Cotton: What a Pointless Fabric

>> Sunday, December 31, 2006

When I go to the Y, I usually just throw on a gray sleeveless shirt, and off I go. But I forget that if I’m going to a spinning class (which doesn’t happen that often), I need to wear a bike jersey, or something a little more wicking, or some sort of technical apparel. Otherwise I look like this when I get home:


Kermit came over to give my arm a lick (for 10 minutes):

Also, I met with a knee pain specialist on Friday, and he confirmed that my knee issues have been due to IT band issues. So he gave me a “prescription” so I could meet with some triathlete physical therapists early in the new year. They’ll have more info on how to take care of my knee and what’s good to be doing until it’s better. Until then, I’m stretching and icing (not at the same time, of course).


Merry Christmas!

>> Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sorry this is late; I’ve been home for the holidays. Here’s wishing you Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy Boxing Day, etc, etc.

Click on the image to see a slightly larger version

Yes, those ARE footie pajamas.

Look for a report from my first open water swim of 2007 coming on Jan 1st. I’m considering doing the “Polar Plunge” in Lake Minnetonka to start the new year. Oh yeah, don’t forget to have a swell New Year!


Damn Knee

>> Thursday, December 14, 2006

I’ve been rolling out my leg and knee with my new 4-inch foam roller over the past 2 weeks, trying to keep my IT band loose. It’s been constantly sore for a few weeks, and I’ve been taking it easy. But I decided to run last night at the Y in order to try out my legs. I figured a treadmill would be smart because I could stop as soon as my knee started to hurt. So I rolled my knee ahead of time, and put on my knee brace. I hopped on a treadmill. I get SO BORED when I have to do something like that on a stationary machine.

The machine read "0.09 miles" when I was ready to shoot myself from the monotonous boredom.

But I knew I wasn’t in it for the long haul. I was just testing out my knee. I ran with just a little tightness/soreness until mile 1.4 when it got worse. I continued until I hit one and a half miles. I needed to go more than that. My knee needed to be stronger than that. How frustrating.


100 Things About Me

>> Monday, December 11, 2006

I tried to keep this fun and honest. I hope you don’t get bored with such a large dose of Steve. Some of these are frightfully honest, especially the higher numbers. You have been warned.

1. I’m way more fun than you.

2. I’m probably cooler too.

3. Wait, #2 is a lie. I’m the opposite of cool.

4. Great, now I wasted #3.

5. Crap, there goes #4. Back on track...

6. I’m addicted to infomercials.

7. Although I have 2 cats, I consider myself more of a dog person.

8. One of those cats is named Kermit, because I told Sarah it was either the name of a pet or our first-born son.

9. Classic Looney Tunes were the best thing on TV. Chuck Jones was a genius!

10. Americas Funniest Home Videos is my favorite TV show currently on TV. Seriously.

11. I’ve had 7 years of piano lessons.

12. But now can only play Yankee Doodle with one finger.

13. I was born on Friday the 13th. Some people say that explains a lot.

14. I don’t let Sarah touch my navel. When I do, she thinks it’s a party.

15. When I was in second grade, I wanted to be a priest.

16. Then, when I was 8, I thought I was Jewish. I was wrong.

17. I started teaching my first college course a month after my 24th birthday.

18. The average age of my students in that class was around 30 years old.

19. I like being mistaken for a student when I teach.

20. I also like the chatter I overhear before the start of the first day of class: "Is THAT our professor? He looks so young!"

21. If I were a better writer, I wouldn’t need to make photos.

22. I’ve never done any sort of drugs.

23. If I were to do drugs, my drug of choice would be Chipotle Burritos.

24. I don’t drink coffee (can you imagine me caffeinated?!).

25. I’ve taken one puff on a cigarette. I was 17. It was nasty.

26. I don’t spend enough time with my friends.

27. I’m a momma’s boy.

28. Everything about the photographic process excites me. Except making contact sheets.

29. I poop more than anyone I know: usually 4-5 times per day.

30. Most of that poop floats.

31. When I watch CSI and they show the image through the eye-piece of a camera that is taking pictures of evidence, I always yell at the TV because their aperture and shutter speed settings never make any sense with the flash they are using.

