The Plan

>> Monday, August 31, 2009

Here’s my no-taper plan for the week. Sunday’s race isn’t an “A” race for the year, so I’m just using it as a stepping-stone on the way to the TC 10 Mile in 5 weeks.

Monday: Lift weights and core work. Done.

Tuesday: Intervals on the track with Julia. She’s doing a “ladder” workout, and I think I’ll do 3 or 4 1600s. I think my heel is up for longer intervals - short, hard intervals would be tough on it. [I’ll post photos post-run.]

Wednesday: Open water swim with Julia. Then lift and core work. The pool at the Y is closed for cleaning. That means more OWSs. So be it. [I’ll post photos post-swim.]

Thursday: Long(ish) run. Maybe 6. Maybe 7. Maybe 8. Whatever it is, I’ll be pushing the tempo.

Friday: Light lift and light core work.

Saturday: Rest.

Sunday: LAST OLYMPIC TRIATHLON OF THE YEAR! Pharmie and I will be doing the St. Croix Valley Triathlon in Hudson, WI. I MIGHT be in PR shape for the swim, but my biking and running won’t be quite where they were for the Liberty Oly earlier this year. So no overall Oly PR. But I’ll race hard, have a good time, and cheer on Pharmie! Should be fun! (as always!)


Chilly, Slow Brick

>> Sunday, August 30, 2009

Yesterday, I headed out for a short, fast brick workout. It was only 51 degrees when I started - nice, cool August morning!! I decided I’d bike 20 miles on a somewhat hilly route, and then follow that up with a 4 mile run. Usually I do longer bricks, but I was going to do this hard and fast. (Pharmie and I are doing our last Oly Tri of the year in 1 week.)

BIKE: I never got super comfortable during the ride. It never felt “right.” I started off holding a decent pace, but as soon as I turned into the wind, it all just fell apart. I finished with a 19.6 mph average - I was hoping for about 1 mph more. Dang.

TRANSITION: I hopped off my bike, unlocked the house, put the bike in the basement, quickly changed out of my bike shorts and into running shorts, grabbed a quick drink, threw on my running shoes, and was off in under 3 minutes.

RUN: I hit mile 1 in 6:29. I hit mile 2 (the turn-around) in 6:26. Mile 3 was 6:05, and mile 4 was 5:58. I finished my 4 miler in 24:58. That was good, but more importantly, my heel felt OK! (It’s been a little sore all week, but it’s been slowly getting better. And it’s not “overuse sore,” it’s been sore from the electricity that Dr. Folske ran through it. He warned me it would feel tight for a while, but it’d feel fine while running.)

I got home and plopped on the floor to stretch. Kermit, my cat, licked all the sweat off my left side:

So my run was good, but my bike was disappointing. I know that I’m not in as good of shape as I was earlier this year - since my heel’s been acting up, I’ve been taking it easy. So next weekend’s Oly Tri will NOT be a PR, but it will still be fun!

Have a great Sunday everyone!


Friday Funny 51: “Professor Topless”

>> Friday, August 28, 2009

Classes start on Monday. Yay. The College of Visual Arts, my alma mater and one of the schools where I teach, publishes a newsletter twice a year highlighting accomplishments of alumni, faculty, and staff. Here’s a little part of the current newsletter that mentions the CVA Triathlon Club:

On that same page is this photo (you saw this photo on my blog about a month ago):

First of all, of course the photo is “by Steve Stenzel” - did that need to be printed in the caption? Look at my arms coming out towards the camera as if I were holding it. Secondly, I’m pretty sure that no faculty or alumni have appeared topless in the newsletter, so consider me the first.

Big surprise there. ;) At least you can’t see my nip-nips.

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend everyone!


Thanks Everyone!

>> Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wow! You guys had a lot of good suggestions on ways to track my workouts. Jen and Stephen sent me their Excel spreadsheets that they use to track their own workouts. And those spreadsheets are IMPRESSIVE! I’ve never seen something so anal, nerdy, type-A awesome!

Many of you suggested A LOT of great things to try - too many for me to try out. From what I've been hearing, I think I’m going to try these over the next weeks and months:
an Excel spreadsheet

And I think I’ll try before anything else. Two bloggers that I personally know, Jeremy and Julia, both suggested, and I trust the hardcore training of those 2!!

So, I’ll try an Excel spreadsheet and those 4 websites, and I’ll report back in a while. I want to have something nailed down well before the New Year so I can be ready to track my workouts better in 2010.

(If you want to see more suggestions for ways to track your workouts/runs/etc, check the comments of the previous post. And thanks to EVERYONE for their suggestions!! They’re coming out of the woodwork!)


Question About Online Running Log

(Note: my heel is feeling better since my Dr. Folske visit. It’s sore from the electricity, which Dr. Folske told me would happen, but it’s not sore from being injured. Last night, I went on a 7 mile run. The heel was good, but my time wasn’t super. I’m just happy my heel felt OK!)

Do any of you use any software or websites to track your mileage? I’m looking for recommendations. I have a Wellsphere account, but their mileage tracking sucks so I stopped using it - they only track your miles with no notes or time or pace, and you have to round it to the nearest mile! WTF?

Ideally, there’d be a website (or Mac-based downloadable software) where I can enter mileage, time, and make a small note about the workout. Same for biking and swimming. And it’d be great if it could keep track of other things too (stretching, core work, lifting weights, etc), but that might be asking too much.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks everyone!!


10 Quick Things (Athletic-Related and Not)

>> Tuesday, August 25, 2009

(#5 is interesting, #4 might surprise some of you...)

1. My running has been getting more and more serious. Almost too serious. I told Pharmie last week that I’m not enjoying it quite as much because I’m shooting for sub-60 in the Twin Cities 10 Mile, and I know I have to train HARD to have a shot at that goal. So running is feeling more like “work,” and less like “fun.”

