2009 Tesfa 5K Race Report

>> Monday, November 09, 2009

The Tesfa 5K holds a special place in my heart. I won this race 2 years ago, and it was the first time I had ever won an event. And it’s ALWAYS been on a lovely, sunny November morning! This year didn’t disappoint!

I “warmed up” the day before the 5K by doing 4 hours of yard work. Here’s 18 bags of leaves and garden waste waiting to be taken to the compost site:

So my back and hamstrings were nice and tight and sore for the race the next morning. Great way to get ready for a 5K. Sheesh.

I got down to Fort Snelling State Park, registered, and pinned on my number. They already had the fire warming the little park house:

There were a lot of women wearing University of Minnesota Cross Country jackets down there, and I asked one of them, “Is part of the U of M CC team racing today?” She said “No, we’re just volunteering.” So I replied with a smirk “Oh good - so that means I WON’T be beat by a girl?...” She smiled and said she couldn’t promise anything. I nearly shot myself in the foot with that comment, but I wouldn’t know it until later......

A half-hour before the 5K, they had a kids 1K race. A team of older ladies showed up with their bongos to cheer on the runners:

Here’s the first place runner in the kids 1K flying to the finish:

So I jogged a little and stretched a little. I said hi to Kirt. I chatted with Kris for a bit (who I met at the 10K a few months ago). We disrobed and threw our extra clothes in the ditch right next to the starting line. That’s why I love this race: it’s so small that I felt fine leaving my clothes, car keys, and camera right along the road during the race.

We lined up to start. They forgot to have a lead biker there to show the way, so they just tried to explain the course to everyone. Then, one of the guys with the race management team asked “Will my Mini Cooper fit on the trails?....” So this was the first race where I’ve followed a Mini Cooper through winding bike trails in a State Park! I thought it was pretty great!

Ready... Set... GO!!

I took off in the lead right away, but there were plenty of people running with me. At the trail crossing about a half mile in, this 15 year old kid was right next to me. “Great day for a race, huh?” I said. “Yeah... sure is,” he replied. A few feet farther, a deer that was drinking from the Minnesota River got scared up by the Mini Cooper, and it darted out just 20 feet in front of us. The pack of 5 people I was running with let out “ooohs and ahhs.” It was pretty cool.

I quickly glanced through our group: it was 50 year old local distance runner Kirt, a 35ish year old guy, a 15 year old kid, a woman about my age, and I. I yelled back “How ya doin’ Kirt?” “Oh just fine!” he replied. We were tightly packed, but all running smoothly.

Mile 1: 6:04. “Umm, that felt more like 5:45. Oops. I guess the 17:45ish I was hoping for isn’t gonna happen. Well, do what you can do, Steve.”

We ran to the end of the paved trail, crossed the main entrance to the park, and hit the gravel section of the race. (I was still amused to be “chasing” that Mini Cooper through those trails!) After 200 feet on the gravel, the trail makes a sharp right. Right before that turn, I was passed and moved into second place. Not to sound sexist at all, but I was caught off guard being passed by a woman. I’ve been beat by PLENTY of women before, but that’s usually in much bigger races. Usually, when I have a chance at winning a race, I’m not trying to out-kick a female for the win!

Our front pack of 5 had spread out. I was running in second, just 10 feet behind first. The lead female pointed up ahead: there were 2 turkeys just off the trail. I pointed and yelled back over my shoulder “TURKEYS!” I heard Kirt laugh back there and say “Oh, I thought you were calling ME a turkey!” Ha!

I was doing all I could to stay with the leader. We were still on the back gravel section at the mile 2 marker.

Mile 2: 6:04. “It’s time to go, Steve!”

We turned off the gravel and onto paved trail. We headed up a little hill toward the beach house. I started to make my move. I passed her near the beach house, and was working too hard to say “nice pace!” We came down the hill heading towards Picnic Island, and we ran past the “bongo ladies” seen in the third photo. I grinned as I heard many of them shout “YOU GO GET HIM!!” to the woman behind me. If I were watching this race, I would have been cheering for her too!

I was giving it everything. I checked over my shoulder just before the final turn, and I had a decent lead. I made the final turned and booked it to the finish. The official results aren’t up yet, but I think I had first by about 10 seconds.

Mile 3 and the last 0.1: 6:06. (that’s 5:29 pace over the last 1.1)

Total: 18:15
Average Pace: 5:52.1

Place: 1 out of 52

Second place overall (the lead female) finished just behind me, and we congratulated each other. I jogged over to my camera, and got back to the finish just in time to see Kris finishing:

Nice job, Kris!

The finish area started filling up:

I sat and stretched near the final curve and cheered for all the runners. When I stood up, I saw that I had left a pretty sweet “swass” mark:

(That’s “sweaty ass” if you didn’t know...)

