Posts Tagged ‘minneapolis


Race Report: 2011 Independence Day 10k

Two weeks ago I ran Grandma’s Marathon. I had a great time and unlike previous races, my legs weren’t completely dead after the race. I took the rest of the week off and looked for other opportunities for running. An obvious choice was the Twin Cities in Motion Red, White, and Boom Half Marathon on July 4th in Minneapolis. It sounded like a great idea, but I, however, didn’t quite feel up for paying $55 to run another half marathon. Instead, my wife found a nice little 10k around Lake Harriet on July 2nd, The Independence Day Races.

This is a small event, and I’m not even really sure who organizes it. There were about 300 people total between the 5k and 10k race. I still wasn’t feeling 100% like racing, so I figured this would be a great time to check off one of my 2011 Running Goals and do a race in my Vibrams. Looking around at the starting line, I’m pretty sure I was the only person who made this choice. Apparently Minneapolis isn’t as hip with the minimalist running thing as New York is.

A lap around Lake Harriet is about 3.05 miles, so 5k is a little more than a loop. Because of this 10k runners started first, then the 5k runners assembled at their starting line and took off about 3-4 minutes after the 10k. This meant that at some point during my first lap around the lake I was going to be passed by the lead 5k runners, I can handle that. It was all a question of when.

Being a smaller race this race started off FAST. Unlike previous races around Lake Harriet there was no jostling for position or jumping onto the sidewalk. The 10k runners quickly spread out and by the time that I finally had my phone and keys situated in my SpiBelt about five minutes into the race I was running the clear and no longer needed to worry about dodging runners. Combined with excellent weather, about 72°F but with fairly high humidity, this allowed me to concentrate on my footfalls and running the race I wanted to run. I settled in with a group of three runners doing somewhere around a 7:20 pace.

Around mile 2 one of the runners from the back of the pack came up to me. I took the opportunity to ask if we were going slower or he was going faster. Luckily, he had sped up and I wasn’t loosing much ground. By the time I was about 2.8 miles into the race I started to wonder where the lead 5k runners were. Finally, about 3 miles in the lead 5k runner passed me. He looked to be doing about 6:00/mi.

As I crossed the finish line on the first lap I was a little astonished. About 22:40 for about 3.15 miles. That’s fast. Faster than I’ve done a 5k before. Faster than I wanted to run. Faster than I had ever run in shoes and I was running my Vibrams. Youch.

The second lap was very spread out. Starting about mile 2 there was a little weaving in and out of some large packs of slow 5k walkers, but no big deal. I throttled back my pace some because I didn’t want to kill myself during the run. This caused some of the runners I was around to pass me, but I wasn’t too concerned. I just wanted to run a good race. I wasn’t shooting for a PR.

Well, sometimes stuff just happens. In this case I crossed the finish line at 45:04. Good enough for 14th place out of 133 runners and 3/10 in my age group. No complaints about that. I grabbed my water, scored a freeze pop, and wandered over to watch my wife set a 10k PR for her too.

Pace vs Elevation for the 2011 Independence Day 10k At Lake Harriet

Pace vs Elevation for the 2011 Independence Day 10k At Lake Harriet

Looking at the chart of Pace vs Elevation from RunKeeper you can see that I ended up slowing down as I got further in the race. Normally this isn’t something that I should try to do, but in this case I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I wanted to run a nice fun race and when I realized I was running at a pace that I wasn’t trained for, I decided to throttle it back some. This is also evident in my mile splits.

2011 Independence Day 10k Mile Splits

2011 Independence Day 10k Mile Splits

As usual, ignore my last mile split because I’m often not very good at turning off RunKeeper right away. Such was the case here where I spent some time talking to the girl that I finished with (she was 3rd place female). I’m a little concerned that I might have slowed down too much for mile 6, but now I have something to shoot for. I know I should be able to easily break 45:00 for a 10k. Maybe a stretch goal is in order? How about 43:00 for 10k? That sounds like a challenge I can work toward.

Keep Running.


Race Report: 2011 Get In Gear Half Marathon

Winter starts early and ends late in Minnesota. Snow can remain on the ground from the beginning of October until the end of April. For those of you keeping score, that’s seven months out of the year. Thus, it’s natural that once Minnesotans get a taste of Spring they want to drink it up for all that it’s worth. This is the premise behind the Get In Gear 10k, 5k, 2k, and Half Marathon.

Apparently this event has been held for more than 30 years. Although I grew up in Minnesota, I didn’t start running until I had lived away from Minnesota for more than ten years, therefore I never had any knowledge of this “Rite of Spring” in Minneapolis. Three years ago Get In Gear added a half marathon to the existing 5k and 10k, and while it’s a good size event with about 1000 finishers, you still feel a little lost in a sea of 1800 5k runners and 3100 10k runners. What’s more, the 10k and Half Marathon start at the same time and share the same course for the first 4.8 or so miles. This gives you a bit of a big race feel even in a medium sized half marathon.

Looking at my training schedule for Grandma’s Marathon I saw that I was supposed to run 10M on Saturday and 20M on Sunday. I had a greet week of training before this and decided to do the half marathon and then run the seven miles home. I figured I could manage this because I wasn’t necessarily “racing” this race, rather I was running with my Grandma’s Marathon partner and attempting to keep our Marathon pace of around 9min/mi. Or, as she put it, we wanted to beat Mutai’s 2:03:02 Boston Marathon time for our half marathon.