2. I haven’t been lifting or doing as much core work lately.

3. I have a theory regarding those first 2 points. I used to LOVE lifting weights hard. For the past few months, I haven’t been into it. I think it’s because I’m trying to run so hard. Running hard has taken the place of lifting hard, so now I don’t care to lift as much. I’m already planning to hit the gym harder once “off season” starts. We’ll see.

4. This past weekend, I’ve had the most beer I’ve had in a LONG time!! I had about 1/8th of a glass. Yeah, not a beer fan over here...

5. My heel’s been SORE lately. I’ve been not running as much to rest it, so I’ve been focusing more on swimming (which doesn’t hurt it). I visited Dr. Folske (my ART Doc) yesterday, and he beat me up (in a good way). He did his normal ART stuff, but then he also tried to relax everything with an electrical current. FYI: “electrical current” and “relaxation” do NOT go together. He warned me that just 8 minutes of current on my calf would make me feel HOT all over. And it sure did! My hands were sweating all over the exam table. I actually started to feel light-headed near the end (I think because I was getting SO hot so quick). Dr. Folske saw me turning white and had me lay down for a bit. He said “Yeah, feeling hot is normal with this, but feeling dizzy - that’s a first!!” Glad to have been your first, Dr. Folske! Bottom line, the electrical current helped, so I’d do it again (if I had to).

6. Yesterday, I wiped out Menards’ stock of 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch square “dowels.” You know you’re being anal about remodeling when you buy 63 linear feet of tiny square dowels to add to the trim to make sure everything lines up JUST right! That’s me: Mr. Anal. Uhhh, that came out a little wrong...

7. The pool at the Y was being drained yesterday. It’s closed for 2 weeks for maintenance. Dang.

8. My last triathlon of the year is in 12 days. Pharmie and I will both be doing the St. Croix Valley Olympic Distance Triathlon in Hudson, WI. It’s not one of my “A races,” but I want to be able to have a good showing (let’s say B+). Then, after that event, it’s all about “the run” as I’ll be getting ready for the 10 Mile in Oct.

9. Last night, I went for a bike ride. I told myself I’d go “up to 30 miles.” I was really going to try to get a good ride in, but I didn’t want to fret about my pace. I hit the turn around and looked at my average for the FIRST TIME during the ride! I usually can’t wait that long. I had 20.0 mph at the halfway point, and I was feeling great. I finished the ride with that same 20.0 mph average. I ended up going 31 miles on a warm, windy night (20 mph sustained wind with lots of gusts). That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but usually when I say I’ll go “up to X miles,” it ends up being “X minus 5 miles.” So going “X plus 1 mile” is a BIG DEAL! Yay me.

10. “Professor Stenzel” comes out of his 2 week summer hibernation in 6 days. The Prof’s not ready...


WI Cabin Fun! (and help a friend)

>> Monday, August 24, 2009

This past weekend, Pharmie and I spent time out in WI hanging out with her college friends. Her friend Jess has a family cabin on a small lake in the middle of nowhere. Here I am making 50 sausages for everyone on Saturday morning:

Mid-day on Saturday (after all the sausages), Pharmie and I went for a swim. Here we are before the swim, and you can see the “cabin” in the background - it’s really a mini-mansion:

Pharmie adjusted her goggles pre-swim:

We were ready to go:

Pharmie headed out and did a good 52:00 OWS. I wanted to do intervals being I just had a nice, long, open water swim with the ladies on Wednesday. I started at Jess’s diving raft, and swam to the 3rd dock down. Here’s a photo next to the raft, and the dock I swam to is in the shadows under the trees:

I warmed up by swimming it once. According to my time, I figured it was AROUND 100 meters. Who really knows. It was about the distance I wanted to swim. I ended up doing 18 intervals with 30 seconds rest between. There was a definite current on the way back - can you tell by my times?...


1:40.8 / interval average

I’d NEVER done intervals in open water, so I worked on my sighting as I got more and more tired. My sighting tends to go downhill as I get pooped. Overall, it was a pretty good workout!

That night, the “big kids” lit fireworks off the dock as the little kids played with sparklers:

Sunday morning, I got up, hopped in the car, measured out “1 mile” on the curvy, hilly WI roads, and got ready to do 3 x 1 mile intervals with 90 seconds rest between. I ran a 5:42, a 5:30, and a 5:28, for an average of 5:33.3 / mile interval.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In other news, Little Miss Runner Pants is doing better after her nasty bike spill. She recently had her first semi-solid food in 5 days (mac-and-cheese). She’s still planning to start classes today. I was told that she actually is going to make a shirt that says “Bike Crash” with an arrow pointing up to her face to wear on the first day! She’s still got her sense of humor!

Friends have been chipping-in to pay for dog walking services, house cleaning services, and whatever else a woman focused on healing her face needs. (Update: Donation $$ was also used to get LMRP a new bike helmet and to have her bike inspected, which is happening right now.) It’s KIND OF a secret, but yet the dog walker has already been interviewed and hired, so LMRP has to know that money is coming from somewhere.

If you are able to donate anything to help her get better, a local friend set up a donation site through her PayPal account. Click here to donate ANYTHING that you can. (The link goes to a friend’s blog, and you can donate on the top of the blog.) I had already dropped a check in the mail from Pharmie and I before I heard about the PayPal account. So if you can give a few bucks, it will be going to a fellow blogger / athlete / human being in need. Please give if you can. If you’d like to send a check, e-mail me [] and I’ll send you an address where you can send a check. And click here to check up on Little Miss Runner Pants.

Have a good week everyone!


Square Lake Underwater Pics

>> Saturday, August 22, 2009

I have some fun shots from Kate’s underwater camera from our Wednesday morning OWS at Square Lake. Here’s a little large-mouth bass:

I’m glad Kate didn’t get a photo of me trying to catch 4 bass that were swimming around - it wasn’t pretty.

Here I am walking back out into the water after our 40:00 swim, and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Is this some sort of “I-just-got-chicked-by-the-3-ladies-I-was-swimming-with” strut? I dunno. Then again, I DO like to have my nipples enter the room before I do....

