My wife's 22nd TC Marathon!

>> Wednesday, October 05, 2022

I did my 10th TC 10 Mile on Sunday, and my wife did her 22nd TC Marathon! Here are a few random pics from her day:

We found Mama's name at the Marathon Expo.

After she dropped me off at my race, she still had an hour before hers.

I finished my race and got home to Henry. (Charlie was at Grandma's with my sister-in-law's family.) We both ate the rolls that my parents got us from the day before:

Mine was an apple pie long john and Henry's was a s'more donut!

We watched a little of the Vikings (extra early in the day because it was being played in London), and then planned on biking down the hill to see Mama around mile 21 of her race:

Herny's sign.

I didn't get a photo of it happening, but we watched someone change the GREEN
flag to a RED flag because it had gotten so warm for the marathoners! Yikes!

Raking cups.

We found her! She was not having a great time.

Henry and I hopped back on our bikes and went up the hill to find her again. We found her around mile 22 or 23:

Henry ran with them for 2 blocks. Mama's running partner Britta is not having a good time.

A selfie in the shade at the finish!

With her running/training partner Britta!

At home with Henry and his sign.

Her splits. Note that her pace slows because of the heat, but yet her overall place
kept dropping for most of the race (in green) as the heat was getting EVERYONE!

She was hoping for 4:30 - 5:00, so she's not too bummed with her 4:55 on a day that got a little too warm. She was just happy that she got Britta to the finish!

Here's my race report if you missed it. Back with a bit more about my race tomorrow.


Race Report: The 2022 TC 10 Mile!

>> Monday, October 03, 2022

My favorite (but BRUTAL) race! This would be my 10th TC 10 Mile and my 13th 10 Mile overall.

Pre-race "business" in our basement bathroom.

Hoping this 3-year expired PowerBar wouldn't let me down!

On the light rail with my marathon running cutie!
(Sorry, not trying to flex here... just staying warm!)

We went to meet my team, but I missed a last-minute message saying they couldn't meet where they wanted to, so I snuck into the Radisson Red hotel and used their NICE bathrooms. Then we headed to the "Corral A" for the TC 10 Mile where my wife dropped me off:

My wife grabbed a full body shot so you could see the pink plaid shorts as well. :)

Inside Corral A, I bumped into Laurie and Tom, and then later I chatted with Meg and Leah. Tom came back over and got a selfie:

Some YWCA teammates: Tom, me, Leah, and Meg!

I re-masked, lined up closer to the front but still a BIT back, and waited for the start. As I noted in Saturday's post, I didn't want to go out too hard. I wanted to ease into the race a bit, but then still shoot for a sub-62 if possible (and that's a tricky combo of DON'T GO OUT HARD, but also MAKE SURE YOU'RE FAST). I talked with Michael B and Diane H before the gun.

"5 SECONDS... GOOOOOO!!!!!!......"

I started a bit slow stuck behind some people. After 10-20 seconds, I was able to hop to the right to get some clear street and pass a solid number of runners. There was a guy at the first turn (2 blocks into the race) who got tripped up with another runner maybe 50' in front of me and went down HARD. My first half-mile split clocked in at 3:00, and I figured my adrenaline took me out a bit fast.

I passed and cheered on teammate Dan and clocked a fast first mile:

• MILE 1: 6:01 (3:00 and 3:01)

I hit the curving roads along the river and couldn't "run the tangents" well - there were too many people on the roads, so I knew I'd be giving up some time. I had 3 "Collegeville" runners in front of me (a local team), and I considered trying to pass them as I really gained on them on the downhills, but they pulled a way on the flats. But I decided to be smart and stay back a bit as I already turned in a first mile that was too fast. Mile 2 wasn't getting any better:

• MILE 2: 6:05 (3:00 and 3:05) "OK, NOW I'm getting a little worried! Don't BLOW UP here!"

I made it a point to start easing up. If I wanted to go out easier, THAT'S NOT WHAT I WAS ACTUALLY DOING. I took it easy up the hill around mile 2.5 and let 3 people pass me. I was still feeling OK, but I didn't know what the later miles of the race would hold: last year I ended up starting a BIT fast, and it maybe hurt me later on. This year I was in better shape, but I didn't want to push my luck 1/4 of the way into a 10 mile race.

• MILE 3: 6:28 (3:11 and 3:16)

That was a big uphill mile, and now we were on flat(ter) roads up on the St. Paul side of the Mississippi. I tried to "keep it strong" here without overdoing it, and mile 4 was pretty right on:

• MILE 4: 6:10 (3:08 and 3:02) "That's perfect. How long can you hold that?"

