Lake Johanna 4 Mile Race Report WITH HENRY!

>> Monday, March 25, 2013

Saturday was the Lake Johanna 4 Mile Race. It's free for MDRA members, so if the weather was nice enough, I was hoping to run it with Henry!

FLASHBACK: Here's a photo of my family before last year's Lake Johanna 4 Mile which was my FIRST race with Henry:

I want last year's weather back. All of Minnesota does. F*ck the snow.

This year, it had barely climbed to 30 degrees at the start, but it was super calm. Pharmie didn't run this race this year because she had just ran FIFTEEN MILES with her training partner Laura earlier that morning! (She's training for the Minneapolis Marathon.) Here's Pharmie getting Henry into his warm snowsuit in the back of my car:

Henry all smiles in his stroller! He ASKED to be put in there!

About 3 minutes before the start, with Henry getting a little sleepy.
(We pinned the blanket to the stroller in 3 spots to keep it from falling out.)

About 1 minute pre-start with glazed over eyes.

Lining up along Lake Johanna Blvd.

You can see Henry and I to the left - behind the guy with the white compression socks.


I immediately had to run a little sideways to pass some people.

Henry and I starting the race!

Let's pause a moment and compare that last photo with this photo of my wife in the same spot during last year's race:

This is why everyone has been bitching about this year's weather.

So I jumped around a few people and settled into about 8th overall. The "funniest" part of racing with Henry happened about 20 seconds into the race: At last year's race, I noted in my race report that I passed some guys near mile 1, and one of them loudly said "Man, we GOTTA catch that kid in the stroller!" Well this year, I must have passed those same 2 guys about 20 seconds into the race. Because as I jumped to the outside to pass a number of people, I heard someone say to his running buddy, "Oh look... it's happening EARLIER this year!" I turned around and smiled! Ha! Sorry guys!

Pharmie got a shot of the leaders in the distance about a half mile into the race:

Speedy Chris DeNucci way out there, and then a pack of 8 with me near the back of that pack.

Chris, "the pack," and me and Henry in 8th overall.

I took a photo at about the same time as my wife did:

Chris WAY up there, and me in that pack.

Nearing the first mile marker, back in 9th.

A photo to prove I was running with the stroller! :)

MILE 1: 6:03.7. "That's just fine."

Just before mile 1, I passed 2 people to move into 7th. Just after mile 1, I passed 2 more people to move into 5th.

Running in 5th behind some sweet purple tights.

We made a left turn and I used the smooth road and slight downhill to find another gear and jump into 3rd place!

1st and 2nd up there, with Henry and I in 3rd!

That road was so smooth - it was just repaved. Here's a photo from about the same spot last year, and you can see lots of patched areas that were bumpy:

Oh, and NO SNOW last year. Damn it.

I was passed to move back into 4th place at the end of that road on the small uphill, and I was passed to move back into 5th during a short, quick uphill right before the 2nd mile marker.

MILE 2: 6:01.7. "Consistant! Nice. But I was hoping to be a LITTLE faster on that smooth road."

Ron and Stephanie (from MN RED Running Club) were at a turn just after mile 2 helping to direct racers, and Stephanie said, "Steve, he's PASSED OUT!" I smiled and waved. It was strange running with Henry NOT in the carseat - I couldn't see his face. So it was great to know that he was doing fine ("doing fine" meaning "passed out"). Thanks Stephanie!

We headed up to the mile 3 marker which I knew was in a bad spot: it was on a rough road and at the bottom of the longest hill on the race course.

MILE 3: 6:07.1. "Not your 'mentally strongest' mile, but let's just go hard to the finish!"

Shortly after mile 3, heading up the nasty hill in 5th place.
(Chris is in 1st at the very top, 2nd is in white, and 3rd and 4th are right in front of me.)

I was actually surprised that Chris was still within sight - that guy is a CRAZY fast runner! Chris got up the hill, used the nice downhill towards the finish, and finished first in about 22:35:

I was really using that downhill about a half mile from the finish! I glanced at my Garmin, and it was reading 5:0-something pace! (I think it said 5:06.) When I looked at my Garmin data later, I was at 5:10 pace or faster for nearly 0.1 of a mile, and I topped out at 5:02 pace!!

