I Hope I'm Not The Only One....

>> Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My "training" for the week last week looks like this:

Yep. That's a solid week of 42 minutes of strength and core work. Yay me.

But that's about on par for Thanksgiving week, right? ....Right?....


Thanksgiving "Workouts"

>> Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't get overly concerned - I DIDN'T go out and do a lot of training over the long weekend. I'm still "taking it easy" and just doing what I want.

So, that means on Thanksgiving Day, I played on the ice with Pharmie's godchild and other cousins:

Grace and I

Trying to break through the ice.

Group photo on the ice: me, Grant, Annie,
Grace, Ben, Gretchen, and Tysen.

Onto a bigger, badder, better pond.

Then on Saturday, Pharmie and I had some more celebrating to do. It was Thanksgiving on my side in the morning / afternoon, and then an anniversary party for Pharmie's parents in the evening.

Immediate family.

Dave pulling the remote control car out of my cousin's hair.

Stenzels all over the place.

Playing with my nephew in the basement.

Then we made a trek across town. It's becoming a family tradition to make a trip with the cousins to the Dollar Store to buy crap.

Kelsey told me it was like this when she got there.

No one is going to buy you, Hitler Bear.

At the Dollar Store, we found "Big Buck Hunter" for $28! It was just a "plug-and-play" game, so it didn't need any gaming system. Grandpa tried it out right away:

Grandpa shooting cow-pies in the sky.

Then we took the game to my in-laws for the night.

Matt and his gun.

Never trust a shifty-eyed professor / triathlete with an orange plastic shotgun.

I cleaned house in the game with my 3 brothers-in-law. Totally owned them. Then my mother-in-law tried. She saw a lot of this:


She WAS good at killing ducks!

This is what Thanksgiving is all about: family gathered around
the TV yelling at each other because they just wounded a deer
but didn't actually kill it until after midnight. Good times.

p.s. I registered for my first race of 2011 last night!! Vacation Sports is offering 50% off their entry fee into their races THROUGH TODAY, so Matt and I registered for the Oakdale Duathlon as "Team Happy Pants." Click here to get more info on the 50% race entry. Heck of a deal. Team Happy Pants will be riding again in 2011!


Friday Funny 133: The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

>> Friday, November 26, 2010


Friday Funny 132: "Pie" Chart

This seems appropriate for the day after Thanksgiving....


Quick Update

>> Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Regarding my last post: I got some comments, some e-mails, and some tweets from many of you basically saying "Don't be dumb. Take it easy. Everyone needs some time off to NOT burn-out or get hurt." THANK YOU, READERS!

I'm listening. I'm going to wind down for a while, only doing what I feel like. Do I feel like running stairs today? OK. Nothing for 4 days? Fine. Lay in front of the TV for an hour and do 6 crunches only when a stupid jewelry commercial comes on? Great - I'll log that as a "killer core workout."

Last year, about this time, I did my "14 Days of Nothing" where I took some time completely off to heal up my calf/heel and my back. But now, I'm injury free, so I'll just ease back and take it easy. No burn-out. Just fun. Want to meet me somewhere in the Cities for an interesting workout? I'm game. Drop me a line.

In the meantime, this pie chart sums up my current training mantra:

Because I've got nothing else to say right now, here are some links to recent "St. Paul Triathlon Examiner" articles of mine:

• Chisago Lakes Tri named MN long distance championship race for 2011.
• WTC announced the new IronKids Midwest series.
• Local long course triathlon added as an ITU World qualifier.

Remember the 7-10 inches of snow we got near 2 weeks ago? That provided for some great racing which included some national coverage! Check these out:

• Photos from the first running of the (snowy) Diva Dash.
• Because of the epic snowy conditions, the MN State Cyclocross Championship received national attention on CNN and The Weather Channel.
• Some great photos from that snowy State cyclocross race.
• (Speaking of snow...) Dome running officially started last night (run inside at the Metrodome for $1).

