Instagram of the Day: Dainty Crossed Ankles

>> Thursday, May 31, 2012

Henry often sleeps like this:


5 Quick Things Post-5K

>> Wednesday, May 30, 2012

• FIRST: My age group placement:

I was pretty happy with my 17:23 2nd-fastest-5K at the Brian Kraft 5K on Monday. I was hoping for between 17:00 and 17:30 (with my 2-year-old PR being 17:11), so I can't complain. But as I noted in my race report yesterday, I'm impressed / disappointed / amazed / put-in-my-place by being right in the middle of my age group. I was 24th out of 52 in the 30-39 age group. There are some CRAZY fast runners that show up to this race! Of the 292 male racers, 8 were under 15:00, and 37 were under 16:00!

And there were EIGHT "State Age Group Records" broke at this 5K. CLICK HERE to read about those at the bottom of my Examiner article about the race.

• SECOND: Jeremy has it figured out:

My former student Jeremy is doing many of these races with me because I convinced him to sign up for the MDRA "Grand Prix" before the Human Race 8K in March. If you remember, I posted this photo of him 2 weeks ago after he ran a 1:34 half marathon PR (along with the following caption):

"I think Jeremy might be giving Ridiculously Photogenic Guy a run for his money...."

Well, Jeremy's not running as much as he'd hoped - he's working through some knee issues. But he had built a solid base of a lot of miles before the injury happened. And he's set back-to-back PRs at the New Prague Half Marathon and the Brian Kraft 5K even though he's injured. He's found out what I just realized a year or 2 ago: running MORE leads to faster running. It seems obvious. But I found that even more EASY running will help you run faster. I was a skeptic, but it's totally true. I logged SO many "easy" miles while pushing Henry in the stroller over the last few months, and that's what really helped me nail a surprising 2-minute PR at the New Prague Half Marathon.

Good luck with the running, Jeremy! Have a great race at Grandma's Marathon!

• THIRD: Quick heel update:

Remember how I said I was smart by not racing the Albert Lea Triathlon 10 days ago? Well I'm glad I did that. My heel has been a little achy since the half marathon 2+ weeks ago, and I've been wearing my "night splint" most nights - not because I feel that I NEED to, but just to be safe. My heel felt A-OK throughout the 5K, and it just felt a little "stressed" later that day and the day after. I'll wear the night splint all week, but I think everything is in decent shape!

• FOURTH: Two races this weekend:

On Saturday, I'll be racing "Hillfest," which is a bike race just across the river in Wisconsin. (Click here for a little more on the race, and use the code "Ilovehillfest" [without the quotes] to save 10% if you want to register!) I'll be doing the shortest race: the 25K. Should be a good little pain-fest!

Then on Sunday, my wife will be racing the Buffalo Sprint Triathlon. She noted in her last blog post that she wants to try different races this year, so this is one of them! I'm planning on being there to cheer with Henry!

• FIFTH: Upcoming fun stuff:

So expect a report from "Hillfest" early next week, a post full of photos of my wife racing Buffalo a little later next week, and then possibly a giveaway from a company that starts with "Camel" and ends with "Bak." (You figure it out.) So stay tuned next week for lots of good stuff!

Happy 4-day work week!


Brian Kraft 5K Race Report

>> Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Let's start this race report off right. Here, look at this:

That's my eye. Henry gave me pinkeye this past weekend. I woke up to him needing a snack at 4:30 on Sunday morning, and my right eye was crusted shut. Super. Thanks Hank. So I was going to do the race on Monday in my glasses, because I was NOT going to try to put a contact in that hot mess.

My wife had to work on Monday (Memorial Day), and I had Henry. My folks came up to watch / play with / entertain Henry during the race.

Henry with Grandpa and Grandma pre-race!

As I warmed up, Mom and Dad took photos of each other with Henry to get used to my camera (because they were about to try to take some photos of me during the race):

Henry's "oooooh" face with Grandma.

Henry and some giggles with Grandpa.

Riding some sort of "side saddle" in the swing.
He LOVES to swing!

I did about 2 miles for my warm up, and I was SWEATING! It wasn't that hot... it's just that it was really sticky. You know what they say in Minnesota: "It's not the heat... it's the humidity."

Henry and I as we were about to head down to the edge of Lake Nokomis to start the race!

I hadn't done a 5K in a long time. I told Mom that I COULD possibly PR (my 5K PR is 17:11), and I hoped to be between 17:00 and 17:30. However, I knew that it was feeling nasty and "sticky," and as I noted in my Human Race 8K race report back in March, I do NOT do the best at warm / sticky races. I tried to prepare myself to be ready to "die" late in this race.