What we didn’t anticipate when we signed up was that it was going to be about 50°F and a steady rain during the entire race. Thankfully the event had access to the shelter where we and thousands of other runners could cower while we waited for the race to start. About 10 minutes before the start we squeezed way to the starting line and ungraciously budded up to a point where we felt that most of the really casual runners would be behind us. The rain and wind picked up as someone sang a nearly inaudible rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”. The horn went off and we started to run. The course started on a nice wide stretch so there wasn’t any of the silly run-walk-run-walk that comes with most over-enrolled races. About 400m we ran under a wide overpass and got a taste of music — either “Blue” by Eiffel 65, or “Fuck You” by Cee-Lo Green. Things were shaping up nicely…Unfortunately, because of the rain this was going to be the only music during the race. 13.1 miles with me muttering the lyrics to “Fuck You” the whole way. My running partner apparently had less profane tastes and had “Blue” stuck in her head.

As stated beforehand, our goal was to maintain a constant pace for the race. Somewhere right around 9min/mi. Yes, this is much slower than I can run in a half-marathon, but it would be good practice for Grandmas. Most mile markers had someone shouting off the time, unfortunately, often times you only heard the seconds which made it difficult to tell your exact time. Luckily clocks were provided at 4mi and 10mi. We estimated that we were running pretty close to our goal, despite the nasty rain.

A little after mile 4 the thousands of 10k runners veered back over the Ford Parkway bridge to the finish while we began our long out and back portion of the course. Despite being an out and back for the next eight miles, it was gorgeous scenery. Yeah, we lost nearly all of the fans except for a few die hard locals who lived on the street and drug their kids out at 10am in the rain to cheer on runners (mad props for that, that was AWESOME), but the bigger highlight was the river. The entire distance was running above the mighty Mississippi with the beautiful tree lined bluffs in Minneapolis on the opposite side of the river. It was quiet, but not rural race quiet. Just the right level of noise to keep you going.

The turnaround was around mile 9 and wasn’t the best. Because it was a true 13.1 course it went over a grass…err…mud median in the middle of the road. If I hadn’t already gone through dozens of puddles I might have been annoyed, but one of the great things about not racing and just running is that small things don’t bother you as much. The rest stops during this section of the course were great with folks handing out GU packets. I’m a little torn on this. During a half marathon I don’t need a GU packet and normally don’t need much water, so it’s nice that they were handing them out and I grabbed one, but didn’t open it, the first time we passed the aid station. The second time we passed the aid station they were helpfully opening the GU packs, which is great for runners, but bad if you just want to hoard the packs.

Around mile 11 my running partner managed to find some extra legs inside of her and push us forward as we climbed the last set of hills toward the Ford Parkway bridge and back across the Mississippi to Minnehaha Falls Park. At mile 12 we really kicked it into gear as the wind and rain kicked up on the bridge. We managed to cross the line at 1:55:43.

2011 Get In Gear Half Marathon Results
Distance Time Pace Overall Place Division Place Sex Place People Passed Passed By
13.1 Miles 1:55:43 8:50/mi 397/1030 87/141 280/494 29 4
10 miles 1:29:25 8:56/mi 438/1037 97/142 303/499 25 60
4 miles 35:41 8:55/mi

438/1036 93/142 296/495 299 100

A couple of words on the results: first, they look a little rubbish because enjoys stripping out all my CSS. Arghhh! Second: I’m not certain what is up with the numbers when it comes to people passed and passed by. According to the results between mile 4 and mile 10 I should have fallen 35 places back, but my overall place remained the same. I’m not certain what to make about this. It’s helpful that MTEC provides this information, but the numbers just don’t add up. And now, back to chatter about our pace.

For most of the race we had a conversation going, so I had no idea about how our splits were recorded in RunKeeper. I feel happy that I’m finally getting to the point where I know what a 9min/mi pace feels like. While these cant be considered to be exact, they show that almost all of our miles were under 9min/mi and that we certainly got some kick for the last part of the race. It looked even better when I looked at the pace/elevation graph.

2011 Get In Gear Half Marathon Splits

2011 Get In Gear Half Marathon Splits

2011 Get In Gear Half Marathon Pace and Elevation

2011 Get In Gear Half Marathon Pace and Elevation -- That Flat Line is Nice!

Post race there was an enormous amount of food and beverage, including lots of chocolate milk, thanks to a new sponsor DynaMoo, a purveyor of chocolate milk that is pastuerized in a special way such that it doesn’t require refrigeration. My running partner was so high on endorphins after the race that I’m pretty sure we’ll appear in some propaganda for them. The food tent was quite a distance away from the finish line, and it was now raining very hard and I felt very cold. I don’t think I would have found it if we didn’t run into some 5kers who told us about it and all the goodies (Clif Bars, Salted Nut Rolls, Bagel Bites, Bananas, Yogurt, Popsicles, Yum!).

At this point I decided that even though I was supposed to go 20 in the rain it wasn’t going to happen. I hopped back on the shuttle bus and got a ride back with my running partner and took a nice long hot shower.

This was a GREAT event. It was extremely well managed and despite the miserable weather the people, both runners and volunteers, did a great job. I was impressed with the knowledge of the runners about how to run a race course — of course that might be one of the differences between doing a 5k and a half marathon. No silly walkers at the front of the line, no groups eight abreast running. Race staff provided clear instructions and excellent support. It really was a top notch event for what is still early spring in Minnesota.

My Bib and Medal from the 2011 Get In Gear Half Marathon

My Bib and Medal from the 2011 Get In Gear Half Marathon

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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

Upcoming Races

  • Nov 6 - New York City Marathon, New York, NY
For previous races, check out my Race Log