32. When I was young, I tried to jump off of a moving 4-wheeler so I could run along the side of it. I ended up belly-sliding across the gravel road. I nearly lost my right nipple.

33. Don’t read #75 without reading the 2 before it or it will seem really, really dirty.

34. I worked for 4 summers in different corporate hog barns artificially inseminating sows in heat. I’m the surrogate father of thousands of delicious baby pigs.

35. I’ve been growing hairy patches on my shoulders that I’m not proud of.

36. During my first 2 months of college, I didn’t think I could hack it.

37. During my first 2 months of grad school, I didn’t think I could hack it.

38. My mother-in-law’s homemade salsa will cure whatever ails you (it works for me!).

39. I’m never fully satisfied with my photography, although I fake it when I need to talk about my work.

40. I’m a gentle and giving lover.

41. I always shower, not bathe, after wearing brand new socks. Otherwise those in-between-the-toe fuzzies are floating all over the tub. Nasty.

42. I’m grateful for everything.

43. I carry a tweezers in my wallet in case of slivers or splinters. Is that weird?

44. I love movies, but rarely see any.

45. I had sex for the first time on my wedding night. Yes, really.

46. Pink is one of my favorite colors.

47. So is 18% grey.

48. I can’t talk on the phone and do something else at the same time. So if you ever call me, you have my undivided attention.

49. Triathlons have helped my sex life (hard body and more endurance) and hurt my sex life (too tired from training).

50. I try to be polite - society as a whole needs to be more polite.

51. I hate politics.

52. I never want to affiliate myself with just one specific political party.

53. I don’t have any tattoos, but I’d like to get one that is an image of my first camera’s shutter speed dial. Nerdy, I know.

54. I’ve been known to eat entire large, sausage, Papa John’s pizzas in one sitting.

55. I drink water like a camel.

56. And, therefore, piss like a racehorse.

57. I love 1980s rock ballads.

58. I listen to any type of music if it’s good.

59. I totally rock at MySpace flash banner games.

60. I can balance my body in a few strange positions.

61. My penis and I are good friends.

62. I love to laugh and to make others laugh.

63. When I fart in bed, I fluff the covers. I don’t want to baste in my own stink.

64. George Clooney. I’m just saying...if I had too, it’d be with George Clooney. Or Jamie Foxx.

65. I’m pretty sure Paris Hilton is the anti-Christ. And Lindsey Lohan is a living, breathing STD. And Britney Spears is simply trash.

66. Riding bike without a helmet is thrilling! Just like having sex with an old, warty, seasoned prostitute without using a condom is thrilling! Come on people, wear a helmet when on a bike or motorcycle! Don’t be stupid.

67. My favorite physical activity that I can see myself doing the longest is lifting weights.

68. Second: biking.

69. Third: running.

70. I just recently realized that I’ve never been Mom and Dads favorite. I’ve come to terms with that.

71. If you would have told me 2 years ago that I’d be training for an Ironman Triathlon right now, I would have punched you in the stomach and stolen your purse.

72. Extremely attractive people make me nervous.

73. I got my first cavity when I was 25.

74. While waiting for the novocaine to take effect, I taught the dental hygienist all about her new digital camera.

75. She was grateful and therefore gentle in my mouth.

76. My feet have become increasingly stinky in the past few years.

77. Sometimes, my day revolves around what time The Simpson’s, Top Model, or This Old House are on TV. That’s sad, I know.

78. I just won an office pool at MCAD for picking the winner of Top Model. I’m going for it all next year too. Watch out Continuing Studies office!

79. When I was little, I thought it was "Duck, Duck, RAY Duck," not "Duck, Duck, GRAY Duck." I realized I was wrong when I was about 21. I felt like my entire childhood was a lie.

80. It may look like I cut my own hair, but I don’t.

81. I believe in God.

82. I also believe in Karma.

83. My parents almost named me Jeff. But I’m happy with Steve (named after my Great Grandfather, Steve Dulas).

84. I’ve never met a man named Steve who isn’t a least a little quirky. Have you?

85. I was 18th in state on the Horticulture team in FFA in high school.

86. I married the woman who received 1st in state.

87. I can’t stand runners who listen to their iPods so loud that they can’t hear a polite "On your left" while on the trail.

