Final USATF MN Team Standings

>> Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I ran a few races with my YWCA Endurance Sports team before falling injured for most of the year. Then I was able to race the FINAL race of the season last month at the Fort Snelling 15K Relay. That was a fun 3x5K team race!

Well, the final results are in. Because of the final race or 2, the men's team that I'm a part of moved up from 4th to 3rd:

Men's standings - we were 3rd in the "Blue Division."

Women's standings - they earned 3rd place as well (tied).

The men's team wasn't too far from first in the Blue Division. (It's kinda like the J.V. division for newer/not as fast teams. My understanding is that USATF MN has XX many teams in the Red division, and at the end of the year, the top team in the Blue division moves up to Red, and the bottom team in the Red division moves down to Blue. So our team should be racing Blue again in 2017.)

I had to look at the results from some of the mid-summer races that I missed. I looked at 5 races that I had on my radar before getting injured. In 3 of those, if I had been racing, we would have earned an extra point in each of them, and one of those points would have come from Life Time Run who is in 2nd. (So TC would have still had 38, my YWCA team would have had 35, Life Time would have had 33.) In the other 2 that I looked at, we didn't have a full team. So if we were just 1 runner shy of making a full team in either of those races, we would have earned a handful of more points, which could have very easily gotten us into 1st in the Blue division.

So it looks like I have a nice goal for 2017: help my YWCA Endurance Sports team win it's division in the USATF MN series! It IS possible!


"Fast Before the Feast" 5K RACE REPORT Pushing Two Boys

>> Saturday, November 26, 2016

My wife had to work on Thanksgiving. (I LOVE YOU, HUNNIE!) So I was going to take the boys down to her family's celebration in Rochester. But first, I was going to run a 5K with the boys and her sister's family!

Flashback: I did a Thanksgiving morning race 10 years ago with my wife and her sister:

My wife, sister-in-law, and I near the start of the 2006 Turkey Trot.
(Where we "ran" with 8000 other people!)

The boys and I loaded up and headed to Tri Fitness White Bear Lake (in, duh, White Bear Lake) for the race. The roads were DEAD at 7:45 on Thanksgiving morning:

The intersection of I94 and I35-E. Normally NOT THIS DEAD!

Charlie "helping" reassemble the stroller at the race site.
"No Charlie, the handlebar doesn't go IN the stroller."

Our gang! I pushed Charlie and my nephew Wes, Steph's friend Maggie pushed
her daughter, and Jon (Steph's hubby) pushed my niece Evie and my son Henry!

Loaded up and heading to the start line! Oh, you can BARELY see this,
but I was wearing my pink plaid "Pinky and the Brain" shorts.

Our route.

Jon offered to take the "big" kids and give me the "little" kids mainly so the big kids could get out and run near the end! When they'd done that in the past with their Wes and Evie, Wes wanted to get out and run with Evie, but then he'd just stand there. Or run the wrong way. So this way I had a few pounds less weight, and the big kids got to get out and run together. Good idea Steph and Jon!

THE HARDEST PART OF ANY RACE WITH THE STROLLER FOR ME IS DEALING WITH THE "what the f*ck are you doing up here near the front with that stroller, Dad?" LOOKS THAT I GET. And I got some of those as I was sneaking up near the starting line. I smiled to everyone and said "Don't worry! I won't get in anyone's way!" Then I started chatting with a fast-looking high schooler and asked what he was hoping to run. He said 17:40, and then asked what I would "normally" run without the stroller. I told him I'd run about what he would. Seconds later, they told us to move up to the line, so I pushed him and his friend in front of me and the stroller.


I took off in around 25th place, and shot up to 12th place in the first block. (I ALWAYS make sure to line up too far back and not too far forward with the stroller - I don't want to get in anyone's way.) At the first turn onto the trail next to the road, I swung wide and went onto the road - I noticed during a warm up jog with Charlie that the trail was bumpy in areas, skinny, and had chunks of snow thrown up on it from a snowplow. That was a good move, because I passed 3 people up that first hill - I don't think I would have been been able to get past those runners on that trail. Here's a pic from up that hill on the trail (where the trail is in better shape) from my race report with Henry at this 10K 4 years ago:

BABY HENRY digging for raisins. This year, I ran out to the left in the road.

