Treadman Duathlon Race Report

>> Monday, September 22, 2014

Or, "HOW Can This Bike be Called 'Fairly Flat' on the Race Website?!?"

Or, "Lots-O-Snot"

A few days ago, I caught a bad cold. Early Saturday morning as I was driving to the Treadman Duathlon, I rolled down my window to hack up a loogie. It was appropriate that it was during this song (which described previously stated loogie):

I'm not joking. This song was on the radio as I left a piece of me on Hwy 52.

I got to the race site and took care of some business:

Dark clouds (and a few distant lightning strikes) making part of the bike course wet.

Set up in transition.

Sean "Easy-Peasy" Pease snapped one of the most awkward photos of me ever as we were nearing the start of the race and I was fueling a bit more:

Dear God.

I talked with Jenn Scudiero a bit - she was racing, and she was one of my 2 relay partners at the Trinona Sprint Triathlon this past June:

Me, Jenn, and Jeremy after our Trinona relay win!

We all got lined up, and soon we were off!


I was back in 4th place right away. I checked the legs of the guys in front of me: no one in my age group. Nice. Someone came up behind me pretty quick: it was a skinny, speedy 30-year-old female. (If you know my Mom, she was built a little like my Mom, but even a bit skinnier.) I ran behind her in 5th for a bit.

My first 2 half-mile splits were 2:52.8, and 3:00.5, for a first mile of 5:53. I knew I had slowed up a bit in that second half-mile (well, the pack of us had slowed up a bit), and I was 100% OK with that - I didn't want to kill myself on the first run.

Runners coming back down the same trail later in the race after I finished.

I was pretty consistent when we climbed a gravel hill and went down the other side: mile 2 was 3:00.1 and 3:00.6 for a 6:00 mile. Good. The little hill is right near the middle of my elevation chart from the run, after we turned off the paved trail:

Our turn off the trail and back towards town was around a farmyard that reeked of cattle was we got close. Mario Minelli was just in front of the speedy woman in front of me. I shouted "Mario, I blame that smell on you!" On the gravel road, I was a little hashed. I ALREADY started having thoughts of having to walk on the final run. My mind was not in a good place. I tried to let up a bit. I was still in 5th after someone in front of us dropped back, but someone behind us passed our group.

As I just said, I "tried" to let up a bit, but nearing the end of the run made me want to go a little harder. For mile 3, I ran a 2:58.3 and then finally slowed up to a 3:06.6 for a 6:04 mile. I ran the remainder back to T1 at about 6:04 pace (my Garmin tells me), and I was nearly 20 seconds behind the Mom look-a-like (I made myself ease up more).

My goal stated in Saturday's post was "somewhere around 20 minutes" for each of the 3.3 mile runs, so I was happy to be running in at 19:38. I was curious to see if I'd have enough left in my legs for another sub-20 run later on...


The usual. Shoes off, shoes on, helmet on, sunglasses on (I don't like to run in my sunglasses unless it's super bright), and I was away. I made up some ground on the Mom look-a-like.


I passed the speedy female 2 blocks into the ride, and then I had empty roads. I was now in 4th, but the people in front of me were WAY up there. I knew this could be a lonely ride. And I was worried about the wind - it was a little breezy. But I should have been worried about my snot. My head was a little congested from my cold, and I blew 8-12 snot-rockets over the course of the ride. Many landed on my leg. Awesome. As Chris Martin was singing earlier that morning: "...and they were all yellow."

I got passed twice before mile 5, and neither were in my age group. "Sweet - could I get a wire-to-wire age group win?" It was waaaaaaay to early to be thinking about that, but it crossed my mind. But then I was passed by a 31-year-old who left me in his dust. Damn. I deserved it for having those sexy, sexy thoughts.

The first 5 miles were a bit uphill, so I was happy to see a 20.5 mph average there. Then there were LOTS more hills over the next 5 miles, so I was OK with seeing a 19.7 mph average over those miles. And then came the hill.

THEE hill.

Mother f*cker.

Just before the hill, Jenn passed me. We both yelled at each other (positive things). The roads were wet from previous rain, and I got SLOSHED up when she passed me and got in front of me! I kept wishing I had my camera to get a photo of the scale of this hill with her climbing it in front of me. Look at a close up of my Garmin elevation chart:

Those lines aren't like 20 feet. They're 100 feet. So it's a nice 300 foot climb.
That's not INSANE by any means, but it WAS pretty brutal in the middle of the race!