88. I’m cheap.

89. I make groin-grabbingly good cinnamon French toast. Stop by on a Sunday morning and help yourself to a piece.

90. My current favorite combination of fountain soda is 70% Diet Coke, 25% Cherry Coke, and 5% Lemonade.

91. My favorite vegetable is sausage.

92. My sister-in-law has been living with us for a few months, and in the past I’ve been known to get her mixed up with Sarah. This could spell disaster. (picture naked Steve jumping into the wrong bed.)

93. I split my head open on a ceiling fan in Honduras when I was 17. I bled over a toilet while my friends went for help. Here’s a photo of that toilet.

94. I’m an obsessive list maker; in my mind, if it’s not on a list, it doesn’t exist.

95. I don’t care for winter in Minnesota, but I need the freeze to bring everything full-circle. It makes springtime special.

96. Sometimes, I’m kind of a jerk.

97. And a little cocky.

98. And a giant nerd.

99. Knowing all you now know about me, I hope we can still be friends.

100. I like receiving comments (who doesn’t?). Please leave me a note if you’d like. Thanks for reading all (or some) of this!


It Begins

>> Friday, December 01, 2006

It’s December 1st. I’ve been telling myself that at the beginning of December I was going to unofficially start training for my Ironman Triathlon in 10 months. It’s no longer "the future." It’s here right now.

I’m not going to start a training program just yet, but I’m going to start building a strong base. I’m going to start keeping track of every mile, every length of the pool, every trip to the Y - all to guilt me into working and doing more. Guilt: the basis of everything good. Just ask my wife. Ha ha...just kidding honey... Once I start keeping track of all of my physical activity, it’ll keep me going strong. It’ll keep me working toward IM.


There’s a problem though: my IT band on my left leg has not been my best friend in the last few months. If you noticed, in the Turkey Day 5K I had my knee brace on. Yesterday, I wanted to go for a quick run in the morning. My thermometer told me it was 9 degrees, and the morning news said it was 7. AND it was breezy. I handled the temperature OK, but after just 1 mile my knee was in horrible pain. I walked part way home, rolled out my IT band on my new 4-inch white foam roller, and then iced it for a while. I don’t want to do anything stupid, so I’ll be sticking to some pool training for a few weeks. So my IM training has officially started with a sore-ass knee and little physical activity.

On a lighter note, Sarah and I picked up our Christmas tree last night. I think it looks pretty good.

Tree, Kermit the Cat, Steve


Turkey Day 5K

>> Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sorry for the delay in getting this post up, but I’ve been spending the last 3 days stuffing my face with goodies from the Linder’s and the Stenzel’s. It didn’t take me long to go from Patrick Swayze to Chris Farley.

On Thanksgiving morning, Sarah, Steph, and I ran the Turkey Day 5K in downtown Minneapolis. I decided that I needed to have fun with this run (there’s not much that I don’t have fun with), so I knew that a costume was in order. Steph was going to dress up as well, but she couldn’t find a good costume (or she wussed out, I’m not sure). I didn’t need no stinkin costumed partner - I’d do this all by myself if I had to. So I spent 15 bucks at Jo-Ann Fabrics, and turned myself into a Native American:

Sarah and I in the Target Center before the race.

I had a loin-cloth, a headdress with 7 feathers, and a chest piece with lots of feathers. I made SO MANY friends in that outfit! Everyone smiled. Children laughed. Race volunteers were in shock. I was totally the fun-est one out there.

Sarah, Steph, and I near the start.

The morning was a chilly one. It was around 37 degrees at the starting line, but I was doing fine:

The race was not going to be run for speed. Early Thanksgiving morning, I flipped on the news and heard that there were going to be around 8,000 runners at this race.

What? ...8000? No?! Really....?

I had no idea. I was thinking there’d be around 1 - 2,000 people. But I was NOT expected 8,000. I knew it wasn’t going to be a fast run, but the idea of there being 8,000 people running a 3.1 mile race sealed that notion. Like Sarah said, it was more of an obstacle course than a road race.

This is around mile 2.5 along the Mississippi.

Sarah figured that the 3 of us finished in about 29 minutes. It was simply a nice, leisurely, topless run in sub-40 degree weather. Actually, during the last mile, I was about the perfect temperature. Here I am with the Turkey Day 5K mascot shortly after finishing:

He looked warmer than I was.
And more delicious.

