Has Anyone Else Thought This While Watching Gymnastics?....

>> Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is it just me?....


4 Final Things from the LTF Triathlon (including where I think my bike speed came from)

FIRST: My Finishing Video:
Kris Swarthout (one of the announcers at the LTF Mpls Triathlon) confessed something funny over the P.A. system as I finished the race 2 weeks ago. Here's the video from Brightroom:

Direct Link: http://youtu.be/laAhAT30_FQ

SECOND: My Post-Race Feet:
Just a few hours after finishing the race, I took a photo of my feet. This is how beautiful they were:

That's a pus-filled blister with a broken blister on top of it at the bottom, a big callous on the far right side of my big toe, a torn blister on the left side (and bottom) of my big toe, and little "pit marks" all over from walking around barefoot for so long pre-race. Super.

THIRD: Appearance on the LTF Blog:
The Life Time Fitness Blog used a small chunk of my race report in a post about a "newbie" triathlete at their race. Check it out.

FOURTH: Surprising Bike Speed:
At the LTF Mpls Triathlon, I was surprised with how fast I was biking. I'm not a fast biker, and I haven't been "putting in the miles" lately, so when I was seeing a 21+ mph average on a "technical" course, I was thrilled. I ended up taking over 4 minutes off my bike split at the MPLS Tri from 4 years prior (taking me from around 19.7 mph average to 21.2 mph average).

There are a few small reasons for that, and 1 big one:
- Small reason #1: riding with a ZIPP front wheel.
- Small reason #2: more triathlon experience since then.
- Small reason #3: more "hard riding" experience (a few TTs).

But I think the biggest reason for that faster-than-expected bike time is the way I've been training. In the past, I'd do a lot of 26-30 mile rides. In my mind, that was far enough to help me cover the distance of a 24.8 mile ride in an Olympic Distance triathlon. It was my "go to" bike workout - I'd just do a bunch of kinda hard 27 mile rides.

Lately, I've been biking LESS, but the way I've been biking has changed. Earlier this month, I posted about my long July 4th bike ride of 43 miles. That was my longest ride in over 2 years. It wasn't super fast, but it was a lot of miles (for me). I need to stop doing those 85% effort 27 mile rides. Those don't help much while training for an Olympic Distance triathlon. Recently, I've been doing shorter, harder rides when I just have an hour. Or longer, easier rides when I have more time. I need to work on SPEED on the short rides, and ENDURANCE on the long rides. I can't hope for every ride to work on both aspects. And THAT new manner of training has helped my overall bike speed. This idea is nothing new to most people, but I'm just FINALLY figuring it out on my own. I feel like such a big boy!

Biking at the LTF Mpls Triathlon.

- Click here for my 2012 LTF Mpls Tri race report.
- Click here for more photos and my "virtual race."
- Click here for my official LTF photos.

Back with a "sherpa report" from Pharmie's Waseca Triathlon tomorrow!


Run For Blood 5K (My Second Race in 36 Hours)

>> Monday, July 30, 2012

Thursday night was the Rice Street Mile road race.

Friday, I did a lot of yard work in my compression socks. Sexy.

Saturday was the Run for Blood 5K. It was the 9th race of the 14 race Minnesota Distance Running Association's (MDRA) "Grand Prix" Series.

Oh, and regarding doing yard work in my khaki shorts and black compression socks, here's a tweet of mine and a sassy (and absolutely true) response from Karina:

So Pharmie, Henry, and I pulled up to Lake Calhoun for the "Run for Blood 5K" about an hour before the race started. I first made a pit-stop:

Then I got my race packet, and I put my chip on my shoe as Henry played with his shovel:

Then we just HAD to get a photo with this guy!!!!!


I chatted with the normal "race buddies," and Erika even showed up on bike to cheer and chat. [We should have gotten a picture, Erika! :) Sorry!] Jeremy and I headed off to the starting line together:

At the starting line, between speedy Ben M (in the blue) and nice guy Omar.

