4 Good, Random Things

>> Wednesday, March 31, 2010

• Remember the “2 secrets for a successful race” that I posted about at the top of my Lake Johanna 4 Miler race report about 10 days ago? Well, I specifically RE-tested one of those theories before the 5K on Sunday. Yes, the 5K where I set my new PR. So whatever I did WORKED. I’ll just say that diet root beer had NOTHING to do with this test. ;) ;) ;)

• Matt commented on my 5K race report and said how much he loved that picture of me running to the finish! (Thanks again for that photo, Hun!!) Matt said “...I’ve got the Chariots of Fire theme running through my head...” The funny thing about this is that I finished to Chariots of Fire playing over the loud-speakers! REALLY! Pharmie heard it too! So my finishing thoughts were: “YAY! PR!” ...followed immediately by “Did I just finish to ‘Chariots of Fire?’ F*ck that.”

• Tomorrow (Thursday, April 1), a few of us are meeting at the track to do Kevin’s duahtlon workout that he shared with us this weekend. (That is the workout on the second page of my “Gear West Duathlon Clinic” article; Click here for page 1, and click here for page 2 which includes the workouts.) Any locals interested in a KILLER duathlon workout at 6:30 tomorrow night? Contact me if you are. And look for photos back here in a couple of days along with our thoughts on how the workout treated us. (Someone who has done this workout before warned me last night: she said not to eat much beforehand because it’s a puke-inducing workout. Yay.)

• Also, tomorrow I’ll be posting big, BIG, BIG giveaway news! Do you like tri / cycling gear? Then this is for you. I’ll be giving away over $1,000 in amazing bike and tri gear!! And no, it’s NOT an April Fool’s joke. But it DOES have to do with “lookin like a fool...” just NOT necessarily with your pants on the ground. Yesterday, I let the fans of Steve in a Speedo on FB know how to enter (a perk of becoming a fan!), so they are thinking if they (or someone they know) could come up with a good entry for the contest. Check back tomorrow for more!.....


Training Tips from the "Gear West Duathlon Clinic"

>> Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Saturday morning, I took a little trip out to Gear West Bike (our local triathlon outfitter). I was there for the free duathlon clinic. Why? First of all it was free. Secondly, one of the 2 people scheduled to present training / racing advice was Kevin O'Connor, the 2009 USAT Duathlete of the Year. So I'd LOVE to hear training advice from someone with those credentials. The other person there to share his thoughts was Jason Digman from Dig It Triathlon and Multisport Coaching.

Here's a shot of Kevin (on the far left) and Jason, along with the group of about 15-17 people who showed up for the clinic:

I had to use the boy's room part way though, and I found it funny that Cathy Y, Dan C, Carrie H, David T, and a few other people I know WATCHED me pee from the calendar cover above the toilet:

Yes, I was ACTUALLY peeing as I snapped that photo.
Thank you... thank you. *bows graciously*

I wrote an article on some of the training ideas that Kevin and Jason discussed, and you can find that here. That article contains more photos from the talk, their thoughts on how to approach a duathlon, and a couple of great duathlon-specific workouts. The article is more "official," but some of the info below is more of my response to some of the things Jason and Kevin mentioned:

Jason noted that "triathletes" that show up to race at a duathlon should NOT be surprised when they don't do really well. They need to build in some duathlon-specific workouts. This was sort of a "duh" moment, but I'd never really thought of it like that before...

Both Kevin and Jason emphasized racing A LOT. Racing often is the way to get good at racing. That was news I LOVED to hear. If you're not aware of this, I like to race! ;)

I was surprised to hear Kevin say this: (Interesting Point Alert) Kevin doesn't use a Garmin or HR monitor while training. He DOES use a power tap on his bike. And when racing, he NEVER races at certain "numbers." He ALWAYS goes by "perceived effort." He will track his numbers during a race, but he'll only look at them afterwards. He'll never say "Oh, I'm at XX mph (or XXX watts), that's where I want to be" during a race. Instead, he'll assess how he's feeling THAT DAY at THAT MOMENT to see if he needs to speed up or slow down. Again, this is kind of "duh" statement. But I realized I might see a certain number on my bike computer, and hold back JUST A BIT, thinking "Oh, that's not a bad average." When really, I could try pushing harder if I have more to give.

