"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!


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