Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Team Ortho Monster Dash 10-Miler Race Preview

Let me get straight to the point.  I have no idea what to expect from the Monster Dash 10-miler.  Well, okay.  That's not exactly true.  There are a few things I'm anticipating, but those things are more about the race itself.  I just don't really know what to expect in the way of performance.  In the end, this is going to be a fun race, not a work race.  There are going to be people out there in COSTUMES for crying out loud.  This ain't gonna be the the time to try to break any records.

Like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, this will be my first running-only event since high school.  Usually, I'm warming up for a run by doing a swim and a bike first.  Cold legs are never really an issue.  I also haven't done a race in the cold since the mid-90s.  Right now the forecast for race time is 40 degrees and partly-cloudy skies.  Now, this won't be a 'frozen snot in your beard' type of cold, but I am anticipating a 'steamy bald head' type of cold. 

The Monster Dash is unique in that each of the three races that day - the 1/2 Marathon, the 10-miler and the 5K each have a different starting line.  For those of you familiar with the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, the longer races start at Lake Nokomis, wind their way around the lake, down some trails following Minnehaha Creek and and finish about 6 miles away at Lake Harriet. 

My race starts to the West of Cedar Avenue.  1/2 Marathoners start to the East, but do a lap around lake Calhoun to get in an extra 3 miles.

This sucker is a big race.  There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 2200 other runners scheduled to run the 10-mile race.  That's going to lend itself to a crowded start.  Plus, once we catch up to the slower runners in the 1/2 marathon, there will be hundreds of other runners to contend with.  Now, I don't have a problem with a crowd.  I'm just not planning on getting up to speed until I'm well into the race.  On the positive side of things, even with all those other racers, I'm almost guaranteed to not get kicked in the face.

I'm hoping that for the first half, I can just run a clean race.  I'd like to keep the flying elbows to a minimum (both giving and receiving) and will try not to run up anybody's backside.  If the crowd thins out enough during the 2nd half of the race, then I'll try to push the pace a little more.

As far as time goes, there's a pretty wide margin for error.  The closest race I've done near this distance would be the run leg of the Liberty 1/2 Iron.  That day, I averaged 9:30 splits.  So, at the very least, I'd like to keep my pace under 9:30.  Granted, on Saturday I won't be preceding the run with a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike, so 9:30 should be easy-peasey.  But then again, I haven't been nearly as committed to training for the Monster Dash as I was during the meat of triathlon season. 

If there weren't thousands of other runners out there to bump into I'd say that a sub-90-minute run would be possible.  If I had to guess, I'd say that 91:00 sounds about right for this weekend.  In the end, I'm looking forward to a fun race.  It'll be a good benchmark for future running races.  Plus, since it's my first 10-miler, I'm GUARANTEED to PR.  Sweet.

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