Henry's First 5K: the ALS Superhero Dash

>> Monday, October 13, 2014

Henry and I got ready for the ALS Superhero Dash on Saturday morning. We got ready in style:

3 Batdudes.

It turns out that our Batman outfits were pretty lame. Look at the LEGIT costumes we saw at the race:

LOOK AT THAT WINGSPAN! Henry got a high five from that awesome Batman.

Henry found a 5-year-old Batman that he followed around the playground.
(And that's the porta-potty line in the background.)

Father/son porta-potty selfie. (With Henry's "gun" - a stick.)

Selfie with Rachel - the blog reader who won a free race entry!

Me, Henry, and Jen (the ALS Association executive director for MN, ND, and SD).
Thanks for the race entry, Jen! (I think Henry was distracted by a dog.)

My "loud" outfit wasn't very loud at a "superhero dash." There were a ton of great costumes and people just dressed up in funny ways. I was in my Tutti Frutti shorts, a Batman shirt, my bright Israman Triathlon arm warmers, and my bright "Winter BeGone" duathlon hat that I wore for the Loony Challenge last weekend. That'd all be obnoxious just walking around, but at this race, it was tame.

There was a kids race at 9:40, the 10K started at 10, and the 5K (that Henry and I were running) started at 10:05. We cheered on the kids race:

Oops. I didn't realize I was getting a photo of a TMNT biffing it in the background. Sorry kid.

Batman and Thor kept watch of the 5K starting line (it's right under their feet).

After running a 18:38 in the 5K at the Loony Challenge last weekend (having just ran a 10K and saving my legs for the 10 Mile the next day), I was HOPING to run around 18:00 flat. I'd have the stroller, so that'd slow me down, but I was also racing just ONE race, so I could go harder. My half-mile Garmin splits would have to average 2:54 to end up around 18:00 (mile splits of 5:48).

Henry and I were near the front, only about 10 feet from the starting line. I was a little worried that it'd be tricky passing some of the 10K runners once we caught up to them, but the 10K was a smaller race, and I was hoping they'd be nicely spread out by the time I got to them. Rachel and I were chatting, and then we suddenly heard "5... 4... 3... " It was time to race!!


I shot around a middle-aged-man and another person or 2 within the first 5 seconds, and then I had clear paths. Sometime within the first minute, I snapped this photo showing open trails:

There's a 60-year-old woman walking up there, but it was otherwise empty.
Yes, this was during the race.

I realized I was running pretty hard. No, really. PRETTY HARD. I glanced down at the "current pace" on my Garmin, and it was saying 5:14 pace. Pretty hard. I hit the first half mile in 2:42.0 which was 5:24 pace. Whoa. I knew I'd paying for that shortly.

I started catching some of the 10K runners right at the start of the 2nd half mile. I had to say "on your left" a handful of times, but everyone moved right over. It's a bigger issue passing people with a wide stroller.

A lot of people shouted "NICE SHORTS!" The best reaction I got when passing a group of women was simply "Whhhhhhhhhhhhhaaattt?!?" I think they were commenting on the pace. I slowed up a bit in the 2nd half mile, but was still faster than my hopeful average pace: I ran a 2:51.2 for a first mile of 5:33.2, which was just a second over my 5K PR pace. Nice and fast. But I started feeling pretty bad about life a minute later. I was hashed. (But it's a 5K - that's how they're SUPPOSED to feel!)

There was a slow climb followed by a SHORT, STEEP downhill when making a SHARP lefthand turn. I forgot how to work the stroller in that section: I started braking because I knew the stroller would get away from me. And being I had to make a sharp turn, I pushed down on the handlebar to make the front wheel pop up to turn. But I forgot the handbrake only brakes the FRONT wheel. Yep - the wheel that was currently not making contact with the ground. Oops. I nearly got thrown from the stroller on that corner, and I was MOVING. We both survived. Everything was good.

If you don't believe me, I just downloaded my Garmin data. Look at this:

4:58 pace in the middle of a 5K?!?!? Wow.

In the first part of mile 2, I knew I was slowing down. I knew I'd see a half-mile split of 3:00+ in this mile. So I was pretty thrilled to actually get 2:59.0 and 2:56.9 for a second mile of 5:55.9.

In one spot, we ran over a lot of goose poop, and Henry shouted to me "Daddy, I see a LOT of poop!" This boy is going places. I can feel it.

I ended up saying "On your left" about a dozen times or so. A few times (when the bike trail and running trails were really close together), I'd just jump from path-to-path with the stroller - Henry likes the occasional bumps. But running through most of the 10K runners wasn't problematic at all.

We saw the park in the distance, just down a sharp hill. We came down to mile 3 in 5:51.4 (even half mile splits of 2:55.7 and 2:55.7). We ignored some people pointing to the start of the 2nd loop of the 10K - I don't think they were ready for us 5K finishers. We ran under the tunnel and hit the finish. I ran the final 0.12 in 0:37 (5:03 pace).


Steve Stenzel, Saint Paul, 33, M

5:47 pace

1st out of 480 overall
1st out of 45 in the 30-39 age group

I collapsed on the handlebar of the stroller for a few seconds to catch my breath. Then I went around to high five Henry on his win (I don't think he understood that we won). Then Henry made a volunteer laugh really loud when he said "That was a long run Daddy. I'm tired." I rolled my eyes at the volunteer and said "Yeah... [gasping for air...] *YOU'RE* tired..."

Henry and I stuck around by the finish to cheer. We saw Jen's hubby finish strong! Just after him was "race entry winner" Rachel, and I got a sweet photo of her winning her age group:

Good looking ankle, Rachel!

Cut me some slack - it's not like I majored in photography.

Oh wait...

Well it's not like I teach photography at major colleges and universities in the Metro area.

Oh wait...

Whatever. Here are a few more photos from the finish area:

Jen finishing! (With style.)

Henry enjoyed some popcorn at the finish.

And then we went to throw rocks in the lake.

Henry slowly backing up a hill because we had to get going and he was stalling.

Rachel getting her medal for 1st in her age group. ANOTHER AMAZING photo of Rachel.
Sheesh. Sorry Rachel.

Henry and I getting our medal and goodie bag for winning.

A vendor was taking his booth down, and he offered Henry 3 helium balloons. Henry
LOVED THEM! This was a photo I took as I was running back to my car with the stroller.

It was great on the way back to the car - running past some other runners, they kept saying "And he's STILL running!" In the parking lot, THREE different Dads came over to say something like "Hey, weren't you the winner? Running with this little guy? Nice work, man!" It was pretty cool. Great crowd.

After a big morning, I heard some heavy breathing in the backseat on the way home:

Still holding his sticks.

Medal, 3 pairs of FitSoks from Run N' Fun, and a $25 gift certificate with a $100 purchase.
Thanks ALS Superhero Dash and Run N' Fun!

There were a few photographers out there working for the ALS Association, so I'm sure some great photos of Henry and I will turn up. I'll post those as I see them.


Jen H,  11:35 AM, October 13, 2014  

Thanks for racing and being amazing! It was so much fun to have you there and I really appreciate you supporting us. :)

Rachel Elizabeth 1:47 PM, October 13, 2014  

Thanks for the free race Steve and Jen! It was fun to win my age group too, that doesn't happen to me all that often.

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