I can’t explain myself sometimes.

Me and Julia

Me, Julia, and Kelly

Kate, me, and Julia

Kelly, Kate, and me

Then Kate said something like “You’re ‘Steve in a Speedo’ - do something CRAZY!” We agreed my Speedo should stay on, so I only did a handstand:

After the swim, Julia handed out cupcakes. You can HEAR my giddy squeal in this photo!

Look at me look at that cupcake like
an 11-year-old girl looks at the Jonas Brothers

Kate eating her cupcake

Have a good weekend everyone!


Friday Funny 50: Bike Performance

>> Friday, August 21, 2009

If you haven’t already seen this, turn up your volume and enjoy it:

Direct link:

Here’s video of 2 women doing AMAZING things on a bike!! I can hardly believe it!! These 2 are the "Pairs European Junior Indoorcycling Champions" for 2008 and 2009. Don't know what that is? I STILL don't know what that REALLY means, but watching this will give you a good idea. Enjoy:

Direct link:

Happy Friday!


I Got “Chicked” at Square Lake

>> Thursday, August 20, 2009

(Don’t think I’m being sexist. “Chicked” is the term for getting beat by a woman. I mean no disrespect by it.)

I met Kelly at the Y yesterday morning, and I hopped in her car. Thanks for the ride, Kelly! We rode out to Square Lake together. Side note: I just did a photo shoot for Kelly and her hubby Mike who have their own family law practice. How’s this for “lawyer-ie” and official looking:

So if you need a good lawyer, I can put you in touch with Kelly and Mike. Or if you need good headshots, talk to me. OK, end side note.

We met Julia and Kate out at the lake. (I’d never met Kate, but I’ve followed her blog. She was in town for just a day and a half as because her hubby was here on business.) Here’s Julia and Kelly:

And here’s Kate and I. And YES, I WAS wearing something - that’s just where Julia cropped the photo:

So it was just us and a few fishermen out there. Here’s an image that I took a few weeks back at Square Lake:

Looking at that image, we swam out to buoy #1 (near the swim raft), then off to buoy #2, and then half way to the next buoy which isn’t visible in that photo.

I kept up with those 3 until about half way out to the first buoy. Then I couldn’t keep up. These girls were PULLING me nicely! I couldn’t get nearly as fast as those 3! Nice work, ladies!! We turned around after 19 minutes, and we got back to shore in about 38 minutes. And I was bringing up the rear the whole time. I’d been positively chicked. Nice swim though!

Then we took some fun underwater photos with Kate’s waterproof camera - I’ll post those when I get them from Kate. Finally, we hit the shore and all the ladies stealthily took of their suits with a towel around their waists. Here’s Kate and Kelly once they’re done, and Julia still sitting and changing:

As we were ready to leave, Julia came running over to Kelly and I sitting in Kelly’s car. She had cupcakes for us!! Julia’s making a name for herself as the “cupcake lady...”

Thanks Julia!!

On the ride home, I told Kelly how I learned to swim from a DVD, and she told me I was a fast swimmer... for having learned from a DVD. ;) Back with underwater photos from the swim when I come across them, and I’ll have a Friday Funny tomorrow...


Hope For A Broken Friend

>> Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I could bitch about my 6 mile run tonight: my time was OK, but my stupid heel was sore.

Today, that doesn’t matter. There’s a friend with bigger problems who needs our support, love, thoughts, and prayers.

Blogger buddy Little Miss Runner Pants was on a bike ride Saturday morning, when her bike tire hit a crack the wrong way. She landed on her head and her face. She was wearing a helmet, which probably saved her life. But she split her lip in a few places and knocked out 4 front teeth. She’s doing OK, but she’s having a tough time dealing with how she currently looks. She needs to KNOW it will get better, but that’s hard to see right now.

She posted 2 pictures on her blog today. They’re rough, but Little Miss Runner Pants, you have to know that those things WILL heal!

My youngest brother-in-law was kicked in the face by a large steer (which is a castrated bull for you non-farm-raised folks) 2 years ago. He had 2 teeth knocked out, 2 teeth chipped, and a huge rip through his lip that went down his chin. The doctors had a clean a lot of manure out of the wound before stitching him up. Really.

Now, he looks GREAT! It took a few small surgeries, but he’s doing just fine. And since that accident, he’s nabbed this cutie (I say it like that because LMRP has expressed concern of never meeting anyone after this incident):

(stolen from Facebook)

Hang in there LMRP!! It WILL get better!! We’re sending love from Minnesota!! I heard that as Brett Farve was heading to Vikes training camp, he was thinking of you as well!! ;)

Leave some love for her here, or stop by her blog and pass on your well-wishes directly. Hang in there, girl!!


85 Ways To Tell If You’re a Triathlete

>> Monday, August 17, 2009

Here’s a great list I’ve found (and edited a little). The ones that are bold are ones that are extra true for me! Enjoy!


1. When asked, how old you are you answer 20-24.

2. When asked how long your training was today you answer: three to four hours.

3. Your training is more limited by available time then how far you can run.

4. Your first thought when you wake up is how high your rest HR is.

5. You go for a run even though there's a thunderstorm and you enjoy being wet and dirty.

6. You think it's natural to do your 'business' behind a tree in the woods.

7. You go for a 5 km cool-down run after a 5 km race just so that you can call it a training session.

8. You consider work “regeneration time” between training sessions.

9. That “something hard” between your legs is usually a pull buoy.

10. You have a water bottle when you drive your car.

11. You've forgotten how to drink out of cups.

12. You spend your 2 weeks annual vacation at a training camp.

13. You know inside out how much Protein each energy bar has.

14. You seriously consider applying for citizenship in Tonga, Jemen or Tschad so that you can participate in the Olympic games.

15. People praise you for being able to run 15 miles, but you feel insulted.

16. In the summer your legs are smoother than your girlfriend's.

17. In the winter your legs are still smoother than your girlfriend’s.

18. You need a picture for a job application and you only have race pictures.

19. You use running T-shirts to clean your bike.

20. That charming "cologne" you wear to work is chlorine.

21. You take more showers in a locker room than at home.

22. 6:30 am is “sleeping in.”

