Archive for October, 2011

Elite Lineup!

I ran the Medtronic Twin Cities Ten Mile race last Sunday morning.

It is the “sister” race to the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, which bills itself as, “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon In America”, which I guess makes the ten miler, “The Most Beautiful Urban Shortcut In America”!

It is named the “shortcut” since both races finish at the same location, however, as you might have guessed, they start in different ones!

The full marathon begins at 8:00 AM on the south side of the Metrodome or as the Vikings now refer to it as, “Mall of America Field”. The “Ten” starts a few blocks northwest of the dome and begins a series of starts at 7:00 AM.

Not everyone starts at the same time, but everyone is wearing a timing chip on their shoe, so it really doesn’t matter.

There were approximately 8,000 runners in the “shortcut” and all, including myself were assigned to what they call, starting corrals. (Some like to call them, a “home away from home” for cattle!)

One does get the feel for how a cow must feel when heading into one of those!


There were five different corrals for this race and each of us had a different colored race bib, which gained us entry into our assigned starting area.

Corrals 1 thru 5.

Corral 1 would start first, well actually the “elite” women got a seven minute head start on everyone, but then corrals 1,2,3,4 and finally 5 went, all staggered a few minutes apart. In case you are wondering the elite men started with corral 1.

How are corrals assigned?

When registering for the race, there is a place where you can enter a finishing time from one of your previous races in the past couple of years. It could be a 10K time, a half marathon, or even a full marathon. Something to indicate just how fast you are and it also gives a pretty good indication of fast you will run in the race you are registering for.

By now, you’re probably wondering where I was assigned?

When I picked up my race packet last Friday at the race expo, I didn’t think much about it, however when I returned home and looked at my bib, that’s when I realized I would be racing with the big boys!


I was in corral number 1!

I believe my sub-seven minute mile in eighth grade might have had something to do with it! Isn’t that what you’re suppose to do on these race applications, ENHANCE them just a tad?

Nah, I wouldn’t do that.

If memory serves, I think I used my half marathon time from last May’s Green Bay Marathon as my measuring stick.

So there I was last Sunday morning, a few feet from the start line, lining up with the runners who can wear the bright colored shoes and get away with it!

It was my opportunity to hang with the really fast people!

Well, at least until the national anthem was over!

The gun went and they went!

Oh, I was in my glory for about three or four seconds! By then the “elites” had an insurmountable lead and I knew I had no chance to catch them!

But, I wasn’t exactly on a “Sunday morning jog” either!

I was running pretty fast!

Okay, too fast!

When I looked at my watch at mile 1 and it read 7:30, I knew I was going a little fast for the amount of training or lack of speed training I had done. But I kept the pace and when I was under 23 minutes at mile 3, I knew I had to slow down or I would run out of gas well before I got to the capitol!

So I slowed down.

I even walked through a couple of water stops, just to make sure I had something left in the “tank” at the end.

The last mile and half I was able to muster a kick and I finished in 1 hour and 20 minutes, which was well under my goal of 1:30.

This non-elite runner came in 1,351st out of 7,549 finishers, although, a chip timing error initially had me at 1:18 and in 1,100th place. It was later caught by race officials and adjusted to the correct time (rightfully so, I might add).

I was pleased!

It was a beautiful race. It does always seem to live up to it’s reputation! Except for that one year we all ran in a downpour and the race was “The Most Beautiful Urban Flooded Marathon In America”, but that’s another story!

The sun was out bright and leaves on the trees were bursting with color. The crowd support was fantastic, which it always is in this event. I was also joined by two friends, who finished right around the same time as me.

One of the benefits, aside from running 16.2 miles less, of running the ten miler, is finishing in time to watch the finish of the marathon. Now, if I were running the full marathon, I would normally be at the halfway point of the race when this occurs, so getting to see it is a rarity for me!

This year was different and thanks to another friend of mine, who happens to be the person in charge of set-up of the finish area, I and my friends were given the chance to watch the marathon finish close-up in a special viewing area. And, oh yeah, enjoy some free food and beverages too!

Time to watch how the elites really do it!

With my race.

Enjoying a beverage and waiting for the marathon finish!

Half Time!

I’m packing my running shoes and heading for Iowa this weekend to run in the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon.

This will be my third time running the streets of Iowa’s capital city.

It is a fun race and well organized.

Currently, there are approximately 4,100 signed up to run the half marathon and another 1,600 and change ready to tackle the full marathon.

Both races begin at the same time and the split occurs around mile 3.

I think it is always a mental challenge for the average marathon runner to begin with a large group that decreases dramatically in size at some point. One minute, you’re running with a lot of people and then suddenly, they’re heading for the finish line and you still have a very long way to go!

I guess Des Moines, having it’s split early is better than say, Green Bay, where it happens at mile 11.

The weather forecast looks to be perfect with a “start time” temp around fifty degrees.

Here’s hoping there’s not another passing freight train near the finish line like two years ago!

Speaking of running…

My high school freshman son is on his school’s cross country team and Wednesday I got the opportunity to help cook and serve about 160 kids from the girls & boys teams at their pasta dinner.

The dinner is organized by parent volunteers and takes place following practice the day before a meet.

My job was to cook the pasta, which amounted to twenty boxes, in a BIG pot of boiling water in the school’s kitchen.

I knew I was in for a “workout” when I was handed a metal paddle that looked liked it belonged more on a row boat than in a kitchen!

At last word, there have been no reports of sickness on the team due to what they may have eaten!

I also got to help serve the ice cream, which of course, was a big hit!

Yesterday on race day…

My son, who was running the JV race, ran his 5K in a time of 20:23, which is a PR for him!

Before I head to Iowa tomorrow, I am going to attend a lecture tonight at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Syndicated cartoonist, Stephan Pastis will be talking about his strip, “Pearls Before Swine”.

Pastis is a former insurance lawyer who credits “Peanuts” creator, Charles Schulz with helping launch his career.

Pastis had an encounter with Schulz in a diner and a gracious Schulz looked at his work and offered what had to be some of the best advice an aspiring cartoonist could ever receive!

It should be a fun and interesting evening.

I’ll let you know what I learn!

In case you want to check out his work, follow this link…