After the talk, we were treated to something real sweet. Gear West Bike was one of a FEW places to currently have on display the new Trek "Speed Concept" bike that won't be unveiled until May. Lance Armstrong and Ironman stud Chris Lieto are among the few to currently have this bike. The bike was actually DRIVEN to Gear West Bike in a car because they couldn't trust it to be shipped. And they had to make a very official agreement with Trek that NO ONE could ride the bike. You can't see it in this photo, but it's amazing the way the front brakes are integrated into the front fork. Sexy. Here she is on display at Gear West Bike:

So I HAD to touch it:

And because I'm Steve in a Speedo and I'm known to take things a LITTLE too far at times, I also HAD to lick it:

Now that's not creepy at all....

Kevin said that it will be made with different grades of carbon, and that he suspects it's retail price will range from around $2,000 to $7,000 based on the carbon. The one that I licked will be worth less. ;)

After the clinic, a few people stuck around to go on a 45 minute run with Kevin and Jason. Here are some photos:

Heading out: Kevin and Jason on the left

Entering the trails at Wolsfeld Woods

A creek crossing

I chatted with Kevin a bit on the run. (Interesting Point Alert) He's a SUPER SPEEDY runner, and I was shocked to hear that he hasn't done a track workout in YEARS! He gets all of his speed from killer tempo runs. He thinks he maybe did 1 fartlek last year, but other than that, no "speed work" to speak of. Interesting...

Thanks for the tips, Kevin and Jason!! I learned a lot in that hour!

So click here to see more training ideas from the Duathlon Clinic (along with the 2 great duathlon workouts that Jason and Kevin gave us). (And BTW, I have some BIG potential giveaway news coming later this week. We're talking BIG big. The details are currently being worked out, but if you'd like to join the “Steve in a Speedo” fan page on Facebook, I'll be dishing the news to them before I post it here. It'll give you a chance to get your entry going before everyone else.....)


Human Race 5K: PR or Bust

>> Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday night, the night before the race, Pharmie and I went out with some friends. We had to check out Michelangelo's Pietà (or at least a replica) that is currently on display at the Cathedral of St. Paul:

Then we went to a fancy French place. The food was GREAT! I had a duck breast:

And then I had little puff-pastries filled with ice cream and smothered in chocolate sauce for dessert:

Hopefully it wasn’t anything TOO rich for the race the next day!!

Sunday morning, I got up and got ready for the 5K. The great thing was that the 5K started 0.7 miles from my front door! So when “packet pick-up” opened, I just jogged down there, picked up my stuff, and jogged back home to get my chip and number put on. Here’s the pick-up tent just as they were opening:

I got home and figured out what I wanted to run in. This is what I wore:

(That’s a cat coming out of my butt)

I was wearing my Sugoi “tuke” hat, Ryder “drill” sunglasses, New Balance Emmisive long-sleeve t-shirt, Nike shorts, Drymax socks, and Sacouny racing flats. Pharmie said something about looking like a multi-product whore. ;)

So about 18 minutes before the start, I took off out the front door. I jogged down to the start (with a couple of “stride outs”), and still had over 10 minutes to spare. I chatted with a few other guys lining up near the front, and it was a conversation that some hardcore runners don’t like to have: I asked what they thought their finishing time would be. I told them I was NOT running for place, and that I was ONLY running for a PR, and I wanted to know who I’d be around. Everyone at this race was TOTALLY cool with sharing prospective times. One guy, B, said he was hoping for around 17:30. I told him I was gunning for just under that, because 17:27 was my PR. A young, 15-16 year-old redheaded kid told me he was hoping to go out under 5/mile (gulp) and finish around 15. And there was something about him that made me BELIEVE him - I knew he knew what he was talking about. I gave the young-en some advice on the course, Molly caught my eye and said hi, and we were being ushered up to the line in no time.

Rick Recker from the MDRA sounded the bullhorn, and we were off!

Here’s the course and the elevation chart:

The elevation chart looks worse than it really was. The only “noticeable” hill was the 2% grade up to Snelling, and then the 2% grade coming back down.

I pushed it up the first little hill to Cleveland, and I hit my watch. The stoplights on this course are a half mile apart, so I could check on my pace at the 0.5 mile point and see how I was doing. The speedy 15 year old was GONE from the start. And I was running in second. About a half mile in, B slowly passed me, and we chatted for a moment. I was in third. (But I did NOT care about place - I was going for PACE!)

