Apple Duathlon Race Report

>> Monday, May 30, 2011

WARNING: I don't have many photos from this race, so there won't be as many as you're used to. Matt and I went up to Sartell on our own, and we didn't have someone taking photos for us. (Pharmie is 38 weeks pregnant, and I didn't blame her for not wanting to stand around for hours while we raced!) I'll have more photos if / when they pop up.

WARNING: Even though there aren't MANY photos, there's still a photo or 2 of me in my "tutti frutti" shorts. Yep, they were back for their 4th duathlon over 5 weekends.

Matt and I loaded up at 4:45 am and were on the road around 5. I was back for my 5th Apple Duathlon, and Matt was back for his 2nd. I hit the bathrooms for a pre-race "business meeting:"

And business was good

I added a "smiley face" to my non-body-marked calf; this was an Apple Duathlon tradition I started years ago:

We chatted with friends as transition started to fill up:

LOOK AT THAT LAST PHOTO!! What do you see? It was our FIRST duathlon of the year that was SUNNY and NICE! It was about time!

I gave my phone to Derek Haag to hold during the race. I made a deal with my pregnant wife: if she went into labor during the race, I'd stop in T1 or T2 and head home. Derek kept watch over my phone while cheering for HIS wife at the race. Thanks Derek!! (He even shouted to me at one point during the race: "No word from your wife - KEEP RACING!!")

TIME TO RACE! Wave 1 was "elites," so I got to watch a lot of familiar faces start off. I was in Wave 2, and Matt was in Wave 3. We wished each other luck, and I headed up to the line (we were doing this race individually - NOT as a relay). Jerry MacNeil hopped on the loudspeaker and pointed out my "fashion sense" to everyone there. ;) Soon, I found myself toeing the line in a heat of 30-39 year old men.



I took off pretty quick. I wanted to go HARD in this first run, and I did that. Chad was running near me, and he laughed when he heard a random spectator shout "NICE SHORTS!!" to me. I was running in 2nd with one guy going FAST in front of me. I was soon passed by someone else, and I spent the rest of the first run in 3rd. This first got me thinking "Jeez.... COULD I place in my age group today?!? Well, keep going hard hard and find out..."

There were no mile markers on the run, but being I had done this race 4 times already, I had a good sense of where they were supposed to be. I was pretty spot-on when I mapped it out on after we got home from the race. But I didn't know for sure while I was racing. I hit (around) mile 1 in 5:33, which was going out HARD! I hit (around) mile 2 in 5:52, and I got back to transition in 18:04 - I felt BEAT. I was working!


Nothing fancy here. Grabbed my helmet, changed shoes, got caught by a guy, and headed out in 4th in my Wave. Time to ride!


I did 2 things in the first 2 miles. First, I had a Roctane. Second, I noticed my little "saddle sore" on the left side of my butt. I felt that "little buddy" during a brick on Wednesday, and I felt it pretty quick on the bike. D'oh. I didn't need another little ache on the bike. I tried to keep my weight shifted a little back to make it feel better.

I went out kinda hard on the bike. The wind is almost ALWAYS in your face for the last 9 miles of this ride, so I wanted to build my average early on. I tackled the hills around mile 5, and was slowly getting passed by people here-and-there. By mile 8, I was back in about 8th place in my Wave. I stayed there a while - it was a lonely ride. Around mile 13, I was passed by a GROUP of people (no illegal drafting, just a lot of people), and I was back in about 14th in my Wave.

If you're a "regular" here, you know that I like to check my average speed throughout races and workouts as a way to "split it up" and give myself something to work for in the short-term. Here were my splits as I checked in:

20.0 mph overall average at mile 5
20.3 mph overall average at mile 10
21.1 mph overall average at mile 15
21.1 mph overall average at mile 20
21.1 mph average at T2

I had told Matt before the race that I would LOVE to break 1 hour for the first time at this race on the bike. Keeping my average around 21 meant that was going to happen!! It was a GREAT day to be racing, and I was having a good one!!


I was passed by Ben with a few miles left, but I passed him back near the end of the bike. We ran into T2 together, and he told me he was running out of gas! I patted him on the back as I ran out.

Near the end of the bike, I went back-and-forth with a women on the bike. Post-race, I would realize it was Nikki, a women who I chatted with at the LUABC Half Marathon I did in 2009. Here's a photo of us running out of T2:


Oh hi legs. You feel heavy. Like heavy bags of shit-flavored Jello.

I knew I had some people to catch! I went out pretty hard towards a pack of 4 guys about a block ahead of me. The problem was that I wasn't gaining NEARLY quickly enough! ;) I passed 1 guy before mile 1. I hit (around) mile 1 in 5:45. Shortly after, I passed someone in my AG, and he was one of the nicest guys ever! He said "Nice shorts! Nice pace! Go get that pack up there - there's some of our age group up there!" I tried to do what he said.

