Life Time Fitness Triathlon Race Report

>> Monday, July 16, 2012

Saturday was my 4th Life Time Fitness Minneapolis Triathlon, and it was my 3rd Oly at that race. I stated in this post that my goal was this: "Don't bonk so hard that you want to die, but see if you can break your 2:37:33 finishing time from 4 years ago... That's TOTALLY in reach."

I got to the race site early because I woke up before my alarm and knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. I was heading to the race alone, so I could leave at whatever crazy time I wanted to. So I got parked and unloaded by about 4:40 a.m.

My car in front of the bakery at 28th and Minnehaha.

I had 2 teenage girl "body markers," and I think I was the one to pop their body marking cherry. (They seemed a little confused at times, and one of them had a red marker.) They were swell enough to give me my traditional smiley face:

Not too much later, and I was all set up:

The end spot on the rack for this early riser.

As usual at big local races, I bumped into all kinds of race buddies. Ross and I got a pic from his sweetie:

And then I headed over to where we were going to have our "" meet-up. Here's "rdailey," "stevestenzel," and "GoHard" taken by BTer (and race buddy) "scuff."

Yes, I'm a B-cup. And you can see my one red body-marking and my one black.

Heading off to start the race!

I chatted with more friends, and then worked my way to the water's edge for my wave's start at 7:22. (It's a "time trial" start where each person gets to start by themselves every 3 seconds, but the 30-34 males were going to be starting around 7:22.)

I tried my crappy (but in a good way) new water-proof digital camera down in the water.

A wave of elites starting.

Me peeing. Seriously. As I took this. You're WATCHING me pee.

My pee-soaked shorts once I waded out of the water.

I dropped my gear at a final bag drop, and was ready to go! The water was 80.5 degrees, so that meant no wetsuits.

In the M*ther F*cking ZONE! :)
(Pic from Aaron who I officially met moments after he took this photo.)


I took off pretty normally, and found myself having to ease up shortly. "Steve, you tend to do this in the swim. Do NOT take off too hard, especially without the 'safety' of your wetsuit!" I eased up, but then I started crashing in to people. I was holding a PRETTY straight line, but people were grabbing at my legs and crashing into me. I got a MAJOR goose from a guy about 1/2 way to the first turn. Hope he enjoyed it. I wasn't falling into a rhythm as I was just dodging people.

I've always said a "time trial" swim start is nice for beginners, but I'm not so sure anymore. With a "regular" wave start, you can hold off a few seconds or start way to the outside if you want clear water. (I swam pretty far outside at Trinona, and I never encountered anyone! I loved it!) But with this TT start, there were fast people way behind me swimming over me, slow people in front of me who I ran into, and it just got messy.

As I was cutting towards the buoy that signaled the first turn, I realized that I was headed towards a buoy on the backstretch! It felt like I needed to completely turn around to make it back to the actual corner buoy. My Garmin data shows this mistake nicely:

(I added in the yellow "buoys" based on how I remember it)

The back-stretch was a little better, although as you can see from that Garmin screenshot above, I swung REALLY wide after rounding that corner, and actually went behind a lifeguard. Oops. But then I sighted better. I was fighting a side-cramp on the right, so I was trying to take it a LITTLE easy without forgetting that is WAS a race.

I rounded the final corner and headed to shore. I started bumping into lots of people again. My Garmin beeped to signal 1500 meters WAY before I was back to shore, so in the end, I swam 1.04 miles, not 0.93. Talking with 2 elites post-race, they thought the course COULD be a bit long, but most of that extra 0.11 miles was due to my shitting sighting.

My time was crappy, but still faster than my last Oly here 4 years ago where I wore my wetsuit!


I ran up the beach and heard my name a few times! I was dizzy (my norm) as I put on my bike shoes. I grabbed my bike and ran out.

(Pics from Aaron)


I wasn't sure what I COULD do or what I SHOULD do here. My goal was to not bonk on the run like I did at Trinona last month, and I think my Trinona bonk was partially due to that hard bike ride (and partially due to the heat that day). I did NOT want to go too hard too soon during this ride.

I heard my name as "scuff" from BT shouted for me just after leaving transition. I looked and waved, and then got my eyes RIGHT back on the road. "Isn't this RIGHT where you crashed last year? Yeah, don't be dumb."

