>> Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Or, "First Race With a 'Running Buddy!'"
Or, "Passing My Pregnant Wife"
The Securian Run had a 5K, a 10K, and a Half Marathon (Pharmie signed up for the 10K and I signed up for the Half). Friday night (the night before the race), I worked on making a shirt for Pharmie for the race:
The finished front.
Pre-race. (Thanks to Nicole for the photo!)
Soon, we bumped into Katie and Matt. Then we hit the porta-potty line (where we bumped into Haley and Mark):
First porta-john shot of 2011.
800+ people lining up for the half marathon.
Pre-race with Mike.
Race-partner Nicole and I pre-race.
I bumped into Willie, Peter, Kirt, and speedy Michelle Frey before the gun went off. (Michelle went on to finish in front of me as the first place woman EIGHTH overall out of over 800!)
Nicole and I were side-by-side as we heard "On your marks, get set, GGOOOO!!!
We chatted off-and-on for the first mile. We talked about training, how marathons are too far, plans for the 2011 racing season, etc. We climbed up to mile 1 in 6:45. We circled around Rice Park, where the St. Paul Winter Carnival was taking place. At one point, I exclaimed "Ooohh! Mini Donuts!!"
They smelled so good!
Nicole waving near the Landmark Center.
Big ice wall in Rice Park for the Winter Carnival.
LOVE it! Thanks Matt! ;)
Under 2 bridges and out of downtown
Nicole and I were both taking our splits at the mile markers. We ran mile 2 in 6:39, mile 3 in 6:45, and mile 4 in 6:40. Here's a photo of Nicole from some time after mile 4, and we were still side-by-side:
The lead runners were already running past us on their way back towards downtown. There was a small pack near the front, and Michelle Frey was running with those guys. (She was recently featured in a snippet in Runners World.) Here she is running past with the guys:
Nicole seemed pretty annoyed, and rightfully so. It's not that the race was going to be 12.95 miles instead of 13.1. It was going to be more like 11.6 miles. There were guys talking behind us about how this used to be a great race, but this distance issue sucked. I wasn't super annoyed, but had it been an "A" race for me (like the TC 10 Mile), I would have been pissed.
My theory about the shortened race? I think the police officer just after mile 6 THOUGHT he was the turn-around point, when really there was another volunteer farther up the road ready to turn us around. There was no cone to run around like there was for the 5K and 10K turn-arounds (which we had passed earlier). I think it was just some mis-information, and not a super short course. And yesterday Securian posted this on Facebook: "It's pretty obvious that you were turned around at the wrong spot! Why did that happen? Chalk it up to lots of changes and new people. We're very sorry it happened."
Anyway, shortly after turning around, I grabbed another shot of Nicole right in front of me, and more runners heading out on the left:
2 things happened (mentally) when we realized the race was short: FIRST, I felt like I could hold on to the pace knowing I was at mile 8, not just past mile 6. But SECONDLY, I sort of felt "what's the use?" I mean, it wasn't going to be a half marathon. It was going to be a 11.6 mile race. It sounds dumb, but it made me not push QUITE as hard as I would have.
Matt spotted me again, and here's his second "great" photo of me running past. Here's a stranger, Nicole, and "me:"
.... so I just started upping the pace and slowly pulled away. Like a jerk. Sorry Nicole!
I finished mile 12 in 6:27 as we were nearing downtown. Here's the view just before that:
We made a left and headed up past the Farmer's Market. THERE, OFF IN THE DISTANCE, I saw Pharmie rounding the corner a block in front of me! I caught up to her with 2 blocks left in the race. I passed her as she screamed "GO HUNNIE!! WOO-HOO!!"
#1099, Steve Stenzel, 29, St. Paul MN
"Half Marathon" (11.6 miles)
6:30 / mile pace
25th out of 817 overall
Because I HAD to do this, I checked to see what my finishing time would have been if I could hold that pace for a full 13.1 miles. (I know that's a big "if," but I had to check.) It'd be 1:25:06. That's 3 minutes faster than my "winter" half marathon PR, so even if I had to ease up a little, I think I would have had a winter PR. (My actual half PR is 1:22:51.)
I was too focused on watching my wife finish that I missed Nicole finish. (I suppose that's the way it should be - ha!) Nicole finished just 1 place behind me in 1:15:22. (3rd place female to Michelle Frey and Michelle's speedy friend.) Nice work Nicole!! I hope your legs are feeling OK today!! It was great racing with you!! Thanks for the pull!"
To see more photos from the race (and the video from last year's race), CLICK HERE to go to the slideshow on my Examiner page. Back with more baby news and a video from this year's race in the next few days. Thanks everyone!!
UPDATE: Here's a link to my race video I took during the half marathon! Check it out!