>> Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Sunday morning, Pharmie and I were up well before the sun to hit the road for Hudson, WI. We were going to race at the St. Croix Valley Olympic Distance Triathlon, which promised to be pretty small (there were 111 athletes and 8 teams). Hudson WI from St. Paul MN is only about 25 minutes, so we were there in no time.
We checked out the swim that was in the St. Croix River (it’s in a big bay, so there’s no river current). Here’s the 6-buoy, 2-lap swim headed off to the far left before the sun rose:
Jen and Pharmie with men writing all over their hot bodies
On your marks, get set, GOOOOO!
I was swimming. I started to the FAR left, which was way to the outside. I LOVE swimming in clean water. I didn’t sight too much, so I ended drifting farther left. I was WAY left of the final buoy when it was time to turn right. (Yeah, Julia, now’s your chance to tease me for liking to swim so far to the left again...) I never had a chance to warm-up or pee in the water before the race, so in the first half loop, I had to get myself to relax enough to pee. And it was good.
I finished my first loop in 14:09, and I knew the second loop would be slower (it always is). So no swim PR. I peed twice more on the second loop. I also got a little bit of seaweed wrapped around my chip at one point (most of the swim is about 5 feet deep, so if there are weedy patches, they are right under us). I ran up the beach and across the timing mat in 29:30 to the cheers of Sarah and Evan from the CVA Triathlon Club.
Popular local multi-sport announcer Jerry MacNeil was announcing the race over the PA system. As I was pulling my wetsuit off, I hear “...and there’s Steve Stenzel of St. Paul in T1. How ya doing, Steve?” I shouted back to Jerry with a smile: “Good Jerry! How are you?” as I was trying not to fall over. “Oh, I’m great Steve! Have a good race!” I was pretty dizzy from the swim, and it took a few tries to get my left sock on.
(After the race, Pharmie said that Jerry was commenting on her GREAT balance over the PA system while she was in T1 a few minutes later: “...and there’s Pharmie showing MUCH better balance than Steve!” Ha! Thanks Jerry!)
I heard Evan cheering for me again. I grabbed what I needed, and I was off and riding.
I KNEW it was mostly uphill for about 4-6 miles, but I FORGOT that while riding - I was dejected at the average I was holding for the first few miles. Around mile 3, I was at an 18.0 mph average and I already had heavy legs. Boo. That was depressing. I was starting to think my lack of biking over the last 2-3 weeks was REALLY going to show.
It leveled out a bit, and turned into just a bunch of rollers. As with most of my races this year, I worked on pushing HARD on the bike. Still, I was being passed a little more than I wanted to be. Here are some averages I remember at different parts throughout the 25 mile ride:
- 19.0 mph at mile 6
- 19.5 mph at mile 12.5 (halfway)
- 20.0 mph at mile 19
- I THINK I got up to 20.4 mph for a bit
- 20.3 mph at the finish
Oh, Pharmie and I both saw a BIG DEAD SNAKE out on the bike course, and I didn’t think we had snakes that big around here!! Ish.
In the last half mile of the ride, I went to get one last drink from my water bottle. As I was getting ready to bring it to my mouth (about 6 inches from my face), I hit a big pothole that I did NOT see coming. I SQUEEZED my water bottle out of instinct and I got covered in water. I swerved hard, nearly lost it, but managed to stay upright. That was close. Just a few feet farther, I saw Jen’s hubby, John, cheering on the curb. (After the race, he asked, “Hey, was that YOU I saw nearly wipe out?” Yes, John. That was me.) I was glad to be done riding after that.
I ran my bike in and racked it. I saw and heard Sarah and Evan cheering for me, so I waved and said “Thanks!” I threw on my running shoes, grabbed my race belt, and was off in a HURRY. I had a much better T2 time than my T1 time. Time go catch some people!!
You all know this: I love to run. I love “reeling in” athletes on the run during a triathlon. I was catching a lot of people pretty quickly. My legs were pretty heavy from the bike, but I was running pretty well. I hit mile 2 in 12:30. I needed to try to hold that pace.
The run was about 2.5 miles out and 2.5 miles back with a mile+ loop at the farthest point out. So there was no “3.1 mile turn-around cone.” The mile markers weren’t very evenly marked, but I would have hit the 3.1 mile point around 19:42. Nice! And I was building my pace! I was still passing people left and right. I knew I was going to negative split the run. I was running strong! (I mean I hurt like hell, my heels were sore, and my quads got tight running up that last hill with 0.9 miles left, but I was trying to go strong.)
There was no one behind me or in front of me in the last 1.5 miles, so it was hard to push myself. I ran hard to the finish, but if someone were near, I would have probably gone a little harder. I hit the 3.1 mile mark around 19:42, and I ran the last 3.1 miles in 18:34 for a nice negative split, and a total 10K time of 38:16. I felt like I was running well, but I didn’t feel like it was anything spectacular. But it ended up being a run that was about 1:15 faster than my previous “oly tri run” best. That’s a GREAT feeling as I’ve been gearing up for the TC 10 Mile in 4 weeks!!
Here are my official stats:
Steve Stenzel, bib 989, age 28
0.93 Mile Swim: 29:38
24.8 Mile Bike: 1:12:43 (20.3 mph ave)
6.2 Mile Run: 38:16 (6:10 / mile)
Overall Place: 15 out of 111
Gender Place: 13 out of 83
Age Group Place: 2 out of 9
- I had the 3rd fastest run split, only behind the first 2 finishers who both went under 2 hours.
- It was my first AG award in a triathlon!! THAT was exciting!
- And it was an Olympic Distance PR for me! (Only by 6 seconds, but a PR is a PR, right?)
Sarah and Evan cheered me across the finish line. Shortly after my finish, Jen came running through with a PR as well! I went back into transition so I could get my camera for when Pharmie would finish. I snapped this shot of Evan and Sarah hanging out near transition and the finish line:
You can see the elbow of the guy giving chase on the far right
I had to get a shot with Evan and Sarah before they took off. Here they are laughing at my post-race stank:
Anyone need to be timed?
Have a great short week everyone!!