1936 Olympic 200 Breaststroke

>> Saturday, January 21, 2017

This video from the 1936 Olympics puts today's athletic performances in perspective. Do we put more importance on athletic achievement than we did then? Or have times just dropped because that's what happens over decades? Or has nationalism become a more important reason to train?

Who knows. But I know this: if you like sweet man ass, then make sure to watch until the end.

Direct Link: youtu.be/l-R4wiSZcRc


Friday Funny 1218: Poorly Describe Your Hobby

>> Friday, January 20, 2017

This is oddly similar to last week's "Opposite of your Job" Friday Funny. Here are people poorly describing their hobbies:

Rubbing the hair of a horse's tail against twisted sheep guts.

I catch wind with a giant triangle to move over the water.

I hit my feet against the ground and move my legs as fast as I can.

I like to lift things with random parts of my body. Just so i can lift heavier things in the future.

... or...

I willingly try to defy increasing gravitational pull to break bodily tissue only to later forcefully fill my intestines to assimilate dead animal parts so my body will repair the tissue which will increase the gravitational pull it can defy 2 days later.

I press buttons and scream at a rectangle.

I rapidly move my genitals up and down.

I ingest liquids and inhale combustibles that degrade my primary internal organs.

I run a chunk of a rock that stains a lot on a piece of paper for several hours.

Hitting mostly whites, sometimes blacks.

I stare at dead trees while hallucinating.

... or...

I stare at strips of pulped tree bark whilst reviving input and hallucinating vigorously.

I catch vibrations in the air with organs attached on my head.

I handle balls and put them in wide holes from time to time. [basketball]

I sit on a saddle which happens to posess two wheels and a combustion engine,and that is propelled forward thanks to the rotationnal forces induced by thermal reactions within the explosion chamber, transmitted to the ground through said back wheel, archieving incredible thrust because of supercar-like power to weight ratio.

Lots more funny stuff on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com. HAPPY WEEKEND!


Friday Funny 1217: Starter Packs

These "Starter Packs" are getting a little too real. (From The Chive.)

Gross. But we all know this guy.

Lots more funny stuff posted 10x every day on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.


Friday Funny 1216: Good Intentions

Here are examples of 15 people with good intentions who failed. Miserably.

Oh shoot. I've been saying the Hail Mary wrong for years.

Lots more funny stuff posted all week long on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.


Official Results and Post-Race Words from the Dinosaur

>> Wednesday, January 18, 2017

First, a word from the dinosaur. I had a few photos of the dinosaur in Monday’s race report, including this one with this caption:

Well, the dino caught wind of this on Facebook and left me this comment:

When my wife mentioned to mister dino that our toddler was afraid of him, yet wanted to see more photos of him after the race (Charlie is a walking oxymoron), the dino said “Have fun showing Charlie this pic of the dino too!” and sent along this photo:

Some updated results came out from this past weekend’s Indoor Triathlon. I’m not sure what has changed, but here were the results from the 22 of us in the “Mini” race (400 yd swim, 8 mile “bike,” 1 mile run):

I like that they have an 11-page PDF of results for this race, which includes the breakdown of the race by swim, bike, and run. Here are those 3 for the “Mini” race which show me on top of all 3 categories: out-swimming an 11-year-old girl to take the fastest swim, out-biking a 56-year-old woman to take the fastest bike, and out-running my buddy Kate to have the fastest run:

There were 64 racers overall between the 3 distances, and the 11-page results even show an overall ranking of transition times. Out of 64, I had the 4th fastest T1 (2nd fastest in my distance):

I’m not sure it’s physically possibly to get from the pool, through the gym, down the hall,
and onto the bikes in the Sports Center in 0:20, but I’m sure the time got
added in somewhere else - the overall total would still be correct.

And my 0:02 T2 time was only good for 3rd (well, “tied for 3rd”):

Unlike my 0:01 T2 at this race a few years ago that I’ll never be able to beat.

If you missed it, my full race report is here.


YWCA Indoor Triathlon RACE REPORT

>> Monday, January 16, 2017

Yesterday, I banged out a quick little indoor triathlon at my gym: the Midtown YWCA of Minneapolis. There were 3 distances, and because my knee was a little "twitchy" 2 weeks ago, I signed up for the shortest one to just blast out some speed: 400 yd swim, 8 mile "bike" (on a spin cycle), and 1 mile run.

A group of swimmers 2 waves before me.
There are 1-2 people/lane, and a lap counter for each lane.

My view while warming up (and checking my bike fit settings) on a spin bike
on the edge of the track. Racers spinning and running.

Once you do a few multisport races, you'll see people who put their helmets on backwards (like here and here), or those who forgot to take them off on the run. In this case where you don't need to wear a helmet, it's possible to forget to take off your swim cap (and goggles) on the bike. OR MAYBE it's a speed strategy. One can't be sure:

In the green cap.

I got changed and started to stretch as I watched the wave before mine get started:

Angie (across the pool) getting the racers ready to go...


