few years, each Hot Dash race will be even better than the last.

I ran the Hot Dash 10-mile with my sister-in-law. As you know, I am in week 6 of marathon training, so I moved around a few of my runs to accommodate this race working with my training plan. Overall, I felt great race day. My sister-in-law generally runs a faster pace than me, but I have been running farther distances the last fews months. It worked out perfectly to share a comfortable race pace and we both appreciated getting to run together!

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Minnesota has been sub-zero degrees or windchills for, at-least, the last few weeks. Saturday morning’s race was forecast to be 30-35 degrees with 15 mph wind. The weather on race day, while still chilly, was so wonderful. It was so good for the soul. It truly was, what felt like, the first day of Spring. Every Minnesotan running that day, survived another Winter of running!

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The first 4 miles were pretty windy and cold, but as we ran South the wind diminished and I got really hot! I wished I could have ditched my sweatshirt at that point. I didn’t let it bother me too much, as I have been complaining about the cold for 3 months, I’ll complain about the warmth in July. Or, never maybe.

In summary, here are a few of the new Hot Dash race pros, to name a few:
Improved Route
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I’m glad I got to experience last year’s TCM Irish for a Day 10-mile race at Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun. The snow and icy conditions of last years route were less than ideal as runners were congested to avoid icy ruts on the race course. Running this year’s Hot Dash route near St. Anthony Main, through NE Minneapolis, alongside the river and near downtown Minneapolis was much less congested as previous years. There were also more places for spectators to be with ample side streets for parking.
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Improved Parking (see also cons)
My sister-in-law and I parked in the TCM suggested parking ramp and had no issues getting in or out. The ramp was attached to a kind of indoor court yard that was near to the race start and was also a good place to suit up.
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Fun Theme
Since I have already experienced an Irish race this time of year, the Hot Dash’s lumberjack meets MN hipster theme was refreshing and fun.

Many Volunteers
I am always impressed with how many staff and volunteers TCM has available to direct and help you during race day. From information at the start to cheering at the blockades during the race, the TCM volunteers rock!

Chip in Bib
I’ve never ran a race with a chip on your actual race bib. It was nice to just pin my bib race morning without having to fumble with a chip on my shoe.

Easy Packet Pick-Up and Sweats Check
Like the course, the general start and information area was much less congested than other year’s races. Packet pick-up and sweats check seemed to be flowing with runners seamlessly.
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Free Beer
I had a great feeling race day, so I was all about my post-race beer and hot food! It’s such a great gesture to get a cold beer handed to you without having to pay for it out right!
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Post-race beer was provided by Finnegan’s self-proclaimed “Irish Holy Water”! Seriously, I has having such a great morning, I think could have drank 5 cans!

Post-Race Location
There is just something awesome about the post-race party. Looking around, you have a bunch of runners smiling exhaustedly, drinking beer and eating bananans and kettle chips. This energetic atmosphere was only enhanced by the downtown Minneapolis skyline views and rushing river.
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Warm Post-Race Party
Race morning was sunny and cold, but nothing near the subzero temps with have been experiencing the last few months. Saturday really felt like Spring is here! I get pretty cold after Spring races when the sweat dries, so it was nice to have fire pits, provided by Fireside, to keep us warm at the post-race party.
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Of course, some of these pros and cons are due to my personal experience. By listing some of the cons, I am not trying to take away the overall awesome experience I had running this race. Here are a few of the cons, in my opinion:

Cobblestone in the Last .5 Mile of Route
Too Few Water Stops
Back-Up in Parking Ramp (I did not experience this)
Post-Race Hot Food
Pay for Coffee
Ill Fitting Race Shirts
Too Few Post-Race Vendors

Like I’ve said, these are all cons that didn’t really affect the happiness of my overall race experience. My sister-in-law and I finished strong and it’s hard to let anything bother you after having such a positive running experience!

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My sister-in-law and I enjoyed our beer at the post-race party and then headed back to my house where we hung out with my husband, my kids, and my in-laws. I have a little nagging groin pain on my left side, but it isn’t anything I can’t (or feel I shouldn’t) run through. After I warm up the first few miles, I don’t notice it at all, even.

I would totally run the Hot Dash race again and recommend it, or any other TCM event, to someone who is considering a road race this year!

Who else raced this weekend? Anyone else complete the Hot Dash?

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7 Comments

  • Reply Jessie March 9, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Great recap, thanks for sharing! This sounds like a great event. Its good that you still shared some of the “cons” even though you had a really positive experience; some constructive feedback is still helpful for improving for next year. What did you think about the out-and-back?

    The cobblestones are the finish for a lot of Mpls races (Torchlight 5k for example) and they are definitely a challenge to run on, but I can see why races finish there, such a great spot for an after-party.

    Congrats on a strong race! Which spring marathon are you doing?

    • Reply MaryBeth at The Thrive Blog March 10, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Thank you for the supportive comment, Jessie! I have been reading your blog for a while now & I appreciate you stopping by.

      The big out and back didn’t bother me at all. But, if you see the small out and back after mile 7 – that one bothered me. You had to kind of do a round-about, jump the curb type turn around. Not a fan.

      I too, totally understand how awesome the finish area is even though you have to run on the nasty cobblestone. It really is beautiful but someone just has to get injured there after every race, don’t you think!

      I hope to run either Med City Marathon in Rochester or the Minneapolis Marathon. My training is going great but I can’t decide which I’d rather do more. There are pros and cons to both!

      Thanks again for swinging over,
      MB

      • Reply Jessie March 11, 2015 at 11:01 am

        Good luck with the rest of your training! I’m sure either Med City or Minneapolis will be awesome. I look forward to following along in your training!

  • Reply Erin March 10, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Good recap! You are having a great winter/almost spring!! I had such a fun time doing the 5K. My only ask for next year is waved starting. There were so many walkers (my 30 mn time shouldn’t have me literally passing almost 50% of the participants) that they could’ve had a few different start time. However, that’s a common issue so not surprising. Definitely worth it though!

    • Reply MaryBeth at The Thrive Blog March 10, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      You have been having a great season, yourself! Waved starting is a good suggestion! Kristie & I started a bit ahead of our overall pace goal to keep from getting stuck behind. I think some people just don’t realize other runners have goals even if they don’t win! I’m so glad you suggested running this race this year as it really got me pumped up for the next few weeks!

  • Reply kilax March 12, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Great race! And how fun that you got to run it with your SiL!!!

    I totally agree that it felt like the first day of spring. I was like “What is that giant glowing thing in the sky?! Is that warmth I feel?!” LOL. It’s been cold in IL, too 🙂

    Did you have to pay for the hot food after? I thought you did, but now I wonder if I am confused. I totally missed the interior courtyard! What a neat space!

    I am happy you mentioned this course being better than last year’s due to congestion on that one. I thought the first half+ was kind of boring, but better than falling all over each other!

    I agree they put on a great race! I hope I get to try another one of theirs someday!

    • Reply MaryBeth at The Thrive Blog March 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks for swinging over, Kilax! There is something about the tilt of the sun (for lack of a more educated term) that feels like a Spring sun. Even if the air is still cold, the sun warms me up!

      The hot food disappointment was, there was no real hot food. You got a small ramekin of hash brown potatoes. I didn’t need a big meal or anything, of course, but it seemed a little silly when the race was advertised as a spin off a MN hot dish and the hot food seemed like it was going to be something substantial.

      I hope you run another TCM event, as well! Maybe I’ll see you at the next one!

      MB

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