23. The dog runs and hides when you get the leash.

24. You think there are only two seasons during the year: racing and off.

25. You shave way too many body parts for a guy.

26. You can't change the oil in your car but you can completely rebuild your bike in 45 minutes.

27. You spend more $ on training and racing clothes then work clothes.

28. You spend 7 days going to 8 stores in 4 towns before buying a pair of running shoes but you take 1 afternoon to go to 1 car dealership and walk out with a new car 4 hours later.

29. When you see some lady watering her flowers and ask her if you can borrow the hose for a minute so you can fill up your water bottles.

30. You clean your bike more often than your car.

31. You've been stung be a wasp or bee in your mouth but carried on running or cycling because "your split times won’t go down by themselves."

32. Your car smells like a locker room.

33. You have everything needed in your car to be swimming, biking or running with 5 minutes notice.

34. When asked to mow the lawn in 90 degree heat, you say that it’s too hot to do that (and you mean it) and then an hour later you go on a century ride because it’s so nice out.

35. You tell your co-workers that you are going to "do a long brick" on Saturday and just expect that they know what you are talking about.

36. When a co-worker asks if you are racing this weekend, you say "yeah, but I'm just running a 10k, so that is not REALLY a race".

37. You consider you bike saddle your "couch."

38. You consider Clif Bars as one of the four food groups.

39. You are sick to your stomach at 2:00 in the morning and check the back of the Pepto Bismol bottle for caloric content and grams of carbohydrates, fat and protein.

40. You have plenty of water bottles, safety pins, and t-shirts.

41. You have trouble keeping lunch under 2000 calories.

42. You usually wake up at 4:00 in the morning but do not get to work until way after 9:00.

43. You like going swimming the day after a race with the permanent penned number still visible on your legs and arms because the feel like a medal.

44. Your car has at least one Power Bar wrapper and two sets of work out clothes!

45. You have a $3000 bike strapped on top of your $1500 car.

46. Your laundry continually smells like someone locked the cat in overnight.

47. Instead of Marie Clare, People, and Cosmo, you have piles of Runner's World in your bathroom.

48. You leave your apartment or house in the morning with your swim bag on one arm, bike on one shoulder, a change of clothes in another bag, and your running stuff in another bag in case you can get away at lunch for a workout.

49. You wave at other cyclists, because all triathletes are friendly and if they are not, they are probably purist cyclists trying to get into triathlons and they do not know that triathletes are friendly.

50. You have not one, not two, but three permanent chain ring scars on your right calf.

51. You are walking along a street and you signal left.

52. You have far more pairs of shoes in your closet than your non-tri wife does in hers.

53. The one "suit" you own has “Orca” written on the chest.

54. You wear your heart rate monitor during sex....

55. ...and you keep within the right HR zone.

56. You hear "T2" and don't think of the film.

57. When "foreplay" is 15 minutes on a turbo trainer.

58. Your living room has the "swim pile" and the "bike pile" and the "run pile" and the "weight room pile" and you pick and choose kind of like a cafeteria on your way out the door.

59. Your kitchen cupboards are organized into "protein", "carbs" and "etc."

60. Your company announces mandatory unpaid shutdown days - every other Friday throughout the summer - in order to cut costs and stay in business. Your response is "Great - now I can do two long workouts on the weekends and still have an easy day."

61. Your 8 year old comes home with the school record for the mile and says he took it out in a nice pace he could hold... everyone else died.

62. You can ask your mom and your sister and all other girlfriends for shaving advice...

63. wait, THEY ask YOU for advice!

64. You say that you went to a race last weekend, and somebody responds "running or biking" and you are again forced to explain.

65. You wear your bathing suit under your work clothes to make a fast transition from work to swim on your lunch hour.

66. You show up at the neighborhood pool on your bike in a Speedo and embarrass your teenage daughters. [not me yet, but it will be some day!]

67. Your idea of fast food is a Powerbar and Gu.

68. Somebody hands you a cup of water and you have to restrain yourself from pouring it on your head.

69. You catch yourself about to blow a snot rocket while walking around the office.

70. You have no FRIGGIN idea what to do with yourself on your off day.

71. You feel like you took the day off because all you did was swim 3000 meters then go for a short run.

72. At any given moment you know exactly where your heart rate monitor and your swim goggles are, but cannot remember where you left you car keys. (turns out 90% of the time they are in your bike bag)

73. When non-racer friends tell you they ran/rode, you automatically calculate their pace to see if you're still in better shape.

74. Cars pass you on the road when you're driving and you either drop back to get out of draft zone or speed up to attack!

75. You have no trouble converting mph into kmph.

76. You've stopped buying high-heels because your feet are too swollen from long runs to fit in them anyways.

77. While your less athletically-inclined girlfriends are gorging themselves on plates of lettuce, you're occupying yourself with a plate of pasta and chicken (white meat, of course.)

78. Having a period has become less of a nuisance since menstrual cramps don't feel that bad when you're hunched over a bike.

79. You've stopped wearing dangly earrings because they just get in the way when you're ripping off your clothes to squeeze "just one more" workout into your already cramped schedule.

80. Your girlfriends are insanely jealous of your tan legs. Until they realize that the tan stops at your bike shorts.

81. You've given up trying to go on training runs/rides with your boyfriends because they don't take it too well when you kick their butt.

82. A female friend gets a new bike and tells you that it's a really pretty shade of blue...

83. get a new bike and can tell her the chain ring ratios.

84. When checking out people on the street, your friends notice eyes, hair, build...

85. notice if they have shaved legs, if they have runners/bikers legs, and if they're wearing a race t-shirt.

Which one’s do you like? Which one’s are true for you? (And I bet many are true for non-triathletes as well...) Happy Monday!!


86. (from Beth:) When you keep your nails trimmed so you can put on your wetsuit without tearing it.