"5... 4... 3... 2... 1... GO!!!"

The guy to the right with the nice legs is Scott, who I TRIED to catch at the Rice Street Mile on Thurs.
Pay attention... I'll be mention (and showing) him again. :)

I took off in about 10th place. Speedy speedy Ben M. was in front of me, and that would stay that way. Omar P. was just in front of me, and I know that I'm usually faster than him. Soon, I was in 7th (I think). Scott, who just beat me on Thursday at the Rice Street Mile, pulled up beside me and went past about a half mile into the race. "Steve, you said this 36 hours ago, but try to keep Scott close and then out-kick him! You didn't do it at the Mile... can you do it now?"

Around the 0.7 mark, we caught some of the "quarter marathon" runners who started 15 minutes before us (there were nearly 300 of them). Soon, it became all about dodging the runners we were passing. Fun times.

• Mile 1: 5:35.84. "Nice pace. But this speed won't last... Oh, and here comes a hill... Super."

I had gone out at a pace that I couldn't sustain, but it wasn't TOO fast of a pace where I was going to die. It was just about right. I started to pass someone on the slight downhill (seen in the photo above with the du-rag in the red), but he caught me as soon as we leveled out.

Erika biked over to about the half-way point and saw me dodging some quarter-marathon runners at a water stop. I had to pop up onto the sidewalk for a few strides, but then I was back at it. Scott was under a block in front of me, and there was just that one runner between us.

• Mile 2: 5:47.72. "Yep, a bit slower... it's now time to suffer!! Work through it!!

I passed the guy in front of me at this point. Scott was the next runner in front of me, and I was going for him!!! (Again, as I pointed out in my Rice Street Mile race report, I'm not OVERLY competitive, but being Scott and I are both doing the Grand Prix series, he's a good "rabbit" to shoot for in order to get as many series points as possible. It's all for fun!)

I started doing what I always figured I'd do if / when I got a Garmin: I started looking at it ALL THE TIME to see how far I had left because I wanted it to be over. "OK, 2.5 miles: just over a half mile. OK, 2.6 miles: just a half mile left. OK, 2.75 miles: just over a quarter mile left. OK, 2.85 miles: just a quarter mile more." I'm not exaggerating. I really looked at it that often (more, actually), and had those thoughts in my head. I was toast as I was trying to catch Scott and hold off any other runners behind me.

• Mile 3: 5:43.93. "There's the finish. Thank God."

Pharmie got 1 last photo before the memory card filled up on my camera. She didn't know it at the time, but Scott was in the foreground of that photo showing the distance that I just could not make up:

Scott........... then me.

Eight seconds. That was how much Scott beat me by. Here's a close-up of me in that last photo as I was heading to the finish line:

Covered in sweat and water and disappointment. (Not really that last one.)

Unofficially, I had 17:47.88 for 3.12 on my Garmin. (Mile splits of 5:35.84, 5:47.72, 5:43.93, and 0:40.36.) My Garmin read a bit long because of having to dodge people and having to be off to the right of big groups while slowly curving left around Lake Calhoun.


Steve Stenzel, 31, M, St. Paul, MN

5:44.1 / mile pace
7th out of 428 total
3rd out of ?? in the 30-39 age group

Looking at the results, 8 of the top 16 finishers were MDRA Grand Prix racers. Grand Prix members finished in 1, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 15, and 16 out of 428 overall!! Solid showing!!

(That's "former student Jeremy" there in 16th, and he did that "naked" because he forgot his watch!)

I walked back to Erika, Pharmie, and Henry, and I got a cute photo of my family:

Henry stood and cheered for the runners! Really! He clapped and yelled!

And then he got to meet some Minnesota Vikings' Cheerleaders!!!!!

He's totally unimpressed. Or just playing it cool. I don't have him totally figured out yet.
(And yes, that's a big bruise on his head. He's such a clumsy walker!)
(Oh, and Henry NOW has a "lucky elbow"... if you know what I mean...)

