Race Recap: Samson Stomp 5k

It always seems like when I show up for a PRO team race, the temperatures are always extreme. Last year at the Cullen Run, we had an 8k in 8 degree weather. In July, the Firecracker 4 had temperatures in the 90s at race time. And this past Sunday, we had the Samson Stomp in 3 degree weather. Come on.

After the Milwaukee area saw about 5 inches of snow between Friday and Saturday, absurdly cold weather rolled in for Sunday and Monday.

But no January race in Wisconsin is going to be cancelled for cold. And the 9:30 start time at least gave the temperature some time to get above freezing.


I arrived at the zoo about 45 minutes before race time, found the rest of the team and grabbed my bib. After sitting inside for as long as possible, most of us journeyed out to do our warmups about 10-15 minutes before the gun.

I’d like to make a quick mention of the amazing job the Milwaukee County Zoo did of clearing the course. After snow and ice the previous two days, the course was in phenomenal condition for race day.

The gun went off and away we went on the Samson Stomp.

If you’ve never been to the Milwaukee County Zoo, it’s hillier than you might expect. Most of those hills came in the first mile, and a bit again in the third.

Even after warming up, I could tell my legs weren’t ready to be churning away. No sub 6 miles to start the 5k this week. The first mile went by overall smoothly as the pack started to thin out a bit. That mile felt like it took forever, but I came through in a solid 6:02.

image1 (1)
Yes, I did beat the shark

The second mile took us out into the parking lot of the Zoo. This was arguably the toughest part of the course. While flatter than the rest, this had more snow and wind than we had on zoo property. I was hoping to pick up on speed on the flat part of the course, but experienced the opposite hitting Mile 2 in a 6:25.

Mile 3 brought us back into the Zoo and predominantly ran over what we did in Mile 1. I could sense a runner in back of me, which turned out to be PRO Teammate Liz. Back in the Zoo grounds, I was able to pick the pace back up a little, coming through Mile 3 in a 6:12 before churning out that last .125.

image2 (2)
Trying to hold off Liz (I did)

Yes, I know I need to work on my consistency in the 5k.

While my finishing time was 19:37, a little slower than Run Into the New Year, I was very pleased with the effort on a day where conditions were less than ideal.

Also that time was good enough for a top 3 finish in my age group. Oh, and we owned the team competition.


As I’ve said a few times on the blog, I’ve got the Pettit Half coming up on Saturday. I’ll be rolling the dice a little on pace, which means either it’ll go really well, or the last few miles will be extremely painful. Or both.

What’s the coldest race you’ve ever run?

What races are coming up on your calendar?

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