Saturday, October 29, 2011

Race Report: Medtronic TC 10 Mile

A few of you have asked me when I'm going to post wedding pictures.  Mark and I are still waiting to receive the disk of photos from our photographer, and also hoping she will post a few teaser photos on Facebook (she hasn't done that yet, but she's a busy mom of two along with being a wedding photographer, so I need to cut her some slack).  Hopefully I will have a wedding-related post next week.

In the meantime, I've got a race report for you!  Mark and I ran the Medtronic TC 10 Mile on October 2.  This race is held the same day as the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, but it starts earlier than the marathon.  The course starts just outside the Metrodome in Minneapolis, then runs along West River Parkway until crossing the Franklin Avenue bridge to St. Paul.  The last 6-7 miles of the course, along St. Paul's grand and historic Summit Avenue, follow the final miles of the marathon course.

I ran this race for the first time in 2008, having only one month to train because of a knee injury earlier in the summer.  I persevered with a slow and steady pace that year and finished in 1:37:52.

By the time I neared the finish, the clouds opened and poured rain.

So excited to be finished!
Mark ran the TC 10 last year and enjoyed perfect weather conditions.

This was Mark's best race of the year.
We entered the race lottery this summer.  Mark was picked, but I wasn't.  However, I decided to purchase a charity entry.  I paid an extra $100 to run the race, and that money went to the YMCA and Bolder Options.  I don't mind paying extra for a race as long as the money goes towards a good cause (or several).

On race morning this year, Mark and I were up super early (like about 4:30 a.m.) to get ready.  We parked our car at the Fort Snelling light rail station and took LRT up to the Metrodome stop.  Once we got off the train, we were near the start.  We stood in line for the porta-potties, and after doing our business, found our respective corrals.  I was in Corral 2 this year, just like in 2008, but Mark was in the last corral (#5).  He didn't mind... he would go on to enjoy picking off people as he reached the later miles of the race.

I ran into Keith, the CFO of the company I work for, in my corral and we hugged.  He ran the marathon last year, and was looking forward to running along Summit Avenue with lots of energy in the tank instead of feeling completely dead from running 20 miles before that.  We wished each other good luck.  He was hoping for a 1:40.

Corral 1 started at 7:09, after the USATF 10-Mile Championship waves started.  My corral started just a few minutes later.  I chatted with some nearby runners for a few minutes before we crossed the start line.

My main goal was to enjoy the race.  I was coming off of injury the last time I ran it, so I was excited to run the race this year healthy and strong.  With our wedding occurring the third weekend in September, and a honeymoon following (I did run a little on our honeymoon, but not as much as usual), I wasn't sure what my race pace would be.  I figured I would easily beat my 2008 TC 10 Mile time, but in my mind, I decided to shoot for 1:25 and see what would happen.

The first mile was spent settling into my pace.  We passed by the Guthrie Theater (always a treat for me) and then turned onto West River Parkway to run along the Mississippi River.  Passing under the newer I-35W bridge, I was reminded of that fateful day in 2007 when the old I-35W bridge collapsed into the river.  Most Minnesotans (well, mostly those in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area) remember precisely what they were doing when they found out about the bridge collapse, kind of like 9/11.

Mile 1 - 8:16

We runners hit a nice downhill stretch as we continued along the river.  I coasted along, enjoying the cool morning.  Several male runners headed into the bushes to relieve themselves.  Too bad women don't have it that easy!

Mile 2 - 8:02

I ditched my gloves shortly after the mile 2 mark, as my hands were nice and toasty.  I felt perfectly comfortable with what I was wearing: an old race t-shirt, my InkNBurn sleeves, lululemon crops with shorts on over the top.  I had a long-sleeved throwaway shirt on, too, and I threw that away before crossing the Franklin Avenue bridge.

Once we got to the bridge, the number of spectators exponentially increased.  I loved hearing their cheers and cowbells.  I saw Kim, a Team Ortho staffer, cheering on the runners and gave her a high five.

