>> Monday, May 07, 2012
Or, "I Thought Big Guys Weren't Supposed to Be Able to Run Fast!"
Or, "How Long Can I Hold Them Off?!?"
Pharmie had to work this weekend, so I got the car packed Saturday morning with Henry in the Baby Bjorn:
4th "nervous poop" of the morning... but who's counting...
Old HS buddy Tim!
Lisa, who's all dressed up to volunteer
AND who took the majority of the following photos for me! Thanks Lisa!!
Lots of familiar faces in the front in this photo: Diane, Omar, Charlie, Dan, Sam, and Chad.
Heading out of the park.
Nervous energy - pacing with a cheesy grin.
Nervous energy - awkwardly playing with my hands in front of strangers.
Nervous energy - dancing??... I don't know WTF I'm doing here.
Nervous energy - even my tongue was nervous.
"5... 4... 3... 2... 1... GO!!!"
That's Nordica in the red, white, and blue shoes to the left.
I was right up there, and I ran side-by-side with these 2 strangers:
I was right on "tall guy's" tail as we crested the hill at the half mile mark. He really didn't seem to use the downhill too well, so I started "striding it out" and worked my way past him (saying "good morning" on the way past). I had just taken my first lead ever in a duathlon!!
We rounded the cone at the turn-around (at 5:45 - right where I wanted to be!), and I nearly laughed out loud! (I believe the kids say that as "LOL" these days.) There was a classically trained guitarist serenading us from the ditch!
Nearing transition, a stranger (who I'd talk with later and learn his name was Craig) snapped a GREAT photo of me and shouted "it's for your blog!" as I ran past. Check out this beautiful image:
Majestically and gracefully flying (with "tall guy" in second behind me).
Ready to turn into the park.
Off in the distance.
I didn't realize I had THAT much of a lead - there's no one visible behind me yet.
I threw on my bike shoes and fumbled with my new aero helmet strap. I ran out of transition still in first place. And it's obvious from the photos that I haven't worn my new aero helmet before… it seems to really sit on top of my head too much. I need to adjust it. See:
Mounting my bike.
Awkward helmet… but LOOK at the focused look on my face!!
Heading out of the park to start my ride.
Turning out of the park (from Kyleen)
Well, "tall guy" came flying past me near the top of a hill around mile 1 or so. I tried to keep him in my sights, but soon he was gone. I was being passed by a lot of people, and it wasn't until about half way through that I realized some of them were "long course" athletes doing their second lap of the course - they had started 35 minutes before us "short course" athletes. So even though I'd been counting those who passed (I think I was up to about 8), I don't know how many of them were racing me or how many were in the long course race!
I was ready for some rolling hills on the bike. But everyone after the race was saying "Wow… that was a little more challenging than I thought it was going to be!" It ate me up. I tried to keep the effort level pretty high throughout. I was really "spending" my legs. I was just looking forward to some decent downhills coming back into the park.
I looked at my computer each quarter of the bike portion, and here's what my overall average was at those miles:
- Mile 2.5: 19.1 mph
- Mile 5.0: 19.5 mph
- Mile 7.5: 20.2 mph
- Mile 10.0: 20.0 mph
As I entered the park, I saw "guy in black" running up the hill out of transition. "He's got a solid lead, but I HAVE to gun for him!!!"
I NEED TO ADMIT SOMETHING HERE THAT I'M NOT TOO PROUD OF. But it's the truth, and being I tend to share EVERYTHING (note porta-potty picture above where I stated it was my 4th poop of the day), I should mention this. Many times in multi-sport races, I'm well behind the elite athletes, but I'm ahead of the "middle-of-the-pack" athletes. I usually finish in a bit of an alone area with few people around. I end up finishing HARD, but not always "all out." Going "all out" would not gain me any more places, and now that I'm getting older, it helps keep me from getting injured. So, honestly, when I'm finishing a multi-sport race and no one is around, it's not uncommon for me to go about 98% - it's HARD, but not "everything I have."
Well, at this race, I was going to give 110% and try to win this damn thing! I didn't want to give 98% just to wonder what might have been. I wanted to go out and give EVERYTHING and see what happened! I hope this "98% vs 110%" stuff makes sense - I think I'm describing as well as I can. So I was ready to go NUTS on the final run!!
Down into the park.
Getting ready to dismount.
