MDRA Lake Johanna 4 Mile

>> Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pharmie and I ran this race, and it went VERY WELL for the 2 of us. I have 2 new secrets for a successful race:

1. Drink lots of Diet Root Beer the night before. Drink so much that it upsets your stomach and you are gassy all night long. You will be so gassy that the smell of your farts will wake you up in the middle of the night. (Really.)

2. Have race morning nookie. That’s right. You heard me. So, early in the morning of your next race, tell your spouse / significant other / friend-with-benefits that you NEED to do [whatever it is that you like to do] in the name of a good race. It. Will. Work. I promise. ;)

So Pharmie and I got geared up on Saturday morning, and we headed for Lake Johanna just north of St. Paul. It was sunny but chilly when we registered:

And what would a “Steve in a Speedo” race report be if there weren’t a shot of me in a porta-potty pre-race?

This was a good, low-key run. The road wasn’t going to be closed to traffic, so we knew it was a small race. And THIS was the starting line on the side of the road:

Pharmie and I grabbed 2 shots before we headed to the start line.

Wearing my new Ryder sunglasses

In our matching Sugoi compression tights. That’s right - we’re THAT
couple that dresses like each other...

As we made our way to the starting line, I realized this COULD be a GREAT race for me. First of all, it was a smaller race (140 people), so I felt like I should be near the front. But at the same time, I knew there were some speedsters there, so I wouldn’t be winning the race. I realized that the combo of “small race” and “speedy runners” would mean I’d try to keep up, and maybe I’d post a great time. Maybe.

An old guy with a bull horn said “READY... GO!!!..."

I jumped into about 15th place. We ran past the finish area after a few hundred feet. Here’s (roughly) the race map. (I MAY have some of the turns around mile 2.5 wrong - I’m not totally sure on this...)

So we worked our way up a little hill near the beginning. I realized I was pushing a pretty good pace. I worked my way up to about 10th place over the first mile. There were people reciting times at each mile marker. I was heading up to mile one hearing “35... 36... 37...”

Mile 1: 5:41. “Holy hell. Can you keep this pace? Just try it...”

We weaved through some residential streets. Some kids playing in their front yard started cheering for us, so I smiled and waved. I still felt like I was “working,” but I didn’t feel like I was dying. I was trading positions back-and-forth between 8th and 9th.

Mile 2: 5:46. “Hang on to this and you’ll kill your 23:49 PR for a 4 mile race!”

I was happy to still be THAT far under 6:00! Then, as the elevation chart shows, we started a 3 block steady climb. I tried to stay strong. Coming up on mile 3, I saw we had a short but steep hill to climb just after that mile marker. Yay.

Mile 3: 5:47. “Gosh darn it! You’re smoking this race!”

I had moved into about 7th. I was pushing, and still felt pretty good. I mean, I was HURTING, but I felt good, considering. We rounded a corner, and there was a nice gentle down-hill. Sweet Jesus! I picked it up. A few of us jockeyed back-and-forth for position. Soon we were back at the park where we had started, so that meant about 200 meters to go! I TRIED to catch the guy in front of me, but I couldn’t quite do it. But I knew I was laying down a good time!

Mile 4: 5:27. “Nice!”

Steve Stenzel
22:42 (5:40.5 pace)
6th out of 140 overall

My only other 4 mile road race was last July where I finished in 23:49, so a 1:07 improvement sounds GREAT!

I recognized a few of the guys who finished in front of me from Dome Running over the winter. And one of those guys was talking with the woman from Dome Running who we call “tall blonde speedy woman.” Really. There are like 5 of us that know her as that. I went over and introduced myself. It turns out “tall blonde speedy woman” prefers to go by “Jenna.” And after talking for a few minutes, she asked me “Do you do triathlons?” I said yes. Then she smiled a bit and asked “Are you ‘Steve in a Speedo’?” I laughed. Turns out that Chad from the MDRA sent her a race report of mine to read a few months back. Small world!

I started to jog a bit of a cool-down with the Dome Running guys, but I sprinted off to my car to grab my camera. And as soon as I did, I saw Pharmie heading to the finish WAY faster than she thought she would finish!!

I screamed my butt off for her, and then sprinted ahead to get a shot of her finishing:

Holding off the guy in orange!

Afterward, everyone stuck around for all the giveaways:

Pharmie and I chatted a bit more with some of the runners we had met before taking off. Heidi, Jenna, Chris, Molly, and everyone else (I’m bad with names), it was GREAT to meet you!!

To see more photos from the MDRA Lake Johanna 4 Miler, check out my article on my examiner page.

Then I spent the rest of the afternoon trimming my hedges. No, not THAT - get your mind out of the gutter! I was ACTUALLY trimming the hedges in my YARD.

Safety glasses? Check.
Leather work gloves? Check.
Wussy electric hedge trimmers that would be WAY more manly if it had a gas engine? Check.

