2 Cars in 24 Hours

>> Friday, November 30, 2007

There’s some bad news to report in the Phamie/Steve-in-a-Speedo household. Sometime on Wednesday night or early Friday morning, somone stole Stephs car (Pharmie’s sister) from the street in front of our house. Bam. Gone. Horrible news.

Then, last night (Thursday), I was helping out at the College of Visual Arts. I was volunteering to help get ready for a Holiday Art Sale that will be going on next weekend. Pharmie and I had swapped cars for the day. I walked out into the parking lot at 8 pm, and her car was gone. Bam. Again. F*ck.

Two of the 3 cars of our household were stolen within 24 hours. I LOVE St. Paul, but this sucks. Jon, Stephs SUPER boyfriend, has been our sherpa for the past day. He drove us around this morning to take care of our business. Some of that business was picking up Pharmies car from the MPLS impound lot. It was picked up early this morning. Two people were driving it. They were both arrested. They left 2 forty ounce bottles of beer and a half-eaten hot dog on the seat as "thanks" for "borrowing" the car. Classy, I know. The car has some decent damage, but it’s still drivable.

Yuck. I don’t know if I’m looking forward to or dreading the 5K tomorrow. Either it’s the perfect medicine, or it’s just another thing on the already busy adgenda. I’m REALLY hoping to see a few of you out there. Here’s to a good run, and a better weekend!!


p.s. My childhood icon, Evel Knievel, passed away today. I’ll be running the Reindeer Run tomorrow with him in mind – with every stride, I’ll visualize jumping 14 Greyhound buses on a dirtbike.

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The Best Snot Rocket Form

>> Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday evening, just as it was getting dark, I went on a quick 14 mile bike ride. The air was cool, which made me a little sniffley. Normally, I’m not much of a snot-rocket blower (AKA, farmer blow, booger space shuttle, etc). I’m just not good at it. I get snot all over me. But recently, I realized that I was doing it ALL wrong.

If I had a snotty left nostril while biking, in the past I would do it like this: LEFT nostril, RIGHT hand, over LEFT shoulder.

I discovered that this works much better: LEFT nostril, RIGHT hand, under RIGHT arm.





Now that I use this form, I blow good ole’ sticky snot rockets every few miles. And they just sail right behind me. Note: I don’t think this will work while running because it may just end up all over my waist.

So think of Steve in a Speedo the next time you blow a cold-weather snot-rocket on your bike. If you’re used to a different way of doing it, try my new-found form. Remember, I’m here to help YOU.

This “how-to” of “LEFT nostril, RIGHT hand, under RIGHT arm” sounds like the triathlete equivalent of the beauty pageant parade wave mantra: “ELBOW, ELBOW, WRIST, WRIST, WRIST” (or however the hell that goes).

p.s. Let me know if you’ll be at the Reindeer Run this weekend so we can meet up and say hi! (I’m already hoping to meet tzilla)



And check back here after the run for my report – my costume is coming together and it is going to be SPECTACULAR!! Although it’s supposed to be around 10 degrees at the start, so I may have to “warm it up” a little. And don’t look for a top ten finish out of me. Or top 20. Last year, the top ten finished between 16:09 and 17:28. Damn.

p.s.s. I ran some more 1 mile intervals tonight to get ready for, what might be, my last 5K of the year. They were a little faster than my intervals from a week ago, which was surprising because it was 15 degrees with a wind chill of 0. I thought I’d die in that kinda cold. Today, I ran a 5:59, 5:42, 5:34, and 5:33 with about 3 minutes rest in between each. Maybe I can gun for 18:30 on Saturday...

p.s.s.s. The inventor of Gatoraid died today. It is truly a sad day for athletes. Go pour one in the street for our late friend. Rest in peace, good friend.

p.s.s.s.s. Wow, this post has been all over the place! Snot rockets, beauty queens, Reindeer Run, and intervals. I need to calm down a little.

