RACE REPORT: the 2018 TC 10 Mile

>> Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Sunday was my 9th 10 mile (7th TC 10) and my wife's 20th marathon (18th TC Marathon in the last 19 years). We got up early, and my mother-in-law dropped us and my sister-in-law at the light rail station just SECONDS before a train arrived. Here I am sitting by my lonesome on the train:

I look like a sad lost puppy.

Selfie with my cutie once a seat opened up next to her.

The light rail dropped us off 2 blocks from the start. It's super handy.

OUR FAMILY READY TO RACE!! Me and my wife on the left, her sisters
in the middle and right, and their brother's wife (25071). The three
on the right were finishing up the "Loony" (10K and 5K the day before).

I didn't get a pre-race potty photo, but my bro-in-law Matt sent me this
of him destroying using our bathroom before he came out to cheer.

I got into "corral A" and tried to find a good spot. I figured I was in about the right spot, and then I noticed the 1:10 pacer well in front of me. So I moved up a lot more.

Selfie by Senator Dibble of some YWCA Endurance Sports teammates!

In the starting corral is the first time I spoke of any particular goal: YWCA teammates were saying "Oh, I hope to start at [this pace] and then hold [this pace] in the final 4 miles." Someone asked me what I was shooting for, and I said "I'm going to try to see if I can hit 6:10s." I had mentioned to a few people (and posted here) that I'd love to try to break 1:02, but that'd be a good day. 6:10s would be 1:01:40.


Me on the outside running towards my cutie with the camera!

My first half mile ticked over in sub-3:00, but I didn't know if I could believe that or not - during last year's race, I had an artificially fast first half mile because of interference from the tall buildings downtown. But then the next half mile was fast too (no tall buildings to throw it off), and I realized I was headed out FAST.

• MILE 1: 5:52 (2:55 and 2:56).

I rolled along the river with other runners. There was a bald eagle swooping overhead a few times - it felt like F-16 fly-bys at a baseball game! Mile 2 was fast as well:

• MILE 2: 6:03 (3:02 and 3:00).

I WAS STARTING TO FREAK OUT HERE. I HIT MILE 2 IN 11:55, AND THAT WAS TOOOOOOO FAST. I never thought I'd be sub-6 pace here. I'm too seasoned of a runner to think "well maybe I'll just be posting a fast time today." No, I was worried about blowing up and suffering HARD for the last 4 miles down Summit Ave. Shit.

I eased up coming up the long hill to mile 3. I must not have slowed up THAT much because only 4-5 people passed me up to the top of Franklin Ave. The first half of that mile was a nicely slower 3:12, and then I slowed up even more at the final part of the climb and over the bridge:

• MILE 3: 6:34 (3:12 and 3:21).

Evan was across the bridge with his camera. Here are a few pics from him:

Opening a GU on the far right. I don't think I've EVER raced a 10 mile with an extra GU, but I decided
to eat this before the next water stop to HOPEFULLY help hold off any CRASH from going out so hard!

Checking my mile 3 split. Slow, but necessary.


Evan tweeted this one, and I replied
"Nothing like that 'just squirt GU in my cheek' look. So hot right now."

Taking a breath between GU shots. Also sexy as f*ck.

I SWEAR I never saw Evan, but here I am looking right at him! With a full stink eye.

Running off, still consuming GU. Thanks for the pics, Evan!

I mean those extra few calories and small shot of caffeine was SURELY enough to hold off any upcoming bonk... right? Right?!? RIGHT?!?!?!?!?

I picked it up on flat River Road. This section of road (the next 1.5 miles) is my normal training grounds for 95% of my runs from home.

• MILE 4: 6:04 (3:01 and 3:02).

• MILE 5: 6:19 (3:08 and 3:10).

Mile 5 had 2 ups and a down, and then we start mile 6 going UP a nasty little hill to get onto Summit Ave. I had hit the 5 mile "half way point" timing mat in 31:08, which was great for me. I had mentioned in my pre-race post that my first half was 31:28 last year, and I figured I should go out similarly this year. So I was 20 seconds faster. I tried to have the mindset of "this is a nice little cushion" instead of "oh God you went out too hard and now you're about to die."