(The dip in pace just after mile 3 is from climbing that dang hill.)

I used that downhill to pass one of the guys in front of me. He said something like "good momentum with that thing, huh?" I smiled and said "yeah!" I was now in 4th, and I had a shot for 3rd!

2nd place to the left, with me in a battle for 3rd to the far right!

2nd place finishing in about 23:50.

The downside to having the Garmin strapped onto the stroller handle is that I could
see it the WHOLE TIME! Why did I need to be glancing down at it with 200 feet left?!?

Shooting for 3rd.

Monster strides from both of us as we raced to the line!

Finishing in 4th in about 24:10.

A few seconds after finishing... Henry was still totally passed out.
Oh... and "hi" from my nipple.

FLASHBACK: here's Henry passed out after last year's Lake Johanna 4 Mile as we were in the finisher's chute:

MILE 4: 5:44.6. "Nice. I'm done."


Steve (and Henry) Stenzel
6:02.50 / mile pace
3rd out of 20 in the 30-39 age group
4th out of 157 overall

Garmin data:
4.05 miles
5:58.02 / mile pace

The spike in speed at mile 1.5 is when I kicked my way to 3rd place,
the dip at mile 2 is where I was passed (back to 5th),
big hill at mile 3, and usable downhill at mile 3.5.

Just a few minutes behind me was Michael and his daughter. He saw me getting ready to line up with Henry and asked "Are you racing with the stroller?" I said "Yep! Are you?!" He replied "Well NOW I am! I'll be back in a minute - I've got to go get it out of my car." So here's Michael and his daughter coming to the finish:

Afterwards, he joked that he was the "last place stroller." I told him "no, you're
the SECOND place stroller!" That sounds better, and is equally true. :)

Julie finishing with around a 7:00 average!

Henry still asleep after a little cool-down walk.

Henry was still asleep for about 20 minutes post-race. As we were chatting with some friends, he quietly woke up and was in a silly mood:

After playing with a corgi!

Just as I was telling Pharmie that we didn't have time to stick around for the prizes (because we had family coming over), Aaron yelled over to me: "Hey Steve - they're calling your name!!" I was the first name drawn "out of the hat," so I had first pick at door prizes. I bypassed the shirts (any runner already has a million race shirts) and went for a free entry into the MDRA Victory 5K, 10K, or "double header" in September! Sweet!

(Aaron was also the one with the great diving form from the swim meet a month ago. He also got 4.05 miles on his Gamin at this race. The race had a slightly different route a few years ago, but when a big condo complex went up, we lost a mini "short cut" through a little neighborhood just after mile 1. I don't think they've adjusted the start / finish line after the course was adjusted. Not a huge deal.)

So the 3 of us headed home to meet some family.

Wet foot prints with Momma.

Running back to the car.

Back with some official photos in a day or 2! Oh, and check out my 1st race with Henry last year at Lake Johanna, and our 37:16 10K that we ran together last Thanksgiving (where we ALSO came in 4th!).

And in related "stroller racing" news, did you read my last post about a Dad losing his fight with cancer who just WON a marathon while PUSHING A STROLLER? It's kind of fitting for this post.

Have a good week!


G Simpson,  8:31 AM, March 25, 2013  

Your family is so damn cute. I love it.

SteveQ 10:18 AM, March 25, 2013  

#1141 in the 10th photo is my arch-nemesis Jim Ramacier. You were supposed to tire him out before I race him in 6 weeks!

Josie 8:15 PM, March 25, 2013  

I love Henry's snowsuit. He reminds me of the kid in "A Christmas Story".

RobbyB 9:56 PM, March 25, 2013  

Dude! You have got to get Henry the weather shield! I've taken Elsa out in sub-freezing weather and she was always snug as a bug in a rug. Plus it's more aero!

Steve Stenzel 7:27 AM, March 26, 2013  

Robby, we bought a weather shield from Craigslist but haven't had to use it yet. We'll be using that a lot this summer (in the rain) I think! I'm hoping he likes stroller runs for a lot longer!

Sarah 7:39 PM, March 26, 2013  

Henry in his little snowsuit kills me! He's adorable! Just want to pinch his cheekys! :)


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