USA Track and Field MN Masters Outdoor Championship 1500 RACE REPORT

>> Monday, June 10, 2019

Yesterday was the "USA Track and Field MN Masters Outdoor Championship" at the Hamline University track. I thought about the 5000, but decided to do the 1500 because there were 2 others from my team racing the 1500, and that way we had 3 runners so we could score.

Let's back up a few days first... Thursday was Henry's last day of 2nd grade:

The little one can't wait to be in school with the big one next year!

Instagram caption: "Ran into a local celebrity on the running trails this morning.
We chatted for a half mile while I pushed Charlie. (MY Charlie, not HERS.)"

Because Olympian Carrie Tollefson's hubby is also a Charlie.

Then on Friday, my sister-in-law and I met up with the kids at Valleyfair. It was the first day of summer break for Henry and my niece. It turns out that EVERYONE HAD THE SAME IDEA TO GO TO VALLEYFAIR! This was the line to get our tickets:

It took us over 40 minutes to just get in! And we'd been
there 2 hours before Henry and I went on our first ride!

Charlie wanted to stand on the "splash bridge" (1st pic) and get
splashed (2nd pic), but he was not happy with the consequences (3rd pic).

I had dry clothes in the car (this wasn't my first rodeo), and both boys looked like this before too long.

Saturday, I did a lot of projects around the house as Sarah had the boys for a few hours. And Sunday was the race. I kept checking the weather: it was GOOD that it kept cooling down in the forecast, but I was also watching the rain timing jump around:

Hopefully dry through my race around 11 a.m.??

Umbrella in my backpack, and "dad hat" on as I walked to the track.

Sunny when I got there, with dark clouds ready to move in.

No sun and just dark clouds 20 minutes later.

There were 39 runners in the first heat of the 5000! They spread out
quickly, and it went well. The top 3 guys went sub-15:30!

The day before (well, actually I think the TWO days before) was the HS State Track Meet at this track, so the porta potties just outside the track were NASTY. But being I teach there, I just walked a block to my building, "carded in," and found my regular bathroom! Nice! The bathroom next to my office was closed because of some summer repair work:

Just outside one of my classrooms.

My traditional pre-race shot in a different bathroom down the hall.

I warmed up for 2 miles about an hour before I was scheduled to race. (Things were running behind, so I figured I had even more time.) I stretched and chatted with all the normal familiar faces. When the 1500 was at hand, a large mass of us met across the track at the start. We were split into 5 heats: 2 female, and then "fast" men, "medium" men, and "slower" men. I was in heat 4 ("medium" men), and based on what people were saying, I was expecting to bring up the rear. (But as I told teammate Jamie, I'd MUCH rather be "pulled" through a race and post a better time than to look cool and "win" my heat with no one to shoot for in front of me.) I nearly missed the part where they assigned numbers (not "bib" numbers, but the sticky numbers you put on your shorts for each heat), so teammate Jamie and I (and 2 other guys) had to go track down the right person to get a number. I did some sprints on the infield as I hoped to stay dry through the race.

Heat 2 of the 1500, with darker clouds moving in. That's Danielle G racing in the middle.

I tucked my phone away and got ready to race. There was a hearty breeze coming down the backstretch that EVERYONE was complaining about in the 5000, but I was hoping I wouldn't have time to notice it in the 1500.

THEE Rick Recker ran into me and asked if I had any goals. I told him "a sub-5:00 mile equivalent" as I wrote about in Saturday's post. With all of his running knowledge, he just spouted off "oh, you used the 1.08 multiplier, right?" I laughed and said yeah, and that "I just learned 2 days ago that 1.08 is the best multiplier, and that 1.07..." He finished my thought as I trailed off: "1.0727 is the same PACE, but 1.08 is acknowledged as the best because it accounts for the shorter and faster race." I laughed and said "of COURSE you have all of this committed to memory!!" (See Saturday's post if you want to know what Rick was talking about.)

Teammate Jamie and I were in wave 4 together, and 3rd teammate Dan was in the final wave after us. Jamie and I lined up next to each other, and we were off!!...


I shot off well, and made a perfect diagonal to the first turn. I actually got right along the rail shortly after the turn started! I'd told SOO many people there that I'm a bad track runner, but I got into a good position right away at this race! On the homestretch, I saw that I was farther up than I expected, but then I quickly told myself not to keep track of who's in front of me like I do at road races because that's pointless here.

Found this in a stranger's album on FB. The leaders after the first 300.
I'm back there in 6th, teammate Jamie is in white and orange a few spots behind.

Finishing the first 3/4 lap.

Close up of that last shot: Jamie (orange) hung close all race! I didn't know that at the time!

In Saturday's post, I explained that an opening 300 of 0:55 and then final 400s of 1:14 would get me in a my "sub-5:00 mile equivalent" goal of 4:37, but I HOPED to be a bit faster than that. My first 300 was good:

• FIRST 300: 0:53.70. "Good! Now HOLD!"

The guy behind me in that last photo passed me, and I tried to stay behind him to catch his draft into the wind on the backstretch. And I did pretty good! But I jumped out of it near the end to pass him, and I actually got back in front of him before the turn. I was being a good "track runner" at this race!

I *think* this was with 2 laps left. Maybe with 1 lap left. Passing these guys.

• SECOND 400: 1:15.29. "Damn. Too slow. Pick it up!"