Jerry MacNeil was shouting over the loudspeaker: "There's Steve Stenzel in the lead of the sprint race! Can he hold on for his first win?!?" I yelled over to Jerry: "There's at least 1 guy in front of me!"
And you can tell I meant business about giving 110% by my T2 time! I'm NOT a fast transitioner!! For proof, let me offer my IM WI transition times: I spent about 20 minutes in transition, and I was fine with that! Looking through the results of this race, I had the 4th fastest T2 time!! Yep, I was NOT going down without a fight!!
Leaving T2 with some competition right on my tail.
Clawing at a cup of water…
The volunteer handing me the water is TOTALLY checking out my ass. Totally.
It was time to REALLY go hard to catch that guy in front of me! I ran up the little hill out of the park with heavy legs:
I was gaining on him fast!!! Only 2 runners were running back towards me (heading to the finish), and they were "long course" athletes. "I'm GOING to catch this guy, and then can I hold on TO WIN MY FIRST DUATHLON?!?!?!?"
I had forgotten ALL about "tall guy."
Suddenly I saw "tall guy" heading back towards me from the turn-around, and I was still a minute or more from the turn-around cone when I met him. So he had a 2-3 minute lead on me with a mile left. "Let's see… he was on my tail for the first run, so I'd probably only have to run about a 3:30 mile to take the win. Whatever. I can do that." Yeah. Right.
So I was bummed that I wasn't going to win, but I was STILL about to catch "guy in black" to move into 2nd, and that's still BY FAR the best I've EVER done in a duathlon! So you're NOT going to hear me complain! I hit the turn-around in 5:54, and passed "guy in black" shortly after. "Nice running" he said enthusiastically as I passed.
"Tall guy" didn't seem THAT far up the hill, so I thought he was maybe bonking. I did NOT let up! I was still giving 110% thinking that I still had a chance at winning. (And I wanted to make sure I held off "guy in black" and anyone else just behind me coming out of T2.) But when I got to the top of the hill with about a half mile left, "tall guy" was no where to be found. He was well on his way to a victory. But I fought him with all I had.
Oh what's that? You want PROOF that I was giving 110%? Well here you go. Remember that photo from Craig where I was leading at the end of the FIRST run? It was this one where I looked "majestic and graceful:"
Floating. Fast. Sensual. Pink. Plaid. Perfect.
Ahhhhh!! Kill it with fire!!!!!!
Coming into the park.
Looking about 10 years older than I really am. And I think that's a Mexican Borat behind me….
A final photo from Kyleen just after Lisa (volunteer and picture-taker) gave me a big hug!!!
Steve Stenzel, #299, 31, M, St Paul
- 2 MILE RUN: 11:31 (5:46 / mile and 1st fastest run)
- T1: 0:38 (T for 8th fastest)
- 10 MILE BIKE: 30:57 (19.4 mph and 5th fastest bike)
- T2: 0:28 (4th fastest)
- 2 MILE RUN: 11:36 (5:48 / mile and 1st fastest run)
2nd out of 139 overall
2nd out of 15 in 30-39 M age group
5 QUICK NOTES:
- Fast runs: I had the first fastest run by 19 seconds, and the second fastest run by 48 seconds.
- Pretty even splits: I had noted in my pre-race post that I had hoped to pretty evenly-split the runs. Well I NAILED the first run with 5:45 and 5:45 mile splits (11:31 official)!! And I did pretty well in the second run with 5:54 and 5:40 mile splits (11:36 official) - the first mile was slower as it usually is for me when my legs still feel so heavy.
- OK bike: Fifth fastest bike split is pretty good, so I'll take it. Guess who had the fourth fastest bike? Racing buddy Nordica out-biked me! Nice job, Nordica! AND she finished as the first female in 4th place OVERALL!
- Safely in 2nd: I had no real shot at first - "tall guy" finished over 2 minutes in front of me. But I had no danger of being passed back and losing a spot - "guy in black" was 60 seconds behind me.
- Second overall IN A SMALL RACE: All of the real speedsters did the long course, and it was a small race. So I know I'm not some sort of "duathlon god" for placing 2nd. But I'm still proud of it! :)
I chatted with LOTS of friends post race, and I stopped to congratulate Dan and Sam who finished first and second in the long course race:
Cows on our cool-down.
I told Tim and Omar that this one would be called "Athletic Asses and Cows."
In the meantime, if you want to see more photos from the race, check out my Examiner article (with slideshow) about the race, and "like" the St. Paul Triathlon Examiner on Facebook.