>> Monday, May 02, 2011
Or, "The Face-Off with the Former Gymnast"
Or, "Well, at least it's not as WINDY as last year..."
Before leaving home for the race, I put a "Toe Cap" on my sore toe. I've found these things REALLY help with toes that are beat-up from rubbing on socks / shoes:
We bumped into old and new friends right away. Ross and I like to get there early for prime pickings in transition:
Ross's red bike and my lovely Goldilocks
Customary pre-race porta-potty shot
Matt trying to stay dry on a chilly, rainy, windy day
Julie and I pre-race
We all stood up under the City Pool overhang to try to stay dry as transition was filling up. Here was our view back down to transition:
Awkward photo of me stretching next to Ross
(I look like I belong in a musical...)
Matt in a WET transition area as Ross and I did a quick ride to test our bikes
(my running shoes sitting there were already soaked through)
Me, Ross, and bro-in-law Matt just before heading to the starting line
I shook Matt's hand and wished him luck. He told Julie not to beat me too bad because he didn't want to hear me whine all the way home. ;) Chad Millner (last years winner) rubbed my bright shorts at the starting line for good luck. I hope that becomes a new tradition. Just no rubbing in the front, folks. Keep it PG.
Race director Mark B sounded the bullhorn, and we were off!!
Chad, Mike (who I had just met), me, Dan, Ross, and Mario
I was pretty quickly back in about 12th place. I slowly worked my way up. After about a half a mile, I was just in front of Mario, and I was in 6th place. I felt like I was WORKING. My goal for the day was to go hard the whole time, and not worry about my perceived "lack of endurance" coming off my injury. I was just going to GO. I found myself breathing pretty hard, and getting a little concerned if I was going too fast. I didn't worry about it, and just held the pace.
I was right behind this TALL man, and he had a MONSTER stride (the guy to the far right in the photo above). When you're running very close to someone, it seems to be instinct to try to MATCH their stride. That was not the best for me. Remember my PT advice regarding shortening my stride? I tried to ignore his slow foot strikes and keep my own feet speedy. It was hard.
Nearing the end of the run, I was getting a little warm. Someone passed me, but then I kept up with him, and Mario and I passed the guy with the mammoth stride. Here we are heading into T1:
Mammoth-strider we just passed (#8), Mario, me, and the guy who just passed us all
I caught Ross in T1. Here I am putting on my helmet as he's getting ready to make like a baby and "head out:"
Running across the wet gravel out of T1
FLYING START!! F*ck yeah.
Julie was right on my tail:
Matt throwing on his bike shoes....
.... and getting ready to ride!
It wasn't until a few minutes into the bike that I realized I never looked at my watch after the run. Quickly doing the math, I realized my run wasn't too bad (which was good, because I FELT like I was working!). The ride wasn't too windy. We had a cross-wind for the start, and it slowly became a bit of a tail wind. The roads were wet, but not slick.
I cheered for the other bikers when I saw them coming back at me. I counted that I was in about 15th place at the turn-around. I only got caught by 2 more people after that, so that was GREAT for me! Here were my averages 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and at the end of the bike:
- 20.6 mph at mile 3.5
- 21.8 mph at mile 7 (turn-around)
- 20.4 mph at mile 10.5
- 20.0 mph nearing mile 14 (near transition)
THE SCARIEST PART OF THE BIKE WAS WHEN I MET A SEMI!! I saw the semi coming at me on the other side of the road, but there was MORE than a whole lane between us, and I figured it wouldn't be a big deal. Well it WAS a big deal, and the blast of wind nearly rocked me off my bike! The water it was kicking up felt like a shotgun blast to the face. I DRASTICALLY swerved and nearly lost it. When I met another semi a few miles later, I got up into my hoods, really braced myself, and I took it much better.
While I was still out there, Ross came in off the bike in 3rd, and he was making the strangest face in the photo that Pharmie took:
Nearing transition, I STILL hadn't seen Julie, and I was afraid that she had wiped-out or flatted. So I glanced back. "Oh, I see a red jersey back there." So I glanced back again:
Running back across the wet gravel with a big ole mooseknuckle:
"Holy hell, my legs feel heavy." I know, I know... that's the nature of multi-sport. But I just felt heavy and slow. I just needed to keep moving forward and not get too depressed at potentially slow mile splits.
It took a few blocks before I could even see someone in front of me. And that was a good sign - now I had someone to chase. I only passed 1 guy in that first mile. And in that first mile, I met the top 3 guys headed back to the finish. Chad Millner was really helped by the "good luck" rub of my shorts because he took some time off his course record from last year!!! And Ross was running in 3rd!
Chad about to take the win!
Ross heading in for 3rd place!
My first mile was 6:19 and I was OK with that. (Last year, my slowest mile was 5:59.) I only passed a few more people in that second mile, which was 6:07. And I was still moving OK. I met Matt, and we exchanged pleasantries. I was getting HOT on the run. At the turn-around, I poured water on my head and down my back. I kept trying to unzip my shirt even more, but it was as open as it went.
I saw #8 in front of me, and I was BARELY closing. As we hit the edge of the trees (with about 100-150 meters left), I PASSED #8!! I was working hard, and I had gotten him! Here we are about to turn into the chute:
I think he's smiling at my shorts
Giving it my all around the final turn
#8 giving chase
Those monster strides gaining on me!
#163 - Steve Stenzel, 30, M, St. Paul
2 mile run: 11:27 (5:44 pace), 6th overall
14 mile bike: 41:49 (20.1 pace), 24th overall
3 mile run: 18:19 (6:07 pace), 7th overall
12th out of 131 overall
4th out of 13 in the 30-34 age group
First run PR by 4 seconds.
Bike PR by over 1:00.
Second run PW (personal worst) by a few seconds.
Overall PR at this race by 18 seconds over the last 3 years!
I took off my chip, and Pharmie got an epic shot of the amazing shorts:
Thanks for the race, Julie!!
Julie, Matt, and my lovely Pharmie post-race