I wore my compression socks around the house a few hours after the race and tried to take it easy. My legs REALLY weren't THAT tired from the mile race followed by the 5K 36 hours later. But I know that's setting myself up for injury, so I'm taking it easy this week!

Back with a sherpa report from Pharmie's Waseca Triathlon yesterday in the next few days (along with her brother and brother's girlfriend). And a giveaway soon, too! Happy Monday!

p.s. If you missed Saturday's post which was my Rice Street Mile race report, scroll down or click that link. Thanks!


Rice Street Mile (My First Road Mile)

>> Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thursday night was my first "road mile." I headed into the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul for the "Rice Street Mile." They close down busy Rice Street for a 1 mile race, and then they have a big parade right after the race! Great idea!!

Being it was just a mile, I ran the whole course pre-race. (I used the pre-race run to check their quarter-mile markers [which seemed spot-on] and set my Garmin to take an automatic "lap" every 0.25 miles.) It was a point-to-point run, and here's the first flat half mile:

Near the middle, it has an oh so gentle downhill to about the 3/4 mile marker:

But it was the last quarter mile that was going to be interesting. This photo shows the "3" sign on the road indicating the 0.75 mile mark, and it's just before a short climb up a bridge:

That's Brian D. biking up the bridge, and his final parting words before biking away from me were "I'll be taking photos on the bridge - I want to see you puke!!" Thanks Brian! :) Ha! (Brian was the runner who pulled me to a 4:59 indoor mile PR last January.)

And finally, at the top of the bridge, it drops into a nice downhill for the final 250 meters to the finish:

The finish line (which wasn't set up yet when I took this photo) is at the stoplight at the bottom of the hill.

I walked / jogged back to the start and did this:

Then I watched the women start 15 minutes before us dudes started:

Tri-buddies Marta and Lydia are in the middle - Marta's in the red sports bra, and Lydia's right behind her.

It felt like a LONG 15 minutes to our start! I chatted with lots of "race buddies," and we teased about why we were so nervous at the start of "just a 1 mile" race. We heard people saying "oh, road mile are fast," and then other people saying "oh, this road mile is slow."

I got 2 good pieces of pre-race advice:

FIRST: Kirt Goetzke (a Minnesota distance running legend) told Jeremy and I to keep our strides FAST going up that hill near the end, and then maintain those fast strides through the downhill to go as fast as possible. I looked over to Jeremy and said "good advice!"

SECOND: I heard a random stranger say "just don't be the first one to puke." Also good advice. For everything. Anywhere. In general.

MY GOAL: Sub-5:00 hopefully, and around 4:55 if possible. Some people (Michael, Nathan, etc) were telling me I could be down close to 4:50 based on my Meet of the Miles time, but I didn't quite believe that with my current training. I just wanted to suffer and see what I could do!!


*bullhorn noises*

There was super tan "dude" in "board shorts" in front of me. "Catch board shorts dude, Steve." I passed a few people, but a number of people passed me. And Scott (Grand Prix buddy) was one of them that passed me. "Ooooh, forget about 'board shorts dude,' and keep an eye on Scott!" (I'm not super competitive [and Scott's a great guy!], but being we're doing the "Grand Prix" series, it gives me an extra push to try to earn as many Grand Prix points as possible.)

• First 0.25 mile: 1:14.87. "OK, good start..."

Nothing changed in the next quarter mile. I didn't pass anyone, and no one caught me. Boring.

• Second 0.25 mile: 1:14.95. "Don't slow up too much! Keep it strong here!"

I was working, and it was getting a little hard. (TWSS) Those quarter-mile markers were coming up quick! I had forgotten how short a mile was! (And I think it even felt SHORTER outside vs my previous experience at indoor miles.)

I actually caught a few guys in the 3rd quarter mile. (Two guys faded FAST.) But I wasn't gaining on Scott! He was my rabbit, and he was pulling me!

• Third 0.25 mile: 1:15.14. "Damnit Steve, just GOOOOO!!"

