Trinona Triathlon Race Report (2 of 2)

>> Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Yesterday was my "pre race" Trinona Race Report. Today picks off at the water's edge as we were starting the race.

SWIM: 0.25 miles:

I took off about a minute after the start of the Sprint athletes in this "time trial" start. I was the first in my age group to take off, so I noted that if I was racing someone in the 35-39 age group to the finish line, I'd need to beat them by 3 or 6 or 9 (etc) seconds to ACTUALLY beat them. My goal here was to start "solidly" but not too hard, and build a little in the middle if I needed to. But I sort of did the opposite of that. I went out relatively hard and starting catching people left and right who started in front of me. I rounded the first buoy quite well and started along the long back-stretch. About half way in, I had to ease up a little to get my breathing under control, but I wasn't worried: I hadn't gone out SO hard that I destroyed my race.

I had to pop up out of the water for a second near the middle to make sure I was headed in the right direction, but otherwise I was swimming pretty well. This was my FIRST open water swim since the 2015 North Mankato Triathlon 22 months ago! Post race, my Garmin showed me I stayed on course pretty well:

It's not that I cut too close to shore in the middle - I actually swung
way too wide around the final buoy. Oops. Still a solid swim for me.

I glanced at my watch and I had hit my swim goal. I knew I could out-swim my split from when I was a relay swimmer here in 2014 because that was before I REALLY started swimming more. And I was faster by nearly a minute. First goal down!


Nothing fancy here. I had my wetsuit on, so I struggled with it a bit, but nothing usual. My Garmin data looks pretty funny as it tells the complete story: I ran up from the water, fumbled around in 1 spot for a bit, and went running off with my bike:

BIKE: 11 miles:

Alright, time to start picking off some athletes in front of me. I mounted my bike faster than the guy in front of me and shot away. There were Sprint teams in front of us, and I passed some of them pretty quick too. There were also really slow Olympic athletes that we may have been passing as well (especially later on in the bike).

I hopped around with 2 guys out there. Around mile 1 and around mile 1.5, these 2 guys went past. One had a "26" on his calf, so he had started in front of me and wasn't in my age group, but one had a "38" or "39," so I knew I had to race him! I generally caught these guys up some of the hills, and they caught me on the downhills or on flat sections. It was always sort of "rolling" out there. I knew it was slightly uphill on the way out (and slightly into the wind), so I knew not to get too depressed by my average speed.

Fun spectator note: I spotted a permanent-looking yard sign that said "HEAVY METAL HILL" right before a short little gut busting hill, and I didn't know what that meant. Then I spotted a guy in a lawn chair (possibly with a beer at 8:30 on a Sunday morning) sitting in the driveway. Then I noticed an old John Deere lawn tractor with a trailer on it that had SIX LARGE speakers - they were all blasting heavy metal. Awesome. I love that man.

- Mile 2.75 overall average: 20.4 mph
- Mile 5.50 overall average: 20.3 mph (turn around)

Now we were cruising! There wasn't any specific BIG hill, but it was generally uphill on the way out, and now it was downhill on the way back. I was still going back-and-forth with those 2 guys, and we were still slowing catching people who had their TT start before us. I was waiting for the lake water to dry up on me, and I soon realized that now it was sweat - it wasn't INSANELY hot, but were were sweating!

As we neared transition, I was just behind both of those guys (by like 0.5 blocks and 1.5 blocks), but I got out of my shoes quickly as they struggled a bit, caught one guy 1 block before transition, and caught the other as I more quickly hopped off my bike and ran over the timing mat. NO ONE CAUGHT ME ON THE BIKE! I HAD A DECENT SWIM, AND I STAYED WITH THE 2 GUYS THAT PASSED ME ON THE BIKE AND ACTUALLY PASSED THEM BACK BEFORE T2! WA-HOOOOO! I was wanting to see if I could hit 22 mph, but I came up just short, but was 100% OK with that:

- Mile 8.25 overall average: 21.4 mph (1.1 mph faster than just a few miles before!)
- Mile 11.0 overall average: 21.8 mph

My Garmin shows a bit of the bump in speed on the way back (but is NOTHING like the dramatic Garmin data from the windy Falls Duathlon 2 months ago):

Turn-around just after mile 5.5, then some more sustained speed. Top speed of 40 mph.


This was better than T1. I hadn't practiced getting out of my shoes with them still clipped in since before Du Nationals 2+ years ago, but this had a straight bike approach and a long grassy run through T2, so I tried it and it went well. (I actually got out of my shoes so easily and cleanly that I rode WAY too long with my feet on top of my shoes getting up to T2.) I dropped my stuff, struggled with my race belt for a moment, and took off.

