The Streak is Over

>> Thursday, December 31, 2009

Two things:

First: I’m letting my “1 event each month” streak die. I’m trying to be smart. I took that 3 week rest to let my body heal up a bit, and it’s worked. So when an indoor track meet rolled around last week, I knew it was my chance to get in an “event” for December even though I wasn’t that trained for it. But racing each month gets spendy. And it’s maybe not the best for my body. So I did the right thing and called it off. The streak that started 28 months ago with Ironman WI 2007 is now over. (Check my “Race Resume” link in the header if you don’t believe me.) But I can take comfort in knowing that I’m doing the right thing.

Second: I’m taking a newer, better approach to my training for the Winter Carnival Half Marathon. I usually train at about 94% - 98% effort ALL the time, which I’m learning isn’t smart. (Gee, this post makes it look like I’ve been doing some thinking!) Training so hard is nearly impossible with all the snow that was seen in the last post. So I’m really going to focus on 3 things:

1. Hard, short speed work once a week at the Metrodome.
2. Mid-distance tempo run outside or on a treadmill.
3. Long run outside at a bit of an easier pace.

That last point is a new one for me. Last winter, I was going nearly all-out on all my long runs, and that’s a good way to hurt yourself running on this snow-packed country we call Minne-snow-da. I’m NOT going to kill myself this year. My long runs will still be hard, but they won’t be “puke in the last 400 meters” hard.

Bottom line: it’s winter. I don’t need to shoot for a PR at EVERY race. I can just train for a race so I have a decent showing, and maybe over the summer (when I’m not wearing an extra 5 pounds of clothing and worried about how to train in this weather) I’ll shoot for my next half PR. But not this winter.

Jeez, this post makes me sound like I’m matured a lot over the past year. Here’s proof I haven’t:



Happy New Year!! Have a great 2010!

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The Return of the Swass

>> Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It was a rough start-up 3 weeks ago when I started back after nearly 3 weeks of self-prescribed rest. I noticed it most in my running and lifting: my times were slower but still difficult, and I couldn’t lift QUITE as much at the gym. I noticed it with my times in the pool too, but my swimming is so sporadic that I didn’t think much of it. So it’s been time to ramp back up into training!

• Wed, Dec 23: X-country run along side of Pharmie as she X-country skied. Click here to see a bunch of fun photos from that early morning workout. Oh, and I had a quick upper body and core workout at the Y later in the day.

• Thurs, Dec 24: Nothing. Two Christmas parties in the PM.

• Fri, Dec 25: Nothing. Three Christmas parties.

• Sat, Dec 26: Nothing. One Christmas party in the AM. Yeah, do the math: that’s 6 “Christmases” in 48 hours. I had wanted to get in a long run, but the weather out in rural MN wasn’t cooperating. We had gotten a LOT of snow. Here it is coming down at Grandpa and Grandmas:



And here it is coming down sideways late at night while going from Christmas party to Christmas party on Friday. We’re driving on a highway, but you’d have no idea because it was so crappy:



• EARLY Sun, Dec 27: Stomach pains. I was up from about 1:45 am to 5:00 am because... well... look at the last 3 days of Christmas bingeing.... Yuck.

• Sun, Dec 27: 8 mile run in 56:24. I knew (with all the recent snow) that it’d be less than ideal to run outside, but I’m committed to doing my long runs outside in preparation for the St. Paul Winter Carnival Half Marathon. All of the residential streets SUCKED. This looks like slush, but at 18 degrees, it’s frozen solid and super hard to run on:



I made my way to River Road, which I knew would be better maintained. It still had a coating of packed snow, but at least it wasn’t so uneven as the side-streets:


Up a little hill just after getting on RR near Summit Ave.


Crossing the frozen Mississippi River on the Franklin Bridge.

My run wasn’t super fast, but I was OK with that. (More on that new running theory shortly...) I made it home in 56:24, which was 7:03 / mile. My “loose” mile splits were 6:59, 7:00, 6:46, 7:03, 6:58, 6:59, 7:37 (3 uphills this mile!), and 6:59. Heels and knees felt OK after all that uneven running!

I got home and took off my shirt. Pharmie remarked at how red I was. I was sweaty too. I grabbed my camera and snapped this shot:



• Mon, Dec 28: 4 x 400 yards in the pool. I had about 50 seconds rest between the intervals. My 400 times were 6:34, 6:40, 6:42, and 6:41, which comes out to an average 400 of 6:39.3 (that’s 1:39.8 / 100 yard average). I need to work on my swimming this winter.

• Tues, Dec 29: Upper body and core, then 4 x 1503 meter intervals at the Metrodome. Jeremy, Pharmie, and I all met at the Dome last night at 5 pm. We grabbed a quick shot before starting:


Oops, Jeremy blinked...

