Chisago Lakes Triathlon!

>> Sunday, July 30, 2006

I’m coming to you live from 99 degree Chisago City, just off choppy Chisago Lake. I finished a modified Sprint distance triathlon a few hours ago (.25 mile swim, 20.6 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run [it was supposed to be a 15 mile bike, but it had to be lengthened due to road construction]), and Sarah is currently out on the run leg of her half Ironman triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). So I have a few minutes to get you up to date on the action that has taken place today.

We scoped out the lake last night during race packet pick-up. The lake was HOT. I could have brought soap and shampoo and had a bath. It was a big lake, but not so huge that it was scary. We left the lake, stopped by a bakery and antique store, and headed home for a good nights sleep.

The alarm went off at 3:55 am, and we were up and at ‘em. We loaded the car, I took care of the bikes (that’s always my job), and we were on the road at 4:40 am. KDWB was playing slightly older songs, which never happens. They usually over-play the 6 most current songs, and won’t touch anything that is more than 3 weeks old. So when Kanye West came on with “Gold Digger,” I was ecstatic. I have never, repeat NEVER, had a bad day once I’ve heard that song. So I knew everything was going to be all right today. And it was.

We unloaded our stuff and got our transition areas set (I was #678, and Sarah was #168). The lake was a little choppy, but it wasn’t horrible. The breeze was causing some waves, but the wind seemed like it would be more damaging on the bike than in the water.

The water as it got worse later in the day

The air was warm, but not as hot as it was for my last triathlon. I was ready with my patented hydration system:

For only 3 easy payments of $19.95,
you can learn the secrets of the patented
“Stenzel Hydration System™”.
But seriously, these are all mine.
I drink like a camel and piss like a racehorse.

I hopped into the water and said “Hello” to the lake with a nice little pee. I was ready to swim, although I’m not a good swimmer. I went off in wave 14, and was kicked in the jaw on the left side of my face about 2 minutes later. This concerned me, because I’m not a good swimmer. I turned around at the yellow buoys and headed back to shore. It was still going to take me a while because (have I mentioned) I’m not a good swimmer. I ended up finishing the swim in 11 minutes, 19 seconds. Then I headed up quite a nice hill to the transition area.

I grabbed my bike and bike paraphernalia, and away I went. It was a more friendly bike ride than the Lifetime Fitness triathlon 2 weeks ago. It was windy, and getting windier. My first 10 miles I completed in 28 minutes and 47 seconds, which averages almost 21 mph. I was going to try to finish as fast as I could – hopefully as close to 1 hour as possible for the bike. That would be nice and speedy. But then we turned into the wind, and everything slowed down a little. No worries.

I got in from the bike, threw on my running shoes, and headed out onto the run. I really wanted to try to go out harder on the run and keep it up the whole way through. I think I succeeded! I did my first mile in 6 minutes and 58 seconds. I haven’t gone out that fast in years! This was my fastest 5k since cross-country in high school (and that’s including 5k races, not just the 5k split in a triathlon). I may be slow, but I’m a proud, slow man!

Probably the best thing about today’s triathlon was the snacks at the end. The Apple Duathlon earlier this year had some GREAT pizza waiting at the finish. Today, they had Swedish pancakes, Swedish Fish, and all the other usuals, which gave the Apple Duathlon a run for its money.


Well, I should put my computer down and wait for Sarah to come in and cheer her on. You can check out her rundown of today’s events on her blog. All of the sweet, sweet pictures of her on her blog are courtesy of yours truly.

• Swim: (0.25 miles) 11:19
• T1: 3:05
• Bike (20.6 miles) 1:04:24
• T2: 0:59
• Run (3.1 miles) 22:05
Total = 1:41:53

• Averaged over 19 mph on the bike (again)
• Averaged around 7:10 pace on the run (and shaved over 1 minute off the run from LTF!)
• Finished 15 out of 39 in age group
• Finished 93 out of 311 in male finishers
• Finished 115 out of about 668 overall

More photos to come once I get the official race photos! Stay tuned! And way to rock the half IM, Sarah!! I’m so proud of you!!

p.s. We’re home now. Sarah finished her half IM in just over 7 hours. She’s pretty much the biggest rockstar I know. I used to know Tommy Lee, but we had a falling-out, so now Sarah’s the #1 rockstar in my life! This was her first triathlon of this distance! Check out what she has to say about it on her blog. Sarah and I just finished up a nice nap (no sex, just napping. Stupid sore muscles from the triathlon – ruining my sex life). The news said that it was 99 degrees today (that’s 110 with heat index) with 20 mile-per-hour winds. Not as bad as 101 degrees with no wind I guess! What a great day!


