Race Report: 2011 Twin Cities in Motion 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile

Looking for the 2011 Twin Cities in Motion 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile race results? Check them out at http://www.mtecresults.com/race/show/277. I’m posting this because in the last hour about 80 people have come across this entry looking for the results.

Last month I might have come off a bit harsh on the Twin Cities in Motion after running the Valentine’s Day 5k. They’re a growing organization and it’s a new thing that they’re doing races other than the Twin Cities Marathon and the Medtronic TC 1 Mile. I just need to keep reminding myself that things will get better. The New York Road Runners can put on consistently well managed races week after week because they’ve been doing it for years. Twin Cities in Motions will get there. It also helps out that Mary Wittenberg announced at Coogan’s 5k last week that Twin Cities in Motion is getting an injection of NYRR awesomeness (I think the new race director or something like that was moving from NYRR to TCiM). Of course, I’m probably the only person on the planet who gets to experience both organizations on a regular basis. I’m not certain if that makes me lucky or stupid for flying back and forth all the time (n.b. wouldn’t it be awesome if Delta Airlines decided to start sponsoring me for this? I only had 79 flights last year, 78 of which were with Delta, and 1 was with China Eastern on a route Delta can’t fly. I could be the Delta Airlines New York/Minneapolis Ambassador person. Seriously Delta, call me.).

Anyway, on to the Twin Cities in Motion 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile. I was slow in signing up for this because I really didn’t know if I wanted to run it. Partially because a week out the weather didn’t look great and partially because, well, I just didn’t feel like it. I’ve had a race or something else incredibly physical for six straight weekends, my body is getting quite sore from this level of repeated stupidity. ,My awesome wife, however, convinced me to sign up at the beginning of the week. I was committed. I’ve never pulled out of a race because of weather, so unless I got injured or was sick I was running this race. As luck would have it, I was sick during the middle of this week. I also started to feel better late in the week and whipped off a great training run yesterday. I figured I was good to go. It was great weather yesterday, mid-40’s, light wind.

Of course, this is Minnesota and last night the weather certainly changed. A brutal wind started to come from the northwest. Average wind was up around 25-30mph with gusts around 40. Did I mention it started to snow too? This wasn’t enough snow to cause huge problems on the roadway, but when I looked out my apartment window in Downtown Minneapolis this morning I could tell it was going to be a fun time. This was confirmed when we arrived on the east side of Lake Calhoun just as they were closing the roads. Crap. That meant parking by Calhoun and walking around the south end of Calhoun to the north end of Lake Harriet and the bandshell. At an NYRR race this would be no problem as I would have worn some heavier clothing and just checked it. But, there is no bag check at these races. I was walking in my running gear; my tights, shorts, compression shirt, long sleeve 2009 NYC Marathon tech shirt, thin running gloves, and headband. In a word, the walk around the lake was RI-GOD-DAMN-DICULOUS.

I knew it Calhoun was going be to cold. Even in good weather running around Calhoun is cold because it’s flat with few trees. This allows the wind to whip across the lake and smack you upside the head with cold air jackhammer on the east side of the lake. The wind was whipping up snow and carrying it across the lake. My fingers soon went numb. If my wife wasn’t with me I would have just run to the start, instead I walked, and was shivering after the 20 minute walk to the start. Did I mention it was cold? However, this gave me a crucial advantage, I knew that miles 3-5 of the race would be brutal. I also had a chance to scout out the course. No footing at all. Snow everywhere. Patches of ice. It was going to be brutal. “No one will finish this course in under an hour,” I said to my wife. She seemed shocked that anyone could finish a 10 miler in under an hour until I explained that champion half marathoners can finish 13.1 in right about an hour. In an NYRR race someone would finish in under an hour. The smaller field, brutal wind and cold, and poor conditions meant that it was not going to be a good day to set a PR.

Starting line for 2011 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile race.

The starting line for the 2011 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile race. I'm about half way back. This was taken literally seconds before the Twin Cities in Motion's patented "Sneak Attack Start".