Here’s Sarah and Steph after finishing:

Sisters? Yes. Of course.

The only crappy part of the day (besides my slight lingering knee pain) was waiting for our T-shirts after finishing. We were in line for longer than the duration of the race itself. Seriously. It was poorly, poorly planned. There were T-shirts being thrown over the crowd to raised hands. It was like a scene at a concert. Only with less of a smell of pot smoke and a little bit more B.O. And as soon as we made our way up to the T-shirt table after over a half hour, they told us they were all out and we had to go into the other line by the other T-shirt truck. Super. I went back to the car to get my body temperature back into the 90s, and Sarah and Steph came back with a T for me after a few minutes. They’re sweet sisters.

Well, we were done with the race, and off to restock all the calories that we burned off on the run (probably by 10 fold). Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


This Should Be Interesting...

>> Saturday, November 18, 2006

Today, I registered Sarah, Steph (Sarah’s younger sister), and myself for the Turkey Day 5K that takes place on Thanksgiving morning in downtown Minneapolis:

I’ve ran twice in the last 2 weeks. And before that, it’s not been pretty. I think I ran 2 or 3 times in the 2 months prior to that. So this won’t be fast.

And to add to the not-being-fast-ness, Steph and I want to dress up. We’ll see if we have time to get Thanksgiving costumes together. Look for pics in a week.

Oh, by the way, check out my Photo Blog. I was commissioned to photograph the cover story for the New York Times Magazine recently, and my image will be on the cover the Magazine TOMORROW! That’s November 19th. Go out and buy a copy.


Physical Activity in the Past Few Weeks...

>> Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Damn cold weather and busy life.


When 2 Triathletes Buy a House...

>> Thursday, October 26, 2006

My lovely wife, Sarah (a.k.a. Pharmie), and I have started to look for a house. One requirement is that the house has a garage. We don’t care about our cars, we just want to make sure we have a place to store, clean, and baby our bikes. Gotta keep those bikes happy!


I Miss...

>> Thursday, October 19, 2006

I miss having a kick-stand on my bike. What's up with that?


Reasons I Signed Up For Ironman WI 2007

>> Sunday, October 15, 2006

In no particular order:

• The chance to be a part of something bigger than I am.
For those who have seen an Ironman in person, you know what I’m talking about - those people finishing at 10 pm full of heart and emotion. I want to be one of those people. I need a good adventure now and then.

• To see what will happen to my body.
I had a decent body this past spring with the most muscle tone that I’ve ever had. Once I started triathlon training, all that muscle was burned off with all of the aerobic activity I was doing. I told Sarah, but she said that she hadn’t noticed. Then a few days later, we were walking together and she had her hands around my arms. “They HAVE gotten smaller!” she exclaimed. Great. Triathlon training only adds to my chicken-legged-ness. Maybe IM training will make me 2 dimensional. Spectacular.

• (Semi) legitimate reason for shaving my entire body.
I don’t know if it will really make me any faster, but it just seems like the thing to do. Call it peer pressure, if you will. So watch for a super fun post (with pictures, of course) sometime in July. I can’t wait for that post. It’ll be good.

• The urge to not let Sarah 1-up me.
Well...she’s already 1-uped me, so I guess I just don’t want her to get too far ahead...

• My doctor told me to never stop doing triathlons.
When I had a general checkup this past summer, my doctor checked my heart rate and listened to my lungs for a second, and he asked “Are you a runner?!?” “I’ve started doing triathlons,” I replied. “Well don’t ever stop, OK?!?” OK doc. I’ll do one better and train for an IM next year.

• Hairless body in the summer of 07.
I guess I’m just curious...

• My car is easier to find with a big ole bike rack sticking out of the hitch.
Nuff said.

• For my eventual kids.
I want to show that anything worth doing is not easy, but can be done with a little elbow grease. I guess this would be for my kids, and for anyone else who needs a little inspiration. I’d love to be a source of inspiration.

• It will somehow help my photography.
I don’t know if I can fully explain it, but I somehow think training for and finishing an IM will make me mentally stronger, which will, in turn, make my photography career better. I know, in reality, the exact opposite might be true: I’ll be so busy training that I’ll run out of time to make photos. I don’t want to believe that though. Stupid? Maybe. But you can’t stop me.


