RACE REPORT: Finally, a DRY Get in Gear 10K

>> Monday, May 01, 2023

Saturday was the Get in Gear 10K, which was part of the USATF MN circuit of races. As I said in a post last week, the 10K distance is hard for me and has been one I've struggled with. I was hoping to go out EASIER and then really suffer through the last half (after I went out too hard last year and really sucked it up in the last half).

This was going to be Henry and Charlie's first 5K as well! I'd start the 10K at 9:00, then they'd wait around for 20 minutes to start the 5K. Then I'd be done in time to see them finish. I was so excited for them! They were pumped too!

The night before the race, my wife and I were out pretty late at CHS Field for a fundraiser for the boys' school. We partied with other parents:

I tried not to eat too many hors d'oeuvres.

Race morning was looking to be cool, but we were watching the chance of rain shift around for the few days leading up to the race. It was just looking to be "spotty." At 6 a.m. on race morning, it was drizzling, but looking to be OK for the race:


Our second stroke of luck was parking! As I rounded a block knowing I'd have to turn around and park farther away, I noticed a TIGHT spot that I was pretty sure I could get in to (with the help of my backup camera). Sure enough, we pulled in to a race with over 3,000 runners and parked A HALF BLOCK FROM THE START/FINISH LINE!

My car, with the start/finish line just on the other side of that white tent.

The dot is me in my car, and the added red line is the start!

The boys and I got our numbers pinned on and went to check out the start line:

Pre-race tradition. In too many layers.

A selfie in the last 100 meters of the race with the finish behind us!

We went back to the car to stay warm for another 20 mins. Then we jumped back out to take a team photo:

Then I dropped off my phone with Vicki (the spouse of a teammate) because she'd be watching by the finish, and then she could give me my phone quickly after I finished so I could back-track and go get photos of the boys finishing their first race! The boys and I went back to the car as I had 20 minutes before my race. I made the call to take off my black long-sleeve shirt under my jersey and run in just a tank top when it was just 38 degrees. I also left my hat and gloves in the car. This was the most "nude" I'd ever been while starting a cold-weather race! (The boys decided to stay in the car for another 20 mins to stay warm before their race - I took the keys and they just locked it up when they thought it was time to jump out and line up for their 5K. They told me later they even had time to pee one last time pre-race.)

Photo from TC in Motion: I was still in the car when the National Anthem was played.

I jumped a barricade to hop in line about 6 mins pre-race. I worked my way up near the front, but not TOO close because I wanted to go out easy. We were counted down and all took off:

Me running off at the right just after starting.

I was jumping around some people, but I was still keeping it easy. Last year I started with a 2:45 half mile which was my fastest split all race (with only ONE more 1/2 mile split being under 3:00), and then I slowly died. I was shooting for more like 3:00 for my first 1/2 mile at this race, so I was happy with my 2:58.5. I apparently slowed up a bit in my 2nd half mile, but mile 1 was appropriately slow:

• MILE 1: 6:03.8 (2:58.5 + 3:05.3)

As I stated last week, I wanted to try to ignore my first 5K split and keep it easy (well, "easy-ish"). But I also didn't want to dig myself TOO deep of a hole. I was still slowly passing a few people here and there along River Road.

• MILE 2: 5:57.7 (3:01.5 + 2:56.2)

I was happy with those splits! But I started to ease up a bit in mile 3. Well, I didn't really FEEL like I was easing up, but suddenly there were 2 guys working to pass me, and I just let them without trying to go after them too hard. I didn't want to go too hard yet.

• MILE 3: 6:14.6 (3:07.5 + 3:07.1)

Alright, that was giving back too much time. I went from feeling plenty easy AND fast after mile 2 to feeling like I'm bleeding time at mile 3. And it was a bit of a bummer to go through the 5K split in 19:02 when my SLOW race last year had a first half of 18:58, and my 2012 course PR had a first half split of 18:47. Welp, I was going to take it KINDA easy up that hill by St. Thomas and then start picking up the pace... but I also had to make it a point to not try to "get all that time back" right away and blow up like I did last year.

My next half mile split (which included the worst uphill on the course) was another 3:07, and I felt OK with that. But THEN it was time to speed up. Down the other side and for the next half mile, I ran a 2:51!