Sunburn #4 of 2006

>> Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I use sunscreen! SPF 30 even! What the hell!

I spent the day giving my younger cousins wild jet-ski rides (and riding with them on much less wild rides), and now I have a perfect lifejacket burn. And my cheeks make it look as if I've been drinking. Cherry red. Great.

Life Jacket Burn 06

Sprint triathlon coming up this weekend! And Sarah is doing a half Ironman! Stay tuned for results. Wish me luck!


More Photos from the LTF Triathlon

>> Monday, July 24, 2006

Here are some of the official photographs I just received from the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon back on July 15. If you click here, you can purchase larger versions for your walls, but you’d also probably be considered a stalker.

Next Sunday (in just under a week) I’m doing a sprint distance triathlon and Sarah is doing a half IM triathlon. Check back for an update on how all that goes. Thanks! Have a great week!


THE BIG DAY: My first Olympic Distance Triathlon

>> Monday, July 17, 2006

I awoke, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, at 4:45 am, well before my alarm. I got up and started to load the car. I woke Sarah up around 5:30, and she TRIED to get Anne moving and ready to go. Anne can be like that. We got going a little late, but we were going to be just fine.

Sarah and Anne dropped me off and I got body-marked, picked up my chip, and got it activated. I found my spot in the transition area and got all set up.

All my stuff

Unofficial body marking.
This actually stayed on through the run,
and led to many nice people shouting "Go Steve!"

In the transition area, I searched out #546, or XT4. He is the author of the first blog that Sarah became addicted to. I found him, and I introduced myself as Steve. He was excited: “Oh Steve! It’s great to meet you!” I told him he didn’t know me and must have me confused with someone else. XT4 said, “No, I know you. You’re Mr. SLS!” He knew me from Sarah’s blog. This blogging stuff is weird. XT4 is a great guy. Good luck at Ironman WI!

So at 7:45, it was hot. At that point, 15 minutes before the elite start, the announcer came over the P.A. and said that the Olympic distance course was going to be shortened due to the heat. (except for the elites): the same 0.9 mile swim, 22 mile bike instead of 25, and 3.1 mile run instead of 6.2 miles. And then, during the National Anthem, the mic cut out and we couldn’t hear the end. My theory was that they had to shorten the Anthem due to the heat. I was REALLY looking forward to doing my first official Olympic distance triathlon, but it was probably for the better that it was shortened.

I was most nervous for the swim. I had never done anything like that before, and I knew there was no possible way for me to swim in a straight line (don't mock me, I just can't do it!). I did NOT know how it would go.

Well, I made it though the swim OK, but I was all over the flipping place. Below is a map of the swim with how the athletes are supposed to go, along with a line of what I actually did. (Note the 2 times that I almost washed ashore on the far shore.)

Out of the water (upright!)

The hardest, newest-to-me, scariest, most-possibility-of-dying part of the tri was over! On to the bike. I got through the transition area (a bit slowly, but hey, this is all new to me), and I was off on the bike. There were some great volunteers and homeowners along the course. At mile 14, there was a sprinkler that was pointed out into the street for the bikers if they wanted it. I wanted it, and boy it was sweet! Around mile 17, there was a volunteer with a kinked hose in his hand that would scream as bikers approached “YOU WANT SOME?” I nodded with massive head movements. He unkinked the hose, and he nailed me right it the head. It was heaven! A few miles later, there was the most energetic volunteer on a corner waving his hat in the air while jumping up and down screaming, “YOU GUYS ROCK! WHOOO! YOU CAN DO IT!” I actually started laughing. I was overheated, my legs were burning, I needed more Gatorade, but this great fella made me laugh.

Sarah, don't read this following part:
I spent about 20 miles of the bike close behind this woman with INCREDIBLE legs! She had short little tri-shorts on, and the most perfect legs ever. Talk about inspiration! Holy crap! When I passed her on the run, I was tempted to thank her for having such great legs, but I figured that'd be inappropriate.

OK Sarah, it's safe for you to continue reading.

I don’t have any photos of me on the bike, because Anne said I was going too fast and she didn’t have time to react once she saw me. I guess I can’t complain about that!

