Final "Loony" Thoughts

>> Monday, November 23, 2015

I never really wrapped up my thoughts from all 3 races in the Twin Cities in Motion "Loony Challenge" from early last month.

Left to right: TC 5K, 10K, 10 Mile, and Loony Challenge medals.

As to be expected, it hurt. Racing a 10K followed by a 5K 90 minutes after the 10K started, and then a 10 Mile 24 hours later is not a recipe for fun. I mean, it WAS "fun," but not "fun." The most fun part was having race-buddy Evan show up and beat me by 0:01 in the 10K and 0:02 in the 5K:

Evan just in front of me at the 10K, with the finisher's tape being held out for the lead female.

I was happy with my 10K and 5K times from the first day (38:33 and 18:54), but then the 10 Mile on the next day NEVER felt OK. I just felt heavy and slow from the start. About half way through my race report, I noted "I was really working hard, but it wasn't showing in my splits." And then with about 3 miles left, both calves REALLY started to get tight. I couldn't walk normal for a few days, tried running easy after a week, and then decided to take another 3 weeks off (as noted in this post as the "rest" was wrapping up).

I ended up with a PW (personal worst) in the 10 Mile with a 1:03:05. I was kinda bummed about that during the race, but was totally fine with my PW as soon as the race was over.

One thing I didn't mention in any of my blog posts about that weekend of racing was my chat with interval buddy Marie and former swimming buddy Julia. We all bumped into each other near the Cathedral as I was waiting for my wife to finish the Marathon. We talked about how I knew I didn't win the series like I did last year, but how that doesn't ALWAYS need to be the goal. I'm not an amazing runner, but I'm good enough to place well now-and-then. But I don't always need to be focused on "OK, I think I can win this one." It was good to say those things out loud with those 2 fine ladies.

So I don't think Pharmie or I will do the Loony Challenge again next year. Sure, it hurts, but it IS kinda fun. But it's also quite a commitment for an entire weekend, and it took a toll on both of our (aging) bodies. She noted that the Marathon got quite hard (harder than usual) by mile 15. (And she's done close to 20 marathons, so she has a sense of how hard it should feel.) And she had some heel issues post-race too. It's a fun "weekend series," and I'm TOTALLY not writing it off forever - I'd love to do it again sometime - but I don't know if we'll be back for 2016. My wife will probably sign up to do the Marathon, and I'll probably enter the lottery for the 10 Mile.

Here are links to my Loony Challenge races from last month if you missed them:
- My 10K and 5K race reports
- My TC 10 Mile race report
- The final Loony Challenge standings (also with finish line video screenshots to show Evan and I)
- The official photos from the 3 races


When a WWII Veteran is a Spectator at a Marathon, This is What Should Happen

>> Saturday, November 21, 2015

This is awesome. I meant to post it last week on Veteran's Day, but forgot.

Thank you for your service.


I-VIEW Giveaway Winner!

Last week, I did an I-VIEW review and giveaway.

The I-VIEW headlamp. Seriously awesome.

So I needed to pick a winner from the 91 comments on my review/giveaway post, and the 39 comments on my Facebook page. So I entered 1-130 (1-91 for blog comments and 92-130 for the Facebook comments) on and got this:

That corresponded to this Facebook comment:

The winner is someone named Sarah (a name I like a lot) from North Dakota (where it's dark a lot). Congrats Sarah! Contact me with your mailing address so I can pass that along to the I-VIEW headlamp people so they can send you your new toy!

Thanks I-VIEW for the sweet headlamp!

Check out my I-VIEW review HERE if you missed it.


Friday Funny 1013: Bar Signs

>> Friday, November 20, 2015

Have a good weekend! Go have a drink.

More funny things posted all week long on


Friday Funny 1012: Changing a Tire

Lots more funny things posted on!


Friday Funny 1011: New Facebook Buttons

These need to happen ASAP.

More funny things posted all week long on


Friday Funny 1010: Ripeness Guides for Fruits and Veggies

Here are 5 kinda good tips on how to tell when something is ripe from ObviousPlant:

I'm completely behind that last one. 100%.

