YWCA Indoor Triathlon Race Report

>> Monday, February 11, 2019

Yesterday was my first race of 2019: the Minneapolis YWCA Indoor Triathlon. I had signed up for the longest distance: 600 yard swim (in a 25 yard pool), 8 "miles" on a spin bike (NEW bikes where resistance matters!), and a 5K on a 200 yard track (25 laps).

The evening before, we went out to my wife's aunt's house for a skating/taco party. I ate lots of crap, and the boys played out on the ice even though it was -2 with -15 windchill:

It took Henry a while to get the hang of it. He got his first taste of ice
skating last year, and got decent at it! He quickly improved on Saturday night.

Henry and cousin Evie on the ice!

Charlie loved it too.

Still out there as it got dark.

On race morning, I was in the first wave at 7 a.m., so I got to the Y just after 6. I had the locker room all to myself, which was odd:

The locker rooms were remodeled this past summer. Now old race
buddies Claire B and Bridget M see hundreds of naked men each day.

The pool was calm and welcoming!

The sweet pint glass that we got for racing!

Bikes split into 2 "blocks," and each heat was told which block to hop on.

My view as I tested out a bike. Yes, that's a big-ass bouncy house.
Yes, I thought about having my warm up take place in that bouncy house.

The ONLY (and tiniest) bit of pre-race drama took place regarding my goggles. After getting back from Mexico, they started leaking a bit. On Friday's swim, they were just gushing water. I think the little "tabs" that hold the goggle straps as tight as you set it got loose from me playing around with them as I kept loosening/tightening them while playing in the pool in Mexico. They don't hold them as tight as I'd like anymore. And being I still felt like these goggles were "new," I didn't have a back-up pair. So I borrowed a pair of my wife's for the race. TRYING SOMETHING NEW ON RACE DAY IS ALWAYS WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSE TO DO, RIGHT? Oh wait... no? Oh. Shoot.

Old goggles on top, new ones for the race on the bottom. The blue dot on the sides
of the old pair is what stopped doing it's job of holding the strap tight.

I hopped in the pool and did 200 with some STRONG push-offs to make sure they didn't leak. And they held up like a charm! Whew.

My "transition mat" pre-race. Once I set out my shoes, I was set.
(That's the great thing about an indoor tri: T1 is just putting on socks and shoes.)

I shared a lane with the only other "long" distance racer in my heat. There was another random guy in our heat as well, and then a family of 4: Mom and Dad doing the middle distance, and their 2 kids (boy 14, girl 11) doing the mini distance. We got a countdown, and we were off right at 7 a.m.!

SWIM: 600 yards: (12 laps)

As I mentioned in Saturday's post, I figured I'd be just over 9:00 for the swim: if I swam 1:32 pace, that'd put me at 9:12 for example. I figured I'd go out a bit faster than 1:30, and then be over 1:30 for the rest of them (that's usually the way I swim). So I was actually a bit worried when 1:21 showed up on my watch as my first 100 - I was afraid I had gone out too hard and was going to crash! But then I was pleasantly surprised when the next 2 splits were 1:29 and 1:29! I did NOT think I could go sub-9:00! I kept it strong (but not TOO fast/hard) in the last half, and finished with splits of 1:30, 1:30, and 1:29, for an 8:52 swim! I was shocked!

Oh, and Abbie (the lap counting volunteer for my lane) was great. After 300, I heard her shouting "HALF WAY! HALF WAY!" So I knew we were counting laps the same. Solid work, Abbie!


I yelled "THANKS ABBIE!" as I ran past her on the way into the gym (where the T1 mats were). I plopped on my butt, made a big puddle on the floor, and got my shoes and socks on. I realized that I had beat everyone else out of the pool even though 5 of them were doing a shorter distance. Take THAT sweet loving family!

I ran down the hall, onto the MPLS Sports Center track, and hopped on a spin bike. And off I went.

BIKE: 6 miles: (on a Keiser spin bike)

The bikes were NEW as of the last indoor Tri in January, and for the first time the "speed" changes along with your resistance! In the past, it was all about RPMs, so you'd just spin SUPER fast with no resistance to get the "fastest" times. Now, as you shift into a harder gear, you log miles faster, much more like actual road riding. So I had no idea how fast my split would be, but I was excited to not be spinning at 120-140 RPMs.

Trainer Laurie from the gym was the head of the bike volunteers, and she noticed my seat was a little low just after I started. So I stood on the pedals and spun as she raised the seat by 2 inches. And YWCA buddy Glen was my bike mileage counter! Lots of fun and familiar faces! He snapped this photo for me:

Our favorite trainer Laurie in the background. And me in the pink plaid shorts.

True story: I picked those shorts for the race simply because they were the ones on top in my drawer. I wasn't picky as I was deciding what to wear the night before.