My Garmin takes splits every 5 miles, so anything under 15:00 is faster than 20 mph (I'm a mathematical genius). I hit the first split in 14:08, and my average was 21.2 mph. I was SURE that wouldn't last. It's not a hilly course (just little rollers everywhere), but the roads are a bit bumpy, and there are a lot of "technical" turns. I got through the next 5 miles (which I knew to be one of the stretches of the most hills on the course) in 14:14, and my overall average was still 21.2 mph.

Around mile 14 (pic from "scuff").

My 3rd split (miles 10-15) was fast: 13:55! This is where I had to make a decision. "OK Steve, you feel alright. Do you keep going at 99% effort to post a faster-than-expected bike split? Or do you ease up a bit to around 90% to avoid a bonk later on?" I decided to ease up a little. But I still found myself passing a few people. I'd be holding back a bit one minute, and then pushing harder the next.

Seven or 8 miles later (with just a mile or 2 to go), I still hadn't really made up my mind. I would hold back a LITTLE here and there, but I was still going at a pretty good clip. "LTF Oly bike PR, here I come!"

Within a mile from transition, shooting a smile to "scuff."

I went rolling into T2 with my Garmin STILL reading 21.2 mph for my overall average!! I was THRILLED with that!


I racked my bike and changed my shoes. I also grabbed a GU for the run. (I had 2 GUs on the bike, and the sticky wrappers were still crammed between my 2 pairs of shorts [if you didn't know, those bright shorts are just swim shorts, so I wear a small pair of tri shorts under them for a little ass padding]). I was feeling OK, and I was really hoping to hold off a bonk!


My Garmin was reading 1:47:XX as I ran out, and I was hoping I could run a 40:00 10K to PR by about 10 minutes overall on this course! (My PR on this course from 4 years ago was 2:37:33.) I had hoped that I could get near 2:30 on a good day, but now it was all about breaking 2:30 by as much as possible!

I passed local elite Julie Hull in the first mile, and slapped her back saying "Go Julie!!" She sounded hashed when she said "Oh Steve... I need your legs..." I forcefully but friendly said "COME ON, Julie!" I hit mile 1 in 6:27, and mile 2 in 6:31. That consistency was good, but I wanted to try to up the pace a bit.

I spotted another local elite (Heidi Miler) a bit in front of me, and I made it my goal to chase her down before she turned off to the finish and I turned onto my 2nd loop. I caught her, and she laughed as someone cheering said to me "Nice pace… NICE PANTS!!!" Mile 3 was 6:29, and I did NOT feel a bonk coming on! I was working hard, but not about to die.

Starting the 2nd loop (pic from Aaron)

I was thinking about a walk break, but just a short one. I had taken my GU about a mile back, and I was going to grab a gel from a volunteer at mile 4. (FOUR gels during an Oly is kinda ridiculous, right?)

Mile 4 and 5 were slower: 6:39 and 6:56. BUT, I kept them all under 7:00, and I STILL hadn't walked! My 40:00 10K goal was gone, but I could still break my LTF course PR from 4 years ago of around 42:30 (I didn't remember the exact split).

I decided that I needed JUST a bit of a walk break. I wasn't really bonking, but my feet were killing me, that right side cramp from the swim was back (with a vengeance), and I was exhausted. So I told myself I could walk through the aid station with about a mile left. Here's what my Garmin showed for the run, and you can see my walk break just after mile 5:

(Oh, and the little dip at mile 4 is from where I decided to grab a 2nd water at the end of an aid station, but missed the handoff, so I quick stepped backwards to grab it as I apologized to the volunteer for not being able to make up my mind. D'oh.)

I ended up running mile 6 in 6:48 which included that walk break. And I ran the last 0.2 at 5:44 pace.

Final kick!

Into the chute! (Pics from Aaron)


Steve Stenzel
Bib #: 568
Age 31
Gender: M
Race Category: International Age Group - Men 30 to 34

Swim 1.5K: 31:25.2. (2:05 / 100m) 44th in AG, 272nd overall.
Transition #1: 2:11.1. 28th in AG, 188th overall.
Bike 40K: 1:12:07.4. (21.2 mph ave) 39th in AG, 227th overall.
Transition #2: 1:37.3. 22nd in AG, 127th overall.
Run 10K: 41:07.5. (6:37.1 / mile) 4th in AG, 20th overall.