The dome was BUSY!! Even as full as it was, it’s no problem to run there.



I did 4 intervals of 2.5 loops. That’s about 1503 meters / interval. Here were my times:

5:32
5:23
5:23
5:19

5:24.25 / 1503 meter average (5:45.2 / mile pace)

That was over 2 seconds better / interval from my times last week. And last week I only did 3!! Sweet! Gettin’ better already! I snapped a photo when I wrapped up:



And I snapped a photo of Pharmie finishing her last loop:



Today, I might do a long-ish swim (1700 - 2200 yards). Tomorrow, I hope to hit a 2 hour and 10 minute spinning class (for 2010 - get it?). That should be fun!

Today is the last day to vote for Steve in a Speedo as the Best Endurance Blog of the Year. At recent check, it looks like Fat Cyclist has it wrapped up with 67% of the votes. I’m in second with a meager 19%. So unless you’re friends with someone in the IT department of the People's Liberation Army of China, I don’t think I can get enough votes to take the top spot. Dang. But still cast your vote to see if we can’t make a run for it! Thanks everyone!!

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I’m Glad I Left My Socks On...

>> Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Well, yesterday I promised some debauchery in an effort to get your vote.

You’ve all met Matt before (AKA “Snacky Treat”). He’s my brother-in-law and a better cyclist than me. Therefore, we’ve teamed up for duathlons as “Team Happy Pants” 4 times over the past 2 years. Here we are at the Gear West Duathlon:





Well, I got some “Super Heros” boxers from my in-laws for Christmas, and Matt got some Batman tighty-whities from me. We figured we needed to pose around the Christmas tree to get some laughs out of the family. Here we go:


Yes, my mother-in-law wouldn’t let us take a photo until she put a dollar bill in our undies.


Dead sexy. Or... something...


Shut up. This is SOO not gay.

Oh, and on top of that, my other brother-in-law, Mike, got me something real nice for Christmas. He got me some “KY Warming Jelly” and 2 condoms that he broke with a pin. Mike wants to be an uncle.



Back with some actual training updates tomorrow. Don’t forget to vote for Steve in a Speedo as the Best Endurance Blog of the Year. Oh, and I’ll be at the Metrodome to run intervals tonight around 5 pm if anyone is interested in joining me.

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Minor Foot Surgery and a “Teaser”

>> Monday, December 28, 2009

A week ago Sunday, I did a 5 mile tempo run on a treadmill. That constant pounding made the bottom of my right foot REALLY sore. Then a few days later on Tuesday, I ran intervals on the hard, hard concrete of the Metrodome. That same spot got sore during my last interval.

Wednesday night, I brought myself to FINALLY look at my foot. Here’s what I saw:



I grabbed a clippers and got to clippin’:


It was still delicious moist underneath.

I hacked it off and ate it threw it away.



My foot is doing great right now. I did 8 miles yesterday afternoon, and all is well!

Changing gears... there’s only about 3 days left to vote for “Steve in a Speedo” for Endurance Blog of the Year. Pharmie asked what I’ll be doing to get your votes. Well, putting my blistery foot on my blog isn’t going to get me many votes. So I have something special planned for tomorrow.

Want a teaser? Stop back tomorrow to see more of this:



Yes, that’s Batman undies, a nipple, and me making quite a face. All in front of the Christmas Tree. Sweet. Happy birthday Jesus.

So stop back tomorrow and see what I’m doing to try to get your vote. In the meantime, click here to vote for “Steve in a Speedo.” Thanks everyone! Happy Monday!!

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Cross County Skiing at Town and Country Club

>> Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wednesday was Pharmie’s last day of work before her “Christmas break,” and she didn’t have to work until 9:30 am. So we got up early and walked a few blocks to the Town and County Club Golf Course. Pharmie had her skis, and I just had an old pair of running shoes: we only HAD about 6 inches of snow, so I figured I could run along side her as she skied. (This was before the dumping of 8-10 inches more a few days ago...)

Here are a couple of photos:


Nearing the golf course


“Breaking in” at one of the open parts of the fence


“Got a little Captain in ya?” Hee hee...


Skiing in the dark (that’s Lake Street lit up on the left)






Zombie ducks with glowing eyes!! Aahhhh! Save the children!


The glow from the city

Even though the sun was FAR from being up when we started, the city is still bright enough at night. The snow and the clouds bounced around plenty of light to see.

Here’s Pharmie GRACEFULLY ascending a climb:



Then her grace went out the window, and she ended up doing this:


Don't worry, everything’s OK: she broke her fall with her face.


Up another hill as it started to get lighter

Pharmie grabbed my camera and got a shot of me running next to her:



She took the photo, said it looked a little awkward, and asked if she should take another one. I told her “No... When do I NOT look ‘a little awkward?’” She saw my point. So we just kept going.