Mario warned me that once you THINK you're over the hill, it actually keeps going for a bit, and he was right. That 5 mile split (miles 10-15) was 17:35, or a 17.1 mph average. Yikes.

But after a few more miles, we turned north and had the wind at our back. It was still hilly (oh God, the hills never stopped), but it was more downhill overall. Here's my overall Garmin elevation data:

I set a PR over the next 5 miles! The wind wasn't TOO bad out there as shown by my first 20.5 mph split over the first 5 miles - that's not great for me, but that's about where I expect to be (I had a 22.0 average at my last tri, and that was GREAT for me!). The combo of the wind at our back and the hills being more downhill rose my overall average quickly. And my 5-mile split was 11:59.1 - that's a 25.0 mph ave over 5 miles!! Once during a wind-aided 5-mile interval on a flat trail in Alexandria, I biked a 12:01. Awesome.

Checking my OVERALL average every 5 miles looked like this:

- Mile 5: 20.5 mph
- Mile 10: 20.2 mph
- Mile 15: 19.0 mph (having JUST climbed out of the 18s)
- Mile 20: 20.1 mph
- Back to transition (21.60 miles): 20.3 mph

I saw the guy in my age group who had passed me running out as I was headed back (the runners came out for 4 blocks on the bike course, so it's a nice way to see who's in front of you). He was about 3 blocks away from transition already, and I still had to get back there, go through T2, and start running. I was pretty sure I had my 2nd place age group spot secure with no shot at 1st. Considering the hills and some wind, I was happy with my 1:03 bike when I had hoped for "just over an hour."


I came to my normal awkward stop, hopped off my bike, and did all the normal T2 stuff. I asked a relay runner waiting in transition if he wanted to run for me. He figured it best to wait for his ACTUAL partner. Fine. Jerk.


OH DEAR BABY JESUS MY LEGS WERE DEAD. The run was the same as the first run, but in reverse (which was kinda great). The only problem was that there's a short climb over a bridge to start it (see the end of the elevation chart in first run section). I dropped to well over 9:00 pace there. I couldn't see anyone in front of me or behind me, so I just ran. I was hoping to find Jenn before the finish.

Jenn was a few blocks up after turning corner. I was s-l-o-w-l-y gaining on her. My first mile was 3:09.8 and 3:04.9 for a total of 6:14. I knew the next half mile would be rough, because we were now running up that 1/4 mile gravel hill. It felt horrible, and it ended up being my slowest half mile split of the day: 3:12.0.

I got right on Jenn's tail as we turned off the gravel road and onto the straight trail that would lead us 1.5 miles back to the finish. She told me to "go get em," and I motioned to the wide-open space in front of us and said "there's no one to get!" I ran a 3:06.7 to give me a mile 2 split of 6:18. Oh, and don't feel bad for Jenn that I passed her - she went on to break the female course record!

I THOUGHT I was gaining on someone near the end, but then I realized it was a middle-aged female runner out for a jog. Damn it. (I wouldn't have caught her anyway.) Mile 3 was super uneventful as I ran 3:00.7 and 2:57.8 for a 5:58 total. I was happy to get one under 6. My final 0.3 to the finish was done at 5:31 pace.

From later in the race: we ran over 2 little bridges in the final half mile.
Beautiful morning for a run!

I ended up 7th overall, over 90 seconds behind 6th (but the age grouper I was chasing finished 5th over 3:00 ahead of me), well over a minute in front of Jenn in 8th, and almost 14 minutes ahead of 3rd in our age group.


Steve Stenzel, 33, M, St. Paul, #1188

- 3.3 MILE RUN: 19:38 (5:57.0 pace), 1st in age group, 5th overall.
- T1: 0:44, 6th overall.
- 21.6 MILE BIKE: 1:03:52 (20.3 mph), 2nd in age group, 10th overall.
- T2: 0:37, 10th overall.
- 3.3 MILE RUN: 19:59 (6:03.3 pace), 1st in age group, 2nd overall.

TOTAL: 1:44:47

7 out of 68 overall
7 out of 56 males
2 out of 3 in the 30-34 age group


• Even though the bike was ROUGH with all those hills, I hit my race goals pretty well. I wanted runs around 20 minutes and a bike just over an hour. I said in Saturday's post that I hoped that would put me in the 1:45 - 1:50 range. I was really hoping for around 1:45, so my 1:44:47 is just fine by me. (Side note: I never tried to figure out my overall time when racing. I only saw my current "sport" time on my Garmin. So I wasn't easing up or anything knowing I had sub-1:45. I've gotten much better over the years at predicting what I can do.)