• MILE 4: 5:59.4 (3:07.5 + 2:51.9)

NOW THE TRICK WAS TO KEEP THESE SPLITS FAST! THIS WAS THE BIG "QUESTION MARK" FOR THE DAY: I felt like I was in better shape this year, but would I be able to DO something with that fitness on the back half of the race? The answer was YES as shown by the next splits:

• MILE 5: 5:46.8 (2:53.5 + 2:53.3)

That's practically my 5K pace! At mile 5 of a 10K! NICE! I was coming up on Andrea Haus who I tried to keep up with last year and could never catch, but I actually passed her (and gave her a quick cheer) somewhere around mile 5.4 or so. I made the painful short climb up to the Ford Bridge and tried to keep my legs moving across the bridge. I FELT like I should be posting 2:50 half miles, but they weren't that fast, which helped prove that I was starting to run out of gas at the appropriate time - I was really negative splitting this race, but not in such a crazy way that I screwed something up.

I did some sort of math in my head with about 0.7 miles left that told me I'd be CLOSE to my goal of being under 37:16. I had predicted last week that with decent weather [check], an appropriately easy start [check], and some suffering on the back half of the race [check] that I'd probably be between my course PR of 36:47 and my fastest stroller 10K of 37:16. IT WAS GOING TO BE CLOSE! I WAS WORKING!!

• MILE 6: 5:51.2 (2:55.7 + 2:55.5)

I had gone back-and-forth with someone named Emma (based on the cheers she was getting) all across the bridge and down the hill right at mile 6. I felt kinda bad because I could never really complete the pass and then she'd come back. Sorry Emma! That little uphill to the finish was nasty - it's not even a hill, but it was just the SLIGHTEST incline that can (respectfully) suck it.

Photo from a teammate with maybe 150 yards to go!

Wider shot showing Andrea H back there who I ACTUALLY caught this year!
(And Emma who I fought with on the bridge was on the curve behind me.)

• FINAL 0.2: 1:19.4 (Garmin: 0.25 miles, 5:18 pace)


Steve Stenzel, M, 42, St. Paul

6:00/mile pace
75% age graded

76 out of 1310 overall
70 out of 671 males
6 out of 94 in the M 40-44 age group

1 mile pace: 6:06
1 mile to 5K pace: 6:10
5K to finish pace: 5:51

Start to 1 mile: passed 22 and was passed by 4
1 mile to 5K: passed 5 and was passed by 2
5k to finish: passed 6 and was passed by 1

19:02 first 5K, 18:11 second 5K

[Garmin: 6.25 miles in 37:12.8, or 5:57 pace]

I don't have too much to say other than I had a plan that I thought would work... AND IT DID. I was really happy with this race. I couldn't have done much more: yes, that slow mile 3 stands out, but had I given much more there, I would have given a lot back later in the race. My last 5 half-mile splits were sub-3, which felt great! (I mean, it hurt, but it also felt great.) This was a solid effort and a solid race!

My Garmin pace map below looks better than last year's! You can see that splits 4-7 were slower (dark blue up the hill just before split 7), then I used the downhill between 7 and 8, and then there was a fair amount of yellow and orange heading south towards the finish:

Pace shows the uphill and downhill near the middle, and then a faster last 2+ miles!

Pre-race twitter convo with old-school runner Steve Q.
2023 Steve S is doing well compared to 2012 Steve S.

I was part way through the finisher's chute when I thought "Oh, is Vicki around here? I need my phone so I can go find my boys!" And I looked up and Vicki was right there smiling at me. THANKS VICKI! I took my phone and my finish line goodies, and made my way back down the race course looking for my boys in the 5K.

CHECK OUT SATURDAY'S POST to see my boys finishing their races!!!

The boys are already planning their next 5K! My wife had to work this past weekend, but she was happy to get photos and updates from her boys having a good morning at the races!

My wife saw this photo and said "That's a great photo
of the 5 of you: Henry, Charlie, you, and your 2 nipples!"

I mean... it was 40 degrees and I was in a tank top. Sooooooooorry! :)

Back with more race photos as they come in. Just happy to have had a decent 10K!


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