Sarah’s Seventh Marathon

>> Monday, October 02, 2006

Sarah ran the Twin Cities Marathon yesterday for the 7th year straight. It was her worst time by far, but she had 2 good excuses - she had done Ironman Wisconsin just a few weeks before, and she had come down with pneumonia just after the Ironman and was still coughing badly.

The day started cool, but it was going to get too hot for most of the runners. This was the first year that I had no one to entertain; I was on my own cheering for Sarah. So I could run around and cheer her on where ever I felt. As soon as she started, I got back home, jumped on my bike, and bike to the course. On the way out, I had a little rumble in my belly. So I stopped at SA for a bite. (Note: this is the same SA that Anne and I are used to stopping at during Sarah’s Triathlons, so it holds a special place in my heart.) I had a great, greasy breakfast sandwich.

We exchanged “sexy eyes” for a minute before I devoured it

I found Sarah at mile 11. She was smiling, but starting to hurt a bit. I let her run around Nokomis and met her on the other side. From there, I was never more than a half mile from her at any point, cheering her on, helping with her inhaler, and giving her water. I rode along side her on the sidewalk where I could. Her coughing didn’t slow her down too much, but she did finish in quite a bit of pain.

Near mile 26 at the St. Paul Cathedral

Sarah and her sister Steph

When we got home, Sarah took an ice bath to help her sore muscles, and I iced my knee. The day before the marathon, I went on a nice, fast 4 mile run that aggravated my left knee a little. And then I biked 20 miles during the marathon. So it was best to get a little ice on it.

Then we went to bed early. Good day.


Mountain Biking in the Fall

>> Saturday, September 30, 2006

My brother-in-law, Dave, and I went out for a nice, cool, late-September afternoon mountain bike ride yesterday. We drove over to Theo Wirth Park between Minneapolis and Golden Valley. We biked out to the course, did the narrow short course out to the main loop, biked the main loop twice, came back on the narrow short course, and then biked back to my car.

One time, I got like 3 feet of air. (Yes, that was a bad Napoleon Dynamite reference)

Dave thinks that, much like baseball hats, bike helmets make you look “cooler” when worn backwards. Idiot:

We had a great time. In fact, earlier this summer, I figured that I’d do an Xterra Triathlon next summer (swim, mountain bike, trail run). But now that the Ironman is officially on the books for next year, I’ll have to push the Xterra back a year.

2007: the year of the Iron-Steve.

2008: the year of the X-Steve.

Sounds like a plan.

When we were almost done for the day, Dave had a nasty wipeout:

He was unresponsive and bleeding from his ears, so I figured it just be best if I left him there so he could work it out himself. The wolves could help him if he needed it. And the fire ants too - I hear they're nice to work with.

It’s been 24 hours, and I still haven’t heard from him...


I’m In!! IM WI 2007, Here I Come!!

>> Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hurray for the Community Fund!

I was unable to get registered the “normal” way for Ironman Wisconsin next year (see previous post), so I sent out my Community Fund application the day that it opened. I was informed yesterday that I’m all registered for IM WI 2007! Now comes the plea...

To enter through the Ironman Community Fund (ICF) means that I have to try to raise $550 for local charities. The main focus of the ICF fundraising is directed towards youth and sports. I still paid the normal (expensive) IM entry fee, so this $550 is on top of that. I have to foot the bill on whatever portion of this that I don’t raise.

If you are able to help me (and ICF) out, please send me a little money. I won’t act like a high-pressure infomercial. I won’t try to B.S. you into helping out. I won’t make you an offer that you can’t refuse. I’ll simply ask nicely one time. If you can help, great. If you can’t, that’s fine.

Please mail checks to:

Steve Stenzel
544 Ashland Ave
St. Paul, MN 55102

Checks can be made out to me, in my quest to raise money to go towards funding youth athletic activities. If you choose to help out, I’ll send good karma back in your direction! Heck, I'll send good karma your way even if you don't!

Thanks everyone! See you in September in Madison!

p.s. If you need me to sound more pitiful, I had a dentist's appointment this morning and was informed that I have my very first cavity. FIRST ONE! Boo-hoo.


