Sunday, September 29, 2019

Kona Profiles #6: Randall the Mandall Steinfeldt

The Ironman World Championships ("Kona") will be here before we know it, taking place Oct. 12th. As you know, it's incredibly competitive to qualify and a major accomplishment to do so. As we've done the last 3 years now, we'll be catching up with our local Cinderellas... getting to know them better as a tri community and cheering them on as they get ready for the ball!

Name:     Dr. Randall Steinfeldt

Age Group:    M5559

Qualified:     via the Kona lottery after a decade of volunteering in the medical tent

What’s your athletic background and how did you get into triathlon?

I was not an athlete early in my school years, I was a Klutz, I was the dorky nerd in the class. I tried football in high school, I was terrible. Then my senior year a friend told me that Bingham high school had a swim team, it was just starting and so all comers were accepted. I thought, hey I can swim, I went out for the team and found out I did not know what competitive swimming was at all.

I nearly threw up at my first few workouts but no matter how non-athletic I was I was never one to quit. I finished my year as the teams “most improved” swimmer. Maybe not the most prestigious award to get. I really did not do much during college, and nothing during medical school.

Then what I worked on the most during residency was eating and stressing. It worked, I gained about 40 lbs! After starting practice I continued to gain weight and at age 38 I had bloomed into nearly 300 lbs (280) and my waist had bloomed to 42 inches. I was the most improved again (if the goal was loss of fitness and weight gain). In 1999 I decided to make a change, I started eating better and lost some weight.

Then in 2002 I took the Body for Life Challenge and even though I had gone from 280 to 220 my waist had gone from 42 inches to 40 inches (with diet change). With the Body for Life Challenge I only lost an additional 10 lbs but my waist went from 40 to 35 inches. I continued doing the same lifestyle and started competing in Triathlon in 2005 as a result of an invitation from a neighbor.

I was a bopper (back of the pack) but I was hooked on the energy and camaraderie for the Triathlon community. My first Century ride was done to see if I could a 100 mile ride. I did but barely, I did not think I could ever do LOTOJA but then in 2008 I finished LOTOJA. I did my first Marathon in 2007 and as I recall the first thought of doing an Ironman was 2006, I completed Ironman Tempe AZ in 2012, a great day and race I recommend for everyone.

Check out this video for more on Randall's 
transformation and his "Road to Kona!"

I won my category in LOTOJA in 2012 and have been on the podium with a total of 3 wins since then with the exception of 2016. Jun 2016 I was training with 3 friends and crashed and fractured my back, a total of 14 fractures. Thanks to the grace of God I was not paralyzed and thanks to the EMS and great surgeons (total of 4 surgeries) I was able to continue and in 2017 I won LOTOJA again and then a couple weeks later Chip Page and myself rode Salt to Saint (424 mile ride) solo. 30:25 hours

I am so grateful to God for blessing me with great people around me and my parents for teaching me that quitting was never an option.

Can you share with us what type of medicine you practice and your volunteer efforts over the years at Kona?

I am a family practice doctor, I started having interest in Ironman about 2006, and started doing volunteer medical support in Hawaii in 2009. The first time I witnessed the Ironman in person I was moved to emotion watching fellow triathletes push themselves to their maximum effort to see if they actually could do something really difficult. I was hooked.

I got to meet many Ironman athletes and talk to them, both inside and out of the medical tent. The experience was fantastic! Since 2009 I have been back to Hawaii, every year 9 times. I have been in the medical tent, in transition and the most rewarding, with the physically challenged athletes. It has become the highlight of the year to go the the Ironman and surround myself with “never say quit” people.

When/how did you learn you had received a Kona slot and what was your reaction?

As part of the agreement between the organization that supplies the education and logistics for medical care during the Ironman and WTC there is one spot raffled to the participants to have an opportunity to race in the Ironman World Championship. I have been putting in for that opportunity since 2009, and in 2018 my name was drawn.

I had gotten used to not having my name drawn and I was not expecting it and when I heard my name I could not believe it and just sat there for a brief moment and I don’t think it will fully sink in until I am actually turning the corner on Ali’i drive and running that last few hundred yards. I was again, moved to emotion as I thought of the opportunity (don’t worry, no one noticed the small tear in my eye).

Coach or self-coached, and how has training gone overall this year?

I hired a coach thru Training Peaks. I have been using Training Peaks for years and love the program. This was such a big deal that I wanted to have some help. I purchased a training program and my coach is available thru email. She has been great, she has given me pointers and help, very nice and encouraging. It was a good move.

