Lake Johanna 4 Mile Race Report: FIRST RACE WITH DAD!

>> Monday, March 26, 2012

NOTE: This is only the second time that I'm turing over control of my blog to my son, Henry. The first was when he wrote about his year-end totals for 2011. This might get interesting...

Alright everyone. Henry here. Dad's making me waste my Sunday evening writing about this race. Whatever.

We pulled up to the race site about 15 minutes before it was scheduled to start because I had a swimming lesson just before that. Dad dropped Mom off to get us registered, and Dad and I drove a few blocks before finding a spot to park:

Just after Dad loaded me into the stroller

Dad jogged down to the race site, and he grabbed my race number from Mom:

My first race number!

Close-up showing that it says "Henry Stenzel, Male, Age 0"

The "Lake Johanna 4 Mile" is a race that's free for MDRA members, and being Mom and Dad have a "Family Membership," I'm technically a member. So they HAD to let me race. If they didn't, I was prepared to pull their hair, scream in their face, and barf in their mouth (all things I'm good at - ask Dad about that last one).

After getting my number pinned on the stroller. READY TO RACE!

My folks and I pre-race (shot by Dad's race buddy Chris)

Dad lined up near the front. He was looking around to make sure he wasn't pissing anyone off by having a stroller up there so close to the front, but I didn't care. I'm a frickin' MDRA member - I have the right to be there! And Dad's pretty fast, so he had the right to be up there too!

I heard an old guy shout "ON YOUR MARKS.... GOOOOOOO!"

We were off! I quickly jumped into about 12th place, but I knew I could move up from there. The first mile was quite uphill, but Dad still got me past 3 people pretty quick, and one of those guys was Kirt Goetzke (skinny, well-known MN distance running dude). I was now in 9th.

Dad decided to push the pace coming up to the "mile 1" marker and pass 2 MORE guys. While running uphill. Pushing a stroller. Jeez Dad, do we need to have a talk on WHEN to make a move? Cause THAT move seemed poorly timed. Idiot. Here's the race elevation chart, and you can see what I mean about the first mile:

So he passed those 2 guys before the first mile maker to move me into 7th. I heard those guys say sometime to each other and laugh a bit after Dad pushed me past. I'm sure it was something about "Man, we GOTTA catch that kid in the stroller!" Daddy just looked at me and gave me a little grin. Cocky bastard.

Dad decided pre-race that he was going to take a photo of me at each mile marker. So here I am looking around at mile 1:

MILE 1: 5:48. "Holy nuts Dad! Didn't you say you were shooting for 6s? And that was uphill! Can you keep this up, old man?"

Soon after that, we turned onto a different road, and I got board. I decided to catch a little shut-eye. Dad could tell me later how the race ended.

Around mile 1.4 or so

When Dad took that photo of me, he also snapped a photo of the space between me and the runners in front of me:

Zoomed-in on the pack of 4 runners about 1.5 blocks ahead of us,
along with 2 guys WAY up there.

Oh, notice the road in that photo. Most of the race was better than that, but Dad had to weave around to miss some bigger cracks. He was NOT "following the best lines." What a horrible racer. Ha! Just kidding, Dad!

And around mile 1-1.5 is where Daddy's sore ab muscle started to flare up a bit. He hurt it somehow at last weekend's race, but it had been feeling better all week. He realized at the end of last week that it was just an intercostal muscle, and it wasn't going to be a big problem for this race, so he just worked through it and was fine. Yeah, that's right... I use words like "intercostal muscle." What's YOUR 9 month old saying? "Mamamama?" "Goo-goo?" Well aren't you a big man?

Dad eased up a BIT when his ab pain came back, but it went away (and didn't hurt for the rest of the race), so he tried to keep the effort up there. Here I am still sleeping at mile 2 (just before some rough roads), and you can even see the "mile 2 marker" just up ahead:

MILE 2: 6:15. "Yeah Dad, I KNEW you couldn't keep up that initial pace. But hold your position and this will be a pretty sweet race!"

Some of the roughest road was just after this mile marker while in a quiet little neighborhood. But it was so quiet that Dad could just jump around the road and make me miss everything nasty. Thanks Dad!

We popped back out on Snelling Ave for the second time, and a loud motorcycle went by that woke me up! But my eyes only popped open for about 1.5 seconds, and then I was back asleep. Ain't nothing gonna keep me from napping!

We started up some MORE hills leading up to mile 3 (remember that elevation chart from a few minutes ago?), and Dad was TRYING to keep the pace up. He was actually GAINING on the guy in front of us..... slowly. He kept leaning on my stroller a bit more and more during those uphills. Wuss.

Photo at mile 3

MILE 3: 6:05. "Hey old man, you're over 6s / mile now... can you get back under 6s for the finish? Get up the rest of this hill, then use the final downhill to go like hell!"

