The 2013 Richard A. Hoska Midsummer Mile RACE REPORT

>> Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This was the first time I did a few "1-mile specific" workouts leading up to a mile race, and I did that for 2 reasons: First, I'd been slowing down over the years, and Coach Jen gave me a few good nasty track workouts because I wanted to try to change that. And secondly, my heel has been feeling OK lately, so I didn't feel like I'd get injured doing some shorter, harder workouts (which has happened in the past).

I posted a bit about the 2-loop course on the streets of the Minnesota State Fairground in my last post. I noted there were some *small* hills, but I was more concerned about the 4 90-degree turns and if they would slow me down too much. My only other previous "road mile" was this race last year when it was point-to-point straight down Rice Street (the course it had been on for years). Being I was shooting for a TIME goal and didn't care what PLACE I finished in, I was worried that the turning would slow me up.

I got to the race over 90 minutes early, and there were a few people showing up.

State Fair Potties.

I ran the 2-loop course as a warm up. The good news was that the course seemed short - it wasn't going to "drag out," and it was going to be mentally easy to push hard throughout the entirety of this race. I snapped a few photos of "the sights" that were along the race course:

One of my favorites: the horticulture building. Which is right next to...

... the Skyride. And when I turned around...

... there was the Space Needle.

Oh, and we ran past 3 sides of the big food building:

If that thing were fired up, we'd all be barfing from the smell while working so hard!

I ran another 1.5 miles with Jeremy R and Jeremy D, and we threw in a few sprints. I ran 2 sprints around one of the 90-degree corners to see what that would be like "at speed." I'm glad I did that - I needed more space to swing wide than I thought I was going to. Then I hit the potty one last time:

I took this while peeing in the trough. This is why no one wants to borrow my camera.

RACE TIME! First was the women's race:

That's the *tiny* hill I was slightly worried about.

I gave my camera to Jeremy D's daughter, and she snapped a LOT of great photos for me! Thanks Anastasia!! Here we are all lined up waiting for the gun:

2nd row in the purple.


Running next to Jeremy R in SWEET shorts!

I got a little boxed in right around the time of that photo. I had to wait for a few seconds for an opening, and then I shot to the left and passed a few people. That *tiny* hill wasn't noticeable in the first lap. I rounded the first of the 4 sharp turns well and was working hard.

• FIRST 0.25 MILE: 1:11.88. "NICE! Solid! Keep this up!" I told myself to run between a 1:11 and 1:14 for this first quarter mile. I was thrilled with this.

I ran the tangent well as we were finishing up the first half of the race - a lot of guys swung far to the left, but I stayed straight to run the shortest possible line through this little "S" curve. AND I NOTICED SOMETHING AT THIS POINT THAT CAN BE SEEN IN THIS NEXT PHOTO! I was still REALLY close to speedy Ben Merchant!! In this photo, you can see Ben to the far left (#545), and I'm just a few seconds behind him:

Working hard. It shows on my face. And on my nipples.

• SECOND 0.25 MILE: 1:14.76. "Not bad. Don't wuss out here." My watch beeped for the half way point just before the 90 degree turn to go back up that little hill. So I knew this next quarter mile could be slow: it had 2 of the 4 sharp turns in it, and it had that quick little hill. I felt the hill this time, but I got back up to speed ASAP at the top. I was cornering pretty well.

• THIRD 0.25 MILE: 1:15.19. "Downhill to the finish! Everything you've got: NOW!!" I really tried to find another gear for that final stretch, and I felt my body speed up. I passed a few guys right at that point, and then I had 2 young guys in front of me to try to keep up with. I knew I could make this a FAST split (using the slight downhill to the finish too).

What's THAT face?

Where'd my neck go?

Monster stride to the finish. I was trying to think about short, fast strides,
but everything goes out the window in the final 200 meters of a race.

The race is USATF Certified, but it came in a little short on my Garmin. I heard a few people say that, but I heard a few others say they had exactly 1.00. Maybe I ran the tangent too well. :)

• FINAL 0.25 MILE: 0:58.34. (Garmin said 0.22 miles. That's on pace for 1:06.0 for the final 0.25 miles if I held the pace of that final 0.22, or 1:07.34 if I ran the pace of my SLOWEST quarter mile split.)


