TC 1 Mile Race Report

>> Monday, May 13, 2019

Thursday night was the TC in Motion "TC 1 Mile" on city streets around the Guthrie Theatre:

"U"-shaped course with 1/4 mile laps.

I never took a traditional "porta potty" selfie, but here's a selfie in
front of my house as I was about to jog to the light rail to get to the race.

Team photo pre-race. We're missing speedy buddy Jamie.

Sidenote: I was mistaken in last Wednesday's post about some of the details regarding being in the final FAST wave of the race. I thought that was JUST for those who could run 5:00 or faster (so I thought I could be one of the last finishers), but it was for all USATF MN teams *AND* those who could run 5:00 or faster. So I didn't feel any pressure there.

I jogged the course forward and backwards. I tried to really focus on my goal of going out harder. Last year at this race, I had my slowest 1/4 EVER in a 1 mile race (as the 2nd quarter), and that threw out my chances of a sub-5:00 mile. (It ended up being my slowest 1 mile ever at 5:02, and only 1 of 2 that was over 5:00.) I didn't know if I could get sub-5:00 this year, but I wanted to give myself a chance. So I figured there were 3 ways the first 1/2 of the race could go:

• ONE: I could go out too easy because I'm scared like last year (1:14 and 1:20 for my 1/4 mile splits, on pace for a 5:08 mile) and not have a chance for sub-5:00 at the half-mile point.

• TWO: I could go out too easy because my legs are too tired from my last run or I'm just not in as good of shape and not have a chance at the half-mile point.

• THREE: I could go out hard (maybe 1:13 and 1:18 for my 1/4 mile splits, on pace for a 5:02 mile) and at least have a SHOT at sub-5:00 for the finish.

There's no way that last one would guarantee a sub-5:00 mile (in fact, I could crash and burn before the finish line), but I would at least have a SHOT to go sub-5:00, where the first 2 options give me really NO CHANCE by half-way into the race.

I just kept repeating all those options for the first half of the race in my head. I didn't want to TAKE OFF and BLOW UP from the starting line, but I didn't want to get scared and go too easy.

Selfie with some teammates inside as we were staying out of the COLD WIND!

The start of the USATF MN female wave! That's new teammate Sam in the white just right-of-center.

That wave running off. There's trainer Laurie's butt running off under the Guthrie.

I didn't get to chat with teammate Tim too much, but I got to see my other teammates a lot: Mike and I chatted near the line, Jamie said he wasn't in quite as good of shape this year (he passed me in the last 100 meters last year), and Dan was excited to bust out his first mile race in a long time. I THOUGHT I got in a good spot at the starting line, but once everyone filled in, I was near the back. I always end up doing that. Oops.

Jamie was just in front of me, and Dan was just behind me when WE WERE OFF!!!

Screenshot from a video Laurie took 1-2 blocks into the race.
That's me in the pink with Dan right on my tail in orange!

The first quarter was truly (happily) uneventful. I started passing people, but nothing dramatic happened.

• FIRST 1/4 MILE: 1:12.16. “Nice! Now STRONG here!"

I didn’t try to “kick it up a gear” or anything at this point; I just made sure I was putting forth plenty of effort and not saving anything back. After all, there was just over a half mile left.

Pic from Evan. That's teammate Jamie in the orange, then 4 Mill City guys,
and then you can see my pink shorts off to the right behind them.

The biggest bit of drama all race happened just before the half mile mark. I was running behind that pack of Mill City guys and holding a nice line to the left as we were about to turn left. But I felt like I needed to get around them, so I shot to the right, passed Jaime and said “GO JAMIE!,” and then tried to get back to the left before turning. I ended taking the corner quite wide. Damn.

• SECOND 1/4 MILE: 1:17.82. “Boom. I can break 5:00. Maybe.”

I didn’t know my exact hundredths of a second, but I knew I was right around 2:30 at a half mile. (It turns out I was at 2:29.98.) I hit the slight downhill section hard, and tried to get up to speed after rounding the final corner with about 0.35 miles left. I was still passing people. (I’ve GOT to learn to start closer to the front!)

• THIRD 1/4 MILE: 1:14.81. “Alright, just go hard now!!”

