Race Photos from the Minneapolis Halloween Half

>> Wednesday, October 31, 2018

There are a number of albums of photos on Facebook from the Minneapolis Halloween Half that I did with my family this past weekend. (Click here for my race report if you missed it.) Here are some photos from one photographer’s album:

Duff Man, Pac Man with ghosts, and Dorthy.

This family was in my race report.

These 2 won the costume contest!

A few minutes pre-start. There’s me awkwardly staying loose while talking to a human hot dog.

Boys holding the flag for the national anthem.

A few photos from the start...

The fast kid I noted in my race report who went on to run a 1:39 half!

Fast kid’s Dad in the red between me and the guy who’d eventually win the 10K.

There were a few RBGs at the race.

Father/son hot dogs.

There’s always a few Forrests.


Carmen Sandiego and Waldo. No longer lost.

That Mary Tyler Moore on the end is fantastic.

Two families were late to the 5K start: these “wacky waving inflatable tube men...”

... and these sumos.

The guy in plaid gave me a chair massage post-race.
I’ve gotta be honest: table massages post-race are way better.

The guy who beat me in the 10K was the first person to the line (the 5K started about 16 minutes after us).

The 10K winner!

Looking back across the Stone Arch Bridge, here comes the 5K winner with me behind him in the 10K.

5K winner, with me closing.

About to finish the 10K, with The Flash barely visible back there
who I passed on the bridge who was in the 5K.

Looking good for 4:40 pace!

Flash coming to the line.

I passed this woman at the start of the bridge. I didn’t realize she was racing!! She did the 5K in 20:50!

Race buddy Nordica finishing strong in the 5K! And note the 10K winner cheering to the far right.

SIDENOTE: looking through these photos, I think I may have found why I was listed as the winner in the results for a while. In that last photo, the guy who won is back cheering down the course. He’s standing near a device on a tripod (by the orange cones) that reads your number as to get close to the line (so the announcers can announce you). My family noted coming back to me as I was cheering on the bridge, and hearing their names announced again. Maybe he rushed back down the course after he finished and triggered that, and THAT registered as his finish. I don’t fully know... just a thought. Anyway, Sunday night was the first time a “race timer” called me and said “yeah, did you win?” We had a 5 minute talk, and I assured her I was in 2nd and my time was about right (3 seconds different from my Garmin, but that’s “correct” enough), and that the guy currently listed as 2nd was probably about 45-60 seconds in front of me. In the end, they “corrected” his results to just show him 12 seconds in front of me:

Left: results for 2 days. Right: “final” results.
(But the women in 3rd-5th aren’t right. The guy in 6th is the true 3rd place finisher.)

YWCA teammate Mike!

This is cute.


Runners coming across the Stone Arch Bridge.

A big group of costumes.

My sons love Ant Man. They would have loved this father/son superhero duo.

Here's my race report if you missed it! It's a PR on paper!


RACE REPORT: 2018 "Minneapolis Halloween Half" 10K

>> Monday, October 29, 2018

Friday night was an Octoberfest celebration at Henry's school. Here's 3 superhero 2nd graders (Henry's one of them) after the costume contest in the cafeteria:

The next morning was the Minneapolis Halloween Half Marathon, and a whole lotta my wife's family and I were going to do the 10K. My sister-in-law Steph and I did the half marathon last year, and we loved it. We didn't have the same distance training this year (and we had 1 less week of training between the TC 10 Mile and this race, so it was harder to build mileage), so we opted for the 10K and got lots more family to join in.

The morning of the race down our alley. Things were damp, but just from fog.

Traditional pre-race shot. SOOOO many porta potties at this race! Very little waiting!

My gang EXCEPT me before the race: Matt L, Matt L, Annie (married to
the 2nd Matt L), my cutie, Angela (married to the first Matt L), and Steph.

FUNNY STORY AS TO WHY I'M NOT IN THE PICTURE... I was running off to get in near the front of the start line. We were running a bit late because I had picked up all the race numbers for everyone earlier in the week. I texted the gang (we'd all been group texting all week) saying I had all 6 numbers. Well, Matt L (the first one - the one that I've been a relay partner with for many races) wasn't on the group texts. I never knew he was doing the race. When they got there, he asked if I had his race number. I just laughed thinking he was joking. He wasn't joking. Angela (his wife) then realized why he didn't know what was going on all week... because he wasn't on the group text. So he had to run over and get his number (they weren't supposed to allow "race day" pick up). As they were doing all that with just 10 minutes until race start, I took off for the line. OOPS! SORRY MATT! But we all made it to the starting line with our numbers! Whew.

Maybe 4 minutes pre-start. I'm hidden behind the guy in all black to the left.
(My face is barely visible to the right of his face.)

I talked to the guy in the hot dog costume standing next to me in that picture. He was the only one around I noticed in a 10K number. He was hoping to run around 51 minutes, so I didn't have to worry about him. Last year, my hopeful finishing time would have won, but (as I told lots of family at the race) I suspected more people saw the results and decided to try to win a race. I was HOPING I could podium.