I cheered for a while, and then headed back towards the warm fire for awards. The first place female caught me on the way. We chatted by her car. It was THEN that I found out who she was. Who was she? Take a guess...

Remember the fun photos of the costumed runners 2 posts down? Well, she was the speedy half marathon runner who finished in her underwear and a cape along with her boyfriend! Her name is Nicole, and she and her boyfriend finished the Monster half marathon in 1:28!! (They both finished in the top 30 out of 2,600 runners) Remember this photo:

We talked for a while, and then her boyfriend, Joseph, showed up. We all talked for a bit. It was great to meet you guys!! Joseph had just done IM WI 2 months ago. Nicole and I have some similar racing sentiments: she told me, “Sometimes, I get too competitive, but it IS fun to win a race now and then. But it’s also great to have some fun while racing!” (Referencing running the half in her undies.) I think I could like this couple!!

Awards started shortly. Tesfa has the “Pooch” category and the “Human” category. Awards for the top 3 dogs were first. This was the third place dog, and I don’t know that I’ve ever been in the presence of THAT big of a dog before:

Here’s Nicole getting her award for top female:

Nicole and I joked that we’ll have an all-out duel at the Tesfa 5K next year. So get ready for some trash-talk over the next year between Nicole and I! And if you want to see me get my balls handed to me, make it a point to come watch the Tesfa 5K in 2010! ;) Ha! Should be a fun one! Can't wait!


Jennifer 7:32 AM, November 09, 2009  

As usual, the perfect combination of humor, humanity and athleticism. Nice work Steve (and Nicole!). The Cooper ~ I love Minnesota.

Stefanie 7:34 AM, November 09, 2009  

HOly crap that is a huge dog!!!

jen 8:01 AM, November 09, 2009  

Great job Steve! Nice race and report. :)

CoachLiz 8:23 AM, November 09, 2009  

OMG that is a HUGE dog. I would hate to clean up the yard after that sucker.

Congratulaions on the win!

Maria 8:48 AM, November 09, 2009  

Congrats on the win. I'm glad you're able to have good clean fun between the sexes...can't wait for Tesfa next year!

NJ 10:29 AM, November 09, 2009  

That's an awesome dog! Bet it takes a lot to keep him fed.

Congrats on the win! Sounds like there's a rivalry going on...who's the bookie for next year...I need to know who to place my bet with.

X-Country2 10:38 AM, November 09, 2009  

What a cool race. Yeah, following a car through teh woods would be kind of weird. You could have imagined it was the NBC truck like at Boston.

Lance 11:01 AM, November 09, 2009  

So what did Nicole think of you commenting on her boyfriend's junk?

Small world

Carolina John 11:16 AM, November 09, 2009  

Well done brother. a win is a win anyway it comes. Victory!!

i ran my first half iron saturday and it was awesome.

B. Kramer 11:34 AM, November 09, 2009  

Congrats on the win and not getting chicked. Cheers!

Unknown 11:40 AM, November 09, 2009  

I'm disappointed that you couldn't beat the Mini. Come on, Steve. Step your game up! ;-)

Nice job on the victory.

Chad 12:47 PM, November 09, 2009  

Here are a couple of interviews I did;



Jennifer Harrison 7:44 PM, November 09, 2009  

Awesome win and time! YAY - you have been running well for sure!

And, glad you did some type of 'warm up!'


Leah 9:02 PM, November 09, 2009  

Congrats on a sweet victory. Another great post as usual! Btw, I thought you might be interested... I have a contest up on my blog right now that's right up your alley. Kinda, sorta inspired by your race photo posts... anyway... :)

Jane 3:36 AM, November 10, 2009  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa 5:57 AM, November 10, 2009  

That is the best SWASS mark EVER!! You always make me smile and laugh out loud in your posts. Keep 'em coming. Congrats on a race well run. Look forward to it next year.

Nicole 11:23 AM, November 11, 2009  

Joseph and I had a bit of a pow-wow and decided that we would like to extend a friendship invitation to you and your wife. I know you will proabably need some time to think about this but I can guarantee the following bonuses to being friends with us:

You can comment on his package anytime you like.

We could start a whitey tighty gang.

We can all work on lowering some of those PR's together.

While I'm not sure that the last two would be possible simultaneously, I'm game for trying.

Thanks for the great play-by-play and photos of such a fun race and beautiful day.

Kris,  2:27 PM, November 11, 2009  

Thanks for the race report and photo. I understand the confusion but I spell my name Kris not Chris. The offical results even had me as a female until I corrected it. Overall, it was a great day and a great race. Congratulations on the win. I hope to see you at some more races.


sRod 11:56 AM, November 13, 2009  


I just read Nicole's comment. I love it. You mid-western types make me happy.

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