>> Sunday, July 13, 2008
Yesterday was the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon, and Pharmie and I both did the Olympic course. It was Pharmie’s third time doing this tri, and my second. It was TECHNICALLY my first Olympic triathlon, because 2 years ago when I competed in this race, it was 99 degrees and they shortened the bike and the run because of the heat. So it was going to be my first full Oly.
Before Race Day:
Pharmie, her sister Anne, and I all went to the race expo. On the way, we had to make a stop at a porn store and pick up a family-friendly blow-up doll (it’s a long story as to “why,” so I’ll just leave it at that). While we were there, we grabbed a free copy of “Midwest Nights.” It’s a magazine that highlights the best strippers from the local clubs. It was nasty. Then Anne read us all our “sex-o-scopes” (while making this “grossed out face”):
Then we stopped for a pre-race meal at Snuffy’s Malt Shop in our neighborhood. I had a huge bacon cheeseburger, fries, and we all split a malt.
Perfect pre-race food!!
It looks like I fed my Mogwai after midnight...
I had a crappy night of sleep. Pharmie and I were laying in bed, talking about our race goals before falling asleep, and that just made my mind race all night. I fell asleep around midnight, and I woke up at 3:30 before my alarm. Sweet. A solid 3.5 hours of sleep. I’m good to go.
We loaded up the car and got to the race. Here I am after unloading the car, getting ready to walk about 3/4 of a mile to the race:
It had been a long time since I had a good open water swim, so I didn’t know what I could do. I wasn’t going to push too hard in the swim, but I wasn’t going to just flop around until it was done either.
The swim at this tri is nice because one person goes out every 3 seconds - it’s individual starts, not massive wave starts. I found my spot in line (between 1215 and 1217) and worked my way to the water.
I took off nice and easy. I felt good. A few hundred meters into the swim, it got tougher. Here’s my problem: when I swim at the pool at the Y, I tend to pop out of the water for just an extra second and take an extra breath at either end of the pool. In open water, I wasn’t getting those extra breaths, and they were catching up to me. I knew this was going to be an issue. A little bit later (maybe 1/3 through the swim), I found my groove. Instead of breathing every 3 strokes as I swim in the pool, I did this: 3 strokes, breathe, 2 strokes, breathe, 3 strokes, breathe, etc, etc. Dropping a stroke every-other set was just what I needed. I had a system and was doing A-OK.
On the back part of the swim, I swam up on someones’ legs without knowing it. They kicked and I was cracked right under the chin. Not too big of a deal. The biggest issue was just after we had made our final turn back toward shore. A lady and I bumped pretty hard, and she kicked me in the face. My goggles shot off my eyes, but stayed on my head. I immediately shot up vertically in the water to reposition my goggles. As I shot up, my left calf CRAMPED UP LIKE A MOTHER! I don’t cramp up. I have never cramped up before: not swimming, not biking, not running, not masturbating. Never. It was a tight, zinging Charlie Horse. My left calf was completely tense, and it felt like a rock. I didn’t want to stop, so I kept swimming, but I couldn’t use my left leg. So I was kicking with my right while my left was just dragging there, along for the ride. I was swimming like a lame duck.
After about 60-90 seconds, it felt better, so I slowly starting kicking with both legs again. ZING! It cramped up tight and sore again! I immediately thought the worst: “My 2 big races for the year (Grandmas Marathon and the LTF Tri) I’m going to DNF! I’ll have dropped out of both!” I was not OK with that. So I kicked my way back to shore for the next 4-6 minutes without using my left leg at all.
When I hit the sand and stood up, it felt a little tight / sore / iffy. I didn’t know how it was going to act the rest of the day. Here’s a quick little video that Anne took of me running out of the water, acting very hesitant on that crappy leg:
The good news: my swim time was right about where I wanted it to be! Two years ago at this same event, my swim was over 42 minutes. Yesterday, it was under 32! That is an improvement!! (Still no speed demon.)
Swim: 0.93 miles (1.5K): 31:56
Pace: 2:07 / 100 m
I ran up the beach to the parking lot, I stripped my wetsuit (which was a struggle), I tried to get on my tight shirt while wet (which was a struggle), and off I went. It was NOT pretty. Long stinkin’ T1 time.
T1: Swim to bike: 4:26 (ouch)
Well, the bike wasn’t going to be my strongest suit. I’ve only gotten in a few good training rides this year, so I didn’t know what to expect. After about 5 miles, I had my computer show my average speed. I was at 19.7 mph. That was nice! Can I hold that? At about mile 12, it dropped to 19.6, but I got it back up to 19.7 again. A few miles later, when we were riding a little more into the wind, it dropped down to 19.6 to stay. I was OK with that.