87. (from Marit:) The "Check Engine" light comes on in your car and you ignore it for a few weeks. But AS SOON as something feels "off" or goes awry with your bike, you bring it into the shop ASAP.

88. (from Maria:) The manager of the local running shop knows you by name and expects to see you at least annually for a new pair of shoes, of which brand and size they have memorized and waiting for you.

89. (from Maria:) The manager of the local bike shop knows you by name and often picks you out riding around town by your bike.

90. (from Maria) You think your spandex is too loose.

91. (from Dave:) You think naproxen sodium must be good for your electrolytes.

92. (from Snowygrl:) You where compression clothing under your work clothes.

93. (from Stefanie:) When you feel a sudden urge to spit while running but suddely realize you are indoors on a treadmil... at the gym.

94. (from Teresa:) You put off showering post run/bike because you know you will be swimming in a few hours anyhow.

95. (from Teresa:) You have so many training bags on the passenger seat of your car that the car recognizes it as a "small child" and warns you that you need to have a seat belt secured in order to stop the annoying beep.

96. (from Teresa:) While cleaning out your bags/car you continually find salt tabs...everywhere. Then you begin to wonder if someone will think you are a drug addict.

97. (from Teresa:) Sport tops are like a can stuff anything down there (gu/keys) and it doesn't matter if you are training or not.

98. (from M-shell:) When your friends invite you to the lake for the weekend, out on the boat, and you bring your goggles, and swim cap because its a good opportunity to practice OWS, and you have plenty of spotters.

99. (from M-shell:) When one of the employees at the bike shop asks if you've lightened your hair.

100. (from nxm135:) You don't think about the albums on your MP3 player in terms of time, but of distance. Which albums should I listen to if I want to run 6 miles, 9 miles, 12 miles, etc.

101. (from mkarr0110:) When no one is looking at work you take a few moments to do some stretching.

102. (from mk29:) Everything you eat is all natural, but none of your clothes are.

103. (from mk29:) The boss sends you on a business trip and the first thing you pack is a wetsuit and bike pump.

104. (from mk29:) The airlines wants to charge you for overweight baggage so the first thing you toss are your work clothes. You can always get new work clothes at Walmart...but good training clothing is worth its' weight in gold

105. (from mk29:) Your friends try to hook you up on a blind date and the first thing you ask them is "What's her pace?"

106. (from mk29:) You see a 90.3 sticker (a local radio station) and wonder what race that is?

107. (from sax:) You delay grad school for another year because you are training for Ironman.

108. (from Swim2live:) You send in pics of road rash and healing scabs for others to enjoy and compare to.

109. (from Swim2live:) You would rather look at bike porn than naked pics of the opposite sex (well maybe not)

110. (from Swim2live:) You know that pace has nothing to do with the salsa from New York City.

111. (from Swim2live:) You know what HTFU means.

112. (from Kelly0639:) When you find out your wife is going out of town for the weekend, your first thought is, "I wonder who I can get to babysit the kids so that I can still get my long ride in?"

113. (from Pamiejane:) You put off having kids because you're training for Ironman (again).

114. (from Pamiejane:) The first thing you do when you find out your pregnant is order a BOB Ironman Stroller and have it shipped 1/2 way around the world, make sure your gym offers child care for when you swim and wonder who the heck is going to look after the baby when you go on your long rides.

115. (from mav:) When you crash on your bike and the first thing you ask ..."Is the bike alright??"

116. (from jford2309:) When driving over a bridge or past a body of water and your first thought is, "I could swim that".

117. (from vApoLY04:) You recognize your friends while out training by the bike first and the cyclist second.


Lesser Workouts (and a Licked Chest)

>> Saturday, August 15, 2009

The good news about a little event like last Tuesday’s “Splash and Dash” is that I make it a point to get in some quality workouts leading up to it. The bad news is that after little events like that (and a good week of quality workouts), I tend to slack off. And this week was no different.

• Monday I lifted weights and did a little core work. I really need to start doing more core exercises. I was so good about that last year, and now I’m slacking off.

• Tuesday I did the Splash and Dash. We’ll call that “speed work.”

• Wednesday I did nothing.

• Thursday I had a short swim. I didn’t have time to do much else. The good news here is that I held my fastest average EVER during a training swim! I did 1200 yards in 19:06, which is 1:35.5 / 100! I think I’ve only broken 1:40 / 100 once or twice before!

• Friday (yesterday) I did a quick 4.5 mile tempo run. I spent the rest of the day photographing a wedding, but I had hoped to get in a quick run first. I ran just under 4.5 miles - I wanted to go farther, but my heel was a LITTLE sore, and I knew I’d be on my feet the rest of the day, so I turned around a little early. I ran HARD, and finished in 26:41, which was just over 6:00 / mile. (My last full mile [which has 2 little hills to climb] clocked in at 5:43. Nice.) When I got home, I plopped down to stretch for a second, and my cat, Kermit, started licking all the nasty sweat off of me. Notice her red lick-marks when she was done:

• Saturday (today) I did a quick 18 mile ride. I wanted to go farther, but I have good excuses. I ran into a half marathon in progress (stupid runners - only joking!), and had to take some REALLY crappy trails that I don’t like to ride. I thought Goldilocks was going to fall apart! Then a few spectators and families started to fill the narrow, crappy trail. So, I joined in and started to cheer for the runners across the road from me. When I had to cross Shepard road (and the race course) to get into downtown, I stopped and cheered for a while. One lady running said the very Minnesotan phrase of “Is it hot enough for ya?” I said, “I’m not the one having to work as hard as you! Hang in there!! Nice work!”

So between the change-in-course due to the half-marathon, stopping to cheer, dodging families, and the fact that I shot a long, hot wedding yesterday, I figured it was OK to cut that workout a little short. I was just happy I did SOMETHING this morning. Early next week I’ll make a point to get in some good, long, “endurance” workouts after this week of quicker, shorter workouts.

