The Best Tempo Run in a While!

>> Saturday, February 27, 2010

• Sat, 2/20: nothing.

• Sun, 2/21: 11.88 mile run and weights. First run without taking splits in a LONG time. This was the run where I totally soaked both feet. My Drymax Socks came though!

• Mon, 2/22: nothing.

• Tues, 2/23: 57x50 swim workout in the AM, nasty hills/stairs in the PM. Here was the post about the nasty swim workout, and here was the post about the stairs/hills. Hellava day!

• Wed, 2/24: nothing.

• Thurs, 2/25: “Strength” spinning class, and lots of core work.

• Fri, 2/26: 8 mile tempo/long run. FIRST RUN OF THE YEAR WITH NO JACKET!! (Only 1 layer needed on top.) It was 30 degrees and pretty calm - beautiful! Here’s a photo (from after the run) showing all I needed to wear:

Don’t mock me for having my Christmas lights still up...

I eased into the run, and picked it up as I went. Here are my mile splits: 7:00, 6:39, 6:36, 6:32, 6:34, 6:12, 6:07, and 6:15 (big uphill that last mile). Total time was 51:59, which was 6:30 / mile. Afterwards, I had a bit of a red chest, with a strange white spot right in the middle:

• Sat, 2/27 (today): nothing. My family came up to visit today to celebrate my birthday! (My b-day is 2 weeks away, but this weekend worked good for everyone to come visit.) We went out for Thai. Here’s Pharmie with our niece Aubree:

Bree doesn’t care for Thai food

Our table an hour later

With my Sis and Ian (that little ham) at Izzy’s Ice Cream Shop!
I’m enjoying a homemade ice cream sandwich! SO GOOD!

I’m planning a fun weekend of races on my birthday in 2 weeks. That’s right, I said “races!” It’ll be my first ever double race weekend!! Back with news on that soon...


Friday Funny 78: Ice Skating

>> Friday, February 26, 2010

Why do you watch?.....

And in another “funny” incident, last night my Twitter account got hacked. Someone direct messaged all my friends saying “hey, i've been having better sex and longer with this here [link].”

Sure, lately I HAVE been having better AND longer sex, but I’m not one to brag.... ;)


Stairs, Hills, and a Road ID Coupon Code!

>> Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tues evening (the same day as the interval swim in the previous post), I wanted to do some stairs. I checked the stairs by the JJ Hill house, and the lower half was perfectly clear of ice or snow. So I packed up my clothes to change as soon as I got done with teaching at the College of Visual Arts. CVA’s main building is an old mansion on Summit Ave, so when I changed in the bathroom, my clothes were scattered all over the top of a tub once used by a very well-to-do family:

I ran down Summit to the JJ Hill steps. Here’s the icy path up top leading to the main set of steps:

The first few “flights” of steps were a bit icy. Here I am looking down from the top:

Once I got through some icy sections, the rest was perfect. Here’s a bit farther down, looking the rest of the way to the bottom (down 87 stairs):

So here’s what I decided to do for my workout:
1. Run down to the bottom of the stairs, run back up until it got icy, then down, then up, then down, then up, and then down to the “exit” on the right side of the path that can be seen part way down on the right in the image above. (That’s running up 261 stairs!)
2. Then (all tired and out of breath), I’d run some back-road hills HARD on my way back up to Summit Ave.
3. Finally, I’d take it a bit easy down Summit back to the top of the stairs.
4. Repeat.

Here’s what the first part looked like when I ran down, then up and down a few times before “exiting” on the curve:

And here’s the map of the entire loop. It’s 1.14 miles long:

I did that loop 5 times, which is 5.7 miles, lots of little hills in that back stretch, and up 1305 stairs total. Have you ever seen an elevation chart look like this over 1.14 miles?

Down stairs, up and down a few times, rollers and steep hills on
the back roads, and mostly flat on Summit back to the start.

Those stairs had me working up a sweat even though it was only 15 degrees that night! During my 3rd round on the steps, I had sweat dripping off my nose. When I got back to CVA, I quick snapped a photo in the faculty office to show how sweaty I was:

You know, running stairs in the dark on an icy night WITHOUT a Road ID was probably not a smart idea. Pharmie has stories of people stuck in the ICU of the hospital where she works and nobody knows who they are because they had no ID on them. I could have slipped on those steps last night (I had 2 close calls) and ended up knocked out lying at the bottom. So it was time to get my own Road ID. Here’s what it looked like as I was putting in my info:

(It’s yellow to match my “bowl full of sunshine” shorty-shorts!)

