Lake Marion Triathlon Race Report

>> Monday, August 19, 2013

Sunday morning, we woke Henry up and headed down to Lakeville for the Lake Marion Triathlon. I was signed up for the sprint, and Matt and Angela were signed up for their first Olympic Distance triathlon! As I set up my spot in transition, Pharmie fed Henry breakfast:

My bike (Goldilocks) racked next to Matt and Angela's bikes.

I love a transition with a wide aisle!!

Harvey, local elite Cathy, and me in the port-potty line.
Cathy went on to pick up her 64th win (or something in the 60s) in the Oly in 2:15!

We got everything set up, went down to the water's edge, listened to the National Anthem, and we were ready to race!

Me, Matt, and Angela. Their Oly waves went off before my sprint wave, so I wasn't "dressed" yet.

Matt ready to go!!

Angela nervously waiting her start!

Henry and I heading to the slides to play for the 20 minutes between Oly and Sprint waves.

Lined up and ready to go a bit later!


The night before the race, I wrote down my goals for myself just so I could really know what I wanted to do. This wasn't a major "A race" for me (probably a "B race" like Waseca was), but I DID want to race hard, so I figured I'd try writing down my goals to help get them in my head before the race. Below is what I wrote down for each area in bold and italics.

400 meter swim. GOALS: Do this JUST like the swim at the Waseca Triathlon a few weeks ago - pick a good starting spot (not with the super fast swimmers), stay just a little to the outside in the clear water, pay attention to your form (don't over-rotate for air), "sight" as little as possible, and keep it at a STRONG pace throughout.

I started in a great spot, and was really swimming strong to the first buoy. I ran into someone hard at the first turn, so I popped up for a second to get my bearings. I noticed that I was the 5th or 6th "red hat" from my wave around that first buoy! SWEET! I had to keep this up.

Near the middle of the swim, we started catching swimmers from the wave before us (which was the first sprint wave), so my swimming became a bit more sporadic. It wasn't my BEST swim, but it was pretty decent. I set my Garmin to take 100 yard splits for the first time ever, and I swam 1:24, 1:50, 2:08, and 1:50. That one over 2:00 was ugly - it was the final, crowded turn.

I didn't know it at the time, but I ran out of the water right behind race buddy Chris H:

Me to the left, Chris in the middle, and a line of swimmers in the lake to the right.

A "relay swimmer" went ROCKETING past me!

A shot from Kerry Yndestad showing part of the long run up to transition.
(I was hoping the long run would help "settle" my dizziness issues I usually have in T1.)

Matt running out. He just finished his first Oly swim!

Angela finding the sand...

...and running into T1.

T1. GOALS: Do this NOTHING LIKE the Waseca Triathlon!! That was where you struggled to put on a long sleeve shirt and had a T1 time about twice (yes, literally TWICE) as long as the people who finished near you! Keep this CLEAN and FAST. It's gonna be warm, so you don't need to put on anything.

My transition was better at this race. Still not "speedy," but better. I was off on the bike.

17 mile bike. GOALS: Forget that it's the longest distance that you're doing on a bike in a race this year. Start strong, and keep picking it up (no need to hammer TOO hard right away and build up lots of lactic acid early on). Take a gel. Keep sipping Gatorade. This is where you'll gain or lose the most time, so don't be a pansy here. PUSH! (Oh, and see if your official mph average can be better than Matt's - he's the better biker, but he's going 8 miles farther. Use that thought to push you!)

I actually started off pretty fast. Once we got out of town heading south, I THOUGHT we were going into a slight breeze, but I couldn't tell. I watched my average slowly drop. There were some hills at the middle, and again near the end, but I stayed in my big chainring the entire time.

When the sun was at my back, I saw a rider's shadow coming up on me, and then I saw their hand come out for a slap on my bum. It was Harvey (seen in the porta-potty line photo). I first thought "Oh, I'll catch him back on the run," but then I thought "He probably started 3 minutes behind me, and I probably can't catch him AND put 3 minutes between us." (He teased me pre-race that he can FINALLY beat me at a triathlon because he's used to racing a lot of MDRA road races with me where I can beat him.)

When we turned north to head back into Lakeville, I watched my speed climb. There WAS a bit of a breeze out there, and now we had it at our back. Chris H (seen in the "running out of the water" photo) passed me near the end, and I passed him back a few minutes later. I really only got passed by 3 or 4 people.

I checked my overall average every 4 miles (about every 1/4 of the ride), and it tells the story of the slight wind out there:

- 21.9 mph
- 20.6 mph
- 21.4 mph
- 21.8 mph

We had a calmer day for this race 2 years ago, and I did GREAT on the bike back then, so I was thrilled to have biked just a bit faster this year!!

Nearing the end of the bike. (Photo from Kerry Yndestad.)

This is Steve, who I met at my practice swim at Lake Marion 2 days pre-race. He was the biker
for a relay, and his 12-yr-old son was the runner, and their co-ed team was 11 minutes
faster than ANY of the 20 other teams! (Including all of the "all male" teams!)

Pharmie spotted me rolling into T2.

T2. GOALS: Nothing out of the normal. Change your shoes and get out there. Ten seconds saved here is 10 seconds closer you'll be to catching someone on the run!

