Human Race 5K: PR or Bust

>> Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday night, the night before the race, Pharmie and I went out with some friends. We had to check out Michelangelo's Pietà (or at least a replica) that is currently on display at the Cathedral of St. Paul:

Then we went to a fancy French place. The food was GREAT! I had a duck breast:

And then I had little puff-pastries filled with ice cream and smothered in chocolate sauce for dessert:

Hopefully it wasn’t anything TOO rich for the race the next day!!

Sunday morning, I got up and got ready for the 5K. The great thing was that the 5K started 0.7 miles from my front door! So when “packet pick-up” opened, I just jogged down there, picked up my stuff, and jogged back home to get my chip and number put on. Here’s the pick-up tent just as they were opening:

I got home and figured out what I wanted to run in. This is what I wore:

(That’s a cat coming out of my butt)

I was wearing my Sugoi “tuke” hat, Ryder “drill” sunglasses, New Balance Emmisive long-sleeve t-shirt, Nike shorts, Drymax socks, and Sacouny racing flats. Pharmie said something about looking like a multi-product whore. ;)

So about 18 minutes before the start, I took off out the front door. I jogged down to the start (with a couple of “stride outs”), and still had over 10 minutes to spare. I chatted with a few other guys lining up near the front, and it was a conversation that some hardcore runners don’t like to have: I asked what they thought their finishing time would be. I told them I was NOT running for place, and that I was ONLY running for a PR, and I wanted to know who I’d be around. Everyone at this race was TOTALLY cool with sharing prospective times. One guy, B, said he was hoping for around 17:30. I told him I was gunning for just under that, because 17:27 was my PR. A young, 15-16 year-old redheaded kid told me he was hoping to go out under 5/mile (gulp) and finish around 15. And there was something about him that made me BELIEVE him - I knew he knew what he was talking about. I gave the young-en some advice on the course, Molly caught my eye and said hi, and we were being ushered up to the line in no time.

Rick Recker from the MDRA sounded the bullhorn, and we were off!

Here’s the course and the elevation chart:

The elevation chart looks worse than it really was. The only “noticeable” hill was the 2% grade up to Snelling, and then the 2% grade coming back down.

I pushed it up the first little hill to Cleveland, and I hit my watch. The stoplights on this course are a half mile apart, so I could check on my pace at the 0.5 mile point and see how I was doing. The speedy 15 year old was GONE from the start. And I was running in second. About a half mile in, B slowly passed me, and we chatted for a moment. I was in third. (But I did NOT care about place - I was going for PACE!)

• Mile 0.5: 2:47 (5:34 pace). “Perfect!”

I was SO happy with that starting pace. I knew I had to hold a 5:36 average to PR, so I was where I needed to be! We hit the 1 mile marker at the base of the hill just before Snelling.

• Mile 1: 5:38. “Good! Try to maintain this up the hill.”

Coming up to Snelling, I could hear sirens getting closer and closer. I was afraid that the 2 police officers were going to tell me to stop to let an emergency vehicle go though. But the sirens stopped, and I looked over to see an ambulance stopping at an SA just 1 block off Summit at Snelling. Close call!

Running up the rest of that hill was a little rough. I was right on B’s heels, but I knew my pace was dropping a little. The half mile leading up to the turn-around was 2:50 (5:40 pace). I was slowing. At the turn-around, I really didn’t know if I’d be able to PR. I was hurting, and the race was only half done. I knew I’d have to “gut it out.”

• Mile 2: 5:43 (uphill). “Shucks. That’s a bit too slow. I hurt like hell, but I’ve GOT to go NOW. Use this downhill coming up! GO!”

I was trying to watch my foot-strike: I’m a “heal-striker,” and I know that only slows you down in a race. I was trying to land mid-sole. That downhill half mile clocked in at 2:42 (5:24 pace), so I knew I had a shot at the PR. But I just wanted to stop and catch my breath. I was h.u.r.t.i.n.g. I wanted to end it. I was thinking about what Char had commented on my Friday post:

Good luck with that PR. Just remember that the pain will stop as soon as you cross the finish line or die, which ever comes first.

I’d like to go with death please. With a side order of fries. Thanks.

