Awhile back I registered for my first Minnesota race – the Human Race 8K, which is part of the USATF Series. The race was also featured at Down the Backstretch – which is a well-known and respected running blog in Minnesota. Here is DtB’s recap and a link to photos.
The race was efficiently run from the beginning. There was a variety of options for registration and I chose using active.com which allowed me to enter my USATF # (and receive the discount) and get everything done pretty quickly. The event was put on by TSL Events (The Sporting Life Events) and hosted at the University of St Thomas in Saint Paul which is a pretty campus.
Packet pick-up was pretty smooth for me – pick up your chip and number and then go get your shirt. You had a variety of options when you registered and could actually choose not to get a shirt – which I kinda wish I hadn’t. I selected a short-sleeve wicking shirt – hoping for a really nice technical shirt. Instead I got a nicely designed “wicking” shirt that almost feels like a t-shirt. It claims to be 100% polyester, but definitely doesn’t feel like my other technical shirts. Oh well, its bright green!
I warmed up with Team MDRA and had a good warm-up and got some advice for running the course. It was a nice course along Summit Ave in St. Paul. You may have heard of Summit Ave because it is also the last stretch of the Twin Cities Marathon and maybe the hardest because of its long uphill. Since this was an out-and-back course the uphill was fine on the return when it was actually a downhill! The course is actually an overall negative course with the finish line actually below the starting line. My Garmin said we lost 29 feet of elevation throughout the course.
The race was won in 24:06 (4:50). My overall time was 31:27, my watch said 31:24 but it was chip-timed so I’ll go with that! My goal was 32 minutes – which I extrapolated from my 10K goal of breaking 40 minutes.
I tried to start out at a decently easy pace since the first mile was mostly uphill. We gained about 50 feet of elevation within the mile. It was hard to let people go by me, but I also knew that I needed to be smart. I saw a couple of the MDRA guys within striking distance and just hung on with them. I thought I crossed the first mile in 6:30, but my watch actually said 6:20. I think if I had known that I might have freaked a little so it was ok! We basically just ran along tree lined streets for the whole race. We ran out did a little loop and ran straight back. Nothing too exciting in the second mile, I tried to stay focused on the MDRA runners ahead of me and maintaining an even pace. I actually passed one of the MDRA guys somewhere near here and I just kept pushing on. My second mile was 6:12, thanks in part to some downhill! I tried to keep it even since I knew we’d have the hill coming back up!
During the third mile we made the loop around a law school and headed for home. We did have some uphill here but I kept forging ahead. I grabbed a quick sip of water at the water stop and still ran a 6:25 mile. For the next mile I could have sworn I ran a lot slower, I was doing mental math trying to figure out what I needed to run the next mile to stay under 6:30 overall pace. I was way off!! I think, that I thought I had just run a 7 minute mile because I came through 4 miles at 25:30 and somehow I thought that was back at 6:30 pace but I was actually still 30 seconds ahead. Or something like that… I don’t know – I’m confusing myself trying to remember what was happening out there!
From about 2.5 to 4 was almost all uphill not very steep but just enough to make you dig in and work a little bit. I came through the 4th mile at 6:34. With the downhill finish I tried to give it everything I had… I worked hard running it out and with about a quarter to go I dropped the hammer. My final .99 miles was 5:51 which is a 5:54 pace. Looking at my Garmin’s pace chart I dropped from a 6:03 pace to a 4:31 pace in the final quarter of the race. Going geeky with the Garmin that is a 76 second last quarter!
The finish was great because we lost about 100 feet of elevation during the last mile which really helped me run a 5:51 0.99 which is a 5:54 actual mile pace. I also laid out a killer kick knocking off at least 5 guys in the last hundred meters or so.
I had a great race, it was fun and a nice atmosphere. It is a different league up here though than running around Anderson. Especially races in the USATF Circuit are going to be hard to pick up any hardware, but I might have to try and find some obscure races in the middle of nowhere to even place in my age group!
It was a beautiful day for racing! The full results are posted here. I finished 139th overall out of 1,033. I got 32 out of 83 in my age division!
UPDATE: Team MDRA placed 6th out of 10 Male USATF Teams and our female counterparts Team Unattached placed 5th out of 8.
[tags] 8k, Road Race, Human Race [/tags]