And finally, there were some locals racing in Ironman Arizona this past Sunday. Devon Palmer (who recently turned pro) was taking on AZ as his first IM, and soccer mom arch nemesis Jenny Wilcox and racing buddy Julie Hull were there too. Devon did GREAT in his first IM, and Jenny and Julie both Kona qualified!! (IN THE SAME AGE GROUP TOO!) I was watching the race unfold on IronmanLive, and I was treated to the sight of Julie finishing with cartwheel after cartwheel as she came down the finisher's chute! And then, she was greeted with a hug from THEE Chrissie Wellington (who had just set an IM World Record):

Photos from Kerry Yndestad of YndeCam

So click here to read a little more about their races and to see more of Kerry's photos.

Thanks everyone! Happy Thanksgiving! Say hello to your mother for me!


There's No "I" in "Denial"

>> Monday, November 22, 2010

Or "They Spell 'Power Barz' With a 'Z,' So You Know It's Good."

I never really thought it would happen to me. I LOVE running, lifting weights, being fit, and competing in swim / bike / run. But I've got to be honest: Right now, I'm a little burnt out.

After the TC 10 Mile, I took it a little easy. I posted a few weeks ago that I was keeping up decent workouts after being coached by Jen. But they've gone downhill since then.

Recently, on harder runs when things start to get a little uncomfortable, I think "why am I pushing it?" And I end up not wanting to keep up the pace. I did a long run of 9 miles on Friday with the middle 5 miles hard. I wanted to build the pace, but my times were all over the place because I didn't really care. (I can usually nail my times on the head, but I did 6:40, 6:10, 6:20, 6:11, and 5:47. That's very sporadic for me.) This is just one example of what "the norm" has been for a few weeks.

I can't complain about my running. But I can complain about my desire to swim and bike. It's just not there. My bike is on the trainer on the basement. And I don't want anything to do with it. And hopping in a pool when it's below freezing outside just doesn't appeal to me.

So how am I dealing with this? I'm just letting my workouts slide right now, and I'm telling myself I'm OK with it. I've been busy in my "regular" life: I'm trying to remodel our basement bathroom, I'm getting some of my work ready for a big art sale, I'm grading a ton of student work, I'm getting ready to introduce a big, new final project to 2 of my classes that I've never done before, etc, etc. And I'm OK with not working out with a major race goal in mind.

I'm also doing what I like to do every winter: I'm trying new workouts. After my run on Friday, I went to the Y for my first "Power Barz" class. It's an hour of lighter weight / higher rep strength work. And it was good! We did about 30 minutes straight for our legs. Killer. Then we ended with upper body / core work. I enjoyed it as a change of pace, and I'd like to do it a few more times this winter.

So I'm letting some of my swim and bike fitness fade, and I'm OK with that. Soon, I'll be hitting the run a little harder again as I'd like to race the St. Paul Winter Carnival Half Marathon in mid January. It will be good to be training with a race in mind again. So I've got about 2 months to build up my miles a bit for that race.

Then, we'll see what multi-sport season holds for 2011. I thought I had a fun plan for my "A" race for the year, but I'm really re-thinking that. I don't want to be one of those people that trains for a race, gets in GREAT shape for a KILLER finish, and then stops working out and gains 40 pounds. I want to be "fit" for life. So I'm going to take it easy for a bit so I don't begin to hate training.


Is It Too Early For Christmas Cookies?

>> Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pharmie and her sister Steph made Christmas cookies yesterday:

They made OVER 200 cut-outs (and decorated them), and a couple of dozen spritz cookies:

(Most of the spritz are already in the freezer)

They even took the extra dough and made big ole balls of cookie dough for me (and saved the broken ones for me):

I feel a little sick today.


I'm feeling a little burnt out with my workouts lately. Back with more on that soon. Happy Sunday!!


Friday Funny 131: Churck Norris Wants Your Bike

>> Friday, November 19, 2010


Friday Funny 130: Beard Shaving

Why must all men do this? We grow facial hair, and then we must shave it off in an amusing manner. I think it's in our DNA.

(Although NeopreneWedgie made a good point in a tweet he sent me: "You've posted so many images of you shaving other body parts, perhaps the beard seems irrelevant at this point." Very true.)

Full beard pre-shave

A large goatee


Some sort of Van-Dyke

A more trimmed Van Dyke

Then it was time to unleash........

........the mustache.