Steve Stenzel, St. Paul, 32, M

12 out of 151 overall
12 out of 101 males
8 out of 31 in the 20-39 age group


- My Garmin had 4:40.19 for 0.97 miles. If I held the pace of my final 0.22, I'd have finished 1.00 mile in 4:47.85. Even if I held the pace of my slowest quarter mile for a final 0.03 miles, I'd have finished a "Garmin mile" in 4:49.19. My best mile ever on a 200 meter indoor track was 4:49.53, so I'm calling this a PR!! UPDATE: Rick Recker, who has certified a TON of races (seriously, I think it's over 700) told me "The USATF Cert is correct." So I don't know what to think of my official time anymore. 4:40? 4:48? Either way, I'm happy!

- I was 20th last year, and 12th this year. Last year at this race, I was 28 seconds behind speedy Ben Merchant, and I was 28 seconds behind him at the Meet of the Miles earlier this year. But today I was only 8 seconds back! Two years ago, I finished my (former) mile PR 1.5 seconds behind Brian Davenport, and today I finished 5 seconds ahead of him. Last year at this race, I was 17 seconds behind someone named Blake, and this year I was only 9 seconds back. So even if the race is short, I really seemed to have raced MUCH better today!

- I owe this all to Coach Jen! She gave me some killer workouts over the last 3 weeks, and she gave me the confidence to push hard at this race. Sure, it was slightly downhill to the finish, but I've NEVER closed with a 1:06-1:07 final quarter mile! Those 200s she had me do paid off! And I really was thinking of her in that final stretch. "Don't let Jen down... don't let Jen down..." Having a coach would make me a lot faster, but I don't have the time (or money, or desire) to follow a strict training regime. All this tells me is that if I have the time, money, and desire in the future, I feel like I could REALLY benefit from a coach. (Specifically, from Jen!)

Jeremy D and I post-race! Still breathing heavy!
(And my "vein of approval" still throbbing in my forehead!)

Back with more photos of me and my friends at this race shortly! Now, it's time to bask a little in this PR. :)


Unknown 8:13 AM, July 11, 2013  

You should totally drive down to Rockford, IL in August. They have the State Street Mile which is a straight-away and downhill course. You wanna get a good PR time for your mile, check out that race!

Jen H,  8:41 AM, July 11, 2013  

Congrats!! That is awesome!

Jennifer Harrison 9:33 AM, July 11, 2013  

CONGRATS Steve! I knew you could do this, but 4:41 exceeded your goal by a TON - Awesome job. And, don't sell yourself short by saying last 1/4 mile was downhill!

And, Lindsay is right, Rockford is under 40 min from my house! And, many runners do that fast mile!

:) It was fun!

Jeremy Reichenberger 11:03 AM, July 11, 2013  

Jesus. Side-profiled next to you my arms look like sticks! Hahah.

SteveQ 11:10 AM, July 11, 2013  

That's okay Jeremy. Everyone's going to be distracted by that bulge in your shorts in that photo.

Oh, and congrats on the PR, Steve.

Carolina John 11:49 AM, July 11, 2013  

That's fantastic bro. Really great time. I'm more shocked that 8 of the 11 people that finished above you are in your age group! THat's freaky, but it's happened to me before too.

Kurt 1:36 PM, July 11, 2013  

I forget what Garmin you have, but if you can link it to your computer, check to see what the map looks like. It may have cut the 90 degree turns, thus showing the distance shorter than 1 mile? If that's the issue, and again depending on what model you have, check that it talks to the satellite every second and not every 3 seconds as many do by default.

Matt 7:59 PM, July 11, 2013  

Just because a GPS device gives you a distance to 2 decimal places does not mean it is accurate. GPS works by stringing together points in space with straight lines. Those points can be the actual location +/- a few meters. If you look at the stack-up of errors over a long distance, it's easy to see why the GPS device would not be correct.

So, considering the USATF certification process is a very controlled process using a calibrated wheel, it makes sense to trust that over a device one can pick up at a Sports Authority.

Steve Stenzel 9:29 PM, July 11, 2013  

SteveQ: your comment wins the internet.

And everyone (and Matt), I totally know that Garmins can be off. But it seems the finish line was at the wrong fire hydrant. It WAS on a USATF Certified course, but the finish line may have been accidentally placed too short. Still waiting official word. I'll post more about this on Saturday (most likely).

Thanks everyone!!

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