2018 TC 1 Mile Race Report

>> Monday, May 14, 2018

Thursday was the “TC 1 Mile” in Minneapolis. I’d never done this race before, and everyone I told didn’t believe that. I was “race support” for my wife when she did it 8 months pregnant in 2011:


... and I brought the boys out and cheered for Mama when she did it 2 years ago:

It’s easy to set a 3:00 PR when you’re not pregnant.
She ran a 7:07! And totally surprised herself!

This past Thursday was Charlie’s 4th birthday, so we spent the morning with him at preschool (where Mama read the class a story, and we both got to be there for snack time):

That evening, my wife took the boys to Henry’s track practice, and I had my “pre-race porta-potty” shot in our bathroom before leaving for the race:

Yes, I’m nude. I was getting changed for the race.

After a jog to the race site near the Guthrie Theatre.
This is past the finish line (which is under the cantilever).

The “downhill section” just after the turn at the 1/2 mile mark.

Looking back from that same turn at the OH SO SLIGHT uphill to that point.

The elevation graph is just 800-840 feet, with 820 being the middle line. (From TC 1 Mile website.)

I got my number and jogged a little more. I warmed up with 2 teammates (Rachel and Julia), and gave them my advice for first-time milers: (1) miles HURT BAD, but then the hurt is over VERY quickly after finishing, so suck it up; (2) go hard right away; (3) if you round that final corner around 0.65 miles thinking ANYTHING like “I don’t feel totally like death,” then you’re doing it wrong and you need to go harder to make yourself feel like death right away.

Here’s one of the many waves that happened before the USATF MN wave that I was in:

Team photo about 10 minutes before our wave started!

Another team shot with a few of the same and a few new friends.

As we headed to the start, I was introduced to Niko who was new to our team (not in either photo). He was hoping for sub-5:00, and Jamie (in the blue jersey in the last photo) was hoping for right around 5. I had the DREAM of keeping my time sub-5, but I was aware that it probably wasn’t going to happen. Here’s what I had posted on Facebook a few hours before the race:

Jamie, Niko, and I all lined up together, and soon we were off!

I held my position well for the first 1/4. I didn’t feel held up, and it felt like the right pace. At the 1/4 mile marker, I learned I was RIGHT where I wanted to be:

• FIRST 1/4 MILE: 1:13.95. “Nice. It HAD to be sub-1:15 to have a shot at sub-5 overall.”

I knew I had to keep it strong in this next quarter. This was the SLIGHT uphill section, and it would be a part of the race where I could go too easy. I kept Jamie right in front of me and tried to work through the pain:

Liz M on Twitter sent this to me saying “either I saw you in this race or someone else
has your shorts!”
It’s just before the turn just before the 1/2 mile mark.

I hit the half mile mark knowing this would most likely be the determining quarter: if my pace was where it needed to be, sub-5 was possible.

• SECOND 1/4 MILE: 1:20.18. “Aaaaaand just like that, sub-5 is gone.”

I wasn’t depressed or bummed or sad. I was just realistic that running a 5:20 pace for 1/4 mile was going to make it nearly impossible to get a sub-5:00 finish. I used that slow 1/4 and the downhill at the 1/2 mile mark to KICK IT INTO GEAR. I passed a good number of people in that downhill block or 2 before the final turn.

We rounded the final corner (and I hit both turns nicely right on the inside, which is rare), and I saw the 3/4 mile marker in the distance. Because of the fast downhill after the 1/2 mile marker, this 1/4 felt FAST. I tried to use that to keep the pace strong.

• THIRD 1/4 MILE: 1:16.37. “Well, I was hoping that was more like 1:14, but it’s not bad. SUFFER. HARD. NOW.”

I ripped off my glasses because they were bouncing ALL over my head. (I’d never ran so fast since getting this pair this winter.) I came up behind Jamie and mustered a “Let’s go Jamie” that I think sounded more like “SkoJame.” I couldn’t see shit, but there wasn’t shit to see. I just ran hard past Jamie with maybe 200 meters left (with my glasses in one hand, and my car keys in the other):

Me with the weird stride, and Jamie just behind me.

I SWEAR I thought he was still behind us, but that’s Niko in the brown in front of us!
Also, I look pained as Jamie looks graceful as eff. Story of my life.

Hurting HARD with about 150 meters left.

JAMIE CAME BACK AND PASSED ME WITHIN THE LAST 100 METERS. I felt like I was running pretty strong there (questioning if I kept it too easy earlier - my mental game was NOT there), so I was a little surprised to see him shoot past. I tried to keep up, but I couldn’t. My final 1/4 was my fastest, but it wasn’t fast enough:

• FINAL 1/4 MILE: 1:11.59. “Water. Someone get me some water. And breathe for me please. Cause I can’t.”


Steve Stenzel, 37, M, St. Paul

70th out of 1844 overall
69th out of 930 males
9th out of 111 in the M 35-39 age group

Start to finish:
- I passed 36 runners
- I was passed by 4 runners


• Miles are the worst. And also the best. The hurt is SO ACUTE so quickly, that it’s almost scary. But then in SECONDS, the race is half done. And then you ARE done quickly after that. I love it. I hate it.

• I looked back through all of my other 1 mile race reports: 1:20 is officially my slowest split in a 1 mile. I didn't know that at the time. I knew it WASN'T GOOD during the race. But I learned that 1:18 was my previous slowest, and that was in my first and (previously) slowest mile of 5:00.7.

• Was sub-5 possible? I dunno. I wasn’t good at dealing with the pain at this race, and had I kept my mind 100% in the race, I could have made that slowest 2nd quarter faster. And then could I have hung on to the same pace for the last half? Maybe. I’m not beating myself up about it. Had I raced perfectly (or even just a bit better), sub-5 WOULD have been possible. But I didn’t. Oh well. Personal worst, baby!

Follow up comment on my Facebook post.

• I gave my pregnant friend Nicole awesome running advice before her mile race. (She was in the team photos in the orange jersey above.) “Push through the pain. Don’t let this baby dictate your life before he/she is even born. PR or go home.” And then we talked about the annoyance that is people who question everything YOU do with YOUR body when you’re pregnant. My wife got some of that too. News flash bitchy-women-who-can’t-keep-your-comments-to-yourself: my wife’s Doc and others around for her first birth all said that if she wasn’t in such good shape (AKA: kept running easy and safely while pregnant), that Henry’s birth would have ended in a c-section. But because she was super fit, she endured and pushed through (literally) for hours. Shove that down your nosey throat.

• There were a lot of “race buddies” within 4 seconds in front of me:

Brian helped pull me to my 4:49 mile PR 6 years ago. Niko’s my teammate. (SIDENOTE: there are FOUR people that finished at exactly 5:00.0. Those 4 people are all probably just a LITTLE pissed at themselves!) Nathan and I race all the time (especially in USATF or MDRA races). Jamie finished right in front of me. And then I came through at 5:02.3.

• This might be my first team race where I wasn’t first in my team. And I wasn’t 2nd at this race either. I was HAPPILY in 3rd. Nice work Niko and Jamie!

I jogged a little cool down back to my car, and then zipped home to have some final cake with the birthday boy before bed:

Iron Man cake, Iron Man shirt, and Iron Man action figure in his hands. It was a good day.

Back with more race photos shortly.


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