• Speedy Mario has done this race about 4 times (and he's placed 2nd a good number of those times). He claims this is the HARDEST multisport race in the state. The course makes a good argument for that. The hilly ride out around Square Lake (for the Square Lake Tri and the Cinco Du Mayo Du) is rough, but I think this was more relentless. I was in and out of my small ring soooo many times. In fact, here's a comparison of hilly Treadman vs hilly Cinco - it's clear Treadman is much hillier when you see it has about a 300 foot elevation change while Cinco has about 150 foot change:

"Treadman Du" in green, "Cinco" in red, and both at the same scale. (It's worth noting that Cinco
is half as long, so the hills seem artificially "longer" when placed on top of a 21.6 mile course).

• I didn't think of this until during the race, but this was my longest duathlon ever. The Apple Duathlon is 26.7 miles (3.1, 20.5, 3.1), and that's the longest I've done. Oh wait, I forgot about the no-longer-in-existance "Winter BeGone" Duathlon which was actually pretty close to this race site (maybe another 10-15 miles down the road). A bunch of us did that race in 2008, and that's where Matt, Pharmie, and I got our first age group medals. That race was 27.9 miles (3.1, 18.6, 6.2). We don't have too many 10K runs in duathlons around here.

• This is totally silly, but I didn't like that all 3 events were loops. I like a good "out-and-back" to be able to see how I'm doing compared to other people. At this race, it was all loops, so we didn't have that luxury. I still liked this (brutal) race, and I'm definitely keeping this event in mind for the future! Great race!

I stretched WELL, and even went for a little cool-down jog. My hip/sacrum was a bit sore, but stretching for so long really seemed to help. I stuck around for awards to get my 2nd place age group medal, and I cheered for Jenn getting some goodies for her overall win (and COURSE PR!):

That night, I celebrated. P-R-E-T-T-Y hard:

From Instagram: "Shut up. You don't know me. I had a long race today. Don't judge."

Good race. Good food.

Stop back later this week for a 5K/10K race entry giveaway, and for some photos from the "new" (temporary) TC 10 Mile course.


Racing TODAY!

>> Saturday, September 20, 2014

So my duathlon today is not an "A-race." I just decided on Wednesday to do this as maybe a good endurance workout leading up to the TC "Loony Challenge" in TWO weeks!

Case in point: I went out for a SHORTER but HARDER run just 2 days ago. Charlie and I were home while Henry was at pre-school, so we hit the trails together. We did nearly 7 miles with the middle 3 at 10-mile-race-pace: 6:07, 6:14, and 6:00. Here are 2 photos from my Instagram page:

"Ready for a morning run with Daddy."

"After 7 miles in the stroller (with the middle 3 at 6:07 pace),
my training partner looked like this."

I didn't Instagram this photo, but this was after he woke up and I took off his hat and blanket.
Needless to say, he loved the run!

As far as today's race goes, I hoping to finish somewhere in the 1:45 - 1:50 range (so it's a nice length to work on my endurance). It's a 3.3 mile run, a 21.6 mile bike, and a 3.3 mile run. I've never done this race, but I know it's NOT flat. I'm hoping to be just over an hour for the bike - that's the longest bike race distance I've done in over 2 years, so who knows! And then somewhere around 20 minutes for the 2 runs. Add in some transitions, and 1:45 SOUNDS possible. We'll see. (Based on the conditions or how I'm feeling, I could be thrilled with 2:00 or disappointed with 1:35.)

Yesterday morning, I got my Speedplays changed after they broke on Wednesday, and Henry and I got Goldilocks shined up:

Check my tweets for race updates, and stop by soon for a race report!

And if you missed it, I interviewed 3 people (including last year's winner) about how to prep for a "3 race weekend" like the "Loony Challenge" - a 10K and 5K on Saturday, and a 10 mile on Sunday. CLICK HERE to read the post from Thursday.


Friday Funny 795: Running and Biking Funnies

>> Friday, September 19, 2014

In the name of the duathlon I'm doing tomorrow, I thought I'd grab 20 recent RUNNING and BIKING funnies from my funny tumblr page:

Find lots of funny stuff updated all week long on my tumblr page:! Happy weekend!

p.s. Keep an eye on my twitter page (also embedded in the right side of my blog) for updates on Saturday morning as I try to tackle the Treadman Duathlon. Race report shortly!...


Friday Funny 794: Graphic Design Fails

The spacing between letters - it's called "kerning." All of these need better kerning:

Lots more funny things on!


Friday Funny 793: It Couldn't Be Done

From Zen Pencils: this is great. It's not necessarily "funny," but it's pretty great.