I caught 1 or 2 more, but I felt like I needed to be catching MORE. I passed local elite Diane Hankee and cheered her on around mile 2. She asked as I passed "How far back is she?" I told her about a block and a half. Diane was able to hold her off BY FOUR SECONDS to take the final podium spot for the elite females!

I hit (around) mile 2 in 5:51. I was dying. I passed another runner with about a half mile to go, and I went HARD! I did NOT want him to catch me! The next person I saw in front of me was Julie Hull, but she was WAY up there. In all honesty, I didn't go "all out" at this point. I was DYING, and I went just hard enough to make sure the guy behind me couldn't catch me. I could have went a little harder, but it hurt. And apparently, I'm a wuss.

I finished side-by-side with Julie Hull, and I was about 20 seconds ahead of the last guy I passed. Julie and I hugged and congratulated each other on a hard race.

I went to get my results as I waited for Matt to finish. The first thing I noticed was a #2 on the print out! I was 2nd in my AG!! Awesome!

Steve Stenzel, St. Paul, MN, #256, 30, M

5K run: 18:04 (5:49 pace)
T1: 0:46
20.5 mile bike: 58:34 (21.0 mph)
T2: 0:40
5K run: 18:39 (6:01 pace)

Total: 1:36:42

21 out of 226 overall
15 out of 214 non-elite
2 out of 21 in the 30-34 age group

Overall rankings:
11th fastest first run, 63rd fastest bike, 5th fastest final run

Non-elite rankings:
5th fastest first run, 55th fastest bike, 2nd fastest final run

I couldn't believe it!! I was happy with my splits, my overall finishing time, and being able to finish 2nd in my age group!! It's fun to see progress like this at the same race over the years:

2006: 1:54:33, first du
2007: 1:54:36
2008: 1:48:25
2009: 1:39:59
2010: didn't race (family wedding)
2011: 1:36:42

Soon, Matt came running up to the finishline with about a 6 minute PR at Apple! (He was 4th in his age group which is rough because they only recognize the top 3. But the "good news" was that 3rd in his AG was over 6 minutes ahead of him, so it wasn't like he only had to make up a few seconds in order to place.) Matt crossed the line, grabbed a bottle of water, and then I watched him barf on the grass. Awesome. ;) Nice race, Matt!

We ate some pizza, some buffalo wings (really!), and sat and stretched. We loaded up our bikes before the awards ceremony:

Matt (and his guns) packing up in transition
with Goldilocks in the foreground

Speaking of Matt's guns, we had a fun chat with Diane Hankee and her hubby. She told Matt "Don't lose that muscle! Don't turn into one of 'these guys' and get too scrawny." Love it. ;)

We headed inside for the awards:

I was called up to get my very first apple! Matt got a photo of me looking a little coy when I was walking back to my table:

Julie finished as the 2nd female while her hubby Erik
and I earned our first age group apples!

It might sound kind of stupid, but I told Pharmie the FIRST time we did the Apple Duathlon (back in 2006) that I REALLY wanted to win an apple someday. I went into this race not even thinking it was possible - I was hoping to PR, but that was it. But partway into the race, I realized I COULD possibly place in my age group, and I am really happy that I was able to take home an apple!

Heavy as heck - made from local red granite

Thanks for reading, everyone! Back with more soon!


H2O Audio Giveaway WINNER (Through The Trinona Tri)

>> Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm here to announce the winner of the H20 Audio gear given out by the Trinona Triathlon.

If you missed it, there's a great review of H2O Audio in the original giveaway post, so check that out.

Natalie Coughlin swimming again with iPod on her goggles
in an H2O Audio case

iPhone / large iPod case headed out to sea

Pro triathlete couple Greg and Laura Bennett with their iPods
in their H2O Audio cases on the back of their hats

So, there were 150 comments in the giveaway post. Once extra entries were given to those who followed Trinona Triathlon and H2O Audio on twitter and/or commented on Trinona Triathlon's Facebook wall, there were 211 "numbers in the hat."

I went to and put in my variables to choose a winner:

After clicking "Generate," I was given this number as the winner:

Who did that number correspond with?? It's James from Ohio!

James will get to choose one of the following:
- Interval™ Waterproof headphone System Designed for 4th Gen iPod Shuffle®
- Amphibx Fit™ Lightweight Waterproof Armband for iPod Nano®, Shuffle® and small MP3 Players
- Amphibx Fit™ Lightweight Waterproof Armband for iPhone® and all Large MP3 Players & Phones

The iPhone / large mp3 case.

One final BIG THANKS to the people at the Trinona Triathlon and H20 Audio for the awesome giveaway!

Back with my Apple Duathlon race report tomorrow! Matt and I had great races and brought home 2 PRs on the Apple course!!