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Tesfa 5K Results and Thanksgiving 5K Photos

>> Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Tesfa 5K results from a few weeks ago are finally up. This was my first win (although it was only in a field of 64 runners):



And here are some official photos from the Thanksgiving 5K where I placed 2nd in 18:43 (if you didn’t see my outfit, make sure to check out the previous post):


Finishing the 1st lap, in 4th place


Finishing the 1st lap on the far left


Steph, Jon, and Pharmie on the far right
(with a women in blue in front of all of them)


Coming down the finishers chute on the left
(lapping those finishing their first lap)


Crossing the finish line
(behind the guy in the orange hat starting his 2nd lap)


Cheering for others after the finish (by the cars)


Cheering and clapping

This weekend, we went home for my in-laws wedding anniversary. Their 2 boys, along with Jon and myself, bought matching shirts for when we all went bowling:



The shirts have a stick figure on it blowing a fart-cloud and holding a sign that says “Free Gas.” We had a great time!

This next weekend, I’m planning on running the Reindeer Run 5K in Minneapolis. Am I going to see any of you out there?? I think it’s the same Lake Harriet loop as the Monster Dash. If the weather isn’t super crappy, I may bust out a similar outfit! Stay tuned!!!...

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“Giving Thanks 5K” Race Report

>> Friday, November 23, 2007

Or, “In Search of a 19 Minute 5K”

Or, “Run-Til-You-Puke Race Strategy”

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! Pharmie, Steph, Jon, and I ran the “Giving Thanks 5K” at Como Park yesterday morning. When we were getting ready to leave the house, it was 24 degrees with a 13 degree wind-chill. And it was snowing. Grossness. My car needed a good window scraping:



The 2 days before the race, I had my normal shitty food cocktail. Tuesday night after teaching my late class, I got home and devoured an ENTIRE large package of turkey jerky while watching “That 70’s Show.” The night before the race, I carbo-loaded with some wussy, girly drinks (my favorite kind):


Oh yeah, I’m ready to race!

We got to the park, and I had to show off my digs:


Yep, my shirt says “I’m thankful for tighty-whities.”

I wore my new lucky tighty-whities. On the outside of my clothes. And I also wore the “possibly lucky” tube socks (those socks haven’t officially been ruled out as “lucky” as well). So, the four of us went to get registered, and then we hopped back in the warm car until the start:



So, once warmed up, we all stripped down and headed off for the start line:



I waved goodbye to those 3 as they walked off to the back of the pack. I walked up near the front of the pack. People were starting to get sight of my “costume,” and I was starting to wave and say “Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!” I was behind just a few guys as the gun went off, and I spent most of the run in 4th place.

This race, I wanted to run HARD in the middle. Most of my races, I run mostly-fast at the start, slower in the middle, and then I have a long kick that slowly progresses to a pretty fast finish. At this race, the plan was to push it a little harder at the start, then MUCH harder in the middle, and just hold on until the finish - I mean, no runner can just kick HARD for the last half-mile and expect to take a minute of his/her time. For this race, I was running in the style of my old cross-country coach, with his “run til you puke” strategy. I was going out hard, and just trying to hold on later in the race.

The run was a 2-loop course around the little lake in Como Park. This proved to be a little tricky, because it got messy as people (and their strollers and pets and screaming kids) were being lapped. I started to lose track of the people in front of me.

To make a long story short, the miles were not marked, but the kilometers were. So I had to do some math on the fly to readjust my strategy. Well, I DID go out fast. My first 3 kilometers were 3:33, 3:34, and 3:40 (that’s around an 18 minute 5K pace). But at this point, I was beat. Totally spent. I needed to try to hold on. My abdomen was tight - I didn’t have side-stitches, but something was getting sore in there as I was gasping for air. And there were some slick spots along the course. I nearly biffed it at kilometer 4. But I was trying to hold on for the ride. Along the way, I passed the guys in 3rd and 2nd, but at this race, there was no hope for me placing first. First place was WAY out there.

As I neared the finish line, I was really losing steam. I got up to the line, and the announcer said “Oh, it looks like our ‘first place runner’ is coming across the line!...” I was shaking my head to tell him “no.” As I crossed the line, I told him there was someone in front of me, and the woman helping him said “yeah, I think someone else finished just ahead of him.” It got messy there with all the people that were just wrapping up their first lap and still had a lap to go. There was no official time and no official finishers list, but I’m pretty sure that I came in 2nd. Maybe 3rd. But I’m 95% sure that I passed 2 of the 3 guys in front of me (both wearing very noticeable yellow shirts), so we’ll go with 2nd place. Don’t think that 2 first place finishes in 2 5Ks didn’t cross my mind!