We climbed that little hill, and I saw Brian raise a camera. I wasn't going to puke for him, but he still got a nice photo of me (back there in the purple) and Scott (#280) working our way to the top of the hill:

Sidenote: This looks familiar. Scott looked like he was working hard and I had the same weird stride just behind him at the Human Race 8K in March, and we were both wearing the same things:

Human Race 8K flashback.

Anyway, after cresting that hill, I heard someone shout "GO NATHAN!!" Oh crap! Nathan was on my tail! I couldn't let him get me!! (Again, not because I'm an overly-competitive jerk, but just because the Grand Prix points make it fun to push a little harder vs your Grand Prix race-mates!) This photo from SteveQ shows us just past the hill - Scott is in the orange, Paul (in the white) had just passed me, and Nathan is in the sunglasses and white tank just behind me:

Damn heel strike as I ran past SteveQ. Sweet ass shot, though.
I mean... if you're into tiny asses.

Oh, and post-race, Scott told me he heard Brian say "GO STEVE!!" so that made HIM push harder! We were all trying to hold each other off! THAT'S a good race!

I hit the finish gasping for air, feeling pretty spent. Nathan didn't catch me, but I couldn't catch Scott either.

• Final 0.25 mile: 1:11.05. "You should have been faster in the 2nd and 3rd quarter miles..."

Unofficial total on my Garmin: 4:56.01. "I wish I could have been faster, but that was right where I was hoping I could be, so I'll take it!"


Steve Stenzel, M, 31, St. Paul

20th out of 233 overall
11th out of 50 in the 20-29 age group

In the end, Paul got me by 1.5 seconds, Scott was less than a second in front of me (but it felt like forever!), and I held off Nathan by just under 3 seconds:

Technically, this was my 2nd slowest 1 mile ever, but I haven't been doing ANY short speed work lately, so I'm really OK with it. My 6 mile times in chronological order are 5:00.7, 4:54.6, 4:53.0, 4:49.5, 4:53.9, and now 4:55.9.

I walked back down Rice Street with Jeremy who had just finished his FIRST mile race. And he did it in 5:18!! Nice work, Jeremy!! Oh, and as we were walking back, I told him that I couldn't follow my OWN advice that I gave him pre-race. I had told him to not let up in that 3rd quarter... and wouldn't cha know, THAT was my slowest quarter mile. "Damn it," I told Jeremy.

I got to my car and grabbed my camera - the post-run parade had JUST started:

Yes, those are 2 baton-twirlers on the left. A parade's not complete without a few of those.

Well, the next Grand Prix series race is TODAY!! Yep, just 36 hours after racing this 1 mile, I have a 5K in Minneapolis. I'll be back with that race report on Monday. Watch my tweets for up-to-date info.

I'm hoping to rack up as many Grand Prix points as possible this weekend! I can't wait to check the updated standings when they come out (hopefully mid-week next week)....

Happy weekend!!


Friday Funny 366: A Sexual Olympic Message to Sprinter Usain Bolt

>> Friday, July 27, 2012


"Rice Street Mile" race report coming tomorrow, and 5K report coming on Monday. Happy Friday!!


Friday Funny 365: What Your Drink Says About You


Friday Funny 364: The Most Inappropriate Photo / Caption Combo from Wimbledon

Poor Andy Murray.

You have a dirty mind if you smirked...


Friday Funny 363: Fast Food Restaurants on Gay Marriage

Everyone has heard the "Chick-fil-A" controversy regarding their stance on gay marriage. But did you know these other fast food restaurants have an opinion too?

I can't say Ronald's quote surprised me....


Giveaway Winners for "1,001 Pearls of Runners' Wisdom"

>> Thursday, July 26, 2012

There were 30 twitter entries and 100 comment entries in my giveaway for 5 copies of "1,001 Pearls of Runners' Wisdom."

