Pro Triathletes NEVER Lie!

>> Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chris McDonald is a 3 time Ironman Champion. And he’s not a liar.

Chris was the first finisher at Ironman Wisconsin last year, so this year he was on posters and on the cover of the “spectator’s guide:”

Remember the “wetsuit strippers” post from IM WI a few weeks ago? That was the post where I talked about Chris McDonald (AKA “Big Sexy”) and how I got to wear his goggles that he had dropped during my time helping peel wetsuits. (Afterwards, I placed them in his gear bag.) Chris saw the post and said this:

Hey..... Big Sexy here :-)

This is Very very funny and steve should have just kept them as a souvenir. I will have to send him out a pair :-)


Well, when I checked the mail on Monday, there was a package from Chris McDonald himself. I think I squealed with joy. And peed my pants a little.

Yes, those are goggles from Chris McDonald. Chris told me that they are THEE goggles that he wore at IM WI this year (where he finished 5th overall in 8:56:47), so they were the ones that I had around my neck after he had dropped them in T1:

There was something else in the envelope too:

To Steve:
Dream big and live your dreams!
Chris McDonald
“Big Sexy”

I’ll never be able to wear the hat (it’s more of a keepsake), but I might actually use the goggles. Embarrassing revelation: I’ve been training and racing in the same pair of goggles since I started in this sport nearly 4 years ago!

THANKS CHRIS!! You're the best!! Good luck at Kona in 10 days!! We’ll all be rooting for you!!


Team Splits

>> Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just a quick (boring) update. They didn't have the "official" team splits up for the Cannon-Wells Duathlon when I posted my race report. Now they are up. Here's the official results:

Team Happy Pants (Steve Stenzel, Matt Linder)
• 2 mile run: 11:16 (1st)
• T1: 0:22 (1st)
• 14 mile bike: 38:39, 21.7 mph (2nd)
• T2: 0:20 (1st)
• 3 mile run: 17:47 (1st)
Total: 1:08:21 (1st of 15 teams)

Oooh! Matt's gonna be PISSED that he wasn't the fastest team biker! (He missed it by 41 seconds because of his brakes rubbing.) Overall (including all teams and individuals), I had the fastest 2 mile and 3 mile run, and Matt had the 6th fastest bike (1 team beat him, along with 4 speedy individuals).

In case you're interested, here are the results for individuals and teams, and just teams.

Back tomorrow with a GREAT story!! Let's just say someone kept his word, and something came in the mail yesterday.... ;)


Trying to Defend at the Cannon-Wells Duathlon

>> Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday morning was the Cannon-Wells Duathlon. Matt and I were teaming up as “Team Happy Pants” again to try to defend our title from last year. And some “College of Visual Arts Triathlon Club” students were racing in their first duathlon!!

I got there early, and here was transition filling up next to Cannon Lake:

Katrina and Steph showed up shortly. Katrina is a CVA student, and she was teaming up with her friend Steph. My teammate Matt showed up later than he had hoped because he stopped to help a biker change a tire in St. Paul. (Nice guy!) Rudy, a CVA student, was REALLY late, and I was getting worried. He got there with about 20 minutes to spare. He took the wrong “Hwy 60” exit. Nice one. Here he is JUST before the start on the phone and changing into his “racing shoes”...

...and wearing a “Hummer” shirt to be ironic.

A few minutes later, there was the pre-race meeting:

Last year, there were 39 individuals and 4 teams. This year, there were 121 individuals and 15 teams (AND 25 people doing a 8.5 mile run too). All individuals and teams lined up at the starting line for a mass start. You can see me a few people from the “START” sign in the short yellow shorts “bowl full of sunshine:”

Ready, set, GO!!

I flashed a smile and a wave to Bryan and Monica (my in-laws) and Brianna who took control of my camera for the race:

Brianna’s kind of a perv. Look at this gratuitous “side boob” and ass shot she got:

2 Mile Run:

It was really flat, with about 1/4 - 1/2 mile of gravel on the far loop. I ran in the lead the whole time, but I had another guy breathing down my neck for the last mile. I think I took off too fast in the first 1/4 mile, but my mile splits were CONSISTENT: I ran a 5:38 and a 5:38.


I came running back into transition as the first runner. In this photo from T1, you can see the next guy behind me (the bald guy to the left), and the guy behind him running into T1 in the white hat:

(Those guys right behind me were just speedy individuals, so we had a decent lead on any other teams.) I ran up to Matt, grabbed his bike, and Matt transferred the timing chip to his ankle...

...and then he was off:

14 Mile Bike:

Matt was off on the ride. I grabbed the camera from Brianna and waited for my CVA Tri Club students to come running in. Rudy blew through that 2 mile run IN THOSE SHITTY SHOES in just over 15 minutes! I lent him my Rudy Project aero helmet, so he threw that on and took off with his bike:

Soon after, Katrina came running into T1, and Steph took her chip:

Steph was off to ride!!