I was now just 1/100th of a second faster than my goal. TOO CLOSE. Time to pick it up! I think I ran that 2nd lap too slow because I didn't think I'd be that close to the front of the heat. I think my mind screwed with me a bit. But I was ready to make it up. I was in either 2nd or 3rd in my heat when I came to the bell lap!

• THIRD 400: 1:13.72. "Moving in the right direction! I have more left to give, so GO NOW!!"

I really hit another gear starting that last lap. I don't think that I saved too much. Sure, lap 2 was a bit slower, but not horribly so. And I wasn't saving anything for an amazing last 50 meters - I was going hard NOW. I heard people cheering for someone named Dan right behind me, and I was working to KEEP him there! It was a good push! I hardly cared about the person (maybe 2) in front of me - I was using Dan behind me to go hard! But I couldn't quite hold him. He passed me with about 40-50 meters left, and that was that. He had a slight bald spot, so my only thought was "Shoot, I hope he wasn't in my age group!"

• FOURTH 400: 1:11.57. "Nice. Sub 1:10 would have shown I had too much left. This was a solid race!"

My watch said 4:34, and I was thrilled! I wanted to be sub-4:37, I posted 4:32 as my expected time (where everyone posts aggressively fast times), and sub-4:30 would have been a dream time. I gave it my all and was happy!


Steve Stenzel, M, 38, St. Paul, YWCA Endurance Sports

1500 meters
2 out of 4 in the 35-39 age group
15 out of 43 men
15 out of 67 overall


• Luckily, the guy who passed me was NOT in my age group. He was 30 and therefore in the next group down (meaning "faster"). So I didn't feel as bad. He was just under 1 second in front of me, which seems like forever when he just passed me 40 meters before. The winner in my age group was WAAAAAAY out of reach:

And that's Jamie on my team in 3rd!!

• In a lot of short races, I say I could have been faster in the middle. Not in this one. Yes, that 2nd lap was a bit slow, but I wasn't taking it TOO easy. I corrected for it right away and didn't just sandbag it until the final kick.

• My "mile equivalent time" would be 4:56. (Based on the math that Rick and I talked about that I posted on Saturday.) That would seem about right: I ran a 4:59 on a road course a month ago, but was faster yesterday on a "faster" track.

• I didn't learn this until a good 30 minutes post-race, but (as noted in the "official results" above) I took 2nd in my age group! That was a fun surprise! I realized during the race that it *could* be possible to podium being I figured the first wave of 1500 was "younger" guys, and I was doing well in my wave. I walked away with this silver medal:

• This 1500 seemed a LOT shorter than a mile or 1600! Something about starting on the backstretch made it feel like the first lap was nearly done right from the start. Sure, I've never raced a mile or 1600 on a 400 meter track before (REALLY - they've all been indoor 200 meter tracks or "road miles"), so I maybe don't have a baseline for judgement here. But I've done my fair share of 1600 repeats on the track, so I feel like I know that distance. This was mentally a lot different, even though it was just 100-109 meters shorter.

• Out of curiosity, I checked the 5000 meter results. 2nd in my age group was 17:22, and 3rd was 18:33, and I'm quite sure I would have come in between those for 3rd place. Maybe if we have more runners for our team I can try that next year.

I didn't cool down right away - I had a final heat of 1500 runners to cheer on!

Teammate Dan!

This guy had already LAPPED the 2 guys behind him. Story below...

So when the 4th heat (which I was in) was about to start, the guy in the photo above said "oh, I don't have those sticker numbers like the rest of you have." He didn't stick around when the 1500 was getting underway to be assigned a number in his heat. So he was kicked out (harsh wording) of the 4th heat so he could go get a number across the track and then come back to race in the final heat. So he ran the whole thing by himself! He finished around 4:35, way ahead of everyone in his heat.

Kirt in the 1500!

Dan was trying out out-kick Hyun, and Hyun came up right on
his side to draft off him! Dan held on at the line! (By 0.14 seconds!)

Rick Recker!

A teammate selfie post-race! Nice running, fellas!
(Also, note the flag SHARPLY blowing down the backstretch!)

A muscly start to a 400 heat.

Posted on Instagram: "Well *THAT* was unexpected! Brought home the silver medal in my
age group in the 1500 meters at the 'USA Track and Field MN Masters Outdoor
Championship' this morning! #MyGlutesAreScreaming #AndMyQuads #TrackMeet"

My left calf has been a little extra tight the last 10 days or so, so I might back off a bit for a week here. I've had a nice stretch of 20+ mile running weeks going back to early April (the last 9 weeks), keeping up my 20+ miles/week average that I started 40 weeks ago as TC 10 Mile training ramped up. I just barely hit 20 miles this past week, and I'm OK letting it drop this week if I feel the need. We'll see.

Back with some more photos from the meet in a few days!

Sidenote: I posted a lot of my photos from my "Faculty Grant Photographic Lighting Get-Away" on my Photo Blog last week. Check it out if you're interested!


SteveQ 11:26 AM, June 10, 2019  

Rick's memory is amazing (if selective). I'll ask him who the "Belgian grad student who was winning local races back in the '90's" was and he'll know the name, the races, his times and other details.

Steve Stenzel 11:52 AM, June 10, 2019  

Ha! I bet that's true SteveQ! :)

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