The deal was that I was going to pick 1 random "tweeter" and 4 random "commenters" to give away 5 copies of the book. So here are the winners as chosen randomly by Random.org:

Twitter Winner:
Matt Rantala

Comment Winners:
Ironmom (Julie)
Andy Rosebrook
Rachel Elizabeth
Ruby Leigh

If you 5 could contact me (through link at the top of the page) so I can get your mailing address, I'll send a copy of this book your way ASAP. Thanks!

IF YOU DIDN'T WIN, DON'T FRET - THERE WILL BE ANOTHER GIVEAWAY IN THE NEXT 10 DAYS! Really. And it will just be a leave-a-comment-to-be-entered style of giveaway. So stay tuned for that.

Actually, there's a lot of fun stuff coming your way in the next few days on my blog. Tonight is my first ROAD MILE, so keep an eye on my tweets to get updates about that. That race report should come your way on Saturday. Then I have a 5K on Saturday, and that race report should be up on Monday. And Pharmie's race report from the Waseca Triathlon should be up shortly after that! Stay tuned!!


Otter Attacks Minnesotan Triathlete

>> Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two weeks ago, I posted about testicle-eating fish. That MAY have been stories from fisherman, and that was all the way over in Illinois. I wasn't concerned about it here in Minnesota.

But now, if you haven't heard, there was an otter that attacked a Minnesotan triathlete training in a lake near Duluth. Leah Prudhomme is a Facebook friend from the tri-world, and she is recovering from 25 bite marks! Here's a bit from the Star Tribune:

In the middle of Island Lake near Duluth, the triathlete struggled as the animal sunk its needle-sharp teeth into her legs, feet and back, leaving 25 bite marks, some 2 inches deep.

"It just kept coming after me," said Prudhomme, 33, of Anoka. "You never knew where it was going to bite next."


She said she's thankful she wore the wet suit, which was shredded during the attack, but which likely saved her from more extensive injuries.

Another article quoted Leah as saying "My wetsuit tells the tale best because there’s just claw marks and chunks missing and lots of bites all over the wetsuit. It’s pretty much destroyed now."

And look at this:


Leah got a series of rabies shots, and hopefully everything is OK now.

The best tongue-in-cheek article I saw about this was from Heavy.com where their headline was
"Otter Bites Triathlete 25 Times, Reminds Us Why Exercise is Bad."

And guess what? The triathlon that Leah was training for was last weekend. She finished the "Buzz Ryan Triathlon" 20th overall out of over 100, and she was the 6th female! Congrats Leah!!

So, men in Illinois, keep your testes safe. And swimmers in Minnesota, don't assume that little furry thing is cute and snuggly....

Back tomorrow with the winners of my recent giveaway!


Official Photos from the LTF Tri: I Officially Don't Look Like Hell

>> Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My race photos can sometimes look pretty crappy. But these make me look half-way presentable! Although, I DO start looking worse and worse farther into the photos, but I suppose that's the way it should be...

Slow swim, but still moving!

Up the beach.

Up the little hill away from Nokomis (I think).

Riding the brakes around a corner.

Nearing the dismount line.

Hitting the finish!


Lookin' nasty, about to smother myself in that wet, ice-cold towel!

- CLICK HERE for my Life Time Fitness Triathlon Race Report.
- CLICK HERE to see a great slideshow of pro triathletes at the LTF Tri.
- CLICK HERE to see a few race photos from friends at LTF, along with my "virtual race."

p.s. Last chance to enter my "1,001 Pearls of Runners' Wisdom" giveaway!


3 Races in 3.5 Days

>> Monday, July 23, 2012

It's going to be a FULL weekend of racing fun!!

No, I'm NOT doing 3 races this weekend, but I AM doing 2 races over about a 36 hour period.

RACE #1: The Rice Street Mile on Thursday night. This is an MDRA "Grand Prix" race, so it's one that I need to run to earn some points! It's a point-to-point "road mile," and I've never done a road mile before. Well, I guess I DID run the TC 1 Mile with Pharmie 2 years ago when she was 36 weeks pregnant...