Soon, it was fully light out, and Pharmie had to get back home so she could be off to work. Here she is getting out of her skis:



What a fun way to start a cool, winter morning in MN!!

If you haven’t gotten me a Christmas present yet you could click here and cast your vote for “Steve in a Speedo” as Endurance Blog of the Year! “Fat Cyclist” is currently kickin my butt, but we’ll do what we can to catch him! Thanks!

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Friday Funny 68: Three Inappropriate Christmas Funnies

>> Friday, December 25, 2009

1. Dew Tree. It’s actually kinda pretty all lit up...



2. Redneck Sleigh. “Ho ho ho!! Santa’s brought extra hours of therapy for the kids!”



3. Funny cause it’s true:



Merry Christmas, everyone!!

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Trip for 4 to Reno? And Snowboarding? Anyone?...

>> Thursday, December 24, 2009

I mention this with 1 main reservation: the more people that enter, the less my chance of winning. But I’m in the Christmas Spirit (or still drunk from my in-law’s homemade apple wine), so I’m telling you to check this out.

Pyramid brewing, a small brewery who works with the same PR company that just did the big Sugoi and Gu giveaway a week ago, is giving away a sweet trip and lots of smaller prizes too. The contest is open through the end of the year. Here’s the “legalese” in the fine print that describes the big prize:

Grand Prize: One (1) individual Grand Prize winner and their three (3) guests (21+) will win a five (5) day “Winter Backcountry Getaway” that includes round-trip airfare to Reno, California, five (5) nights of lodging, a 3-day lift ticket to Squaw Valley USA, a 2-day backcountry ski package by Pacific Crest Snowcats and Mountain Hardware Technical Gear (jacket and pants); the one (1) individual Grand Prize winner will also win a K2 Pyramid Snowboard (“Prize”). The verifiable retail value of the Prize is $8,400.



So click here to enter (and thereby hurt my chances of winning... jerk). And then click here and cast your vote for “Steve in a Speedo” as Endurance Blog of the Year!! Thanks!

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Intervals at the Metrodome

>> Wednesday, December 23, 2009

- Sun, the 20th: 5 mile tempo run on a treadmill. We’d just got some snow, so trying to run real hard on that stuff didn’t sound like a good idea. So I packed up and headed to the Y. It was HARDER than it should have been - I think those “14 days of nothing” really took more out of me than I thought. I started with an incline of 1.0, but then knocked it down to 0 at mile 3 because of a sore left knee. I started at 8.5 mph, up to 9 mph at 2.5 miles (working harder than I should have been at the half-way point), up to 9.5 mph at 3.5 miles, and up to 10.0 mph for the last .5 mile. Here were my mile splits: 7:11, 7:02, 6:52, 6:29, 6:08. In total, it took me 33:44 for the 5 mile run, which was 6:45 / mile. Had REALLY hoped to be faster. I’ve got some work to do....

- Mon, the 21st: CrossFit-sort of exercise in my garage. Yeah, I’m now “that guy” exercising in cut-off jean shorts listening to “Journey’s Greatest Hits” in my garage. Shut it. This is the workout I did. It was HARDER than I thought!! I ALWAYS think CrossFit-like workouts will be easier than they turn out to be. It was such a different workout for my core. I’ll be doing this workout again!

- Tues, the 22nd: 3 x 1502 meters at the Metrodome. I met Pharmie at the Metrodome after work. It’s a GREAT place to run, but I always need to watch myself: that hard, hard floor can do a number on my legs if I go too far. So I always just do intervals at the dome. Here’s what it looked like as people were starting to run:



I did 3 x 1502 every 7 minutes, so I had about 1:35 rest. (BTW, I was doing "1502 meters" because that's 2.5 laps around the dome.) My first one felt fine. Number 2 got hard. And the third one was killer. Here were my times:

5:26
5:24
5:30

Average: 5:26.6 / interval.
Comes out to 5:48 / mile pace.

I got back to my camera, and quick snapped a nasty photo of me all sweaty and pooped:


Oh hi “vein of approval!”

Pharmie, GreenKing, and I jogged a little cool down. Here’s Pharmie and GreenKing on the far right:



On the way out of the Dome parking lot, I saw 2 great bumper stickers on the car in front of me:



If there are any locals interested, here’s more info on dome running for 2009-2010.

And I’m up for “Endurance Blog of the Year:” please click here and cast a vote for “Steve in a Speedo!” Thanks!!

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I Rub Your Back, You Rub Mine

>> Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yesterday, I found out some pleasant news. Well, it started last week I guess...

Last week, Rich S tweeted me and said he tried to nominate me for RaceAthlete’s Endurance Blog of the Year, but someone had already nominated me! Awesome! Then I forgot about it until yesterday.

