Free to Run 4 Miler

>> Sunday, July 05, 2009

Yesterday morning, a few of students from the “CVA Triathlon Club” and I went down to race at the Free to Run 4 Miler on Harriet Island. (Note: It’s only 3 weeks until a few CVA students tackle their first sprint triathlon!!) We all met at CVA and headed down to the race together.

Harriet Island was hosting “The Taste of Minnesota:” a drunken food fair with live bands. (Tonight is Brett Michaels if you’re interested.) So I wasn’t surprised to find a porta-potty that looked like this:

All of us got our numbers and got ready to race! Look at the excitement!!

Ha! Sorry Sarah, but you KNEW I was going to do this! Here’s a better photo of us pre-race:

Evan, Sarah, Hannah, and me

Soon, we were shuffled towards the starting line. I kept looking back at those 3 and giving them thumbs-ups! I was hoping that they’d have a good race and feel good about their performance.

Ready, set, GO!

We were off. A man named Vladimir who had a strong Russian accent quickly took the lead. And he just kept pulling away. Right away, I realized that unless he crashed, he’d easily take the win. I was running with a tall 27 year old name Ryan, and soon, we were joined by 43 year old Doug. The 3 of us were running side-by-side in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place. We chatted about the weather, this race, other races, and the course for the first 2 miles. Friendly guys!! I love races like that!

Mile 1: 5:50. “Good. Solid, but not too hard. Where I want to be.”

As we were heading up to the turn-around, I saw Danielle at the aid station with her camera. I think she snapped a photo. I smiled and said hi, she cheered for me, and us 3 guys rounded a cone to head back home.

Mile 2: 6:04. “Slower, but OK. Let’s get mile 3 back under 6:00.”

I was excited to see my students after the turn-around. Evan wasn’t too far back! Then came Sarah. And Hannah was close behind. They were all smiling, so that was good news!! I cheered for all of them. Doug knew a lot of people out there too, as he was cheering for a lot of people as well. I LOVE friendly races like that!

Mile 3: 6:08. “Too slow. Damn. Pick it up Steve.”

I ran the middle of this race a little too slow. I usually push myself hard in the middle of my training runs, and I didn’t do that well at this race. I think the 3 of us running together were a little afraid to pick it up too much and take the out-right lead for second place - we were all running with the “pack” mentality.

I have a good “slowly-building kick” over the last mile of a race, but I don’t have a good “last 100 meters” kick. So I started picking up the pace after the mile 3 marker. But Ryan and Doug didn’t get left behind - they picked it up and stayed right with me. Second place was still anyone’s guess. (Vladimir CLEARLY had the lead, so we were all just shooting for second. We couldn’t even see Vladimir anymore.)

I ran the middle of this race right behind these 2 guys, but with about 800 meters left, I was running ahead of these guys. I just had to try to hold that. We came off the wooded part of the trail into the opening near the park entrance, and we were all running HARD. At the little downhill into the park, Ryan picked it up and strided past me. Doug was right on my tail. I pushed and pushed and pushed. I couldn’t catch Ryan, but I didn’t know how far Doug was behind me. I tried to hold on to 3rd place. I hit the line just behind Ryan, but still in front of Doug for 3rd.

Mile 4: 5:44. “Better. Fast. Still, I should have pushed more last mile.”

Top 4 finishers (out of 154 runners):
1 Vladimir Reznikor, 29, 21:28, 5:22 pace
2 Ryun Hess, 27, 23:49, 5:58 pace
3 Steve Stenzel, 28, 23:49, 5:58 pace
4 Doug Brew, 43, 23:53, 5:59 pace

I grabbed my camera (so I could snap photos of my students running by) and went to help the guy who was reading numbers and names of people coming to the finish line. It wasn’t long before Evan came by:

Evan Nagan:
23/154 Overall, 19/74 Men, 30:56, 7:44 pace

Sold time! Nice finish!!

Then Sarah came running in, leading a pack home:

Sarah Ekstrom:
36/154 Overall, 8/80 Female, 34:06, 8:32 pace

Sarah had hoped to break 45:00. Yeah... she broke that by 16 minutes!! Nice job!

Not far behind her was Hannah:

Hannah Frick:
46/154 Overall, 13/80 Female, 35:50, 8:58 pace

Hannah’s goal was to run the whole race and not have to stop to walk. And, by golly, she ran the whole way! Oh, and Gary from Charities Challenge already sent me Hannah’s finishing photo (you can see Gary in the photo above). Here’s his version, and you can see me taking a photo under Hannah’s armpit:

Nice finishers photo, Hannah!