No Ironman For Me Next Year...

>> Monday, September 11, 2006

I tried to register for Ironman WI 2007, but it filled up FAST! I was online 10 minutes after online entry started, and I was working from a fast computer with a fast connection. It took forever for each page to load because of the traffic. I slowed myself down at some parts: I forgot my ID and screwed up on a few pages in (forgot to click some little box or what-not). I finally got it all taken care of and was moving through the site. I got to the point where I was putting in my payment, and it wouldn’t take. It was 10:58 am, 58 minutes after registration opened. I called a support number, and they told me that I missed it and didn’t make it into their database. IM WI 2007 was full, and I was not going to be part of it.


Sarah is IRONMAN!! Chapter 3

She did it! And she did it well! Sarah finished in 15 hours, 53 minutes, and 18 seconds. She was hoping to just to finish in the allotted 17 hours, and she was spectacular!

9:30 pm, Sarah with just over 6 miles to go

10:54 pm, Sarah about to become Ironman in 50 feet!!

Sarah and Sara after the finish.

Then I hopped in my car at 12:45 am and drove straight back to St. Paul from Madison. I had 2 Diet Cokes and 2 Vaults along the way. I got home at 4:30 am, prepared for class for a half hour, slept from about 5:30 - 7 am, finished getting ready for class, and headed out to teach. I was told I didn’t look like I had only had an hour and a half of sleep. Sweet.


LIVE From Sarah’s Ironman, Chapter 2

>> Sunday, September 10, 2006

WET, WET, DAY!!! Holy Mother of God. What a wet day. It could be worse. It’s not pouring, but it’s been raining lightly all flippin day. The athletes look pretty horrible out there. Steph and I have been yelling, “LOOKIN GOOD!!” to everyone running by, but it’s been a lie each time. Everyone looks miserable.

Sarah’s been hitting her time goals pretty dead-on. Sarah’s good at estimating her splits. Maddy called me at 3:10 pm when Sarah had just gone by mile 89 in the bike, and she said Sarah was still sporting a smile, but looked lonely.

There were some frantic phone calls around 5 pm when no one had seen Sarah in a while. The cut-off for getting in on the bike was 5:30, and time was not slowing down. I was nervously checking the time every 45 seconds or so. Finally, Steph called me at 5:13 saying that Sarah had just dropped off her bike and was headed into T2. SHE HAD MADE IT!!! Sarah wasn’t in there long, and she was out on the run. Cheerful phonecalls ensued. She’s out there right now, probably about 9 miles into the run. Steph and I are headed back out after a quick drying-off break.

Here are our friends as they start the run:

4:11 pm, XT4 made his point.
(Sorry, bad pun)

4:45 pm, Thomps, still smiling

5:07 pm, Sara
I missed Sara last time, so here
are 2 photos now to make up for it

5:22 pm, Sarah sporting the bag look

5:24 pm, Sarah with 26 miles to go

5:43 pm, Wil, making it before the cutoff!

Steph showing off her wet bottom

Me showing off my wet everything


LIVE From Sarah’s Ironman

Right after the starting cannon at 7:00 am with a
RECORD BREAKING 2,450 people in the water

It is 12:30 pm and I’m sending a LIVE update from the Ironman Course. Sarah did GREAT in the swim! She was out of the water in 1 hour, 55 minutes. I was just happy to see her out of the water and on two feet!

I just received a call from Maddy who is WAY out on the bike course, and she told me that Sarah was doing super at mile 43. Sarah took off her long sleeve shirt and left it with Maddy and Jess. At that point, it was 12:06 pm, just over 5 hours into the day.

Here are some pics of some of our online buddies shortly after the swim on their way to T1:

8:05 am, Chris

8:34 am, Thomps

8:36 am, XT4

8:50 am, Wil

8:56 am, Sarah

8:56 am, Sarah again.
Notice Sarah’s super enthusiastic sister, Steph, to the right.
Her brother Matt was just behind me, cheering like a mother.

8:56 am, Sarah yet again

8:57 am, Wil heading for the bike, feeling peaceful

9:02 am, Sarah getting ready to hop on her bike

Good luck out there, Sarah!! You'll do great!!!