So here are my kilometer splits:
1K: 3:33
2K: 3:34
3K: 3:40
4K: 3:45
5K: 4:09
Total: 18:43

Yep, 18:43. That means I beat my goal!! Happy Thanksgiving to Steve!! It was my PR since high-school (I don't know how fast my fastest 5K was in high-school, but I think I'm getting close to that time too). Those were interesting splits because I’ve NEVER run a race where I am consistently getting slower like I did yesterday. But I guess it worked. I took nearly 30 seconds off my time from 3 weeks ago.

I turned around after finishing and starting cheering for other finishers. Everyone was laughing at my shirt and outfit. I actually went out to the end of the finishers shoot and directed traffic until I saw the 3 that I came with. First, Steph came in. Then Jon ran by just a few seconds later. Finally, Phamie came in. They all did GREAT, and they were all within 30 seconds of each other. We walked back to the car to “warm up,” but we all knew that we weren’t going to get back out of that toasty-toasty car, so we didn’t stick around for any prizes or drawings (I hope there weren’t any awards for the top finishers!). Anyway, we had to get back home to prepare veggies for the Thanksgiving party we were going to:


See the cute little radish flowers?
Yep, I made those!

We headed off to our feast, and I loaded up. This is where I started:


I had PLENTY more after this!...

After the meal, I played my first full game of Monopoly start-to-finish. I started with Gretchen and Anne, but Mike ended up taking over for Anne when she had to leave (Mike was the “Farmer” from the marathon cheering a month ago). I took an early, commanding lead:


Mike contemplating his next move after I screwed him over

We bumped Gretchen out of the game. It wasn’t pretty. Then, things took a turn for the worse for me. Mike had hotels on EVERYTHING!


Notice the tablecloth in the foreground
where there SHOULD be a pile of my money...

He killed me. I had NOTHING, and then I landed on his Boardwalk. Game over.

Well, I placed 2nd at a 5K and PRed, but Mike beat me at Monopoly. I think I came out ahead in that exchange. Sorry Mike. I just calls-em like I sees-em. I hope everyone had a great day!!

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Giving Thanks

>> Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This year, I can sum up most of what I am thankful for in one statement: I am thankful for the opportunity to be a triathlete.

Allow me to elaborate:

- In my “free-time,” I am able to spend entire days on my bike, followed by a short run, followed by sitting on the couch while icing sore parts. This is called a brick. My Sunday’s over this past summer were spent “brickin’ it up old-school.”

- My “expendable income” can be used on bikes, bike accessories, technical apparel, extra speedos, sexually explicit running socks, P.T. appointments, lucky tighty-whities, etc.

(Note: “quotes” used above because who really has “free time” and “expendable income.”)

- I’m now enjoying 5Ks when, just 9 months ago, I couldn’t run 2 miles without horrible knee pain. In September, I showed that left knee "who’s the boss" as I finished my first Ironman.

- I’m able to do all of this with the help and support of loved ones.

If I’m able to live life like this, with all my free-time and “extra” income, I really can’t complain about anything. I have much to be thankful for. So this year, I can happily state the following, and it carries SO much more weight than what it would seem:

I am thankful for the opportunity to be a triathlete.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope we all know how blessed we all are. And watch for my 5K report shortly after Thanksgiving.

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Staying Active

>> Friday, November 16, 2007

Although I’ve mostly been posting random, barely-triathlon-related things lately, I AM still trying to keep my good base for the 2008 season. I’ve been lifting weights 2-3 times per week, doing my leg exercises, and trying to get it a swim/bike/run a few times a week.

On Tuesday, I ran 1-mile intervals; on Wednesday, I went mountain biking; and on Thursday, I ran a 5.5 mile tempo run.

