Cinco "Du" Mayo Duathlon 2013

>> Monday, May 06, 2013

Or, "Please Stop Raining!"

Or, "Can I Hold This Guy Off For My FIRST DUATHLON WIN?!?!?"

Saturday was the Cinco "Du" Mayo Duathlon. I did this race last year, and fell it love with it. The short course (2 mile run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run) is just my distance! And this year, Pharmie tagged along to race the long course (5K, 20 mile, 5K).

You've seen me complaining for months: it's been a long, cold, wet, snowy Spring here in Minnesota. On Saturday morning, it was raining and 35 degrees with moderate winds. Not fun for biking. It had JUST stopped raining when we got to the race site, and we found this woman in galoshes and snowboard goggles:

Pharmie doing final bike prep.

It's NOT a good sign when I'm wearing my warmest winter coat at a DUATHLON!!

Wet. Cold.

I decided I needed to put on my wind-proof briefs under my "Pinky and the Brain" shorts.
So I took this photo nude from the waist down as I was about to put on the briefs (to the right).

Pharmie and the "long course" racers were starting about 30 minutes before me and the other "short course" racers. They were all lining up with about a minute before they were going to start, and Pharmie shouted to get my attention. She had left her SI Belt in transition (something she's been wearing during longer or harder runs since giving birth to help keep her lower back in line). I SPRINTED back to get it and give it to her. Jason, the race director, caught a photo just after I gave her the belt and planted a "good luck" smooch on her cheek:

Awkward but cute. Just like us. :)

A moment later, they were off!! GO PHARMIE!!!

Pharmie has only 1 of the 2 pairs of bare legs in this photo. What a BAMF.

I warmed up with just over a mile jog as they were out there on the first run. When Pharmie appeared again, she was running with a new friend. She LOVES to make "race friends" during races! Her and her new friend Colleen were running completely stride-for-stride:

Matching strides...

... matching strides...

... matching strides. (With Jason [the race director] showing them the way.)

Check out this guy who made it out of transition before my wife who was going to do the entire hilly 20 mile ride on a fold-up bike!

You and I would get along just fine, good sir.

Pharmie fumbled a bit in cold, wet T1, but soon she was out on the bike:

What a bad ass.

Lisa took my camera from me moments after Pharmie took off. Thanks for all the upcoming photos, Lisa!!! I stretched my hips a bit, and as soon as I stood up, I saw Lisa pointing my camera right at me:

Nervous pre-race cheesy smile.


We lined up, and soon we were off!!

A half mile into last year's race is when I took my first ever lead in a multi-sport race. Well this year I didn't take so long - as that last photo shows, I jumped to the lead right away. But #583 (the guy in the red and black kit) looked "legit," and he passed me after about a 0.25 mile (and I said "good morning!"). I stayed right on his tail.

As we came to the turn-around, I looked back to see we were building a little gap. We hit the turn-around in 5:49. "Just a BIT slower than last year, I think..." I purposefully didn't look at last year's splits before this race. Last year was a BEAUTIFUL race morning, and this year was 35 degrees, wet, with slightly more wind - it'd be a very different race.

I tried making the pass for the lead around the 1.25 mile mark, but he kept up the pace along side of me. So I actually dropped back in behind him again. Finally, around the 1.5 mile mark (with 0.5 miles left in the run), I passed him and held onto that lead. I hit T2 just a few seconds ahead of 2nd place:

Awkward photo of me running, but you can see the small gap with 2nd just 8 seconds behind me.


With my love of porta potties, it's pretty great that Lisa was able to frame this photo of me in T1 this way:

The other runner came running past me and I looked up to shout "Nice run!" I grabbed my things, decided NOT to put mittens over my gloves or my wind-breaker over my shirt (both of those were options I had laid out in transition), and took off:

2nd place still just behind me.

Heading out.


Ten miles isn't far. But on the rolling hills around Square Lake, it gets brutal! Talking with friends after last year's race, we all kept saying "My God... THOSE HILLS!!" I was ready to suffer.

I was caught last year right around the end of mile 1. I was going to hold off the bikers as long as possible!! I was biking hard. I was prepared to shred my legs on those hills to just "hold on" for that final 2 mile run. "It's only 2 miles... it's only 2 miles...." I kept telling myself on the bike. I didn't want to hold too much back.

Mile 1 came and went. Mile 2 came and went. MILE 3 CAME AND WENT!!! MILE 4 CAME AND WENT!!!! No one was catching me!!! That's when I started changing my thinking from "hold off the bikers" to "what do you need to do to win this?" "So if / when someone catches me, do I try to stay with them? Do I just keep them in sight but ease up a BIT so I have some legs left to catch them on the run?" This was new territory for me!! I didn't know what to do! So I just rode HARD.

I was THRILLED to see my first 5 mile split on my Garmin was 14:30. I wasn't looking at my speed, but I knew that 15:00 over 5 miles would be 20 mph, so I was really happy to see that I was holding 20+ mph on those hills!!

Rolling back to transition.

As I turned into the park, I looked over my shoulder. There were 2 bikers back there, but I was still in the lead!!! I was possibly looking at my first duathlon win!!!!!


I came down the hill to the park looking trashed:


Jerry MacNeil announced me over the PA system: "And there's Steve Stenzel who's put himself in a GREAT spot to take home his first duathlon victory!" Chickens, eggs. Cart, horse. I wasn't counting on anything yet - plenty of work to still do.

