Some 800 Repeats to Close Out 2011

>> Saturday, December 31, 2011

On Thursday, I FINALLY got done grading semester projects and had a few minutes before having to get Henry from daycare. So I thought I'd hit the track.

Yes, the TRACK. On the 29th of December. In Minnesota.

We've had SO little snow this winter that outdoor intervals are still possible! When I got to the track, this was all the snow I spotted:

It was about 3 years ago that I actually SHOVELED the track so I could do intervals. Here's a quick excerpt from that post in December of 2008:

I showed up to the track with a shovel because it looked like this:

There should be 8 lanes just in front of me...

Here’s what the middle of the home stretch looked like, with about a 1/2 inch of snow covering everything:

I shoveled the home stretch first:

CLICK HERE for more photos of that snowy interval workout 3 years ago.

Anyway, back to Thursday. I brought a bit of Coach Jen to the track with me. I found it fitting that the new "Roctane Drink" (that I was just sent a few weeks ago) is pink, and it matched Jen's pink water bottle:

p.s. The Roctane Drink is TASTY! I don't really care for "fruity" drinks (during workouts: no; at the bar: yes), but I've used this a few times and it tastes good and doesn't upset my stomach.


6-8 x 800 with 90 seconds rest (walking).

I know, I know... saying "6-8 800s" is never a good idea. But I hadn't done 800s in a LONG time, so here's how I saw it. I could do (Goal A) 6 800s if I start out too fast and start to die after a few - that'd be good training for my upcoming mile in 2 weeks. Or I could do (Goal B) 8 800s if I start out too slow and feel like I have "plenty left" - that'd be good training for the half marathon in a month. As I got ready to start, I said to myself: "Who am I kidding? I'm only going to do 6. Make them count."

1:26, 1:23 = 2:49
1:22, 1:24 = 2:46
1:22, 1:23 = 2:45

At this point, I set a new goal. Now I was going to shoot for (Goal C) 6 descending 800s.

1:22, 1:20 = 2:42
1:21, 1:20 = 2:41
1:21, 1:18 = 2:39

2:43.66 / 800 average

PERFECT DESCEND!! Nice! I snapped this photo of myself feeling like death still catching my breath about 30 seconds after the final interval:


As I was doing the final few 800s, I realized that they were all a slower pace than I hoped to run for the mile in 2 weeks. I didn't like that. So I told myself that IF my heels felt 100% after I finished the 800s, I'd do a race-pace 400. I was hoping for a 1:13 - 1:15 (that'd be around a 4:52 - 5:00 mile). Well, I busted out a 1:13. Nice. Now, I just need to string together 4 of those for a decent 1 mile...

A slightly slick and frosty track when I was done.
You can see my frosty footprints.

Oh yeah, I did the intervals in SHORTS! In DECEMBER!

My next races are the "Meet of the Miles" 1 mile on Jan 9th, and then the "Securian Run (Winter Carnival) Half Marathon" on Jan 28th. And maybe another track meet or 2.

Back soon with my 2011 yearly totals! Happy New Year everyone!!


Friday Funny 264: Holiday Weight

>> Friday, December 30, 2011

This is true. From Fake Science:



Friday Funny 263: Baby Carrying Jacket

One of my Facebook friends sent this image to me, along with the caption "For when you are out running." Yeah... I don't think so.

Because that doesn't look weird at all. Nope. It looks nothing like an alien coming out of her chest.



Friday Funny 262: What Wearing Sweatpants Says About You


Insane Downhill Mountain Biking!

>> Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two things:

1. This guy is CRAZY talented. This video is amazing.

2. I don't think I've EVER heard announcers get THIS excited before. Listening to them is just as entertaining as watching this race. Turn it up and check this out:

Direct link:

- 1:01-1:08 shows some amazing speed!
- The way he leans into those turns at 2:03 and 2:11 (in that mud) is nuts.
- Again, more amazing speed from 2:14-2:21.

And you HAVE to listen to the very end to hear the last line the announcer says. It's a 100% true statement. :)

p.s. Here's another crazy MTBing video. This one is more about the tricks, and it's shot REALLY well - really cool.


