RACE REPORT: "One Last Tri" for 2018

>> Monday, September 17, 2018

I decided 36 hours before this race that I should register. I had a good 10 days of "endurance" training prior to this race for the TC 10 Mile (in just under 3 weeks now), so doing a burst of speed with some days off before and after it could be a nice break.

Plus, I WANTED to do one last tri.

So I did the aptly named "One Last Tri."

View of transition from bike in/out. I'm racked by that tree and the person in orange.

Beautiful sunrise! A bit humid... but pretty.

Pre-race tradition.

Lisa and Jason chatted with me just after I took this photo, and Jason asked if I had "gotten *that* photo yet." When I told him I had, he wiped off his hands because we had just shook hands. Ha!

Transition filling up! Tri Fitness White Bear Lake ALWAYS
seems to have wide open and spacious transitions. I love it.

Glen from my Y was racing the Oly. His wife Kate got lots of photos of me (well, *US*). Thanks Kate!!

I put on my wetsuit and did a test swim. The water was great and SUPER clear in White Bear Lake. And it stayed shallow for a LOOOOONG time, so everyone was talking about "do I run out for 100 yards? Do I swim a bit while scraping the bottom?" There was no general consensus. We watched the Oly athletes take off, and we saw people starting to swim, only to pop back up and keep running after a few strokes.

I chatted with lots of strangers pre-race. Super friendly group! I told race director Judi that I was pumped to race, and she said she was super happy with how the day was turning out! We were asked to line up for our "time trial" starts just how we felt like - if you were "faster," line up near the front. And if you were "slower," stay near the back. I just sort of fell into line, and I ended up as the 4th athlete to start the sprint course.


This swim was just half the distance of last month's Maple Grove Triathlon, so I wanted to go out a LITTLE harder. I have a very fine difference in effort in the water, so I didn't want to blow up. I ran FAR into the shallow water. A guy next to me started swimming, and then popped up saying "Nope, not yet" and kept running. We started STRAIGHT into the sun, so I basically went with the guys around me without even being able to see the turn buoy ahead. Suddenly the buoy was RIGHT there, and I was just where I wanted to be to round the corner. Whew.

The back stretch was OK. There was a little breeze, so there was the slightest wave slap to the face now-and-then. Nothing bad. I held a GREAT line on the back stretch. I don't think I've ever swam that straight. Once we turned for shore, I cut to the inside too quickly, so there went my perfectly straight swimming. Oh well.

My fingers scraped the sand on the bottom, and I stood up. I had nearly swam into someone's butt in front of me who was already standing. We were still WAY out there being it was so shallow. We awkwardly ran through thigh-high water, and headed up the shore.

Running up the grass.

Close up of that last photo: there's a reed patch on the STRAIGHT line back from
the final turn (buoy on right), so we all cut in (left in this pic) after that turn to avoid it.

I look like I'm out for a causal saunter right here.

Some pink buns showing. You're welcome, ladies.


Nothing unusual here. Katie (also from my Y) was getting her shoes on next to me after doing the Oly swim, so I cheered her on. I got dizzy (usual) as I put on my bike shoes, and then I was out.


Kate moved fast after getting a pic of me coming out of the water. She ran to get a pic of me leaving on my bike:

Passing people shortly after mounting.

A pic from later in the day showing the hwy we turned on to.
Tight cones for nearly a half mile, and then a turn onto a quieter road.

I took it a bit easy among those cones as to not crash. The road was full of Oly and sprint athletes. We turned left away from the lake, and then we had more room to pass. I wanted to go pretty hard on the bike, and I was doing that. I dropped my chain to the OUTSIDE of my big chainring when I aggressively shifted at the bottom of a hill, and I actually just reached down and got it back on without stopping. That was iffy. There was a bit of a swerve or 2. I lost 2 spots doing that, but then I caught them right back.

Through the ENTIRE ride, I was only passed by ONE cyclist! And he was wearing a collegiate kit. Being it was a TT start, I didn't know where I was in the mix. We hit the sprint turn-around, and there were 4 guys coming back towards me. And 1 more in the parking lot that was the turn-around. And then 2 people passed me RIGHT before the turn-around when I dropped my chain AGAIN (and got it back on while riding AGAIN!). So I was officially in 8th at this point.

The 2 people who passed me were a bit bigger than me, so I'd gain on them on the uphills, and they'd pull away on the downhills and flats. Finally (still wanting to be relatively aggressive on the bike), I got past both of them on a slight incline. I was in 6th. And then I passed another guy to move into 5th!

Overall bike splits every 1/4 of the ride (as I like to keep track):

- 21.6 mph at mile 3.5
- 21.8 mph at the turn-around
- 22.0 mph at mile 10.5
- 22.2 mph near transition

Hitting T2 in 5th place had me thinking about the overall podium. I was hoping to catch a FEW runners out there, but I was also aware that it was a TT start and someone could be behind me and still beat me. I was ready to go HARD!

Turning into the park. Thanks Kate!

Down the driveway, just a block from the dismount line.


As I write this, I haven't seen the official splits from the race (just the overall times). But I feel like I BURNED THROUGH T2. I was on a mission to catch some athletes! I *did* take the time to rather delicately put that pad on the top of my left foot to take pressure off my bone spurs, but I STILL felt fast in T2.


