Race Report: the 2019 O'Gara's Irish Run 8K

>> Monday, March 11, 2019

I went to packet pickup two nights before the race and found race buddy Danielle in the "cheap room" at Run N Fun. I found a SWEET pair of plaid shoes for $35:


Danielle took a selfie with me and those shoes. Yes, I bought them!

Sidenote: Danielle just started a blog. Find her O'Gara's Run Race Report HERE.

There was a big storm predicted for race day (8-12" of heavy snow), but luckily it was going to hold off. The night before the race, my weather app told me it would be a comfy 32 degrees at the start, but BREEZY:



With a 10 a.m. start on race day, I was able to get up at a normal time, feed the boys, do the dishes, wait for my wife to get up after she was able to sleep in a bit, and take my pre-race selfie on the crapper:


At home instead of a porta potty. And before I shaved and
put in my contacts. (Another bonus to a late race start!)

I drove exactly 1 mile down the road to park, and then I just had a few blocks to walk to the race start. But before that, someone stopped me who had the same bright "tuke" hat as me. We talked about the cold wet race at the 2009 Winter BeGone Duathlon where we got those hats!


Post-race selfie showing my bright "Winter BeGone" hat.


O'Gara's was leveled and is under construction, so this year,
we got to meet across the street in Whole Foods.


About 1/2 block into the race, looking back towards the start. We had CLEAR roads! Yay!

I warmed up for over a mile, talked to some YWCA teammates inside Whole Foods, and then jogged a little more. I was glad I got to see the slushy packed snow under Hamline Ave to know that I needed to take it easy around those corners! I met teammate Mike at the porta potties, and we joked that we timed it PERFECTLY because the 2 of us BECAME the line! (Seriously, there were 4 porta potties all being used, but we just walked up to wait a few seconds.) We all huddled up in the breeze behind the starting line, and we waited for the gun.

"ON YOUR MARKS... GOOooooo!!!!"

As always, I started a little too far back. I hopped to the far right to dodge around some runners. But I landed on top of a chunk of ice, and I nearly turned my ankle! After a few seconds, I realized there was some pain on the outside of my left ankle. I think I had a slight sprain. Oh well, nothing I could do now - I'd race on it unless I couldn't. And it ended up feeling fine the rest of the race.

We all made it cleanly through the 4 turns under Hamline Ave, but an SUV was being stopped by the police between turns #3 and #4, and he nearly totally blocked the road. It was single file on either side of him as he was next to another parked car. As the policeman was telling him to stop and wait (there was nothing more he could do at this point), he rolled down his window and yelled "F*ck all of you!" Wow.

• Mile 1: 2:57 + 2:58 = 5:56. "About the best I could hope into this wind!"

I was near a small pack (including old teammate Eric who jumped teams a few years back), and a gap was forming in front of that. I tried to say with this pack so they could help me cut the wind, but I have a hard time doing that. After a half mile, I found myself breaking off and cutting the wind myself. A few got in line behind me. Mile 2 was (predictably) slower:

• Mile 2: 3:01 + 3:04 = 6:05. "Let's get these splits back down under 3:00."

I was still feeling pretty good! (I mean, I hurt, but I was OK.) I've done all my long runs slower than this, but they all descend dramatically, so I felt like I was "ready" to keep running harder. I hit the turnaround in 15:04, slower than my sub-6:00 goal, but now the wind was put at our back. Time to run faster! I always get a boost at running while seeing other runners coming toward me, so I fed off that.

• Mile 3: 3:02 + 2:55 = 5:58. "Keep building here!!"

My 4 was just a suffer fest. I took off my mittens before the end of mile 3 as I got warm pretty quick running with the wind, but my hat stayed on. I saw all of my teammates on the way back! Go team!

• Mile 4: 2:53 + 2:54 = 5:48. "Nice! Can I hold that pace for the last mile?!?"

The final mile started up a little hill from Lexington nearing Pizza Luce. I caught a lot of people in the first half of the race, and I'd really slowed up in catching people now. I had 1 guy with longer hair that I spent the last 1.5 miles of the race trying to track down.

I caught up to the guy in front of me running those little turns under Hamline, and then I passed him up the hill 0.3 miles from the finish. I figured he'd pass me, but I was able to bomb hard down the far side of the hill, and I hit the finish fast. Here are 3 screenshots from my "finisher's video" that show me catching up to a 5K runner at the line:


That's me right in the middle. No one right behind me!


