RACE REPORT: The 2022 Brian Kraft 5K

>> Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Yesterday was the speedy Brian Kraft 5K around Lake Nokomis. I had been watching the forecast all week, and they were calling for it to be hot: only down to 70 degrees overnight, and then HUMID and up to 91 as a high for race day. But as I was laying in bed around 6 a.m., I heard it raining. "Noooo! Get in Gear 10K was the 'wet race' for the spring! Don't do this again!"

I checked the radar as I had breakfast: everything was moving NE, we were getting a few more drips, but then we'd be in a clearing for a few hours around race time:

But (FORESHADOWING!) it didn't quite happen like that.

Pre-race potty shot at home.

Still dark clouds to the west as I headed out to the race.

More rain falling as I waited in the porta-potty line.
(That's all dark and wet pavement, with just a few dry areas.)

Another pre-race potty shot.

A 2' northern along the shore of Lake Nokomis. Dead. Obviously.

At this point, I'd parked my car, walked to the race site, picked up my number and my t-shirt, walked back to the car to drop off my shirt, came back to the start to use the porta-potty, and was now walking back to my car again to wait a few more minutes before heading to the start. (And in my 1st walk back to the car, I ran into lots of tri buddies: Charlie R, then Suzie F, and finally Cathy L and her daughter!) There was 1 big lightning strike that happened in that time as well. As I was heading back to my car for the last time, someone told me the race was postponed for a half hour because there was another quick line of weather coming through! Damn it!

My boys were home alone, so I figured I had time to drive home quick to check on them (and let them know I wouldn't be back right when I told them I would be). I thought I had about 30 minutes until the race started, but now I had an hour.

Falling rain back at my car.

A THIRD potty shot: "Well, I guess I'll go again!..." is what this expression says.

Updated radar showed it was going to be a damp race.

Because of the fear of rain, I had put on my "pinky and the brain" shorts and not my short yellow running shorts. Those yellow shorts STICK to EVERYTHING when they get wet, and it becomes not child friendly very quickly. If you know what I mean.

I got back to the race site, jogged my only bit of warm-up for just 3 minutes or so, and hopped in line. BFFFN (best friend forever for now) Devon ran up to get a selfie:

He walked up saying "Svea, want to meet your REAL dad?"
But that quote didn't make his social media post.

I purposely tried to line up a LITTLE farther back than normal as I didn't want to go out too hard. Teammate Mike was right in front of me as the rain was falling.


I hopped around Mike after a few seconds, and then there was one last BIG crack of lightning that made everyone go "OOOOOOHHH!" The general chatter at that point was "well, we're running, so they can't stop us, now.... right?"

I noticed someone under an umbrella with a phone to her face, and I thought, "is that my teammate Jennifer?" As I was trying to figure that out, Jennifer (spoiler: it was her) snapped a photo:

And I picked the blue calf sleeves instead of the black
because they matched my team jersey better. #Fashion

I felt like I was running "appropriately" easy for a 5K, but I really didn't know what that first half-mile split would be. I was happy to see when it clocked in at 2:51. I told myself I'd probably be a bit slower for the next split, but I ended up being a bit faster.

• MILE 1: 5:40.8 (2:51.7 and 2:49.1)

I was feeling OK with how the race was shaping up. I had to dodge some big puddles along the curb a few times - I was running the tangents REALLY well, but that put me in the "splash zone" as well. I was thrilled to turn in a 2:50 for the first half of mile 2! But things were starting to feel harder.

I was running behind a guy that I kept trying to pass, but I realized he was running some splits that were what I should be running, so I kept with him. We were running off the back of a pack, and at some point, we slowly drifted back off that pack to be the front of another pack, and I thought I should try passing him again. But he upped the pace a bit and I never got around him. He was a great pacer for me. (He ended up pulling away over the last mile to beat me by a decent amount.)

• MILE 2: 5:43.7 (2:50.6 and 2:53.1)

Right around mile 2, I started getting a bad side stitch on my right side. I worked through it and got it to go away while turning in a half mile split 2:50.9 to open mile 3. I wasn't feeling "fast" as I felt like I was losing my form and I had given it my all, but I also wondered if I was crapping out a bit in this final 3/4 mile or so. My final half mile split for mile 3 was my slowest all race, so I need to work on staying mentally strong and pushing through that pain.

