Minneapolis Halloween Half Marathon RACE REPORT

>> Monday, October 31, 2022

Mid-day on Friday, I decided to sign up for a Saturday morning race. I tweeted about my goals on Saturday morning before the race, which was simply to "go out EEEEASY." I had a small breakfast and hit the basement bathroom to take care of a few things:


Taking care of 2 things.


Then using the upstairs bathroom after the boys were up.


A beautiful morning to race! (One of the reasons I signed up!)


Driving through the U of M campus on the way there, and I saw there was a
Gopher's game in a few hours. MAYBE taking a different way home from the race!

I couldn't find a spot to park as I showed up much later than I usually do. I picked up my number the day before and had it pinned on my shirt 2 hours pre-race at home, and then finally found a parking spot about 6-8 blocks from the race about 40 mins pre-race. A woman who parked near me had me escort her to the race as she wasn't sure where she was going. We had a nice chat.


The finish line just after getting off of the Stone Arch Bridge.


Porta potty wisdom.


The sweetest "yo mama" I've ever seen.
(That DOES say "bae" and not "hoe," right?)


Lots of people milling about!


A shot of the tutti frutti shorts before taking off my blue shirt at the bag drop.

I dropped my keys and phone in the bag drop, and I headed for the starting line. My stomach was a LITTLE upset, and I actually wasn't sure I could "trust a fart" I had brewing, so I quick made the call to turn around and run for the porta potties 12 minutes pre-race! I ran PAST the line of porta potties (which still had long lines) and went to 2 more "permanent" potties near the Stone Arch Bridge:


Photo I took post-race as I had already put my phone away when I ran here pre-race.

The 1 potty had NO toilet paper, so I waited (hopefully) for the other one to open up. I actually grabbed 2 leaves just in case I needed to use them. But potty #2 had TP! So I quick did my business for a 3rd time and then ran back to the start line with about 3 minutes to spare!!

I chatted with a guy who was hoping for around 1:25 and then saw Doron C as well. I told Doron he'd be near the front, and he disagreed and gestured at a few other guys standing around. By the looks of it, I'd be lucky to be top-10.

"5... 4... 3... 2... 1... GOOOOOO!!!!"

GO OUT EASY, STENZEL.

I instantly found myself in 10th place. I was caught twice more in the first half mile to move back to 12th. I was trying to keep it easy. My first half mile ticked over in 2:58 and I TRIED TO EASE UP!! I was successful as my next few splits were better:

• MILE 1: 6:06 (2:58 + 3:07)
• MILE 2: 6:25 (3:19 + 3:05)

I was passed just before mile 2 like I was standing still. And then the top 2 females creeped up on me as well. I ran the next few miles right behind the lead female and right next to the 2nd place female. I used them to keep me from going too hard, and it was perfect.

• MILE 3: 6:26 (3:15 + 3:10)

I was running in 18th overall as we were getting close to the 4th mile marker. This course was essentially the same as the Moustache Run Half that I won last year where I found myself in 6th, but then everyone in front of me turned around at mile 4 because they were doing the 10K and I suddenly found myself leading a half marathon for the first time. I was hoping a decent chunk of the runners in front of me were going to turn around, but only 4 turned back. So I was in 14th.

• MILE 4: 6:19 (3:09 + 3:10)

There were 2 more sets of foot strikes sneaking up on the 2 lead females and me: it was another female and a (male) friend of hers who was dressed as Forrest Gump. I found myself in a pack of 5 running the curves along the river - I couldn't always run the "best" line anymore. (Whereas a mile before, the 2nd place female and I were weaving nicely all over the road to take the best tangent behind the lead female who just stuck to her place near the middle of the road.) We lamented the long climb we were about to start up under I94 and Franklin Ave.

• MILE 5: 6:26 (3:07 + 3:19)

That 3:19 was heading up the big hill, and my half-mile splits were showing the hills, but my mile splits were pretty consistent at this point: I had a fast opening mile, but then the next 4 miles were within a few seconds of each other. The first half of mile 6 was finishing that uphill, so it started a little slower as well:

• MILE 6: 6:18 (3:15 + 3:03)

NOTE THAT 3:03 - this was the point in the race where I tried to up the pace. I thought this course would help me with my "don't go out too hard" strategy as I could try to keep it easy for the first 4 miles, keep it easy getting up that long hill, and then be around mile 5.5 and see if I had any more gears to shift into! And that's what I did!...

... but that's also what Forrest and the lead female did as well. I got in front of 2 of the 3 lead women, but I couldn't catch the other 2 in my pack. I KNEW I upped the pace, but the lead female was pulling away. I ended up settling in with Forrest and the 2nd place female (I was calling her "Braids" in my head as she had braided pigtails). I announced to them around mile 6.55: "We're just under 41:30 at half-way. That's on pace for 1:23. We've got some downhills in the 2nd half, but then that damn climb up under I35 with a mile left..."