Yesterday, I got a Facebook message from Andy N saying he just voted for me. Apparently I made the cut into the top 10, and voting had started! Immediately after that, I got the official news in an e-mail.

So remember all the great Sugoi gear and Gu products I just gave away? Remember that? Do ya? **wink wink** Well you can thank me for doing that by voting for me for RaceAthlete’s Endurance Blog of the Year!

I’ve placed a ribbon at the upper right of my blog in the sidebar too. You can always click that over the next 8 days to vote. One vote per computer, so vote at home, at work, and at Grandma’s at Christmas! Thanks everyone!!

Oh, and who nominated me? I’m just curious...

p.s. Pharmie and I will be at the Metrodome tonight at 5 for dome running if any locals are interested!

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Winners of the Sugoi Tri Suits, Gu, and Roctane

>> Monday, December 21, 2009

Holy entries, Batman!! There were 370 comments on last weeks post (200 in the first 12 hours!!), and they were all people that wanted to win a 1 piece Sugoi Tri Suit, a 2 piece Sugoi Tri Suit, 2 different kinds of Gu, and some Roctane!

Yesterday, I got to work. I printed out all the comments. It was 50 pages! Then I gave each comment 1 number (or 2 or 3 if they had “earned” extra entries). The numbers went up to 705! Here’s the stack of numbered printouts:



I had the same numbers still lying around from the book giveaway 2 weeks ago, so I threw these numbers into the hat to start the drawing:



(Let me take this moment to let you know that I DO know about random.org and how they can pick a random number for me at the click of a mouse. But that's not NEARLY as fun. And I have a distrust for computers. So doing it "analog" is more comfortable to me.)

I had a post-it note ready to be filled in with winners:



I first drew for the 1 piece tri suit. I pulled out a 2. I put that back in. Then I pulled out a 0. I put that back in. And finally I pulled out a 6. So the winner was 206. I looked on my big list of printouts. Who was 206? I had to laugh out loud (I believe the kids now-a-days say “LOL”). It was local racing / interval running buddy Jen Rife. My first thought was displayed in the subject line of an e-mail to her: “Like YOU need to be any faster!...” (Last year, she raced 2 olys in 2:31 and a 2:35!). My second thought was “Oh crap, I hope people don’t think this is rigged!!” So I decided to draw names for the Gu and Roctane, but I’d wait until Pharmie got home (in order to have a witness) before I drew for the 2 piece tri suit. Does that reasoning make sense? I think so.

Next I drew for the Vanilla Gingerbread Gu. Three numbers later, I was looking at Audrey’s comment, so she wins the Gu!

Next, I hopped on Facebook to draw a winner from the “Steve in a Speedo” fan page who would get the Roctane. I LOVE Roctane, and that stuff’s spendy, so this is a great prize! I drew 3 numbers and scrolled through the members to find the winner. It was Phillip:



(I put that image up just to be a jerk and show others JUST how CLOSE they came to winning $60 of sweet, sweet, Roctane! Ha! Sorry!)

Next, I went to the followers of the SteveinaSpeedo Twitter feed to draw for a winner of the Mint Chocolate Gu (which was a flavor many people were raving around in their “entry comments” last week). I drew 3 numbers and scrolled to find the winner. It was Lora, AKA BlondeRunner:



(Proof I didn’t cheat: As you can see, Lora’s current tweet was about loving salads, and I STILL let her win. Ha!)

So that did it EXCEPT for the 2 piece tri suit:



When Pharmie got home, we finally drew for the last winner. Here I am pulling the first number from my hat:



It was a 4. Correction, it was a “Pirate 4:”



I put the 4 back in, and then pulled out a 6. I put the 6 back in, and then pulled out a 1. So the 2 piece tri suit winner was 461. Who was 461? I had to look:



It was BadgerGirl (from WI [obviously]). Congrats!!

So, here’s the recap of the big winners:

Jen Rife wins this:

BadgerGirl wins this:

Audrey wins 2 boxes of this:

Phillip wins 2 boxes of this:

Lora E. wins 2 boxes of this:

You 5 winners, please contact me so I can pass your e-mail along to the people at Sugoi and Gu so they can send out your winnings! (stevestenzelphotography [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I have an issue with all of this. I’ve done 4 different giveaways over the last 6 months or so, and 11 different people have won some great stuff (shoes, recovery shakes, books, and all this Gu and Sugoi stuff). But only 2 of those 11 have been dudes! Come on guys!! We need to pick up the pace!!

On that note, I’ll be sharing yet another giveaway with you guys later this week. Would you like to spend 5 days skiing with 3 friends in Tahoe? Yes? Then check back later.

One final big THANKS to the people at Gu, Sugoi, and Outside PR for being so generous! Thanks guys! This was fun!

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