RUN: 5K:

I saw one guy a few blocks in front of me, but I could see no one else. Was this the front of the race? (Remember, it didn't mean we were the race leaders because there could be some speedy 40+ year old men who started 3 minutes behind us who were now just 2 minutes behind us and beating us.) After just a few seconds, I heard heavy breathing behind me. Shoot, someone was coming. Turns out it was Mike who we saw at the end of yesterday's post who I talked to just before the swim start. I was able to muster a "Nice job Mike!" as he went by. He flew past, and I tried to keep up for about 90 seconds, and then I just had to let him go. "Nope Steve, don't throw away this race by trying to keep up with him."

Mile 1: 3:02.0 + 3:04.4 = 6:06.4. Not bad.

As we rounded the winding trail along the lake, I saw some else way up there. So we weren't at the front of the race. In fact, there were 4 or 5 people ahead of us as we neared the turn-around. (I didn't know if any were relays.) And again, some were young guys who started in front of me, so I didn't actually need to CATCH them to BEAT them. Who knew what my standing was at that moment. "Steve, you knew it was a time trial start, and you knew you'd just have to push hard to the finish, so GO."

We caught the guy in front of us around the turn-around, and he was in my age group! I knew I needed to "run away" from him to make sure he still didn't beat me (by starting behind me). AND I WAS CLOSING ON MIKE TOO! Mike never fully ran away from me. I passed him around mile 2, and he was breathing pretty hard.

Mile 2: 3:11.5 + 2:59.0 = 6:10.5. Forget that 3:11 and keep dropping these splits.

I was too slow coming to the turn-around, but now I was trying to make up for it! I really made an effort to kick it into a different gear. Lots of athletes were heading towards us, and that made me want to work. I got a great cheer from run course lead Jen: "It's all glory up ahead Steve!" (At first, I thought she said "GORY" which would have been appropriate too.) There was another runner WAY up there, and I tried to catch him, but he had too much of a lead.

Mile 3: 2:59.2 + 2:52.2 = 5:51.4. Where's the damn finish line?

I came to the finish with Jerry MacNeil and Kris Swarthout announcing. They said I was top-3 for the moment, but I didn't expect that to last. They made a GREAT comment along these lines: "You know, Steve looks just like everyone else from the waist up. But from the waist down..." They were referencing my bright shorts. I told them post-race that that line works for only me in those shorts or for male porn stars.

Nothing dramatic in my run pace. Note the decision to run harder at mile 2.2 as the speed
builds. (Then a depressing slow down before mile 3 at the final sharp turn - I was hashed.)

I went and got my results after a few minutes (to let more people finish), and it had me as 4th overall. Nice! Later, I would drop to 5th, but then come back up to 4th.


Steve Stenzel, M, 36, St. Paul

- 0.25 mile swim: 6:32
(1:38/100m, 1:29/100yd), 2nd AG, 16th overall
- T1: 1:19, 4th AG, 25th overall
- 11 mile bike: 31:24 (21.03 mph), 3rd AG, 7th overall
- T2: 0:43, 1st AG, 3rd overall
- 5K run: 18:27 (5:57 pace), 1st AG, 3rd overall

58:23 total

4 out of 285 overall
4 out of 157 males
1 out of 15 in the 35-39 age group

[Garmin data: 11.36 mile bike, 21.7 mph average. 3.05 mile run, 6:02.95 pace]


• I was THRILLED with my overall time! I had posted last week that I had hoped to be "right around" 60 minutes. My finishing time would have been the OVERALL winner the last 2 years, and come in 2nd 3 years ago. (A quick glance through the last 8 years of results online shows that I have the 11th fastest finish all-time.) I saw 40:0X on my Garmin as I started the run, and I knew it was going to be good.

• This felt like a REALLY balanced race for me. I've been "gently" griping about my lack of run speed, but in the triathlon world, my running is still good. I've gotten to be a MUCH better multi-sport athlete by letting my running speed go a bit while focusing more on the bike (a weakness in the past). With age group rankings of 2, 3, and 1 in swim, bike, and run, this was pretty balanced (for me). A few years ago, it could have looked like 10, 8, and 1, and I would have finished a lot worse overall but with a faster run.

• My worst "overall ranking" was T1, and that was wetsuit related. Water temp was 77.x, so they were just barely legal, and I decided to wear mine. (I always do if given the chance.) It helped me in the water, but then I struggled a bit in T1 to wrestle out of it.

