RACE REPORT: 2024 Get in Gear 10K

>> Tuesday, April 30, 2024

I posted about my boys and how they did the 5K at this race, but now it's time for my 10K race report! I was coming off a high from my 5 mile PR from a few weeks prior, but I wasn't sure I could have 2 great races in a row. In a pre-race post about my goals, I noted I had a chance a breaking my 36:46 10K PR from 15 years ago, so I'd be gunning for that.

I made it easy in my mind:

I'd try to run 5:50 miles which is dropping 0:10 from 6:00 pace, so my "goal pace" would be 5:50 at mile 1, 11:40 at mile 2, 17:30 at mile 3, etc. (easy math for me to do mid-race), which would put me at 35:00 at mile 6. Then if I had an extra 1:20 for the last 0.2 miles (I ran 1:19 last year), that would put me at 36:20, or well under my PR of 36:46. I had those numbers in my head so I could see how close to them I could get!

My goal wasn't EXACTLY 36:20, but just to see how close to that I could get knowing my PR is 36:46.

I was up around 6 a.m. and taking care of business in the basement bathroom:

My YWCA team is now sponsored by Fleet Feet, so here's an awkward selfie
with my new jersey!! (It decently matches my pink shorts!)

Good news to get at 6:17 a.m.! The rain had stopped! No lightning! Race is on!

New team photo in new jerseys!

I chatted with a teenage kid in the starting area, and we lined up and surged forward before the gun. Soon we were running.

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

Screenshot of TC in Motion video, showing me near the right.

Next to the guy in the red shorts.

I jumped around a few people, and tried to settle in without going too crazy. I knew I was hoping to average 2:55 half-miles, so I was pretty happy to see 2:52 tick over for my first half mile. Around that point, I saw a team jersey in front of me! I haven't met some of my new teammates, and I've been used to being the fastest on my team. My initial reaction was HAPPINESS to have someone around my speed! I slowly worked my way up to him and said "Hi teammate!" We chatted for a moment between breaths, and we noted racing similarly: starting a bit easier and building towards the finish.

• MILE 1: 5:53.5 (2:52 + 3:00).

We ran side-by-side for a while, and then I jumped in front of him at the water stop around mile 1.5 to grab a sip. Only I got "flavored drink" instead of water. Dang. That was a last I saw my teammate, and I was hoping he wouldn't be falling too far back.

After the race thinned out a bit, I started running really good tangents. This race is on a WINDING road, so I tried to be mindful of taking the shortest routes.

• MILE 2: 5:46.9 (2:56 + 2:50).

I was thrilled hitting my mile 2 split as I was at 11:40 - PERFECTLY on my PR pace of 5:50/mile! But I wasn't celebrating yet - it had pretty much only been downhill, and I had 3 noticeable hills coming up. Two miles into a 6.2 mile race doesn't mean ANYTHING.

We headed across the Lake Street Bridge, and I came upon a walking Brian D. He started running with me again. "Come on, Brian!" We spotted a bald eagle soaring over Town and Country Club over St. Paul, and I noted that's always good luck for me. "You know what's good luck for me?" Brian asked. "Seeing the finish line!" I laughed and ran off.

• MILE 3: 5:57.7 (2:59 + 2:58).

I'd given a little more time back in mile 3, but my 5K split was decent: 18:25. I was still HOPING to negative split this 2nd half, and perfectly even halves would have me finishing at 36:50, or just 4 seconds slower than my PR. I was sticking to the plan, but would the plan work?!?!?

Right after the 5K split was the hairpin climb up to St. Thomas. I ran up that decently, and then caught a few people on the far side before coming down to the end of Summit Ave. My mile 4 splits showed the climb in the first half, and then a faster downhill half mile:

• MILE 4: 5:53.9 (3:03 + 2:50).

The next few miles were a blur. And they were a little lonely. They felt like the 5 mile race a few weeks ago where I was just always a block behind the leader - I didn't feel anyone behind me (I never looked back), and the pack in front of me was always just out of reach. I ran a good 1.5 miles without passing anyone and without anyone passing me.