My first half mile which had a bit of an uphill was 3:04.73, and the 2nd half mile was a bit more downhill in 2:54.60 for a MILE 1 TOTAL of 5:59.33.

Around mile 1, in 9th place. First was only 21 seconds
ahead of me (it looks farther in this photo).

Running through the 'burbs around mile 1.5. First pack of 3 by cream house, next pack
of 3 by white house, and 2 more right in front of me. I caught the 2 in front
of me around that next corner to move into 7th.

Before the mile 2 marker.

Mile 2 splits: 3:02.00 and 3:01.63 for a MILE 2 TOTAL of 6:03.63.

Just after the mile 2 marker, there was a brutal uphill that I was aware of from when I raced this 10K with Henry 4 years ago. As I was hunched over the handlebars contemplating death, I looked down and noticed Wes cozying up to Charlie:

Wes's head on Charlie's shoulder. Probably snoozing.

At the top of that hill, my Garmin beeped at the 2.5 mile mark. NO SURPRISE it was the slowest half mile of the day by FAR: 3:16.23. Ouch. We turned to head back down the hill we started the race running up, and I looked down at one point and noticed my Garmin at 5:04 pace. Nice. I mean, I was DYING, but... nice. I wasn't able to catch any of the speedy kids in front of me, but I also held off any runners behind me. The final full half mile was 2:50.82 for a MILE 3 TOTAL of 6:07.05. I pushed the boys to the line with a 7th place finish.

Opening the stroller after I finished. Wes looks tired/drunk.
They are still both gripping their fruit snacks from before the race.

Post-race selfie. With the banana table behind me, and the kid I
talked to pre-race with his buddy to the left (they both beat me).

Close up. I started this beard, and had it first trimmed the day before the race.
My wife still hates kissing me. The beard's sweaty here. And so is my nose. Gross.


Steve Stenzel, 35, M

5:54 pace
7th out of 615 overall
1st out of 18 in the 35-39 age group

Unofficial Garmin data:
3.04 miles in 18:20, which is 6:01.8 pace


• Sure, I "ran the tangents" well, but the course seemed to be a little short. I ran a whole 10 seconds after hitting mile 3 on my Garmin before crossing the finish line. (Usually, that should be about 35 seconds or so.) Still a fun course through the suburbs!

• I was the first finisher who wasn't a teen boy. That's worth something, right? See:

And I (apparently) put a lot of space between me and the 2 guys I passed
around mile 1.5! But the lead pack who I was just 21 seconds behind mid-race
put even MORE space between them and me! Nice final mile fellas!

• There were lots of other strollers at the race, but the weirdest thing I saw was another Chariot like ours withOUT any front wheels. A woman was pushing it, and she had to keep so much weight pushing DOWN on the handlebars to keep the stroller balanced. I assumed they just had the "stroller wheels" attachment, and not the "jogging wheel" attachment too. Still, that seemed tricky/weird.

• My legs/back felt fine during the race. I made sure not to over-stride coming down that last fast hill. (Well, not over-stride TOO much.) My lower back was a bit achy later in the day and a bit the next day, but some of that was from sitting in a car for 3 hours as well. Overall, I'm quite happy with how my body held up. So far.

• I think I've gotten faster in the last 6 weeks. I did the 15K Relay (5K each for 3 runners) at Fort Snelling 6 weeks ago, and I ran a (slightly short) 5K in 18:25. That was a pretty flat race, but it was sandy in spots on a gravel trail. This past weekend, I ran a (slightly short) 5K in 18:20 while pushing 100+ lbs in a stroller. I have no idea how to compare the 2, but I think I'm moving in the right direction.

I turned around with Wes and Charlie, and we ran back up the course partly as a cool down and partly to look for Steph, Jon, Evie, and Henry.

Runners about a block from the finish.

Runners heading down the hill about 0.4 miles from the finish.

Lots of runners at the top of the hill.

Watching runners go by.