I was 10 seconds slower now than I was last year, and that was about perfect. In last year's race, I started giving up lots of time starting in mile 5, so I was trying to keep that from happening this year. Mile 5 last year was 6:26, but I kept it 10 seconds faster this year:

• MILE 5: 6:16 (3:05 and 3:10)

The only big difference compared to last year's race is that last year I was just using a "stop watch" because my Garmin had just died. This year I was getting 1/2 mile splits on my Garmin, but my not-being-able-to-run-the-tangents around mile 2 made my Garmin start beeping about 0:15 to 0:20 BEFORE the actual mile markers. So even though my Garmin said 31:02 when it beeped for mile 5 (just a few seconds slower than last year which was the goal), I didn't ACTUALLY cross the mile 5 marker until 31:18. That still wasn't bad, but I needed to be aware of that extra time if I ended up coming CLOSE to a goal.

That climb up past mile 5 sucked as always. Terrence was at the top and said hi. I tried to keep my breathing and heart rate in check. I felt better turning onto Summit this year than I did last year: still hoping for some Summit Ave magic!

• MILE 6: 6:24 (3:09 and 3:14) "I said... I'M HOPING FOR SOME SUMMIT AVE MAGIC!!!"

The same thing happened that USUALLY happens at this race, and my perceived "better fitness" couldn't do anything about it: I was bleeding time heading up that false flat on Summit Ave. I tried, folks... I did. But I couldn't "better fitness" my way out of this. I felt like there was a breeze out of the east that we were fighting, but I didn't know if that was just me looking for an excuse, or if we really WERE going to be bucking the wind for these final 4 miles.

• MILE 7: 6:25 (3:10 and 3:14)

Many of these half miles I'd think "alright... THIS one's going to be more like 3 minutes FLAT!" But then they never were. I had gone out too hard and I was paying for it now. I still think my fitness was better this year, but I didn't stick to the initial plan early on and it cost me! I was bummed, but also still shooting to see how much (if ANYTHING) I could shave off these splits as the race went on.

I knew I was at 43:47 at mile 7 last year, and this year I was a few seconds over 44:00. I TRIED to up the pace a bit to see if there was a CHANCE to keep them at or under 6:00/mile from this point on (to see if I could still be around 62 minutes total), but that was a long shot.

• MILE 8: 6:16 (3:07 and 3:09) "Sub-1:02 isn't going to happen. But don't give up TOO much!"

I wasn't that upset about the race. I was still trying to pick up the pace, so I hadn't completely thrown in the towel. But yet, my mile 9 splits were depressing:

• MILE 9: 6:22 (3:10 and 3:12)

I don't think I've had THAT slow of a 9th mile before at the TC 10 Mile. D'oh.

I still really tried to kill this final mile. I wasn't giving up. But there were areas that my legs just couldn't go any faster and I'd seemingly ease up for 10 seconds and someone would pass me. I was digging though. Tom R posted this photo from the finish line looking back up the hill past the Cathedral at 7:30 (when the 8:00 bells were tolling when I ran past an hour into my race with a few minutes left to run):

It WAS a beautiful morning!

I tried to use that downhill to the finish. I ACTUALLY PASSED 2 OF THE 3 COLLEGEVILLE GUYS THAT HAD BEEN IN FRONT OF ME AT MILE 1, but as I got close, they turned and high-fived and it looked like they were hardly working. Damn it... I just passed 2 guys out for a leisurely jog right before the finish line where I was dying. #BigMan

• MILE 10: 5:57 (3:06 and 5:50)


Steve Stenzel, 41, M, St. Paul

6:16.4 pace

142 out of 8469 overall
128 out of 3042 males
13 out of 519 in the male 40-44 age group

31:18 first half, 31:26 second half

Passed 90 and was passed by 17 from start to mile 5.
Passed 7 and was passed by 7 from mile 5 to 8.6.
Passed 3 and was passed by 4 mile 8.6 to the finish.

6:16 pace from start to mile 5.
6:24 pace from mile 5 to 8.6.
6:01 pace from mile 8.6 to the finish.

[Garmin: 1:02:45 for 10.06 miles (6:16.5 pace)]

Pace: big dip for the big hill at mile 3, then just randomness until a FAST finish.

Elevation: big hill around mile 3, short steep climb at mile 5, that TIME SUCKING
false flat for 1.5 miles, then some nice downhills right before the finish.

Nothing unusual with my heart rate...

... but a LONG TIME in Zone 5.

Check the lower right: there WAS a wind from the east!
(I mean... not much... but I feel a little validated...)

My Garmin map with pace colors shows me starting a BIT faster (note they are half-mile splits)...

... Summit Ave is all slower blue...

... and then I bust it down that hill in red.

One of the people that passed me up the hill at mile 2.5 was a woman who I then went back-and-forth with for a lot of the race. She ended up finishing with my exact same finishing time, but just in front of me as she must have started closer to the front of the pack:

Me DYING behind her just before the finish!

The guys on the team who I caught just before the line!

I ended up meeting up with that woman and her husband for the light rail ride back to our cars! We had a nice chat about running/training with kids as they have 3 kids under 5. I found her husband's time, and he posted a 59:59! And they commented about getting BACK to running with their little ones, so look for both of them to be crushing me soon! :)

And another guy I ran near for a chunk of the race had to come over in the finisher's chute to say hi. He said he NEEDS to get a pair of pink shorts, because all he heard throughout the race was people cheering for and commenting on my shorts! (He wasn't wrong.) It was great!