More funny stuff posted on


Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Self-Massage Tips for Runners

>> Thursday, November 19, 2015

This is a topic that I'm always interested in. I'm never sure how much, how "deep," or what exactly I should be doing with my tight muscles. Luckily, I recently came across this article. Here's some of what I learned (as written by a running coach, massage therapist, and a [female] 17:47 5K runner). Here are 6 key areas to target:

First and foremost, address the muscle fascia (the saran-wrap-like tissue around our muscles and organs). By rolling with a foam roller, we are able to break up muscular knots that have developed from repetitive tear and repair of muscular micro-tears. The muscle can stretch more easily once we roll it to help release the grip of the muscle fascia. A wrinkle in the muscle fascia can tug on neighboring areas and create pain elsewhere. Consider the calf (gastrocnemius and soleus). If the fascia around the calf is bound up due to tightness, the fascia is going to tug on the plantar fascia and create issues that may get your attention first (thus throwing you off the initial culprit: tight calves). Those wrinkles with their strength of 2,000 psi can pull bones out of alignment, trap nerves and reduce muscle function length. Thus, rolling out the fascia can result in greater runner efficiency.

I learned 2 things a few years ago: (1) pain/tightness in one spot doesn't always mean that the issue is at THAT spot, and (2) when something is out-of-whack in one area, the rest of my body suffers. That's a lot along the lines of what is being said in the 2nd half of that last paragraph. (And what's being said in the middle of this next paragraph.)

As the saying goes, “Don’t get your panties in a wad.” The butt muscles are an intricate weave of key hip stabilizing muscles that, if allowed to get too tight, can make a mess of your hips. By sitting on a tennis or lacrosse ball (or using a foam roller or stick) and rolling over sensitive areas, you can help unlock areas that might be creating pain for you elsewhere. For example, if your piriformis muscle is tight, it can entrap the sciatic nerve. This entrapment can lead to pain and tingling (maybe numbness) down the hamstring or shooting pain in the pelvic floor. When rolling, be sure to work not only the soft tissue, but also along the edge of the sacrum and tailbone where muscles attach.

As stated earlier, tight calf muscles (gastroc and soleus) can lead to pain in the sole of the foot (plantar fasciitis). Using a stick or foam roller can be helpful in ironing out these muscles. In a relaxed position, try skin rolling the tissue to help loosen the fascial fabric in the area. Grab the skin loosely between your thumb and pointer and middle finger and roll.

I just tried that. I don't have a lot of skin to "roll" - it kinda hurt.

Tightness in the peroneal muscles (connecting the lower outside calf muscles to the outside of the foot) can result in pain in the sole of the foot. A tight tibialis anterior (the fleshy part to the outside of the shin bone) can be attributed to shin splint pain. Rolling these out with a stick or iced paper cups can help decrease inflammation. A tight tib-anterior can create knee pain so be sure to roll or use cross-fiber friction at its insertion point just medial to the outside of the knee.

Roll your foot fascia out with a golf ball, a frozen water bottle, or a sock with marbles knotted on the end. You can obviously also use your fingers to dig into the tissue, or if you want more pressure, consider using a small knob for a dresser or the back of a small kitchen melon scooper.

Many evenings, you'll find me rolling the bottom of my feet with a golf ball. It feels good!

The upper leg area is probably the area we remember best to self-massage. Be sure when rolling out the IT band to roll to its attachments: top of hip bone to outside of knee. When rolling out the hamstring, be sure to roll and even pause at the top where it attaches to your sit bone (ischial tuberosity).

How Much Pressure?
We all know too much of a good thing can be bad for you. The same goes for self-massage. You may think that since you are in charge, you can withstand more pressure and for a longer period of time. It’s recommended, however, to self-massage an area for no more than 2 minutes at a time. Read the tissue: if it becomes red and warm, it’s time to stop. Be sure to stretch after massaging/rolling the area to reap the benefits of a loosened muscle. For example, after rolling out the IT band, stretch the quads. Familiarize yourself with your muscle weaknesses and be sure to do simple exercises to engage those muscles; while you may have ironed out the tight tissue, you shouldn’t neglect the (potentially opposing) muscles that need to be reminded to fire.