Mom and Dad parked Henry in the shade, fed him some ham (he's my boy, and he LOVES meat!), and they got ready for the race to run past them!


Dad didn't see me, but he snapped a few photos of the race starting:

If you look closely to the far right of that photo, you can see me near the light pole. Here's a zoomed in version:

Close up from the photo above.

Oh, and there's a funny coincidence regarding that photo... Do you see the woman in the yellow top and "bun shorts" cheering just in front of me? That's Meaghan Payton who was so "grossly" featured in yesterday's quick post! Funny timing! :)

I tried to keep a "solid pace" for that first mile. I knew that ALL the "speedsters" showed up to this race, so I had dozens and dozens of people in front of me. We worked our way to single file shortly. We were running into the wind, so I tried to stay "tucked in" behind 3 guys in orange jerseys.

• Mile 1: 5:35. "Great place to start! Try to hold this pace."

I was well-aware that my 17:11 5K PR from 2 years ago was ran at 5:32 / mile pace. So 5:35 felt like a solid start. I tried to go hard without going TOO crazy.

Devon P and Thea F were cheering around the half-way point. They said "NICE WORK STEVE!" as I ran past, and I smiled, waved, and said "Thanks guys!" Then I quickly realized "hey Steve, if you just SMILED and WAVED at the half way point of a 5K, you're not working hard enough!" So I tried to up the pace and "keep it strong."

• Mile 2: 5:44. "Yeah, that seems about right. There goes the PR, but still try to break 17:30!"

I was dying. I felt hot, I felt dead, and I just wanted to quit. I kept looking ahead to find Mom, Dad, Henry, and the finish line. I started running harding around mile 2.5, and right then I heard Mom cheering for me! I tried to smile and wave, but it probably looked like a death-glare and some sort of Nazi salute. I PASSED about 3-5 runners at that point - my form was gone and I felt like butt juice, but I took solace in knowing that I was catching runners!

However, most of those runners that I caught around mile 2.5 caught me back around mile 3 when I was really fading. Dang. It was a smart move, though - I really "left it all out there" by starting my kick so soon.

• Mile 3: 5:30. "This hurts SOOOOO bad? Who invented 5Ks anyway? Jerk."

I heard a few cheers for me as I was coming up to the line (THANKS), and I heard my Dad just to the right of the finish line. He snapped a few photos as I finished:

Big, awkward, final stride.
Super. Awk. Ward.
That's me.

Checking my watch. 13 seconds from a PR, but still my 2nd best 5K!

"Hi Dad. I feel like ass. Take a photo."

• Final 0.1: 0:35. "Ouch. Glad this f*cker is behind me."


Steve Stenzel, 31, St. Paul, MN

5:35.9 / mile

81 out of 476 overall
77 out of 289 men
24 out of 52 in the 30-39 age group

I was right near the middle of my age group: 24th out of 52. Holy buckets. I just ran a 17:23 5K, and that's good for MID-PACK?!? Where did all these runners come from?!?

Dad stayed by my side as I was hunched over and catching my breath. Then we walked back to find Mom and Henry, who was JUST trying to fall asleep. I told her I'd take him for a little cool-down jog along the lake to get him to pass out.

HIPPIE MOMENT: As I was on my cool-down with Henry, I became so grateful. I really try to "take in" the little moments in life (ESPECIALLY since having a son), and this was one of them. I'd just ran a (pretty) fast 5K on a (kinda warm but otherwise) beautiful morning with my parents and Henry there. And now I was putting him to sleep along a picturesque lake. Life is good. (Well, parts of the trail smelled a little like hot, wet, dead fish-crotch, but I just tried to ignore that part.)

I ran back to my parents, Dad treated me to a roll at the bakery next to where we had parked, and Henry slept for 90 minutes as Mom and I made bacon and scrambled eggs at my place for a post-race breakfast:

Scrambled eggs with ham, apple wood smoked thick cut bacon, and
some fresh-squeezed OJ from my Grandparents who just came back from Arizona.

There were EIGHT State Age Group Records that were broke at the 5K yesterday. CLICK HERE to read my Examiner article about the Brian Kraft 5K.


I Feel Better That It Happens To The Pros, Too...

>> Monday, May 28, 2012

You could say I "met" Meghan Peyton (Armstrong) a year ago at the TC 10 Mile. Here's a photo from my race report that shows me cooling down while running next to Michelle Frey, with Emily Brown (15:19 5K PR) and Meghan Payton running just in front of us back down Summit Ave:

Anyway, I want to share a GREAT photo from just after the Marathon Olympic Trials in January. Meghan had a good showing in the trails...