Because the bikes were new, I didn't have much of a goal here. I just tried to go hard. I didn't ever feel great here, which probably means I need to SUFFER more in my bike workouts at home (and not just "spin" easier). I jumped between some easier gears and harder gears, and then I settled into the harder gears around 230 watts after being around 180-200 in the easier gears. (I don't know how that's calculated because I didn't put in my weight. Or isn't weight needed for watts?)

I gave Glen the 1 mile warning when I was at mile 5 on the bike, and I told him I was really not looking forward to 25 laps on the track. He didn't blame me.


I jumped off my bike with my water bottle, took a swig as I ran to the balloon arch (the official start/finish of the run), and took off running. I chucked my bottle against the wall out of the way and got ready to suffer.

RUN: 3.11 miles: (25 laps on a 200 meter track)

This was sort of the big test for the day. Did I have run speed? Would my splits be SLOWER because I was spinning with some resistance this time? Could I keep it around 18:20 like I did while racing Lisa a few years back? I didn't have a SPECIFIC goal, but I knew I wanted to see how many sub-6:00 splits I could churn out, and I also had that 18:20 from 4 years ago in my head as well.

I tried to cheer on the family and the kids as I passed them. The older boy was having trouble holding off his younger sister, and (AS IT WOULD FOR ME) I think it was getting to him. I got cheers from Andrew who was counting my laps, and much like Abbie in the pool, he was GREAT: always yelling how many I had left. Laurie, Glen, and Kate (Glen's wife who was 2 waves behind me) were all cheering for me when I went past the bikes. Even the 3rd and youngest kid of the family who was in my wave heard my name enough that she started saying "GO STEVE!" as I ran past. Thanks everyone!!

I took my splits every 4 laps (half mile), and here they were:

MILE 1: 2:55, 2:58 = 5:54
MILE 2: 2:58, 3:00 = 5:58
MILE 3: 2:57, 2:54 = 5:51
LAST LAP: 0:40

My run hurt like it should have, but it felt good. I was happy with my pseudo-consistent splits! (Half mile splits were all within 0:06!) I kept them ALL under 3:00 when raced Lisa 4 years ago, but I was just fine letting one hit 3:00 this year. I came to the line knowing I'd done about all I could have, even though I was 0:44 slower than the winning time from last month (the time I noted I was going to try to shoot for in Saturday's post).


Steve Stenzel, 37, M, St. Paul

[Official results aren't out yet - here are my watch splits]

• 600 YARD SWIM: 8:52 (1:28.67/100 pace)
• T1: 0:52
• 6 MILE BIKE: 16:18
• T2: 0:03
• 5K RUN: 18:25
(5:55.3/mile pace)

TOTAL: 44:31

UPDATE: here are the official results (and here's a link to more about that):

Steve Stenzel, 37, Long Course

• 600 YARD SWIM: 8:51,
2nd overall
• T1: 0:49, 2nd overall
• 6 MILE BIKE: 16:22, 3rd overall
• T2: 0:06, tied for 3rd overall
• 5K RUN: 18:29, 1st overall

TOTAL: 44:37
1st out of 37 overall
1st out of 2 in the 30-39 age group


• A PR on the swim and 0:05 behind my best on the run: not a bad day! But it tells nothing of my biking skill. (I can't compare it to year's past because of the new bikes.) And I think I need to work on my biking more.

• Even though my swimming lately hasn't been "fast," it's been consistent. And that seems to have made the difference. I noted in my 2018 "year in review" post that a yearly swim distance PR just snuck up on me. It's been ALL the swimming (even if it's not as fast as a few years ago) that made this race faster. THERE'S A LESSON EVERYONE!

• I popped a Roctane Gel pre-race for practice. I just has 2 bowls of oatmeal an hour before, so I wasn't hungry. But I wanted to get that GU and have my body think "OK, now it's time to GOOOO!" So I had it to keep my body used to it.

• The new goggles worked great! There was just 1 small snag: they gave me a bit of tunnel vision, and therefore the walls REALLY snuck up on me. I slapped one the walls hard when I went to grab it around 250 or 350 yards into the swim. But I got used to it and they were fine. And they kept my eyes dry! (Unlike my old pair. Which needs to be pitched.)

Post-race goodies! The 2 tinfoil pans were chicken and egg salad for sandwiches.

I jogged over a mile on the track while cheering on the other runners as a cool down. Then I went upstairs on the track to walk a bit more:

Looking down on a wave running on the track, with the next wave on their bikes.

Biking and running!

The boys came 30 minutes later (as Sarah brought them to the gym
so she could workout) and played on the bouncy castle for a while.

It started snowing during the race. My car was covered by the time we left. We got another 4-6 inches during the day, so my cooldown for the race was shoveling snow for 70 minutes for about the 4th time in 10 days. Our snowblower died 2 weeks ago, so it's been LOTS of shoveling:

The giant mound in the backyard which is snow thrown over the fence from our driveway.

View from our driveway 20 minutes later. I can't pitch snow much higher.

Back with the official results soon. Happy winter!


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