Friday Funny 828: 1st vs 2nd Kid

>> Friday, November 21, 2014

Our current Parents Magazine had this all-too-true comparison about your first and second kids:

That's all true for us so far, except for Henry's (our first) potty training. He was a CHAMP and just decided one day BEFORE HE WAS TWO that he didn't need diapers. Let's home Charlie (#2) is just as easy!

Lots more funny stuff on!


Friday Funny 827: 2 Kinds of People

There are 2 kinds of people, and here are 12 examples:

The 2nd person is SOOOOOO WRONG!

I'm the 2nd kind of person in this case...

Lots more funny stuff posted all week long on!


Winter Running Advice

>> Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I saw something on Tumblr 2 days ago:

It kinda annoyed me. I had to reblog it WITH CORRECTIONS. You can find my post below (or go to it on my Tumblr page to see for yourself):

Two things I'd like to note:

- Sure, there's ice on my facial hair in all of those photos, but I've never frozen or gotten frostbite on any part of my face. That's just moisture getting caught on something and then freezing. It's NOT freezing my skin.

- The reason I'm so against the original image and wearing too many clothes is that it's DANGEROUS when it's that cold. You should never wear TOO LITTLE so that you freeze (duh), but when you wear TOO MUCH you get hot, start to take off layers and expose sweaty skin, and then THAT'S when you can really be in trouble. Sweaty skin hitting freezing temps is a recipe for frostbite.

Oh, and here are 4 of the links from that tumblr post:

Race report (and LOTS of photos) from the 20-25 below 0 10K.
My PSA from 2008 on how to run outside in the winter.
THEE most important layer to have on for winter running!!
That time I got frostbite on my penis. Click it. Thank me later.


Some Off-Season Swim Workouts

>> Monday, November 17, 2014

So about a month ago, I posed the following question in a forum on BeginnerTriathlete:

I don't swim much (1 or MAYBE 2 times per week), so what's a good workout to keep up my swim fitness throughout the winter? (To maintain Sprint swim speed and POSSIBLY Oly endurance.) 1500 tempo? 100 repeats? An occasional long swim of 2K+?

I had to quiet a few people who were stuck on the fact that I don't swim often. I had to comment back on the forum: "All year, I've only had 3 weeks with MORE than 2 swims, so if I maintain 2 swims all winter, that'd be stellar."

So I was given a lot of good advice and some good workouts (many of which I've since already tried). One of the first main points that people kept repeating was that I shouldn't be doing many (if any) continuous swims. Almost everyone was saying I need to be doing hard, all-out intervals.

So that's what I've been doing for the last month. Here are 5 suggestions that I've tried:


6 x 400 - Each set = 1st 100 @ 85%, 2nd @ 90%, 3rd @ 95%, 4th at puke pace. No rest between 100s, 60 second rest between sets.

You know that you are in good shape when you can do all 6 sets at equal speed....then it's time to add a 7th set!!!

What I liked about that is that usually when I do longer intervals (I do 500s a lot), the first 100 is pretty fast, the middle ones are my slowest, and then the final 100 is a BIT faster. I've never done them trying to up the effort each 100. I didn't do the final 100 of each totally at "puke pace" because I didn't want to die before the workout was finished. Oh, and I was short on time, so I started with 4x400. Here's what I did:

1:27.6, 1:35.8, 1:36.7, 1:34.9 = 6:15.22
1:31.8, 1:36.3, 1:35.5, 1:31.6 = 6:15.23
1:30.9, 1:36.8, 1:34.9, 1:32.8 = 6:15.49
1:31.6, 1:36.5, 1:34.2, 1:31.3 = 6:13.61

How's THAT for consistency! Killer workout. The 4th 400 felt horrible/awesome.