On Tuesday, I felt like being speedy. I’m running a 5K in Como Park on Thanksgiving morning, and I’m TRYING to see if I can break 19 minutes (and maybe be in the top 5% of finishers). So on Tuesday, I ran four 1-mile intervals. I wanted to run them faster than my 5K pace (under 6 minute miles). I started a new mile every 10 minutes, so the faster I ran, the longer break I got. Here were my interval times:

Mile 1: 5:59
Mile 2: 5:36
Mile 3: 5:42
Mile 4: 5:40

Sweet, I’ve got some speed left. Let's try to break that goal next Thursday...

And then the next day, Wednesday, I finished teaching for the day and headed out to Theo Wirth Park to do some single-track riding. That’s right folks, mountain biking! I hadn’t been out on a MTB ride in over a year. I was itching to get out. In fact, dare I say, I would like to fit in an “Xterra-style” off-road triathlon during my 2008 season. Anyone know of any good ones in or near Minnesota? I think there’s an official Xterra in Michigan, but that’s still quite a drive.

Anyway, as I loaded up my bike, some white crap started falling from the cold, cloudy sky. I got to Theo Wirth and unloaded:


Oops, I cut off my head a little.
That’s what I get for using my car as a tripod.

For the entire ride, there was a light, light snow. It wasn’t a problem. I had a blast! I rode the B loop and the A loop each once, plus about a mile or so of partially paved/partially dirt track out to the loops and back. Parts of each loop are fairly technical, but nothing that was beyond my skill level. I logged a total of about 6.5 miles on the day.

When I got back to my car (after breathing all that 40 degree air), I launched one of the first (and best) snot rockets of this winter riding season:



I hope you were eating.

Yesterday, on Thursday, I had a nice 5.5 mile run. My stomach wasn’t feeling too well, so I started easy. I kept building so that my last 3 half-mile times were 3:32, 3:26, and 3:05.

Today...well, today is a different story. This morning I went to the Children’s Museum in Downtown St. Paul to be part of an “Advisory Board” for designing upcoming shows at the Museum. It was basically a 4 hours brainstorming session among 6 different creatively-minded people. No physical activity. But there were pastries. And cola. And donuts. Tues, Wed, Thurs I was good. Friday...bad Steve.

The fun part was that I got there extra early and was able to roam around the museum before it opened to the public. That was SWEET! First, I learned how the water travels through our city:



Then, I learned how conveyer belts make some peoples jobs easier:



Then, THEN, I found the giant crane:



I moved all kinds of beams! I put this one in the truck all by myself!



Then I dumped it out of the truck. Finally, and maybe my favorite part of the day, I was in an Ike and Tina Turner music video:



Freakin’ sweet! Then I had to take a little nap because I was getting over stimulated. When I woke up, Mom changed my diaper because I had made a little poopy. I wanna go back! I wanna, I wanna, I wanna!!

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So I’m Starting To Get Hairy...

>> Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My last full-body shave was the day before IM WI just over 2 months ago. While my “full winter coat” has not fully grown in, I AM getting close to pre-Ironman body-hair coverage. I don’t think Pharmie is OK with that. In fact, I KNOW Pharmie isn’t happy with my body hair. She wants it all gone again.

But I didn’t think it would come to this...

Yesterday, when I got home work, there was a package on the porch. “I didn’t order anything from Amazon,” was my first thought. I didn’t know what it could be. When I opened the box, I found this inside:



Yep, that’s a box of 10, count em’, TEN boxes of body wax! Wow, someone’s trying to send me a not-so-subtle message!

Well, then I realized that it was not meant for me. Those boxes were “bikini wax.” Yep, Pharmie would not want me to just clean up "that area" "down there." It's not something she would like. If these were meant for me, I’d end up looking like this:



...and that’s NOT a good look!


Oh, and if you’d like something to do on Thanksgiving morning, they’ll be a bunch of us running a 5K at 8:30 that morning. Last year, we did the Turkey Day 5K in downtown Minneapolis, but that run was just too full – it was insanity. So this year, we’re doing the 5K in Como Park in St. Paul. It should be quieter and smaller and hopefully fast (I’ll try to break 19 minutes again). Let me know if you’ll be there so we can meet up and say “hi!”

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Leave Triathletes Alone!!

