2018 Brian Kraft 5K Race Report

>> Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Yesterday was the SPEEDY Brian Kraft 5K: the 4th race in the USATF MN series. (I placed 6th overall in my last 5K, but out of the top 100 yesterday at this 5K!) I prepped with a pre-race poo in the basement at 6:45 a.m.:

That's TOO HOT for 7:30 in May in MN! Especially since we had
lots of snow just 6 weeks ago. We had NO spring this year!

It was hot. I got my number pinned on at Lake Nokomis and saw all the regular race buddies. Nathan C and I chatted a moment, and I knew I would NOT be passing him like like I did last year - he's in great shape! We didn't know what the heat would do to our times. Every time I said "hi" to a race buddy, I followed it up with "Well this is GROSS." (Referring to the weather.)

Pre-race team photo! The other blue jersey is Jamie, and the guy with the
perfect body is Niko, and they both hoped to run right around 18:00 like me.

I sort of had 3 things in mind pre-race: FIRST, how much would this heat zap our times? SECOND, could I possibly run this race withOUT looking at my splits during the race for the first time ever? And THIRD, this race went well for me last year when I felt a little held back at the start, so I was OK doing the same this year.

Standing next to Niko, Jamie, and Alex, we could just hear mumbling over the speakers (much like what adults sound like on "Peanuts"). Soon everyone moved up a few feet, and someone shouted GO!

Just like last year, I felt like I was being held up a little bit at the start. But last year I ended up having a GREAT race, so I wasn't bummed - I just worked where I was and moved up when I could. Jamie and Niko were both just maybe 75 feet in front of me. I held good lines through the winding turns.

When my Garmin beeped at the 0.5 mile mark, I did a good job of not looking. BUT AFTER 4 SECONDS, I REALLY WANTED TO LOOK. That was the worst urge to look all day long. The 2nd half mile came up MUCH quicker, and there was no clock at the 1 mile marker, so I truly had no idea of my pace.

It felt like a long ways to mile 1.5, but then it felt good being half done. I was now right behind Jamie and Niko, who were still running together. I was constantly passing people, which always was a nice confidence boost. Around mile 2, I started passing them. Jamie was starting to get a little fried (I think) because as I was coming up on him, he gave a cheer for Niko (something along the lines of "go get em") as he faded back a bit. I gave Jamie a cheer 2 seconds later as I went past him.

There was a LOT of suffering in that last mile. As there should be in a 5K. I had many thoughts of "I'm not sure I can keep this up - I MAY need to walk before the finish..." But I was still slowly passing people. I wondered what my splits looked like. I suspected my 5th split (mile 2.0-2.5) was going to be a bit slow, but I can never really tell when I'm hurting that bad.

I passed Niko within the last mile, and I was so hashed, that 10 seconds later I moved to the outside so he could pass me right back. Here's some photos (from Tom R) that are right around the 3 mile marker:

Me and Niko back there. I did a good job running the tangents, but here I'm moved
off the curb to let Niko go by. I had no kick. (But I had paced myself pretty well, I thought.)

We were hurting. (Why does the guy in front of us make it look so easy?)

I feel like every stride was at a different pace in that last mile. I was deep in hurt, and it was what I needed to do! I hit the line feeling JUST HASHED. It was a good effort.


Steve Stenzel, 37, M, St. Paul

18:02 chip time
18:07 gun time

106 out of 474 overall
97 out of 284 males
31 out of 64 in the 30-39 age group

Start to finish: passed 75 people and was passed by 0.

[Garmin: 18:02.42 for 3.12 miles]

SO WHAT ABOUT MY SPLITS?... I was pretty happy with my time. I HOPED to break 18:00, so 18:02 (with that solid effort) was fine by me! My splits were QUITE even, which surprised me:

2:57.13, 2:52.40 = 5:49.53 mile 1
2:54.63, 2:56.27 = 5:50.90 mile 2
2:55.55, 2:49.90 = 5:45.45 mile 3
0:36.51 to the finish (5:17 pace)

Garmin pace graph: nothing special here. Pretty consistent.
(Maybe a BIT of a surge after hearing each 1/2 mile beep.)

Facebook post.

String of comments on that Facebook post. :)


• So the big question: did "running by feel" without looking at my Garmin teach me anything? No, not really. It was a bit of a let down. I guess it showed me that I could be consistent by feel, which is nice to know. I think sometimes I'm a little afraid that I subconsciously (or sometimes consciously) think "oh, these splits look pretty good - no need to go any harder to the finish." I couldn't do that at this race because I was afraid my times possibly sucked. I'll probably try this again.

• This felt like a little bit of a redemption 5K after my last crappy one 2 months ago. I ran a 18:36 at the TC Hot Dash in March, and it felt horrible. That was sort of my "you've been running too easy all winter" wake-up call. Here, on a MUCH HOTTER day (which really zaps me), I ran a lot faster. Also, I think this speedy crowd helps motivate me - I was 6th overall at the Hot Dash, and maybe I ran slower because I ran by myself.

• My time prediction was about right. In yesterday's post, I referenced my recent 18:36 5K and last year's Brian Kraft of 17:39 and said "I suspect I'll roughly split those times today." Well, perfectly split would be 18:07.5. Not bad. (Oh wait, comparing chip times, it'd be even closer: 18:04.5.)

• It hurts more running in the heat. Here's my theory. Let's say the heat zapped 10 sec/mile at this race (probably less than that, but whatever). When we run that slower pace in the heat which FEELS as hard as our normal pace, our bodies are saying "NO, BUT YOU CAN RUN FASTER!" Because that's what our body is used to. So we run a BIT faster. But we don't fully make up that 10 sec/mile. So our times suffer a bit, and we suffer MORE. If this is a known fact, then I'm sure there's a lot out there about this. Or it could just be my theory. Ask me about it tomorrow - it will probably have changed. :)

I walked a LONG cool down, and then jogged just a bit. My legs felt good. I threw on some "normal" athletic shorts over my tiny little shorts, and the sweat from my tiny shorts had soaked through by the time I got home:

Blatant crotch-shot. Gross.
(And my blue jersey is COMPLETELY soaked through in this photo.)

Then the day got HOT. At least 3 records yesterday: earliest 100 degrees
in the Metro, single day record, and hottest Memorial Day on record.

Direct link: youtu.be/0d8aEmGrRJU

Late afternoon storms rolling in.

There are a lot of funny/suffering photos of people from Tom R, so check back as I'll share some of those soon. And I still have some photos from the TC 1 Mile to share too.


Rose 1:43 PM, May 29, 2018  

I've heard sunglasses help with race photos! :)

Steve Stenzel 3:02 PM, May 29, 2018  

Ha Rose! I feel like sunglasses make me extra hot, so I just was blinded by the sun on that bright hot day yesterday. :)

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