• I was SAFELY in 4th place. I stayed in front of Mike to the finish, but being he started so far behind me, he finished 3rd overall 42 seconds in front of me. I couldn't have made that much up. It would have been depressing if I missed out on top-3 overall by 2 seconds, but 42 seconds was plenty! And 5th place was 48 seconds behind me.

• The 2 guys I saw in my age group finished just behind me! The guy I hopped off the bike with was 6th overall, and the guy I passed near the run turn-around was 5th overall. So my age group podium was 4th-6th overall:

• I actually was faster at this race than my team was when we did it as a relay 3 years ago. But that's not because I'm so much better. I started spending more QUALITY time in the pool after that relay a few years back, so I knew my swim split would be better now even though I was doing the whole race by myself. I couldn't quite post the same bike split as speedy Jenn S did for us as part of our relay: 31:24 vs 29:58. I could MAYBE do that if I weren't running afterwards. I dunno. But then our runner Jeremy has gotten SOOO much faster: he ran a 19:58 5K split which just barely kept us from setting a course record, but now he's gotten insanely fast. As I noted recently in these photos from the Brian Kraft 5K, he just ran a 15:54 5K. Yes. Really. In 2014, our relay posted a time of 58:52 vs my 58:23 this past weekend. It's crazy to think I was faster this year. However, if the 3 of us got together again, we could probably post a 53:something. That'd be fun...

I got a massage shortly after I finished, and soon I saw Glen (from my gym) walking over. We chatting for a while (and teased that my sweat marks on the massage table looked like the Shroud of Turin) as we waited for his wife and other friends from the YWCA to finish. I cheered YW buddy Sarah to the finish of the Olympic Distance race:

Finishing in the pink.

Post-race party!

My 2 favorite words post-race.

They weren't messing around when it came to food!
Pulled pork, cole slaw, potato salad, fruit, and a brownie!

My shoes still clipped in as I was ready to load my bike in my car before the
awards ceremony. (Proof I ran into T2 barefoot. And proof of my toe-covers still on...)

Selfie with race director Dave before awards!

People hanging out before awards.

It was funny watching Dave's 2 boys be boys on the podium as Dave
was getting ready to start awards. Amanda (Dave's wife) stepped in
at one point, but the boys made their way back up there.

Ruth celebrating the Olympic win with some champagne!...

... and then she sprayed Gaby right in the eye. Oops.

"The weather" was starting to roll in! They really had to
hurry up the awards, and they did a great job doing that.

I'm aware of 5 people from my gym coming down to race, and Glen and I chatted for a long time. Nice hanging out with you, Glen! Three out of our 5 podiumed, including Glen's wife Kate!

Sarah (in pink) set a 10K PR at the end of her Oly with her 43:59 10K!

Kate (on the right) taking 3rd in her AG. I think this was her first podium ever!

Me with the 2 guys I battled on the bike and run.
(Sarah and I need to do a better job at being taller than people on a lower step than us...)

The wind and sprinkles were picking up, so instead of continuing the "pull a number from
the hat" giveaways, they just started chucking stuff into the audience. It was pretty funny.

I stopped to pee and grab a bite in Rochester, and saw this. Stay classy, Roch.

I rocked out to this song on the way home. I know like 35% of the words, but at least I try.

"We're going down, down in a digital clown
Sugar we're going down swinging
I'll be your number one with a bullet
I know you've got a complex, cock it and pull it."

(I just looked up the lyrics, and I'm actually not ALL that far off. Surprisingly. Which means this song makes zero sense to me. Screw you, Fall Out Boy. You call that noise music? Cut your hair. Get off my lawn.)

Kind words from Brad M in a Facebook post later that day. Thanks Brad!
(Brad's they guy who took a wrong turn and SHOULD have beat me
to take the overall win at the 2015 Cinco Du Mayo Duathlon)

My trophy and finisher's medal. The trophy was literally part of the bluff on the bike course!
(On the trophy, the "bluff" kinda looks like an emaciated erect nipple...)

Here are 2 more Instagram posts of mine from yesterday (a day after the race):

Henry turned SIX yesterday!

The neighbors took both boys to a day camp, so my wife
and I got to have a grown-up breakfast at The French Hen.

Thanks to Dave and Kelly for putting on an amazing race! Thanks to the people of Winona and the AmericInn for hosting us/me. (The AmericInn is BRAND NEW and still SMELLS new.) And thanks to my wife for letting me have 24 hours out of the house to go get sweaty with friends and strangers.

(Again, if you missed my "pre race" Trinona race report from yesterday, click here.)


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