I also ordered a Firefly reflective wrist band for night-time running visibility.


Road ID was so happy with how the giveaway went last week, that they wanted to offer my readers a 20% discount on their order for the next 20 days! A bunch of people commented or e-mailed me that they needed to get a Road ID or update the tag on their current Road ID. Now is your chance!! Use this code to get 20% off your entire order:


(the ending SIAS is for “Steve in a Speedo”)

I tried it on my order to make sure it worked, and it saved me about $6! (Enter it in the “Coupon/Promo Code” box.) So spread the word! Go pick up your Road ID and use that code for 20% off!

(BTW, this is NOT some sort of affiliate marketing thing. Yes, the code has my "name" at the end, but I don't make a % with each use of the code. It's just a "thanks" to my readers from Road ID for becoming a fan of Road ID on Facebook and following Road ID on Twitter during the giveaway last week. I've been accused of this being an affiliate scheme, and it's not true. Use the code, save 20%, be safe, and enjoy life!!)


Swim Workout: [too many] x [too far]

>> Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I met Steve H, Kelly, and Julia at the Y yesterday morning for a nasty swim. The plan was to do 60 x 50 yards. (From Jen Harrison, of course.) Gross.

The workout consisted of some “warm-up” intervals, and then multiple sets of 15 intervals as the main sets. And one of those sets of 15x50 was all about kicking. That meant fins. I’d never used fins before, so I was a little nervous. (But my kicking needs a LOT of work, so I knew it’d be good for me!)

I found the “best” fins the Y had to offer. This was it:

Torn in the back and cut off on the front. Just like me.
(Butt-crack in back and circumcision in front, FYI)

The fins were an experience. I tried to focus on my kick, and I think I did a pretty good job of doing that. (I need to do kick-drills and maybe more fin work.) The 3 middle sets of 15x50 I had to cut down to 14 - I fell too far behind Steve H, Kelly, and Julia in the first 2 sets. And in the final set, I was too far behind with 5 left, so I took a mid-set break. I’m not proud of cutting those short, but I was happy to be TRYING to keep up with 3 swimmers that are all miles better than me!

So in the end, I did 57 x 50 in the same time that the others did 60 x 50. Here’s “the gang” after our swim:

Steve H, Julia, me, and (most of) Kelly

After the swim, I stopped into Andrea’s office - Andrea is the “Piranhas” swim coach at the Y (the middle-school swim team). I told her that I just did 57 x 50. She said, “Oh yeah!? Sometimes the Piranhas do 60 x 100 yards!” I gave her a stern look, turned to walk out of her office, and said “...well I don’t like talking to you anymore.” She gave her typical “Andrea laugh.” (But later she noticed my haircut and said it looked nice, so we’re cool again. Ha!)

Thanks for the swim, you 3!! And thanks (I think) for the workout Jen!

p.s. Here are 2 recent articles of mine:

- Have you heard about the Ride of a Lifetime cycle class coming up in March? It’s an indoor ride at the Target Center with 1,000 people! Pharmie and I are signed up to do it! Click here for more info.

- And you’ve probably heard all about it by now, but if you didn’t, check out the details from Lance Armstrong’s and Chris Lieto’s head-to-head Twitter Time Trial that went down last week. Thanks!


12 Mile EASY Run and Inadvertent Drymax Socks Test

>> Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday I decided to do something I hadn’t done in a LONG time: go out and run EASY for 9-12 miles with NO SPLITS! God forbid!!

First, I fueled up with some of Pharmie's pancakes!!

It was a sunny, calm, 19 degree day, and I knew I wouldn’t need my YakTrax for the first time in a while. I was just happy to run. I weaved my way to River Road, and started running along the Mississippi. The path was 96% clear and dry. The other 4% was melted snow that had re-froze over the trail and was really slick. But that 4% was easy to avoid and/or to see coming.

Then, it happened.

I was around 3 miles into the run as I approached a big, rough icy patch across from the Shriner’s Hospital. It was really uneven, as if it had been broken up the day before and had re-froze. As soon as my left foot was about to hit that section, I quickly and briefly thought, “Wait, IS that frozen? Or does it just have thin frozen layer on top?”