"5... 4... 3... 2... 1... GOOOOOOO!!!!"

Moments after the start. I'm back there in the pink shorts.
Note the guy in the black tank top to the left - he'd be passing me in 3 minutes.

Sidenote: that kid in front of me in that photo was running with his Dad. I heard Dad say "OK, we need to ease up a little here." He went on to run the half marathon in 1:39! I Googled his name and found out he's 10 years old and a holds 2 state records as of this past spring! Nice job, kid!

I went out in about 3rd place. I knew one guy in front of me had a half marathon number, but I didn't know about the other guy. Then race buddy Nordica was cheering just 1 block into the race, and she said "Go Steve! You're winning right now!" That let me know those guys were both half marathoners.

About a 1/2 mile in, I passed one of the guys, and another guy passed me. He had on a 10K bib. It was a race! I grinned. I had nothing to loose, and I was about to RACE. My watch went off at the 0.5 mile mark, and I announced to him and the guy we were passing "3 minute FLAT first half mile!" The half marathoner said "Oooooh... thanks for that... I'm gonna slow up a bit now... that's a bit fast for me..." The other 10Ker and I laughed.

• MILE 1: 3:00, 2:59 = 5:59.

We turned to go over the Mississippi. I kept it decently fast up and over the bridge. The half marathoner was pulling away (he would go on to run a 1:17 which is sub-6:00 pace), and the other 10Ker was only about 30 feet in front of me. I was trying to keep with him. The 2nd half of mile 2 had some nice downhills back on the downtown side of the river, and it showed in that split:

• MILE 2: 3:02, 2:53 = 5:55.

Mile 3 had that little uphill past the Mill City Ruins and the Guthrie. The 1st place 10K runner was s-l-o-w-l-y pulling away, but he didn't have the race won by this point by any means.

An Instagram pic showing the cute foggy morning during the half marathon (from near the
start of the Greenway trail, 2 miles farther down River Road than we ever went in the 10K).

• MILE 3: 3:01, 3:01 = 6:03.

I told myself to STOP trying to remember my splits to see how far over 5:55 pace I was - that was my PR and I hadn't ruled out being able to PR at this race. Especially if this guy pulls me through a lot of suffering! But I just had to race. He was helping me keep the effort up in the middle of the race (where I commonly can let off the gas a bit too much).

• MILE 4: 2:53, 2:58 = 5:52.

I was SEARCHING for the turn-around that I knew was just after mile 4! I was hashed, and ready to turn back towards the finish. Finally, I saw it. I glanced at my watch as the 1st place runner ran through it. I was exactly 30 seconds behind him by the time I got there. I had 30 seconds to make up in 2 miles - not impossible, but also not super likely the way this guy was running. And the next runner I met after exactly 60 seconds, so that meant he was 2 minutes behind me. I had 2nd locked up, but had to gun for 1st.

In case you're wondering how you can turn around after 4 miles and only run 6.2 miles, here's the race map (cropped in from the half marathon route) with our 10K turnaround added as a red dot:


I warned our crew about that before the race, but I still wasn't quite ready for it.

It was up those series of hills under 35W that made the first part of mile 4 so fast. I was getting LOTS of cheers from other runners heading out, and I was trying to use their cheers to keep pushing. But I was losing sight of the guy in front of me. After the race, Angela told me something that was exactly how I felt as well: mile 5 SUCKED, but then seeing the mile 5 marker was a big kick in the pants - just 1.2 miles left!

• MILE 5: 3:07, 3:08 = 6:15.

We crested our final (real) hill moments after the mile 5 marker, and then it was mainly flat or downhill to the finish. I saw all of my family over that next mile (or just before): my wife was first, then Angela, and then Steph (all pretty close). Then I saw the 2 Matts running together as old Matt yelled something like "What's the matter Stenzel?!? That guy's way up there!! GO GET HIM!!" And new Matt flashed me his boobs. Thanks fellas.

And I saw Annie on the flat boardwalk area just before turning onto the Stone Arch Bridge. She gave me a shout and I think she saw me nearly collapse - my leg nearly gave out over a few strides. I turned onto the bridge, passed a guy dressed as The Flash who was finishing the 5K (that started 15 minutes after we did), and sprinted to the finish. No sign of the guy in front of me - he ran a fast 2nd half of the race. (My wife was timing how far I was behind him when she first saw him go by, and she said it was 40 seconds. So he just kept pulling away ALLLLL race.)

• MILE 6: 2:55, 2:54 = 5:49.

Here are some photos from the Minneapolis Halloween Half Facebook page that show me finishing:

Just off the Stone Arch Bridge (with The Flash a block behind me).

Not a bad photo for how much I was suffering!

About to finish.

I WAS STILL RUNNING H.A.R.D. BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW IF I STILL HAD A SHOT AT A 10K PR! I hit the line totally done and looked at my watch. It read as a 10K PR by 19 seconds!


