Rice Street Mile (My First Road Mile)

>> Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thursday night was my first "road mile." I headed into the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul for the "Rice Street Mile." They close down busy Rice Street for a 1 mile race, and then they have a big parade right after the race! Great idea!!

Being it was just a mile, I ran the whole course pre-race. (I used the pre-race run to check their quarter-mile markers [which seemed spot-on] and set my Garmin to take an automatic "lap" every 0.25 miles.) It was a point-to-point run, and here's the first flat half mile:

Near the middle, it has an oh so gentle downhill to about the 3/4 mile marker:

But it was the last quarter mile that was going to be interesting. This photo shows the "3" sign on the road indicating the 0.75 mile mark, and it's just before a short climb up a bridge:

That's Brian D. biking up the bridge, and his final parting words before biking away from me were "I'll be taking photos on the bridge - I want to see you puke!!" Thanks Brian! :) Ha! (Brian was the runner who pulled me to a 4:59 indoor mile PR last January.)

And finally, at the top of the bridge, it drops into a nice downhill for the final 250 meters to the finish:

The finish line (which wasn't set up yet when I took this photo) is at the stoplight at the bottom of the hill.

I walked / jogged back to the start and did this:

Then I watched the women start 15 minutes before us dudes started:

Tri-buddies Marta and Lydia are in the middle - Marta's in the red sports bra, and Lydia's right behind her.

It felt like a LONG 15 minutes to our start! I chatted with lots of "race buddies," and we teased about why we were so nervous at the start of "just a 1 mile" race. We heard people saying "oh, road mile are fast," and then other people saying "oh, this road mile is slow."

I got 2 good pieces of pre-race advice:

FIRST: Kirt Goetzke (a Minnesota distance running legend) told Jeremy and I to keep our strides FAST going up that hill near the end, and then maintain those fast strides through the downhill to go as fast as possible. I looked over to Jeremy and said "good advice!"

SECOND: I heard a random stranger say "just don't be the first one to puke." Also good advice. For everything. Anywhere. In general.

MY GOAL: Sub-5:00 hopefully, and around 4:55 if possible. Some people (Michael, Nathan, etc) were telling me I could be down close to 4:50 based on my Meet of the Miles time, but I didn't quite believe that with my current training. I just wanted to suffer and see what I could do!!


*bullhorn noises*

There was super tan "dude" in "board shorts" in front of me. "Catch board shorts dude, Steve." I passed a few people, but a number of people passed me. And Scott (Grand Prix buddy) was one of them that passed me. "Ooooh, forget about 'board shorts dude,' and keep an eye on Scott!" (I'm not super competitive [and Scott's a great guy!], but being we're doing the "Grand Prix" series, it gives me an extra push to try to earn as many Grand Prix points as possible.)

• First 0.25 mile: 1:14.87. "OK, good start..."

Nothing changed in the next quarter mile. I didn't pass anyone, and no one caught me. Boring.

• Second 0.25 mile: 1:14.95. "Don't slow up too much! Keep it strong here!"

I was working, and it was getting a little hard. (TWSS) Those quarter-mile markers were coming up quick! I had forgotten how short a mile was! (And I think it even felt SHORTER outside vs my previous experience at indoor miles.)

I actually caught a few guys in the 3rd quarter mile. (Two guys faded FAST.) But I wasn't gaining on Scott! He was my rabbit, and he was pulling me!

• Third 0.25 mile: 1:15.14. "Damnit Steve, just GOOOOO!!"

We climbed that little hill, and I saw Brian raise a camera. I wasn't going to puke for him, but he still got a nice photo of me (back there in the purple) and Scott (#280) working our way to the top of the hill:

Sidenote: This looks familiar. Scott looked like he was working hard and I had the same weird stride just behind him at the Human Race 8K in March, and we were both wearing the same things:

Human Race 8K flashback.