I glanced up and decided to pick up the pace and catch B in front of me. I was still in 3rd, and that speedy kid was literally BLOCKS ahead of us. I hurt like hell, but I needed to make up some time NOW. I also spotted Pharmie off in the distance on her bike! She had surprised me out there by showing up to cheer at the start of her bike ride! She snapped a shot of me off in the distance as I was starting to pass B with about a half mile left:


Making the pass

Taking 2nd place

I shot Pharmie a little smile, and then got back to work. A few seconds later, she whizzed by me on her bike shouting “GO HUNNIE!!” She pulled over just before the finish line and got ready to snap another photo.

I hit my watch at the mile 3 marker, but I didn’t look at it. I was pushing HARD. Knowing my split at that moment would not help anything. I just needed to leave EVERYTHING out there. Here’s the AWESOME shot Pharmie got of me as I crossed Cleveland with just 100 feet left in the race:

• Mile 3: 5:19 (downhill). "Holy hell. Nice!"
• 0:31 to the finish.

Finishing time: 17:11
Pace: 5:31.8 / mile
2nd out of 498 overall
1st out of 26 in the 25-29 age group

And most importantly: a PR of 0:16 on a certified course!!

F*ck, I hurt. Pharmie grabbed a shot of me awkwardly coming out of a “I’m gonna barf” pose, with B in the foreground:

B and I congratulated each other on performances that we were both happy with. I grabbed a photo of my lovely Pharmie getting ready to do the rest of her 45 mile ride:

I felt GREAT soon after I finished, but I really left it “all out there” during the race. I was so happy with how I had done, and I told myself I didn’t need to race a 5K for a LONG time. ;) I found Molly and Jenny and congratulated them on great races too! (Molly was one of the top females, and Jenny was 2nd in her AG.)

I changed out of my running shorts when I got home, and I put on long johns and old jeans so I could go do yard work. It wasn’t until later that day that I realized that I never put underwear on before I put on my long johns.

Note to self: wash long johns.


Julie 6:14 AM, March 29, 2010  

Hi Steve,
Woo hoo!!! Congrats on your first place for your age group and second place overall win there Mr. Speedy!! Awesome work! Great pictures...I love the one where it shows your perfect stride and text book running form:) I am very happy for you!!

E-Speed 6:51 AM, March 29, 2010  

nicely done speedster! congrats on the new pr and a well executed race!

Jennifer 7:07 AM, March 29, 2010  

Wow! Great work Steve! Awesome.

C 7:11 AM, March 29, 2010  

Congrats on the PR! I knew you could do it.

That's a fabulous replica of the Pieta. The original is placed in an alcove behind glass in St Peters so you can't get close and every photo has flash reflection in it. Total pants.

Unknown 7:19 AM, March 29, 2010  

Great job on the PR and coming in second!

Matty O 7:25 AM, March 29, 2010  

Great job! You really nailed that PR and had a well executed race strategy! Good retelling of the story too haha, I felt like it was me running (only I would be a minute and a half behind ya ;) )

Kim 7:35 AM, March 29, 2010  

woohoooo steve! awesome PR - great pictures! arent you glad you listened to the blogging community and did this race!? ;)

kristen 7:37 AM, March 29, 2010  

Nice! (and in the picture of you coming in to the finish, you are definitely NOT about to heel strike!)
Congratulations on the PR and on getting your ass kicked by a kid!

CoachLiz 7:45 AM, March 29, 2010  

See what happens when you eat real food rather than Tombstone pizzas the night before a race???, LOL!

Great job on that PR and I am jealous of all of your "airborn" race shots. I never seem to get those.

The Pieta in St. Peter's Bacilica is huge and it leaves you speechless. As Xenia said, it is in an alcove with very dim lighting so the pictures do not come out very well because flash photography is not allowed.

cdnhollywood 8:02 AM, March 29, 2010  

What to HTFU princess!

Awesome run. Remind me to NEVER run with you though. :D

Nat 8:12 AM, March 29, 2010  

Awesome job Steve!! And to Pharmie - 45 miles? You two are rocking! Amy B and I did the 8k. I LOVE this race. If the weather is this nice again next year I may have to do it again. Great work!

crossn81 8:24 AM, March 29, 2010  

Great job!! Though I'm a bit disappointed that there is no porta-john picture with this review...

Christi 8:47 AM, March 29, 2010  

Awesome Job Steve! You rocked the course just like we all knew you would!