The 2nd place female made it sound like she wasn't expecting anyone faster than her to be there, and that she wasn't in the right mindset to try to race the leader who was a 1/2 block in front of us. Forrest was just a super friendly runner who was waving at everyone - LOVE that.

• MILE 7: 6:18 (3:09 + 3:08)

Besides my opening mile, this was the first time my half-mile splits were both sub-3:10. I was going to try to see if I could keep my miles at 6:20 or below for all of these final miles except for that nasty climb at mile 12. We had turned back around before mile 8 and were running south along West River Parkway now - we had to get back to the Stone Arch Bridge and then cross it to the finish line.

• MILE 8: 6:24 (3:14 + 3:09)

The first half of mile 8 had a little uphill that I commonly run on my long runs, so that was a bit slower. Now except for the end of mile 9 (the down and up under the Lake Street Bridge), it was mainly downhill until that nasty climb at mile 12. I was just starting to "run the math" in my head for possible finishing times: what I'd need to run to be around 1:22... what I'd need to run to be sub-1:23... I wasn't sure about any of it. Just running hard.

Oh, and my right glute started to hurt a bit, so I was hoping that wasn't going to flare up any more.

• MILE 9: 6:15 (3:04 + 3:11)
• MILE 10: 6:19 (3:11 + 3:08)

The lead female was nearly out of sight, and the 2nd place female ("Braids") along with Forrest were running in front of me. Now I was back to running the tangents better with no one next to me. We caught the guy who "passed me like I was standing still" around the mile 2 marker - he had pulled up to walked twice, and he got words of encouragement from me and Forrest as we went past. I tried to keep Forrest and Braids RIGHT in front of me, but they were slowly pulling away as well.

We also slowly caught another runner in front of us, so with Forrest in front of me but having passed these 2 recently, I was up to 13th now. But then a guy in a wig and a wild top came running past, so I was back in 14th. I wasn't too bummed - I didn't like the fact that I was being passed so late in a race where I tried to go out easy, but there also didn't seem to be anyone else around; it wasn't that DROVES of runners were passing me.

The next mile started with the long downhill that we climbed in miles 5-6. So I was really hoping to make up time:

• MILE 11: 6:03 (2:55 + 3:07)

Just over 2 miles left. With a SLOW mile 12 coming, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to break 1:23. (I really didn't have any time goal for this race, but I like to give myself goals along the way to push myself.) I was busy passing 10K runners who started the same time as us (and had the same last 2 miles as we did).

I really tried to keep it strong in that slow uphill in mile 12, but I was hashed. I felt like I gained on Forrest and Braids, but it's just that they were going slow up that hill as well. I was waiting for the finish line.

• MILE 12: 6:42 (3:13 + 3:28)

It's DEPRESSING seeing your slowest mile BY FAR at mile 12 of a half marathon. Now it was pretty much flat or downhill to the finish. I wasn't going to catch anyone in front of me, but I also didn't feel like anyone was coming from behind me. (I never actually turned around to check over my shoulder - I was fixated on watching those in front of me, but I just couldn't catch them.)

I turned onto the Stone Arch Bridge and just tried to sprint. I knew I had a shot at sub-1:23 if barely. It helped that the last few miles had my Garmin going off AFTER the mile marker, so my Garmin was going to measure it a BIT short, meaning I had a better chance of sub-1:23.

• MILE 13: 6:14 (3:10 + 3:04)
• FINAL 0.1: 0:24 (Garmin had it as 0.07 to the finish)

OFFICIAL RESULTS:

Steve Stenzel, 41, Male, St. Paul

1:22:46
6:19.1 pace

15th out of 769 overall
2nd out of 59 in the 40-44 age group


Unofficially: 41:24-41:26 first half, 41:20-41:22 second half, negative split of 2-6 seconds

Garmin: 1:22:47 for 13.07 miles (6:20.0 pace)



My Garmin post-race. (13.07 miles, but 13.1 at pace would have had me at 1:22:58.)


Other finishers coming across the bridge.


Beautiful day to race!


Father Hennepin Bluff Park below the bridge.


Half marathoner!


This morph suit was amazing!


Selfie with the finish line!


Medal on my shorts back at my car.


What's that flying in the sky?...


... DAMN IT.

7 POST RACE NOTES:

• ONE: I did NOT start easy like I wanted to, but at least I didn't start too fast/hard. I was able to "tone it down" and not blow up. So I STILL need to have a race where I TRULY start easy.