>> Saturday, November 10, 2007

So I know that I’m about 2 months late here, but has everyone seen this desperate video of a young (and confused) man pleading with everyone that “Britney Spears is a HUMAN BEING!!” and to just “Leave Britney ALONE!”? Here it is in case you need a little refresher: (there is some harsh language – watch yourself if you’re at work)



OK, have you watched it? Good. Now I know that everyone who’s wanted to spoof this has done so already, but I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring a little late. I think you’ll enjoy this: (there’s just a little PG-13 language and a lot of whining)



You might want to let everyone you know about this post. It's that good. (And that embarrassing.)

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What The Crap?!?...

>> Friday, November 09, 2007

I’M NOT READY!!!





Yes, that’s snow on our Halloween pumpkins, and snow (with ICE) in our birdbath. I’m a triathlete, not a flippin’ Eskimo! I need smooth, dry roads, not slick, icy, snow-covered death-traps! OK, I know, I live in Minnesota and it’s November...but I don’t want the warm air to leave us for 6 months!! I have more biking to do yet!!

Poop. I think the cold air is here to stay. And that white crap will soon be all over. Double poop.

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5 Legitimate Reasons For You To Hate Me

>> Wednesday, November 07, 2007

There are countless illegitimate reasons for you to hate me (you don’t like my natural musk, you think the idea of “lucky” running apparel is stupid, your significant other has an unhealthy obsession with my blog, etc), but I see a few stone-cold, admissible, and completely legitimate reasons for you to dislike me:

1. I have a super hot wife.
Pharmie’s just the best. She’s kind, funny, sweet, soft in all the right places, and just an outstanding person to share my life with. She texted me last night during my night class to let me know that she had made homemade guacamole and that it would be waiting in the fridge when I got home. What a sweetie! AND, she’s into multi-sport events to boot! Perfection!!

2. I trained all year for an Ironman, and wound up winning a short little 5K last weekend.
I don’t know how this happened. My body is trained to go slow for a long time. *wink* *wink* So busting out a winning 5K time of 19:11 shocked me. But I only won because there were only about 50 people there. Still, I shouldn’t be this fast right now.

3. I’m a hairy, hairy beast.
Oh wait, that’s a reason that I hate myself. Nevermind. Great, now I’m depressed. Moving on...

4. I’m signed up for the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon and you’re not.
It’s a great event held at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis. Pharmie and I are signed up for the oly next year (there’s also a sprint). It’s televised nationwide on NBC later that day (or the next weekend – I forget). Sign up! We’ll see you there! And we have a guest bedroom if you’d like to come into town for it and need a place to stay!

5. I’m still not gaining much weight.
This one’s a special reason for the ladies to hate me (not that guys won’t hate me for this one too). After Ironman, my workouts have been DRASTICALLY reduced. But my food intake really hasn’t changed. I still eat like a hog, and I’m not eating good food (for example: last night, during my rush off to teach my evening class, my supper consisted of a few handfuls of candy corn thrown in my jacket pocket and a package of turkey jerky – lemme tell ya, that’s NOT a pleasant funk). Two days after Ironman, I weighed 151.0 pounds. This morning, 2 months after Ironman, I weighted 152.4 pounds. 1.4 pounds. And most of that is body hair. Seriously. Huh...if my scale were more precise, I may have found out that I’ve gained 1.406 pounds. Interesting...

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Tesfa 5K Race Report

>> Saturday, November 03, 2007

Or, “In Search Of A 19 Minute 5K.”

Or, “Wait...Wait...Did I Really Just Finish First?!”

Steph, her friend Amblyn, and I ran the 2nd Annual Tesfa 5K Run this morning. We all went to my brother-in-laws high school football game last night to get the weekend started. His team hasn’t had a great year, but they were playing last night to get into the state tournament. They won the last 2 in a row to get to where they were: they knocked off number 1 two games ago, and won their next game as well. They couldn’t pull this one off and they lost. Dang.



I had my typical pre-race shitty meals last night before and after the game: a Quesadilla and a gordita at Taco Bell, followed by a foot-long chicken onion teriyaki sub at Subway. I was ready to race!

The 5K today was at lovely Fort Snelling. It was one lap (plus a bit more) around Snelling Lake. Even though there weren’t any leaves left on the trees, it was still GORGEOUS down there! We showed up about an hour early in the cool 33 degree morning:


Steph on the left (Pharmie’s sister),
me in the middle, Amblyn on the right.