Then I trimmed it down to "pedophile" length:

O. M. G.


Keep a Log

>> Thursday, November 18, 2010

Track your workouts.
Log your miles.
Count your laps.
You probably do this already.

If you don't, I think you should consider starting. Being injury-prone, keeping a log keeps me honest when I try to "ramp up" my miles too quickly (and then wonder why I'm hurting / injured).

I use my log for three main things:

1. Logging overall miles. I can check my long run and/or weekly mileage totals and know if I'm adding too much too quickly.

2. Tracking "important" workouts. This is a big one for me. Those important tempo runs or interval workouts get logged ASAP so I remember all the details. What were my splits? How did it "feel?" Were any injuries flaring up?

I LOVE comparing my splits on the track to see where I'm at compared to last time, last month, or last year. THE TRACK DOESN'T LIE.

3. Keeping track of those random things that can lead to injury. This is something I'm working on. On BeginnerTriathlete.com (AKA "BT," which is where I track my miles), you can add a "sports" workout of nearly anything: bike trainer, spin class, and walking are ones I frequently add. You can EVEN add chiropractic, dodgeball, Tae-Bo, and table tennis.

Recently, I've started adding "yard work" when I have a big day of mowing, trimming, and raking. My legs will be sore the day after I do something like that (if it's more than a few hours straight), and if I can keep track of EVERYTHING I'm doing, it will give me more insight into why a certain workout or race went great. Or why the workout or race was craptastic.

So when I log things into BT, a month might look like this:

(Last January)

And I can hover over any workout to see more details.

I did a write-up comparing different methods / websites for tracking your workouts back in February. CLICK HERE to see what I had to say about making your own log, DailyMile, TP, BT, and BuckeyeOutdoors.

So, here's my Tip of the Week: log your workouts with as much detail as you can. Then look back on this information to make sure that you're planning proper and appropriate workouts in the present.

p.s. Based on point #2 above, I need to share a minor "intervals victory" from last week. I went to the track last Tuesday (5 days before the indoor tri), and I was going to do 3 x 1600. I thought to myself as I was starting that I'd shoot for 5:45, 5:35, and sub 5:30. When the first one was SUPER fast (but felt OK), I just thought I'd try to hold on to that. My 3 x 1600 times were 5:21, 5:18, and 5:21. (The last one hurt like a mother.) That's an average of 5:20.0. Holy cats. Just a few months ago, I was THRILLED to have ONE 1600 under 5:20, and now I'm averaging that! I know I won't be able to keep THAT up over the winter!....

Oh yeah, I shaved off my beard 2 days ago. Check back for a beard-shaving "friday funny" tomorrow!


Indoor Tri Results

>> Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The results are up! Here's how they look:

There were 41 athletes who raced, so if you went the farthest in any division, you earned 41 points. Second in the division got 40 points. Etc, etc. I had a clean sweep of 123 points, but only myself and Matt (second place) did the "90 minute challenge" - everyone else did the regular 60 minute race. So it's more than just a little unfair putting all the results together.

[The "90 minute challenge" had a 15:00 swim, a 45:00 spin, and a 30:00 run. The "regular" 60 minute race had a 10:00 swim, a 30:00 spin, and a 20:00 run.]

Because I just HAD to do that annoying "I-didn't-do-this-race-but-what-if-I-did" thing, I wanted to see how I would have ended up in the normal "60 minute race" as opposed to the "90 minute challenge" that I took part in. So I took all my distances and multiplied by 0.66666 to figure it out. I took Matt out of the mix (the only other one in the 90 minute challenge with me), and compared my numbers. I would have placed 5th in the swim, 2nd in the bike, and 2nd in the run. But I would have won the race by 3 points.

A few points:

• I noted this before, and I'll note it again: these Indoor Triathlons are almost ALWAYS won by someone who has good balance across all 3 disciplines. I'm NOT talking about me winning the 2-person "90 minute challenge." Had I done the 60 minute race, I would have gotten first. One guy had both the farthest swim AND run, but he would have come in FIFTH! I would have won, and I wouldn't have won ANY individual division. Use this as a lesson, people! Use this off-season to work on that weakest of your 3 triathlon legs!! Go! NOW!!