Nothing fancy with this one. I just did 15x100 with 30 rest. Usually, when I do 100s, I do 10, and they tend to get slower. So this time, I tried to keep it a bit easier from the beginning so that I could get through 15. Here were my times:

1:27.22, 1:32.15, 1:29.43, 1:28.88, 1:29.35, 1:29.42, 1:30.16, 1:29.15, 1:28.05, 1:29.53, 1:30.53, 1:30.85, 1:28.36, 1:29.09, 1:28.58

1:29.38 / 100 average

I balanced my effort well to keep the times similar, and felt like I did pretty well with that. I knew by the end of the 2nd one that I'd swam that too easy. And then after that, all 100s were within about 2.5 seconds of each other. Not bad for doing 15.


A ladder / pyramid workout. Oh dear sweet baby Jesus, I HATE ladder workouts. I think this was the first in a few years. I did a simple 100, 200, 300, 400, 300, 200, 100 with 30 seconds rest.

I tweeted about the workout, and 2x Amateur National Triathlon Champ and soon-to-be pro triathlete Heather Lendway tweeted me back:

Her workout suggestion would end up being 6500 of ladders.
So I don't think my final question was too harsh. Right?

But when I do ladders, I do them with the thought that "I hate this, so it must be good for me."


40x50 in sets of 5. 10 secs rest between 50s, 30 secs rest between sets. Sets of 5 done like this:

• #1: Easy
• #2: Breathe every 3rd stroke
• #3: 25 fast/25 easy
• #4: Breathe every 5th stroke
• #5: FAST!

I first posted about this workout a year ago, and I've done it a few times. I really like this one because it's not too mentally grinding. I could have maybe done another set (so I maybe should have). My final "all out" 50 times to end each set were 40, 39, 39, 40, 38, 39, 39, and 39.


This was the 2nd suckiest (behind the ladder workout). This was 9x200 with 30 sec rest. I averaged 3:05.24 / 200, with my slowest 200 being my 1st in 3:07, and my fastest being my last in 3:03. (It wasn't a perfect decline, but the times generally got faster.) Not a great range, but not horribly shabby either.


My first repeating workout: this was the same as my first workout above, but I planned on doing 1 more set. So it was 5x400 with the first 100 at 85%, 2nd at 90%, 3rd at 95%, final all out, with 60 secs break between 400s. These weren't NEARLY as consistent as my 4x400 workout a few weeks before. This time I swam 6:16, 6:17, 6:17, 6:22, and 6:16, which is 3 seconds slower / 400 on average than a few weeks back. Dang.

Here's another workout I have not tried yet, but sounds like something I could be interested in:

I often do a continuous fartlek type swim of 1500-2000m. Something like this (after a warmup): alternate easy/hard (or hard/easy efforts of 25, 50, 75, 100.....up to 200). That gets you 1800m. For longer, go up a bit more, or work back down to 25/25, which is 3200m total. For some reason I find these easier than stop and go repeats and my pace is usually close to my time trial pace for 1500-2000m with a lot lower perceived effort.

My biggest question for all of you is this: what DRILLS should I be doing? I'm afraid that if I just swim hard all the time, my form will start to go and I'll just be trying to "muscle" my way through the water. Any thoughts on this?

p.s. I asked a similar question in the BT forums about 3 years ago, and I posted people's comments on my blog. Click here for that post. It has similar sentiments with a few different ideas.


Weekend Randomness

>> Saturday, November 15, 2014

Here are 6 quick random updates:

• I'VE BEEN SWIMMING A LOT LATELY, and I have some tips/workouts/questions to share shortly. I'm at almost 10,000 yards for the month so far, and that's HUGE for me. (And 12,600 in the last 3 weeks.) That's more than all of November in 2009, 2010, and 2011 combined. (Can I hit 20,000 by the end of the month? It's maybe been 7+ years since I've swam that much over 30 days.) And they've been decent workouts. I posed some swim workout questions to a forum on Beginner Triathlete last month, and got some great feedback. I think my next post might be about some of these killer workouts. Stay tuned...

• MY BOYS AND I HAVE BEEN SURVIVING (barely) IN THE SNOW. We got a few inches of snow last Monday, and now we've been below freezing for the last 5-6 days, so it feels like winter is here. Here are 2 photos from my Instagram page from Monday:

"At least someone is enjoying this shit." He jumped right in there himself!