While they were all out there on their bikes, it was my “down time.” I chatted with the in-laws a bit, cheered the other duathletes coming through T1, talked with Katrina, and then watched the start of the 8.5 mile run that did a lap around Cannon Lake:

The bad news about the bike was that there were 2 wooden bridges on the little trail that were SLIPPERY. There were a few bikers that went down on the trail. One of the bikers was on a team with her hubby. She knows my in-laws pretty well. Here’s a photo of her and some of her scrapes after the race:

One of her eyes was already starting to turn a little black. LUCKILY, she just got some scrapes, and nothing seemed too deep or serious. Everything should heal up with no scars. I hope you’re OK Lori!

I watched 3 speedy people come biking into T2 before Matt came in. Luckily, they were all individuals (not teams), so when Matt came in as 4th place, we were still the first place team. (Semi-pro Steve was in front of us, along with Mario and Jason.) Matt had taken 50 seconds off his time from last year, and that was even with his brakes rubbing!! I had made that mistake earlier in the season. I told Matt we should both try to have a “brake-rubbing-free” 2010. Jeez, what are we?... A bunch of noobs??


Matt doesn’t joke around once he hops off his bike - he RUNS his bike in. Here he is headed towards me:

Taking off the chip...

...and starting the final run with my dang tongue hanging out.

I rounded the sharp corner out of transition and took off:

Matt rested after having a solid ride:

3 Mile Run:

This was a different route than the first run. This was all paved with just a small hill around the halfway point. I took off after Jason who was about 2 blocks in front of me. I tried to take it easy, but I went out a little too hard.

Mile 1: 5:50. Just after mile 1, Jason turned around to see how far back I was. (I had barely gained on him at that point.) I took that as a sign of weakness, so I went after him a little more. I came up on him when we hit the trail back to the finish with about 1.5 miles left. We chatted a bit. Jason’s a nice guy. He told me he checked behind him to make sure he hadn’t made a wrong turn. He joked that he didn’t want to do that again! (I met Jason at the first “Splash and Dash” event in July. He’s the one who made the wrong turn, which allowed me to win.)

Mile 2: 6:07. I passed Jason around mile 2. He commented a few seconds after I got past him: “Man, you’ve got a smooth stride!” I waved back and said thanks as I kept booking it towards the finish.

I was pooped, and I didn’t QUITE go “all out.” I figured we had the team title, and I didn’t want to wear out my legs too much for this weekend’s 10 mile race. That being said, I didn’t just “stroll in” to the finish. I still pushed pretty hard, just maybe not 100%.

See that blurry thing with 1 leg on the left side of the trail? That’s me coming into the finish:

OK, WTF is going on with my left calf here?!? Is that just skin bouncing around? This is weird:

I don’t want to say what it looks like

Hitting the line

Mile 3: 5:46. The official results are up, but they don’t contain “official splits” yet. So here are our splits according to my watch.

Team Happy Pants (Steve Stenzel, Matt Linder)

2 mile run: 11:16 (5:38 pace)
T1: 0:22
14 mile bike: 38:37 (21.8 mph)
T2: 0:20
3 mile run: 17:45 (5:55 pace)

Total: 1:08:21
1st out of 15 teams

Rudy had just started the run as I was coming to the finish line. He was complaining to me about something hurting as I met him. ;) Because he was out of T2 when I hit the line, I didn’t get any photos of him racking his bike. But shortly after I finished, Steph came riding in to a very nervous Katrina:

Go get em’ Katrina!!

When Rudy emerged around the final little curve, he was MOVING. No, I mean REALLY MOVING. In his first duathlon, he had saved too much for the finish. I yelled over to Steph, “Rudy’s coming, and he’s SPRINTING LIKE A MADMAN!!” See what I mean:

Have you ever seen someone so enthusiastically
cross the finish line?

It was pretty funny after Rudy finished: he came up to me and said “Steve, I gotta puke!” “Well then... just PUKE,” I told him. “But I can’t get myself to puke...” he replied. “Well, stick you’re finger down your throat,” I said. He tried. But it didn’t work:

He felt better shortly. Oh, and it was GREAT seeing my Rudy Project aero helmet sitting next to his 1980s bike in transition. This made me happy:

Shortly after that, Katrina came running up to the finish line:

Nice job Steph and Katrina!!

Steph CAN’T WAIT to train more next spring and tackle her own duathlon!! Katrina, well, she wasn’t so sure. I think she’ll still come around...

We stuck around for awards, and “Team Happy Pants” was announced as the first place team, over 4 minutes ahead of the next team:

It looks like Mark is shouting at us! Ha!

Our winning medals and can koozies

Well, time for rest this week before the TC 10 Mile this weekend!! Oh, and after I finish the 10 mile on Sunday, the farm animal costumes are coming back out to cheer on the rest of the marathon runners...


I Just Wanna Say...

>> Sunday, September 27, 2009 PROUD I am of some brand new duathletes!! Yesterday, a few CVA Triathlon Club students did their first duathlon! Here’s Steph and Katrina who just finished the Cannon-Wells Duathlon as a team:

Katrina (on the right) is a CVA student,
and Steph is a non-CVA friend.