The "BEST" Swim Workout For Winter

>> Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I posed that question in a forum last month to see what people thought. Here's what I said:

What's the *best* swim workout to maintain Oly endurance and speed?

I know... I know... that's sort of a loaded question. I'm sure there's no ABSOLUTE BEST swim workout to be doing over the winter, but I want to get peoples' thoughts.

Also, I really hate asking this question, because it makes me sound lazy. However, my "excuse" is that in the past, I almost always swam in the morning around 6-7 am (at least that's when I had my "killer" swim workouts). Now, I have an adorable 5-month-old son at home, and I can't take him to daycare until 9:45 am, so my early morning workouts are a thing of the past. At least for a few more years.

So here's my question.........

Being I'll probably only be able to swim 3-6 times / month, what's a GOOD workout for me to be doing in the pool?

Longer endurance swims? 100 repeats? Tempo intervals? A long swim to build endurance with X many X00 repeats at the end for speed? Just trying to get a feel from the "swimmers" out there. Swimming is my weakest of the 3... I'm more of a "runner."

Thanks for your thoughts for this lazy swimmer! ;)

p.s. I'm normally a 25:00 - 28:00 Oly swimmer. (And around a 38:00 Oly runner... so the swim is where I need the help!) Thanks!!!

Here's what some people said:

20x100 at Tpace with 5s rest.

Enjoy :)

That sounded brutal. I loved a response to that from someone I know:

Are we trying to HELP Steve or DROWN him?

I mean, I'm down with either. :)

Someone else thought 5 seconds was a pointless rest:

Might as well just go ahead and go 2000 Tpace straight if you're going to just wait 5 sec at the wall.

But the first person went on to explain:

5 seconds is just enough time to catch a few breaths and "reset" your form mentally to keep it from breaking down. It's harder to maintain form during a continuous swim. BTW, before I read any other responses, I was going to suggest 20x100 at 5 seconds faster than T pace with 10-15 seconds rest. It's a little harder effort, but allows slightly longer to recover and reset.

Then I had a recommendation to do 50s from the same person who had the first suggestion:

My second recommendation is 40x50 fast with 15s rest - I like the slightly shorter interval for this one to aim to keep the whole 50 fast.

Someone finally asked what "T pace" is. I assumed it was "tempo," but I was wrong:

Maybe I swam too many hypoxics in childhood and am now stupid--what is T pace? Threshold? Triathlon (race) pace? How does one determine it for swimming? Also trying to keep up swim speed and do my swim workouts under severe time pressure--thinking of trying one of those soon!

The answer:

Threshold pace; generally it is approximated with a TT swim that lasts about 20min.

Here's a suggestion someone gave to determine your T pace:

Swim a 1000 as fast as you can. Convert the time to seconds. Divide by 10 (to get your pace per 100). Convert back to mins and seconds. That's your T pace, the average pace you can maintain for a distance, in this case 100/1000. You might like to get the number for your specific race distance, but I tend to work off my 1000m time for Olys.

Another workout suggestion:

4x500 descending. A nice efficient workout for a time crunched daddy.

Yet another workout suggestion:

pyramid set

100m, 200, 300 etc (to 500), then reverse 500, 400, 300, 200, 100 with 20 secs reset in between each

total of 3000m

The final bit of advice came from a local speedy swimmer:

i like this. you can also do 200s with 10-15 second rest. I also like the 50s suggestion earlier in this thread. You can also do ladders, to change up the variety. 100, 200, 300, 200, 100 repeat as many times as necessary. in my opinion, with that few of swim, they have to be hard. think of when your "run coach" told you to run your long hard runs at the level you feel like puking; when you were training to break the 60 minute ten mile.

Basically you want to feel like dieing afterward.

I took these ideas to Andrea, the swim coach at the Y. Her first thoughts were that the 20 x 100 workout would be a decent "overall" winter workout. But she thought that only 5 seconds of rest was too brutal: (1) it would get pretty mentally draining to only be looking forward to 5 seconds rest, and (2) my form could suffer too much. So she thought that 20 x 100 with more like 15 seconds rest would be good.