• Rachel, Katrina, and Hannah all did great!! Their results are highlighted above. I talked to Hannah and Rachel the day after the race. Hannah felt GREAT the next morning. Rachel told me she had trouble getting out of bed. I don't mean she just didn't want to get up; I mean that she physically had trouble moving from a horizontal to a vertical position! These hard / fast indoor tris take a lot out of you!! However, Rachel asked me "Steve, can we just do an 'unofficial' tri sometime at the local Y?" YES RACHEL!! We can! I love that idea....

• I posted on Rachel's, Hannah's, and Katrina's Facebook walls shortly after the race. I found these 2 posts back-to-back when I stopped back a few hours later:

Regarding my comment: her legs got a little "rubbed raw" during the fast spinning. And because of my beard, she was calling me "dad" all day on Sunday. Awkward? Yes. ;) (And I was the person who "liked" Jessica's comment.)

• I FINALLY solved a recurring Indoor Tri issue: My toes always get a little beat-up from spinning so fast during the race. (I was holding a cadence around 156 during the race.) Here's a little blister from the indoor tri earlier this year:

And here's a bloody sock and a rubbed-raw toe from the indoor tri a year ago:

Well, I FINALLY got smart and brought along my Toe Caps to wear during the race. I had it on JUST for the bike, and I took it off before the run. Here's a photo of me modeling a Toe Cap about a year ago before I headed out for a run:

It did the trick!! My toes were P-E-R-F-E-C-T during (and after) the race! Thanks Toe Caps!!

"Like condoms for your toes, only non-sexual."
(Not their actual slogan, but it SHOULD be)

Scroll down or click here to see our race report with a bunch of photos.


Plymouth Indoor Tri with 3 CVA Tri Club Students!

>> Monday, November 15, 2010

Yesterday morning, I picked up Rachel and Hannah, and we met Katrina at the Lifetime Fitness in Plymouth. We were ready to race!!

It was NOT an "A" race for me for a few reason:

- I had FEW workouts in the 2 weeks prior to the race.

- I spent 5 hours working in the yard on Friday, and my legs were sore TO THE TOUCH after that! I raked leaves and made 3 trips to the compost site with carloads of leaves and branches.

- I spent a fair amount of time on Saturday night shoveling heavy, wet snow after getting back from teaching a 7 hour workshop at CVA and meeting with photo students for a few hours at the U. I thought my obliques were going to pop from my sides!

I was just in this race for fun. And I thought I'd try something new: this race offered a "90 minute challenge" as opposed to the normal 60 minute indoor race, so I opted for the 90 minute race.

We grabbed a photo before the ladies started:

Rachel, me, Hannah, and Katrina.
(Yep. The "Tutti-Frutti" shorts came out for this race!)

The girls were in the last "regular" wave, and I was in the final wave which was the "90 minute challenge." So I was snapping photos as those 3 were getting ready to start:

They had all done an indoor tri before (Hannah had done THREE before this one!), so they didn't need me barking all kinds of advice at them. They knew what to do. I just reminded them that 10:00 is a long swim, so they should start off E-A-S-Y. Then I snapped awkward / nervous photos of all of them:

Rachel and her giant head

Hannah laughing (or something...)

Katrina yelling at me

"READY... SET.... *whistle*"

Hannah, Rachel, and Katrina starting off

They were in a wave that should have had 7 people in it, but there were only 5 there. So CVA was going to take over this wave! ;) Here they are over half way into their swim:

Hannah pushing off, Rachel workin' the backstroke,
and Katrina going strong in the foreground

When the whistle blew at the end of their swim, they had all done really well! Hannah did 15 lengths, Rachel did 17 lengths, and Katrina did 20 lengths!! They ran off to the locker room on their way to the spinning studio.

It was time for me to start thinking about my race! I realized I had forgotten to eat (my wave started at 10:00 am which is practically lunch time!) and I was getting a little hungry. So I grabbed a quick gel. I hoped that it wasn't too close to my start time to be having a gel.

There were SUPPOSED to be 5 people in the "90 minute challenge," but I had only talked with one guy named Matt. When it got closer to the starting time, we realized it was just going to be the 2 of us! We thought that was pretty funny. And Matt had a "low-key" attitude like me, so he wasn't going to be "going for blood" throughout the entire race. This was gonna be FUN!

