>> Sunday, July 05, 2009
Yesterday morning, a few of students from the “CVA Triathlon Club” and I went down to race at the Free to Run 4 Miler on Harriet Island. (Note: It’s only 3 weeks until a few CVA students tackle their first sprint triathlon!!) We all met at CVA and headed down to the race together.
Harriet Island was hosting “The Taste of Minnesota:” a drunken food fair with live bands. (Tonight is Brett Michaels if you’re interested.) So I wasn’t surprised to find a porta-potty that looked like this:
Evan, Sarah, Hannah, and me
Ready, set, GO!
We were off. A man named Vladimir who had a strong Russian accent quickly took the lead. And he just kept pulling away. Right away, I realized that unless he crashed, he’d easily take the win. I was running with a tall 27 year old name Ryan, and soon, we were joined by 43 year old Doug. The 3 of us were running side-by-side in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place. We chatted about the weather, this race, other races, and the course for the first 2 miles. Friendly guys!! I love races like that!
Mile 1: 5:50. “Good. Solid, but not too hard. Where I want to be.”
As we were heading up to the turn-around, I saw Danielle at the aid station with her camera. I think she snapped a photo. I smiled and said hi, she cheered for me, and us 3 guys rounded a cone to head back home.
Mile 2: 6:04. “Slower, but OK. Let’s get mile 3 back under 6:00.”
I was excited to see my students after the turn-around. Evan wasn’t too far back! Then came Sarah. And Hannah was close behind. They were all smiling, so that was good news!! I cheered for all of them. Doug knew a lot of people out there too, as he was cheering for a lot of people as well. I LOVE friendly races like that!
Mile 3: 6:08. “Too slow. Damn. Pick it up Steve.”
I ran the middle of this race a little too slow. I usually push myself hard in the middle of my training runs, and I didn’t do that well at this race. I think the 3 of us running together were a little afraid to pick it up too much and take the out-right lead for second place - we were all running with the “pack” mentality.
I have a good “slowly-building kick” over the last mile of a race, but I don’t have a good “last 100 meters” kick. So I started picking up the pace after the mile 3 marker. But Ryan and Doug didn’t get left behind - they picked it up and stayed right with me. Second place was still anyone’s guess. (Vladimir CLEARLY had the lead, so we were all just shooting for second. We couldn’t even see Vladimir anymore.)
I ran the middle of this race right behind these 2 guys, but with about 800 meters left, I was running ahead of these guys. I just had to try to hold that. We came off the wooded part of the trail into the opening near the park entrance, and we were all running HARD. At the little downhill into the park, Ryan picked it up and strided past me. Doug was right on my tail. I pushed and pushed and pushed. I couldn’t catch Ryan, but I didn’t know how far Doug was behind me. I tried to hold on to 3rd place. I hit the line just behind Ryan, but still in front of Doug for 3rd.
Mile 4: 5:44. “Better. Fast. Still, I should have pushed more last mile.”
Top 4 finishers (out of 154 runners):
1 Vladimir Reznikor, 29, 21:28, 5:22 pace
2 Ryun Hess, 27, 23:49, 5:58 pace
3 Steve Stenzel, 28, 23:49, 5:58 pace
4 Doug Brew, 43, 23:53, 5:59 pace
I grabbed my camera (so I could snap photos of my students running by) and went to help the guy who was reading numbers and names of people coming to the finish line. It wasn’t long before Evan came by:
23/154 Overall, 19/74 Men, 30:56, 7:44 pace
Sold time! Nice finish!!
Then Sarah came running in, leading a pack home:
36/154 Overall, 8/80 Female, 34:06, 8:32 pace
Sarah had hoped to break 45:00. Yeah... she broke that by 16 minutes!! Nice job!
Not far behind her was Hannah:
46/154 Overall, 13/80 Female, 35:50, 8:58 pace
Hannah’s goal was to run the whole race and not have to stop to walk. And, by golly, she ran the whole way! Oh, and Gary from Charities Challenge already sent me Hannah’s finishing photo (you can see Gary in the photo above). Here’s his version, and you can see me taking a photo under Hannah’s armpit:
Nice finishers photo, Hannah!
Me, Evan, Hannah, Gary, Sarah, and Jeanne
Evan and I should have posed like Sarah and Hannah
This didn’t take long...