Today, I’ll be working on (what else?) the porch. I’ll show photos of what we’ve been working on shortly. Tomorrow, it’s more of the same. I think I’ll take tomorrow off from any swim/bike/run. But today or tomorrow, both Pharmie and I NEED to get in a good long core session. Then we’ll call it a week!

As Pharmie once put it, I’m off to sniff paint in the garage! (AKA paint wainscoting.) Happy weekend!


Friday Funny 49: Facebook Chat

>> Friday, August 14, 2009

Let me set the scene: It was a few weeks ago, and Pharmie and I were both on our computers. She was sitting on the couch in the living room, and I was sitting at the table in the dining room. We had a direct line-of-sight between each other.

I started a Facebook Chat with her. This was the extent of our conversation:

I suppose she had a point...

Happy Friday!!


Splash and Dash Results

>> Thursday, August 13, 2009

Well, when the lead guy doesn't get lost, I'm bound to not win! Ha! Here’s what Curt had to say on Gear West’s website regarding the last Splash and Dash for the year:

The second round of the Splash and Dash was held last night in... can you believe it... BEAUTIFUL weather. After the first round being cancelled due to weather, and the official first round in July had sketchy weather as well. This time we had a park full of 'specators' with sunny skies and temps in the 80s. We had 16 total participants, with 8 men and 8 women. 5 of the 7 participants from the first Splash and Dash returned to compete again. That's a 71.4% participant return rate, speaking to the awesomeness of this event.

Returning champion Steve Stenzel returned to defend his title, as well as single lap record holder Jason Midgarten who was looking to stay on course this time and challenge Steve for the overall. Returning women's winner Suzie Finger was notibly absent, leaving the top women's spot up for grabs with several new women showing up to give it a go.

For the men's race, Jason again used his swim prowess to garner a lead heading into the run, hoping to hold off Steve and S&D newcomer Cliff Owen. Steve ran a 5:48 and Cliff ran a 5:41 to close to within 1 second, but it wasn't enough to overtake Jason at the line who came in in 8:48. The second round was equally as close, with Steve and Jason coming around the last corner neck and neck. Steve put in a burst at the line to cross the "tape" first in 8:50. Adding up the totals, Jason squeaked out the win with a time of 17:39 with Steve 7 (17:46) seconds back and Cliff 11 (17:50) seconds back. All 3 were under Steve's S&D #1 winning time of 18:02.

The women's race came down to a running race, as the top 4 women were out of the swim within 15 seconds of each other both times. Newcomers Tracie Kent and Jen Rife battled it out on the run with Tracie clocking a 6:38 mile to come in first on round 1 in 10:11 to Jen's 10:37. Round 2 was much closer with Jen getting out of the water a little quicker and really putting the hammer down on the run to clock a 6:37 mile. Tracie closed slightly with a 6:35 mile, but finished 5 seconds in arrears. But with the 26 second cushion from the first round, Tracie came out on top with a total time of 20:17 to Jen's 20:38. Rounding out the "podium" was returning competitor Kris Mielke coming in at 22:17.

Afterwards competitors enjoyed leftover Turtleman hotdogs and and watered-down Gatoraid Endurance courtesy of me (Curt) who apparently doesn't know how many scoops to add to 2 gallons of water. I did capture some video and will post when I get a chance.

Here are the official results. This is the only event I’ve been to that’s been timed on a cell phone!! I love it! Oh, and note that the transition time is worked in as part of the swim time...

So big congrats to intervals buddy Jen for coming in as the second female, and Kris for taking the third spot! Pharmie did great, finishing as the 5th female, and Beth was just behind her!

The male DNF was someone coming back from an injury, so he only wanted to do the swim. The female DNF was doing her FIRST EVER open water swim as part of this event, and she didn’t want to do a second swim. And I don’t blame her - sure, there were only 16 people out there, but after 50 meters, there’s been no time to spread out and the turn-around at the buoy is pretty nasty! A few of us actually joked about that after the race: in a “normal” race, you might bump into a few people, but you just move on, not knowing who you bumped. This race is so small that you KNOW who you’re colliding with in the water! In fact, Mike supposedly tried to “accidentally” drown Pharmie in the second swim!

Good times. Good. Times.

And a big THANKS to Curt and Gear West for hosting this event, and to his wife for helping with the timing, and to his father-in-law for being on "water patrol" in his boat! I'll be back next year!


“Splash and Dash” Round 2!

>> Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Last night, I picked Pharmie up from work and we headed out to Long Lake for the second Gear West Splash and Dash. In case you didn’t see my first Splash and Dash race report a few weeks back, here’s what Gear West said about the event:

...The swim is 200 meters consisting of 2x50 meter out and back swims. You will swim out and around a buoy and back then run out on the beach around a cone and then back in for another out and back swim. You will transition to a 1 mile out and back run north on Brown Rd. Then repeat. (200M 2 lap swim/1 mile run/200M 2 lap swim/1 mile run)...

For the past few weeks, they’ve had this logo on the middle of their main page:

(Bonus points if you can recognize the
cut-off logo on the right...)

Last time, there were 7 people. This time, that number had more than doubled! And the day was about 10 times nicer! (No chance of a thunderstorm like last time!) I chatted with a few “first-timers” about the course, how the race is run, etc, etc. I said hi to Jen, Kris, Mark, and Mike. I got to meet blogger Beth. Soon, everyone got set up in the “transition square:”

That's Pharmie on the far right

Here’s a shot of the buoys that were 50 meters apart (that we did twice / round):

Some people warming up: Jen on the far left, Mark getting out of the water, and Kris on the far right:

Pharmie and I were ready to go!

So 15 of us “toed” the line, and Curt shouted “Go!”

I did my first 100 in 1:22, and my second in 1:31. I had loosened my shoelaces since the last Splash and Dash so I could slip on my shoes without sitting down (like I had to do last time). So I was in and out of transition in 15 seconds.