• Mile 0.5: 2:47 (5:34 pace). “Perfect!”

I was SO happy with that starting pace. I knew I had to hold a 5:36 average to PR, so I was where I needed to be! We hit the 1 mile marker at the base of the hill just before Snelling.

• Mile 1: 5:38. “Good! Try to maintain this up the hill.”

Coming up to Snelling, I could hear sirens getting closer and closer. I was afraid that the 2 police officers were going to tell me to stop to let an emergency vehicle go though. But the sirens stopped, and I looked over to see an ambulance stopping at an SA just 1 block off Summit at Snelling. Close call!

Running up the rest of that hill was a little rough. I was right on B’s heels, but I knew my pace was dropping a little. The half mile leading up to the turn-around was 2:50 (5:40 pace). I was slowing. At the turn-around, I really didn’t know if I’d be able to PR. I was hurting, and the race was only half done. I knew I’d have to “gut it out.”

• Mile 2: 5:43 (uphill). “Shucks. That’s a bit too slow. I hurt like hell, but I’ve GOT to go NOW. Use this downhill coming up! GO!”

I was trying to watch my foot-strike: I’m a “heal-striker,” and I know that only slows you down in a race. I was trying to land mid-sole. That downhill half mile clocked in at 2:42 (5:24 pace), so I knew I had a shot at the PR. But I just wanted to stop and catch my breath. I was h.u.r.t.i.n.g. I wanted to end it. I was thinking about what Char had commented on my Friday post:

Good luck with that PR. Just remember that the pain will stop as soon as you cross the finish line or die, which ever comes first.

I’d like to go with death please. With a side order of fries. Thanks.

I glanced up and decided to pick up the pace and catch B in front of me. I was still in 3rd, and that speedy kid was literally BLOCKS ahead of us. I hurt like hell, but I needed to make up some time NOW. I also spotted Pharmie off in the distance on her bike! She had surprised me out there by showing up to cheer at the start of her bike ride! She snapped a shot of me off in the distance as I was starting to pass B with about a half mile left:


Making the pass

Taking 2nd place

I shot Pharmie a little smile, and then got back to work. A few seconds later, she whizzed by me on her bike shouting “GO HUNNIE!!” She pulled over just before the finish line and got ready to snap another photo.

I hit my watch at the mile 3 marker, but I didn’t look at it. I was pushing HARD. Knowing my split at that moment would not help anything. I just needed to leave EVERYTHING out there. Here’s the AWESOME shot Pharmie got of me as I crossed Cleveland with just 100 feet left in the race:

• Mile 3: 5:19 (downhill). "Holy hell. Nice!"
• 0:31 to the finish.

Finishing time: 17:11
Pace: 5:31.8 / mile
2nd out of 498 overall
1st out of 26 in the 25-29 age group

And most importantly: a PR of 0:16 on a certified course!!

F*ck, I hurt. Pharmie grabbed a shot of me awkwardly coming out of a “I’m gonna barf” pose, with B in the foreground:

B and I congratulated each other on performances that we were both happy with. I grabbed a photo of my lovely Pharmie getting ready to do the rest of her 45 mile ride:

I felt GREAT soon after I finished, but I really left it “all out there” during the race. I was so happy with how I had done, and I told myself I didn’t need to race a 5K for a LONG time. ;) I found Molly and Jenny and congratulated them on great races too! (Molly was one of the top females, and Jenny was 2nd in her AG.)

I changed out of my running shorts when I got home, and I put on long johns and old jeans so I could go do yard work. It wasn’t until later that day that I realized that I never put underwear on before I put on my long johns.

Note to self: wash long johns.


Workouts Leading Up To The 5K

>> Saturday, March 27, 2010

This morning, I registered for the 5K race that’s tomorrow. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it because I was coming down with a cold yesterday morning. But after about 350 oz of water yesterday (seriously), I think I fought it off. So I spent the $25 and made it official this morning:

I had a pretty good week of workouts for being so stressed out. (Sometimes that HELPS me get my workouts in because I NEED a break.) I skipped my bike ride, and I need to be biking MUCH more, so that’s a concern. Anyway, here’s what I did:

• Mon, March 22: 1800 tempo swim (29:48), and weights later in the day. I felt pretty good about the swim. I’d been doing some of Jen’s / Julia’s swim workouts over the last few months, and I’ve been having a hankerin’ for a STRAIGHT swim - no intervals, no rest - just solid swimming. (Those other workouts HAVE been making me faster, but I wondered if I’d see improvement in a tempo swim.) I finished 1800 in 29:48, which was 1:39.35 / 100 yards. Two months ago, I did the same swim, and I was 4.5 seconds faster / 100 this time. I’ll take it!!

