My 2018 Hot Dash 5K Race Report

>> Monday, March 26, 2018

Or, "My Worst Race in 10 Years (But At Least It Didn't Snow)."

Or, "Nailing a Race Plan... But The Plan Was Off."

Two nights before the race, my Mother-in-Law came to pick up 3-year-old Charlie. So that night, Henry and I got to play in the pool by ourselves:

And we went down the big slide SOOO many times.

Charlie spent 3 days away (a night at my MILs and 2 nights at my Moms) because on Friday, Henry had his tonsils out. I posted this Friday afternoon:

He's waking up hard and sore from anesthesia in the left pic (repeatedly murmuring "I feel so wobbly!"), and he's sleeping in the hospital in the right 2 pics. We woke him up and were all home by noon. Then he played Legos, drank all his meals, and took pain meds the rest of the day.

That night, he slept in my spot in our bed, and my wife gave him pain meds every few hours. I slept in Charlie's bed and woke up a bit earlier to go to the race.

In my final Friday Funny of last week, I shared a screenshot from the local news: they were calling for "0 to 10 inches of snow" overnight Friday-to-Saturday in Minnesota. But luckily, that line stayed a little south of the Cities. I woke up to dry roads. Charlie, however, woke up at Grandpa and Grandmas in southern MN, and he went out in the tractor with Grandpa to clear about 8-10 inches of fresh heavy wet snow:

Pic from Grandma looking out of her house.
Sorry Grandma, but I was happy the snow stayed south!

I got to the race site and checked out the finish area near Boom Island:

Finish line about to be erected, mile 3 (white) banner in the distance in the center,
and a final hill we have to come up and over (with a car on it in the distance).

Walking a block into the park, I could see the bridge over the Mississippi
River way in the distance (right in the middle) where the start line would be.

Warming back up in the car, jammin' to some Steve Perry.

I jogged a bit of a warm up, ran into THEE Rick R, Mike M from my team, and speedy Patrick P. Soon we all lined up:

SWEET pic by Twin Cities in Motion showing me and 2100+ other people ready to go!
That's me in the pink shorts! (Click here for full size photo.)

Close up of me in that last pic. This doofy smile must be from
when announcer Kris and I were saying "hi" to each other.

Ready to GOOOOO!!

I told speedy Patrick P next to me (in the neon yellow) to "go get em," and he said "you lead the way out." To which I responded "Hahahahahahahahahahaha!" Spoiler alert: Patrick went on to win in 16:39.

"ON YOUR MARKS..." *airhorn noises*

(These few images are screenshots from a video that Twin Cities in Motion posted on Facebook.)

YWCA teammate Mike! (AKA Santa)

I took off and settled into 12th place. I caught 2 guys before turning off the bridge to move in to 10th place. After a few winding turns, we were slapped in the face with some wind. I caught a few more runners (including the 1st place woman) to move up to 6th place.

My first half-mile split was right where I hoped to start, and after a bit into the wind, my 2nd half-mile split was just fine as well. (I had figured I'd start a BIT faster being it was flat or downhill, and then maybe have some slower splits with all the turns and smaller hills in the last part of the race.) I hit the first mile marker right where I wanted to be:

• MILE 1: 2:50 + 2:51 = 5:41. "Nice. But now you have to hold on to this..."

BUT I COULD NOT HOLD ON TO THAT. I was done. I started JUST how I wanted to, but maybe I was too aggressive in my first mile plan. Maybe I needed to BUILD into it more.

I hit 1.5 miles as we turned onto the Stone Arch Bridge. I was TRYING to keep up with the 2 guys not far in front of me, but they were slowly pulling away. I ended up running the last 2 miles of this race all by myself.

• MILE 2: 2:58 + 3:06 = 6:04. "I wasn't planning on seeing any 6s at this race. Let's not let that happen again."

We were now running on the brick road along St. Anthony Main, which was right around where we started the Minneapolis Halloween Half Marathon last fall. I tried to up the pace as I knew we just had a little loop onto and back off Nicollet Island left to do. But that loop was a quick and nasty little uphill that looped under and then onto the Hennepin Ave Bridge:

Little loop right in the middle.