"Charlie is 6 months old today. Or in Minnesotan terms: old enough to wield a snow shovel."
(Yes, I'm wearing Charlie in the Baby Bjorn inside my jacket.)

• MY PARENTS VISITED ON THURS NIGHT / FRI MORNING. They played with the boys and gave me a chance to get a little work done in my studio. And then I posted this on Facebook:

"My folks came up this afternoon. And then my Mom started cooking. It's a rough life."
(Those 8 crumb rolls didn't last 24 hours, and the only one eating them was me. Oops.)

• MY BLOG JUST GOT A LITTLE LOCAL RECOGNITION. I was listed in this article as 1 of 5 local running bloggers to follow. Check it out. Thanks for picking me as one of the 5, Jessie!

• WHAT SODA IS YOUR STATE KNOWN FOR? I recently posted a fun article on my Root Beer blog from Thrillist about what soda each state is known for. I'VE NEVER HAD THE ONE THEY LISTED FOR MINNESOTA! The horror! Check out the U.S. map in this post to see what your state is known for.

• SPEAKING OF MY OTHER BLOGS... I've been posting some fun photo-related stuff on my Photo Blog recently. There's an interesting video about how to be happy with your photography, a funny flow chart about making photos, a few photos of mine, etc, etc. Check out my Photo Blog here.

Happy weekend, everyone! Back soon with some swim workouts I've been doing lately...


Friday Funny 826: Three Gross Words (and some funny links)

>> Friday, November 14, 2014

Like I do every few weeks, here are some of my recent favorite posts from my tumblr page:

Athletic-Related Funnies:

Sweet abs.

T-Rex working out.

Seen in a bike shop.

A vegan crossfitter.

MTB fail.


[GIF] Teamwork.

This kid is awesome. Thank buddy.

[GIF] Why would you try this on a treadmill?

This athlete with 1 leg has the BEST Halloween costumes.

A bike neatly organized.

[GIF] I'm straight, but if I weren't...

This is me when I eat healthy.

Non-Athletic Funnies:

A Freudian coffee cup.

[GIF] One of my favorite puns.

Awesome Will Ferrell group costume.

Who wants to have a tea party with me this weekend?

Double standards.

Flu "shots."

Here's your horoscope for next week.


[GIF] Beware of No Shave November.

No alcohol beyond this point.

This is the sexiest card ever.

Apology accepted.


2014 is almost over.

Make sure you have some info about what you're having tattooed on your body.

Why we have 2 boys.

[GIF] I don't know if you tricked out this car the right way...

Jimmy John's makes a "penis" joke.

We're kinda weird.

Scariest jack-o-lantern EVER!


And as always, swing by for funnies all week long. Happy weekend!!


Friday Funny 825: Honest Stock Photography

Stock photography gets made fun of a lot (especially by photographers), so I thought I had to share these 11 images from imgur that show HONEST STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY:

And to add to the Nintendo one: there's also no way that both kids are playing at the same time. That's Super Mario Brothers. And I don't know is any of them are actually looking at the screen.

Check out LOTS more funny stuff on!


Friday Funny 824: Running Funnies

Here's an assortment of "running funnies" found on tumblr:

OK treadmill, if you say so. But I don't know what this has to do with running...

Check out lots more funny stuff on


Friday Funny 823: Movie Titles with One Letter Missing

Artist Austin Light recently re-imagined movies if the title was missing 1 letter:

I dunno... #3 could be pretty good.

Lots more funny stuff on!


Thursday (for knowledge) Thursday: Off Season Tips for Runners

>> Thursday, November 13, 2014

About a month ago, I posted my off season plans for swim, bike, run, and strength work. (UPDATE: I have yet to start reaching for those over-the-top BIKE goals.)

So I thought it'd be a good time to share this article from It's the "Top-10 Offseason Tips For Runners" written by a 1:06 half-marathoner and 2:21 marathoner. Below are his 10 tips and most of what he has to say about each. Check out the original article for every single detail.

