Posts Tagged ‘tcim

12
Mar
11

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.

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12
Feb
11

Race Report: 2011 Twin Cities in Motion Valentine’s Day 5K

Three years ago, while living in Pittsburgh, I distinctly recall reading about local runners who organized a Valentine’s Day race. The thought that went through my mind was “Who would be stupid enough to sign up for a race in February? Don’t they know it’s cold outside?!” Now that I’ve been running a lot more, I have a very different reaction to winter races. A 5k in February in Minneapolis? Sign me up! Sure, it could be -10°F at race time, but you can still run that weather. And, just like that, I was signed up for the 2011 Twin Cities in Motion Valentine’s Day 5k. As an added bonus, it was only a couple of bucks more to have my wife sign up as part of a couple, so she also was now one of those crazy people running outside in the Minnesota winter.

First, a little background, at least from what I can figure out. For a long time the Twin Cities Marathon was just the marathon and an associated 10M. For the last couple of years they’ve made a concerted effort to expand and become a bigger organization that does more events around the Twin Cities. I’m not 100% certain if this had anything to do with pressure from increasing interest in Team Ortho’s fine series of events, but I can’t imagine that they played no role in the change. In the past couple of years we’ve seen the organization change name from Twin Cities Marathon to Twin Cities in Motion and add or take over existing events, such as the Valentine’s Day 5k, 100% Irish for a Day 5k & 10M, Twin Cities 1M, Red, White, and Boom Half Marathon, and Twins Territory 4k. While it’s no where near as many races as the New York Road Runners, the combination of Twin Cities In Motion events and Team Ortho events provides numerous opportunities for runners in the Twin Cities to get their race on.

The weather for the day was about as good as you can get for early on a Saturday morning in Minneapolis. Turnout was excellent, somewhere around 1500 people. I’m sure that the forecast of the warmer weather led many people to sign up at the last minute. Race time was about 27 degrees. The paths around Lake Harriet appeared to be largely clear of snow and pack ice. It certainly was far worse than what one experiences when running in Central or Prospect Parks, but the again, Minnesotans aren’t weak in the face of snow and ice. More than a few people had stabilicers, yak-trax, or screw shoes. Although, for this race I eschewed the screw shoes for standard running shoes. I almost went in my Vibrams, but I knew we’d be standing around for a while before the race started and I didn’t want my feet to freeze.

A runner gets her kick on right before the finish line. Also, she's stylin' the fancy long sleeve tech shirts from the race.


About 9:50am they made the announcement for people to start migrating toward the starting line, which wasn’t clearly marked. Unfortunately, the exit from the parking lot where most people were waiting led to the front of the pack. My wife and I wandered over and were about midway back in the pack. We stood around and talked to people, there was no real seeding system for people on the race. Suddenly we heard a horn! There was no countdown, no announcement, a complete surprise. Furthermore, hundreds of people were still trying to into the line to start the race. This led to a complete disaster at the starting line as walkers, runners, and people who can’t read the rules and decided to jog with double wide strollers clogged together. In a 1500 person race with me in the middle it took me 2 minutes to cross the starting line. On the other side of the starting line I was still walking. The first half mile was stop and go that reminded me or driving down Washington Ave in Minneapolis than a road race.

My wife and I had agreed that we wouldn’t run together and I’d just meet her at the finish. I went ahead only to be frustrated again and again by the narrow path and the large number of walkers and other obstacles on the course. I was going to go forward with the race, but I had to mentally change it into a fun run. Cool the jets, take it easy and steadily pass people until the end. My RunKeeper race result shows this pretty clearly. My pace during the race is continually decreasing.

Pace and Elevation for the 2011 Twin Cities in Motion Valentine's Day 5K.

By about the 1 mile marker I was no longer passing walkers and now was saddled with cutesy couples running two abreast at little more than a jog. That’s fine, I can’t really fault them for that. The organizers made the day a little more fun by allowing you put a Green, Yellow, or Red sign that read “Available”, “It’s Complicated”, or “Taken” on your back. The thought was that this would help you meet that special someone. If you were shy there were one or two cupids along the course who you could hand a little valentine to and they’d do the work of delivering it.

Aside from the massive amount of people on the narrow course it’s a beautiful course that covers some of the same roads as the Twin Cities Marathon (overcrowding on the same sections of the course causes problems in there too). It’s a gentle course with a hill about 1 mile into the race and another smaller hill at about 3 miles. This gives runners a nice fast downhill sprint to the finish.

For the most part there was no support on the race course. There was a stop that looked like a water stop at mile 2.5, but instead you could get cup of those candy hearts and make a little valentine for that special someone. I grabbed the cup of hearts and tried to give them to my wife when she finished, but she wanted no part of it. Preferring to get some water down her pipe before attempting to eat a heart.

My finish time for the race was about 24 minutes. I say “about” because the race didn’t have any sort of timing. Reminded me of my ninth grade microeconomics class quiz grading policy “Correct your own, you get a better score.” My was not too bad given the people dodging I had to do. I was surprised by how few people were finished before me. The winning male time was 17:05 — hauling and much faster than me to be sure, but relatively slow for the winner of such a large race.

Runners finishing in the main pack. These people finished the 5k in about 35 minutes. That's the difference between a fun run and a race.


I don’t want this race report to come across as me whining about TCiM or the race. I had a great time and it had nice swag (long sleeve technical t-shirt, socks, and a hat). However, I think I was expecting something that was organized to be a bit more competitive. I was surprised by the lack of timing — Team Ortho does timing, why can’t you? I also have been utterly spoiled by the New York Road Runner’s skills at race management. People complain about the corral system in their races, but the fact is that it works. Even just breaking people up into Runners and Walkers at the race this morning would have made a huge difference. Also, for next time, an announcement or countdown to the start would be helpful. I’m certainly going to stop complaining at Road Runner’s events when we the anti-climatic last minute instructions for runners right before a race.

I’m incredibly happy that TCiM and Team Ortho are upping the game for running in Minneapolis and St. Paul. They’re both younger organizations and have great potential to create a vibrant running scene in one of the most livable cities in the United States. I’m probably going to run the 100% Irish for a Day 10m in four weeks, we’ll see how things are for that race.

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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
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