2017 Brian Kraft 5K Race Report

>> Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Yesterday was a race in the USATF MN series: the Brian Kraft 5K. It draws out ALLLLLL the speedsters. I wanted to race hard, and I also wanted to earn points for my team (the YWCA Endurance Sports team).

We had a fun day the day before: first, my wife ran a 10 mile race with a friend (see last post), then we all went on a flooded hike in Fort Snelling that night:


FREEZING water! We saw a HUGE beaver, a dead fish, a few herons, and 2 turkeys up close!
(The bridge to Pike Island is just behind us, in case you wonder what flooded path we're on.)

We also got ice cream that night, but I just had a LITTLE as to not have a sugary lump in my stomach for the race the next day.

I got up on Memorial Day morning to find DEAD roads in St. Paul at 7 a.m.:


Driving past St. Thomas University with Summit and Grand in the distance. Dead!


Parked next to delicious smelling Mel-O-Glaze donuts near Lake Nokomis.


Pre-race tradition. Nathan called me out on getting my cell phone ready in the porta-potty line.


Warming up around Nokomis. The sky had dark clouds
constantly moving through, and I was afraid we might get wet!


Stopping on my warm up jog to let some baby ducks cross the path.
Nokomis was so high, that the water came RIGHT up to the trail in spots!


Part of my team pre-race: Molly, Quinn, Sarah, Lara, Scott, Tim, Leaf, and me.
(I had my SHORT shorts on, but they were still under these longer shorts.)


Another chunk of my team: Megan, Lara, Leaf, James, Tim, Scott, and Geoffrey.

I went back to my car for a bit more of a warm-up (I'd run a mile down by the lake too), dropped the long shorts to show my "bowl full of sunshine" tiny 1970s shorts, and got back to the race start. I chatted with EVERYBODY pre-race. EVERYONE was there.

I had 2 things in mind (that I sort of mentioned in Saturday's post):

I wanted to go out harder than usual and then really try to suffer and hold on.

and

18:00 pace is 2:53/half-mile (my Garmin was set to half-mile splits). I figured I'd go out quite a bit faster than that, then watch a split or 2 maybe be slower than that, then try to really suffer hard to the finish line to see how far sub-18 I can go.

I didn't really have a big time goal: just go hard and suffer!

I lined up next to all kinds of "race buddies," and we were off!!


Running past "favorite trainer Laurie" with a smile 60 sec into the race.
(That's Casey from my Y in red 50' behind me.)

Oh, and YES, there are the "bowl full of sunshine" shorts that haven't made it out for a race in nearly 4 years! I figured it was time. Their yellow and purple nicely clashed with the orange and blue of my team jersey. I told someone (Tom and Laurie maybe?) that I was pissed the team didn't consult with me before picking colors. :)

So my first goal I listed above about wanting to go out harder than usual went out the window right away. I started too far back to do that. I ended up running ON the curb a few times to shoot around a group of people that I felt trapped behind. (I tried to do that only in straight areas - not when we were curving to the left where it could be perceived as cutting the course.) I knew my first half mile wasn't going to be as fast as I had hoped, but I wasn't upset about it - it was my fault for being a bit too far back, and now I just had to go with it. I was afraid my first half mile would be slower, but it was OK:

• MILE 1: 2:54 + 2:48 = 5:43. "OK, not bad. Still feeling pretty good! Now PICK IT UP!"

I saw BFFFN (best friend forever for now) Devon cheering at mile 1, and realized I was feeling quite good for being 1/3 done with a 5K. Maybe it was seeing him. I had gotten through a lot of other runners, and now it was thinning out nicely. I saw Nathan C up there 100 feet or so, so I put my sights on him and ran harder. The next half mile showed that: 2:44! (That's 16:59 5K pace, or well under my 17:11 5K PR pace, which I KNEW I was NOT breaking today.) I suddenly went from "feeling pretty good" to "I might be dying" at the half-way point of this race. I caught Nathan around mile 2 as we weren't passing anyone else.