We got off the island and had one little climb left to do (seen in my "finish line being erected" shot above). We went up and over that hill, down to the mile 3 marker, and off to the finish a block farther ahead.

• MILE 1: 3:03 + 3:05 = 6:09. "F*ck. Ouch. That hurt. ESPECIALLY for being that slow."


Steve Stenzel, 37, M, St. Paul

5:59.2 pace

6th out of 2101 overall
2nd out of 90 in the M 35-39 age group

[Garmin: 3.14 miles, 5:55.4 pace - I didn't run the tangents well in the first half.]


• Why such a poor performance at this race? I don't fully know, but I have 3 speculations. First, I don't have the speed workouts under me like I should. Secondly, I think this was just a bad day for me. (According to my Garmin, I ran 4 seconds/mile faster than the 5 mile at O'Garas, and I should have been substantially faster.) And third, maybe dealing with a tonsillectomy the day before was more draining than I realized.

• I had no issues with foot pain during the race. I posted on Wednesday that I took it a bit easier last week because of some foot issues. But I didn't feel a THING during the race. I would have jogged more of a cool down, but it started to get a bit achy post-race, so I kept the cool down short.

• I mentioned running "the last 2 miles of this race all by myself," and the results show that. I was 6th overall. 5th place was nearly 40 seconds in front of me (basically my goal pace), and 7th was 25 seconds behind me. They had people within a few seconds of their time, but I was running by my lonesome.

• My final split was a LITTLE redeeming. I had 3 half-mile splits slower than 3:00 which I was not ready for. And I was pooped. But at least I still had something left for a final kick: down that final little hill to the finish, I recorded 4:59 pace for the final 0.14 miles:

I can't explain the slowdown at mile 2 (well, maybe "depression"),
and then slowing to 7:34 pace up the loopy hill to Hennepin Ave at
mile 2.7, and topping out at 4:48 pace down the hill before mile 3.

• My favorite memory from this race will be telling Henry about it once I got home. Don't get me wrong: Twin Cities in Motion put on a great race at a fun venue. I just suffered a lot in the final 2 miles and didn't feel great. But as I posted on Facebook, Henry loved what I had to say about finishing:

(And seriously, this was my slowest 5K since the four 5Ks that I ran at the end of 2007 which were either in the high 18s or low 19s. Every 5K since early 2008 has been faster than this one.)

I walked back to my car, grabbed my phone, and jogged back to the finish to get some more photos:

A bunch of lumberjacks who finished around 27 mins.
One was asking for an AC unit. They were beat up and pretty hot.

More finishers under the 30 minute mark.

The start of the 10 mile happening a block away!
There were 2100 people in the 5K, and another 1659 in the 10 mile!

Didn't get my traditional pre-race photo, but I got one post-race!

They had tater tot hot dish at the finish line! It was actually pretty good!

Later that afternoon, Henry and I went to "Black Panther." The 1-on-1 battle scenes
were a little scary for him, but otherwise, he liked it! This is a post-movie selfie.

I met my parents to pick up Charlie yesterday, and now we're all back together. Henry's still taking it easy (I've gotten up the last 2 nights every 3 hours to give pain meds) and eating soft food, but he's healing up. This week is his Spring Break, so I hope he doesn't go too stir crazy!

Now, time for a few more days of rest on these legs, and then it's back at it!


SteveQ 10:52 AM, March 26, 2018  

Just a reminder - as a second child, when Charlie has the same issues as Henry's had, you'll tell him to "walk it off."

Steve Stenzel 11:27 AM, March 26, 2018  

SteveQ, we're fond of "just rub some dirt in it." :)

Anonymous,  11:21 AM, March 27, 2018  

the "poor performance" was clearly from lack of PRE-race porta-potty picture ~~ seems the post-race pic just doesn't cut it. Need to prioritize the race essentials!

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