>> 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:
I got down to Fort Snelling State Park, registered, and pinned on my number. They already had the fire warming the little park house:
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:
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!
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)
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!
(That’s “sweaty ass” if you didn’t know...)
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:
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: