Brian Kraft 5K RACE REPORT: PRs All Around!

>> Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Henry and I finished the Brian Kraft 5K yesterday morning! It was a good day for us both!

We start off by watching the weather: at 6:20 a.m., it was saying we might get wet by the end of the race (that started at 8:30):

An hour later, the storms had moved up! Uh oh!
And they were entering the metro on radar!

Us 3 boys headed to the race. Charlie was just there to cheer, and Henry and I were going to race. Henry and I got in line for the potties as Charlie checked out Lake Nokomis:

Traditional pre-race shot.

Ready to race!

Henry and I headed 0.2 miles down the road to the start. This race is just over 1 lap around Lake Nokomis, so there's a small stretch we do twice. There was some confusion with the timer at the start, so we got underway about 2 minutes late.

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

Three screenshots from a video that MN Distance Elite posted.

450 people storming past!

Charlie was looking for me, but nearly missed me. I shouted HI just to make sure he saw me, and he snapped this 1 photo as I went past at the start:

My blue calf sleeve back there. Next to "former student Jeremy" if you're a long time blog reader!!

Henry and his race buddy from Get in Gear! With my teammate Jacob behind them!

One thing that slightly annoyed me was that a guy with a stroller popped in right next to me just a few minutes before the race started. I've done a lot of stroller racing, but at a FAST race like this, it doesn't seem like the best move just to squeeze in near the front moments before the race starts. All was well though, as his speed had him in the right spot. Here's a photo from race buddy Tom from around 1/2 mile in, and you can see me in the distance over the shoulder of the stroller runner:

A few secs later, running a good tangent to the inside!

Henry coming through a minute later!

Last year I noted having pretty specific "opening half mile" goals, but not this year (as I posted about over the weekend). I felt like I was moving pretty decently, and the 2:41 split showed that! I was going fast, and I was wondering if I could hold this. I was preparing myself to suffer.

MILE 1: 5:29.2 (2:41.4 and 2:47.8). "Well, that's UNDER my current PR pace... can I hold this?"

Last year at this race, the start of my 2nd mile was my slowest half mile split. I was sort of working to keep that from happening again this year. One guy passed me, and I worked to keep up with him as we were slowly passing others. It was looking like this would NOT be a slow split like last year! And sure enough, I was happy to see 2:42 show up on my watch, instead of 2:55 last year.

At 1.5 miles, I was at 8:11 total. Internal dialogue: "If I can hold this, that has me at 16:22 for 3.0 miles, which has me right around 17:00 for a 5K! My PR is 17:11! CAN THIS HAPPEN?!?!?"

MILE 2: 5:26.8 (2:42.4 and 2:44.4). "10:56 for 2 miles! I have a shot at being around 17 flat!"

Sort of OBVIOUSLY, this is where the race would be made. How much could I push here? How much pain could I put myself through? Would I slow up and have a final 6:00 mile? (Which would still put my around 17:30 which wouldn't suck!) Or could I hold on to a PR?

Mile 2-2.5 was a bit slower at 2:47, but I wasn't totally spent. I was still passing people occasionally, and no one had passed me since that guy around the 1 mile marker (who I think I passed back around this point). So I was still moving up and running strong!

I was trying not to glance at my watch to see how much farther I had to go. I was hurting. I ran back over the starting line, and scanned for the mile 3 marker a few hundred feet ahead. I was trying to hold on!

MILE 3: 5:30.3 (2:47.2 and 2:43.1). "I'm under 16:30 at mile 3! I'm pretty sure I've got this PR! GOOOOOO!!!!!"

Just after mile 3, me to the right, stroller Dad to far left.
(These photos from Tom R.)

Well past mile 3 for this guy to be checking his watch...

... still checking...

... finally confirming...

... and we ran off to the finish.

When I saw the clock in the distance at the finish line, it was still under 17:00. I watched it tick over, but knew I had a PR!

FINAL 0.1 to the finish: 0:38.0


Steve Stenzel, 43, M, St. Paul

5:30/mile pace
83 out of 456 overall
82 out of 275 men
11 out of 54 in the 40-49 male age group
82% age graded time

Start to finish:
I passed 17 people, and 11 people passed me.

[Garmin: 17:04.4 for 3.12 miles, 5:28.33/mile pace]


• PR BABY!!!! I was shooting for sub-17:30 like last year (when I ran 17:29), but I didn't really think I'd have sub-17:11 in me! Yes, I was aware that it was in the realm of possibilities, but to break a 14+ year old PR that I set in my 20s as a 43 year old man yesterday was NOT something I was expecting! When I set that PR years ago (before kids!), I thought that was that... that was my lifetime 5K PR. Over. Done. That was not something I was shooting for ever again. I felt like I had a chance at this race in 2012, but I ran a 17:23 (which was my previous B.K. course PR and previous 2nd fastest 5K). This was a treat!

• This was my 3rd running PR in my last 3 races this year! I set a 5 mile / 8K PR at the Spirit of White Bear Lake 5 Mile last month (best of 7), I set a 10K PR at Get in Gear 10K a few weeks ago (best of 12), and this was my 5K PR (best of about 30 not including high school, which would make it more like 45). I was NOT expecting to nab this PR this year... or ever again!

• I kept passing people SLOWLY after mile 1. That helped mentally. I was hurting, but I was still moving up compared to people around me. My results above show that I passed 17 people, and I bet about 7 of those were right away (people who lined up too close to the front [or I was too far back]), and about 10 were people I slowly picked off over the course of the race. And the majority of the 11 people who passed me were people who passed me within the first half mile - I wasn't being passed much at all after that.

• Here are my splits from the last 2 runnings of the Brian Kraft 5K. It shows my consistent splits last year (besides my slower 3rd split), and how this year was faster. Last year, 5 out of 6 splits were 2:45-2:50 with 1 being SLOWER; and this year, 2 were in that same range of 2:45-2:50 with 4 being FASTER:

• The light drizzle felt pretty good, but it led to just a LITTLE slipping. I tried to avoid painted stripes or other "smooth" spots on the road - the texture from patched "chipseal" parts of the road were places I aimed for.

• Charlie missed me at the finish, and he felt bad. I didn't care! I finished and then turned back and found him pretty quickly, and as I walked up behind him, he said "Oh shoot..." and hung his head. He was still looking for me on the course. I told him I was just happy that I ran so fast that he missed me! So then we waited just a few minutes for his brother...

• Henry set another PR after setting one last month at Get in Gear! He went running by me and Charlie just before 22:00 into the race, and we figured he could make it to the line before 22:50 (his old PR). He finished in 22:39 with a new PR!!

Charlie heading out to see Henry!

Running with his bro!

Sprinting for the finish together!

Henry's finishing next to the girl in light purple to the left (in front of
the guy in black) and the clock reads 22:43. I knew he had a PR!

We chatted with my team for a bit, and then walked back to our car. We stopped at Mel-O-Glaze bakery for donuts, and we saw a "Brian Kraft" filled long john:

Henry got one and loooooved it.

Got home just in time for it to start raining harder.

Henry fell asleep with Enid on the couch...

... and then kicked her off and covered up more.

Back with more photos shortly!


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