Friday Funny 188: Best Wedding Photo Ever

>> Friday, May 27, 2011

Matt and I are heading to Sartell tomorrow morning for the Apple Duathlon. Should be fun!!

Happy Weekend!!


Friday Funny 187: I’m Pretty Sure THIS Is Why The Rapture Didn’t Happen

I’m Christian. I’m not trying to be blasphemous. But Macho Man Randy Savage died on May 20th, and the Rapture was SUPPOSED to start on May 21st. Coincidence? I think not.


My Wife is FAMOUS!

>> Thursday, May 26, 2011

If you missed Sunday's Star Tribune newspaper, you missed an article about my fit, cute, pregnant wife!! Pharmie was featured in the "How I Got This Body" column in the Wellness section. (She finds it hilarious that she's in a column called "how I got this body" now that she weighs the most she ever has! Ha!)

Here's a screenshot of the entire article:

Here's a close-up of the photo their photographer took of her finishing the TC 1 Mile 2 weeks ago:

Click here for my photos of the TC 1 Mile

And here's the article:

Adorable! ;)

Oh, and I didn't post about this yesterday, but I want to let you know that Jumper and Jamie won the 2 free entries into the Alarc Legends Race in a few weeks. The race has a 10K and 5K, and they both chose to do the 5K. Congrats J's!!

Finally, if you haven't entered the H2O Audio giveaway, click here to check that out. You've got just over 24 hours! Thanks everyone!


More Muddy Gear West Duathlon Photos

>> Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In my race report yesterday, I noted that I pulled up along side of the first place relay for a while as I came up to Tiffany, but I couldn't make the pass. Here are 2 photos she took of that:

Running through the blossoms (with local speedster Charlie R back there)

Ducking back in behind the first relay for a few more minutes

Last year (the 3rd year at this race), I finally cracked the "top 10" in the 2nd run. This year, I was in the top 10 for BOTH runs!

(That's the other relay runner 2 spots behind me)

Lots of photos have been showing up on Facebook that highlight the muddy run conditions. Here are 4 images that Paul Phillips took of Kortney losing a shoe:

Denny's photo a bit later shows her running with the shoe:

And one of Nick's photos shows Patrick Parish (who finished second) running out of the trees carrying one of his shoes:

And here are some more from the nasty run:

Julia trying to avoid a nasty spot. Read her lips: "Oh Shhhhhhit!"

Nice splash photo

Going in deep. (Fighting my "Michael Scott" urge right now.....)

One of the few that went down

A couple of race links to note:

- My Gear West Duathlon race report from yesterday.

- Examiner article with photos from the first part of the race.

- Examiner article with photos from the finish.

Two giveaways going on right now:

- Go to this post and leave a comment to be entered to win a iPod / iPhone / MP3 case from H2O Audio! You have a few days left to enter.

- And for "locals," go to this post and leave a comment for your chance to win a free entry to the Alarc Legends 5K or 10K. You only have a few hours to enter this one!

Have a great week, everyone!


The Gear West Duathlon

>> Monday, May 23, 2011

Or, "'Team Happy Pants' Goes For Two in a Row."

Or, "A Romp in the Mud."

Matt, Angela, Pharmie, and I headed out to the Gear West Duathlon yesterday. Matt and I were coming off our come-from-behind win at the Oakdale Duathlon a week ago. We were going for another relay win: we've placed 2nd the last 3 years in a row, and we were HOPING for a win ONE of these times!!

Matt and I (Team Happy Pants) pre-race

Me and 37-weeks pregnant Pharmie!

We got a LOT of rain in the 2 days before the race, so the normally "cross country" run was going to be NASTY. It was the talk of transition pre-race.

We chatted with a TON of old race buddies, and worked our way to the starting line. Wave one was the male and female elites:

The "team" wave was wave 2, and I liked that. The elites had a 2 minute lead, and I knew I'd be able to chase some of them down on the first run. They'd be a good "pull" for me out there. One of my goals for the race was to GO OUT HARD. And chasing those elites would help me to go HARD.



I took off with a "guy who looked like a runner" right on my tail:

I chatted with the runner in the yellow tank for the short stretch down the road. He said he just wanted to keep me in sight on the first run because he wasn't sure about all the twists and turns. We ran past transition to a few people shouting "GO HAPPY PANTS!!"

After some time on the road, we turned onto gravel. It was "puddle-y" and a bit nasty. Then we hit the grass which had BIGGER puddles. Nasty. The other runner was on my tail. I missed the first mile marker, but I hit mile 2 in 11:42 - I was pretty happy with that considering the squishy, muddy, uneven conditions.

I started catching some elites just after mile 1. I ran past a lot of females that I knew, and that was fun! I said "HI" to those who I could. And I tried not to splash any mud their way.