It went as planned. I was out quick.

5K run. GOALS: Hammer from the start! Set your Garmin to take 0.5 mile splits so you're ALWAYS looking at it and trying to keep the 7 splits FAST! You did a 18:23 2 years ago at this race (5:56 pace)... can you do that today?

Is that chair coming on to me?...

Big ole' heel-strike.

I went storming out HARD. My first half-mile split was 2:56. I was ready to really suffer. I saw Harvey up there about 2-3 blocks, and I was pretty sure I could get him in the next mile or so. He helped pull me up the hill.

Long gentle (brutal) uphill from around 0.5 - mile 1.1.

I hit the first mile in 6:05. We got up that hill, went down a little hill, and then had a quick and NASTY hill to mark the turn-around. Here, try to spot where the nasty turn-around hill was on my Garmin pace data:


I passed Harvey with a gentle ass-slap before mile 2. My mile 2 split was 6:05 (3:05 and 3:00). I was REALLY "red-lining" on the run! I was very happy with my effort level. I was always slowly picking off other runners. We hit the flat neighborhood section with about a half mile left, and I was running all out.

Kerry's photo of his wife's bum around that part of the run.

I saw 2 more guys in front of me. I easily passed one with about a 1/4 mile to go, but I was gaining on the other one much slower. As I neared the other runner, I saw he was in my age group!!! I was 90% sure that I had him by this point. Pharmie spotted me in the distance as I was closing in:

I got RIGHT behind him off his left shoulder, and then he "fought back" and pulled away a bit before this final turn:

Pharmie told me that she KNEW I was going to catch him, but then she saw his kick. Yeah, he HAD one. And I didn't. I raced that 5K sooooo well, but that meant I had nothing for a final kick. He pulled away, and JUST LIKE AT WASECA A FEW WEEKS AGO, I finished a few seconds behind 1st in my age group.

I put up a fight, though: my final mile was 5:42 (2:52 and 2:50). I hit the line pretty thrilled with my overall effort level, and happy with my race.

Steve Stenzel, St. Paul, MN, 32M, #467

• 1/4 MILE SWIM: 7:15 (1:39 pace), 26th overall, 1st in age group
• T1: 2:02, 21st overall
• 17.3 MILE BIKE: 48:01 (21.6 mph), 17th overall, 3rd in age group
• T2: 0:39, T-9th overall
• 5K RUN: 18:30 (5:58 pace), 3rd overall, 1st in age group

TOTAL: 1:16:25

7th out of 282 overall
2nd out of 16 in 30-34 age group


• First in my age group in the swim? There sure must be a lot of slow swimmers in Lakeville.

• I'm really happy with my effort level on the bike. I'm still not that fast on the bike, but I pushed the pace a bit, and I survived. It's no surprise that I do better with a headwind on the way out. And it's strange for me to think that I just did an 11-mile time trial 3 weeks ago where my Garmin had me at 22.7 mph. How can I go 6 miles more while "saving" my legs for the run and only lose 1 mph? I don't understand me / biking / life / women. (Oh, and I was able to out-split Matt according to the results by 0.6 mph: 21.6 vs 21.0 mph.)

• I'm also really happy with my run. It was 7 seconds slower than 2 years ago, but I really got myself up to speed and suffered through ALL of it. And having my Garmin take 0.5 mile splits was a great idea (but I wouldn't want to do it during an Oly - THAT would get depressing).

• I've never done the same race and had such similar splits all-around. I raced 2 different Olys in 2009 where I was only 6 seconds apart, and I had the exact same finishing time 2 years in a row at the Waseca Triathlon, but my splits were all quite different at those races. Comparing this race to when I did it in 2011, I was 24 seconds SLOWER in the swim this year, 14 seconds FASTER in T1, 30 seconds FASTER on the bike, 17 seconds FASTER in T2, and 7 seconds SLOWER in the run. That all adds up to an 28 second race PR. And a lot of consistency.

• I feel much better about losing my age group by 2 seconds in this race than I did at the Waseca Triathlon a few weeks back. If you'll remember, at that race I had a HORRIBLE T1 and then didn't feel great on the bike. I could have EASILY made up those 3 seconds to take first in my AG. But at this race, I did nearly everything right, so it's not as "sour" to get 2nd in my AG by 2 seconds. I'll take it!!

Harvey wanted a cheesy photo of me in my Age Group medal. Done.

Chris H with his AG medal, Cathy with her 1st place trophy, and Harvey with his 3rd place trophy.
Harvey finished just about a minute behind me, but he started 3 minutes behind me.

Back with more photos of Matt and Angela finishing their first Olympic Distance Triathlon shortly! (And some photos of Henry meeting dozens of dogs at the park while cheering.)

- CLICK HERE for part 2 of the race report (Matt and Angela finishing).
- CLICK HERE for an Examiner article about the race along with more photos.


SteveQ 10:38 AM, August 20, 2013  

Since you posted one blurry photo - I got the camera back I lost last year and have bad, blurry photos of you at the Rice Street Mile, if you want them.

Werner 12:10 PM, August 20, 2013  

Saw your comment about being dizzy post swim. I've found that ear plugs (just the simple wax ones) fix this issue. It's usually just the cold water (colders seems to make it worse) in your ears that throws off your balance.

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