*splish* *splash*

Both feet went in before I could react. It was a 4 inch deep puddle that IMMEDIATELY soaked both feet. I got through the puddle and stopped. What do I do? Do I turn around and run home? Could I make it another 7-9 miles with soaking feet? Is it even possible to keep running in 19 degrees with wet feet without freezing off a toe?

Here’s where I was:

B.A.P. = “Big Ass Puddle”

Here’s what I decided to do: keep running and test my Drymax socks. I’ve been having issues with the bottom of my feet in recent months (years), and I’ve been contemplating trying other socks. I’ve been a pretty big fan of Drymax socks, but I felt like they’ve maybe been letting me down, and maybe I needed to try something else. Drymax really advertises that they’ll keep your feet dry and comfortable, so I figured I’d use the rest of this run as a test for the socks.

So I started running again.

BTW, in case you didn’t know, I got really turned on to Drymax socks about 2 years ago when I won 44 pairs of their socks. Here’s the video “test” that I did that helped me to win these socks (make sure to check out the third and final test):

In that video, the 2 runs with SOAKING wet socks were shorter runs - this test was on a much longer run.

Around mile 5, my feet weren’t cold, but they were still a little damp.

Around mile 8, my feet still weren't cold, and they seemed completely dry.

Around mile 11, running up the final big hill, my feet STILL felt comfortable.

The socks REALLY passed this test. Running a bit easier than normal (but running over 8 miles after drenching my socks), my feet felt great.

I didn’t really know how far I went until I mapped it afterwards. It turns out I ran 11.88 miles in 1:26:39 (which is 7:17 / mile pace). Here’s the route:

Here’s what I learned:

- My feet get so beat up NOT because of my socks, NOT because of my shoes, but because I run too hard sometimes. On this slightly easier run, my feet were A-OK for all 11.88 miles!

- (This sounds obvious, but...) There’s a huge difference between 6:40 pace and 7:10 pace. Nearing the end of this run, running between 7 and 7:20 pace, I felt like I could go about twice as far at that speed. I like “leaving it all out on the run,” but it was nice to feel comfortable at the end of the run.

- Drymax are still my sock of choice, but I still might experiment with a few other brands a bit. I’ll report back when I do.

After that run, I had to go to school and grade projects for a few hours. Because I knew I’d be cramping up a little (after sitting at a desk for a few hours), I decided to put on my Sugoi compression tights to help with recovery. Here I am sitting in the faculty office with my compression tights under my pants:

Good day.
Good pancakes.
Nice run.
Lessons learned.


(Now I'm off to kill all this joy: 60 x 50 in the pool. Yeah. Fun.)


Gnarliest Injury Photo Contest Winners!

>> Monday, February 22, 2010

The votes have been tallied! You’ve all voted, and the top 3 men and the top 3 women have been chosen. Here are the results of the female contest:

Congrats Lindsay, Laura, and Nat!!

And here are the results of the male contest:

Congrats to Jeff (on a BIG win), Dan, and David!!

Again, the top 3 men and women ALL win a free Road ID (any style)! The top man and woman win a Sugoi Zap Vest and a MidZero Knicker. The second place man and woman win a Sugoi Helium Vest. And the third place man and woman win a Sugoi RSR Mesh Hat.

Road IDs on the top, the Zap Vest and Helium Vest in the middle,
and the Knicker and hats on the bottom

Congrats winners!!

If you want to see the entries and see if you agree with who won, click here to check out all the nasty entries.

If you’d like to, you can become a fan of Sugoi on Facebook, become a fan of Road ID on Facebook, follow Sugoi on Twitter, and follow Road ID on Twitter. Thanks Sugoi and Road ID!

Back with a “non-gnarly” post tomorrow. (Finally!) And check out yesterday's fun post if you missed it. Have a great week everyone!


Date, Workout, Times, Notes, Photo

>> Sunday, February 21, 2010

Here's the format:
• Date: workout, times. Workout notes (no longer than 10 words). [PHOTO]

• Sun, 2/14: 10.05 mile long run in 1:09:46 (6:56 / mile pace). Pushed hard for the middle miles. Decent workout.

Wind-burned belly post-workout

• Sun, 2/14: CVA Tri Club WO: over half mile WU, nearly 2.5 mile run. Happy to see a few students interested in working out!

Hannah and Erik enjoying a Valentine's workout

• Mon, 2/15: 35:00 of weights: only chest, upper and lower back, and core.

[picture unrelated]

• Tues, 2/16: 30:00 of weights: only biceps, triceps, shoulders, and lats.