Sarah came to join me under the little announcer’s tent:

Man, we’re an awkward group:

We grabbed one last photo at the finish line with Gary and Jeanne from Charities Challenge:

Me, Evan, Hannah, Gary, Sarah, and Jeanne

Creepy side-note: the first place female was wearing short, tight “bun shorts,” and all of us noticed her amazing butt. Sarah wanted to touch it. And then slap it to see how it acted. She kept calling it something like “2 round bubbles.” Weird. But kinda true. As we were walking back to the car, the girl with the butt passed us with a group of people. My group wanted me to take a photo of her butt, but she was walking in front of someone else. But when they turned to head into the lot, I grabbed this blurry, creepy shot:

Sarah’s mouth dropped when her leg shot up on a barricade to stretch:

Then I turned to get a reaction shot of my group:

Back at the car, Sarah said 2 amazing words: “Uhhh..... breakfast??...” Yes, breakfast! We all headed to the Uptowner on Grand to stuff our faces:

Evan and I should have posed like Sarah and Hannah

This didn’t take long...

Congrats Evan, Sarah, and Hannah on such a strong race!!! You guys are SOOO going to rock the Chisago sprint tri!! I’ll be back with official race photos as soon as they are up. Happy weekend!!!


Jamie 12:16 PM, July 05, 2009  

Wow. Those shorts are amazing. I'm in love.

Jenny Davidson 1:50 PM, July 05, 2009  

Congratulations to you and your students! Good work...

Diana 3:38 PM, July 05, 2009  

What a fun race for all of you! Nice job on the training of your students!
Love that ladies shorts too-that's hilarious they wanted to slap it to see it react! I wonder what would happen to the other ladies but in the pic if you slapped that one?!! LOL!

CoachLiz 4:19 PM, July 05, 2009  

Ok, I am jealous that Sarah and Hannah got great running shots with "air" under their feet. I never get pictures like that.

Great job Coach Steve!

GoBigGreen 4:21 PM, July 05, 2009  

Congrats team! and double congrats on being the clean plate club...steve, did you not make that team?:)
Keep at it!

Steve Stenzel 6:39 PM, July 05, 2009  

Ha! No, I could NOT clean my plate. That TexMex burrito was the size of a 7 year old child. I failed.

Maria 6:52 PM, July 05, 2009  

congrats on the third place finish! your students had stellar times as well...well on their way to the sprint! good luck with final preparations for this weekend.

trimybest 7:19 PM, July 05, 2009  

Awesome job everyone! Great job coach!

Casey 7:28 PM, July 05, 2009  

I think everyone should buy tight bun shorts and wear them as motivation to have a nice butt.

Charisa 7:48 PM, July 05, 2009  

LOVE the pics! Prerace excitement is awesome! And I also think it's awesome how many people you are getting to be active - and making it fun. That rocks!!

Michelle 8:14 PM, July 05, 2009  

Nice fun race. Your students are soooo lucky to have you helping them!!

You ROCK!!

Your heel is all healed?

Irish Cream 9:05 PM, July 05, 2009  

Oh yay, congrats to both you and your students on a great race! LOVED the report--especially the creepy sidenote! Those are SOME buns, I have to admit!

Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) 10:13 PM, July 05, 2009  

Hey: Congrats to you and your team!

I would love to swim with you guys on Wednesday, but have a commitment (a running one) already.

I will pass on the invite to other tri friends, though. I'll tell them to look for you...

NW Bicyclist 10:42 PM, July 05, 2009  

haha Sarah must've been hungry, she was the only one with a completely clean plate!

B.o.B. 8:09 AM, July 06, 2009  

Congrats you guys. Love the awkwardness. Sweet outfit, Steve.

Gabriel Losa 9:37 AM, July 06, 2009  

Congratulations to all of you!
Great report and very funny pictures!

Amy 9:38 AM, July 06, 2009  

I know I don't comment that much, but I love your race recaps, lol! Esp. all the awkwardness and the photo finishes. Sounds like a fun group...races are so much better with friendly people, too.

I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed or not that I wear those "bun" shorts all the time.

Kim 10:00 AM, July 06, 2009  

AMAZING job by you and your students!!! holy crap, they are speedy! nice job pulling in 3rd place!! i cant believe that lady's shorts are shorter than yours!

Carolina John 10:37 AM, July 06, 2009  

Wow, that's a great race from those guys! your students are fast, bro. and that girl does have a great ass.

Julia 12:29 PM, July 06, 2009  

haha! Awesome photo race recap!
Good thing guys don't have to sit down when using porta potties....haha

Anonymous,  2:17 PM, July 06, 2009  

I think it's time you came out, and confessed. You have an erotic relationship with your feet. Right? Now you can stop hating yourself.

Greenking17 "TRI-harder" 3:14 PM, July 06, 2009  

Glad to know I'm not the only tattooed freak out there running! No offense Sarah!!

Anonymous,  3:45 PM, July 06, 2009  

Now I'm hungry :)

-Kerri from Enzymatic Therapy

Marlene 10:51 AM, July 07, 2009  

Congratulations to all!

The best part about racing is the post-race sweaty breakfast!

The Boring Runner 5:39 PM, July 07, 2009  

I LOL'ed at the progressively zoomed in picture. Nice work guys!

Oh, good job to you too Steve. :)

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