Life Time Fitness Triathlon Race Report

>> Monday, July 11, 2011

Saturday was the Life Time Fitness Minneapolis Triathlon. I decided a week ago (just before registration closed) to sign up for the sprint (0.4 mile swim / 15 mile bike / 3 mile run). I had done the Oly distance at this race 2 times in the past, and I figured I'd be in decent shape to race the sprint, and it'd be fun to try that shorter race.

Saturday morning, Pharmie got Henry all packed up, and the 3 of us headed to Lake Nokomis:

We met up with a couple of people from before the race:

Ryan, me, Anne, and Chels
(Anne was one of the 3 that came over recently for that speed workout in my garage)

The LTF Triathlon has a "Time Trial" start. After the pros and elites start off in "normal" waves, the rest of us doing the Oly or the sprint start individually every 3 seconds. So I had some time to hang around with Pharmie after the race had officially started. She sat down on the curb near the "bike out" to feed Henry while watching the elites start their rides:

NOTE: There was an 11 year old boy TOTALLY trying to peek down my wife's "hooter hider" while she was breastfeeding. I should have tried to get a photo of that. ;)

Before too long, Anne and I worked our way to the water!! I ran into old friends and new acquaintances (blog or twitter peeps). I got lined up according to my race number near the back of the "30-34 Male" wave, and the line slowly moved forward towards our individual starts.

I took a moment to reflect as I was about 3 minutes from starting. It sounds corny, but I felt pretty blessed to be there. I was racing a triathlon and I have a perfect 4 week old boy (who could be a little better about sleeping at night). I wanted to race HARD, but I also just felt lucky to be where I was. Soon, I was standing at the water's edge, someone took down my number, and shouted "GO!"


I had one goal here: keep it EASY while starting out! I didn't want to have to be doing the back-stroke part way into the swim. I also broke a major triathlon rule. You've heard the saying "don't try anything new on race day." Well, I just got new goggles on Thursday, and this was the first time they were under water. My old goggles have been starting to leak HORRIBLY, and I knew I just couldn't wear them on race day. Well, the new goggles (which were the same as my old goggles only with a slightly "smokey" lens) worked PERFECTLY!

The swim was a big triangle. I made it out to the first turn pretty well. Along the back stretch, I ran into a few lifeguards trying to keep the swimmers in a tight formation. (I was swimming wide because I was passing a lot of people who had big side-stroking kicks, and I didn't want to get nailed in the face.) My sighting was a little worse on this back stretch, but it wasn't horrible (well, not for ME at least). I made the final turn for home and I picked up the pace a bit. I bumped into 1 or 2 people on this stretch, but it was nothing bad. I was proud that I swam well into the shallows (after many people were standing up and trudging through chest-deep water) until my hand hit the sandy bottom. The swim was a good distance for my current level of training - I was JUST starting to feel fatigued, but I was able to swim it all pretty strong.


It's a big race, and the transition area is long. Like always, I got a pretty dizzy while standing by my bike getting my shoes and helmet on. I grabbed everything I needed, and I ran out:

A smile for my cheering wife!


I clipped in and I took off. I heard some cheers, and I saw Ryan and Allison cheering to the left. JUST after that, I crashed my bike. Here's what I said in my last post along with the photos I had posted (if you've read this in my last post, skip over this part).

Yes, I had my first crash during a race today at the Life Time Fitness Minneapolis Triathlon. I'd LOVE to say "It's all this other person's fault," but rarely is a crash only one person's fault. I had just started the bike. I was only about 200-300 meters into the ride, when a woman in front of me started drifting to the left. FAR left. As in she was starting to get close to the left curb. It's common bike knowledge (and a USAT rule) to ride to the right and pass on the left. I was coming up on her fast, and I was pretty sure I'd make it around her and/or she'd realize she was drifting left and move back to the right. But she just kept moving to the left. I had to make a quick decision: either (1) slam on the brakes 300 meters into the bike, or (2) run into her, or (3) nail the curb. I couldn't convince my body to brake THAT hard THAT soon in the race, and I wasn't about to "take her out," so I went for the curb sideways at 22-23 mph.

"OH CRAP!!!!..... oh good, I got this...... no, wait, NO I DON'T!!..... oh, it's OK, I'm fine...... NO I'M NOT!! I'M CRASHING!!!" (I think that's the internal dialog for anyone who comes close to crashing and thinks they've recovered when they really haven't.)

I felt pain. I got up. I had a few scrapes, but I didn't hit my head. I grabbed my bike, hopped back on, and kept going. When I was done, Pharmie grabbed these photos:

The worst of it (I think from sliding across the curb as I was crashing)

Grass and road rash on my shoulder

Forearm (the "dirty spot" towards my watch is a bunch of scraped skin)

When I got up, I just got back on my bike and started biking hard. My computer stopped working after the crash (I think the sensor just got moved away from the magnet - I still haven't looked at it), so I was now "riding blind." After a few miles, I still hadn't been passed, and I was passing lots of people. I KNEW I was going hard, and I knew I was pushing the pace because of the crash. I wasn't "riding angry" - I wasn't pissed that I had crashed. I was just a little "jacked up" from the adrenaline surge during the crash.