Matt and I hopped in. The lady on the pool deck gave us a few instructions / reminders, and then just casually said "OK, go."

15:00 SWIM:

We were swimming!! Matt quickly took the lead. At about 200 yards, he was about half a length in front of me. I knew that meant one of 2 things: he was either a better swimmer than me, or he was going out a little too hard and I could catch him. It ended up being #2. I realized I was gaining at about 350 yards into the race; and at 400 yards in, I passed him. I tried to keep it strong throughout. Here are my 100 yard splits:

0:13 (last 1/2 length)

I had done 36.5 lengths (or 912.5 yards) in 15:00

10:00 T1:

I ran into the locker room, got naked, threw on my bike shorts, wrestled with my tri-top as I was trying to put it on (seriously, it was comical), and headed out to the spinning studio. Before getting my bike set, I grabbed a photo of the ladies who had just about 8 minutes left in their 30:00 spin:

I got my spinning bike all set up, and was ready to go.

45:00 SPIN:

45:00 of spinning ISN'T a big deal. But it IS when there's no resistance and you're spinning at a cadence of 156 RPMs! Seriously! It KILLS my back! I had warned Matt about this in the pool ahead of time. You can set your own resistance on the bikes, but you want to keep it as "loose" as possible - the computer only counts revolutions of the flywheel, so you just need to GO NUTS and spin that sucker as fast as possible! It's NOT like road riding. I counted my cadence over 15 seconds a few times, and I got 39 each time. That equals 156 RPMs. The computer said I was averaging around 38 mph. Again, NOT equivalent to road riding.

About 15:00 in, Matt sheepishly asked how far I had gone. I had NO problem sharing. We were totally neck-and-neck! I glanced over to his computer a few more times throughout the ride, and we were always within 0.1 of a mile of each other! Sometimes I had a slight lead; sometimes he did.

Katrina and Hannah popped in to say hi when they finished their run, and they grabbed a photo of Matt and I:

Sweaty thumbs-up about 35:00 in, with 10:00 left

I told Katrina to step back and get a wide shot of our GIANT wave:

Yeah, it was pretty dead in there...

Well, the volunteers gave us warnings at 6, 4, 3, 2, and 1 minute. I knew it was going to be close between Matt and I! When they called "time," I glanced at my computer and then at Matt's. We finished EXACTLY the same!! Nice! Matt laughed and gave me a fist-bump.

5:00 T2:

I changed my shoes in the spinning studio, refilled a water bottle, and made my way up to the treadmills. I had a few minutes to spare, so I wrote a letter to my Congressman regarding the current state of our healthcare.

30:00 RUN:

When given the cue, we started our treadmills. I cranked mine up to 9.5 mph. After 10 minutes, I bumped it up to 10.0 mph. I didn't know if I'd be able to hold that, but I figured I could always bring it back down. Soon, Rachel, Katrina, and Hannah showed up, and they grabbed my camera to get some photos:

Smiling and hurting

Beard and bicep power

A nice shot of Matt and I side-by-side

Yes Hannah, that's me. Thanx.

I realized I still had a lot of "Jen Harrison run training" still in my legs. At the 20:00 mark (the normal stop time), I was at 3.22 miles. At my last indoor tri this spring, I finished that 20:00 run with 3.21 miles total. So I had out-done that run (barely) AND I still had 10:00 left to run! Jen still lives on.......

Anyway, I held onto 10.0 mph from 10:00 - 26:00, and then I cranked it up to 10.5 mph for the last 4 minutes. At the end of the 30:00 run, I had about a mile on Matt (around 4.9 miles total). So I guess that means I won and he took second! ;) Matt gave me a shake-your-hand-and-hug-you-with-the-other-one thing, and we congratulated each other on a great race! We were both just there for a solid, hard effort, and we were both happy with how it all panned out.

I ran through the shower, and all 4 of us headed home. It was a fun / successful day for the "CVA Triathlon Club!!" But we all had to get back home because there was school-work to do....

Back with the full results as soon as they're up! Thanks everyone!!



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