When I got done working in the yard, I finally took off my shoes. I noticed that my sore toe actually had a purple toenail, so I guess I ran that 4 miler hard enough to lose a nail in a couple of weeks:

Again, to see more photos from the race, click here to go to my article (along with a slideshow at the bottom of the article). Thanks everyone!


Missy 9:26 AM, March 21, 2010  

And by geared up you mean sexed up, right?! I'm totally going to test that theory and Ryan will be sooo happy.

Anne 9:38 AM, March 21, 2010  

Awesome pace!! Sounds like you've found the perfect recipe of an amazing race :)

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot 9:56 AM, March 21, 2010  

Great Race Steve! Unfortunately I have found that if "Successful Race Secret #1" occurs than "Successful Race Secret #2" is not going to happen. No way. No How!

Steve Stenzel 10:59 AM, March 21, 2010  

Jeff, Pharmie just said that if SHE woke up from #1, that #2 would NOT have happened. But, lucky for me, she's a heavy sleeper... ;)

Garden Runner 11:13 AM, March 21, 2010  

Wow, hope your toe heals up- looks kinda nasty. BTW you have some crazy hairy toes. Congrats on the race! That was an awesome get up you were in to trim the hedges. Was that your "Jessie the gardener" look from Desperate Housewives? Hope you had a great rest of the weekend!!

Julie 12:44 PM, March 21, 2010  

Good job Steve!! You are so flipping fast:) Great picures of you and Pharmie!!

Jumper 2.0 1:26 PM, March 21, 2010  

I have to admit that I'm a bit confused.

Is #2 foreplay for the main event (the race)?

Or are there 2 main events for you two this time?

Or is there another option I'm not thinking of?

Finally, knowing what your family thinks about all your racing, (If you remember, you have quoted somebody asking when are you two going to stop racing and start a family), wouldn't it be funny if she got pregnant on this particular occasion!?

Jumper 2.0 1:26 PM, March 21, 2010  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rocco 1:32 PM, March 21, 2010  

Steve, thanks for your race report and pictures of the race, both on this blog and on The Examiner. And congratulations on surprising yourself with all those sub 6s.

It looks like we run about the same speed in some races, so maybe I'll meet you in person one day. In the meantime, I linked to your blog and The Examiner over on

Thnks for the heads-up for the links.

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) 2:02 PM, March 21, 2010  

Wow..congrats on an awesome race for you and Pharmie! :)

teacherwoman 2:07 PM, March 21, 2010  

Sounds like the morning nookie helps! :) Nice job!

Coach Liz 2:43 PM, March 21, 2010  

My hubby was trying that morning nookie thing this morning at 5:30 am after waking me up by slamming his elbow into the middle of my back. I was not happy about it. I would have rather been woken up without a jab to the back.

drdave 3:52 PM, March 21, 2010  

From the looks of the race report, the entire field were a bunch of 'super fast' runners. Sheesh!
I am pretty sure that Pharmie would have beat me like she did the guy in orange. And no, that wasn't me! HA.

Anonymous,  9:47 AM, March 22, 2010  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve Stenzel 10:15 AM, March 22, 2010  

Sorry, I had to delete that previous comment - it was an advertisement about penis enlargement. That has NO place being here. ;)

SteveQ 10:24 AM, March 22, 2010  

Have you noticed that the race was just old guys and their kids? You pretty much had your age class to yourself!

Chad 12:28 PM, March 22, 2010  

It's great you had such an awesome race, especially after some morning lovin'. But you'd better hope Pharmie had a great race too, otherwise she might not be so willing before the next race. And if you keep getting much faster, it's going to make those PRs harder and harder to come by.

From now on, I will only address Jenna as "tall blonde speedy woman."

Christi 12:38 PM, March 22, 2010  

Great job Steve and Pharmie!

Anonymous,  4:31 PM, March 22, 2010  

Buce Gross Foot Photo. Tasty!

You're to be commended on your pedal hygiene. No trace of horribly disfiguring fungus. How do you do it?

Don't tell me, CAT LICKS!

Regina 4:39 PM, March 22, 2010  

Things I like about this post: root beer, nookie, the guy who won is 48 (old like me) and that his name is Digger. Beautiful.

Congrats on your improved time!! and great job Pharmie for "chicking" that guy

stenine 11:38 AM, March 24, 2010  

Great to meet you on Saturday and love the blog. I think Jenna may now get referred to alot as "tall blonde speedy woman"! If you are ever looking for someone to run with...

Jim,  11:01 AM, March 25, 2010  

this is a treat to see so much on line about this race. The map with the mile markers is pretty darn close. That ol guy who did start the race after some basic information, cones , arrows marked on street, etc. After that I did say. " Runners there are two commands. Runners set, ... Go !"
The terrain map is good. Where the 2.5 mile mark is, going north on 51 and turn on to Old Snelling Road. uphill to about ?? 3.25 miles.... then down and turn on Lake Johanna Blvd to finish. Correcting where the 2.5 mile on terreain map is

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