Human Race 8K Race Report

>> Monday, March 19, 2012

[An 8K is just shy of 5 miles: 4.97 miles to be more precise.]


I'd done this race twice before. I first did this race in 2008 with Pharmie. We both did the 8K, and I finished in 30:30 (6:06 / mile). I was a different runner then: I had just started doing regular speed work, and I've really been trying to do tempo / intervals regularly since then. Oh, and I wore BOXERS and ATHLETIC shorts as I showed in my race report:

Boxers and gym shorts Steve?!? Sheesh. Noob.

And I did the 5K at this race in 2010 when I thought I could set a new 5K PR. I ended up taking 15 seconds off my PR, and I finished in 17:11:

In 2011, there were over 500 runners at the 8K, and it draws out the SPEEDSTERS! When I did the 5K 2 years ago, I finished in 17:11 (like I said), and that was good for 2nd place. If I finish the 8K in my goal time of 28:45, that would have been good for 69th (hee hee) in 2011! While looking through the results from last year, I saw that Jenna Boran (speedy local and Olympic marathon hopeful) finished in 28:02... I thought maybe I could try to keep her in my sights this year!


Pharmie had to work this past weekend, so I had Henry. On Saturday, we went for his 2nd ever walk in the BOB stroller with Henry NOT in the carseat! And it was his first time out this year in SHORTS! Look - he looks like such a little man:

I'm still trying to teach him to sit like a lady....


The 8K didn't start until 1:20, so I had a good chuck of the day with Henry pre-race. I showed him how to do a good "full-body stretch:"

And then we went outside to play in the grass for the first time ever!

"What's this?!? Grass? I'll put it in my mouth."

I dropped Henry off at the sitters house 50 minutes before the race. I jogged a few blocks from my house down to the race on Summit Ave, and stretched a bit. I ran into ALL KINDS of "race buddies" right away! I really like racing more and more each year because I know more and more people. I never get to FULLY catch up with everyone, but it's fun to briefly chat.

I was wearing the "Bowl Full of Sunshine" shorty yellow shorts, and I was teasing with everyone that I was overdressed! It was WARM out there! I was sweating during my warm-up. Nasty. Stephanie (from MN Red Running Club) suggested that I make them even shorter by tucking them into their liner. Ha!

I ran into Kris and Mark, and Kris grabbed a photo of Mark and I getting ready to run:

Thanks for the photos, Kris!

Half the runners ready to go (I'm behind the guardrail)

I note that that's half the runners because Summit Ave is split at this point, so they have 2 starting lines with a large blvd between them. I realized after a few moments that I seemed to be on the female side, but whatever. The north side of Summit had all the speedy, speedy dudes at the front.

My former student Jeremy came running up and found me right before the start. I convinced him to sign up for the MDRA Grand Prix, so I hope to be racing with him a LOT this summer!

Rick Recker sounded a bullhorn, and we were off!!!!

That's Jeremy with the green shoes behind me

I headed out at a fast but comfortable pace. I got a little "boxed in" a few blocks into the race, and I couldn't get around a few people to pick up the pace. But I thought about it for a moment and figured that it was probably for the better, and that I shouldn't go TOO nuts too early in this race. We headed up the biggest / longest hill on the course, and we came up to the first mile marker.

MILE 1: 5:44. "Good Steve. Keep it here. Don't ease up."

That was RIGHT on pace. I was hoping to do about 5:45s, so that felt good. But things started to get rough in this next mile. The wind felt windier. The hills felt hillier. I don't know if it was the heat or my lightened training that was getting to me. Probably both.

MILE 2: 5:46. "RIGHT on pace at mile 2! But you're starting to hurt. Suck it up and go."

We were running the flat stretch leading up to the Law School where we turn around. Katherine S was out there snapping photos. Here's one of speedy tri-guy Patrick Parish:

He finished 4th in 25:34!

Pro triathlete DKT (1009) workin it. He finished 11th in 26:17.

Me trying to work-up a smile! (And landing with a nasty heel-strike.)

We looped around the William Mitchell College of Law, and we were back on Summit heading in the other direction. Here I am on my way back, and now my shoulders are wet from dumping a cup of water on them... I was HOT:

Awkward running form by all of us in this photo. Nice.