More funny stuff posted all week long on


Friday Funny 792: Crazy Ideas That NEED To Happen

Lots more funny stuff on!


Advice for the "Loony Challenge" Race Weekend

>> Thursday, September 18, 2014

I was curious the best way to approach a multiple-race-weekend (like the "Loony Challenge" coming up in just over 2 weeks - a 10K and 5K on Sat, and a 10 Mile on Sun). So I talked to 3 different people. I asked them 6 questions about their experience and got some good info! Here's a intro to these 3 folks:

First I talked to Tim. We've known each other for a few years - we see each other at local races now-and-then. He finished in the top 20% or so last year at the inaugural "Loony Challenge," so I was curious what he had to say about it all.

Tim and I with a bunch of lady-friends as seen in my 2008 Chisago Lakes Triathlon race report.

Tim (more recently) on the run.

Next I talked to Coach Liz. I know she's done big race weekends like this. She's done the "Dopey Challenge" in Florida which consists of a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and FULL marathon all in the same weekend! That's almost 50 miles of racing! I was curious about her recovery secrets.

Liz during her big race weekend.

This was at a point when Liz stopped during one of her races for a pic!

Finally, I actually got a hold of the winner of last year's inaugural "Loony Challenge" here in the Twin Cities. His name is Thomas Datwyler, and he finished the 10K in 38:17, the 5K in 18:38, and the 10 Mile in 1:02:21 for a Loony total of 1:59:16 (over 4 minutes faster than the next finisher). When I signed up for the Loony many months ago, I figured around 2 hours would be a good day, but that was before my April ankle injury that I'm still just getting over.

Thomas racing.

At Boston (on the left).

So I asked Liz how she got through her nearly 50-mile race weekend. She told me she ran the 5K easy, and then used a run/walk strategy for the 10K, 13.1, and 26.6:

My interval for the 10K was run 5 minutes, power walk 1 minute. I still finished in under an hour. For the half and full marathon I did a run 5 minutes, power walk 5 minutes interval. I’m not going to lie, it was mentally tough to do that and take those 5 minute walking breaks very early in the race as everyone is running by. By the middle miles of the race I was with a consistent group of people and had caught up to some who blew out of the gate fast and had to slow down. In the last miles of the races, I was leaving people behind and never seeing them again when my 5 min run segment came up.

She said her pace in the half and full were 32 to 45 minutes off her PR pace - I though that was actually pretty good, considering! She said she wasn't out there to "race," but just to "survive the mileage."

Tim had some decent training, but ended up running fewer miles than he had hoped in the 2 months leading up to the TC Loony last year. He actually hoped to set PRs in all distances, noting that he doesn't really run 5Ks. Going into race day, his plan was this:

I knew that the strength I had been working on was helping but also, as said above, that my miles were down. So I just decided to try to match all my best times.

It didn’t work.

He ended up running the 10K 0:05 slower/mile than his PR pace, his 5K nearly 0:45 slower/mile than his PR pace (his big disappointment of the weekend), and the 10 Mile use 0:04 slower/mile than his half marathon PR pace. Again, that all doesn't look too bad to me. Tim said that even though his miles were lower than he had hoped going into the races, he thinks having a proper focus really helped him get through the weekend.

Thomas (the winner of the "Loony Challenge" last year) backed off slightly in the 10K and 5K, knowing that the 10 Mile would be the hardest race of the weekend. Additionally, he figured:

...I could make up more time/ground on the other racers during the 10 mile than the 10k and 5k combined. So the plan was to make the 10 miler my "A" race and the 10k/5k my "B" races. I left out my kick for both the 10k and 5k, even though it's a fast finish coming down the hill! I tried to conserve as much energy, run as efficient as possible and keep my thoughts positive during the 10k and 5k.

Thomas is a pretty speedy guy: his 10K PR is 35:04, and his 5K PR is 16:41. During the "Loony" weekend, his 10K was 38:17, and his 5K was 18:38 (both just a few seconds shy of what he was hoping to run). He felt great in the opening miles of the 10 Mile and decided to shoot for sub-1:02, but came up just 21 seconds over his goal time.

Thomas running.

To keep loose between the races, everyone kept moving. Thomas stretched, jogged over a mile, and walked around (making sure not to sit down). Liz recounted her big weekend at the Dopey Challenge saying:

At first, fatigue was a big issue as well as muscles that felt heavy and dead on the second or third day. Making sure I did proper fueling, foam rolling, and recovery was important.