So... your thoughts? What's the "BEST" swim workout for limited winter swimming? Comment with your thoughts. I'll be checking the comments often, and I'll be responding with my ideas. Thanks everyone!!

p.s. Related: here's a good weight room routine to add power to your swim. Make sure to check out my notes at the bottom from the first time I tried this workout. :)

p.p.s. If you missed yesterday's post, check out the cute photos from Henry's first Christmas!


Henry's First Christmas!

>> Tuesday, December 27, 2011

If you're here for topics related to swim / bike / run, you're going to be disappointed today. Today, I'm taking a moment to show off a few cute photos of my son on his first Christmas. Come back tomorrow for swim / bike / run things.

First, here's a funny photo from just before Christmas where Henry learned to pet the OTHER end of the cat:

And on a related side note, here's a short, funny video from the end of last week showing Henry learning to sit up (and then learning to fall over on a cat):

OK, on to the Christmas photos:

My parents' family.

My cuties.

My family!

SANTA!! (On Christmas Eve.)

Awkward photo of Pharmie's cousins teaching me how to use a new pogo-stick.

Christmas morning before mass (at my parents' house).

A "solid food" snack after Church.

Henry has recently discovered faces.

A "4 generations" photo. (We're all the oldest in our families!)

With Great-Grandpa Francis.
(That's who Henry gets his ears and hair-line from!)

Oooooh... sparkly!!....


Hanging out in bed on the day after Christmas!
(Henry doesn't sleep with us, but we pull him into our bed for a moment once he wakes up.)

Zonked out before another Christmas party!

With Grandma Monica before the PJ Party!

"Is this one ALL for me?...."

In Uncle Matt's "standard raccoon" hat! (Inside joke.)

Unwrapping a present with Aunt Stephie!

Wrestling with Grandpa Bryan last night!

Finally, here's a nice card we got from the neighbors. These neighbors and I try to keep the college kids next door in line:

Hope you had a good Christmas! Or you're having a good Hanukkah! Or.....

Back tomorrow with some "swim training" thoughts.


How To Annoy Runners

>> Monday, December 26, 2011


White Intervals and Henry's First Snowy Run

>> Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, we had our "Holiday Party" at work. It got done early, and I had (smartly) brought my running clothes! So I changed and headed out for some quick speedwork on a slightly snowy afternoon. It had just snowed a BIT (just enough to cover everything and start to turn the intersections a little slick), but it wasn't enough to make the footing too dangerous.

I figured I'd run nearly 1 mile repeats on this course:

3 x 0.85 mile intervals with 90 seconds rest:
(0.35 miles Selby to Summit, then 0.5 miles from Dale to Victoria)

2:05, 2:52 = 4:57 (5:49.4 / mile pace)
2:58, 2:02 = 5:00 (5:52.9 / mile pace) (ran in the opposite direction)
2:02, 2:56 = 4:58 (5:50.6 / mile pace)

4:58.33 ave (5:51.0 / mile pace)

The footing wasn't perfect, but I really can't blame much on it being a little slick - they just weren't that fast. I probably could have (and should have) done a 4th interval.

I got home, and Henry was just waking up from a nap. Pharmie was going to head out to run some errands, so I thought I MIGHT be able to take Henry for a little cool-down run! We layered-up and got ready to go:

Henry all loaded up in the side-yard.

Lightly snow-covered River Road.

Finished up, back at home. (I think he's saluting me!)

So I finished my interval workout with a nice, easy 4 mile run with Henry about an hour later!

Then, yesterday, Henry and I headed out to run our "10 mile loop." We found a LITTLE snow still sticking around here-and-there:

Just a block from home.

Passed out for the middle of the run.

We got in just over 10 miles, and then we got in the house because Henry was starting to get hungry. All in all, I had a good 6 days - I got in 34 miles of running, and 29 of those were with Henry! Thanks for the runs, Hank!

Merry Christmas everyone!!


Friday Funny 261: Santa Claus Venn Diagram

>> Friday, December 23, 2011



Friday Funny 260: Star Wars Snowflakes




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