Uhh... there's a lot of "junk" in this photo. Just have a look around.

Oh, and that's Kevin in the orange on the far left getting ready to loop around the college. He signed up for the "SUPER Human" race, which is where you do the 5K at 11:40 and the 8K at 1:20! He had just set a 5K PR and was now laying down a decent 8K time!

I conjured up a quick wave for Katherine as I headed off:

Oh, and Katherine got a photo of Lydia as she STOPPED TO QUICK CHAT with her during her race! But Lydia was doing the "Super Human" race too, so she had just raced a hard 5K. Therefore I won't tease. :)

I have no idea what Lydia is doing here. But sweet socks!

So coming up on mile 3, I thought my time was going to suffer a little. But I didn't think it was going to be this slow:

MILE 3: 6:05. "Damn. Try to get a chunk of that back over this next mile."

I was dying. I wasn't used to 75 degree early-afternoon heat in March. I haven't ran in temps like that since last Sept-October. And with just that one water stop, I was overheating. I REALLY wanted to stop to walk a bit around mile 3.5, but I just dialed it back a little. I was coming up on mile 4, and THEN I was going to go hard.

Oh, and my right-side oblique was ANGRY, and that pissed me off - I've been doing decent core work lately! Come on core! HTFU! It still hurts today - it's not sharp pain; it's just achy and a little upset.

MILE 4: 6:02. "Damn (again). Well, can you still break 29:00? Just go hard! This is a 'Grand Prix' race, so try to catch some people - they might be in the Grand Prix!"

But I caught no one. I picked it up for about a block after the mile 4 marker, but then I was hashed. I wanted to walk. Or start on fire. Or die. Any one of those 3, really. I hit Fairview Avenue with a half mile left, and I was being passed like crazy. That NEVER happens to me, but I actually took it as a good sign in this race. Often, I start out too easy, and save a lot for the final mile or 2. Well, that was NOT happening here. So even though I was hurting VERY badly, it was probably leading me to a faster finish than if I would have started easy and tried to negative split the race. Or maybe I'm just looking for the silver lining to my pain.

I heard my name a lot as I was in the final block. Thanks for the cheers everyone! I'm sure I looked like hell. Oh wait... I have PROOF that I looked like hell:

Look at my face - not a happy camper.

One of the cheers in the final block was from Henry's babysitter! I didn't see them there, but she said that Henry watched me run past!! Thanks for bringing him to the finish R and E!! (Once I finished, they brought Henry over to say hi, and I accidentally sweated on E. Sorry E! Ha!)


MILE 4 - 4.97: 5:35 (which is 5:46 / mile pace). "Oww. I had hoped you could do better in that last mile, but doing a 5:46 mile when you feel like death isn't TOO bad."

982, Steve Stenzel, M, 31, St. Paul MN

67 out of 682 overall
62 out of 402 males
13 out of 44 in 30-34 age group

29:15 official finish
5:53.12 / mile pace


- The numbers might say that I went out too hard. But I rarely do that, so I'm happy that I "tried" that at this race. And like I mentioned, I'm not sure how much of it was that "I went out too hard," and how much of it was "that nasty heat."

- My former student Jeremy had set a conservative goal of 35:00 for himself. He started out with me and kept me close for the first 2 miles before having to drop off the pace a bit. BUT, by pushing so hard early on, Jeremy blew his goal out of the water by over 3 minutes (even in that heat) and finished in 31:36!! Congrats Jeremy!! (And another vote for "try to go out hard and see if you can hold on!")

- After the race, I ran into local, speedy, nice guy Paul Giannobile who also didn't quite finish where he had hoped (he still finished over a minute faster than me!). He said he nearly dropped out at mile 3 due to the heat. This was a common sentiment in the finisher's chute - after the turn-around, people were dying. Don't get me wrong... it was "only" 75 degrees, so it wasn't HOT. But it's mid-March in Minnesota, and we're not used to this heat yet!! In my race report from 4 years ago, I noted that it was 32 degrees and that felt like a heat wave!

- My right oblique is still sore today. What do I do? Stretch it a bit? Lay off the core work for a few days? That's what I'm thinking, but I'm open to your thoughts. It doesn't hurt when I poke at it, but it just feels a little achy and slightly "tender."