• TWO: my mental and physical efforts weren't GREAT at this race. I found myself zoning out at times. I tried to keep the effort up in the last half, but I don't feel like I had a GREAT push. I'm finding this is the case as I get older and older, and I just don't often talk about it.

• THREE: I was less than 0:03 slower/mile than the TC 10 Mile. I like fall half-marathons because I feel like the TC 10 Mile gets me ready to race a 13.1. I ran a 1:02:44 at the TC 10, and I was only 0:38 slower at mile 10 of this half. I had an overall pace of 6:16.4 at the TC 10 Mile, and I averaged 6:19.1 / mile at this race (2.7 sec/mile slower). I can't complain about this race!

• FOUR: the results still aren't TOTALLY correct. At first I was listed as 23rd with 6 women in front of me. The top 3 finishers all broke 60. Sure they did. They couldn't have POSSIBLY been 10Kers who got mixed up in the 13.1 results. (That's me being sassy.) After 1 revision, it was still way off. So I officially filled out the form to note strange results:



I've seen the overall finishers start around 750, climb to nearly 800, and now drop back down under 770. Right now, I'm ranked as 15th, but Doron isn't listed in there - he was 3rd overall at the turn-around and would also push me back to 3rd in my age group (which would be right) but also back to 16th overall (which isn't right).

• FIVE: I'm feeling GOOD post-race. Half marathons tend to feel OK for me. Sure, my legs are tired. But my toes are all fine, nothing is achy, I didn't have any weird rubbing or sore spots, and life is good right now.

• SIX: this was my 13th half-marathon, and I've only had 2 or 3 faster! Officially I've had 3 faster, but the 1:21:53 at the 2017 Minneapolis Halloween Half was noted as being short, and I should have been over 1:23. Otherwise, just my PR of 1:20:51 at the 2012 New Prague Half and last year's 1:22:17 at the 2021 Moustache Run Half have been faster!

For personal reference, here's a look going back through time of my half marathon finishes: 1:22:17 at the 2021 Moustache Run Half, 1:21:53 at the 2017 Minneapolis Halloween Half (noted as being short and should have been more like 1:23:09), 1:26:51 at the 2016 Securian Run Half, 1:25:22 at the 2012 Securian Run Half, 1:20:51 at the 2012 New Prague Half, 1:25:45 at the 2012 Rochester Track Club Half, 1:15:14 at the (SHORT!) 2011 Securian Run Half (would have been over 1:25), 1:28:50 at the 2010 Securian Run Half, 1:22:51 at the 2010 Pine Line Half, 40:10 for a 10.25K at the 2009 Winter Carnival Half Marathon (shortened due to cold: -12 air temp with windchill down to 25 below!), 1:28:05 at the 2009 LUABC Rochester Half, and 1:29:25 at the 2008 Winter Carnival Half.

• SEVEN: here are my Gamin stats:


The worst part of this (BY FAR) is the uphill at mile 12.


Pace. Sure, a dip in speed at mile 5, but the dip at mile 12 felt WAAAAAY worse.


Heart rate climbed to 195 at the finish!


Heart rate zones.


Cadence. I always get "clomp-y" later in races when I get tired. (180 is ideal.)

And my map with colored pace on top shows how I was feeling as well:


As I was coming back north, I was fast downhill under I94 then SLOW under
I-35 coming up that hill. Then fast across the Stone Arch Bridge to the finish.

There still might be 1 or 2 people in these results that don't belong here, but here's what some of the finishers around me look like right now:



Sarah was the lead female who pulled away. I don't know who Forrest was, but he MIGHT be Peter (as he's from the same city as the female 2 places behind me, and they were obviously together) - if that was him, he pulled away nicely from me! Apparently "Braids" name was Kendall, and she finished 0:39 in front of me. And I had 75 seconds before the next person behind me, who I THINK was the guy who we passed that was walking a few times - he ended up doing alright!

I MIGHT actually try a short run today - usually I wait 3 or 4 days, but I'm feeling OK.

Back with photos when I see more come in from the race!

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Morning Race!

>> Saturday, October 29, 2022

I posted this on twitter this morning:



I lived! Back with a race report on Monday.

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Friday Funny 2155: Fitness-Related Funnies

>> Friday, October 28, 2022






































BIG NEWS! Check my twitter tomorrow morning as I THINK there's a last-minute athletic venture coming my way!...

And as always, check SportsAndLaughs.tumblr.com for more funny things!

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Friday Funny 2154: Candy Corn Tweets

Halloween is nearly upon us. (Which is why I had a "Friday Funny" last week about pets in Halloween costumes.) Here's a "hot button" issue: Candy Corn!

















































Lots more funny things on SportsAndLaughs.tumblr.com.

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