1. Answer, "Why Do I Run?"

While answers to this question may range from winning an Olympic medal to getting away from the hustle and bustle of your life, either way it is important to identify why you run.

2. Set Goals

I’m sure you have laid out your running goals in a clear and concise manner. Perhaps you have even hired a coach to put together the ultimate training program. But, have you set lifestyle goals? One of my favorite coaches of all-time once said, “Your actions must be in line with your goals.” If the training program requires 2 hours of your time per day and you only have 90 minutes, it is not the right program for you, no matter how sound the design is. Here are a few subtitles for your goal setting session:

- Beginning of the Season: (obtain fitness, have an open mind)
- Middle of the Season: (stay focused, revisit goals)
- End of the Season: (improve upon last year, personal records)
- Long-Term Aspirations: (career, family, personal)

This goal-setting session can be a good one to do with your loved ones so they understand your commitment.

3. Clean Up Your Diet

Hahahahahaha! Let's pause here. I'm not giving up my nightly nacho platter or turning over the secret stash of Ghirardelli squares in the cupboard. Sure, I've been TRYING to eat better over the years (and I HAVE made a lot of progress - ask my wife), but don't push it.

4. Educate Yourself

Never do a workout if your coach cannot explain the purpose of the workout. The explanation does not have to be complicated. For example, if your coach requires you to do a long run every Sunday and you ask “Why?” His or her response may simply be, “You need a big engine to run a marathon.” Good enough. Read a couple of running books so you can participate in the conversation with your coach.

This same point came up in last week's "Thirsty Thursday" post about swimming. Always good to be thinking about the purpose of anything you do.

5. Get Into A Rehab Routine

As runners, we are quick to buy recovery tools, but we’re the last to use them. Perhaps it is time to use your foam roller, massage stick, trigger point products, your inversion table, and stretching rope. Try to make the routine part of your day while you are not running to see if you can make it a habit.

6. Address Imbalances

Visit your local physiotherapist and begin addressing your muscles imbalances. These imbalances often lead to injury and prevent you from having a smooth buildup to your goal race. Many runners discover that their quads are overdeveloped compared to their hamstrings, and their hip strength is inadequate for the demands they are placing on their lower body.

I'm in a "rehab routine" right now, and I have been for about 16 months. Check. Done. (But I recently read something about doing TOO much foam rolling etc. and how that's bad because it's not letting your body naturally heal itself. Then it relies on the extra work. Just a theory. But I can see the reasoning behind it for sure.)

And that routine was put in place because of my imbalances. I'm working on #6 big time. And that goes hand-in-hand with upcoming #10 too.

These next 2 are a bit much for me...

7. Get A Blood Test

8. Create An Injury Protocol

Yes, it'd be great to know if my iron is low or my red blood cell count is high, but, as a wiser woman than me once said: ain't nobody got time for that.

And I'm injured a lot, but every injury is so specific that I don't have a specific protocol that I follow each time. I DO have a list of people who I contact when things go wrong, and that's something the article recommends.

9. Do Your Strides

Your running diet should always have a bit of speed work in it. One of the easiest ways to ensure that you are getting a dash of speed is to complete your run a mile from your house, then proceed with 20 seconds of hard running, followed by a 40-second walk or slow jog. Repeat until you get home.

10. Get Strong

Before delving into your base phase, implement a strength routine. Adding too many ingredients at one time can be overwhelming for your body. And then get some rest and enjoy your offseason!

Even though I've stated in my off season plan that I'm not doing any fast work, I DO like to pick up the pace now-and-then. This "20 on, 40 off, for a mile" is a nice recipe to do every once and a while at the end of a run.

And I'm always working on my strength: core, upper body, and legs. This has been important to me for the last few years, and (even though I'm still injured a lot) I feel like it's helped my speed, endurance, and form.

Click the "Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday" tag to see all Thirsty Thursday posts about training tips, body science, and other fun "knowledgeable" things I've come across.


