2017 TC 10 Mile RACE REPORT

>> Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Sunday was my 8th 10 mile race (and my 6th TC 10 Mile). I didn't have any major goals, but I was hoping to run around 6:10s and hit my 3rd fastest 10 mile (finishing between 1:01:21 and 1:02:19).

We got the boys dressed up to cheer:

Then we left them with my in-laws and bro-in-law to bring to the race. Thanks family!!

Riding a CROWDED light rail train at 6:11 a.m. as everyone's heading to the start!

Light rail selfie!

The 8 of us racing unloaded (we were in the same train car, but were separated a bit) and got in the porta potty lines. It started raining when we were in line, but just a bit. I got out of my potty and my family was gone, so I took off for the start line.

My wife's photo from just before the start.

I didn't have too much to think about or worry about as I was standing around. I said "HI" to lots of running buddies, and wondered if I could hold 6:10 pace. (But, as I've stated in previous posts, I didn't really care how I did - I wasn't going to kill myself for any random time goal.) The gun went off, and we shuffled across the starting line.

Running towards my cheering wife!

Blurry/dark early morning race photo.

I jumped farther to the right and shot around a LOT of people. I always line up a bit too far back. I kept thinking I was running a BIT fast, so I eased up just a little. Sure enough my first half mile split was 2:49. (I've been used to running shorter races lately.) I eased back at bit and had a good first mile:

• MILE 1: 5:57 (2:49.97 and 3:07.84).

Running along the river was BEAUTIFUL. The sun was just starting to shine orange light on the thin clouds, and the wet roads were reflecting all the warm light. It was great. Then, down the river valley, we saw a curtain of rain coming our way. Damn.

• MILE 2: 6:06 (3:03.81 and 3:02.85). "Nice! Two miles under my 6:10 goal."

But now there was a good hill. Mile 3 starts up a long hill under Franklin, and then we curve around and get on to Franklin. I have NOT been doing ANY hill work (just small rollers along the river), so I eased up a bit and told myself it was OK to let some time slip away.

• MILE 3: 6:36 (3:15.09 and 3:21.04).

Right as we crossed the bridge at mile 3, Evan was there taking photos:

(See all 1,100 of Evan's mile 3 photos HERE.)

Close up. Checking my mile 3 split.

Running off

Shortly after getting onto a pretty nice flat stretch of River Road, it started raining again. Pretty hard. LUCKILY, it stopped after a bit, otherwise it would have gotten nasty. My shoes didn't soak through, but my jersey had suctioned itself sexily tightly to my chest.

• MILE 4: 6:11 (3:07.40 and 3:03.69).

I tried to keep it pretty strong here. It was a hard pace, but one I felt OK about.

An Instagram friend's pic of a rainbow looking backwards at
mile 4 (Mpls/St. Paul border) before us runners got there.

• MILE 5: 6:19 (3:12.48 and 3:07.46).

My Garmin had been beeping WELL before each mile marker since mile 1, so I glanced at my time as I crossed the official "half done" timing mat: it said 31:28. I was NOT worried about my "around 1:02" goal even though I was on nearly 1:03 pace because I think I negative split this race every year except one (that year was 2010, when I was coached to a sub-60 and went out hard). So my goal at this point was still 1:01:40 (or at least sub-1:02) even though I knew we were hitting the deceptively uphill sections of Summit Avenue. I was feeling properly worked, but like I still had enough to give in the back half of this race.

Back near the finish line (around mile 9.55), my in-laws, my sister-in-law Brianna, and my brother-in-law Jon had wrangled the kids to form a cheering squad:


Wes wanted to tell everyone to hurry up because
"the dinosaurs are coming," but no one really knows what that means.

Now that I was on Summit Ave heading towards the finish, this race was getting REAL. Here's where the suffering happens. Mile 6 was slow after climbing up under Marshall just before mile 5, and then climbing up that short but nasty hill to start mile 6:

• MILE 6: 6:19 (3:11.33 and 3:08.60).

These next miles are always my slowest of the race, but I tried to keep them SOLID.

• MILE 7: 6:22 (3:08.74 and 3:13.99).