• MILE 5: 5:45.9 (2:51 + 2:54).

I missed seeing the 2:54 split because I was running through a LIVELY aid station! That was the only one where I didn't grab a sip of water. The next half mile (mile 5.5) was just on the start of the Ford Bridge, and saw that I was at 32:15 cumulatively... and 32:05 would have been my "perfect" 5:50 PR pace. So I was still within a cushion to make the PR happen! I was HURTING across that bridge!!

My stride and form were all over the place. I was hurting and working hard. I was pretty sure I'd be sub-36:46, but nothing was guaranteed yet. I ran down the hill to the mile 6 marker and tried to maintain some speed while turning the corner.

• MILE 6: 5:52.0 (2:57 + 2:54).

I was running this race pretty well! I FELT like my times should be dropping more, but they weren't, so I was being worked over! I didn't feel that fast running to the line, but I gave it all I could.

• FINAL 0.2: 1:22.9 (0.24 on my Garmin).

Coming to the finish with no one immediately in front of me.


Final surge, ready to hit my watch.


Steve Stenzel, 43, M, St. Paul

5:53 pace
77% age graded

58 out of 1361 overall
56 out of 674 males
5 out of 86 in the M40-44 age group

18:25 first 5K, 18:08 final 5K.

- Start to 1 mile: I passed 38 runners and was passed by 4.
- 1 mile to 5K: I passed 13 runners and was passed by 0.
- 5K to finish: I passed 8 runners and was passed by 0.

[Garmin: 36:32.7 for 6.24 miles, 5:51.39/mile]


• I HIT MY PR!! I had 0:13 to spare! My "short" PR is 2018 Minneapolis Halloween 10K in 36:30, but that should have been more like 37:00 if it was the proper length. I've never said 36:30 was my 10K PR without adding "...but it was a short course... my real PR is 36:46." And that 36:46 was from 15 years ago and was MOST LIKELY short. My "true" PR was 0:01 slower from 12 years ago from Get in Gear in 36:47. But now it's 36:33!

• I've now had 4 different 10Ks under 37:00, but this was my first ever with no splits over 6:00! Again, consistency has been so helpful in training AND racing. My 3 other sub-37 races (linked in the point above) ALL had 2 miles over 6:00. One of those 3 was with my Garmin with half-mile splits, and that one had 5 splits over 3:00, whereas this race only had 2 over 3:00.

• My new teammate was right on my tail! I finished, put my hands on my knees for a second, and then stood up only to find my teammate crossing the line behind me! (Turns out his name is Chris Mergens.) He said that I pulled away but then he just stuck with me about 0:10 behind! And looking at the results, that's what happened! We were side-by-side at mile 1, then he had dropped to 0:08 behind at the 5K timing mat, but then only finished 0:11 behind me! He hung with me! He had an 18:33 first 5K and 18:11 last 5K!

Here's a photo from my finish showed above, but this time
with an arrow showing Chris rounding that last corner!

• The last half of my race hurt, but I had some speed there! My pace map shows more ORANGE and RED after split 7 (mile 3.5) than my last few years at this race:

Close up: DYING at mile 5.5 looping up to the bridge and being slapped by the wind!

Pace (blue) and elevation (green).

I grabbed a few things in the finisher's chute, but should have been speedier. I got back to our tent, grabbed my phone, and jogged off to the finish line to find Henry. I didn't know it at the time, but I JUST missed him! He finished about 2 minutes faster than I thought he would have! See yesterday's post with more pics of my boys racing!

Teammate Tom at mile 6! The roads were wet enough to be a little slippery in spots.

My wife finishing up her 10K just after my boys finished their 5K!

First race day where we ALL raced!! Nice job, family!

Well, I'm super happy with my "2 for 2" for road race PRs in 2024 so far! This WON'T continue!! :) After my 5 mile PR from a few weeks ago, I had another post about why I think I'm running so fast right now, and all of those points still hold for this race. Hoping to keep up the speed and injury-prevention for as long as I can!

I'll be back with more photos from the race if I see any.


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