Second Race of the Weekend: My Life Time Tri SUPER Sprint Race Report

>> Wednesday, July 15, 2015

So in my last post (my race report for the Sprint Relay at the Life Time Fitness Triathlon), I left out the chunck of time where I got ready to do the SUPER Sprint Triathlon by myself. As Devon was out biking, I used some soap I brought along to scrub off my relay number on my arms, had someone re-body mark me, put on a new timing chip, and headed back to the beach to line up for the SUPER Sprint race. I did the relay swim from about 8:02 to 8:15, and the SUPER Sprint was to start at 9:00. That was plenty of time to recover from an all-out 800 meter swim.

I actually did MORE of a warm up before the SUPER Sprint. I had been in my wetsuit for 90 minutes, and the lack of mobility in my legs was causing my hip/sacrum injury from 2 years ago to get a little achy. So I hopped in and did a few hundred in the lake before 9:00. As we were waiting to be called to the line, the lead females in the Oly Tri were finishing their first (of 2) laps around the lake, so I kept running up to the sidewalk to cheer on some race buddies. Bridget ended up winning the elite race!

And I cheered on all these ladies as they ran past (seen here in one of the most unflattering photos from Devon post-race):

Nicole (3rd), Lisa (4th), Diane (8th), and Christina (2nd).

I talked with a few guys pre-race, and I gave some advice - there seemed to be a lot of first-timers in the SUPER Sprint, and a few guys that looked a bit more "seasoned" like me. I knew there was a chance that I could place top-3 (there were no age group awards, just top-3 overall). I got lined up for the time trial start, and soon I was underway again!


The guy who started next to me in the side-by-side time trial start took off and was gone. Dang swimmers. I didn't swim AS straight as I did during my relay swim an hour before, but I still swam OK. No one passed me, and I actually started gaining a bit on the swimmer in front of me as we neared the shore - he was just hitting dry land as I popped up in waist-deep water (the results showed that I was 11 seconds behind him at the end of the swim).


The guy in front of me was taking it easy on the run up to transition. In fact, nearing the edge of transition, he started walking, and I passed him. Not to make this less exciting, but THAT was the end of the race - I took the lead there and only extended it from that point. I got my wetsuit off a little faster than normal, grabbed my bike stuff, and ran out. No big fuss.


The first 2 blocks of the bike were iffy, and I knew they'd be that way. I came out of the water at the very front of the SUPER Sprint wave, which was the same time the slower swimmers were getting out in the Sprint wave. So the start of the bike course was littered with people biking all over the road and not keeping to the right. Four years ago, I crashed in the first part of the bike here at the Life Time Fitness Tri mainly due to someone drifting across the road. I think I shouted "on your left" about 12 times in the first few blocks. Really. Two people took that to mean that THEY needed to move over to the left. It was ugly. (If you're a non-triathlete, it's a USAT rule that's mentioned in every pre-race meeting [and in this case also in the pre-race Athlete Guide] that you need to ride to the right to prevent a "blocking" or "position" penalty.) Once I crossed Cedar (after 2-3 blocks or so), it opened up and I felt like the crashing potential was over. Whew.

After a few minutes, I was thirsty but still breathing hard from running through transition, so I thought "I need to give myself another mile or 2 to 'settle in' before getting a drink." But in a bike that's under 4 miles, there's NO time to "settle in!" I grabbed a drink and just kept hammering. This short bike was so strange!

I want to give a big SHOUT OUT to the great volunteer stationed at the turn on Minnehaha Parkway! I knew this could be a spot where there could be trouble, but this volunteer was all over it! At this corner, the Oly racers and the Sprint racers take a right and head towards the Mississippi River. But us SUPER Sprinters take a left and head (basically) straight back to transition. I rolled up to that corner having just passed 2 ladies in the Sprint race, and the volunteer was pointing us all right. But he saw my race number on my helmet (I think the SUPER Sprint numbers were a different color) and singled me out and pointed me off to the left. Solid work! I booked it back towards transition.

The funniest moment of the race happened at the dismount line. But let's back up about 90 seconds. I passed a few bikers right after the 2nd-to-last turn onto Cedar, and one of them passed me right back and said hi. It was Tom (his wife is Laurie, my favorite trainer at the Y). I more-or-less followed him past a few more bikers in the last few blocks of the bike (not drafting - really!). I EASILY slipped out of my bike shoes so I could have a fast flying dismount at the dismount line. I shot around Tom right at the line because he was hoping off in his shoes a bit slower like I usually do. I heard his wife Laurie SCREAMING for me right over the fence right next to me: "GO STEVE! LOOKIN' GOOD! LOOKIN' FAST!" I smiled to myself as I ran past thinking "Laurie, your husband is RIGHT next to me! You should probably be cheering for him too!" I chatted with them all afterwards, and Tom and I were laughing about it. Tom said he heard his wife cheering for ONLY me, but at least their friend Ejay was saying "Go Tom!"

Post race with Laurie, Devon, Tom, and Ejay. Thanks for the cheers, Laurie! Ha!

