Lifetime Fitness Olympic Triathlon Report

>> 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”):

Mind you, Anne is only 17. Pharmie’s a horrible sister for sneaking her into a sex shop. Her poor virgin eyes!

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!!

Once back at home, I popped all my chest zits from my chest wax (full story coming Tuesday). Then I shaved my legs and arms. Again, I’ll have all the photos posted on Tuesday, but here’s 1 little teaser. This is all of my (former) leg hair:

It looks like I fed my Mogwai after midnight...

Race Morning:

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:

We walked our stuff to transition, got body marked, had a good poop, and got all ready to go. Because we had a cool spring, the water was just under the cut off for wearing wetsuits. I wasn’t going to wear mine, but because of the herpes chest (see previous posts), I figured it’d be good to get it covered up. No need to scare any children. We put on our suits, got out of transition, watch the pros start (and finish the swim), and then we jump in the water to test it out. We both had a good lake pee. We were ready to go.

The Swim:

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

With a few miles left, I told myself to let my average drop down to 19.5 mph so my legs would be a little fresher for the run. I would be happy with that average. But now that the slight wind was at my back, I actually got my average back up to 19.7! I kept telling myself to take it easy, but I WAS taking it easy! And I was doing OK. So that’s where I finished the bike.

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):

Pharmie wasn’t too far away. She rocked the course and PRed at this race by 24 minutes! Way to go, Pharmie!!

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.

That was that. We grabbed our things and walked back to the car. We ran into Jumper next to our car, and chatted with him for a while.

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!)


Chad 8:38 AM, July 13, 2008  

Great race Steve. At least the calf didn't slow you down too much. I'd take a 42 minute 10k anyday!

Molly 9:31 AM, July 13, 2008  

Great job Steve!
You scared me a little with that calf cramp in the swim...glad you powered through! You are a running machine...5th is REALLY impressive.
Rest up and Take Care

Stef0115 9:37 AM, July 13, 2008  

Steve! Congratulations!!! Not only did you have a great time and age group placing you rallied big time mentally with that cramp in the swim. AWESOME!

And of course told the tale with all the wit, humor and photos we have come to expect. ;-)

Danielle in Iowa in Ireland 10:10 AM, July 13, 2008  

Nice job!

And in the second bike photo, it looks like you are a lot shorter than you actually are and that you ride a little blue mountain bike. Someone needs to get that kid an aero helmet!

Bob - 10:38 AM, July 13, 2008  

Congrats Steve, way to get through that cramp issue...Good report & pics!

friggin cramps are freaky huh...only had it once and thought WTF is this, really thought my calve was going to burst open :-(

chia 10:52 AM, July 13, 2008  

Note to self: Porn, burgers, and fries are all an integral part of pre-race experience :-).

Great job you two!!

Tyger Lily 11:47 AM, July 13, 2008  

Great job! Way to work thru the cramp! Definitely massage the "evil" calf. Don't know if you had enough potassium but down a banana too!

Tea 12:02 PM, July 13, 2008  

What a fantastic race! You managed 19.x mph without much training? Great stats all around! CONGRATS!

T 12:23 PM, July 13, 2008  

wow, congrats! i'm just hoping to be faster than my last race.

21 days ...

Brandon 12:30 PM, July 13, 2008  

hey Steve, great job man. I have quite a few friends that do the Lifetime tri every year. I've always wanted to watch. Now I want to do it! Thanks for the inspiration, but I'm not shaving my leg hair. ;)

Taconite Boy 1:01 PM, July 13, 2008  

Good to see you at Bike in!

Nice race!

Trisaratops 1:11 PM, July 13, 2008  

Fantastic job!!! Yahooooooo! :)

21stCenturyMom 1:31 PM, July 13, 2008  

Way to rock that race in spite of the calf problem.

I have this problem all the time. I meant it - every time I do an OWS. I had one triathlon where I got out of the water, had it cramp tight and I just sat there screaming for a few minutes. Oddly enough it didn't bother me on the bike or the run.

I think a little mild stretching and a week of time and it will be fine. That's what I do.

Anyhow - PR! Congratulations.

Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) 1:39 PM, July 13, 2008  

Congrats Steve!

I looked for your famous yellow shorts, but you were waaaaaay ahead of me (even if I did start earlier than you...)

I'd ice that calf, do some gentle stretches and maybe walk a bit.

By the by: you keep teasing us with the release date of your video of the waxing session.

