I wasn't really sure what was going to come out of today. Originally I wanted to try for a straight 8:15min/mi pace. Then after our last long easy run that felt like maybe it would be too much so I decided to stay with the 8:30 pacers for 5 miles and then try to take off for the second half. Then we found out the course was actually quite hilly. Ah, wtf do I do?? Stick to the plan and hope for the best. Mark: After our last long run where we were testing out our pacing, I decided it might be best to stick with the 7:30 group and save some speed for the last couple of miles.
Kris: I was feeling pretty good by time we hit the start line since we had quite a few friends around us. We found Don and Scott from MN Running Wild, Tina, Adam and Leah were pacers for the race, Steve, Tony (Gilby) was there for his first road race in his training for Grandma's and of course the ever awesome Brandon and Theresa (Team Baby Dinosaur) up from CO for the week. Mark: Last night I tweeked my hip and it was still bothering me when I woke up this morning so I was not sure what was going to happen. Luckily some Biofreeze and Ibuprofen made all this difference and by the start of the race I felt great. It really was a who's who of people who we know, in addition to our friends Kris already mentioned we also ran into Pete and saw several TNT'ers as well.
Tony and I ran the first half with the 8:30 pace group which was actually being led by Leah so it went by really fast since we were distracted chatting quite a bit. Part of me wanted to take off before the 5 mile mark because I knew it was flat but I stuck to my plan. It actually worked out great because shortly after the 5 mile mark was this wonderful LONG downhill that gave me a great recovery and lots of speed. I had my Garmin lap set for 0.25mi and one of them going downhill was like 7:16 min/mi. Geez! Granted then I got my rear handed to me going up the LONG uphill. I have this habit of trying to power up hills and then recover after. It works but it gets my heart rate up . I think I was around 190 at least twice on the course.
Mark: I started out with the 7:30 pacer and as much as I tried I could not stay at that pace, so after the first mile I settled into my own pace which was somewhere between 7:00 and 7:30 and slowly pulled ahead. This course was indeed hilly but for me that works to my strengths, I honestly like hills and I make most of my passes on climbs. Since I recently got a new Garmin I have been keeping an eye on my HR during training runs and now races. At the top of every climb I quickly checked and my HR was consistently at 161 with the last major hill peaking my HR at 162 so I was very happy with that.
Kris: I had my headphones on for the race and honestly I think it helps me pass the time much better and not think so much about how tired I am. I also would love to credit my new Newton's for some of my speed. They are extremely comfortable for me. Granted as you can see by the below picture, if I'm not concentrating (like when I flag down Steve Stenzel who's cheering and taking pictures), I am a horrible heel striker.
Of course here is Mark, not in Newtons, in a perfect stride as usual :-P
The race was very unique in that the finish was around the TCF Stadium and down onto the field, ending at the 50 yard line. So the last 1/4 to 1/2 mile was flat, around the building and down the ramp. I do have to say it was a seriously awesome finish area. (could probably use a few more post race treats though ;) Mark: After you loop around the stadium, you enter Gate D and run through the dark tunnel which is a stepped slope down to the field level, and if you're not careful you could loose your footing, luckily I was able to hit the field at a full out sprint and even passed a few more runner on the way to the 50 yard line.
|Tony, Kris and Mark|