• Tues, March 23: 10 mile run with tempo pace in the middle: 1:04:50. I eased into the run a little, and then picked it up through about mile 9. At the turn around, I was at 33:20, and I ran back in 31:30 for a solid negative split.

• Wed, March 24: lifted weights. Focused on more reps and lighter weight.

• Thurs, March 25: 3x1600 at the track. FIRST OUTDOOR INTERVALS OF 2010! Yay! I put out the call for friends, and we had a decent showing for a chilly March evening:

Me, Matt, Mike, Mindy, and Jeremy.
With the St. Thomas LaCrosse Team working out in the background.

Mike and Mindy wrapped up their workout and took off. Matt and Jeremy were going to do some 400s. I wanted to do 3x1600 with about 90 seconds rest.

I had a goal for this workout: I wanted to run them EVENLY. This was my last “hard” workout before my 5K PR attempt tomorrow, and I wanted to really pay attention to how hard I was working and how that translated to my pace. Remember, in my post from Thursday, I noted how I really need to run the first mile of the 5K PERFECTLY to be able to have a shot at my PR.

So I figured the first 1600 of this workout was key.

I blew it. Big time.

I realized it at the 800 point of that first 1600. “2:32?!? Damn it!” That’s a great time, but that’s WAYWAYWAYWAYWAY too fast! I can NOT do that at the 5K! Here are my 800 + 800 = 1600 times for the workout.

2:32 + 2:41 = 5:13
2:40 + 2:45 = 5:25
2:45 + 2:45 = 5:30

5:22.67 average / 1600

So the good news is that my average was QUITE good! The last time I ran 3x1600 on the track was exactly 5 months ago, and those averaged 5:36! The bad news is that if I try to run my first mile anywhere NEAR that for the 5K, I’ll barf up my spleen at mile 2. (My last interval hurt SO bad because my first was so hard.) So, you could say that I learned something doing those intervals, but I also feel LESS ready knowing that my pace was THAT far off!

I grabbed a shot of Matt, Jeremy, and I once we had all wrapped up:

Jeremy had biked there from his job (at a bike shop), and he just bought another bike. So he was riding a bike while hauling a new bike frame:

I got home, warmed up (I was COLD), stretched, and made a Naan topped with my mother-in-law’s pizza sauce, spinach, cheese, and “Pizza Seasoning” from Penzeys Spices:


• Fri, March 26: “No Minds” swim VO2 max workout. Matt invited Pharmie and I to his gym. He’s learning how to swim and hoping to do his first triathlon this year! We all hopped in the pool, and I grabbed a shot:

Matt, me, and Pharmie

Matt doesn’t look too bad in the water! Pharmie and I kept giving him a few pointers, and I HOPE we didn’t overwhelm him. He’s getting there. It’s all about spending time in the water, and he totally gets that.

So I was doing the “No Minds” workout that I had done once before in early January. It’s a long warm-up (800-1000), then 200-250 at “race pace,” then 5x100 ALL OUT every 4:00 with slowing times. It’s a good now-and-then swim workout when you need some intensity. Back in January, my fastest 100 was 1:20, and I averaged 1:22.6. This time, my first 4 were UNDER 1:20!! I’d NEVER done ONE 100 under 1:20 before! I was THRILLED!

I swam my 100s in 1:17, 1:18, 1:18, 1:19, and 1:20, which is a 1:18.4 / 100 interval average.

(Now, I don’t know if this makes a difference, but Matt’s pool is “salted” so they don’t need to use as much chlorine. And I’m assuming that this makes me more buoyant, and therefore I might have been able to swim a little faster than in my usual pool at the Y. Does anyone know if this plays into my better times? Thanks in advance if you can help!)