You are sounding more and more like Frances Ford Coppola (or Sofia for that matter): editing, editing, editing!

I can not continue to visit Snack Canyon for popcorn and raisinettes waiting for the movie to begin! I'll eat myself out of the Athena category and in to a Fat Farm!

GoBigGreen 1:54 PM, July 13, 2008  

ICe it..last night...oops too late.
I would still ice and then about 48 hours in you can switch to heat.
and go see the good DC wade.
and do you really really eat bacon cheeseburgers and malt for a pre-race meal? I am not sure if i am impressed or confused:)

Brian 2:28 PM, July 13, 2008  

nice job. I'll also have to give that pre race stuff a try. My carbo loading, rest and lots of water sure doesn't sound as cool as burger, fries, malt and porn.

As for the calf, I'm guessing it's just one of those things that happens. Probably be fine later in the day.

Jumper 2.0 2:48 PM, July 13, 2008  

You both are rock stars.

Regarding "Midwest Nights", it never ceases to amaze me that there are all these other lives out there that are so incredibly different than mine.

Thanks for not telling us your sex o scope!


Anonymous,  4:43 PM, July 13, 2008  

Awesome race report and pictures as usual! You did great in all three areas...I'm glad the cramp didn't ruin your race.

Congrats to Pharmie as well!! You two are so cute together :)

Unknown 5:14 PM, July 13, 2008  

Congrats to both of you!! Glad the cramp didn't slow you down too much. :)

Jeff 7:15 PM, July 13, 2008  

So would you say that the whole waxing and shaving thing had a positive effect on the race?

Inquiring minds want to know.

RunBubbaRun 7:30 PM, July 13, 2008  

Congrats to the both of you at Lifetime. maybe you will make the TV broadcast with those yellow shorts of yours..

Hmmm, Tuesday, not sure if I'm looking forward to seeing more of your body parts.

triguyjt 7:42 PM, July 13, 2008  

I'm thinking the porn trip helped you on your bike split.....

the malt helped on the run...

the waxing caused your cramp in the swim...

just thinking...

great report and photos....
and way to go pharmie on the awesome pr by 24 minutes...

Kevin 7:43 PM, July 13, 2008  

Congrats on a great race. Inquiring minds want to know about the blowup doll??

Meg 10:11 PM, July 13, 2008  

Great job on the PRs! I'm looking forward to Tuesday's report (sick)!

KodaFit 11:19 PM, July 13, 2008  

Woohoo!!! Nice Job to both of you...

I'm going to have to second the request for the blowup doll story... Since it's apparently long, can we expect it on Thursday

KK 11:23 PM, July 13, 2008  

Nice race, great report! That was thoughtful of you to spare the children of your herpes chest.

I've had calf cramps before while swimming (never biking or running, knock wood) and a quick stretch usually does the trick...sorry, no advice for your prolonged predicament.

Congrats again!

brendaj 12:02 AM, July 14, 2008  

Nice job!!! I had calf cramps in both legs swimming Alcatraz. I don't know how I made it to shore honestly. And afterwards my calves were so sore I walked like a 70-year old for several days. I guess I should have stretched more!

Tracy 5:08 AM, July 14, 2008  

Sounds like an AWESOME day for you guys!!! You're really kicking butt this year, Those maybe really ARE lucky shorts! :)

Marcy 7:42 AM, July 14, 2008  


Dude, that looks like "other" hair. You sure that's really leg hair? :P

Anonymous,  8:02 AM, July 14, 2008  

holy moley

I LOVE this post as Im the Queen of adoring details.

Im sending a male friend yer way who is just starting to mull a triathlon.


Jade Lady 8:21 AM, July 14, 2008  

Awesome Oly for both u and Pharmie! Wow..I don't know what I'd do if my leg did that in a swim, except panic...

And...that and send it to someone to create a sweater for the winter! At least, I heard of people who do that with their pet's hair! (not me!)

Rainmaker 10:39 AM, July 14, 2008  

Very nice job - especially the run. Congrats!

Also, nicely done on the reading literature.

Teacher Pursuits 10:48 AM, July 14, 2008  

Congrats! You guys are super inspiring!

Erin Leigh 11:53 AM, July 14, 2008  

With one leg you still beat your time by 10 minutes. That is phenominal.

I am so looking forward to hearing this waxing story.