I started the run in 6th place. I caught 1 guy in the first 1/4 mile. I caught 2 more before the 1/2 mile turn-around. There was a guy in front of me in a Gear West suit that was holding a nice pace. He was really pulling me! (Later, after the run, he thanked me for pushing him, and I thanked him for pulling me!) I never caught him or Jason, who was the first runner who should have won the first Splash and Dash (if it hadn’t been for a wrong turn). Last time, my first run was 5:59. Being I was pushing hard to try to catch this guy, my first run last night was 5:46. Not too shabby. That was good for a total time of 8:55 and 3rd place in the first round.

I cheered in all my buddies, and we were ready for a little break before round 2. Like last time, we had to get an “in-between-the-2-rounds” photo. Curt snapped this before everyone was ready (he wanted to get things going again), so we might look a little disheveled:

“Ready for round 2? Go!!”

I’m not gonna lie: I “ran” a lot of the second swim. It’s possible to touch for quite a while, and I stayed on my feet for a long time. I actually finished with slightly faster swim splits of 1:22 and 1:29 (even though I swung WAY wide at the buoy - I do NOT “sight” well once I get a little pooped). I was faster by 1 second in transition this time, running through in 14 seconds.

This time, I was the 4th to hit the run. I flew by a man and a woman 2 blocks into the run. (The woman didn’t do the second swim, but she wanted to head out on the run anyway.) Jason, the speedy guy, was the only one out in front of me, and I was gaining on him. After the turn-around, I was only about 2 seconds back. When we met some of the other runners on the out-and-back, Mike joked with Jason as he came up to him: “There’s NO ONE on your back. You got this! You can probably ease up!” That was a total joke because Jason could hear me breathing down his neck. Mike’s funny like that...

With 1/4 mile left, I KNEW I could pass Jason. As SOON as that thought entered my mind, Jason kicked and left me in the dust. “Guess not...” But 20 seconds later, I was gaining again. Coming down the final hill to the park, I was just 2 strides behind him. As we hit the grass in the park, I kicked it up and passed Jason in the final 50 feet to beat him by a second or 2. But that didn’t matter much because Jason had beat me by like 10 seconds the first round, so he was the overall winner. My final run was 5:45. Nice. And I think I held off the guy in the GW suit enough to have placed 2nd overall.

Last time at the Splash and Dash, I swam/ran 9:14 + 8:48 = 18:02.

This time, I swam/ran 8:55 + 8:51 = 17:46.

Soon, Pharmie hit the “line.” I put “line” in quotes, because there was no line. Curt just said “run to about here...” as he motioned to an area of the parking lot. So, like I said, here’s Pharmie hitting the “line:”

Not far behind her was Beth:

One of the guys from Gear West came down with hot dogs, and we enjoyed a great post-race snack! Thanks guys!!

Note Mark pointing to me above my hot dog...

Well, that was a good little speed session! Beth, it was nice to meet you! And it was great chatting with Jen, Kris, Mark, Jason, and Mike as we were getting ready to go! If/when Gear West does a “Splash and Dash” series next year, I’ll have to try to hit them again. They are just torture, but also a lot of good, clean fun!

I’ll be back with the official results when they come in, as well as Curt’s video highlights! Thanks all!!


Heading to Tonight’s “Splash and Dash”

>> Tuesday, August 11, 2009

3 quick things, then I’m out the door:

1. I forgot to mention something about my 30 mile ride in my last post. As I was coming up Ramsey Hill for the second time (about 26 miles into the ride), an OLD “luxury” car passed me (I think it was an Audi). It sounded like it had a high-pitched go-kart engine in it that was working WAY too hard to get up that hill. And it was spewing blue smoke. STINKY blue smoke. **cough cough**

What’s with me and having to pass stinky vehicles heading up a nasty hill? Remember the tractor and baler I had to pass headed up the last hill in my time trial last week? God must hate me.

2. Yesterday late afternoon / evening I wasn’t feeling too hot. My tummy felt like a boo-boo. I took some Pepto Bismol and all was better. Today, it’s not quite normal again. Stuff is coming out of my butt. That’s right: “stuff.” I hope I’m fine for the “Splash and Dash” tonight. There’s a porta-potty on the run course about 100 feet after starting the run and about 100 feet before the finish. If it gets too tough for me, I know I can hop in the porta-potty before hitting the finish. As they say, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

3. I just shaved my shoulders. It must be time to race!!!

Well, time for a sandwich or some oatmeal, then I'm off for Long Lake. Back tomorrow with a race report! Wish Pharmie and I luck!!


Working On My Speed

>> Monday, August 10, 2009

I have 2 more “A” races on the books for this year: the St. Croix Valley Olympic Triathlon in Hudson WI, and the Twin Cities 10 Miler from Minneapolis to St. Paul. (I’ll probably be racing in a few 5Ks and duathlons, but I’ll just stumble into those...)

I was recently thinking about how to hit the CRAZY goal of 60 minutes in the 10 miler. And the answer?.... Train HARD. I really need to suck it up and push hard on tempo and long runs over the next 2 months. Running the 10 mile in 60 IS possible, but it will require some training that will HURT! We’ll see what I can do.

So, I’ve started ramping up the speed and intensity of my workouts. During my training runs, I’ve decided I need to pick up the pace in the middle part of the run. Why? I realized that I (and my body) do NOT like to slow down over the course of a run. I’ve learned that if I pick up the pace part way into the run, I’ll only KEEP picking up the pace throughout. I’ll end running hard for the last few miles, on the verge of death. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to this past week:

• Monday: off. Just lifted weights and did some core work.

• Tuesday: 11 mile time trial. My first time trial! I averaged 22.5 mph over a course with decent rolling hills. Click here if you missed the photos and write-up.

• Wednesday: swim 1650 yards in 27:50 (1:41.2 / 100). Solid swim. I NEED to get faster, but that was OK. And Wednesday was also the day that my car wouldn’t start, so I had to bike to work and bike to the Y. So I logged another 22 miles on my commuter bike. Yuck.