And here’s CVA student Rudy FLYING to the finish of his first duathlon:

Holy kick, Rudy!!

Matt and I raced as a team because we had to defend our title from last year. We got the job done (as I rocked the "bowl full of sunshine...").

I’ll be back with the full report and LOTS of great photos tomorrow morning. Check back! And one last big CONGRATULATIONS to Katrina, Steph, and Rudy! NICE WORK you 3!!!


Friday Funny 55: Wookiee

>> Friday, September 25, 2009

I’m convinced. A Wookiee has been living in our house and using our bathroom sink. Yesterday, I pulled this Wookiee fur out of our clogged bathroom sink:

Close up of the lower left

I hope you were eating. ;)

And thanks for all the advice and positive thoughts that you’ve all left in my last post. I’m taking your advice: a little speed work tomorrow, and maybe a bike ride OR an easier run next week. Then the 10 Miler next weekend. I’ll be resting up for it to see if that helps my “sluggishness.”

Oh, and the “speed work” for tomorrow means I’m doing a duathlon as a team with Pharmie’s brother Matt - he’ll be biking, and I’ll be doing the 2 mile and 3 mile runs. And a few CVA Triathlon Club students are coming to the race and will be doing their FIRST DUATHLON!! I have a busy day Saturday after the race, but I’ll put up some race photos as soon as I can! Wish the “duathlon virgins” luck!! Should be a fun race!


10 Mile Run

>> Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yesterday morning, I got up at 4:45 am for an early morning run. It was going to be my last long run before the TC 10 Mile in 10 days. Some of my longer runs have been rough lately, so I was trying to figure out if I had been doing something wrong. So in this run, I changed a few factors:

- Cool early morning run vs. warm mid-day runs.
- Older Nikes vs. newer New Balance shoes.
- Gels prior to the run vs. Sharkies
- Start off easy vs. possibly going out too hard.

Long story short: none of those things worked. Again, like 2 posts ago, I’m NOT trying to sound depressed by having these not-so-great runs lately; I just know that my crazy goal of sub-60 in the TC 10 Mile ISN’T going to happen in 10 days.

My 9 miler 2 weeks ago ended with a 5:48 mile (uphill too!). Last week, my 9.5 miler ended with about a 5:55 mile (again, uphill). Yesterday, my 10 miler ended with a 6:06 mile that was mostly level. D’oh. As I’ve been adding a LITTLE distance to my long runs, I’ve been losing A LOT of speed.

Again, I’m not NOT going to shoot for the best possible race. I just want to make sure I go into it with realistic expectations. In my mind, I can still have a PERFECT day and get close to 60:00. That “perfect day” would also require a 20 mph wind out of the west (the race is point-to-point that heads mostly straight east). Maybe after a taper, my legs will feel “fresher.” Maybe with the race day excitement, I’ll be able to take 0:XX off each mile. I’m not throwing in the towel all together.

Oh yeah, my time.... I went out easy, and hit mile 1 in 7:15. I haven’t been that slow in a training run in a year or 2. I REALLY had trouble picking up the pace - most of the miles in the first half of the run were between 6:45 and 7:00. I hit the 5 mile turn-around in 34:51. I WAS able to pick it up on the way back, but not nearly enough. I made it back in 31:59 for a total of 1:06:50. It was a hard run, and I don’t know how much I can take off of that on race-day. I think sub-63 will be tough. Regardless, I don’t want to seem like I’m bitching about this. At the end of the day, if I can run a 65:00 10 mile, that’s still pretty darn good, and I’ll be happy with that.

BONUS: Here’s a pleasant little photo. What could this be?...

Yep, that’s my swass mark on the sidewalk just as the sun was coming up after my run. I stretched for a few minutes afterwards, and that was the little ass print that I left behind. A morning that ends in a “swass print” can’t be ALL that bad! ;)


St. Croix Valley Oly Tri Race Pics

>> Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The race photos are up from the last Oly of the season a few weeks back: the St. Croix Valley Triathlon in Hudson WI. Here’s some of us at work:

Pre-race: me with 3 chins in transition

Putting sunscreen on Pharmie with my tongue hanging out
(like a creep)

Pharmie turning the legs of her wetsuit “right side out”

Jen and her hubby listening to the pre-race meeting

Suzie, who I met at the first “Splash and Dash”

Males starting...

...I started WAY to the left for some “clean water”

Females starting: Pharmie’s in the yellow swim cap

Exiting the water, hitting my watch

Pharmie exiting the water, looking at her watch

Mark, the race director, zipping around in his golf cart

Pharmie on the run (headed to a 10:02 Oly PR!)

Me with my stopwatch (my prize for 2nd in my AG)

I like to go through the race photos to find some “fun” ones. Well, I have 2 more for you. First, here’s the buff tattooed guy that Sarah E (CVA Tri Club member who came out to cheer) and I had a crush on:

And finally, here’s one that the race photographer MAYBE should have edited out. I did not alter this image in any way. This is how it appeared. It’s kinda arty, and kinda creepy. Maybe I should buy it:

Good times.



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