I saw Terrance at the top of that short nasty hill after mile 5!

Thanks for the pics, Terrance!

I was running math in my head (like at EVERY race): based off my 31:08 first half, I knew that I could average 6:10 pace for the last 5 miles and JUST break 1:02 (1:01:58). But I also knew that my first few miles on Summit are traditionally slow, so I wasn't going to be too depressed by slow splits just yet.

• MILE 6: 6:29 (3:19 and 3:09).

• MILE 7: 6:15 (3:07 and 3:07).

We'd made our final little climb until the last 1.5 miles. Now was the time to be speedy. (Then there's an UP, a DOWN, and a final UP to the mile 9 marker in a bit, but this next mile was nice and flat, and downhill in parts.) I WAS STILL FEELING STRONG.

• MILE 8: 6:01 (3:01 and 3:00).

That makes descending splits for the last 6 half-mile splits! PROGRESS. Along Summit so far, I had a FEW people passing me now-and-then, but I was also passing a lot of people. In these closing miles, no one was passing me, and I was just doing lots of passing!

Mile 9 was a BIT slower because of the 2 small hills we had to climb, and I was starting to hurt:

• MILE 9: 6:09 (3:03 and 3:05).

I was feeling good enough here that I knew I'd have a FAST final mile! (I always do because it's downhill past where I'd see my family, but I was still feeling like I could push it!) I was feeling good enough at the 9 mile marker to glance at my Garmin and think "OK, 1:01:20 is my 2nd fastest 10 mile... can I negative split my way to that?!?" But my watch read 56:00, so I'd have to run a 5:20... so the answer was clearly NO. But I was feeling good enough to wonder, so that was a good sign! I went hard!

The wind was slightly in our face for the last 4.5 miles down Summit, but it REALLY seemed to slap us around mile 9 at the top of Ramsey Hill. I don't know if that's because it was more of a wind tunnel there, or because it was late in the race and that's where every little annoyance feels like a big deal.

Sidenote: there were SO many people taking poor tangents on the turns and curves out there, especially along the river and on the tiny curves along Summit. I gained on people at times for just running a better line than them. Here's an example where I ran a nice straight line though this gentle S-curve, where some people around me ran tight to the left running a longer curve at the start of this turn:

From around mile 6.5.

A MUCH poorer line near the end when I cut across the road to high-five my kids!

Here's the "poor" tangent seen in that last Garmin screenshot. I saw my family waiting up ahead, and I broke from the pack and headed across the road:

Evie fixing her hair, the kids lining up for high-fives, and me coming in the distance!

Close up of me heading towards them!

Closing in!

High-fives for everyone! I got all 4 kids (my 2 boys and my niece and nephew)
and my brother-in-law Matt (while other brother-in-law Matt ran the camera!).

I headed down the hill, under the big flag, and to the finish. I was happy with this race!

Photo from Tom R just 1.5 blocks before the finish. WORKING HARD!!!!!

• MILE 10: 5:36 (2:54 and 2:41).


Steve Stenzel, M, 37, St. Paul

6:10.1 pace

95 out of 10901 overall
90 out of 3837 men
13 out of 680 in the M 35-39 age group

31:08 first 5 miles (6:14 pace), 30:33 last 5 miles (6:07 pace).

Start to mile 5: passed 101 runners, was passed by 28.
Mile 5 to finish: passed 22 runners, was passed by 3.

Garmin data: 10.05 miles, 6:08.3 pace.


• I say this a lot, but I really mean it here: I COULD have been faster in the middle of this race. I was running scared not sure if I went out too hard. I could have pushed the effort a bit more in miles 4-6. But in 8 and 9, I was hitting the perfect edge of "this hurts, but I'm not over-doing it." I'm not complaining - this was a FUN race!