So not the time I hoped for, but learned a lesson about going out too hard. Back with more photos shortly, and a bit about my wife's 22nd TC Marathon!!!


Pre-Race Thoughts/Goals for the TC 10 Mile

>> Saturday, October 01, 2022

Let's first compare some training numbers: LONG RUNS and SPEEDWORK...

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My long runs haven't felt GREAT all summer, but they were better than last year:

In 2021, I was "coming back" from some achilles issues all throughout June and July. I spent a lot of the summer on the treadmill just so I could stop at a moment's notice if things started to act up (so I wasn't trained on any hills). In August and September of last year, I only had 4 runs that were over 10 miles until the week of the TC 10 Mile. (And the middle "pace miles" of those runs were 5 or 5.5 miles at 6:20, 6:21, 6:31, and 6:31 pace.)

This year, I had 7 runs that were over 10 miles in August and September. One of those was a fartlek, and of the remaining 6, 3 of them had "pace miles" at 6:20 or faster, and the other 3 were in the 6:20s. Of those 7 long runs, 1 was a fartlek, 1 had 5 "pace miles," 1 had 5.5 miles, and 4 had 6 miles of effort.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Even more dramatic was the difference in speedwork from last year to this year:

In 2021, I did 3x1600 at the track in August, and 2x2 miles along River Road in Sept. Those were my ONLY 2 speed workouts from the end of May through the TC 10 Mile in early October!

This year, I got in some shorter speed workouts in June and July for the Raspberry Run 1 Mile. And then I kept it up (only lengthening the workouts for longer upcoming races) throughout the rest of the summer. I was sort of waiting for something to go wrong or an excuse to ease up some week, but I was lucky this summer. Here's the speedwork I've done since mid-June:

- 4x800 and 4x400
- 12x200
- 8x400
- 6x200 (see these first 4 workouts recapped here)
- 1 mile race
- 3 mile tempo
- 3x1600
- 4 miles building with the last 3 at tempo
- 5x (3 min hard, 3 min mod)
- Square Lake Triathlon
- 5x (3 min hard, 3 min mod)

Maybe the 1 mile race and the triathlon don't count as "speedwork," but that's still 9 other ACTUAL speed workouts in the last 3 months or so, which is HUGE for me. I had some back-to-back weeks of shorter speedwork leading up to the 1 mile in mid-July, but then a pretty consistent schedule of speedwork every-other week, which is about all I can safely do before risking getting injured. I couldn't have asked for much more out of my summer of running!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

So what does that mean for this year's race?

Honestly, until I looked at those numbers, I figured I'd be lucky to be where I was last year. Last year, I really suffered my way to a 1:02:00 finish when I had stated pre-race that SUB-1:02 was my best possible goal (soooo close). But I forgot I had so few decent long runs last year. (But I remembered I had VERY few speed workouts last year.)

So I suppose I can throw out the same goal this year, but it should be MORE POSSIBLE to hit (according to my training this year vs last year). So let's see if I can go sub-1:02 for the first time in 4 years (after being over 1:02 in my last 3 10 mile races). Maybe I can hit 6:10 pace if I'm lucky! (I'm still nervous saying that based on not STELLAR long runs over these last few months.) And I'll have to put up with a decent amount of suffering down Summit Ave, and I don't know how I feel about that - my running this summer has shown that I've lost some of my "suffering over longer distances" skill.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Race plan? Embrace what is comfortable.

Many years ago, I learned I like to "ease" into a race and then negative split it. But I also learned I could be faster if I suffered (and then hung on to that suffering) through a faster start.

At last year's race, I had planned to start off a bit easier, but then I found myself at 24:30 at mile 4 - the problem was thinking I'd start easy while ACTUALLY averaging 6:07 pace when an overall average of 6:12 was going to be my best possible day. Oops. That's not "easy." Then the wheels fell off and I had back-to-back-to-back mile splits of 6:26, 6:25, and 6:24.

So I still think I'll try to ease into this race a little. Maybe shoot for being a bit SLOWER than last year at mile 5 with the intention of being able to knock out some of those later miles (like mile 6 through 8) a bit faster. Hopefully. Last year, I hit the half-way point at 30:57 and then ran the 2nd half just a bit slower in 31:03. Compare that to my last sub-1:02 10 mile in 2018 where I was SLOWER at the half-way point (31:08), but then really negative split the race (30:33) to finish in 1:01:41. That was a big year of "double stroller" runs, so maybe I had extra strength because of pushing my 2 boys. But if I hit this race PERFECTLY, that 1:01:41 might be possible!

Stay tuned....


Friday Funny 2142: Fitness Funnies

>> Friday, September 30, 2022

Lots more funny things posted all week long on HAPPY WEEKEND!!


Friday Funny 2141: Funny Animals

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