You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect morning for a 10 mile race in October. The leaves have started changing, it was in the mid-upper 40’s for the start, and it was a clear day with a slight breeze. The day quickly warmed up and for the 3+ hour marathoners it started getting quite toasty, but for the duration of the 10 mile it was awesome! As part of the Twin Cities Marathon Weekend, the 10 mile is the “Shortcut to the Capital” and boy did I fall in love with this shortcut!
My goal was under 90 minutes, my stretch goal was under 80 minutes.
I watched the elite women take off before heading into my corral. The women got a head start and I was safely tucked in the back half of Corral 1 when the horn went off and we shuffled to the line. I very carefully didn’t do anything stupid and watched as hundreds of people passed me. I started off nice and easy. I stayed on the right hand side, knowing that I’d see Christy and Nadia within the first mile, waved at them and continued my relaxed pace. I was a little surprised to see 8:04 when I came through the first mile.
The second mile was pretty much all down hill into the Bohemian Flats area and my watch said 16:11 (8:07). I still felt really good and I mentally decided that I would try to maintain a near 8 minute pace – with out killing myself on the upcoming hills. I knew there would be a couple of steeper climbs before hitting the long, slow uphill known as Summit Ave. The hill to Franklin is longer and steeper than most in the area and I mentally stepped back and didn’t push up it, but also didn’t lollygag around. Mile 3 was on the bridge heading to the East side of the Mississippi. I don’t remember my time, but it was still in the low-8 minute range. At the top of the Franklin hill the TC 10 mile and marathon courses collide.
While the TC 10 is billed as the “Shortcut” in my opinion it has the toughest part of the marathon course. Though it did feel a lot easier with only 3 miles of fatigue on the legs instead of the 18 or 19 miles for the marathoners. Up to this point the crowd support had been a little sparse, though it would pick up throughout the race. Nathan and Deb helped cheer me across the bridge!
I actually don’t remember a lot of the details from the race. I saw Christy and Nadia again around the 5 mile mark (right before St. Thomas) and then Mike later on when I was starting to struggle. I took a Gu around mile 8 and was glad I brought it along. At mile 6 I saw that my times were starting to drift up a little bit and decided to try and make some of that back – kind of stupid, especially since that mile had one of the steeper short climbs. I did make up time and fortunately didn’t completely roast myself.
It had been a couple of years since I’ve run the Summit stretch. Sure I’ve biked it once or twice, but I forgot about all the little nuances (the short little up-hills and really how long it actually is). I slowly ticked off the miles, continuing to push myself to maintain my pace. I kept trying to think of a reason to push and dig deep like I did at Ragnar – but there was no spark or a stupid prideful comment to make me go faster. I was content to maintain and to know that I should easily make my 90 minute goal.
At the 25 mile marker I knew we were getting close. 1.2 miles to go – time to pick it up. Pick it up for a bit and then back off. Remember I couldn’t find the confidence to push it hard. Through the 9 mile mark and I knew it would be close. Onwards, keep moving, keep pushing. It seemed to take forever for that last mile, a few turns and boom – there is the finish line down the hill. 1/2 mile to go. Its time to go. Even that close I still struggled to really push the pace. I worked the downhill and did my best to stretch it out for the last flat 10th of a mile. My Garmin had me dipping down to 6 minute pace for the last stretch. The clock was past 2 hours and I wasn’t sure what my differential was.
I crossed the finish line and actually felt pretty reasonable. Much better than either of the last 2 times I’ve crossed that line on John Ireland Blvd. My Garmin said, 1:19:58. I had unofficially broken 80 minutes!! My Garmin also matched my official results so I had done it!!
And the nice thing – I was definitively exhausted and my legs hurt – but by the time the marathon was over with, I felt pretty good!
We hung around at the 26 mile mark and watched most of the marathoners finish. I cheered for both Team World Vision and MDRA runners. It was a lot of fun, even if I did get a bit of sunburn. The range of emotions as people approached the 26 mile mark is amazing. A friend on Twitter, posted a link to this race review which I really liked. You can see my pictures here.