Ms. R 8:53 AM, March 29, 2010  

Nice Steve, Congratulations!! I love the picture of you crossing Cleveland. Your shadow looks awesome. Tell Pharmie nice photog work, and she has a hawt bike!

ShirleyPerly 9:05 AM, March 29, 2010  

CONGRATS on the PR!!!

You look like you're a foot off the ground in that one photo!

Rocco 9:40 AM, March 29, 2010  

Great job Steve. Another week, another great race. Way to be aggressive at the end. That is no small feat. I was more passive at the end; I'll just say that.

I posted your race report over at

T 10:03 AM, March 29, 2010  

those puff pastries are called profiteroles and they are the best dessert EVER.

and WOOO congrats on the pr!

drdave 10:20 AM, March 29, 2010  

Holy S**t your fast!

Congrats man, you did good!

SteveQ 10:32 AM, March 29, 2010  

Congrats and welcome to the "I beat everyone but that danged high school kid who has no reason to be there" club!

B. Kramer 10:48 AM, March 29, 2010  

Wow, that's a hell of a race. Congrats on the PR! Great photo near the Puke Threshold. If I'm not in that pose after a race (or the bar), I don't feel like I tried. Cheers!

Matt Ellenberger 12:34 PM, March 29, 2010  

Hell of a race Steve! I love that picture of you running through the intersection of Cleveland and Summit. I've got the Chariots of Fire theme running through my head. Look at that stride leingth though- how'd you learn to do that?

Chad 12:40 PM, March 29, 2010  

That's great at all, but did you get laid before the race?

Seriously, I saw your 17:11 posted before the start of the 8K and was happy to see you PR'd. Keep it rolling.

teacherwoman 1:26 PM, March 29, 2010  

Great job on the PR, dude! And 2nd place! Loved the profile photo of you flying! AWESOME!

Sarah 1:31 PM, March 29, 2010  

Ummm... no-one has commented on the commando long johns sitch?

sigh... You'd think that the race was the important part of this blog. I was happy to see that someone mentioned the getting laid and the no porta potty picture, as I was concerned about those too.

Oh well..

And of course congratulations on your performance.


RobbyB 1:51 PM, March 29, 2010  


Steve, you rock my world.

Unknown 2:40 PM, March 29, 2010  

Pretty cool to have such a great race right out of your front door. Congratulations, speedy!!

Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) 3:26 PM, March 29, 2010  

Awesome, awesome, awesome! You are a rock star!

Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) 3:26 PM, March 29, 2010  

Awesome, awesome, awesome! You are a rock star!

jen 4:38 PM, March 29, 2010  

Congrats!!! WOW! You are awesome. Great job on the race!! :)

Char 7:40 PM, March 29, 2010  

What a great run! And what a great photographer Pharmy is. Nice pics to mark the occasion.

Carolina John 8:37 PM, March 29, 2010  

Great PR steve! That's a really cool shot of you in mid-air. but you might want to try a more forward lean. it will help with the mid-sole strike. i'm working on the same thing right now.

Kathy 11:24 PM, March 29, 2010  

That is SUCH an amazing photo that Pharmie took! If you have mad photoshop skilz, you can blur the background and really make yourself pop in the foto. That is really a keeper. Perfect shot!

Chic Runner 11:48 AM, March 30, 2010  

nicely done out there steve! that is really leaving it all out there. see if I posted a fast time like this in a 5k I would get 23487239743 comments about me qualifying for boston, so when you going to run a marathon at this pace? :) Glad you got some great pics and pharmie was out there too! Great day for a race.

Jamie 6:50 PM, March 30, 2010  



FinnyKnits 8:08 PM, April 07, 2010  

HOLY. That's a monster PR. Great race! And, uh...about those long johns.

sRod 8:02 AM, April 25, 2010  

Congrats! That is one fantastic picture: hovering in the air mid-stride.

Unknown 11:50 AM, February 10, 2011  

Great race report and an amazing PR, though just reading it made me want to hurl.

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments! Have a great day!


Follow steveinaspeedo on Twitter

Facebook Fan Page

All content and original images copyright 2006 - 2024 by Steve Stenzel, AKA "Steve in a Speedo." All Rights Reserved.
Want to use something seen here? Just ask - I don't bite.