Luckily, the long walk meant that we didn’t have to stand around forever before the start. Just enough time to use the portapotties (thank you for making sure there were plenty of them) and wolf down a packet of GU before the race. I heard an announcement for 10 minutes before the start and I said goodbye to my wife who was running in the 5k, which started 15 minutes later, and walked over to the starting area. Like the Valentine’s Day 5k the starting area was a bit chaotic, but there were far fewer runners than in the 5k. With no seeding of any sort, everyone just gathered and made the usual small talk. Some guys behind me were talking about they thought they might need to shed their windbreakers after the lap around Harriet. “Bad idea dude. Calhoun is brutal.” I probably scared them more than I wanted to, but hey, better that then have a frozen runner, right? Of course, they looked at my lack of a windbreaker and must’ve thought I was crazy. I noticed a lot of people looking at me like that. “I’ll be fine.”

Then, all of the sudden, the Twin Cities in Motion launched their patented “Sneak Attack Start”. Here’s how it works, tell all the runners they’ve got 10 minutes to get to the starting line. Then at some delta point in the future, just blow a horn to start the race and watch as all the runners look confused and say “Wait? We’re starting?”. It became obvious from the start that the course was going to be treacherous. Ice, snow, lots of slush, and a little bit of water covered the entire course. It was literally like running on sand. Fortunately, the course bottlenecks so much right after the start that you get a chance to secure your footing before blasting off. It became pretty easy to tell the treadmill runners from the outdoor runners. It wasn’t pleasant for the outdoor group, but they seemed better at picking routes with more traction, often times this meant going up on snow. Around mile 1.5 on the first trek around Lake Harriet a volunteer warned runners about a particularly slick spot on a downhill. Everyone slowed down and made it through without incident. Shortly after this, around mile 2 I saw my first group of runners bite it as three runners fell after one slipped and took down two others.

Despite the snow and complete lack of traction, the path around Lake Harriet wasn’t horrible. The wind was present, but only really bad for a brief section around mile 2 where we lacked trees to protect us. Berry Parkway between the lakes was in pretty good shape and heavily protected. The big potholes were well marked on the course and the huge amount of snow on the road meant that we didn’t have to worry about a layer of ice as we approached the lone water stop on the race at mile 3.3/6.7. Mmm, I love it when my Gatorade has ice cubes in it.

Turning off Berry Parkway and onto the trip around Calhoun hit all the runners. HARD. It appeared that the wind had let up, but it was still cold. Huge props to the one fan shouting everyone on right at the intersection. That made an enormous difference. Not only did we have wind coming from the side, but it had blown snow across the road. Footing was extremely difficult, but hey, that’s running in Minnesota in winter. As a surprise, I wasn’t freezing during this part. We rounded the east side of Calhoun and turned down Lake Street, right into the wind. By this point, about mile 4.8, the race had spread out some. I noticed there were people following really closely behind me. I moved to the side to let them pass and they dutifully followed right behind me. They were drafting behind me. Ughh. Good on them, bad on me. The west side of Calhoun was a pleasant respite from the wind with a handful of fans cheering us on. I noticed that my miles were pretty consistent around 8:10/mi, within my range of 8-9 minute miles. The course had spread out, it was actually pretty pleasant here. We rounded the corner back to Berry Parkway, passed the superfan shouting again, and made our way back to Lake Harriet.

This was going to be the most difficult part of the race. The 5k people had started 15 minutes behind us, I was going to hit mile 6.9, also the 5k finish line, at about 56:00. Assuming that they had a slow start this meant we were going to run right into the back of the pack. Sure enough, we did. There were only a few 10 milers coming through and in theory the 5kers should have stayed to the left if they were running tangents, but whatever. It made for some interesting mental stimulation as I plotted my course through them and through to the 6.9 mile marker. I was hurting some. I actually debated stopping, but hey, I’ve never pulled out of a race and I wasn’t going to do it here.

The second loop around Harriet was peaceful. The runners were well spread out and most of the fans had left. The course was better in some respects (less ice) and worse in others (more of that annoying sand like slush). I had been pacing the same group of people since mile 4 and we generally stayed in the same formation as we completed our last 5k and into the finish line. Official time: 1:21:24, 8:09/mi. A good day in miserable conditions.