MENTALLY, I WAS IN THE BEST PLACE I'VE EVER BEEN AT MILE 7 OF THIS RACE. I didn't feel like I had been running too easy, but I felt like I still had the right amount to give. So I quite obviously tried to find another gear and up the pace. I started passing people a bit faster now.

• MILE 8: 5:54! (2:57.39 and 2:56.79.)

I loved seeing those splits! I told myself it was time to see how much time I could "get back" by posting splits of under 6:10. I was hurting, but I was happy to be nearing the finish too! I passed Nathan and Keri C and told Nathan not to let me beat him twice this year (I passed him during the Brian Kraft 5K), but he said he was running with Kari. I ran past, and Nathan commented that my butt looked good. I laughed and said "Thanks Nathan! That really means a lot coming from you."

• MILE 9: 6:09 (3:01.20 and 3:08.18). "Still under 6:10. Now let's bang out a FAST last mile."

Again, because my Garmin was beeping before every mile marker, I also looked at my time when I hit the "official" mile 9 marker. I watched my Garmin flip over to 56:20. That meant a 6:00 mile would TIE for my 3rd fastest 10 Mile at 1:02:20. I knew I could go faster than 6, but I was hurting. Time to suffer.

Up ahead, the 10 Mile National Championship was wrapping up. The women started first in an "equalizer" sort of format. Here's the photos bro-in-law Jon got as they went past:

The lead female pack with Sara Hall in 3rd. She would out-kick these 2 for the win!

BIG pack of lead men! The winner wasn't known right away because it was a photo finish!

Jon saw me coming off in the distance:

Leading a pack of runners that I had slowly passed over the last mile.

Up the last little hill.

I noticed all the kids lined up on the far side of the road. I couldn't just run a straight line and stay on the left side of the road, so I broke from the group:

Cutting across for high fives as Grandma gets them lined up!

I made sure to hit all 4 hands! Thanks kids!

Cutting back towards the left to rejoin the pack,
run under the huge flag, and finish near the State Capitol!

I BOOKED it down that hill! My Garmin-timed mile 10 confirmed that (even though I was a half block from the finish) I'd have my goal of my 3rd fastest 10 mile at sub-1:02:20. And I did!

• MILE 10: 5:39 (2:58.20 and 2:41.15).


Steve Stenzel, M, 36, St. Paul

6:12 pace

94 out of 10418 overall
87 out of 3783 men
15 out of 681 in the M 35-39 age group

31:28 first 5 miles, 30:31 last 5 miles.

Start to mile 5: passed 282 runners, was passed by 3.
Mile 5 to finish: passed 32 runners, was passed by 1.

Garmin data: 10.07 miles, 6:09.3 pace - 0:21.8 longer than 10 miles.


• I didn't "officially" hit my best possible goal of 6:10 pace, but at least my Garmin had me there! Officially, I ran 6:11.9 pace (based on 10 miles), but my Garmin had me at 6:09.3 pace (based on 10.07 miles). That's worth a little something. :)

• Speaking of my Garmin reading the course as being long, I can't explain that. I usually don't care how my Garmin reads the course because I may not be running the tangents well, and I know that Garmins are only SO accurate based on your location, so they can easily read a bit long if it doesn't register you in the right spot at every moment. (Whereas courses are certified by "wheeling" it off.) But 100% of my family with GPS noted the course was long, and it was long at the first mile marker. I was about a half block off right away, and it just stayed that way (it didn't slowly KEEP getting farther off). And there are two 90-degree turns (that I hit well) in the first mile, and then just a few curves along the river. I ran those angles well, so I can't explain it. Weird. UPDATE: I'm not deleting what I said above because I like to be accountable, but Evan mentioned that it could have been due to the tall buildings downtown. When I downloaded my Garmin just now (10/3 afternoon), sure enough it shows me jumping/darting through blocks in an impossible fashion for the first few blocks. The buildings were throwing it off. So my 2:49 first half mile probably had most of those 21 seconds at the finish added on to it. Makes sense now.

