Sunday, February 9, 2014

Securian Winter Run Recap/Review - better late than never!

On January 25, I ran the Securian Winter Run 5k. I signed up the week before, and the weather forecast had race day's high at 20 degrees. Totally doable! Unfortunately, the high temperature was reached at about 1 am Saturday and by race start (9:10 am) the temp had plummeted to about 4 above with a chilly wind from the west. Oh Minnesota, you never cease to amaze.

Let me start out by going over the things I did wrong for this race.

1. I did not wear a neck/face warmer.
2. I did not warm up (okay, I jogged maybe one minute from my car to the warming building, and jogged in place at the start for about two minutes).
3. I did not really review the course at all before the race.
4. I left the house later than intended so I was rushed at the start.
5. I went straight to the front of the race and had no one to draft off. 

Things I did right:

1. I did a good treadmill workout on Tuesday prior to the race: 10 min WU, 2 min hard (6:22-6:18) 3 min moderate (7:00) x 5
2. I wore a warm jacket, giant mittens, and windproof pants.
3. I ran negative splits. 

I lined up right at the front of the crowd to start so I could get off to a good start and just the race over with. The guy at the start yelled "go" and off we went. Within about a quarter mile I was in a little pack of guys running what felt to be a comfortably hard pace. After about a half mile I was in second place and after three quarters a mile the lead guy seemed to be slowing so I took the lead. I hit mile 1 in 6:20, and that felt just fine. I could still hear the guy behind me so I just focused on maintaining a strong but comfortable pace. I hit mile 2 at 6:17 and still felt good. My feet were just starting to thaw out and didn't feel like tingly bricks attached to my legs, so that was nice. I tried to push the pace a little on the last mile and ended up with a 6:14 mile three. So only .1 until the end, right?


I was following the lead biker and when I heard my watch beep at mile 3, I got excited because soon I'd be toasty and warm. But when I looked around, I did not see any sign of the finish. The biker kept going and I kept following but with each step I was getting more frustrated as there was still no finish in sight. I checked my watch and saw 3.2 miles...then 3.3....we finally took a right onto Jackson street and there was the finish. I crossed the line in 22:05 and noted the distance on my watch: 3.48 miles.

The second place runner came in shortly after and noted his watch also read long- 3.46 miles. We both were telling the race management team about this and the third place runner also confirmed a long reading.

Here is copy of the route according to my garmin:

Note the turnaround past the Wabasha bridge.

Here is the route from the race management site:
This turnaround is just halfway between the robert and wabasha bridges.

Let me point out that I'm not someone who frets over a course that is a little long based on watch GPS readings, and I'm the first to admit the the watch measurements are not as accurate as the measuring methods used by course officials. But an extra .38 miles is kind of a lot. I sent a message to the race team and got a response stating that the courses were marked and measured correctly for all distances after slight changes were made to the course to allow for construction interruptions; some personal measurement technology may be affected by the interruption tall buildings may cause. 

I also emailed the race director who basically said the same thing. I'm not super satisfied with the responses since it still seems like a lot for the distances to be mismatched. But whatever. I won a gift certificate to Run N Fun so I'm over it. 

Oh- I mentioned that you get a mug for running this race. The website says "Registered participants will receive a complimentary Securian Winter Run mug, a Saint Paul Winter Carnival commemorative button and coupon book." Well, either the person handling the registration was forgetting to give this stuff out or I completely missed where you are supposed to get the mug, because I did not get one :( . However, I did get some socks since I was one of the first 1000 entrants.

I guess the race was fine, and a good training run, but I am on the fence if I would do this again. I really want the mug maybe I'll give it one more chance next year.

What would you do if you ran a race that measured significantly long/short? Has this ever happened to you?


  1. I did the 10k last year and I am definitely slower, but you had to go inside the building and they were probably doing mugs in there. I can't remember if I picked mine up before or after the race. Bummer about the course being long. I believe courses have to be re-certified every 3 years or something, so hopefully they'll get it double checked. It would be interesting to know how many "certification companies" there are.

  2. Shoot! I knew I should have gone back in. I guess that is what I get for not really planning out this race!

  3. Ugh, that's frustrating. But congratulations on a really great race!