Why My Bike Is Better Than A Woman

>> Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Two weeks ago, I posted a top 10 list where 2 ladies listed "Why my bike is better than my boyfriend." To balance out the universe, here are the TOP 10 REASONS A BIKE IS BETTER THAN A WOMAN:

10. Bicycles don't whine unless something is really wrong.

9. Bicycles don't care how many other bicycles you've ridden or how many other bicycles you have now.

8. You can stop riding your bicycle as soon as you want and it won't get frustrated.

7. You don't have to take a shower before you ride your bicycle.

6. If your bicycle is too loose, you can tighten it.

5. You'll never hear, "Suprise, you're going to own a new bicycle" unless you go out and buy one yourself.

4. Bicycles don't get headaches.

3. My bike’s rack won’t sag over time.

2. The only protection you need to wear when riding your bicycle is a decent helmet.

1. I can lube my best friend’s bike, and he’ll thank me.

(Ideas came from here, here, and here.)


How I Won the "TC Loony Challenge" Series

>> Monday, November 10, 2014

I've only done it once, so I don't know everything. But here are my 4 tips to win a "weekend series" of races like the Loony Challenge:

(This first one's the best piece of advice...)


... wait...

I know what you're thinking... "no duh, Steve."

But really, that's what winning any race is all about. It seemed even more apparent for this series.

If someone congratulated me who didn't know a lot about running (like a family member who saw me post about it on Facebook), I just thanked them and told them how fun it was. If someone from the local running scene congratulated me, I actually felt kinda bad. I'd say "well I can think of 50 people off the top of my head who could have beaten me." I'm kinda fast, but (like I just said) I'm just kinda fast.

... but I guess you just have to show up and race sometimes. I got lucky with that this year at the Loony Challenge.


I've always fought with this. But when racing a 5K, 10K, and 10 Mile, it's a tricky balance. You really don't want to have too much speed and not enough endurance, because then the 5K and maybe the 10K will be fine, but you'll die the next morning on tired legs trying to go 10 miles. And you don't want to have too much endurance (not enough speed) because then you'll be giving up a lot of time in the 5K and 10K, but at least you'll feel OK in the 10 Mile.

I have no big piece of wisdom here because everyone's training is so specific to them. I only run a few days a week, so I just made sure I was doing my shorter runs at a SOLID effort. I wasn't giving up my easy days (see the importance of the next point), but I made sure to do some intervals that I maybe wouldn't have stressed as much had I just been training for the 10 Mile. However, the runs I really stressed were my long runs. THOSE were the important runs for the week. I needed to make sure I had the distance on my legs, especially for when I would be tired during the 10 Mile after the 10K and 5K. I had hoped for my final long run to be about 12.5 miles, but I was feeling a few aches leading into that week, so I only ran 11.3. So I had 2 runs of 11+ miles and called it good. That ended up being plenty.


You can't go into a big weekend of races less than 100%. So don't be stupid with your training. If you'll feel a little beat-up after the 10K, then the 5K after that is gonna suck. And the 10 Mile the next day will destroy you. Be smart.

I'm injured a lot. As I was building my miles for this series, I REALLY paid attention to extra little aches and pains, and I adjusted as necessary.


I got a LOT of great advice from Tim, Liz, and Thomas when I interviewed them about their experiences in a multi-race weekend. Tim stressed the importance of staying loose between the 10K and 5K (because of his mistakes). I tried to stay off my feet a bit Saturday afternoon, and I foam rolled a bit in the evening. And I ate good food (REAL food) all Saturday.

I know... none of these are groundbreaking, but they're my thoughts on winning the series.

Oh, and I just heard from Twin Cities in Motion: they sent me a note that ended with "As one of the winners of the 2014 series, you should receive a certificate declaring you the male TC Loony Challenge winner with a few goodies in the mail soon." My response? (And I'm serious here...) "GOODIES! I happen to love goodies!"

And here are 2 unrelated posts from when I won the MDRA "Grand Prix" series 2 years ago that sort of fit in here with this info:
- How to win the MDRA Grand Prix series
- What I learned during my biggest running year ever (while winning the MDRA series)



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