• MILE 3: 5:46.1 (2:50.9 and 2:55.2)

After really having no one pass me from 0.3 miles into the race until well past mile 2, now people with good kicks were flying past. Teammate Jennifer was back out there, but I didn't see her as I was trying to get to that finish line:

The results show that I beat that guy by 0:01, so I held him off at least!

And race buddy Tom R had someone taking photos for him just before the finish as well. Here are 5 of me closing in on the finish line:

I went back-and-forth with #4169 a few times. Couldn't get her.

Awkward speed.

Hey, I'm the only one NOT touching the ground here, so that's worth SOMETHING!... :)

... but then in this photo, my hips are giving out in classic "awkward Steve" fashion.
(And is the woman in black and the granny in blue checking out my sweet non-existent ass?)

Running out of frame with a lip curl to the finish.

After hitting the tangents well until about mile 2, I started drifting all over and not being as aware of it. Usually I post about 0:32-0:34 to the finish line from the mile 3 marker, but this was 0:39.8 (still at 5:26 pace my Garmin told me) because I accidentally added in some distance over the last 5 minutes of the race.


Steve Stenzel, 41, M, St. Paul

17:50 chip time (5:45 pace)
17:53 gun time (5:46 pace)

94 out of 394 overall
85 out of 241 males
7 out of 46 in the M 40-49 age group

Start-to-finish I passed 8 people and was passed by 12

[Garmin: 3.12 miles, 17:50.3, 5:43.05/mile]


• I was saying what everyone else was saying post-race: the rain felt nice, but it still got HOT by mile 2. I was trying to crawl out of my skin. After the race when I was talking with Laura and Jared, I noticed I was steaming a lot from my shoulders and neck. Gross. Hot. #SorryLadiesImTaken

• I was pretty happy with my "7th out of 46" age group placing, but 5-year age groups would be even better. First of all, 5th and 6th in my AG were just 5 and 15 seconds ahead of me, so they could have been caught. But 4th was sub-17, so that would have never happened! Looking at an age group of 40-44, I would have been 2nd out of 27, and just 5 seconds out of 1st. I'm not liking slowing down as I get older, but I'm enjoying getting closer to the top of my age group.

• My "age graded" results are still decent. Last year, my 17:32 gave me a 78% age graded result. By slowing down 18 seconds (substantial in a 5K), I only lost 1 percentage point: 77% for this race. Maybe 41-year-olds are just a lot slower than 40-year-olds. ;)

• My legs feel good! I injured myself in my cool-down after last year's race, but my legs felt great post-race and all last night. I hope to "spin out my legs" a bit today.

• I think this is my 2nd slowest Brian Kraft 5K. Only the HOT race in in 2018 where I ran 18:02 was slower. TEN YEARS AGO in 2012 I had my 2nd fastest lifetime 5K of 17:23. (I suppose giving up 27 seconds in 10 years isn't all that bad. And I was 2.5% "better" in my age graded time this year compared to that time 10 years ago.) And I ran a 17:39 in 2017 and a 17:32 last year. I'm not really complaining as this year was also my oldest BK 5K. ;)

• Speaking of "age grading" and previous BK finishes, this was my best age group placement. 7th out of 46 beats all previous years. All former races had 42 to 64 people in my age group, and I placed 24th, 17th, 31st, and 12th over the last 4 races.

• My heart race MOSTLY stayed in check. This was a known issue that I could finally prove after racing with a Garmin that measured HR after the Get in Gear 10K (see also this post with more info). During this race, it stayed in check with a BIT of an odd jump just before mile 2:

Zooming into my pace chart, it shows a slight dip when my heart
rate suddenly shot up. Weird. And not a coincidence I'm sure.

I cheered on most of my team (there were a few I didn't know who didn't have a jersey so I couldn't recognize them) and all kinds of "race buddies" who show up every year for this race. I chatted with a few friends and then jogged back to my car. I took a soaked selfie at that point, which was about 20 mins after finishing:

I had to stop at Mel-O-Glaze which was a block from where I parked.

Big ole' apple fritter I enjoyed on the drive home.

I got another fritter for Henry, and I got this large
raised donut filled with cotton candy for Charlie.

My SOAKED jersey, calf sleeves, and shorts headed down to the washing machine.

My wife was still gone last night, so the boys and I made some tasty cast iron pizza:

A smaller pan for Charlie.

Looking across pizza #2 and #3 out of 4.

I'll have to share this recipe shortly. It's tasty and fun!

Back with some more photos from Tom R shortly. Time to ease back on these legs for a few days!


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