I saw 2 guys about a block ahead. (In fact, in a straight/open part of the ride near the end, I saw 3 guys lined up no more than a half mile in front of me.) I caught the first guy after 2-3 blocks. I was running in 4th overall, and the next guy was just a block up there!...

... but he always STAYED just a block up there. I wasn't gaining any ground.

It was warm and humid, but not NEARLY as horrible as at the end of my wife's 20 mile race at the same park the day before. My times were a BIT off, but not horrible. I just never fell into a groove like I did at last month's Maple Grove Triathlon (but, for what it's worth, that was my BEST feeling tri run in a LOOOONG time).

Mile 1: 3:07 + 3:02 = 6:10. "Not bad. Can I pick it up?"

Nearing the turn-around, I saw that no one had TOTALLY ran away with the race. There were 2 guys well in front of me, and then the guy just a block in front of me. And then I had about a 2 minute cushion before the next guy behind me. I WAS PRETTY SURE ALL THE GUYS IN FRONT OF ME WERE IN THEIR 20s OR YOUNGER, SO I WAS PRETTY SURE I HAD MY AGE GROUP LOCKED UP!

Mile 2: 3:10 + 3:05 = 6:15. "Feeling pretty dead. Still not catching 3rd place. D'oh."

Around mile 2.5, something happened that I didn't consider COULD happen: the guy in front of me starting passing 2nd place, and I was gaining on that guy he passed! I had ruled out catching the guy who had been directly in front of me for the last 15 minutes, but I hadn't considered maybe him AND I could both catch someone else! So at mile 2.5, I picked it up with a renewed sense of purpose.

... but I never quite caught that guy. I ended up 12 seconds back, in 4th place. I put in the effort though:

Mile 3: 3:02 + 2:13 (0.40 miles, 5:30 pace) = 5:15 (0.9 miles, 5:50 pace). "Good effort. Fun race. I'm beat but not dead."


Steve Stenzel, 37, M, St. Paul

- SWIM 400 YDS: 7:25,
19th overall, 3rd in AG
- T1: 0:56, 9th overall, 2nd in AG
- BIKE 13.6 MILES: 36:47 (22.3 mph), 8th overall, 3rd in AG
- T2: 1:04, 4th overall, 2nd in AG (this time is long, and my run is short)
- RUN 5K: 17:12, 1st overall, 1st in AG
- TOTAL: 1:03:22

4th out of 219 overall
1st out of 41 in the 30-39 age group

My T2 time is long, and my run is short. Add 29 seconds to my run (to match my Garmin), and I still have the fastest run. Take off 29 seconds in T2, and I have the 4th fastest T2.

[Garmin: bike 13.49 miles (22.0 mph) and run 2.90 miles (6:06 pace).]

(None of these are that ground breaking.)

• This was a good start-to-finish effort. My swim was OK. I pushed nicely on the bike. And my run couldn't have been much better in those conditions. Pretty happy overall!

• Fastest run split there! I noted never catching the guy in front of me, but (when I add in some of my T2 time that should be on the run) I was still 0:02 faster than him on the run. (He had the 2nd fastest run.) I needed to make up more than that to beat him.

• I was closer to 1st than I was to 5th. I was 4th overall, with 3rd being just 12 seconds in front of me. And 1st was just 0:58 in front of me! But then the next person behind me in 5th was just over 2 minutes back.

• My bike pace shows nothing dramatic. There were rolling hills, and a 5-8 mph breeze. And there's NO *bad* dip in speed where I lost my chain around mile 2 and 6:

• My run pace wasn't dramatic either. Just a nice build to the finish:

Too little, too late.

• Announcer Jerry MacNeil commented on my muscles 2 times over the loudspeaker, and it was sweet/awkward. He mentioned my pecs pre-race. Then he said nice things about my "race resume" as I finished. Shortly after finishing, he mentioned something about me "blasting" my pecs, and that my biceps looked good too. I'm not good with compliments, and I'm pretty sure I blushed. But thanks Jerry! (I've gained some weight. Most of it is around my belly. But some MIGHT be added muscle too.)

• As I waited for the burgers and hot dogs post-race, I had a rub down by a former TRIA physical therapist who I met 11 years ago. Thanks Cindy! Nice to see you again! Sorry I left a sweaty mess on your massage table...

After the massage/stretch and some food, I grabbed my phone and cheered.

Finishers coming!

Katie from my Y finishing her first Oly! Congrats!!

Kate and I were waiting for her hubby Glen to finish. We spotted him in the distance, and as Kate raised her phone to take photos, I saw a pop-up saying her phone was full. Oops! Here's my pic of Glen coming to the line:

Nice job Glen! Way to wear the team colors even!

I stuck around for awards and got my "first place" age group medal. Second in the 30-39 age group was someone who was racked right next to me. He came up to get his medal saying "I've never been called up for a medal before!" Everyone cheered. It was awesome.

I got home, and the boys and I started peeling apples from the farm. Charlie ate a lot of the long peels like noodles:


Thanks for a fun race, Tri Fitness WBL! Back with more photos soon! (They've been putting large albums on Facebook lately, and there was as guy there taking a lot of photos.)


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