I pushed it into T1, and I realized that the new run course was a little short. (Well, not "new," just "adjusted" because of the horrible conditions.) If the run wasn't short, I ran a 5:12 for the last 1.1 miles in with poor footing. Nope. Short. But I'm not complaining.


I was the first relay team into T1, and the other runner was only about 30 seconds back. I came storming through T1 towards Matt:

Sweaty boobs running towards Matt

Matt taking the timing chip

Matt heading off on the bike

The 2nd place relay team heading out after Matt
(with Suzie and Kortney throwing on their helmets)


Matt was out there working. He said he got caught by the biker in the last photo after a few miles, but then Matt passed him right back after a few miles. They went back-and-forth a bit.

I was back in transition talking with my wife and some friends. I had to get a photo of my sweaty boobs:

With mud-splattered arms

And a muddy and sweaty back

I jogged JUST a LITTLE, stretched a bit, drank some Gu Brew, and tried to stay loose. We watched the first 2 elites come into T2 just 2 seconds apart!

Patrick Parish and Dan Hedgecock

Just a few minutes later, the biker of the OTHER team came riding in! AND MATT WAS JUST 10 SECONDS BEHIND!! IT WAS GOING TO BE A RACE!!

Ready to dismount


Here's kind of an awkward photo, but it shows what was going on at that moment: The first place team is changing chips to the far left, Matt's girlfriend Angela is watching him run into T2 in the middle, and I'm taking his split while waiting for him to run up to me:

Grabbing Matt's chip

I took off HARD after that other team!!


Last weekend, I caught the runner that Matt and I were behind within the first mile. I went out to get THIS runner as soon as I could! I ran the first run faster than the other team, but maybe he saved TOO much for this final run and was going to SMOKE me. I needed to reel him in QUICK.

I took off down the 400 meters of paved road before we hit the gravel, and Nick was at the bottom of that hill to grab a photo:

I turned onto the gravel, and counted that I was about 7 seconds behind the first place relay. Every time I tried to "surge" to gain on him, it seemed like he surged too. I hit mile 1 in 5:44, and just had to GO. At this point I was about 3 seconds behind him, and I knew he could hear me breathing.

I was able to pull up along side of the first place relay runner as we looped through the grassy sections near the swamp. Tiffany may have gotten a photo of that. But then the other runner pulled ahead again. He went thought THEE puddle near the swamp, and he went DEEP. I didn't know where else I could go to make it easier, so I just followed him.

Finally, before the last loop through the trees, I passed him on a gravel section. I was really afraid that he'd be able to out-kick me, so I tried to put as much space between him and me as possible! I ran slick, uneven, and soupy mile 2 in 6:11. I came up the nasty gut-busting hill, and then had to do 1 lap around a gravel track before heading to the finish. (We had to do that loop at the end of the first run too.) I was WORKING HARD! Here I am with about 500 meters to go:

The other relay runner JUST behind me

I tried SOOOOOO hard to NOT look over my shoulder to check where he was, but I gave in at the far end of the track with about 300 meters to go. He wasn't far back, and I knew I still needed to "dig deep." Here I am coming off the track, and you can see him back there:

Trying to hold off the relay team in yellow!

Pushing to the line!

Hitting the line

Feeling dead, congratulating the other team
(there's lots of carnage in this photo)

Hannah watching me not puke

"Team Happy Pants" had FINALLY done it! WE FINALLY HAD A RELAY WIN AT THE GEAR WEST DUATHLON!! And only by 13 seconds!!


Team Happy Pants = Steve Stenzel & Matt Linder
2.83 mile run: 16:54 (5:59 pace), 1st team overall, 7th individual
T1: 0:31, 1st team overall
17.4 mile bike: 44:15 (23.1 mph), 3rd fastest team, 25th individual
T2: 0:32, 2nd fastest team
2.51 mile run: 14:58 (5:58 pace), 1st team overall, 4th individual

Total: 1:17:08
1st out of 8 "male / male" teams
1st out of 20 teams overall

Note: the race was listed as having 5K and 4K runs, but the results had the "correct" distances listed, which were 2.83 and 2.51 miles.

Pharmie grabbed a photo of me chatting with Charlie while covered in mud:

Muddy butt

Nasty shoes

Kerry walking through transition post-race.
I love the line where his chip was!

Nasty socks once I took off my shoes

Oh, and regarding THEE puddle that I mentioned earlier..... yeah, a few people completely wiped out in that puddle. My racing buddy Chad fell on his hands. A few people lost their shoes. Seriously. And this guy fell and landed face-first. Well, more like "everything-first:"

I put up 2 slideshows of photos that Pharmie and I took at the Gear West Duathlon. CLICK HERE for the first slideshow (that goes through T2), and CLICK HERE for the second slideshow from the finish.

Thanks for reading everyone! Have a great week!! (Oh, and scroll down to Friday's post to enter a giveaway if you'd like.)



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