I got back into the transition area, and got out to the run. The run was WARM, but the people who planned this were ready. There were water stops all over. Half way in, there were fireman spraying a hose over the run. It was amazing! I ran through and then screamed my thanks to the fireman.

Finishing the run

I somehow rocked the run. I was only passed by one guy and I passed all kinds of people. I did not expect that! I started cramping up in the last half mile from the heat, but it was great overall. At the end of the race, it was 98 degrees, and an hour or two later, the day topped out at 101 degrees! What a great day for my first tri!

• Swim: (0.93 miles) 42:25
• T1: 3:00
• Bike (22 miles) 1:07:29
• T2: 2:24
• Run (3.1 miles) 23:14
Total = 2:18:32

• Averaged over 19 mph on the bike
• Averaged around 7:30 pace on the run (and somehow did the last 1.1 miles in 7:20!)
• Finished 54 out of 97 in age group
• Finished 545 out of 1200(?) overall
• Can’t wait to do it again!

More photos to come once I get the official race photos! Stay tuned! And special thanks to Sarah and Anne for being my support team. You 2 rock! Thanks for the photos Anne!


1 Day to Go: The Heat is On...

>> Friday, July 14, 2006

...and so is the Triathlon! As far as anyone knows, the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon tomorrow is going to happen in the 100+ heat. I can’t wait! I picked up my race packet today, and I am number 1332. In case you’re coming to cheer me on, my approximate start time is 9:29:09 am (that’s pretty specific for being “approximate”). Wish me luck! Check back Sunday or Monday for a recap of Saturdays events.


Have You Ever?...(Chapstick Story)

>> Wednesday, July 12, 2006

So I headed off to Lake Nokomis this afternoon for my last open water swim before my Tri this weekend. It was a pretty hot afternoon, the sun was high, and the sky was clear. I realized once I got there that I didn’t have any sunscreen, and I was afraid to burn the sensitive parts of my body. So I grabbed my “Chapstick Lip-Balm with SPF 15.” I wasn’t really worried about my face, but I did NOT want to burn my nip-nips. So....I slathered up my nipples with Chapstick. Yes I did. There's nothing like the way lake water runs off lubed-up nip-nips. Keep that in mind the next time you ask to borrow my lip balm.



T-Minus 4 Days to the HOT Triathlon

>> Tuesday, July 11, 2006

All of the local TV stations are telling me that it will be 99 – 101 degrees on Saturday! Who ordered that? I sure didn’t! I didn’t sign up to do a triathlon in Central America! This is Minneapolis, for Pete’s sake! This is crazy! The Cities haven’t hit 100 degrees since 1995, and now the first 100+ day since then plans on stopping by as I do my first triathlon? Crap, I’m going to die.

Here are my predictions for the Triathlon (these are for perfect conditions, meaning 65 degrees and calm [which won't happen]):

What would
be super:

What I'm
hoping for:

What would be
Swim: 32 minsSwim: 42 minsSwim: 52 mins
Trans 1: 1.5 minsTrans 1: 2.5 minsTrans 1: 3.5 mins
Bike: 1 hr 16 minsBike: 1 hr 25 minsBike: 1 hr 32 mins
Trans 2: 1 minTrans 2: 2 minsTrans 2: 3 mins
Run: 49 minsRun: 55 minsRun: 62 mins
2 hrs 39.5 mins
3 hrs 6.5 mins
3 hrs 32.5 mins

But it’s supposed to be hot, so I guess we’ll see how I do. Stupid weather - what have you ever done for me?

Notes-to-self about the race:

• Just get through the swim. I won’t be fast, but that’s fine. I need to stay calm and not overdo it.
• DO NOT go out too fast in the bike. Stay easy and smooth for the first 3 miles, and then rock it from mile 11-21. Roll in at the end and get ready to run.
• Simply get through the run. Simple as that.


Abuelos for All!

>> Monday, July 10, 2006

Saturday night in Madison, after everyone finished their ride, a few of us went out to eat. Here we all are after being stuffed with delicious Mexican food. Little Elizabeth won the award for being able to stuff herself with the most Mexican goodness. That woman can pack it away!

From left to right: TriSaraTops, Kris (Robby B’s wife), Robby B, Elizabeth, Iron Wil, and Sarah (she’s with me). I’m the big ugly one in the middle. What a great time!