My weird calf cramp from the swim wasn’t really being bothered, but it definitely never went away on the bike. It was always just in the back of my mind. It didn’t hurt much, but I didn’t know how well it would hold up on the run.
Here are a few photos that Anne, Borsch, and Steph took of my on the bike. They complained that I was too speedy, so they couldn’t get a good photo. Judge for yourself:
That’s my blue back and the tip of my helmet
Look FAR right. That’s my wheel, handlebar, and finger.
Finally a decent one, heading back to transition
Bike: 24.8 miles (40K): 1:16:19
Average Speed: 19.7 (according to my bike computer)
Rolling into the dismount area, I saw TacBoy as a volunteer. He was telling everyone where to dismount. I gave a big smiley, “HI THERE!” as I rolled by. He smiled: “Steve Stenzel!! Go Stenzel! Nice job!!!” He shouted at me as I was plugging my way into T2.
I ran my bike into transition, stripped the bike shorts, and put on the SHORT YELLOW SHORTS! Yes, they had to make another appearance. Once I was changed, I sat for an extra 30 seconds and stretched my calf. It was pretty nasty-tight from that weird incident in the water, but I had high hopes for it - I figured it wouldn’t give me much trouble on the run. Or, at least I HOPED it wouldn’t give me any trouble.
T2: Bike to run: 2:16
The first few steps of the run were a little hairy - my left calf was definitely tight. It felt like it was going to loosen up during the run, and it did. It was a little sore throughout, but it was OK.
I was on the run: my strongest event. And I was making it known that it was my strongest event. I was literally passing people left and right. I spent a lot of time jockeying for position in order to get around people. In the first loop (5K), I felt like I passed about 100 people, and I was only passed by 1 person. Sweet.
Mile 1: 6:40
Mile 2: 6:51
Mile 3: 6:46
My times were pretty consistent. I was starting to hurt a little. Things were getting ugly. I had to stop and walk for a few seconds during a water stop in mile 5. My spilt that mile was SUPER LONG, but talking with Pharmie later, it seemed like the “mile 5” marker was a little far - it made mile 5 long, and the final 1.2 miles a little short.
Mile 4: 6:52
Mile 5: 8:05 (long mile)
Mile 6 and the last 0.2: 7:12 (short mile)
I was hurting. But over the entire 10K, I only let 1 person pass me. And I was running the course with people who were doing a 5K run in the sprint course (only 1 lap around the lake). And none of them passed me. I had hoped to have had a faster run, but I guess I can’t really complain.
Run: 6.2 miles (10K): 42:34
Pace: 6:52 / mile
So here are the final numbers, along with how I placed:
• 0.93 Mile Swim: 31:56
• T1: 4:26
• 24.8 Mile Bike: 1:16:19
• T2: 2:16
• 6.2 Mile Run: 42:34
• Total: 2:37:33
Place: 26 out of 111 in Age Group
Overall Place: 231 out of 1148 Oly finishers
• PR in an Oly swim by over 10 minutes!
• Averaged 19.7 on the bike (fast for me!)
• Placed 5th in AG on the run (out of 111)!
• And 60th overall on the run (out of 1148)!
I’m really proud of those last 2 stats! As I mentioned before, I was hoping to run faster (sub 41 was my goal), but I guess I can’t complain about a run that was 5th in my AG and 60th overall! I’ll take it!
After I finished, I ran into Cathy Y. She finished first in the group of Amateur Elites (in 2:11)! Way to go Cathy! Shortly after, I found Anne and Steph (Borsch was out looking for me), and we waited for Pharmie to come in. Steph grabbed a photo of me all sweaty, looking like crap in the “bowl full of sunshine” (at least it was smooth, hairless crap):
Once she finished, we hung out in the finishers area for a while. She wasn’t feeling too swell for a few minutes, so we sat in the shade together.
A super big thanks to Anne, Borsch, and Steph for cheering us on yesterday! Thanks guys!
Remember to check back on Tuesday for the full story of my chest waxing. I still need to edit the video. And I’ll also put up some official photos from the LTF Tri as soon as they come rolling in (you’ll be able to see the “bowl full of sunshine” at work on the run course!). Thanks everyone!!
(p.s. My calf is quite sore and tight this morning. Do I heat it? Ice it? Massage it out? Go for a little walk? Stay off it all together? Stretch it? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!)