I hopped in when they were done and got in a QUICK 100 yd swim before Angie started yelling "OK, goggles on! We'll be off in a few seconds!" Our waves were pretty close together, and I was actually a bit worried that I could be done swimming while the wave in front of us was still on the bike. I was hoping I'd have a bike to hop on to!


I posted last week that I hoped to swim a 5:50 400 (1.27.5 pace), but then I tweeted pre-race that I was worried about that goal being a bit too aggressive. I just swam hard. My first half was 1:23.5 and 1:30.1. With those 2 splits, I figured I'd be JUST slower than my goal, but still a time I'd be happy with.

I finished the swim with 100s of 1:29.7 and 1:27.8 for an unofficial swim split of 5:51.23 (1:27.8 pace), and I was happy with that! I slipped pulling myself out of the pool and banged my left knee nicely on the edge of the pool, but I wasn't bleeding.


I ran through the gym to my spot, sat down to put on my socks and shoes, wiped my face, and took off for the MPLS Sports Center track where the bikes were waiting. Sure enough, my concern about the waves overlapping a bit came true - there was a bike or 2 that were free, but everyone was still biking when I got out there! I could see the look on Nicole's face: "Oh sh*t. Are we going to bottleneck here?!?" Everything ended up being fine for all the racers - everyone had a bike when they needed one!


We rode on spin bikes, and the computers only count "miles" based on revolutions. So most people just put the resistance to 0 and spin like a banshee. I was hoping to break my time of 13:03 from the last time I raced this distance nearly 3 years ago.

Oh, did I not mention that there was a BIG F*CKING DINOSAUR cheering me on?!?
Well there was. He appears at the Midtown YW now-and-then. Thanks Glen!

And my family appeared on the track as I was on the bike! Pharmie came over with the boys to snap that photo. Thanks for coming, family! (Pharmie said the boys were being pills that morning.)

Well, unofficially, I was off the bike in 11:24, which means I was "biking" over 42 mph. Totally just like road riding. I can usually bike for 20-30 minutes at the speed. Totally.


T2 doesn't exist at this race. I was biking in my running shoes, so I just had to hop off the bike, run past the big dinosaur, and I was at the start of the run. Bing, bang, boom.


Technically, I suppose it's only 1600 meters (8 laps on a 200 meter track), which is 1-2 seconds short of a mile, but whatever. The boys hit the inside of the track for some high-fives:

Coming in for a high-five from Charlie. Henry missed me this time, obviously.

Three years ago, I did this mile in 5:23. I figured I'd be a bit slower this time, but (hopefully) not by much. But I took off HOT. I glanced at my watch at the end of the first lap, and it was 37 seconds. Yeah, that's 4:56 pace. I knew that wouldn't last, but I wondered if I could BEAT my time from 3 years ago. I was going to take my 2-lap splits (1/4 mile), and I knew that 1:20s would equal 5:20 total.

My first 1/4 mile was 1:17.7, and my second 1/4 mile was 1:21.9. I was JUST under 5:20 pace, but I was HASHED.

Running past the dino.

More dino. (Thanks Kym for the photo!)

Reaching for a high-five. I missed. I blame the dino.
We all know that T-Rexs are known for their super short arms.

My 3rd 1/4 mile was rough: 1:24.8. I was falling off the pace, but still turning in a SOLID time. My throat was dry, I could almost taste blood, and my lungs were somewhere laying in lane 3, but I was OK with how I was running. I came to the finish to a lot of cheers with a 1:21.5 final 1/4 mile:

The rest of my wave were still on the bikes, and they gave me lots of WHOOPS!

Hitting the finish. 2017 has started with a solid "hitting-my-watch-at-the-end-of-a-race" photo.

I was pretty sure I had won, but there were waves before me that I couldn't be sure about. But when the results came in, I found out that I took the win by a pretty big margin:

In front of Kate (who was in the 1st wave) by over 11 minutes.

Steve Stenzel, M, 35, Mini-Sprint

- SWIM 400 YDS: 5:52 (1st)
- T1: 1:05 (2nd)
- BIKE 8 MILES: 11:16 (1st)
- T2: 0:02 (2nd)
- RUN 1 MILE: 5:27 (1st)

23:42 total
1st out of 22 "mini-sprinters" overall
1st out of 2 in the 30-39 age group


• I ended up with exactly a 2:00 PR at this race! And most of that came from the bike. I was 0:16 faster in the pool, 0:02 faster in T2, 1:47 faster on the bike, 0:01 slower in T2, and 0:04 slower on the run.

• That big race PR noted above seems impressive, but it means nothing. No, I'm not in great bike shape right now. I just knew that I'd have to spin FAST with 0 resistance to be fast. Three years ago, I spun with a little resistance because it was my first indoor tri at the YWCA, and I thought the computers calculated speed based on resistance too. They don't.

• I need to wear other shorts for my next indoor tri. I wore my pink plaid shorts for Nicole because I knew she liked them. (And I guess that makes it the SECOND nice thing I did for Nicole this year.) But looking back in old race reports, I've worn those for all 3 indoor tris I've done at the YWCA. Guess I'll have to wear the Tutti Frutti shorts and not the Pinky and the Brain shorts at the next one.