[picture unrelated]

• Tues, 2/16: Ladder intervals at the Dome: 600m, 1200m, 1800m, 1200m, 600m. Hard workout. Nice run.

GreenKing snapped a photo as I was finishing up an interval.

• Wed, 2/17: Rest.

[picture unrelated]

• Thurs, 2/18: 32:00 of upper body weights at the Y.

[picture unrelated]

• Thurs, 2/18: 1 hour of Spinervals in the basement. Rode with Pharmie. It was sweaty.

I wasn't wearing this for the spin - I was using it to wipe my face.

• Fri, 2/19: 3 x 800 at the Pool: 13:52, 13:49, 13:45.

(That totally counts as 1 word.)

Kelly, me, and Julia after our stupid swim

• Fri, 2/19: One and a half hours of snowshoeing next to Pharmie as she skied. Just a fun "date." This one calls for 2 photos:

Pharmie skiing with Downtown Minneapolis in the distance.

Skis and snowshoes after an hour and a half.

p.s. That rant about Jen Harrison is all in good fun. I love that women. And I love Julia for telling us when she swims so we can join her. But I hate Jen's workouts that she makes Julia do. What do I look like? A swimmer? Hell no. ;)


And the Road ID Winner Is.....

>> Saturday, February 20, 2010

Alright, it’s time to choose the winner of a new Road ID. Here we go.

Step 1: Print off all the entries. There were nearly 200 comments!

Step 2: Label all comments with 1, 2, 3, or 4 numbers depending on how many entries they “earned.” Here are the printouts, and they’ve been labeled with numbers up to 456:


Step 3: Bend the rules for those leaving good comments. (It’s my contest, I can do what I want. Ha!) I added an extra number to 4 different entries:

• Steph commented “Entered. I’m a fan of Steve in a Speedo, and I’m your sister-in-law. Does that count as three?” You lived with Pharmie and I for 3 years, so yes, that counts for 3.

• MissAllyCat commented “...Shouldn’t I get a bonus entry for peeing in the lake with you?? :)” Absolutely! (Ally peed next to me in her first triathlon in July of 08. It was magical.)

• l.borrego commented “Lora in Houston is a fan of reading Steve... esp when he talks about his awesome wife! One entry please & thank you!” Nope, I’m giving you TWO entries for mentioning my awesome wife!

• Kin commented “... I would be very happy to win a RoadID, but what I really want … is to see more farm animals dancing at running events.” Oh hell yeah. Extra entry for YOU!

Kin is talking about the video below. The last 3 years, I’ve cheered for the runners of the TC Marathon with my 2 brothers-in-law in costume. This last year, Matt and I (the cow and chicken) ran the TC 10 Mile before cheering for the TC Marathon runners - we finished our race, polished up on our dance moves, and got to cheering:

Step 4: Get the numbers ready to draw out of a hat.

Yes, I know about, but this way is more fun. And more dramatic. So let me have my fun! Thanks.

Numbers in my hat.

Step 5: Start drawing numbers! I first drew a 0. Then I put that back into the hat. Then I drew a 7, and put that back into the hat. Finally, I drew a 1.

So who was entry number 071?? It’s Krista from NYC! (She’s a blogger whose blog I’ve been to only a few times. She just got into triathlon last year.) CONGRATS Krista! Shoot me an e-mail so I can get you your new Road ID!

The NEW Wrist ID Elite

p.s. I kinda would have felt bad (for everyone else) if one of the 4 people to whom I had given the “unfair” extra entry had won. So I KINDA feel good they didn’t win. Sorry Steph, Ally, Lora, and Kin.

p.p.s. Voting for the “Gnarliest Injury Photo Contest” closes THIS EVENING! So click here to see the contestants and vote for the best! NOW!


Friday Funny 77: Swim / Bike / Run / Tri Shirts

>> Friday, February 19, 2010

Recently, I stumbled across and their funny t-shirts. Here are some sports-related ones that I liked.



I should get this for my bro-in-law



Finally, I think I should get these 2 for myself:

(If you don’t know, I’d get that last one because of my love of running in my “bowl full of sunshine,” which are old, 70s track shorts:

Now you know.)

Happy Weekend!

REMINDER: Get your name thrown in the hat for a free Road ID! You only have until noon TODAY (Friday). Click here to enter. And you’ve only got a day to vote for the “Gnarliest Injury Photo!” Click here to see the contestants and vote for the best! Thanks!



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