• When I decided to run faster after mile 7, I had a SOLID mile 8. Of every previous 10 mile (including 5 at this race), I only had 1 mile 8 under 6:00, and that was when I broke 60 in 2010. During the other 6 races, I averaged 6:11 over that mile, so this 5:54 was a good sign - I ran the first part of the race where I needed to, but still had gas in the tank.

• I'm pretty happy with how I raced this. Sure, I had some faster miles near the end (which usually implies that I should have gone harder in the middle), but I had done SOOO little speed work, that I think I would have crashed had I gone much harder at mile 3 or 4 or 5. I didn't feel like I could have done much more in the middle miles. I'm happy with my effort at this race.

• I finished in the top 1% within the top 100, but I would have guessed I was 300th. I've always finished somewhere around 100th at this race, but because the field is so HUGE and because I always start farther back than I should and work my way up, I never feel like I've finished THAT well.

Leah got 2 photos of me JUST after I finished:

She sent this with the caption "If you were going to blow, I was going to
capture it because you’re the type that would appreciate that."

SHE'S 100% RIGHT. But I was just catching my breath.

Oh hi Leah!

I REALLY QUICKLY got through the food line, and then made my way to the massage tent. There were only about 20% of the tables full, and everyone else clapped and cheered for me when I walked in. It was awkward (but sweet), so I found an open table and laid down. Tiffany worked on my sore quads and remarked 2 times (while smiling and shaking her head) that my muscles moved better than they should for having just ran 10 miles. But then when she touched my IT bands, she could confirm that I DID indeed just run 10 miles.

Then I jogged back up the hill to find my family while trying to keep an eye on the race course. The only person I missed was Matt Long (who you'll remember from the Tri-ing for Children's triathlon where we drove across WI to race a sprint tri a few months ago). Here's a photo Jon got of him finishing:

Congrats Matt! He ran a 1:23 as part of the Loony Challenge!
(After racing a 10K and 5K the day before!)

High fives from strangers!

Nice line of high fives.

Here comes a bicep (attached to the other Matt)!

"Other" Matt's wife Angela was next to run by! (Easy to spot with the pink accents.)

Then came Steph (who was just a few seconds faster
than Angela, but they started in different waves).

Aunt Annie! Nice work!

Some of my wife's college friends! Dang, Al got some bloody nips. :(

We waited for Uncle Mike. We were getting worried... not that something was wrong, but that he'd just be super pissed about this race. But soon enough, we saw him heading our way:

Go Miiiiiike!!

I missed getting a pic of it, but this was just after Mike gave
Brianna a kiss. She's smiling because she's relieved that he's doing OK.

Funny story: when Mike ran off to finish, Brianna told us that as he was getting real close to her, she thought he wanted someone to catch him. But he just wanted a smooch. That's why she's so relieved in that last photo. She got a smooch, and then her hubby went on to finish the race.

We cheered on the elite marathon runners, and then the "normal" people. Slowly, it started to rain. The kids ran, fought, snacked, and had a good time.

Having some of Grandma's carrot cake (while Batman watches over them in the background).

Us seven 10 mile finishers! FUN DAY!!!

An Instagram from my sister-in-law when all the kids rushed under my umbrella with their Ring Pops.

There's Mama and her training buddy Megan!

Henry ran up for a hug.

Running off in the rain to her 17th TC Marathon finish in 18 years!!

Later that day, I took off my sock and realized why my toes hurt
during the final downhill sprint to the finish. Yikes!

Later that day, my stomach was pretty upset. I never got my traditional pre-race porta-potty selfie, but I did get a selfie in the bathroom at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church 10 hours after my race when "things" were "happening:"

Dear Jesus, I'm sorry for the unholy thing I did in your house.
But I can't promise it won't happen again someday. So sorry.

That's all for now! Back with more photos in a few days. Thanks for reading!


Emily W 9:44 AM, October 03, 2017  

Great job! I think we really lucked out with the rain situation. I started in the back of corral B, so I saw the pretty sunrise over the river while running out of downtown. I should have just taken a picture. I "powered up" at your family cheering station (and high-fived the other kids) - too cute!

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