As I ran out of T2 just before that last photo was taken, I saw the guy in black and red who did the first run with me entering T2 on the other side!! IT WAS GOING TO BE CLOSE!! He was just 40 seconds behind me! I had to run like hell out there and hold him off!!


Yes, making up 40 seconds over just 2 miles would take some work, but I didn't know this guy. Did he leave "too much in the tank" for the final run? Were my legs too shredded from the bike to hold a solid pace? I was pretty scared. I TASTED the win, but I had some work to do before getting too happy.

Running out of the park.

I took off hard. My heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest. My breathing was out of control. But I had to hold off any guys behind me!!

My I felt like I was really moving slow. I was getting scared. My Garmin confirmed that I was over 7 mins / mile pace. I had to move. I just wrote that he was 40 seconds behind me, but I didn't know that for sure - that's what the results told me. For all I knew, he could have had a 10 second T2 and been just on my heels.

Nearing the turn-around, I saw Brian Sames (the leader from the long course) running towards me past the turn-around. I thought it could be a great finish if he catches me right around the finish and both the long and short course winners finish at the same time! I hit the turn-around in 6:19 and was scared I'd be caught. That was 30 seconds slower than my first mile on the first run!

Just after turning around, there were 2 guys running side-by-side, and one of them was the man I ran with during the first run - the man in black and red. I gave a nod as we met, and then quick looked at my watch. It had been over 30 seconds since the turn-around. "OK, if he's running the same pace as me, it'll take him over 30 seconds to get to the turn-around, and then over 30 seconds to get back to this point. So I have a 1:05 - 1:10 lead right now. He can't make up that much time over 1 mile... can he?..."

I turned onto Square Lake Trail and checked over my shoulder with only a few blocks to go. Brian (the long course leader) was right behind me, but no one else was in sight!! The race was mine! Brian passed me just as we entered the park with a block left.

Brian and me, about to win the long course and short course races.

Brian got a little lost just before the finish! Notice he's looking and turning to his left in that last photo. Then volunteers directed him back to his right to the finish. But he went TOO far right and headed back into transition. So as I'm finishing, I'm laughing and yelling "No Brian... over HERE!!"

Directing Brian to the finish.

2 sweaty, hard-breathing men with horrible hair just after both winning their races!!


Steve Stenzel, #480, 32, M, St Paul

• 2 mile run: 11:38 (1st overall)
• T1: 0:46 (11th fastest)
• 10 mile bike: 30:55, 19.4 mph ave (2nd overall)
[10.25 garmin, 19.9 mph ave]
• T2: 0:43 (T-12th fastest)
• 2 mile run: 12:04 (1st overall)

56:06 total
1st out of 101 overall
1st out of 17 in the 30-39 age group


• Wait... 2nd fastest bike?!? Apparently, I bike fast when I'm biking scared!! The fastest biker was the guy who finished 2nd behind me, and he was only 1 second faster!

• I was 58 seconds slower overall this year, but I see it as a pretty comparable finish. It was 35 degrees this year, and it's hard to breathe HARD when it gets near freezing. (Can anybody find any scientific data that backs that up? I feel like it's very true.) It's easy to run at a moderate pace at lower temps, but once you start breathing really hard, it gets difficult quick.

• My bike showed the greatest improvement from last year. It was only 2 seconds, but I consider it to be noticeably better. (My first run was 7 seconds slower this year, my bike was 2 seconds faster this year, and my final run was 28 seconds slower this year. And both transitions were slower this year mainly due to being racked in the far back rack and not in the first rack like I was last year.) But last year was calm, warmer, and dry, so biking FASTER when it's slightly breezy, cold, and (especially) wet is a decent improvement. I'm still not GREAT at biking, but I like where I'm headed.

• This experience makes a good excuse for "don't pay attention to others - race your OWN race." I knew that Erich (the guy who won this race last year when I came in 2nd) wasn't going to be there. And once I was at the race, I learned that Pete (who finished just behind me last year) was doing the relay this year because he was injured and couldn't run. I wasn't really thinking "Sweet, I can win." Instead, I was thinking "Crap, how will I know how fast I'm going? I have no pacers!" I should just be racing closer to "all out" all the time.

Back with more photos from the end of Pharmie's race tomorrow! Click here for more photos from an Examiner article about the race, and click here to enter the Moji Massager giveaway.


Healthy Sports Tips 4:59 AM, May 06, 2013  

Awsome day you guys have speedy race but a healthy excercise

Kimberly 6:01 AM, May 06, 2013  

Hot dang! Great job! Hoping spring comes soon.

Unknown 7:44 AM, May 06, 2013  

Nicely done! Congrats!

Ironmom (Julie) 8:54 AM, May 06, 2013  

I love a good race report. Congratulations!

Sarah 10:14 AM, May 06, 2013  

Awesome job guys! So proud of you! When you get big and famous, I'm telling people I read your blog 'way back when'. Ha! :) Seriously, nice work!


TriMOEngr 10:49 AM, May 06, 2013  

Way to go for the W! Awesome! Enjoyed reading this as usual. Great that you got some good pics too.

Carolina John 11:39 AM, May 06, 2013  

Wow, congrats on a hard earned win! That's a fantastic race. You really pulled it all together there bro. Nice job.

Jen Hjelle,  12:25 PM, May 06, 2013  

Congrats Steve!! So exciting!

Unknown 6:27 PM, May 06, 2013  

Great Work Steve!! Congrats on the win, must have felt pretty awesome!

Shinianen 10:43 AM, August 30, 2013  

Great recap! Was on the edge of my seat the entire time!

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