She was my final "rabbit" to pull me to the finish.


Just about to hit the line. Oh, and debuting my new BLUE calf sleeves from
Christmas from my Mother-in-Law! They went nicely with the pink plaid shorts. :)

• Mile 5: 2:59 + 2:51 = 5:51. "I expected that 2:59 to be faster, but that hill by Lexington took it out of me."

OFFICIAL RESULTS:

Steve Stenzel, 37, St. Paul

29:41 chip time (29:47 gun)
5:59 pace

79 out of 354 overall
64 out of 206 males
7 out of 23 in the 35-39 age group

Start to turnaround: passed 85 runners, was passed by 0.
Turnaround to finish: passed 9 runners, was passed by 0.

15:04 out (6:02 pace), 14:37 back (5:55 pace)

[Garmin: 5.00 miles in 29:39, 5:55 pace]

5 POST-RACE THOUGHTS:

• In typical fashion, I'll say again: I probably could have ran harder in those middle miles. I don't think I needed to be as slow as that 3:04 split. I was a bit unsure of my speed, and I felt a bit more comfortable just staying with that pack.

• My descending long runs prepared me for this, but I might need to break from that in training. I USUALLY descend races - I like to at least. So one could easily argue that doing my long runs where I descend the "harder" middle miles is just training a strength I already have. And that I should start out FASTER on those runs and try to "hold on" because that's more uncomfortable to me.

• My ankle is lightly sprained. It was a non-issue at the race after about 0.75 miles (it didn't hurt anymore and I gave it no thought/energy during the race), but shortly after finishing, it started to ache and throb a bit more. I can't stretch it without pain (so I'm not stretching anything down there), and I iced and heated it 2x that afternoon post-race.

• Of the 6 times I did this race, I've raced faster 2 times and slower 3 times. That's not bad - I'm OK with that. When I'm "trying" to race this race, my times have been pretty consistent: my fastest 3 times are 29:15, 29:20, and 29:41. (See last Thursday's post for times and links to all 5 of those race reports. And to be fair, as race buddy Evan pointed out in that post last week, the first 2 times I did this race, it was actually a different race that was also 8K in March as part of the USATF circuit that was ran parallel to this race on Summit Ave just a 1/2 mile away.)

• My Garmin showed my build to the finish, and my "avoiding the slop" under Hamline Ave. Here's my pace, showing me "settling in" a little around mile 1.5, turning around at mile 2.5, slowing up a little up the final hill, and then bombing to the finish (barely sub-5:00 pace for 3 little spikes in there):




The map shows me swinging real wide on the way back
under the Hamline "hairpin" to avoid some slop.


I took off shortly after finishing (I only got to cheer in Tim, Jennifer, and Brian on my team to the finish) because of my ankle pain noted above. My wife was going to be out with the boys, so I knew I had time to stretch a little and then ice and heat it, and I wanted to nurse it right away. Sorry team! I didn't mean to abandon you! They posted a few photos later on Facebook:


Jennifer, Brian, and Mike.


Warming up in Whole Foods: Laurie, Brian, Erin, someone I don't know,
Jennifer, a guy who just wanted to be in the picture (really), and team captain Rose!


The winner was 4.5 minutes ahead of me. I totally could have done that.

I tweeted pre-race, and when I got back to the car post-race, I saw Devon had replied. So this was said:


Sorry for the "their" vs "they're" mistake. I'm better than that. Blame it on cold post-race fingers.

I got home and saw my boys had tried to summon some sort of superhero demon on the living room rug:


CAPTION THIS. (And a black cat for good measure.)

The "snow" started as rain for 6 hours (starting around noon after the race), so that kept it from piling up (and actually melted some of our piled snow). But when we ran out that night to get just ONE bag of groceries, we came back to our car getting covered in the start of the snowstorm:


Seriously, we weren't inside long.


The view in our front yard 30 minutes later.


Along the street the next morning. I had shoveled most
of it the night before, so there was only 2 more inches.

I didn't do anything yesterday so I could rest my ankle, and I think I'll TRY swimming today. If that goes OK (50/50 it will/won't), I MIGHT try running tomorrow. I'd like to see if I can run the Lake Johanna 4 Mile on Saturday, but I won't push it if I need to rest for a week. We'll see...

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