That's all for now! Back with more soon... probably with photos of the 2 nasty blisters that developed on my right foot during the race... :)

Thanks everyone!


Jeremy Reichenberger 9:26 AM, March 19, 2012  

Thanks for the shout-out(s) in the race report! Glad I could add a touch of my own awkwardness to it with that lovely photo of me.

Although, in terms of awkward, I think the guy in orange in the finish line photo has us both beat.

Looking forward to racing with you in the future - it was good to catch up for a minute at the race, it's been a while!

rocco 10:51 AM, March 19, 2012  

Great report. Thanks for pointing out all the junk in that one photo. I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't pointed it out.

Also thanks for writing about and running this race so I didn't have to. I don't know which is worse, running an 8k in the heat of the day or finishing off the San Antonio to Minneapolis I-35 drive I was doing with a 17 month old. I didn't get any points for my effort and you did, so I guess my chore was worse.

SteveQ 11:42 AM, March 19, 2012  

I tagged you in two photos of the race on Facebook - neither particularly interesting (start line, giving "thumbs up" to nothingness; a distant butt shot).

Mark 11:50 AM, March 19, 2012  

Should have run the race in Southern California. It was only in the 50's and pouring rain here this weekend. Don't think it was storming that badly for the LA Marathon yesterday. It was 33 when I went for my run this morning.

GoBigGreen 11:51 AM, March 19, 2012  

AS long as you are sure its not your hip flexor/illiopsoas/Iliacus i wouldnt worry about it. If its the deep hip flexors i would swim, or just rest.
Good race, it was hot and windy both saturday and sunday, i think everyone in MN paid!

jan 4:51 PM, March 19, 2012  

Great race! Henry does look like a big boy in the jogging stroller w/out a car seat!

CoachLiz 9:25 PM, March 19, 2012  

Your running form looks decent (aside from the heel strike) compared to that guy in the baby blue shorts who is shadowing you in three of those pictures. Oh how I would love to work with you for two or three sessions to tweak a few things with your form and see what kind of time you could drop. I know you have more speed in you, Steve!

Way to go in the heat. It is hot down here in Texas as well and we have the 70 degree temps in the mornings before the sun even comes up. I feel your pain.

Anonymous,  7:54 AM, March 20, 2012  

Looks like you just missed catching GP runner Scott Davis -- he's the one in your finish line photo who looks like he's about to keel over. Motivation for next time -- catching the runner in front of you really might net you 10-20 GP points!

TK 10:56 AM, March 20, 2012  


Thanks for the shout out. The Superhuman sounded like fun until I finished the 5K then is sounded very painful (which it was!) My only 8K goal was to not finish behind the guy in the US flag shorts.

Who would've thought 75 degrees would feel like an inferno. I felt like a twice baked potato. Great to see you pre-race. Next year lil Hank will clean up the kid's races.

Kevin "TK"

scottyd 9:34 PM, April 02, 2012  


This is "the guy in the orange shirt at the finish", Scott Davis. I enjoyed reading your blog after someone forwarded it to me today. I am especially pleased to see the finish photo as I was curious how bad I looked! I would have gladly traded the 12 GP points to look as good as you did at the finish.

That heat was nasty....I don't remember much from the last mile and threw up after the race. I am glad it was not any longer or I might have got up close and personal with the pavement.

Nice job. Looking forward to seeing you at future races.

scottyd 10:17 PM, April 02, 2012  


This is " the guy in the orange shirt at the finish", Scott Davis. I have enjoyed reading this blog after someone forwarded to me today. I especially am glad to see finish photo as I was wondering how bad I looked! I would gladly trade the 12 GP points to look as good as you did.

That heat was nasty. I do not remember much from the last mile and I threw up after the race. I am glad it was not any longer as I might have ended up close and personal with the pavement.

Good job in the heat. Looking forward to seeing you at future races.

Steve Stenzel 2:34 PM, April 05, 2012  

Scott! Hope you recovered quickly after throwing up! And I'll gladly take those points... Ha!

I'll look for you at the GIG 10K and I'll say hi! Glad you found my blog! Happy training!

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