Here are my mile splits on the bike - I'm surprised my first mile was so fast with a 50-foot run to the mount line, getting up to speed, and working my way around all the cyclists all over the road:

2:51 (21.0 mph)
2:40 (22.5 mph)
2:38 (22.7 mph)
2:38 (20.3 mph for 0.89 miles)


This was pretty speedy (for me). For all I knew, there was a SUPER Sprinter on my tail, and I wanted to get out on the run and put some space between me and anyone else ASAP. Looking at ALL the results from the day, I actually had the 2nd fastest T2 time of all 1,300 Oly, Sprint, or SUPER Sprint athletes! I was in and out in 1:02, and only 1 person in the Oly had a better time (of 1:01). This is some sort of PR for more for sure! I beat Matt Payne!!

2.41 MILE RUN:

The running trail was crowded, but it was awesome. I could hop onto the grass to make a pass if it was too crowded. I heard "Hey Steve in a Speedo!" from about 4 or 5 people who I'd passed. (I was passing Sprint athletes who started in front of me, and Oly athletes on their second lap of the run who started even before that.) I knew that us SUPER Sprint athletes got to take a "shortcut" across the Cedar bridge, so I was ready to break away from the pack. But it came earlier than I thought on a running path, and not actually at Cedar. I followed the "SS arrow" on the sidewalk (circled on the map below) after nearly missing it.

Coming across the bridge, I felt like a super cheater because everyone else in the Sprint and Oly had to go around the lake and do a little out-and-back on the bridge. I'm SURE that there were a few other athletes who thought I had just cut the course. Then I THOUGHT I saw some arrows off on the sidewalk pointing for the SUPER Sprinters to take another shortcut next to the lake, but I missed it. Here's part of my Garmin run map, and the spot where we broke off to cross the bridge is circled at the top, and the "extra shortcut" that I THINK we were supposed to take is shown with the arrows at the bottom:

Oops. Missed the shortcut on the south side of the lake.

As we met up with the trail for the shortcut that I missed, I kept glancing to the left to make sure someone in the SUPER Sprint wasn't right behind me on the shortcut. But I saw no one. I was still passing people like crazy. At mile 1.5, I started to count. Just 0.26 miles later, I'd passed 26 people. So I'd say passing someone every 1/100th of a mile is pretty good. It started to thin out a bit near the finish, but it was a nice crowded run.

I ran "solidly," but I wasn't really going "all out." I found a nice, hard pace, and held it pretty well. My half mile splits were 2:58, 2:55, 2:57, 2:55, and 2:17 (for 0.42, which is 5:29 pace). So my first 2 full miles were 5:53 and 5:52. Not great, but not bad. (I'm at the age where I appreciate "consistent" about as much as I do "fast.")

One of the official photos that just came in - I'll post more later.


Steve Stenzel, St. Paul, MN, Bib 1962

SWIM: 6:38, 1:39/100 meter pace
(1:31/100 yard), 2nd in age group, 2nd overall
T1: 2:02, 1st in age group, 1st overall
BIKE: 10:49, 21.75 mph, 1st in age group, 1st overall
T2: 1:02, 1st in age group, 1st overall
RUN: 14:03, 5:50/mile pace, 1st in age group, 1st overall

TOTAL: 32:34
1st out of 9 in my age group
1st out of 15 men
1st out of 41 overall


• First things first: I feel kinda bad about winning this. So as the race was underway, it became apparent that it was a bit of a "newbie" race. I thought it could be, but I also thought there could be a handful of guys like me looking to crank out a fast, hard triathlon. So it's sort of a win with an asterisk. After winning the Cinco "DU" Mayo Duathlon because the lead biker took a wrong turn, I could be the super hero "ASTERISK WIN MAN." The logo on my chest would be W*. Nice.

• It was a "10 minute win" kinda day for me. Our relay won by 10:36, and I won the SUPER Sprint by 10:07. No contest. Again, I feel kinda bad.

• I think I helped set 2 course records on Saturday. The Sprint was a different course than years past (they doubled the swim distance), so our team technically got a course record. And it was the first year of the SUPER Sprint distance, so again, I technically set a course record.

• My hip/sacrum got a little achy over these 2 races. It wasn't because I raced twice. It was because I couldn't stretch it well being in a wetsuit starting at 7:30 (for my 8:00 Sprint relay start) through 9:15 after my SUPER Sprint swim. It's been a little achier than usual since the race. I'm taking it easy for a while.

Post-race, I talked with lots of "race buddies," and I had a big bison taco:

Traditional post-race photo with Teddy.

After our relay was called up to get our Sprint Tri trophies, I was called up for the SUPER Sprint overall win. Here I am with 2nd place who was the beefy swimmer who beat me out of the water:

I'm laughing as he's telling me about when I zoomed passed him in T1 and never looked back.

Finisher's medal along with the SUPER Sprint award and Sprint Relay award.

If you missed my Sprint Relay race report, click here to check it out.


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