Liz went on to say "as soon as each race finished, I jammed a banana in my mouth and started walking back to my hotel or towards the bus to take me back to my resort. No sitting around!"

Tim didn't do anything between the 2 closest races (the 10K and 5K), and he recalls:

... This was my biggest mistake that I made. I didn’t think it would be a problem as long as I walked and stood around. I honestly thought it wasn’t enough time for my legs to “cool down”. [Note from Steve: the 10K is at 7:30 and the 5K is at 9:00, so it's a QUICK turn-around.] Then I started the 5k and knew I was toast. My legs just had nothing in them. The first mile of my 5k was a paltry 8:37. Part of this was poor placement at the start but my 2nd mile was only 8:21. It wasn’t until my 3rd mile when I ran a 7:47 mile that I felt like if I just had a little more distance I could make up a little for the first 2 miles. But alas, what can I say? I strongly suggest a foam roller with you and loosen up those calves and keep the hamstrings warmed up.

As far as training goes, I think all 3 of them mentioned getting in lots of miles. When I first reached out to these 3 runners a few weeks ago, it was only about a month before the Loony Challenge, so I wasn't about to drastically alter any of my training. But I was curious what they found worked, didn't work, or what they'd do differently next time. Tim had some specific training thoughts for getting used to running on tired legs:

I would practice running hard after taking an hour off from running hard. Not too much, mind you, but enough to get the body to adapt. I think an example for me would be a 2 mile warm up, then 2 miles at 10k pace, take an hour break then run hard for just 1 mile.

I still think that running Friday night, then Saturday morning then Saturday afternoon is a good plan. The key is to not injure yourself here, I think doing this for a few weekends at shorter distances and then taking turns which run to run at race pace is good enough. An example would be 4 miles Friday night easy, then Saturday am, warm up 1 or 1-1/2 miles then run race pace for 2 miles, then Saturday evening easy again for 3-4 miles. Again, alternate each weekend which run will be the hard run.

And if I remember correctly, Twin Cities in Motion (the race organizers for the TC 10 Mile, Marathon, and the 5K and 10K) posted an article a few months ago about doing some double-run weekends to help with training. I think they mentioned doing a tempo run on Saturday, and then doing a long run on Sunday a few times to get used to the tired legs feeling.

Liz was happy with how she ran the races, noting that should could have probably done better if she incorporated more speed work into her training (I got the gist that she was training mainly to get through the MILES of that crazy long weekend).

Liz with ALLLLL of her race medals after her weekend of a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon,
and full Marathon. Liz is just a little bit insane (and I mean that as a compliment of course).

Finally, I asked about race expectations and what to expect when doing multiple races over a weekend. Here were some of their final thoughts:

Thomas said that he was ready for the 10 Mile to hurt. He told me that "I really wasn't looking forward to racing 10 miles on legs that felt like lead. Fortunately, I felt much better than I thought I was going to feel during the 10 mile and I was able to push my body without my legs feeling like garbage." His race plan of taking it easier during the 10K and 5K and keeping loose between those races seemed to work!

Tim had a good point about making sure to have the right focus for the weekend - keeping the emphasis on the WEEKEND of races and not just 1 race.

Liz warned me that she could "see how a very competitive runner could become disappointed by their performance if they were trying to win the whole thing or to get close to their PR times. [She might be talking about me right there.] Stage races like this are not the place to try to get a PR unless you are doing the stage race again the next year and trying to lower your time. You have to change your expectations a bit." That's not what Tim did, but Tim kept the right focus after his plan wasn't panning out.

Here's some final closing advice from last year's winner, Thomas: "Stress less, enjoy it more, and take it all in!" Thomas doesn't know me, but this is good advice for an "over-thinker" like me. Thanks Thomas, Liz, and Tim!

Check out Coach Liz's blog here and Tim's blog here.

p.s. Make sure to stop back because I have some good stuff planned next week: I'm doing a duathlon this weekend (so there will be a race report), I have an entry to giveaway for a 5K/10K in St. Paul that takes place next month, and I rode part of the "new" TC 10 Mile course yesterday morning and took some photos. Spoiler alert: it's hillier than the same parts of the old course. Dang. I'll be posting more on all of this shortly. (And in a week or 2, I'll post what *I* was able to take away from these interviews above and what my weekend race plan will be for the Loony Challenge.)

p.p.s. And come back tomorrow for a few "Friday Funny" posts!

p.p.p.s. On my ride yesterday morning, my 8-year-old Speedplay pedals decided to call it quits:

Gotta get these replaced before this weekend's duathlon!



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