The boys were wound up and crazy, so they took off on a cool-down lap with me:

Then Henry almost ran in front of a runner, so Laurie had to practically tackle him.

Burning off more steam by doing some core work. :)

Henry helping trainer Laurie put away some cones post-race.
(He's bent over and pushing a stack - it's a bit hard to make out.)

Oh, and my wife's Mom was in town for our nephew's birthday, so she stopped by and got to see me run the last few laps of the race! And then the 5 of us went to breakfast at the Grandview Grill, and then Grandma Monica stopped back at our place for a bit:

An Instagrammed photo of Grandma and our boys.
(With boxes of Henry's Legos in the background.)

Time for a few days of rest for my legs. Back with more soon!


2016 Garden Totals

>> Saturday, January 14, 2017

Well, it's 2017. Time to reflect on how our tiny little 1.5' x 17' garden behind our garage did last year. Here are some pics of the timeline (most from my Instagram page):

2/24: planting!

3/1: results 1 week after starting seeds in our south-facing window.

3/9: 3 week update. Got a grow light because our brussel sprouts were
getting too spindly in the window. Peppers still haven't emerged.

3/23: 5 week update.

4/6: 7 week update. Thinned and transplanted (top=before, bottom=after).

4/13: 8 week update. EVERYTHING survived transplanting!
And the zinnias that were planted a week ago have broken through.

4/20: 9 week update. Moved everything out of the basement and
on to the porch. Cilantro and zinnias planted 2 weeks ago (lower left) are up!

4/27: week 10. Back in the basement. Everything shot up with the sun!
Recently planted leaf lettuce in the middle.

5/13: I didn't note when we planted outside, but this was a night where there was a frost threat.

5/25: big ass rhubarb.

6/8: our 2 long skinny beds on top, and some stuff in planters on the patio on the bottom.

6/9: some leaf lettuce from our front porch planter.

6/11: first tomatoes spotted!

6/29: our first peas on our picnic table planter.

7/20: no pics for almost a month! But here was our harvest on July 20:
a zucchini, 3 cukes, 4 cherry tomatoes, and a purple pepper.

8/2: today's harvest.

8/11: Henry next to our tall, skinny yellow pepper plant.
We brought in 2 peppers and some basil for omelettes.

8/19: today's harvest. Everything's looking a little wild!

8/30: today's harvest.

9/15: our cherry tomato plant is still going STRONG!

9/27: Henry's zinnias are really looking good out in the blvd garden!

10/12: freeze coming tonight, so I brought in everything I could.
These were 2 little "potted" brussels spout plants from the backyard.

10/13: I didn't touch our 3 big brussels sprout plants in the garden, and this was
all they did by this time. I was disappointed. This was 100% of our harvest.
(Note the tiny "nubs" above the leaf stalks that SHOULD be big brussels sprouts.)

10/14: made green tomato pie like my Great Grandma Anna used to do!
And I told my boys it was apple (also like she used to do). REALLY good!

10/20: made 2 more green tomato pies, and mailed one to my cousin 1,000 miles away!...

...Here's what it looked like on arrival. See more photos regarding
mailing this pie in this post from November.

11/19: a smart gardener friend told me I should have been pinching off my brussels
sprout leaves (except for those at the top) as they grow. I did that WAY
too late in mid-Oct, but they still produced THIS over the next 5 weeks!

A little fun I had with my cherry tomatoes as seen on my Photo Blog.

Current pic. That's some dead lavender to the far left. My wife wanted to plant it.
I asked for what. She didn't know. So...there it is...

I'm not sure how much you can tell from the pics, but our cherry tomatoes were HUGE this year! They were nearly ping pong ball sized! We were quite happy with how well everything did from seed.

I kept a running tally of what we harvested. Here were the final 2016 numbers:

- Cherry Tomatoes: 274 (and another 130 green ones pre-frost)
- Beefmaster Tomatoes: 77 (and another 31 green ones pre-frost)
- Burpless Cucumbers: 42
- Purple Peppers: 13
- Yellow Peppers: 10
- Orange Peppers: 3
- Zucchinis: 3 (plant died in a storm on 7/20)
- Peas on the picnic table, and lettuce on the front porch.
- Also: basil, cilantro, and dill. (And that lavender plant that's in the last photo that's STILL out there. Oops.)

Some of our green tomatoes ripened, and some we used in pies. We only had to throw out a few. So between our 3 tomato plants (2 Beefmaster and 1 cherry), we harvested over 500 tomatoes and used at least 470!

We have similar plans for 2017: more plants and flowers started from seed in 2 months. More zinnias, fewer brussels sprouts, start basil sooner, but essentially we'll do the same sort of set up this year. "Think spring," everyone!

p.s. Here are related links: here are our 2015 garden totals (and photos), here are our 2014 garden totals (along with pics of leveling our yard and installing the raised beds), and here's that tomato hue scale as a larger file on my Photo Blog.



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