Post Residency/Pre Sarah’s Ironman

>> Friday, September 08, 2006

Well, I haven’t done squat in the realm of physical activity over the last few weeks. During my Photo Residency at the Anderson Center, I worked myself crazy and made a few good photos - which IS all that really matters. I only went on a 5 mile bike ride and a 5 mile run during my 2 and a half weeks down there. No random push-ups. No tricep dips. And lots of Debbie’s rich, rich cooking. Bad combination.

Now, the fall semester has started, and I’m teaching 4 classes at 3 different colleges/universities in Mpls/St. Paul. Back to the working life.

Sarah and I are out in Wisconsin for her first Ironman Triathlon this weekend. We had a pasta supper at Stu’s house near Madison. (Otherwise known as Simply Stu.) What a great guy! He invited everyone from the triathlon blogosphere in the area. There were over 20 people there.

About half the gang at Stu’s

After the meal, we (“we” meaning all the fat, slow, non-Ironman schmucks) snapped some photos of the group of soon-to-be Ironman Athletes (and our host in yellow):

My sweet, little Ironman is on the far right.
No, not the Asian front of him.

So I had a bit of a revelation tonight. I realized about 5 weeks ago that when we got out here for the Ironman, I could be sucked in. I figured I’d see the excitement and exhilaration that goes along with all of this, and I’d be hooked. I didn’t really want it to happen, but I was aware that it could.

And it has.

At Stu’s house, it took just over an hour for me to go from
“I’ll MAYBE do Ironman next year,”
“I’ll PROBABLY do Ironman next year,”
“I hope to finish Ironman next year in about 14 hours.”

Crap. I’m sucked it. I blame Sarah and Stu. Super crap.

Good luck to everyone in 2 days!!!
I’ll be out there screaming at all of you!!!


Photo Residency...

>> Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It looks like I’ll be taking a few weeks off (which is fine because I don’t think I’ll be doing any more races this year) to do a photo residency at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN. I accepted a residency that is just over 2 weeks long to do my work in and near Red Wing. I’m leaving in about 2 hours! Please track my progress on my Photo Blog.

I hope to be posting updates every few days on my other blog. Thanks everyone!


Clean Bill of Health

>> Saturday, August 12, 2006

I just got back from a general check-up, and all is well. Dr. Petrie was great. He was smart, listened to what I had to say, and was gentle with my testes. Those are the 3 things to look for in a doctor!

When I was in the bathroom to “prepare” my urine sample, there was an instruction sheet mounted on the wall. Step #2 was “Expose Penis.” I’ve done that before without instruction, but this time, I was told to. Best instruction manual I’ve ever read! When you start the day with instructions such as those, you know it’s going to be a good day!

• 157 lbs
• 5 feet, 9.5 inches tall
• Resting Heart Rate: 54 bpm
• Blood Pressure: 100 / 74
• Ganglion Cyst on right foot; only needs attention if it becomes painful.

Verdict: Still waiting on the blood work, but I should live another year (or more). Dr. Petrie told me to never stop doing triathlons.


First 100 Mile Bike Ride!

>> Monday, August 07, 2006

That’s right folks, Sarah and I did our first Century Ride yesterday! Here’s how it started a few days ago:

Sarah: “I’m going to go for a 100 miler on Sunday. Wanna come with?”

Steve: “Ummm...I’ll think about it.”

Sarah: “I think I’ll pick an extra hilly route in order to train for Wisconsin.”

Steve: “Hey...that sounds...super-duper. One hundred miles and lots of hills. Ummm...OK. Let’s do it.”

Steve’s internal dialog: “Our first one hundred mile ride AND the hills out near Stillwater? That sounds super. How about adding 40 mile per hour winds? And lets line the trail with monkeys so they can fling their poo at us. Flaming hoops – lets add flaming hoops every few feet! And maybe some landmines too. Ooh, barbed wire at random points across the trail sounds great! Spectacular! Crap-tacular! Stu-frickin-pendous!”