(Meghan in the orange in the middle)

... even though when she finished, she had to sit in the medical tent to get THIS taken care of:

Ye-ouch! That's a good one!

This makes me feel better about my sometimes gross feet. :)

Unrelated: I'm RACING A 5K THIS MORNING!!! It's the "Brian Kraft 5K" in Minneapolis, and it's part of the MDRA Grand Prix Series. Back with a full report tomorrow!!!


4 Fun Things

>> Saturday, May 26, 2012


The Cinco "Du" Mayo Duathlon had sweet age group awards. I couldn't stick around because I had to get Henry from the sitter's. But I stopped by TriFitness in WBL recently to pick up my award. Here's what I got for being 2nd overall and 2nd in my age group:

Sweet. Fill it with booze.


I also wasn't able to stick around long after turning in a 4th place 1:20:54 finish at the New Prague Half Marathon - only this time I was trying to get to my brother-in-law's college graduation. But I found the race director and got my medal for first in my age group (along with the pin that every finisher receives):


In my half marathon race report, I noted I was trying to catch a female in front of me who was running in 3rd OVERALL. We'll her name is Nicole, and she blogs too. Check out her speedy blog. You just have to scroll down a bit to see her breaking the tape as the first female at the New Prague Half.


Finally, this was how I spent my Wednesday night:


Friday Funny 331: For The Weekend...

>> Friday, May 25, 2012

A little sentiment for my readers:


Friday Funny 330: Ridiculously Photogenic Guy (Asian Edition)

You guys all remember Ridiculous Photogenic Guy, right? He was the big thing just over a month ago. (Click here if you're not sure what I'm talking about.)

Well, there's a "copycat wanna-be" out there:

And in other news, Ridiculous Photogenic Guy might have a sister:


Friday Funny 329: Burning Calories While Swimming

Dan makes a good point...


Friday Funny 328: Catchy Song

You've all heard this catchy song. Here are some things related to that from the internet that make me smile:

(Of COURSE the last guy is Italian)

And on a related "musical" note, you may enjoy this:

And this:

Did you sing this one? I totally did. It makes it better.


My Current Olympic Triathlon Training

>> Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yeah, it's not great overall. Here's where I'm at:

SWIM: Not great.

I'm just over 10,000 yards FOR THE YEAR!! In 2010 (the year of my 2:15 Oly PR, I'd swam over 50,000 yards at this point in the year (which still ISN'T a lot for many people). And I still haven't had an OWS this year yet. Dang.

BIKE: Also not great. But still half-way decent (for me).

I hit the trainer a decent amount last year, and I didn't do well with that over this past winter. In 2011, I'd biked about 200 miles outside at this point. This year, I'm at 208 miles, so that's comparable. (I had a good March this year.)

Sunday, after Pharmie's triathlon, she watched Henry for a few hours and I went for a long ride. I did a big loop that I knew would be about 32 miles. I threw in three 10 minute intervals (with about 10 minutes of moderate riding between) near the middle of the ride. I picked some challenging areas to do my intervals, so I knew my interval splits wouldn't be the best. My 10:00 intervals averaged 18.7 mph, 21.0 mph, and 19.3 mph. So not super. I finished the ride with an 18.5 mph average.

I'm worried about my speed over a 24.8 mile Oly ride. (Especially one that starts with such a crazy climb!) We'll see what happens in 3 weeks. I'm afraid it won't be pretty.

RUN: Pretty damn stellar. I'm running pretty injury-free, and the MDRA Grand Prix series is treating me well.

I've ran 430 miles so far in 2012 whereas last year I had only ran about 240 miles at this point. (I had a nasty injury in February of last year.) I was really happy that I did the smart thing and DIDN'T race last weekend. My heel was sore for a day or 2 after the New Prague Half Marathon, and I expected that. But it was a little sore for a couple MORE days. So I wore the "night splint" for the majority of last week:

I sleep in this. It's not quite as bad as it seems.

And as I noted last week in this post, I give a lot of credit to Henry for my higher mileage AND my current lack of injury. Our morning "nap time" runs have been great for both of us!


I've only done one SHORT duathlon (2 mile, 10 mile, 2 mile), and I only did one SUPER SHORT brick workout before that (16 mile ride with the last 7 at race pace with a 1 mile run-off). I'd like to fit in one longer brick workout before my Oly in 2.5 weeks - maybe a 25-30 mile ride with the last 15 at race pace, followed by about a 4 mile run-off.