• All my aches/injuries were held in check during the race. My sacrum (and any pain it referred) was fine. My calves never got too tight (they haven't really been an issue for years). My knee was fine. And a super "twitchy" hip flexor from 3 days before the race was fine. Yay! My bone spurs in my foot have been the achiest over the last month, which probably just shows that I'm at about my limit for mileage.

• My results say I passed 22 runners from mile 5 through the finish, but it was a lot more than that. No, the results are CORRECT, but I had a lot of people still passing me in miles 6-7. Then I caught a LOT of those people back before the finish.

• My Garmin pace data shows the hills. And that I wasn't great on them:

Downhill around mile 1, trudging up the hill from 2-3, steep hill at mile 5, a burst of speed
through a cheering zone at mile 7.5, final hill before mile 9, then FAST to the finish!

It's nice to see that all of mile 9 (except for 2 tiny drops) is faster than 6:00 pace!

• I was 1 second slower than my best goal. I couldn't ask for more! My fastest 10 mile was when I was coached to a 59:05 in 2010, and then my 2nd fastest was the next year when I was "using" those old workouts from the year before and went 1:01:20. So to run a 3rd fastest this year is fantastic! My 9 finish times for the 10 mile look like this:

59:xx: 1 time
1:01:xx: 3 times
1:02:xx: 4 times
1:03:xx: 1 time (at the end of the Loony Challenge race weekend)

I high-fived some guys who finished around me, and for a few of us, we totally gave each other unspoken "thank yous" for pulling each other. I love the post-race finisher's chute! I grabbed a few snacks, and then got straight into the massage tent. I had a pretty low-pressure palm-based massage (when I prefer deep digging thumbs), and then worked my way back up the hill to find my family. I got there just in time to see Angela go by just after Matt took this photo of her:

Nice job Angela!!

Remember, her and my other 2 sisters-in-law were finishing their 3rd race of their "Loony Challenge" weekend, and Angela actually PRed at the 10 mile after racing 9.3 miles the day before!!! She beat her time by 4 minutes from last year! Congrats!!

Evie ready to high-five Steph!

Some of my wife's college friends racing together! (LOVE this pic!)

We like Al because Al is like this.

The kids giving out high-fives.

Here comes Aunt Annie!

Annie running the gauntlet!

Well, it was 45 degrees, and I was still in a SOAKING wet race shirt. I took the boys across the road into the Cathedral for a potty stop and for some dry clothes for me. And actual underwear.

Crammed in a tiny bathroom. I'm nude from the waist down in God's house as I took this photo.

10 milers finishing in front of the State Capital from the Cathedral steps.

Cousins playing.

There was QUITE the motorcade for the lead marathon runners!

Making a 2:11 marathon look easy! (That's 5:00/mile pace...)

Another large batch of motorcycles for the lead women.

This race was TIGHT! (Also, those are some of my teammates across the street.)

We cheered for the first 45 minutes of marathon finishers, but then I REALLY WANTED PIZZA. So Jon and I took the 4 kids for a walk down the hill to the edge of downtown St. Paul to Cossetta's Pizza. We all had a ton of food packed, so we didn't NEED to leave to get lunch, but it was a great way to kill another hour without making the kids too squirrelly.

A quiet corner upstairs as they had just opened.

Big ole' slices!

Jon walked part way back like this. #SpectatorWorkout

The kids playing and Charlie jumping.

An old Viking.

More high fives.

There's Mama and Haley!

Both Sarah and her training/running partner had some issues during the race, but they ran together for 90% of the race. Their times weren't what they had hoped, but it wasn't a blown day either. Mama got lots of hugs on her way to the finish:

Go Haley and Mama!

A hug from Grandma Monica! (Wrapped in a blanket because it was chilly!)

Running off towards the finish.

Congrats Hunnie!!

Check out yesterday's post for photos from Saturday's races, and stop back for more TC 10 and Marathon photos shortly. For now, I'll be resting these tired calves and quads!


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