Once crossing the bridge, we were in St. Paul.

Mile 3 - 8:45 (I had walked through a water stop)

Remember this wall from the ALARC Legends 10K?

"The Wall" was located just before mile 4 on the 10-mile course, but mile 20 of the marathon course.  I wonder if having a visualization of "the wall" helped or hindered the marathoners.

I was still enjoying the weather, the course, the spectators and the run.  I felt great.

Mile 4 - 8:25

We passed by Shriners Hospital and the Team Ortho cheer zone.  I high-fived the TO staffers and volunteers I knew that were cheering on the runners.

I enjoyed reading the spectators' signs.  "Worst Parade Ever" was one of my favorites.

Mile 5 - 8:37

We headed up a small hill to Summit Avenue.  More spectators lined the course.  Several of the trees had leaves that were turning color, and the sun shining on them made the hues more vibrant.  I was having a blast running along Summit.  I continued to feel great, even though I was working hard, and thrived off of the energy of the crowd and the beautiful fall day.

Mile 6 - 8:46

I took a strawberry Clif Shot Blok around mile 6.  I usually take some form of gel or chew earlier in the race.  With the hit or miss luck I've had with Gu, I decided to go back to an old Clif standard.  My stomach felt just fine.

There are several old mansions along Summit, and I enjoyed running past them, admiring their architecture as much as I could without running into another runner.

Mile 7 - 8:29

I kept my eyes peeled for Rachel and Matt, who were going to be cheering on a few friends of theirs that were running the marathon, but I didn't see them.  I figured they were probably still sleeping, or they had gone to an earlier spectator point along the marathon course to cheer on their friends.

I noticed that my pace had slowed some.  Summit has a few slight rolling hills, with overall a very gradual incline as it heads into downtown St. Paul.  I wondered what it was like to run this part of the race as a marathoner.  I plan to find out next year, but instead of making this my first marathon, I am seriously considering Grandma's Marathon in Duluth.

Mile 8 - 8:25

I still felt great, loving the crowds, scenery and weather.  I was having my best race of the year.

I thought about picking up the pace a little bit, but I held back because I wanted to see how I felt at mile 9.

Mile 9 - 8:30

I had enough in the tank to put the hammer down for the final mile.  I knew I didn't have that much farther to go, and I was excited to push the pace.  Once I passed the Cathedral of St. Paul, the course was literally downhill from there.  I checked The Red Dragon and saw that I was way off PR pace, but figured I might be able to finish under 1:25.

I saw a gigantic American flag flying above the final approach and the finish line in the distance.  I thought about my first time running this course, and how this time was so different.  I coasted downhill towards the finish, speeding up, with a smile on my face.  Hearing the cheering crowds made my smile grow even wider.

What a beautiful day!

I stayed all smiles as I crossed the finish line.  This race went so much better than I ever expected.

I'm just to the right of the lady in the bright pink.

Finishing strong!
Mile 10 - 7:39 (told you that downhill helped!)

Here are my results:
Official finish time: 1:24:02
Average pace: 8:25/mile
Overall place: 1857/7549
Gender place: 661/4632
Division place: 174/1036 (22-29 age group)

After finishing, I received my finisher medal and a mylar blanket, then made my way through the food area.  This race had an awesome food spread, but my favorite thing were the cups of chicken (or veggie for vegetarians and vegans) broth.  Nothing like a hot liquid to warm you up after running in cool fall weather!

After getting my photo taken, I headed towards the tables full of finisher shirts.  When I saw the bright green color, I was immediately disappointed.  The color is so bright that I will only wear that shirt at night (nighttime Ragnar Relay leg, anyone?).  The design of the shirt is otherwise nice, and I was able to get the size shirt that I wanted (XS because they only had unisex sizes), but I wish that Twin Cities in Motion had chosen a different color for the finisher shirts.  Neon colors should NEVER be allowed!