In the past, an error in my training was to go hard at every workout and I would over train. This could be catastrophic when training for such a big race. Jess encouraged me to work hard but to work smart, when it was a long slow run, keep it slow. When doing speed work, go all out, when it is a rest day REST!

A few weeks ago you went 5:08 for 8th place overall at the Brineman Half… does that give you a big confidence boost regarding your fitness going into the big day?

The short answer is yes, but it is a little more complicated than that. The results of a single race always help as a test for the future. But, I found that the more races I do the less nervous I get and my confidence improves. Even when I have a tough race I find that the experience helps me learn and gives me confidence.

On that note, what are you most looking forward to and most terrified about as you think ahead to race day?

Let’s start with the positive first. I have been on the finish line 9 times, watching people cross the line and the celebration of accomplishment is incredible. The party along Ali’i drive is infectious and I look forward to running down that stretch of road as an athlete.

What I am afraid of is the unknown, I know that I should not worry about things I cannot control. But it is getting the bike ready for travel, getting it on the plane, getting it off the plane, no damage to the bike and then getting it reassembled. I do most of my own maintenance on my bike and I should not be nervous about this but I have witnessed the looks of concern on the faces of other athletes who are picking up their bikes and I can’t help but think about that and what could go wrong.

You finished 11th in your age group at St. George 70.3 with a very strong 5:28. Are you signed up for the full Ironman St. George in 2020? What are your general race plans for 2020?

Thanks for the kudos, I have not signed up for IMSG as of yet. It is something I would love to do but I need to take into consideration all the sacrifice the family needs to make in doing an IM. If it works out that I am, I would love to help contribute to the “county competition”. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: For our fun St. George team competition, anyone and everyone is welcome to participate. It will work like a cross country meet, so the elite elite athletes will "score" for their teams, whereas us mortals will participate for fun and increased camaraderie/inspiration leading up to race day. 

The teams are expected to break down something like this:
  • "The North" (Idaho and/or separate Northern UT team?)
  • Davis County
  • SLC West (of I-15)
  • SLC East
  • Wasatch Back
  • Utah County
  • "The South" (St. George/So. UT)
  • Possibly others as well

My plans for 2020; I will return to the Full Ogden Marathon, I did the 1/2 this year because of the proximity to St George 70.3 and my training schedule. The possible celebrity runner for 2020 Ogden Marathon is a friend of mine and keep your ears and eyes open because if it works out (still in the works) it will be an incredible opportunity to run with him.

I also plan on doing LOTOJA next year, I took this year off because of Hawaii. 2020 will be number 10 for me. The rest of the season is dependent on if I do the IMSG or not - I plan on doing my annual plan after the world championship.

In addition to your St. George performance, you won your age group at 3 Utah Triathlon Championship Series races: Icebreaker, the East Canyon Olympic, and the Brineman Half... will it be enough to hoist the 2019 Championship Belt for your age group?  [Editor's note, it indeed was!]

I don’t know, I’ve looked at John Mercer’s times and if it came mono on mono he’s much faster than I am, but if he does not show at the Kokopelli Olympic (i.e. he doesn't get the minimum of 3 races in to qualify), I will be honored to hoist the M5559 Championship Belt! Given my history I am humbled by the fact that at one point a 2 mile bike ride nearly put me on the floor.

What’s your podium for your own race highlights/performances and why?

This is a tough question. I have always felt honored and surprised by being on the podium. I don’t think I’m any different than anyone else. I love crossing the finish line first but the real satisfaction comes from giving my all during a race and finishing, knowing that I left it all out there. If I had to choose a podium finish that was most thrilling, it would be my first win in LOTOJA in 2012.

I went there with the intent to help a friend get on the podium and then at mile 200 (about 4 miles left to go) he told me he was spent and to not worry about him and go for the win. The interesting thing is that several times during that day I did not think I was going to be able finish the race, I started cramping at mile 75.

It came to a sprint and when I launched and was approaching the finish line, I distinctly remember thinking “I could win this thing”. The other one would be my LOTOJA win 15 months after breaking my back and having surgery to spare the function of my legs.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I do want to thank Collin for doing Tri Buzz, a lot of work on his part. There really is nothing more special about me than anyone else. I did not know that I would ever win, go to Hawaii, etc.. I just started forward and kept on going on. It has been a fantastic journey and I have learned more about myself and life by participating in Triathlon and other endurance sports. I will never be the same since doing these things and invite everyone to Tri.

I really need to thank my wife, she really does not understand this lifestyle and why I want to do the things I do but she does not belittle me but has always been willing to support me, even after my accident, she has never asked me to quit and I will always be thankful for that. 




Below are links to all the races in the 2019 Championship Series:

Below are links to all Challenger Races:

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