Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stillwater Half Marathon Race Report

The Stillwater Half Marathon was today.  It was a perfect day with overcast skies and temperatures in the upper 50's.  My race gear was laid out the night before so I was ready.  For this race I went with the 2010 Stillwater Marathon shirt, which looks exactly like the 2011 shirt, but the 2011 shirt is HUGE.  They gave me a shirt with a "Large" label but said it was really an Extra Large.  Whatever size the shirt is supposed to be, it is still very big.  This, and the fact they started to accept race day registration leads me to believe the race may be having some difficulties.  In 2010 they had 941 in the half, this year 619.  For the full in 2010 they had 374, this year 244.  Overall I heard they had a decline of 1,000 runners over 2010. 

Packet pickup was held on Friday or Saturday.  With the help of a babysitter I was able to go on Friday (with my wife who ran the 10k).  It was held at the Water Street Inn in downtown Stillwater, MN. 

Historic Picture of the Water Street Inn
The Water Street Inn was a nice place to have the Expo, and the perfect size.  It was also located on the Saint Croix River, so we had an opportunity to see the river and watch the Stillwater Lift Bridge in action.  They had the usual stuff, including a healthy eating trivia wheel.  If you got the correct answer you got a coffee mug.  They had chewy fruit snacks for kids and said it was just like eating real fruit (so why not just eat real fruit?).  Two vendors selling clothing and chiropractors.  Instead of speakers they had a fashion show, but we didn't stay for it. 

Race morning arrived and I awoke at 4:30 (my alarm was set for 5:30).  With an extra hour to kill I did some Yoga with Rodney Yee.  Feeling more flexible, I put together my Hammer Nutrition supplements for before, during, and after the race.  I don't do anything special before the race, but during the race I take Anti-Fatigue Caps and Endurance Amino.  This was the second time I have done this and both times I felt an ability to run better.  The first time was an hour into a Half Marathon and shortly after I noticed my form was much better, and I didn't even realize it had gotten easier to run.  This time I was prepared to feel better so I took them before the final descent into Stillwater and the flat mile into town.  I wanted to run this section especially fast.

Once my supplements were together we were ready to go.  I dropped my wife at the start of the 10k, and it was completely deserted.  Not a single person around.  We sat in the car for about 10 minutes before we saw other people.  I didn't want to be late to my race so we said goodbye.  Just in time, because she barely beat a busload of people to the porta potties.  As luck would have it, the one she choose had NO TOILET PAPER!!  Brand new and no TP.  This was not starting good.

Last year I dropped my car at the High School and road a bus to the start.  When it was time to take a bus back to the car it was an hour wait.  They only had one bus running.  To avoid that, this year I drove and had no problem parking downtown.  With a short walk to the start I was in good spirits. 

The Half and Full both had pacers from Minnesota Pacers.  They were busy pacing 3 different races this weekend (Stillwater, Med City, and State Capitol).  At the Stillwater Half they had a 1:45 pacer and I planned to stick with her.  The skies were still overcast and the temperature cool, so we had great weather for the start.  I skipped the first few water stops, met Tom at mile 6, went to the bathroom at mile 7 (lost 30 seconds), felt great miles 8-10, pushed hard on the downhill at mile 11, pushed harder on the flat mile 12, out kicked a few people, and heard my wife cheer as I sprinted to the finish.  A new PR at 1:41:51.

1.  7:50
2.  7:58
3.  7:53
4.  8:05
5.  7:49
6.  8:27
7.  7:38
8.  7:37
9.  7:47
10.  8:06
11.  7:44
12.  7:12
13.  6:56
.2.  0:51(5:35 pace)

7:47 overall pace
70 out of 619
8 out of 41 in my age group

After the race I found my wife who did much better than she expected.  It was her first ever 10k and the farthest she has EVER run.  I am very proud and impressed.  After such great races we headed to the car for a Hammer Recoverite drink (two scoops mixed with Almond Milk).  I really shouldn't drink these, they are good for recovery but have a huge amount of cards and afterwards I am always starving (Primal or Paleo readers will know what I mean).

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jump to It 10K

The weather was perfect for the Jump to It 10K.  We had a slight breeze coming from White Bear Lake and it was sunny.  After a winter of overcast skies it feels great every time the sun shines.  The race started at West Park/ Optimist Beach in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.  The shirt is orange, and will be perfect for walking or running during hunting season. 

The course is out and back and advertised as "flat and fast and has seen state records in its long history."  It was flat for most of it, but a few hills at the turnaround slowed me down.  However, I managed to keep a very steady pace during the race and finished in 44:29 (7:10 pace).  My Garmin said about the same thing with a distance of 3.16 miles on the way out, and 3.1 on the way back.  I guess I ran the tangents better on the way back with fewer people to maneuver around.  Race results were delayed because they had problems with the computer.  Many people were upset about this and it took away from an otherwise great event.

126 total runners in the 10K.  My time got me 20 overall and 2 in my age group.  This was the second 10K of the year for me (and second 10K ever), last time I ran 50:21 (8:07 pace).