>> Monday, March 27, 2017
Or, "The First Race in the USATF MN Series."
Or, "The Ugliest Race in St. Paul."
I'm not quite ready to "race" hard on my sore knee/quad, but I was ready to run a LITTLE BIT hard for my team at this race. (We had 4 guys signed up, and you need 5 to score, so I was #5.) I heard an appropriate song on the way to the race:
The side of Starbucks near the race. The woman in purple at the front-right did
ALL she could do to teach me "dive starts" at our old gym years ago. Thanks Andrea! :)
The back of O'Garas had this vent that was spewing out the BEST greasy breakfast smell!
I convinced Nicole to share a porta-potty with me for my traditional pre-race photo.
She a good sport. (Yes, we both had our pants around our ankles. Yes, I'm also a liar.)
Oh, and the 2nd line in this post notes that this is "the ugliest race in St. Paul." That's my own title for this race. It's meant (slightly) in jest, and I live in (and love) St. Paul, so I can say these things. It used to run down historic Summit Avenue with it's great boulevards and large mansions. Now it runs down Selby Avenue - a super generic street that is parallel to Summit. In my race report below are 13 photos showing how unattractive this race is.
Ugly photo 1 of 13: looking back toward the start from 2 blocks down the race course. Lovely, no?
Lined up at the start!
Heading up the bridge within the first half mile.
Ugly photo 2 of 13: to the south of the bridge: warehouses and RR tracks.
Ugly photo 3 of 13: to the north of the bridge: this crapfest (with an auto salvage yard in the distance).
Ugly photo 4 of 13: a U-Haul rental machine shed.
Ugly photo 5 of 13: running under Hamline Ave. At least it's a NEW bridge.
Ugly photo 6 of 13: getting ready to cross exotic Lexington Ave.
Former Olympian Carrie Tollefsen turned around on her way to an 18:31 5K finish.
These drummers were full of energy. Although their beat was too fast to run to.
Ugly photo 7 of 13: this was once a rented 3-classroom space from CVA (the school I used to teach at).
Once we crossed Dale, the neighborhood got a bit cuter. (I lived 4 different places within
2 blocks of this part of the race course.) Here are the leaders coming back on the left.
SteveQ out to spectate. (And I lived in that yellow house to the right for a year.)
More people headed towards us, in a cuter neighborhood.
The turn-around RIGHT in front of where I used to live in my college days.
Also, that's tri-buddy Suzie Fox rounding that turn!
Ugly photo 8 of 13: I *tried* to make a photo of teammate Michael, but
only got this photo of some sweet plaid drapes in some shop next to a dance studio.
Teammate Anne (and still right behind Suzie, but I didn't realize that yet).
This was when I realized that was Suzie in front of me. I ran up and said hi!
(And this is right next to my former favorite pizza place in that neighborhood.)
Ugly photo 9 of 13: back in front of that concrete former CVA building.
But butts make it better. Casey is giving chase to Suzie and Sara.
Ugly photo 10 of 13: a water stop in front of some unattractive brick buildings.
Ugly photo 11 of 13: I didn't know "vegan graffiti" was a thing...
Casey made a move on Suzie!
I made Suzie feel better by taking a selfie with her. (I look gross mid-blink,
but Suzie's still cute as ever with 1.5 miles left while running sub-6:30 pace. NBD.)
• MILE 3: 3:15 + 3:07 = 6:22. Well, I held those perfect ascending half-mile splits through the turn-around at mile 2.5. But I didn't care. I just sort of ran with the pack I was in and kept the pace solid. I thought a few times "Yep, this is just slower than tempo pace," which is where I wanted to be.
Ugly photo 12 of 13: come visit beautiful St. Paul for sweeping vistas like this.
These policemen at Lexington were the BEST. They were really cheering a lot. And after
the 2nd one saw my camera, he did a double bicep flex (but I missed that). Thanks officers!
Ugly photo 13 of 13: running in a 30' long pothole heading to the bridge near the finish line.
• MILE 5: 3:17 + 3:02 = 6:19.
Steve Stenzel, M, 36, St. Paul
138 out of 430 overall
13 out of 28 in the M 35-39 age group
[Garmin: 4.99 miles at 6:21 pace]
15:46 first half (6:19 pace)
16:00 second half (6:29 pace)
- Start to turn-around: passed 47 and was passed by 6.
- Turn-around to finish: passed 7 and was passed by 6.
4 POST RACE NOTE:
• The first half had perfect ascending half-mile splits, and I had a positive split. That's not usually how I race (generally I negative split or keep pretty even splits), but after settling in after the first half mile, I actually stayed with the same pack of runners. So I guess that's how most people race.
• Three things that show I wasn't "racing:" First, I swam and did core the day before. I'd NEVER do that before a normal race. Second, I didn't bring a GU, banana, or Powerbar to the race, when I usually eat all 3 in the hour before. And third, I swam again yesterday (the day after the race), when usually I need to take a full day or 2 off to let my legs rest.
• I feel good about how hard I "raced," but now I feel like I should have "tested" my leg more. But I suppose that's always the concern you'd have after running hard-ish when nothing hurts worse afterwards. What would my leg feel like today had I tried to run 30 seconds faster per mile? Would I still be fine? Just a little sore? In a wheelchair? Who knows.
• I apologize if you're pissed at me for running "kinda hard but far from 'all out' pace" while still running 6:24 pace. My wife is one of these people. "Fast" is relative, and I didn't necessarily feel FAST on Saturday.
I turned right back around to head back to some teammates I saw near the finish line. I didn't get a chance to chat with Casey or Suzie post-race. And I missed teammate Geoffrey because he was just 15 seconds behind me. Nice running, Geoffrey!
Ejay working hard to the finish!
Anyone holding a 2' meme is a friend of mine!
Teammates Anne and Michael!
Selfie with my teammates seen in the last 2 photos. Nice racing, gang!
Tutti Fruttis right in the middle (race number ending in 48), with Carrie Tollefsen on the right.