I picked up my bag from bag check, then proceeded to join the other spectators in watching the 10-milers finish.  I was on the lookout for my handsome hubby.

Finally, I saw him.

Mark finished in 1:57:00. What an easy finish time to remember!

I kept track of him from the spectator side as he made his way through the finish chute.

Heading towards the food.  Look at the smile on his face!  The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, you know. ;-)

In line for the broth
Finally, I was able to give him a smooch and take his picture.

I waited for him to get his bag, then he left the secured finisher area and joined me.  We walked over to some of the vendor tents and decided to get our medals engraved with our finish times.  This was my first race as a married woman, and I was so excited to have a medal engraved with my new last name!

Before we boarded the shuttle buses that would take us back to the Metrodome, we ran into our friend Steph.  We hadn't seen her since Christmas.  She spent a long time in Thailand helping out refugees along the Thai-Burma border, but is back in the States and will be moving to California next year to continue serving the poorest of the poor.  It was so good to see her again!

Taking a photo with Steph

Group shot!
Even though I didn't get a PR, I had one of my best races this year.  I beat my 2008 finish time by over 13 minutes!  Everything about the day was perfect (except for the finisher shirt, but it will serve a purpose!), and it was so wonderful to run into an old friend and chat with her.

The newlyweds
What has been your favorite race this year and why?

Do you know of any bloggers doing the Rock 'N' Roll Savannah Marathon or Half-Marathon?  Mark and I are checking to see if there will be a blogger meetup.


  1. I did a 10 miler I loved. Your pictures are great and I love the medal.

  2. Great job! What a fun race. I know what you mean about the neon shirts. They are really nice for running at dusk, though. The brooksie way half I did last year had one of those and I was like, UGH, until I realized it was actually this great ultra bright night running shirt. It practically glows on its own. Perhaps yours is like that too? Conrgats on your first race as a married lady, as well on getting married if I haven't already said so!

  3. Mark knows who rules at home and on the race!!!!
    Congrats, a great race, you are in the first pack.
    In every picture you look strong and fast.
    This year my favorite race was the Edinburgh 5 km: a beautiful place, wonderful landscape and friendly runners. Also in Edinburgh many years ago I ran my only 10 miler.
    Have a good Sunday.

  4. Oh man, what a great recap. I love that you energy and positiveness shined through. Sounds like an absolutely perfect day and race. LOVE that you got your medal engraved with your new last name - ahhhh! Boo to neon shirts! I did wear a neon yellow shirt at the STL RnR Expo which helped the 5 friends who were with me to be able to locate me quickly in the crowd of thousands :)
    I think my best race this year is tied between the Diva Dash 5K and the Fort 4 Fitness Half marathon.
    Great job on your race . . . and your husband too!

  5. Congrats on a great race - nice steady splits! Looks like a perfect day to be out running, and awesome on the charity entry going to such a good cause. Congrats to Mark as well!

  6. Looks like a great day and a great race! Cute arm sleeves!!

    So sad I'm not going to Savannah!! In retrospect it's probably a good thing that we're not spending the money, but I'm still sad. :(

    Any good races in Minneapolis the weekend of Sept. 11-12, 2012! I might be in town for a friend's wedding!

    My favorite race? Brooksie Way for obvious reasons!!

  7. Sounds like things went great for both of you and I love that you got your medals engraved! ;)

  8. You are totally ALL smiles in your photos! What a great race! I'm so excited for you and your upcoming Savannah race. If I had known we were moving down here earlier I would have picked that race. And now living only hours away it's driving me crazy that I'm not doing it. I wish you the best of luck!!

    And congrats on the 10 miler too!!

  9. Great job, and YES! It was a beautiful day, wasn't it?

  10. What a fun day! Everybody looks so happy!

    Savannah seems like it was the place to be. I'd love to visit there some time, with or without a race on the schedule!

  11. Hey girl, I miss you - hope you are well!!!!!