• MILE 2: 2:44 + 2:49 = 5:35. "HERE'S that 'suffering' that I was talking about. Suffer. Go."

Nathan and I exchanged grunts, and I took off slowly in front of him. I was suffering hard. I kept glancing across the lake to see if I could spot the finish. This was 5K hell (as all 5Ks are supposed to be).

• MILE 3: 2:51 + 2:49 = 5:41. "Spectators can hear my heart beating. GO HARD. Just don't die."

Laurie was there to grab some photos a block before the finish line:


Deep in hurt.


Close up of that last photo. Two things: I think I was trying to kill
that guy who was passing me with my eyes (I passed a lot of people
but was passed by VERY few). And don't look at the bulge. DON'T.


Another one from Laurie. I couldn't catch either of these guys.

After I finished, I recited a haiku with my hands on my knees, only all 17 syllables sounded like dry heaves. But seriously, I've NEVER spent that long trying to catch my breath. I was really happy with my physical effort at the end of this race!

OFFICIAL RESULTS:

Steve Stenzel, 36, St. Paul, #2420

17:39
5:41 pace
103 out of 542 overall
101 out of 332 men
17 out of 51 in the 30-39 age group


[The official results are "gun timed." My garmin "chip timed" results were 17:33.5 (5:39 pace).]


6 POST RACE NOTES:

• I believe this was my 3rd fastest 5K! My PR is 17:11 at the Human Race in 2010, and I also ran a 17:23 here at Brian Kraft in 2012. I think those are the only 2 5Ks that are faster! (Outdoor at least - I had 17:17 indoor 5000 meters back in 2011.) Not bad for limited speed work (but LOTS of good cross training)!

• My Garmin is DEAD! All my splits above were what I remembered - my finishing time was just under 17:34, and it all worked out when I added 0.5 seconds to all my splits. (I know mile 1 is right, and I'm 99% sure mile 2 is right. Mile 3 could be off a bit.) My Garmin didn't download post-race, and the last "activity" on it when you look into the "history" is a bike ride from late February. It's dying. Sad day!

• Mile 2 was my fastest, and that's rare. I think that was because I felt "held up" early in the race, and was I trying to make up ground during mile 2.

• Speaking of "making up ground," I passed a LOT of people (because I dumbly started too far back). The official results say that from start to finish, I passed 82 people and was passed by 5. I recalled passing speedy Melissa Gacek a bit before mile 1, and then she ended up 0:40 behind me at the finish. Once I got past people just before mile 1, I really kicked it in gear! And the results show that.

• My wife has this little zipper pouch thingy that we put her bras in before washing them. Hold on, this is relevant. Post-race, I put my 50-year-old "bowl full of sunshine" shorts in them to keep them safe in the wash so they can live another 50 years. My grandson can be racing in them someday.

• This is a speedy race. My 17:39 was out of the top-100. I ranked a BIT better this year at this race than when I did it back in 2012: I was right in the middle of my age group then, whereas this year I was in the top 1/3. The "average finishing time" this year was 22:55. Compare that to the 2015 TC 5K (that I did as part of the "Loony Challenge") which had an average finishing time of 36:10 - over 13 minutes slower! And I had to look down to 210th place before the times went over 20:00 yesterday! CRAZY fast at this race!


I turned around and cheered for friends and teammates. I missed James and Nicole because they were just a bit behind me. I helped point out our teammates to Laurie as she snapped photos for our Facebook page:


Me pointing out Scott. GO SCOTT!


Facebook comments on that pic.


Other Facebook comments on pics of me in my shorts.

I cooled down a bit, chatted with more friends, ran into Kelcey Carlson from Fox9, and then met my family at the gym. (Yes, I did a decent core workout post-race.) Then we all went to Maria's Cafe on Franklin Ave in Minneapolis for lunch:


Post-meal. Clean plates. You HAVE to try the corn pancakes with cheese!
It's like sweet corn and pancakes made a beautiful, delicious child!

Time for a few days of rest!

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