But we made it just fine (although there were some annoying 15 mph winds out there). Here’s a rundown of yesterday’s ride:

We got ready by mixing A LOT of Carbo-Pro with some Gatorade. Here is one bottles worth ready to be mixed:

Carbo-Pro is just added carbs for energy. It turned a bottle of diluted Gatorade (100 calories) into something that could sustain us over a long distance (around 1200 calories!). Sarah displays about 2400 calories in 2 bottles:

Along with the Carbo-Pro, we also packed salt pills, which help keep hyponatremia from setting in. Hyponatremia, or “water-intoxication,” is a lack of salt in the body from sweating out too much salt while only drinking water. I think I had 7 salt pills throughout the ride. And we packed the other normal essentials: Luna Bars, Powerbars, Fig Newtons, etc.

So we got to the end of the Gateway Trail and out to the hills by Stillwater, MN. Here, Sarah and I are going up and down the typical rolling hills on Hwy 55 heading south into Stillwater:

25 mph with no hands while taking photos.
Good times.

At the bathrooms near the end
of the Gateway about 44 miles in.

We went back and forth on this 5 mile stretch 5 times before heading down into Stillwater for lunch. We stopped at Darla’s Old Fashion Malt Shop. They treat a rider right! Always great fuel for the rest of the ride. At this point, we were 52 miles into our ride.

I started with a blueberry malt that didn’t last long!

Ham & Cheese with homemade chips. Incredible!

We left Darla’s with full stomachs and had the most missive climb of the day. We headed up the GIANT hill on Hwy 12 from the St. Croix River towards the west. It’s about a 3/4 of a mile hill that cannot be described in words. For those of you out their training from IM WI, Sarah told me that this hill is bigger and harder than any hill out there (except for maybe one)! So take that! We went back to the Gateway along Hwy 55 and headed back towards home. Then we took Hwy 12 from the Gateway back to Stillwater. From the looks of this ride, you’d think that Sarah and I must be in love with Stillwater! In actuality, we were just in love with the hills near Stillwater.

Coming into town, we were headed down the large, large hill again. Being I still have a 10-year-old boy living inside of me, I had to see how fast I could go biking down that hill. The 10-year-old boy wanted to hit 50 mph. However, I could only make it to 48 mph. I know I could have done it with my Specialized Hardrock MTN bike because the gear ratio is much greater on that bike (and I’ve put narrower tires on that bike so I can go pretty fast on paved surfaces. That’s the bike that I put nearly 1,000 miles on in 10 weeks last fall). On my Tri bike, the gear ratio is much closer, making the high gears not actually as high as on a MTN bike. You bike nerds out there know what I’m talking about. I think I can break 50 on my Tri bike though. It just wasn’t going to happen yesterday because I had already put 72 miles on my legs, and they didn’t know what the hell was happening to them when I was furiously peddling down that hill!

So we headed back up that hell hill one last time, and headed for home. (And by the way, both times up that hill, I stayed in the saddle! I sat the entire time. Last year I would have never thought that possible.) Once in St. Paul, we came within 3 blocks of home, but knew we had to go 6 more miles, so we biked down to St. Thomas on Summit Ave and back to get us there. We pulled into our yard, and the computer said “100.37 miles.” Sweet, sweet victory. How it hurts so.

Some final stats:
• 100.37 miles
• 14.9 mph average (hey, we didn’t do it for speed)
• 48 mph top (soon to hit 50)
• 6 hours, 40 minutes total time

Here’s a look at what we rode on paper, in case you ever want to try the “Sarah and Steve Hilly Hundred” (or the “Double S, Double H” for short):

Click on the map to see a larger version

Once home, I was sore all over. Notice the sore spots as illustrated by the Ken doll below:

I used a Ken doll to illustrate my point because
I’m anatomically built much like him...unfortunately.

I decided an ice bath would be best for me and all my sore areas. So I filled the tub with one foot of the coldest tap water possible, and then added 10 pounds of ice.

Who made ice so cold?

It felt so good, except for certain parts.
You know...THOSE parts.

Now, all is well. I had a decent nights sleep and I’m recouping well. I’ll be ready to do another ride like this tomorrow! And by “tomorrow,” I mean “2008.”

p.s. Sarah and I went to the Science Museum of Minnesota the night before the ride, and I got warmed up for the ride on the bike-machine that you peddle in order to light up some lights and ring a bell. I could ding the bell easily after about 5 hefty peddle strokes. Sarah tried time and time again, but she couldn’t get that bell to ding. She was so frustrated. She’ll hate me for telling all of you that.



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