Steve Stenzel, 37, M, St. Paul

5:53 pace

2nd out of 673 overall
1st out of 30 in the 35-39 age group

[Garmin: 36:27 for 6.10 miles, 5:58 pace]


• It was a PR on paper, but not really. My Garmin had it being a little short. So I should have finished just under 37:00. My 2 fastest 10Ks before this were 36:46 and 36:47. So it probably should have been my 3rd fastest, and not my PR. But, for what it's worth, my previous PR was pre-Garmin, and it was probably short too. (I'm not just saying that - it was a race org known for short races.) So the question is do you go with the RACE (and say "I just did a '10K' in 36:30"), or do you go with your GARMIN?

• Speaking of my Garmin, it shows the hills pretty well. First, here's the elevation I ran:

Most noticeably: downhill after mile 3 and uphill after mile 4.
The bump after mile 1 was heading up over the bridge over the Mississippi.

Pace: downhill at mile 3.5, turn-around dip after mile 4,
horrible uphill around mile 5, then finishing at 4:39 pace!

• When registering, you could put in a message to be read over the loudspeaker at the finish line. Being I registered for my wife and I, she didn't know about this. So her eyes rolled HARD when she finished and she heard "Congrats cutie! From your hairy hubby!"

• I started getting a bit of a side stitch around mile 2. And I didn't mention it in my TC 10 Mile race report, but I got a side stitch around mile 3-4 in that race too. I haven't had those in a while. I've been skimping on my core work lately, and I OBVIOUSLY need to get that turned around!

• About the only complaint from my family was the timing of the 5K with the 10K and Half. I just had a few 5Kers around me when I hit the Stone Arch Bridge - that was where the 5Kers (who started 15 minutes after us) and the 10K/Half runners all met to run the bridge together for the last 0.4 miles or so. But when the rest of my family was coming through, it was pretty crowded on the bridge and they noted having a few issues getting around people. (They all finished in the low 50s which would have been when those running an upper 30s 5K would have been finishing.) That's the biggest complaint. (And talking with my wife, the best way to remedy that is to really space out the starts, but then it's an all-day race that may not get permits from the city. So we don't have an easy answer. Splitting the bridge was another thought, but hard to implement.) Parking was a bit tough, but I'll never blame a race for being popular. There were LOTS of potties, bag drop was awesome, communication was great, etc.

• The results show me in 1st right now, but they aren't totally right. It shows a few women just behind me, but that wasn't the case. (And looking for those names in recent race results show that they probably did the 5K in the upper 30s, not the 10K.) It shows me in 1st and Lukas in 2nd. But the race photos confirm that Lukas finished in front of me as the true 1st place. Here he is crossing the bridge to the finish:

So I don't know how much he won by, and I don't know how big of a cushion I had over 3rd place. (Looking through the race photos, I believe #413 was 3rd place, and he finished in 39:25, so nearly 3 minutes behind me. Which makes sense if he was 2 minutes back at mile 4. The 3 women that supposedly beat him [3-5th overall] are mistakes and were not that fast. Or they WERE that fast, but in the 5K.) But I did NOT win, so don't fully believe the results.

I finished, grabbed my stuff from the bag drop (which was SUPER easy and fast), got a quick chair massage, and then snapped some pics on the bridge with my phone. The day was still "cute-ly" foggy as downtown was in a bit of a haze in the background:

A tourist. Running with a camera!

My hot dog buddy from the starting line!

This guy had a real shitty attitude.

My lovely wife finishing strong!

Steph just behind her!

And Angela just behind Steph! These 3 ladies were within 90 seconds. Nice job!

A superhero family.

A Lego pimp. This guy did the 10K, not just the 5K!

Here come the Matts!!

Love this.

Old grannies. The guy in purple had quite the stuffed bra too.

Props for staying side-by-side, and for staying on the correct side of each other!

Here comes Annie!

A high-five from sister Steph! (Both Sarah and Steph had come back to find me on the bridge.)

We walked back through the finish to find the rest of our crew. Angela was doing some minor toe surgery:


Stinky and sweaty post-race. Nice job, crew!

I found BOTH Carmen Sandiego AND Waldo on the walk back to the car!

We got home, paid the babysitter, and started cooking. My wife thought it was funny/cute/gross that I was cutting up squash in my "pinky and the brain" shorts and my "dad slippers:"

Some parmesan chicken.

A few bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed breasts!

Savory cumin squash roasting.

The last of my Mom's sweet potatoes ready to be roasted (after being coated with lots of herbs).

Peeling a laundry basket (yes really) full of apples. It was getting
hot in the kitchen. So I was shedding layers. Sorry not sorry.

Peeling, soaking, and slicing apples for 2 big batches of applesauce.

A few hours later. (Our normal crock on the right, and our BIG crock on the left.)

Henry could have used a nap... but he hung out with me all afternoon and tried to fight it instead.

My wife took off for a fun "sister's night," so the boys and I hung out and watched superhero movies (most of "Iron Man 3") and played with a train set. Fun race, and fun day!

Back with more fun race photos shortly.



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