Total: 2:28:26.6.
14th out of 98 in AG (Men 30-34)
78th out of 763 finishers

• 0:31 course PR in the swim at LTF
• 4:12 course PR on the bike at LTF
• 1:27 course PR on the run at LTF
• 9:07 overall course PR at LTF
• But (for the record) I'm a very different triathlete now compared with 4 years ago when I last did the Oly here at LTF. So I'm not in great triathlon shape for "2012 Steve," but this would have been GREAT shape (and nice speed) for "2008 Steve." We've gotta remember where we've been, and how recent ago that was!!

5 Final notes:

• My vastly improved bike HAS to be due to riding a ZIPP in the front. I did NOT know where that speed came from. Four years ago, I posted a 20.0 mph average (19.7 on my computer). And even last year at this race (where I did the 15 mile SPRINT course), I posted a 20.9 mph average. But I DID crash briefly last year. Oh, but wait, I had the ZIPP wheel last year too! OK, so I have no idea where this speed came from. Maybe from just trying to keep it easy early on? Dunno....

• I had "Titanium" stuck in my head all throughout the bike. I kept singing "I am ti-ta... ni... um um um um um..." Maybe that helped. :)

• I need to re-commit to keeping my core strong. I've been great about this over the last few years, and I've let it slide a bit lately. That might have something to do with my side-cramps during my last 2 races.

• (This almost goes without saying...) People LOVED the shorts! Volunteers on the bike course would shout out "SWEET SHORTS!" as I rode past. SOOO many people gave me shout-outs on the run. There was a mom around mile 0.5 on the course, and when I came around again, she said "Hey, I've seen you already! Nice work!" The shorts are hard to forget. I LOVE racing in my Pinky and the Brain shorts and my Tutti Frutti shorts! So fun!

• I'm sorry to report that I failed on my 2 promises made in last week's "Friday Funnies." First, I had hoped to get a photo of myself like this woman (at the bottom of this linked post), but I forgot about it on race day. Second, I planned on photographing some sweet Speedos as I noted in this post, but the only one I saw was on a 15 year old kid. And I felt weird trying to get a photo of it. Sorry guys. :(

When I got home and was stripping to shower post-race, I noticed I had crusty nipples. For the record: that's not normal for me. There was a bunch of sand and "crusted lake goo" on the tip and on the underside of each nipple:

It looked like I had been lactating sandpaper mixed with tequila barf.


CLICK HERE for a quick pre-race list of pros racing the LTF Triathlon, and CLICK HERE for a post-race write-up along with a few of my photos. And if you didn't see my previous quick post-race blog write-up with Cam Dye's sweet, sweet ass and me with 2 sweet, sweet female pros, CLICK HERE or scroll down to yesterday's post.

Back with more photos shortly, and a quick little GIVEAWAY in the next post or 2! So y'all come back now ya hear? Thanks!


Brandon 9:14 AM, July 16, 2012  

Speedo, you beat me, but barely on the swim (my last was 2:08 per 100). I want a rematch! Of course, mine was at altitude...;-)

Great race man. I think we're gonna have to put lifetime on the list in 2014 after we become Ironmen. Look forward to racing with you.

Anonymous,  1:21 PM, July 16, 2012  

You probably know this, but you can change the Garmin to autolap however often you want. So you can get, for example, mile splits on the bike instead of 5 miles splits.

How did you get your swim track? Garmin in swim cap a la DCRainmaker? Or on your wrist?

Steve Stenzel 1:25 PM, July 16, 2012  

Anon: yep, but I like the 5 mile splits.

And I just wore my garmin on my wrist. It's just a bit bigger than my watch, so it wasn't a big deal. Worked well!

TriMOEngr 10:40 PM, July 16, 2012  

Congrats on a solid PR race. Way to go! Glad you kept everyone smiling with your fun shorts and great attitude.

Melissa @ Faster In Water 12:24 PM, July 17, 2012  

Sweet baby Jesus! Remind me not to read this blog during lunch! I can appreciate your last picture, but not while eating! :)

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