• Thursday: 7 mile tempo. This was a hard run. I ran out in 21:43, and I ran back in 20:31 for a total of 42:14. That was a HARD effort. The run was just shy of 7 miles, so my average pace was around 6:12 / mile.

• Friday: off. Lifted weights and did some core exercises.

• Saturday: 30 mile ride with hills. I had been reading the April 2009 issue of Triathlete magazine which had an article called “Secrets of the Über Bikers.” They interviewed 8 of the best bikers in the sport of triathlon, and they wrote about their training secrets, what makes them so good, and their tips for the rest of us. (BTW, no big surprise here: their biggest “training secret” is that most of them log 350-550 miles per week! Yeah... no thanks. They are CRAZY!)

Chrissie Wellington (LOVE HER!) had this tip for us:

“I recommend pushing a big gear,” says Wellington. “Everyone has a natural cadence, but if they work at it, most people can learn to push a bigger gear at their natural cadence. So I think it’s a good idea to experiment with bigger gears in training and see where it takes you.”

It made sense to me, so I figured I’d try it on my ride on Saturday - anytime I hit a cadence of 100, I shifted to a harder gear. I pushed hard on 2 loops of the “River Road / Shepard Road / Summit Ave” loop. It had stormed the night before, so the air was cool but sticky. So I was dodging puddles and downed branches for the entire ride. Here was my overall mph at some major landmarks over the 2 loops:

- 21.0 mph @ 35E (mostly downhill)
- 20.3 mph @ the end of the Shepard trail
- 19.5 mph @ the top of Ramsey Hill

- 20.5 mph @ 35E
- 20.5 mph @ the end of the Shepard trail
- 19.8 mph @ the top of Ramsey Hill

- 20.0 mph @ home

I think that’s my fastest average doing that for 2 loops. I need to work on my bike (and my swim) over the next few weeks, and this is a decent start.

• Sunday: 3 x 1600 on the track. I put out the call to any friends interested. I threw on my racing flats for the first time in a training run:

Leg stubble appearing...

On a Sunday morning, the only one’s interested in intervals were Jen and I:

Me, my chest hair, and Jen

I wanted to run 4 1600s, but I could only muster out 3. But that was OK because they were my fastest 3x1600s EVER!

5:27 (2:38 + 2:49)
5:23 (2:40 + 2:43)
5:24 (2:41 + 2:43)

That’s an average of 5:24.6 / 1600. And that’s about 8-10 seconds faster / 1600 than my previous best! (Must be the shoes... And Jen ran some speedy 400s out there: I think one was 90 seconds, and the rest were well under that!) When I got home, Steph was making breakfast - Steph and Annie (Pharmie’s sisters) both spent the night. Here’s my blueberry pancakes (with whipped topping) and sausages:

I wanted to swim intervals yesterday as well, but that will just have to wait. Damn.

Tomorrow night is the last “Splash and Dash” for the year, and I think I have quite a few people convinced to come do it! It should be fun!! Check back for photos and to see if I can take 2 in a row!


SUGOi Tri Suit Review and Saucony Grid Sinister Review

>> Saturday, August 08, 2009

I’m kind of a sellout.

No, I do NOT have any Google Adsense advertisements on my blog, but I DO accept free things that people want to send me to try and then write about. So, like I said, KIND OF a sellout. Anyway, here are my thoughts on 2 racing articles that I was sent in the last few months.

• SUGOi Velocity Tri Suit:

I first wore this for the 2009 Apple Duathlon:

All I can say is that I’m REALLY ENJOYING IT!! I don’t have much else to say other than some “pros and cons,” so here’s my list:

- Smooth and fast.
- Comfortable.
- REALLY cut down my transition times!
- The 2 pockets in the back are in the PERFECT spots. I can easily carry gels or bars.
- The chamois is TINY, and I thought that’d be an issue on the bike (sore ass). But after 1 du (22 mile bike) and 2 tris (25 miles and 21 miles), it’s made me a believer! No sore ass!

- If my man-bits aren’t adjusted just right, they’re on display for the world. That really doesn’t bother me too much, but others might care. And this is an issue for ALL tri suits, not just this one specifically.
- It can get warm. But again, that’s an issue for ALL tri suits. And that’s why the zipper goes nearly down to the man-bits.
- This is a weird “con” I never thought of: pre-race, I have to get completely nude in a porta-potty even if I just need to pee. Not too big of a deal, but a little annoying. I’m thinking they need a butt-flap like old-school long johns... ;)
- As with many things in this sport, it’s spendy. It retails around $225.

I really give it my mark of approval! It works great for Duathlons, Sprint Tris, and Oly Tris! I enjoy it, and I’ll keep using it until it completely wears out! Thanks SUGOi!!

• Saucony Grid Sinister Racing Flats:

I first wore these in the 2009 Liberty Olympic Distance Triathlon back in June:

And look... I’m wearing the SUTOi Tri Suit too!...

I got these from, which is a GREAT website to use! Really. This was my FIRST pair of Sauconys, and my FIRST pair of racing flats, so I was nervous. They didn’t have the cushioning I was used to, but they obviously needed to remove some of that weight somewhere (in order to get them faster)! And the lighter shoe with less cushioning held up just fine - no major issues. They worked GREAT in that first test: I ran a 39:33 10K at the end of the Liberty Olympic Triathlon! That was a 2:00 oly run PR! Thanks Saucony and OnlineShoes!!

As a bonus image, here I am half-way into the run at the Chisago Lakes Triathlon 2 weeks ago where I’m wearing the SUGOi tri suit and the Saucony racing flats:

Note: I still also use (and LOVE) my Zeal Sunglasses and my Drymax Socks. I’m wearing both of those items in all those photos above as well!! So thanks Zeal and Drymax!!

Have a great weekend everyone!! (Intervals tomorrow [Sunday] morning at 9 am at the St. Thomas track if anyone is interested...)


Friday Funny 48: Bacon

>> Friday, August 07, 2009

Have a great, bacon-filled weekend!



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