On an athletic note, I did a nice swim this morning before work. I altered my stroke a little to reflect what Robby B was telling us while at the restaurant. (Note: Rob is an INSANELY talented swimmer. He did his 2.5 mile IM swim in 53 minutes! I hope to do my 0.9 mile swim in 40 minutes. It's just not fair! So stinkin slow!)

I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT IT’S 5 DAYS UNTIL MY TRIATHLON!! Holy Freakin Lord! (That “Freakin” is dedicated to TriSaraTops and Elizabeth)


Running Poem (Not for the Faint-Hearted)

>> Saturday, July 08, 2006

(Note: every so often, I write a poem for Sarah and her friends to laugh at. It usually is quite gross and bit self-deprecating. So I figured that the following “incident” would work perfectly as my first posted poem. It is all absolutely true. Enjoy.)

The following poem is a true story,
and I apologize if it gets a little gory.

I was happily into my 6.2 mile run.
I was having a good time; it was fast and it was fun.

At about mile 3, my stomach gave a twitch.
I shrugged it off; it was just a minor glitch.

Before mile 4, the little pain was back.
“Is this going to be a problem?” I thought as I clenched my crack.

The pain kept getting much worse,
And I was afraid that I was going to burst.

A few blocks from home, I started flipping through my keys.
I needed to get into the house fast and with great ease.

I picked up the pace; I was running with all I got!
It was either get home now, or duck into the bushes and cop a squat!

I was running so fast that I actually wheezed.
I didn’t think I was going to make it; my butt cheeks were squeezed!

Two blocks from home, my stomach really began to hurt.
And down my leg, I nearly felt a little squirt.

I got to the house just in the nick of time.
What I was about to do could probably be considered a crime.

Sprinting to the bathroom, I almost dropped to a knee.
I shouted to Sarah as I slammed the bathroom door, “Don’t stop loving me!!”

I had made it in time! I had made my goal!
And I concentrated hard as not to look down into the bowl. (gross)

It was a sad, sad sight: I had horrendous squirts!
It felt like the cast of Sesame Street was parading out of my ass, complete with Ernies and Berts.

What happened in there I can only describe as a gush.
It was such an incident that it called for a courtesy flush.

Had Sarah heard what just happened in the bathroom?
If she had, she is now reconsidering ever taking me as her groom!

But her love is unconditional, like the love a child has for her doll;
Outside the bathroom door sat a brand new bottle of Pepto Bismol.

The significance of this story holds true, whether near or far;
The moral being, “Ten minutes before a fast run, DO NOT eat a Klondike Bar!”

Editor's note: People keep asking, but it is COMPLETELY TRUE. I sprinted to the bathroom while shouting, "Don't stop loving me" to Sarah. Good times.


Sarah’s Wisconsin Ride

So Sarah is out riding the Wisconsin Ironman course with her new buddies that she met on the internet. It's not as weird as it sounds - this probably won't end in a Dateline special. Our new friends from the web are Simply Stu, Wil, Rob, TriSaraTops, and Elizabeth among others (if I've forgotten you, send me a comment and I'll get you in here). As she’s riding 70 miles of the INSANELY HILLY course, I’m here in our hotel room hastily shoveling Arby’s curly fries into my mouth. Great training day for me! Props to all the riders out there!!

(Sarah's on the far left)


Second Open Water Swim + Sunburn =
4th of July Weekend

>> Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sarah and I are staying with some friends in their cabin in Wisconsin this weekend. On our way here, the last 3 “towns” we drove through were unincorporated. We are officially in the middle of Po-dunk-ville, USA.

I tried to go for a swim in weedy, muskrat-ridden Trade Lake this morning, but it didn’t go well. It was windy, and the waves almost beat me. I didn’t swim far, but at least I’m getting a little better at swimming in a straight line. Shut up, it’s harder than it seems.

I got a little bit more of a workout when Sarah K, Trevor, Maddy, Jess, Al, Sarah L, and myself went out on the boat. We dropped anchor and just sat in the 12-foot water. I was the only one without a life jacket on, so I treaded water for 20-30 minutes (is “treaded” correct? It seems incorrect.). That at least counts for a little something.

The next morning, I went for a 7.5 mile run around said lake, and I thought it was too early to get burned. Wrong again, Steve. Happy 4th of July! And remember, sparklers are dangerous too!

Side A

Side B



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