The shoulder of the road was pretty rough all the way up this hill - it was bumpy and full of pebbles. We were running on the left side of the road, so whenever there wasn't a car coming at us, Dad hopped out into the lane of traffic to get a smoother surface for me. He only had to pop back into the shoulder once or twice over that 0.75 mile stretch because there wasn't much traffic.

Two groups of people saw us running up that final hill. A big family on the right side of the road pointed and started cheering Dad on when they saw him! And we passed an older couple who was walking the same direction. The woman said "Go Daddy! Oh, and look at that little guy just sleeping right through this all!!" It made Dad smile through the pain.

We rounded the final corner and had a nice "useable" downhill towards the finish. I saw Dad check his watch. It read about 2:00 since the last mile marker, so Dad knew there was about 2/3s of a mile left. And we were gaining on 6th place!

We ran this race completely by ourselves from about mile 0.75 through mile 3.5, but now we had a chance to pass another runner! With about 200 meters left, Dad was side-by-side with this guy, and that meant I was ahead of him in 6th place!! These 2 old guys could "duke it out" for 7th, but I was happy in 6th! Well, with about 100 meters left, this guy apparently told himself that he wasn't going to let a 9 month old beat him, and he found another gear and took off. Thanks Dad for letting us just eat his wake. Where the hell is your kick? Come on, man...

Here's a photo from just before the finish line (from Dad's race buddy Tom), and it shows me being out-kicked by the guy in orange, and Daddy's back there looking a little rough:

We hit the finish a few seconds behind him, but at least I beat my Dad!!

Photo at mile 4, still in the finisher's chute

MILE 4: 5:39. "Atta boy, Daddy! Way to use that downhill with the stroller! But you STILL couldn't catch that guy..."

Here are my results:

Wait... they clumped me together with Dad?!? I was TOTALLY going to win my age group!! Well, I suppose Dad DID give me a bit of an unfair advantage... not everyone got a "Daddy push." But really, he didn't help me THAT much. So I guess that makes us 7th out of 177 total runners. Not bad.

Daddy apparently didn't have time to poop pre-race, so as soon as he finished, he worked his way back to the porta-potty to "drop the kids off at the pool." (Yeah, I know what that means.) What did he do with me while he did his business?

Yeah, he just left me outside as he took a duker! Nice Dad. Real safe. But, in his defense, he was in there for a real short time - he must have ROCKETED that turd right out!

Then we got back to the side of the road to see Momma finish! We spotted her off in the distance:

We chased her into the finisher's chute. We were just behind Rick Recker, who was behind Momma:

You can see Momma in the pink.

Rick is a founding member of the MDRA, and he's a staple of the distance running scene in MN. Momma BEAT him, and she did great! (In fact, some people were teasing Rick as we ran by: "Rick you're about to be LAPPED by the stroller! Pick it up!" Ha!)

Afterwards with Momma!

I woke up about 30 minutes after finishing, and we played a bit at Lake Johanna:

Showing off my "running shoes" socks

Swinging with Daddy at the park! More pushes, Momma!!!!!!

So it was a heckava first race with Daddy. We ALL had a good time! Dad will be back with more photos from the race and some more (super cute) photos of me playing at the park post-race. I'll be back again the next time Dad wants to relinquish control of his blog for a few hours....

Thanks Henry. Nice report. You're a little sassy.

Here are 3 more points:

- I've done 2 other 4 mile races. At the Lake Johanna 4 mile 2 years ago, I posted a speedy 22:42, and I knew I wouldn't be near that at this race. And at the Free to Run 4 Mile in 2009, I ran a 23:49. So I did 1 second better at this race on a hillier course that was about 10 seconds long while pushing a stroller. I'll take it!

- The "construction issue" that they mentioned at the top of the results made mile 2 a bit long. (In my race report from 2010, you can see by the map that we went through some side-streets just after mile 1. But this year, we went straight to Lydia from Fairview, so that's where we gained the 0.03 miles.) So my slowest mile of 6:15 at mile 2 was really 1.03 miles, which is 6:04 pace. So that's a bit more of an evenly split race (5:48, 6:04, 6:05, and 5:39 mile splits).

- At home, I weighed Henry, the car seat, the stroller, and everything packed in it. It all weighed 57 pounds. But (to be fair) that stroller pushes PRETTY easily. It's just a pain on the hills.

Back with more photos from the race soon! (And our play-date at the park afterward!) Thanks everyone! And thanks for writing this report, Henry!


Carolina John 7:53 AM, March 26, 2012  

That is still more puke than I was hoping for in a race report. Good job Henry!

Unknown 10:58 AM, March 26, 2012  

Great job, Henry! I feel like sometimes I also "fall asleep" in the middle of a race, but you seem to take that a little bit more literally than I do :)

BriTriGuy 11:31 AM, March 26, 2012  

Geez, not even a year old and he's already faster than I'll ever be.

Sarah 12:44 PM, June 16, 2012  

Henry, you're a onesie wearing rockstar! Nice job, kiddo!


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