We spotted the kids just around the corner, and they were RUNNING:

Evie and Henry cruising!

Henry ran so hard that he needed a stroller break.

Back to running HARD! The kid needs to learn pacing.

Steph with the kids, Jon with an empty stroller.

Off to the finish!

The kids both got a medal.

I Instagrammed this pic post-race.

My boys and I zipped home right away. I took a washcloth to my face, pits, and groin (in that order OF COURSE), changed clothes, got the boys changed, and we hit the road for 90 minutes for Thanksgiving with my wife's family in Rochester.

The 4 kids at the kiddie table for Thanksgiving dinner.

A "dance party" in the basement.

A few minutes into our drive home around 4 pm - holding his SpiderMan puzzle (of all things).

You can see more pics from this course from 4 years ago when I did this race with 17-month-old Henry in this post. Happy post-Thanksgiving, everyone!


Friday Funny 1190: Drunks

>> Friday, November 25, 2016

Two months ago, I posted some "Back to College" funnies that were similar to this, but here's a whole post devoted to funny drunks:

This makes me think of some of my brothers-in-law for some reason.

I was often the friend who didn't want to turn up. So I can relate.

Lots more funny stuff posted all throughout the day on Stop back soon for my "turkey trot" race report. HAPPY WEEKEND!


Friday Funny 1189: Turkey Trot Runners

I did a "turkey trot" 5K yesterday with the boys and the stroller. Susan Lacke posted a funny article on about the different kinds of people you'll find at a "turkey trot:"

The strange denizens of your local turkey trot:

THE PILGRIM: Runs the race dressed as a passenger of the Mayflower. Infects the podium finishers with smallpox and claims to be first.

CHIPPERROO: Donning her favorite pair of Keds, the Chipperroo power walks her way through the course with frequent high-fives and loud woo-hooing. You think her cheerfulness stems from an abundance of holiday spirit until you realize it is your Aunt Janice, and she has been drinking wine since she put the turkey in the oven at 5 a.m.

THE COMEBACK KID: Brags loudly about the time he ran a 5-minute mile. In high school. Twenty years ago. Has not run since graduation, yet seeds himself in the elite starting corral of the turkey trot. (Spoiler Alert: can no longer run a five-minute mile.)

HEALTHY HOLIDAY-ER: Sniffs with superiority about the organic locavore meal they’re cooking after the race. Throws around ridiculous phrases like “everything in moderation” and “sweet potatoes without marshmallows.” Will be facedown in a pumpkin pie from 7-Eleven by midnight.

DOMESTIC DODGER: Entered the turkey trot at the last minute, just for a reprieve from listening to relatives argue about Donald Trump. Will sit in the blissful silence of her car for a solid two hours after finishing the race.

HANGOVER BRO: Hey! Hey, you guys! This guy got so wasted last night! You guys! Thanksgiving Eve is the nation’s biggest drinking day! Oh, man! Did he tell you how he drank, like, 10 beers? It was some epic carb-loading, you guys. Bro!

THE CALORIE COUNTER: Knows there are exactly 237 calories in one serving of Mom’s mashed potatoes with gravy and 503 calories in a piece of pecan pie. Has crafted an intricate equation in which running burns at least one thousand calories per hour. Wonders why his pants don’t fit come January 1.

THE ADOLESCENT: Grumbles about waking up early on a day off from school. Falls back to sleep in the car ride to the race. Whips out an unprecedented 17-minute 5K, then makes it back to the car to fall asleep in the backseat before you finish.

VOLUNTEER WITH BANANAS: Seriously, why do turkey trot finish lines think you want to put bananas in your stomach? Everyone knows that’s where the pie goes.

THE “SERIOUS” RUNNER: Is annoyed by the excess of newbies clogging up the starting corral and zig-zagging across the course? Don’t they know you’re a “real” runner? Be nice—perhaps today’s turkey trot will spur someone’s year-round obsession with running. Plus, if you’re rude, Aunt Janice will yell at you.


(If you want to share this, make sure to share Susan's original article and not mine.)

More funny things posted 10x every day on And stop back for my race report shortly! (Hopefully tomorrow.)



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