See some related tips in these 3 posts:
- The proper way to foam roll
- Alberto Salazar's "10 running rules"
- Strength training for endurance athletes

For more "Thirsty Thursday" posts that highlight workouts, body science, and all kinds of interesting information, CLICK HERE.


At the Doc's Yesterday

>> Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I posted this pic yesterday:

And here was my caption:

MRI time. Looking for answers regarding my elbow. In daily pain since May (constant pain when doing anything). Haven't lifted weights since June, stopped swimming over 3 months ago. Can't properly play with Henry and Charlie. Can't cut a pancake with a fork without wincing. Beyond frustrated.

We'll see what the doc says after the MRI has been looked over. It hurts to shift my car. It hurts to do ANYTHING with Charlie. I've learned to rotate my arm a little to make it hurt less, but I still try not to carry him (or anything) in my right arm. I've tried acupuncture, graston technique, A.R.T., and 5 months of P.T. exercises, and nothing is working. I'm so ready to be done with this. I told my wife last night that we might as well amputate, and I really wasn't joking.

My upper body muscles are growing smaller and smaller. When I put on a nice, dressy, fitted t-shirt in September (3 months after stopping lifting weights) once class started up, I realized how much I'd lost - it fit totally different. And it's only gotten worse in the 2+ months since then. When I do lower back exercises at the gym, my "gym shirt" now creeps farther and farther up my back/neck because my back has narrowed since I've had to stop lifting and I don't have the same "girth" to my muscle to hold that shirt in place. D'oh.

I'll update you all when I hear back from the Doc regarding my MRI. I'm hoping there's a plan of action other than "let's just keep resting."


November Biking

>> Monday, November 16, 2015

The first 2 weeks of November have looked like this:

That's 135 miles of biking, not including 30 minutes on the trainer on Friday! I've also done about 9.5 hours of strength work (core, legs, and forearm work), and 26 miles of running (starting to build my "base" with 3 easy runs/week as I noted in my last post). All but 1 of these runs (so 22 out of the 26 miles) were with Charlie.

The last 6 days have had 3 runs and 3 bikes! That's more like April/May training, not November!

Well, it's supposed to be colder and rainier this week, so we'll see if my new bike Eiffel makes it outside for any more rides this year. She might be done until Spring of 2016.


This Fall > Last Fall

>> Saturday, November 14, 2015

Charlie turned 1.5 years old on Tuesday:

Facebook reminded me what was happening exactly a year before, showing these 2 pictures to me:

"Charlie is 6 months old today. Or in Minnesotan terms: old enough to wield a snow shovel."

"At least someone is enjoying this shit."

This fall has been great so far. We've had warm temps, and no sign of snow. (They're forecasting a warm and dry winter, and that would be FANTASTIC.) On Charlie's 18-month birthday, we went for a run. We did again on Thursday, and I Instagrammed this:

"Four out of my last 5 runs have looked like this."

Some of our runs over the last 2 weeks have been jacket-less for him too! Can't complain about that. Today, we went on another run, making it 5 out of my last 6 runs with him. He was cozy and rubbing his tag blankie on his face before we left (a sure sign of sleepiness for him):

Pre-run, tucked under a blanket.

Post-run, still sleeping as we got to the gym.

My last 2 weeks of easy "base" running have gone well. I did 31:00 runs 3x last week, and I did 35:00 runs 3x this week. Shooting for 40:00 in the coming week.

Oh, and if you haven't entered yet, check out THIS POST and comment on that post to be in a running for a sweet headlamp. I'll be picking that winner late next week.


Friday Funny 1009: 25 Responses to Wrong Numbers

>> Friday, November 13, 2015

They start off OK, and the last few get pretty wild!

Oh God! The "nipples" one!

Lots more funny stuff posted all week long on!



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