Official Results for 2011 Twin Cities in Motion 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile

Official Results for 2011 Twin Cities in Motion 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile

RunKeeper Pace and Elevation for 2011 Twin Cities in Motion 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile

RunKeeper Pace and Elevation for 2011 Twin Cities in Motion 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile

After the race I took a quick glance at my splits for each mile. For the most part they were pretty consistent. It’s clear I was dragging some near the end. I’m running Grandma’s Marathon with a friend in three months and we’re going to do a 4 hour pace, so 10 miles at a minute per mile pace faster isn’t a bad day, but my endurance can use some help. Ignore the last mile as it takes me some time after the end of a race to grab my phone, unlock it, and stop RunKeeper.

Mile Splits for 2011 Twin Cities in Motion 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile

Mile Splits for 2011 Twin Cities in Motion 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile

One of the things I was hard on Twin Cities in Motion for after the Valentine’s Day 5k is that they didn’t provide any chip times. The chip times were a nice little addition and I actually really liked the MTEC results web site, although it took me a bit of time to find them and navigate them. Silly Road Runners ingraining a single way for me to check results. One thing in particular that I liked is that it provides information on how many runners you passed and passed you during the periods between timings. As you can see below, I probably started a bit too far back in the pack as evidenced by how many people I passed. Also, the fact that I passed 0 people and was passed by 9 people in the final 5k indicates that I was certainly lagging and having problems. Must work on endurance more.

2011 Irish for a Day - How Many People I Passed and Was Passed By

Overall I was very pleased with the race. The smaller field of the 10 mile race on the narrow course was much appreciated. The chip timing was good. The water stop was nice too, although it might have been helpful to have another stop around mile 4.5. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, while Twin Cities in Motion was taking steps in the right direction, post-race I was taking some steps in the wrong direction. Shortly after getting home I started to see auras, a certain sign of an impending migraine. I popped down four Excedrin and laid down praying that the migraine wouldn’t come. It came. It’s been a while since I got a migraine — they’re often triggered by two things: dehydration from exercise and cigarette smoke. I really wish dude from down the hall would quit smoking.

4 Responses to “Race Report: 2011 Twin Cities in Motion 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile”

  1. March 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    As a fat guy 1st timer it was was odd to see all you 10 milers blowing past us. I truly felt like the tortoise. I had no idea about keeping to the left. As people came to pass us they yelled “on the left”, so we moved right. As I heard people approaching I’d just move to the right with my family group of supporters. Sorry dude.

    I have made the mental not however and will stick to the left side of the road/track from now on. Nice recap though. Really glad I didn’t have anything to do with the Calhoun track.

    • 2 pridkett
      March 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      Hi James,

      I hope I didn’t come across as faulting the people in the 5k for not moving over. It’s a course design and marshaling issue. To be clear, I’m totally in favor of having both a 5k and a 10 miler together — were it not for that my wife would not have accompanied me down there. I’m also hugely in favor of getting everyone out and running. I used to be the fat guy who didn’t know anything about the rules of the road. In fact, I had done about five or six races before I started to learn them. The main way that I learned them was racing on courses that had good course marshals and good signing. Up until that point I had people blowing past me giving me dirty looks (I love New Yorkers…) because I didn’t know the implicit rules.

      Great to hear you had your first race. Hope to see you at more races throughout the year.

  2. March 19, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    i never caught that vibe at all man. no worries. I’ve since signed up for the mile run down nicollet mall and memorial day trot around lake como. nice to see the fat secret tracking post above now too.

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Marathon Times

2011 NYC Marathon3:57:45
2011 Hartford Marathon3:58:17
2011 Chicago Marathon4:20:16
2011 Grandma's Marathon4:07:43
2010 Big Sur International Marathon4:22:49
2009 NYC Marathon4:37:05
2009 Twin Cities Marathon4:43:28
2009 Pittsburgh Marathon4:14:38
2008 Erie Marathon5:11:40

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