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.)


kT 8:40 AM, May 23, 2011  

Interesting comparison: your posture near the end vs. the yellow runner's posture. Your core work is working. But great job to both of you runners, and of course to Team Happy Pants!

Steve Stenzel 8:45 AM, May 23, 2011  

kT - I LOVE to hear that! I've been working on my core all winter, and I've already felt it helping me out in races and hard workouts!

Kim 9:26 AM, May 23, 2011  

way to go team happy pants! you guys rocked! congrats. any pictures of THEE puddle?

GoBigGreen 10:00 AM, May 23, 2011  

HA hannah is like " move along move along, i have a job to do here." Nice job to both of you:) thanks to Sarah for the fun pics! I bet this year she was happy to not get all muddy!

EZnJ 10:25 AM, May 23, 2011  

LOVE THE PLAY BY PLAY!! didn't know that you got the win... HIGH FIVE! WAHOO!! Thanks Sarah for the pics and hope you both have a great last 3 weeks of being DINKS!

:) - jhull

Bruther 4:16 PM, May 23, 2011  

pretty darn fast, nice job

Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) 5:04 PM, May 23, 2011  

CONGRATULATIONS Team Happy Pants!!! What a great race for you and Matt!

Richelle 8:17 PM, May 23, 2011  

Congrats! I wish I could run that fast!

Jennifer 8:56 PM, May 23, 2011  

Wow! Congrats Team Happy Pants!! Love the mud covered dedication - especially that last picture(Saxo Bank guy). Nice job.

Laurie 9:02 PM, May 23, 2011  

I love, love running in the mud. Probably why I've been doing much more trail running than road running recently!

Neophyte TriGuy 6:19 AM, May 24, 2011  

Great WIN! Gotta love those muddy runs, especially in races!

Mark Baker 6:53 PM, May 25, 2011  

Congrats on the win. And now that you've got a little taste of things, you're ready for a full on mud run, right?

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman 6:52 PM, May 26, 2011  

Another victory for Happy Pants!!!

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