STRENGTH / CORE: Surprisingly OK.

Erika made some comment on some post of mine a few months ago, and her thoughts have been spot on. I was noting that I knew my "long burn" workouts at the Y were over. But Erika's comment was something like "Yeah, but you'll be doing shorter, more high-intensity workouts, and that's good for you too. Kinda like 'Crossfit' workouts." (That's not a direct quote, but it's the gist of what she said [or that's at least how I remember it].) And that's been about right. I sometimes do my "PT prescribed" leg exercises while Henry and I are playing with his toys on the floor. I've been known to bust out a quick core workout in my office when my office-mates are away. The workouts have been different, but I really can't say they've been much worse.


I (of course) wish I had time to do EVERYTHING more - especially swimming and biking - but I can't really complain. I'm pretty happy with the actual amount of training that I'm getting in, but I know I won't be PRing in either of my Olys this summer. And I'm just fine with that. Mainly because of this guy:

Heading out for a quick walk.
(Henry loves to play with / chew on chives from our garden.)

p.s. I'm racing a 5K on Memorial Day! It's part of the MDRA "Grand Prix" series, and I'll be back on Tuesday with a full report.


Hillfest Bike Race

>> Tuesday, May 22, 2012

There's a local cycling event just out of the Metro area that's coming up in just under 2 weeks. It's called Hillfest, and they're offering 3 different distances on a hilly, hilly route (6000 feet of elevation gain on the longest route).


I wrote an Examiner article about the race 2 weeks ago. There are a lot of good details in that article. They offer fun prizes for the best hill climbers, individual and team races, and 3 distances of 200K, 75K, and 25K (or 124.3, 46.6, and 15.5 miles). I'm THINKING about racing one of the 2 shorter distance races, but it's the day before my lovely wife is planning on racing the Buffalo Triathlon, so I'm not sure how much more we should cram into that weekend. (Hillfest is Sat June 2nd, and Buffalo is Sun June 3rd.)

Here's the big trophy for the best overall team, and this was homemade by one of the race directors!

If you're interested in signing up, use this code to save 10%:


Maybe if I can't race it, I still might be able to spend the morning out there and soak in the atmosphere. It sounds like a fun bike event!

- Click here for the Hillfest website.
- Click here for my Examiner article with more details.
- And remember to use the code Ilovehillfest to save 10%!


Pharmie at the 'Land Between the Lakes' Triathlon!

>> Monday, May 21, 2012

My lovely Pharmie raced a sprint triathlon yesterday in Albert Lea. As I noted in my last post, I was going to come along and cheer, but take the weekend off from racing just to let my heel rest after last weekend's 1:20 half marathon - it was a little achy all week.

Transition in the distance.

Pharmie talking with the race director Mark.

Standing around COLD pre-race.

It was CHILLY before the race started. The water was WAY warmer than the air, so many people stayed warm in the lake:

Staying warm or peeing? You decide.

An Instagram photo of Pharmie just before starting!

The men took off!

The ladies followed 3 minutes later.
(That's Pharmie's forearm sticking way out of the water just left-of-center)

Local tri-hunk Sam Janicki was first out of the water.
He held on to that lead then entire race and took the win.

"Tall nice-kid Kyle" was in the lead pack, and he held on for 2nd overall!

SIDE NOTE: You might remember me mentioning "Tall nice-kid Kyle" about a year ago. We ran the first run of the Oakdale Duathlon together, and we chatted a bit. Since then, he's been known to me as "tall nice-kid Kyle." In fact, when I introduced him to my wife at yesterday's race, she actually told him "Yeah, he still refers to you as 'tall nice-kid Kyle.'" He laughed. Or maybe got freaked out a bit.

Soon, Pharmie came busting out of the water:

My wife and her guns.

Starting the ride with a smile!

Old high-school buddy Tim finishing the ride!

Pharmie running back in to rack her bike!

I tried to stay warm and dry while she was on the 4 mile run. It was misting off-and-on all morning, but it started to get heavy while I was waiting for her to finish. When she rounded the corner in the distance, it was "heavily misting" pretty good:

Pharmie in the distance, mist in the air.

Running towards the finish with a smile!

I think that's the race director's son JAMMING out to the finish line music as my wife finishes! Awesome!


She wasn't sure about doing the race as we were driving to the race after leaving Henry at Grandma's house, but she was all smiles and happy that she did it on the way home! :)

Click here for more photos from the race on my Examiner page.



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