>> Monday, September 10, 2012
Pharmie worked this past weekend, so a new sitter stopped by at 6:30 yesterday morning to watch Henry. He's had a little fever that we thought was from teething (but later found out it was a little bug), so he hasn't been his normal self for the last 2 days. We both hoped he'd do OK with the sitter.
I only got to the race about an hour early, but runners are more laid back than triathletes (or so I've witnessed). Here's the empty starting line of a race with 700+ runners just an hour pre-race:
The sun coming up over Lake Harriet. Bea-u-ti-ful morning!
Back in the car, ready to unleash my "Pinky and the Brain" shorts.
There was confusion at the start. Someone shouted GO, and the people in front didn't hear it. So someone else (maybe a runner) shouted GO about 5 seconds later, and off we went.
Nathan and I were side-by-side, and soon we had caught up to Amy (who also was planning on going out around 6:30 pace). I introduced those 2, and the 3 of us ran together and chatted until around the 2nd mile marker.
• MILE 1: 6:16.2.
• MILE 2: 6:23.7. "Those were both a bit faster than my 6:30 goal, but not so fast that I'm concerned."
Obviously, I wasn't thinking "Oh great - SUPER FAST RACE, here I come!" This distance intimidated me, and I wanted to keep it easier in the early parts of this race so I'd be able to finish without a major bonk later on.
• MILE 3: 6:23.9.
• UNOFFICIAL 5K SPLIT: 19:50. "Well, if we're running five 5Ks, then if I keep them all at 20:00, I'd finish with my GREAT goal of 1:40:00!"
I had let Nathan and Amy go around mile 2, but I sort of "found my groove" and caught back up to them in the 4th mile. But shortly after turning off of Lake Street, they started pulling away again. "Nope, let them go Steve. Run your OWN race - you don't want to go too hard here..."
• MILE 4: 6:22.8.
• MILE 5: 6:25.5. "Solid splits! The last 4 miles have been within 3 seconds of each other!"
It felt good knowing we "just" had 10 miles left. (25K is 15.5 miles.) I was feeling alright. My feet hurt a bit, I had the SLIGHTEST side-stitch forming, and my quads were a little tired, but I had to tell myself that THIS is was "good" felt like. "Keep it steady."
• MILE 6: 6:24.2.
• UNOFFICIAL 10K SPLIT: 39:53. "Still on pace for 1:40! CAN YOU HOLD THIS?!?"
• MILE 7: 6:29.3.
My splits had been slowing a little, but I still felt great about my time. I was hoping to be able to hit 6:30s, and I was holding splits faster than that so far!
I glanced at my Garmin at the half-way point of the race (around mile 7.75), and I think it read 49:53. That put me just a FEW seconds ahead of my "best day" goal of sub-1:40:00. But I was slowing up.
I had to have a "talk" with myself here. I was starting to hurt, and I was afraid I'd be slowing up. (I didn't think I'd BONK, but I WAS slowing down.) I had to say "Steve, your on pace right now to hit your BEST DAY goal of sub-1:40:00. WHAT IF you slow down? WHAT IF it starts to hurt and you finish in something like 1:43. That's still not bad for your first 25K! You had hoped to break 1:45! Suck it up, don't be hard on yourself, stay mentally strong, and just do what you can!"
• MILE 8: 6:30.0.
• MILE 9: 6:33.9.
• UNOFFICIAL 15K SPLIT: 1:00:02. "TWO seconds over your BEST DAY GOAL! Don't let these miles slip away here, and you still have a shot at 1:40!"
Mile 8 was my slowest mile, and then mile 9 was slower. But that included the climb between the lakes. We were now on our final lap around the lakes, and I wanted to GO! The race was 2.5 loops around Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun, and now I just needed to do 1 more loop around Calhoun and most of a loop around Harriet to get to the finish line. I had 6.5 miles left, but it felt like I had less. Here's the map of our 2.5 loops around both lakes:
• MILE 10: 6:30.4.
• MILE 11: 6:21.0.
• MILE 12: 6:25.3. "Good! Bringing the times back down! It's all mental now Steve... don't give in!"
While coming up to the 11th mile marker, we were running on Lake Street. I saw Nathan WAY up there - I'd lost sight of him and Amy before the end of the first loop (by mile 6 or 7). A pack of 4 or 5 runners had passed me just a bit before, and I was holding on to the last guy in that pack. He was probably only about 5 feet tall, which was oddly kinda nice - I could run right behind him, but still see over his head as to what was coming. He totally pulled me to that 6:21 mile! (My fastest mile since the opening mile!)
I ran up along side of him and said "It's all mental now! Stay strong!" He said something like "Yeah, but I'm running out of 'strong!' Ha!"
Oh, and just before I passed him, Carissa snapped a photo, and I felt good enough to SMILE 11 miles into the race:
My feet were KILLING me. I knew I had something nasty growing on my toes and on the balls of my feet. I tried not to think about it or let it alter my stride.
• MILE 13: 6:29.1.
• OFFICIAL HALF MARATHON SPLIT: 1:24:33. "Huh. Faster than the Rochester Half Marathon. Go figure. Now go!!"
(I bonked hard at the Rochester Half Marathon 2 weeks ago and finished DEAD in 1:25:45.)
Starting the 3rd loop sucked. The only part of the lakes we did 3 times was the HILLIEST part. Super. The final time through those hills was rough. Once we leveled off, I knew there was only about a mile left. Time to suffer and get to the line! GO HARD FOR SUB-1:40:00!!!
• MILE 14: 6:33.1.
• MILE 15: 6:26.4.
I looked at my watch at mile 15. It read 1:36:45. That meant if I kept a 6:30 pace, I'd finish RIGHT at 1:40:00! I saw Nathan over a block in front of me, and I knew I couldn't make up that in under a half mile. But I was going to use him to pull me.
I was giving it everything, and I felt like I was moving pretty good. My feet were killing me, I was barely getting enough air, and I kept looking for the finish. BUT I WAS GAINING ON NATHAN! I actually ran past him with about 100-200 meters to go, and he gave me a cheer. I felt bad that I couldn't reciprocate because I was "red-lining" so hard that I couldn't even get out a grunt. I just kept running hard in case he (or any other "Grand Prix" racers) would catch me. I hit the line and glanced at my watch.......
Holy crap. I nailed my "best possible race" goal of sub-1:40 with 10 seconds to spare! I was thrilled!!! I could hardly walk, but I was thrilled! :)
Steve Stenzel, 31, St. Paul, MN
1:39:50 chip time
6:25.60 / mile pace
1:24:33 half marathon split (they had a "certified" half split out there)
7th out of 33 in the 30-34 age group
51st out of 439 men
57th out of 720 overall
Here's my pace chart:
I walked back to my car because I could NOT run - my feet were hamburger (photos shortly). I dropped a few things at my car and then did a little CD jog, then stretched while watching runners go by. I snapped a "successful race" photo back at the car:
He laid like this (between my compression-socks-laden-legs) for nearly 10 minutes!
1st 5K: 19:50
2nd 5K: 20:03
3rd 5K: 19:59
4th 5K: 20:06
5th 5K: 19:45
And I passed a lot of people in that final 5K. I only passed a few people "bonking" earlier in the race, but mostly I was slowly being passed all race. But the final few miles were a different story. For example, Nathan hit the 13.1 mark 0:45 before me, but then I finished the race 0:08 seconds ahead of him. I made up 0:53 on him over the final 2.4 miles!
So the bottom of my feet were beat-up and were hurting me after mile 8ish, but THIS little guy on my toe wasn't making my race any better either: