Friday, May 13, 2011

Race Report: Medtronic TC 1 Mile

"It All Starts with the First Mile!" is the tagline of the Medtronic TC 1 Mile, a fitting slogan for a one mile race, but a better indicator of what we as runners experience.  After all, we start our running journeys with those first few steps and that first mile, then work our way up to longer distances.  This race, its seventh running held Thursday night, has become popular as a way for runners to test their speed, enjoy the chance to run on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis with no traffic, and possibly win a guaranteed entry into the popular Medtronic TC 10 Mile, held the same day in October as Twin Cities Marathon.

This was my third year running the race, and my goal was to break my PR of 7:25, achieved the first year I ran this race back in 2008.  I've become a faster runner since then, so I wanted a PR that would reflect my increased speed.

I left work early Thursday afternoon so future hubs and I would have plenty of time to drive to downtown Minneapolis and find parking.  The cool, drizzly weather made it difficult for me to decide what to wear, but I settled on my lululemon long-sleeved top with a short-sleeved race shirt from last year over it and a pair of lululemon running crops.  Oh, and don't forget my Sauconys!

We found a parking garage early, so took our time heading to the start area.  We waited for over an hour before the race started, but that gave us plenty of time to stretch, warm up, and chat with several of our Team Ortho friends and other random participants.  Runners really are a friendly bunch.  The Minneapolis Central Library, near the start line, was full of runners trying to stay dry and warm.  I appreciated the use of their restroom facilities.

About 15 minutes before the start of the race, Mark and I made our way to the start corral to find our places.  We were in the "friends and family" wave, the first of seven waves for the race with the last two serving as the women's and men's USA 1 Mile Road Championship races, respectively.  I chatted with a few runners and weaved my way towards the front of the corral.  I knew from years past that if I wanted to run fast and not have to worry about tripping over people, I needed to be near the front.

iPods and other mp3 players were banned from the race.  I also ran without my Garmin because I thought it might be a distraction, plus the rain and skyscrapers would interfere with the GPS signal.  So, in a way, I "ran naked."  Future hubs was even more of a minimalist because he ran in his Vibrams.  You can read about his experience HERE.

After the national anthem, I jogged in place a little and said a quick prayer before the horn went off to start the race.  "Light and fast" was my mantra for the race, and I found my stride quickly.  I didn't have to weave around a lot of people, although I worried about a little girl near the front of the pack who seemed oblivious to the runners passing her up.  I hope no one tripped her or tripped over her.

I thought the wet pavement would affect my footing, but I felt like I was moving at a good clip.  There was a slight rise for the first three blocks, so I felt like I was working hard and my lungs were burning.  Running fast definitely affected my ability to do math in my head, however.  The timing clock at the quarter-mile mark read 1:48 as I passed, and for some reason I thought I wouldn't run faster than a 7:30 mile, but I resolved to keep my pace going.  The course then hit a slight downhill, so I felt my momentum gaining.  I passed the half-mile clock at 3:30 and realized then that I could run a seven-minute mile.  Good thing I wasn't a math major in college!

The final half-mile was a blur.  I passed restaurants and shops along Nicollet Mall and the few crowds that braved the weather to cheer on the runners.  I remember focusing on keeping that steady fast stride, trying not to slow down.  Once I passed Brit's Pub, I knew that the end was near.  After rounding the only curve on the course, the finish line was in sight.

"Keep it steady" my mind told my legs.  My lungs and legs were burning.  Nearing the finish line, I finally made out the finish clock in the distance.  6:56... 6:57... 6:58... but I couldn't kick my legs into a higher gear and sprint to the finish.  "Keep it steady" I told myself again as the clocked passed the 7:05 mark.  Almost there... and then I passed the finish line and was done.  The last time I remember seeing was 7:09, but I passed over the finish mats a few seconds after that.  All I knew was that I broke my old PR, and I was happy. :)

I chatted briefly with another Team Ortho friend, then grabbed a bottle of water.  Free movie passes to the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie were being handed out, too, along with posters, bandannas and temporary tattoos.  I snagged a pass, tattoo and bandanna before they were all out.  Then, I headed back to the finish area and saw Mark finish the race.  He picked up some water and a Pirates pass.  No post-race food was handed out due to the short distance of the race.  We also skipped out on the post-race massages... they weren't necessary in our eyes.

We headed back towards Brit's Pub, our traditional post-race eating establishment.

On our walk there, we walked behind someone who looked like Steve from Steve in a Speedo?!... Gross! and were trying to figure out if the woman next to him was his pregnant wife, Pharmie from Rx: Ironman.  Mark finally called out "Steve" to get the man's attention, and sure enough, it was Steve and Pharmie.  I was hoping we'd have the opportunity to meet them during the race, so I'm glad that we did.  We chatted easily while we walked, as if we hadn't just met, talking about the race and the fact that Steve got to meet Ryan and Sara Hall at the Twin Cities in Motion press luncheon earlier in the day.  Pharmie ran much faster (10:00 or so) than she thought she would (13:00) for being 35 weeks pregnant.  Mark and I enjoyed meeting them, but we wish someone had snapped a photo of the four of us.  Be sure to follow their blogs!

Once at Brit's, Mark headed back to the car to get his backpack containing our stuff.  Brit's was an official race "cheer zone," so I found a couple cowbells to ring.  I scoped out a spot along Brit's outdoor patio and watched some of the remaining waves go by, cheering them loudly, and waited for Mark to come back because he would have my camera.

I also saw the guy dressed as Uncle Sam; I told him "I heard about the Boom" (the Red, White & Boom TC Half Marathon, which I hope to run this year) and received a sticker and a pair of Fitsok (the best running socks on the planet).  However, the socks were too large for me.  Mark received a stainless steel water bottle when he saw Uncle Sam, so after some hesitation bribing, Mark and I swapped prizes.  I already have several pairs of Fitsoks.

We stood by a family that had a super cute French bulldog named Sophie.

At 7:53 p.m., it was time for the USA Women's 1-Mile Road Championship race.  I had my camera set to take video.  Sara Hall was favored to win.  In this video, she's in second place (she's just a blur as she runs by... sorry!), but she kicked it in the final stretch to win in 4:30.8, setting a new course record and winning an extra $10,000 for breaking the 4:32 mark.

At 8:03 p.m., the men's championship race started.  Ryan Hall was a late entrant to the race, and this was his first mile race since 2006.  Boston must have taken a lot out of him because he was the last finisher in the championship wave with a 4:17.2.  David Torrence made history by winning his third consecutive one-mile road championship with a 3:58.4 (new course record), also winning $10,000 for breaking four minutes.  Here's the video of the runners before they hit the final stretch.

Once the race ended, future hubs and I headed inside Brit's, got a table, and ordered beer and food.

Mark, unhappy that his beer hadn't arrived yet

A well-deserved pint of Fuller's ESB... yum!

My favorite meal at Brit's Pub: cheese toasty with tomato soup

Bon appetit!
Here are my stats:

Official finish time: 7:09
Overall place: 806/2154
Gender place: 167/1068
Division place: 58/277 (19-29 age group)

Future hubs clocked an 8:28.  Not bad for his first race in Vibrams.

Close to playing footsie :)
I couldn't have asked for a better race and I'm so incredibly thankful that it went well and that I got my coveted PR.  Even the rainy weather didn't hinder my run.  The temperature was perfect for racing.

The swag: shirt and bib, plus the cowbells and water bottle
Seeing Ryan and Sara Hall run, meeting Steve and Pharmie, and eating our delicious post-race meal at Brit's Pub capped off a terrific event.


  1. Before of all congrats for the new PR and more congrats because you were faster than future hubs.
    Sophie is lovely, I fall in love.....
    Beautiful "loot" and great post-race meal.

  2. Yeah girl! Congrats on the big PR! A mile is a long way to run hard!! Sooo cool that you got to see Ryan & Sarah and watch the pros race too!

  3. Awesome job on the PR. I've never done a mile race before but it sounds fun to just go all out for one mile.

  4. Reading your recap was so detailed that I felt as if I were really there watching it all happen. Great post. I love that you crushed your PR despite some crappy weather. Looks like you guys had fun!!! It's always awesome to meet bloggys. Sounds like a good time for sure!

  5. Congrats on the PR! Looks like it was a fun event, especially being able to see the elites run.

    I haven't run a timed mile since college, and I've never raced a road mile. The idea kind of scares the crap out of me, but also me wonder how I'd do. When I'm fit, that is, certainly not now.

    As for my achilles (thanks for asking!)-- I started running on Monday and have done 4 mile runs every other day this week, with 6 planned for tomorrow. So far so good, but I'm wary about announcing it on my blog yet because I don't want it to be a false alarm. Fingers crossed!

  6. It all sounds like a lot of fun. I am impressed with your time and PR. I have always wondered what running a mile would be like.

  7. oh, heck yes!! great job on the PR! and congrats to your future hubs too.

    Sarah Hall is awesome. I can't even fathom a 4:30 mile. That just doesn't seem human to me.

  8. I ran the TC 1 mile last year. Seeing your pictures brings back memories:) Nice work on your race and congrats to the future hubby!

  9. That does sound so terrific! Way to go on the PR, and seeing the Halls' run? Awesome!
    I love Brit's Pub too!

  10. Congrats on the big PR! I'll bet you'd have been even faster if it wasn't so wet.

  11. This was such a fun post - congrats on being a total speed demon!

    Watching that final video, it was crazy to see how the cyclists and motorcycle were actually moving at a pretty decent pace to stay ahead of the runners. Do you realize how slow someone would have to drive to stay ahead of me? Heck, they would probably start doing circus tricks to stay entertained ... but this men are faster than fast!