I took a split on my watch when I hit the Franklin Bridge, because I knew that was around half way into the bike. I mapped it out afterwards (using to see how far it was to that point. I calculated that I had a 21.84 mph average at that point, and THAT INCLUDED THE CRASH. Yep, that's fast for me! (Especially considering that I would have lost some time crashing and getting back up to speed.)

I could tell I was slowing up a bit on the way back towards transition, but I still felt OK about my ride. I had been passed by only 1 person, and I think I passed him back a few miles later. I was happy with my bike effort.


Nothing fancy here. Just a slightly awkward dismount in front of some people cheering for me at the Gear West Bike and Tri tent (glad you guys could see that - sheesh). I racked my bike, threw on my running shoes, grabbed a sip of Gu Brew from my transition bottle, and hit the run. Oh, and I noticed that there were HARDLY ANY bikes back in my area of transition (my AG), so I started thinking I MIGHT be able to place in my AG! I knew I had to run strong!


The run course was PACKED! There were Oly athletes starting their second lap around the lake, and there were lots of sprint athletes heading out of transition with me. I was doing a lot of passing, and I had to jump off the trail to make many passes. There were also a lot of cheers for me: from spectators I DIDN'T know who just shouted "sweet shorts," to spectators shouting for "Steve in a Speedo," to other athletes saying "I know those shorts - go Steve!" It was great!

I trudged through the first mile in 6:14 - that wasn't too bad. I picked up the pace knowing that I could make up some time in the middle mile if I could only "hold on." I ran mile 2 in 5:55 - nice! I felt like I was upping the pace, and I was passing HUNDREDS of people! (Maybe not actually "hundreds," but I had to have passed around 200 people over those 3 miles - that'd be around 10 people / minute.) And I wasn't passed by anyone on the run.

I came up near one of the final turns, and I heard my name in the distance. It was Pharmie and one of her teammates cheering me to the finish!

You can see a little of my road rash on my lower leg

This late into a race, I consider THIS a "smile." :)
Oh, and you can see "crud" on my yellow shorts (to the right) from the crash.

I ran past and into the finishers' chute. I swear I heard my name or "Steve in a Speedo" about 15 times as I ran through the chute! It was AWESOME! Thanks for the cheers, everyone!! As I came up to the finishline, I heard Jerry on the microphone say something like: "And here come the shorts of Steve Stenzel! His wife doesn't dress him, but maybe she should!" I gave a smile and wave to Jerry once I had crossed the line.


Bib #: 3749
Age: 30
Gender: M
Race Category: Short Course Age Group - Men 30 to 34

Swim .4 mile
Time: 12:43.7
Pace: 1:58 /100m
Category Place: 12
Overall Place: 113

Transition #1
Time: 2:08.2
Category Place: 11
Overall Place: 95

Bike 15 miles
Time: 43:02.7
Pace: 20.9 MPH
Category Place: 9
Overall Place: 64

Transition #2
Time: 1:26.7
Category Place: 7
Overall Place: 58

Run 3 mile
Time: 18:08.9
Pace: 6:03/Mile
Category Place: 1
Overall Place: 3

Finish Time: 1:17:30.3
Category Place: 5 out of 49 Men 30 to 34 finishers
Overall Place: 22 out of 820 Short Course finishers

Well, I didn't place in my AG, but I can't complain about the 3rd fastest run out of 820 athletes! Or the 64th fastest bike! I'll take it! It was a good race considering my slightly "slowed down" training schedule.

We got home after the race, and Pharmie grabbed a photo of her 2 men:

Back with a bit more from the race shortly! Happy Monday! Thanks for reading!

p.s. Here's my Examiner write-up about the race, which includes a number of pro photos.


krystyna47 9:50 AM, July 11, 2011  

The kid's sporting a nice onesie in that last shot!!

Christi 10:00 AM, July 11, 2011  

I love the last picture of you and Henry. Great shot!

Congrats on a great race! I hope you are healing well from your crash.

SteveQ 10:20 AM, July 11, 2011  

No Port-a-potty shot? No stopping-your-watch-at-the-finish shot? Being a parent's changed you, man.

drdaven 10:57 AM, July 11, 2011  

But we got TWO one legged runner shots in this post.

Great report, felt like I was there with you. Bummer on the crash though, hope the bike came through unscathed.

April 12:59 PM, July 11, 2011  

Way to go, Steve! And MAJOR props to Pharmie for breastfeeding in public, sitting on a curb, with no Boppy only 4 weeks in! She has some skillz! :) I don't think I ever made it to that level, even after 12 months.

Amytrigirl (aka Amybee) 3:52 PM, July 11, 2011  

congrats Steve! Sorry about the crash! Henry is adorable!

Unknown 6:38 PM, July 11, 2011  

First time to your blog. A)The title is hilarious! B) Hooter hider! Bahaha! Give your wife a high five from a fellow feeder, and I wish I would have called it that! C) Those shorts are amazing!!!!

Richelle 7:08 PM, July 11, 2011  

Awesome job, Steve! I think a crash like that would have affected me a lot more than it did you.

Hooter hider... tee hee hee! Did Pharmie say anything to that 11-year-old boy?

I think those shorts increase your speed, btw!

Nick Jacobs,  3:18 AM, July 18, 2011  

Crashing sucks, but that's just part of the game. Glad you sucked it up!
I'm traveling abroad this summer (was able to get some cheap airline tickets!), but I'm very concerned about this radiation on the airplane. Does anyone know if this is true?

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