Oh and good job with corrupting the Youth of America ;)

Janet Edwards 1:24 PM, July 14, 2008  

Well that sounds like one heck of a way to finish that tri! Fantastic job! I can only imagine this waxing story!

akshaye 1:45 PM, July 14, 2008  

Thats a heck of a race - and the run time was terrific, specially given the cramp. Congratulations!

Gotta Run..... 1:56 PM, July 14, 2008  

HOLY COW!!! You both are total rock stars!! PR's for both of you. How cool os that. To pull a pace on your run like that following a swim and bike is amazing. GREAT JOB!!!!

Love the report!

As for the comment and poem link you sent me...Your poem was freaking hysterical! What I did not post is that the set of woods that became my bathroom was attached to someone’s yard. Sorry neighbor. LOL!!! I could not have taken another step.

MissAllycat 2:31 PM, July 14, 2008  

Nice race!

It's no wonder I didn't spot you - I was looking for One Big Herpe. Although I'm not sure how I missed the awesome yellow shorts. :)

In any case, Congrats!

Anonymous,  4:02 PM, July 14, 2008  

Nice job on the race and report. (I'm a little afraid to come back tomorrow.)

This is late but RICE is the rule for strains, injuries, etc. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate.

SM 5:22 PM, July 14, 2008  

congrats on a great race!! Can't wait for that video!

Viv 5:31 PM, July 14, 2008  

Congrats on a fantablous race! I almost threw up on the hair pic and almost peed on the pic of your back and the tip of your helmet. The bodily funtions your post can arrise outta me. LOL!

Calyx Meredith 5:35 PM, July 14, 2008  

You ate a bacon cheeseburger the night before a race?! Cannot imagine. Can't imagine a family friendly blow up doll either, come to think of it. (Although I did notice a blow up sheep on the sidelines of the TDF today. Isn't that weird?) Anyhoo...congrats on a great race and thanks for a wildly interesting race report (as usual!)

Aron 6:02 PM, July 14, 2008  

congrats to both of you!! that was an awesome race!

Alisa 8:20 PM, July 14, 2008  

Wow! I've only done triathlons as a relay team...I couldn't imagine doing all three by myself. Great job!

Waxing hurts, doesn't it??!!

teacherwoman 8:31 PM, July 14, 2008  

Nice job, Steve! If I would have been in my right mind, I would have gotten up early to head over to the race to cheer y'all on, since I was in the area. Damnit.

Once again, way to go!!!!

Anonymous,  7:38 AM, July 15, 2008  


for the calf - always ice a new injury. after 48 hours you can heat if it's feeling better and swelling is down. =)

Nitmos 8:01 AM, July 15, 2008  

Aside for the clump of hair photo, a terrific race report. Congratulations.

Anonymous,  8:03 AM, July 15, 2008  

I found your blog by googling "triathlon blog" and must say I'm happy I did, you write very well and had me alternately grossed out (the hair ball photo) and cracking up laughing.

I'll be back for more!

Cy 9:19 AM, July 15, 2008  

Congrats to you both for PR'ing on Saturday. It was nice to see you out there!

todd 10:31 AM, July 15, 2008  

Fantastic effort. Quite impressive. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I take a few photos from time to time too. Any feedback is appreciated...

Runner Leana 1:52 PM, July 15, 2008  

Congratulations on your race! It sounds like you did really well despite the calf cramp. That happened to me once while swimming too, just mid lap my calf cramped up and it was pretty sore and tight for a few days. Weird, eh?

Smithposts... 6:46 PM, July 15, 2008  

Nice race! My calf cramped just reading through the swim section, hope yours is much recovered now.

ShirleyPerly 12:12 AM, July 16, 2008  

Weird about the calf cramp. I've never gotten a full blown muscle cramp during training or a race either. But glad you were still able to run a strong 10K. CONGRATS to you and Pharmie both!!

Erin 11:02 AM, July 16, 2008  

Fantastic race! That one might be on my schedule for next year...

As for the calf cramps, I'm prone to them too. Just the other week, after a particularly hard interval workout, I woke up in the middle of the night with one, screaming. My leg hurt for days. I have no solutions for you other than a lot of stretching and taking it a little easy.

Michelle 10:52 PM, July 16, 2008  

Great race! Way to not let that cramp sideline you altogether.

Judi 11:42 AM, July 17, 2008  

Hey Steve, thanks for stopping by my blog. Excellent RR. You look awesome and so does Pharmie. Glad you had fun. Hope your cramped calf is better!

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