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!


Anonymous,  6:52 AM, May 30, 2011  

Bags of shit flavored jello? Yummm

Anyway, nice job. I can see why you would want one of those apples-they are pretty cool!

kristen 7:41 AM, May 30, 2011  

Congratulations Steve! Great race and thank you for the "bag of shit flavored jello" it.

Christopher Hawes 7:48 AM, May 30, 2011  

Congratulations and great job. It was nice seeing you out there.

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman 8:43 AM, May 30, 2011  

As always, awesome race report! And man can you haul a$$ on those runs!!

You've got room to improve on the bike though - 1st place is well within reach!!

Unknown 9:58 AM, May 30, 2011  

Nice report Steve! And what a ways you have come over the years at that duathlon! I'm doing my first du in July and am really excited to see how I do.

swimfin 10:32 AM, May 30, 2011  

Great job earning your first apple! I couldn't believe you finally had a race that didn't cover the shorts in mud. I was pretty sure you weren't going to get them clean after that last race.

Carolina John 11:52 AM, May 30, 2011  

Great win Steve! I know that was a tough one. Du's have been killing me this year.

Unknown 1:03 PM, May 30, 2011  

Holy cow! You are smokin fast! Congrats on your Apple award winning!!

Richelle 1:17 PM, May 30, 2011  

Congratulations, Steve! The apple is a cool award, and it's so awesome that you won one this year. Your hard work has paid off!

Erin Elizabeth Miller 4:35 PM, May 30, 2011  

Way to gooooo! The best part of MY race was meeting you and Matt :) Please tell him congrats on the serious PR despite having rough legs from the previous week ;)

Unknown 7:59 PM, May 30, 2011  

Congrats, Steve! Well done!

Anonymous,  8:16 PM, May 30, 2011  

A mile in 5:49? I can't even tie my shoes and get dressed in that amount of time. It must be the tutti fruits. I think the coy shot of you with your apple was awesome. I couldn't take my eyes off the mid matched get up though.

Kim 10:29 AM, May 31, 2011  

awesome job steve - congrats on getting that sweet apple!

Steve Sander 1:11 PM, May 31, 2011  

Nice work Steve!!! Let me know if you need any advice on training with a new born.

Jay 4:15 PM, May 31, 2011  

That apple looks rad! Congrats!

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