Anyway, after cresting that hill, I heard someone shout "GO NATHAN!!" Oh crap! Nathan was on my tail! I couldn't let him get me!! (Again, not because I'm an overly-competitive jerk, but just because the Grand Prix points make it fun to push a little harder vs your Grand Prix race-mates!) This photo from SteveQ shows us just past the hill - Scott is in the orange, Paul (in the white) had just passed me, and Nathan is in the sunglasses and white tank just behind me:

Damn heel strike as I ran past SteveQ. Sweet ass shot, though.
I mean... if you're into tiny asses.

Oh, and post-race, Scott told me he heard Brian say "GO STEVE!!" so that made HIM push harder! We were all trying to hold each other off! THAT'S a good race!

I hit the finish gasping for air, feeling pretty spent. Nathan didn't catch me, but I couldn't catch Scott either.

• Final 0.25 mile: 1:11.05. "You should have been faster in the 2nd and 3rd quarter miles..."

Unofficial total on my Garmin: 4:56.01. "I wish I could have been faster, but that was right where I was hoping I could be, so I'll take it!"


Steve Stenzel, M, 31, St. Paul

20th out of 233 overall
11th out of 50 in the 20-29 age group

In the end, Paul got me by 1.5 seconds, Scott was less than a second in front of me (but it felt like forever!), and I held off Nathan by just under 3 seconds:

Technically, this was my 2nd slowest 1 mile ever, but I haven't been doing ANY short speed work lately, so I'm really OK with it. My 6 mile times in chronological order are 5:00.7, 4:54.6, 4:53.0, 4:49.5, 4:53.9, and now 4:55.9.

I walked back down Rice Street with Jeremy who had just finished his FIRST mile race. And he did it in 5:18!! Nice work, Jeremy!! Oh, and as we were walking back, I told him that I couldn't follow my OWN advice that I gave him pre-race. I had told him to not let up in that 3rd quarter... and wouldn't cha know, THAT was my slowest quarter mile. "Damn it," I told Jeremy.

I got to my car and grabbed my camera - the post-run parade had JUST started:

Yes, those are 2 baton-twirlers on the left. A parade's not complete without a few of those.

Well, the next Grand Prix series race is TODAY!! Yep, just 36 hours after racing this 1 mile, I have a 5K in Minneapolis. I'll be back with that race report on Monday. Watch my tweets for up-to-date info.

I'm hoping to rack up as many Grand Prix points as possible this weekend! I can't wait to check the updated standings when they come out (hopefully mid-week next week)....

Happy weekend!!


Nikita Borisov 11:07 AM, July 28, 2012  

Wow, a sub-5 mile and there were still 10 faster people in your age group? There were some speedy runners in that race. Congrats!

Andy Rosebrook 2:00 PM, July 28, 2012  

You know you would have been faster if you had been sporting those plaid shorts!

Jumper 2.0 2:27 PM, July 28, 2012  

Steve, awesome race. I have to do this next year.

Been meaning to ask for awhile. Why is it that your pictures are never clickable to look at closer?

The Triathlon Rx 7:06 PM, July 28, 2012  

Hhahha I know exactly who tan board shorts dude is. He lived on the 2nd floor of my old apartment building!! What is it with me living with your race competitors? :)

Great job on the mile.. and to follow it up with a speedy 5K not even 48 hours later!

The Triathlon Rx 7:06 PM, July 28, 2012  

[subliminal message panda puffs FTW]

Steve Stenzel 7:52 PM, July 28, 2012  

Jumper, I write in html code. *pushes up glasses with index finger to the bridge like a nerd* I size my images to 480 pixels wide, upload them to a different website, and then "source" them to my blog via html code. I like being in control. :)

And Triathlon RX, NO PANDA PUFFS!!!! ;) Ha!

SteveQ 1:47 PM, July 29, 2012  

Those were the last photos from my cheapo camera - left the camera on top of the car and drove away. That's why we can't have nice things.

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