Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Securian Winter Run "Fifty-Eight One Hundred and Thirty-Firsts" Marathon

Saturday morning was the Securian Winter Run Half Marathon.  You know, the race for which I was significantly undertrained.  I would have been really happy with anything close to my PR of 1:52.  Well, I finished in 1:35.  WHAT?!?  HUH?!?  Uh, keep reading...

I know how to dress for weather that's above 30.  I know how to dress for 15 below.  I have trouble with the in-between temps.  So here was my living room floor the night before the race:

Many options for clothing, and I changed my mind many times

Strangest chip I've ever seen

Eventually, I decided to wear my new New Balance compression tights with an Under Armour base layer top and Under Armour pullover.  Adding a hat and some gloves, it turned out to be the perfect race-day outfit.  I was also really excited since this would be my first race on a dry surface in my Brooks Launch.  (As it turns out, they felt fantastic.)

Katie was racing the 10k, and we got to the Securian Building about 75 minutes prior to the gun.  We milled about, ran into some friends (Steve and Pharmie, Tony, and Steve Q., then meandered outside for the start.  Katie and I wished each other luck, and I found a spot in the starting corral.

Looking down Jackson

While waiting around for the start, I ran into two people who I had only known via Dailymile/blogging: Shannon and Salli.  All of a sudden, the gun went, and we were off.

At the start, still on Jackson

The course was...challenging.  Instead of heading down to the river as in past years, we had to detour around the light rail construction area (another reason I'm not a fan of the Central Corridor).  So, we went downhill to Lowertown, then began a long, steady climb up Kellogg to Rice Park.  Below, you can see the start of the climb beyond where Union Depot crosses the road.

Before getting to Rice Park, I saw Steve running the other way.  My aim was a little off, so I had to edit the photo just a bit to get him in the shot.

At the same time, he was recording video and got a shot of me.  His aim is slightly better.  (If you can't find me in the photo, look under the BIG. RED. ARROW.  Thanks Steve.)

The loop around Rice Park was actually quite nice because we got to see all the ice sculptures.  And a circa 1990 Dodge Dakota.

The 10k'ers started 5 minutes after the Half Marathoners, so I was keeping an eye out for Katie heading back down Kellogg.

She's wearing BRIGHT GREEN.  And she's not the cop directing traffic.

The 5k was brought to us by the letter Y.  It's in front of the bus.

Heading downhill to Shepard Road, the course headed up the river.  Reaching the first water stop at mile 3, I was a bit puzzled by the water:

The problem is that they gave me a bottle of water with a cap on it.  So, I had to juggle a camera, the water, the cap, and later, a Gu.  It was a little tough.  And there weren't any trash cans except right at the water stop, so since I held on to the water for a little while, there wasn't a good place to ditch it until the next water stop a few miles later.

At this point, I should update you on my running.  Actually, I was having a great time and feeling pretty good.  It was tough to read my watch because it fogged up.  The hills were nice and rolling along Shepard Road (my favorite type of course), I felt reasonably swift, and the day was perfect for a run.

I hit the mile 6 marker in 50'06", and knew that I had a shot at my PR.  Up ahead was the turnaround, and I thought "Wow, that came up pretty quickly!  Nice!"

The turnaround.  No race official, just a cop.

After turning back towards Downtown, I saw the next marker.  It said 8.  "Wow, this race is flying by!"  Then, "I don't remember marker 7, well, maybe I just didn't see it."  Hitting my watch, my time from marker 6 to marker 8: 3'44".  Two options.  First, I just set a world record in the 2 mile.  Second, someone screwed up.

Somehow, someone botched the turnaround and did so about 3/4 mile too early.  The final distance of the race ended up being 11.6 miles instead of the usual 13.1.

Let me editorialize here.  Did Securian/Anderson Race Management screw up?  Yes.  Was it the end of the world?  No.  All the runners knew going into the race that the course was not certified.  Thus, you couldn't use the race to qualify for Corral 1 of TCM, for example.  It was billed as a fun, winter run.  Whether it was 13.1 miles, or 11.6 miles, it was still a race of significant distance.  Everyone ran the same course.  We'll hope they fix everything for next year, but I urge you that if you ran this race on Saturday and are upset about the distance, understand that things happen, and try to enjoy the run.  It was really a spectacular day for a run.

How could one get upset about the error?  I mean, look at the fantastic views one gets as they head back into Downtown:

Getting back downtown, I realized how much I loathe the Central Corridor.  First, we go up the hill on Jackson:

Then, it was downhill to Lowertown, then back uphill again in the last mile back to the start.  That last uphill just killed me.  I lost any momentum I had and my calf cramped.  Ugh.  But, I was happy to be done:

So was Katie:

Result: 11.6 miles, 1:35:29, 8:14/mile pace.  Extrapolating that pace out to a 13.1, I would have finished in 1:47ish.  Which, would have been a great PR.  I felt great running, and it showed in my finishing time.  Even though I can't count it as a half marathon PR, I definitely set an 11.6 Mile PR.

Afterwards, we ate, stretched, and left.  Back home in the parking lot, I noticed that Katie hadn't taken the plastic bag off her backpack, so she had a cape thing going on:


Steve Stenzel said...

Nice work Matt! A few things:

- TOTALLY agree with the "oops on the distance but not a big deal."

- Katie's NOT a cop? Since when?

- Yeah, the bottled water was not a great idea. Easier for the volunteers, but harder for the racers.

- I'm pretty sure you DID set a 2 mile world record. I'm calling Guinness as I type...

- I'm glad you got a shot of the turn-around.

Nice race Matt! (And Katie!) Pharmie told me there's a half marathon this weekend in Edina (or someplace), and I'm THINKING about it....

SteveQ said...

I was feeling a little guilty about not running the race and telling myself it's all concrete on Shepard Rd. and there's nothing to block the wind along the river - but a short course made me feel much better about not doing it. Now your blog has me thinking I should've done it after all...

shannon said...

Great race, Matt! Congrats on the 1:35 PR too! I think we should have all agreed that the course was in fact 13.1 miles, and that our hard training and dedication to the sport resulted in the PRs.

Please use any pictures of mine on your blog. If you want any of the pictures on my blog, I can email them to you too.

It was great to meet you! :)

Matt said...

@Steve S.: A Half this weekend? Can't seem to find one on any calendars, but if you figure out what it is, let me know.

@Steve Q.: I guess I'm too much of an optimist, eh? It was a good, fun race. I could see someone being upset if they were really serious about it, or if they had hoped to run their first half that day. But, 11.6 miles is still a sufficiently long distance, and I wasn't going to let something like that ruin my race.

@Shannon: I may use some of your photos in another post of mine. Thanks!

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