• Sat, March 27: Easy 4-4.5 mile run and some stretching. This morning, I was at the Gear West Duathlon Clinic. I learned a fair amount, and I have some workout ideas to share (probably next week). After the clinic, about 1/3 of us “students” went for a run along with Kevin and Jason (who led the clinic). Here we are out in Wolsfeld Park:

Now, it’s time for a little yard work, some gentle stretching and foam rolling, an evening double-date with friends, and then a SHOT at a 5K PR tomorrow! Tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon, check my Twitter page to see how I did! I’ll update it as soon as I get home from the race! (It’s also on the right side of my blog.) And I’ll have my full race report on Monday. Have a great weekend everyone!!


Friday Funny 82: Man Boobs (and other odd topics)

>> Friday, March 26, 2010

I think I’ll be heading out to the free Gear West Duathlon Clinic tomorrow morning. I’ll report back next week with any good nuggets of information. It’s being put on by a duathlon-specific coach and Kevin O’Connor, the USAT Duathlete of the Year for 2009. Should be fun!

Then, hopefully a 5K PR on Sunday!

Happy Friday!


So I’m Racing a 5K

>> Thursday, March 25, 2010

Well, I guess it’s “PR or Bust” on Sunday!

I went to the ever-trusted McMillan Running Calculator yesterday to see if my recent 4 miler gave me some hope at a 5K PR. Based on that 4 mile race last weekend, these were my calculations:

So notice in the upper right that their 5K prediction is 17:21. That’s 6 seconds faster than my 2 year old 5K PR. That’s cutting it p.r.e.t.t.y. close.

(One thing that I’ve noticed about every running calculator that I’ve tried is that I seem to never have the DISTANCE SPEED that they say I have. That chart above, based on my 4 mile race last weekend, has my 10 mile time estimated at 1:00. [I’ve ran 3 between 1:02:19 and 1:02:44, most recently 10 days ago.] And it estimates my half marathon time at 1:20. [I’ve ran 3 between 1:28:05 and 1:29:35.] So if it ALWAYS predicts TOO FAST over longer races and TOO SLOW over shorter races, MAYBE I can bang out a 17:15. This is all just speculation on what I’ve noticed over the past few years when using these calculators.)

I noted last weekend that felt like I ran that 4 mile race PERFECTLY. My first mile was FAST, but it wasn’t killer (and that’s the key to a short race for me - well, probably the key for anyone). I held onto that pace near the middle. And I finished strong.

That means I need to race this weekend’s 5K perfectly as well. If the first mile is too slow, the PR will be out of reach. If I race the first mile too fast, I’ll “blow up” before the finish line. I feel like 5:30 is too fast, but 5:45 is too slow. That’s a small window.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see. If it doesn’t go well, I may have to remove my nipples in angst:

Someone didn’t get hugged enough as a child.


100% Irish For A Day Photos

>> Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Remember back about 10 days ago? I had my “double race birthday weekend” which included a 10 mile road race on Saturday, and an Indoor Triathlon on Sunday. Well, I just found the photos from the “100% Irish For a Day 10 Miler” from my birthday.

Here I am hurting with about a half mile to go:

Look behind me in that photo above. See the guy with long hair, black tights, and blue shirt? That’s the man I mentioned in my race report who had the great ass who I passed around mile 9. If anyone knows this guy, tell him that I admire the junk in his trunk:

Is that creepy for me to say?...

Here I am about to hit the finish line. That guy behind me looks so fresh because he’s coming through the finisher’s area with 1 lap around Lake Harriet left, so he still had to run another 3.1 miles before he finished:

The downside to a lot of the races around Lake Harriet is that they're on a one-way street, so as some people are ready to get in their car and go home, others are still finishing the race. So you end up getting chased down by cars in the last half mile:

I found some photos of 1 guy doing the 5K who had OBVIOUSLY never seen a race photographer before. As soon as he notices that camera, he TOTALLY stops to “ham it up.” I love it. Check it out:

And being it was a St. Patrick’s Day run, there were some costumes. They range from the slightly boring...

Irish flag. Nice.

... to a bit more crazy...

Cold enough for gloves, but not for a shirt. Interesting.

... to downright nuts:

Moose Knuckle Alert!! Oh, I guess it’s too late to warn you.... Oops. ;)

And I guess it’s been a while, so it’s time for a gross foot photo. I developed this gem after the 4 mile race last weekend:

Nasty. And try not to notice the giant toe hair to the right.

I think I’ll rip it off, plant it in the backyard, and see if it will grow a new foot. I could sure use one. Sheesh.

p.s. Check out my last post and try to help me decide which race to run this weekend. Thanks!



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