Steph grabbed my camera and took an awkward photo of me:



Notice that I was sporting the knee-highs for a second week in a row. Then I saw her taking photos, and I struck a sweet running pose:



I was also wearing (although hidden this week) my new lucky item for 2008. That’s right, my lucky tighty-whities were under my shorts. Would they be lucky today? Would they help me break 19 minutes? More on this to come...

The 3 of us warmed up, stretched, and summed up our competition: who could we beat, who was going to be a challenge, etc. Steph’s man-friend, Jon, showed up right before the start. He was the “spectator support.” Literally. It was just him and the race management group. It was going to be a small race. There were maybe around 50 runners. And Jon cheering for us all.

So, the race started, and I was in 2nd for the first quarter-mile. That’s right, I was running in 2nd place. Holy crap. Second flippin’ place! After the first quarter-mile, 2 guys passed me, as well as the man in first. For the entire middle of the race (1/4-mile through about 2 and a quarter) I was safely in 4th place.

I hit mile 1 in 6:12, and I was about 6 seconds off the lead. I ran hard in the middle of the race to try to hold that pace. It was tough. But I stayed in that position. I came up on mile 2 at 12:40 (6:27 second mile), and I was feeling pretty good. I started picking up the pace. I was working hard and “feeling the burn,” but I wanted to really run this one hard and proud. My mile 2 time was a little slower than I wanted it to be if I was going to break 19 minutes.

Around 2.25 miles into the run, I was gaining on the guy in 3rd. I ran up to him, said “good morning,” and ran past a few seconds later. Ahead, I saw the man in 2nd was starting to lose his stride. He was hurting. I knew I could get him. We climbed a little hill, and I was nearing him. We made our turn away from the lake, and we had about 0.4 miles to go. I overtook number 2. I was back in 2nd! I didn’t believe it!

Some good news and some bad news: with about a quarter-mile left, I realized that I wasn’t going to break 19 minutes. But I also realized that the first place guy was fading, and I had a shot at first! CRAZY!! I kicked it in high gear. I was coming up behind him just before the final turn. I figured that he’d hear me, and then kick my ass and burn into the finish line. But I got up to him, passed him, and held it. I HELD IT!! I rounded the final corner, and I heard Jon (the one cheerer) in the distance: “GO STEVE!!” I got closer, and I heard him say “IT MUST BE THE LUCKY UNDERWEAR!!” I smiled as I crossed the line. I had placed first! In 19:11.

I turned around and cheered for everyone else. Just a few minutes later, Steph came around the corner. She finished around 25:29. She’s been training for a marathon, and she was afraid that she didn’t know how to run fast. Fourty-five seconds behind her was Amblyn. She had a sprint to the finish to beat this middle-aged man. She totally smoked him! The girls did great!! We all had a great time!! (as always)

We went back to the main shelter to wait for the awards. This 5K was a fund-raiser for kids in Ethiopia, and Jon bought Steph a bottle of wine. Hey, it’s all for the kids!



Oh, check out the shirts:



Yep, that’s the shirt from LAST YEAR with the “6” of “2006” crossed out, and a “7” written over it. Sweet. Love it. Save that money for the kids. We were there early, and I got the last size medium. After that, it was just XL and XXL.

There were only awards for the top male and top female (as well as top male and top female dogs), so I was glad I was able to pass the guy in first. Here I am getting my medal and certificate:



Here I am looking geeky after getting my stuff:


Man, what a horrible photo.

Why did I win? How did I win? If you read my post a week ago, I think you know! It was the lucky tighty-whities!



By the way, in the original, uncropped version of the previous photo, you can see the legs of the woman who was the first female. She’s wearing short, tight shorts. It was all pretty amazing. Here you go:



You’re welcome.

We got home, and threw a bunch of meat on the barbie:



Don’t let that banana and pineapple in the background fool you – I ate ALL meat. No pansy fruits. We all stuffed our faces, watched a movie, and enjoyed our afternoon. I hope to run a few more 5Ks this fall and winter in the hopes of breaking 19 minutes. Maybe I’ll see you around!

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