.... but we took it easy and ran an 11:00 mile, so I don't think that counts. People tell me that "road miles" are a bit faster than "track miles" mainly because you're not turning all the time. I'm not in great "1 mile" shape (lots of longer and slower runs for me lately), but I'm really hoping to break 5:00. My slowest indoor mile (on a 200 meter track) was my first one about 4 years ago, and that was 5:00.7. After that, I dropped it down to 4:54 just 2 weeks later because I had learned a lot in that first race. Anyway, we'll see what I can do at this "road mile" on Thursday night.

RACE #2: The Run for Blood 5K on Saturday morning. This is another MDRA "Grand Prix" race, so again, I'm doing it for the Grand Prix points. I think it's at Lake Calhoun. Hoping to keep it around 17:45.

RACE #3: The Waseca Sprint Triathlon on Sunday morning. No, I'm NOT doing a triathlon after those 2 races - that would make my body explode. But Pharmie's going down to do this triathlon along with her brother and his girlfriend Angela. It will be Angela's FIRST TRIATHLON!! And Henry and I will be there to cheer everyone on!

It was 2 years ago at this race where I debuted the "Tutti Frutti" shorts! And it was Matt's second ever triathlon.

Super sexy post-race 2 years ago. Oh, did I say "sexy?"
I meant "awkward, exhausted, and hot." My bad.

So I hope to have a 1 mile race report posted on Saturday and a 5K race report posted next Monday. So check back for those. And then some time a bit later next week, I'll have a "sherpa report" from Matt, Angela, and Pharmie's triathlon! It's gonna be a fun weekend!

p.s. If you haven't entered the "1,001 Pearls of Runners' Wisdom" book giveaway, click here to check it out.


Instagram of the Day: Happy Henry on a 10 Miler

>> Sunday, July 22, 2012

Henry was happy to get out on a 10.4 mile run with me on Friday morning:


More Life Time Tri Photos and My Virtual Race

>> Saturday, July 21, 2012

KY and EH were snapping photos all day, and they got 2 of me at the Life Time Fitness Minneapolis Triathlon last weekend. Here's one of me hitting the edge of transition after the swim:

Not super happy with my swim time, but ready to ride!

And here's one just moments after I finished:

Nick also got a photo of me from the VIP deck. Here's a great photo of me finishing and hitting my watch:

(2:28 actual time)

Life Time Fitness has this new thing sponsored by CLIF called the "Clif Performance Planner." You can find it here. It can do 2 things:

1. You can select one of the many "Race to the Toyota Cup" races (LTF Tri was one of them) and plan your nutrition. It will tell you when to have what products based on your body composition and what you LIKE to consume during a race. (This would work if you're doing ANY Oly distance as well.)

2. If you've done one of the "Race to the Toyota Cup" races (so far just Philly and LTF Mpls), you can virtually watch yourself against the rest of the field. It's actually kind of cool. Until you realize where the leaders are on the bike when you're exiting the water. Maybe that's just me... :) But really, it's fun to watch my race at about 50x the regular speed. Here's a screen shot from when my red dot just finished the swim, and it shows blue dot A (Hunter Kemper) and blue dot B (Sarah Haskins) are nearly to the Franklin Bridge:

Also, it has THEE MOST USELESS DATA I've ever seen for a triathlon. But being I like numbers, it's still fun to see. It showed me how I ranked in Swim, T1, Bike, T2, and Run overall...

... and within my age group:

It showed where I ranked overall at each point in the race:

This one is actually kind helpful. My run pulled me from 220th in T2 up to 78th by the finish!

And the most useless bit of info is the "Fun Facts" page. Check this out:

So you're telling me I could have won the Athena 35-39 age group if I gained a little weight and had a sex change?

And that I'm the 2nd of 5 Steves?

And that I beat everyone named Adam?

Thanks. That's real helpful. (And a little funny.)

If you raced LTF (or want to try the nutrition planner), check it out here. And here's my race report if you missed it.



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