I prayed to see the “200 meters left” sign. Here are 4 pics from Evan again with about 100 meters left:

Cutting between these 2 guys.

Working hard.

LOOKING for the finish.

Just after this pic, (within 100 meters left), a few older guys FLEW past me, and I just tried to keep up. Three guys passed me (the 2 on either side of me in the last pic), and 2 of them were in their 50s. I couldn't keep up. Holy cats.

MY WATCH BEEPED AND TOOK MY FOURTH 1/4 MILE SPLIT 10 METERS FROM THE FINISH. “Oh shit. I still have 2 seconds left to run. Will this put me over 5:00?!?” I knew it’d be close.

• FOURTH 1/4 MILE: 1:12.56.


Here's what my Garmin said:



Steve Stenzel, 38, M, St. Paul

4:59.6 chip time
5:02.5 gun time

56 out of 140 in the MN Championship wave
4 out of 17 in the 35-39 age group in the MN Championship wave

67 out of 1759 overall (among all 1 mile heats)
6 out of 110 in the 35-39 age group (among all 1 mile heats)

Passed 46 runners from the start to the finish, and got passed by 0 runners from the start to the finish.

[Garmin 1/4 mile splits: 1:12.16, 1:17.82, 1:14.81, 1:12.56, and 0:02.47 extra = 4:59.86.]


• I'm thrilled I was able to do what I wanted to do, especially in the first half of this race. I knew that had to be WELL faster than last year, and it was. I was over 2:34 last year; and this year, I was just under 2:30. That gave me a shot at sub-5:00.

• What's with the "old guys" flying past me? I posted that pic of my watch on Instagram and Facebook, noting "I won’t mention the 3 or 4 old guys who blew past me in the final 100 meters. Holy cats. #IWantToBeThemWhenIGrowUp." Two friends weighed in on that (one on Facebook and one on Twitter):

This explains a lot!

• I really love looking at the "finishing kicks" in a mile race. The guy in neon yellow next to me with 100 meters left flew past me and finished NEARLY 2 SECONDS IN FRONT OF ME. (Ahhh, to have the legs of a 25-year-old.) And the guy right behind him and I (in that first of 4 Evan's finishing photos above) finished about 4.5 seconds BEHIND me. There are ALL kinds of speeds in the final kick of a 1 mile road race!

• I hate saying this... but I'm pretty sure I could have gone a bit harder from about 0.7 - 0.9 miles. I was going really hard, but I think I had more. I was SUPER happy I gave more earlier on, but I think I "rested" on that too much heading to the finish. HOW much faster is the real question: could I have be 0.3 seconds faster? Or 3 seconds faster? I don't know. I didn't want to suffer that much, so I kept it at about 99.7% during that section, just shy of 100%. I felt like I had sub-5 (but it turned out I BARELY did), and that was the only real goal at this race, so I didn't suffer as much as I could have. I'm totally OK with that.

• See those results? I passed 46 runners start-to-finish and was passed by 0. Yep, I have GOT to learn to start closer to the front! (That means all those guys that shot by me at the end had started well in front of me to begin with - I caught them, then they caught me back.)

• My Garmin showed part of why it measured the race as long. There must have been a little interference from some tall buildings early on, as I did NOT slow up to 6:00 pace about a block into the race:

The drop in speed around 0.5 is rounding a corner, and the speed boost after that is downhill.

This makes sense as it beeped RIGHT at the 1/4 and 1/2 mile markers, when usually it takes a second or 2 to acknowledge the distance and THEN record the split. I didn't realize that during the race, and just thought it was perfectly beeping on the quarters, when it should have been beeping a few strides later. (So realistically, my first quarter should have had 1 second added, and then the extra 1.4 seconds could have been the "extra" running from rounding the first corner so wide and from not taking the best lines in the final little curves.)

I got home in time to help tuck the boys in. (Thanks Mama!) Then the next day, Charlie had his normal half-day of preschool, and Henry's school had a half-day (for some reason - private schools can do whatever they want), so we got to go out all afternoon FOR CHARLIE'S 5TH BIRTHDAY!!

At "The Big Thrill Factory!" Charlie loved the ropes course above everyone's heads.

He did the zip line 6 times.

During some mini-golf.

Back at home with some "cake store" cake (meaning from Cafe Latte). Love these guys.


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