>> Saturday, April 30, 2011

Well, Matt and I are off to the Cannon Falls Duathlon. Yesterday, Matt came over and we "sexified" our bikes in my driveway:

And by "sexified," I mean "cleaned"

Ready to head to the race

Matt and I talked about the race. We're both unsure as to how it will go for us, but we're both just ready to try racing HARD and see what happens.

If you remember my post from Wednesday night, you'll remember that I (stupidly) challenged Julie Hull to a race today. I just BARELY beat her last year at this race. I am SOOOO going down.

I could give my reasons (excuses) as to why I'm not in as good of shape this year, or I could just go run hard, bike hard, and run as hard as I can and see what happens. My endurance isn't where I'd like it to be, but I've found that I still do have SOME speed. So the question is WHEN during the race today will I hit that line when my little endurance runs out?

Oh, here's a fun side-story (that I posted about back in Nov): In November, Julie raced IM AZ, and I was watching the race unfold on IronmanLive. Everyone watching 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 [which she has since broken] just after having to DNS at Kona):

Photos from Kerry Yndestad of YndeCam

None of this is an excuse. I'm going to race my little heart out, hope that she doesn't pass me too soon on the bike, and then try to rope her in on the run. If I were a betting man, I'd bet against me. But I'm not giving in.

Soooooo yeeeaaahhhhhhhh.... that Kona-qualified chick (yeah, she Kona qualified with those cartwheels) is going to own me today. But being I LOVE friendly competition, this is still going to be a BLAST! (And Julie is one of the "smiliest" competitors out there, so I know she'll have fun with this too!)

Check back for maybe a quick photo or 2 tonight or tomorrow, and then for the full report on Monday! Happy weekend!


Friday Funny 181: What to Wear for Tomorrow's Race

>> Friday, April 29, 2011

I've given it a lot of very little thought, and I'd like to break out the "Tutti Frutti" shorts for tomorrow's duathlon. Remember, they were debuted late last summer at my last triathlon of 2010:

Only I'll need to wear a LITTLE more than just that. It's supposed to be in the lower to mid-50s and raining, along with 20 mph winds. Yay. So I might look a little like I did at the Mosquito Man Duathlon:

But the icing on the cake will be my new Ryders shades! I hope to wear these along with the shorts:

RACE STRATEGY: Quick get out into the lead, and then everyone will go blind or have a slight seizure as they try to pass.

So Matt and I are off to race tomorrow! In closing, here's a great (awkward) photo from just after the Waseca Triathlon - the last triathlon Matt and I did together:


Friday Funny 180: Chewbacca Impression


Getting Ready To Race: Another Female Face-Off!

>> Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This weekend is my first race IN THREE MONTHS!! I haven't gone that long since before my first Half IM back in July of 2007! So I'm a little nervous / excited / unsure / pumped / etc.

I started seeing my new running PT on the 5th of April, and she gave me the "OK" to start bumping up the mileage and speed. Here's what the last 3.5 weeks have looked like:

(Click for larger view)

That first week was a "test" week of more mileage and just a LITTLE speed to see how my heel would hold up. The second week was a bit of a recovery week as to not over-do anything by ramping up too fast. The third week was again a harder week with speed and distance.

Notable workouts:
- 90:00 of hard spinning with Matt on the 15th
- 4 mile tempo in 23:51 on the 18th
- "Long" run of 6.5 miles on the 20th
- Killer "duathlon workout" of b/r/b/r/b/r/b/r on the 22nd (posted about it here)
- Another 4 mile tempo in 23:34 on the 25th

This past weekend, I took it a little easy over the Easter weekend while Pharmie and I visited some family:

Borsch and I ready for the Easter Egg Hunt. Mom, thanks for my dainty ankles.

Post-Easter Egg Hunt.

My bro-in-law Dave and my nephew Ian on my Dad's 4-wheeler.

My Mom and my niece on Easter Sunday.

So now I'm getting into "RACE MODE." Matt and I are racing the Cannon Falls Duathlon on Saturday for the 3rd straight year.

Me, Matt, and Pharmie before last year's race

Last year, if you remember, I passed racing buddy Julie Hull in the final few hundred meters. (Here's part one and part two of last year's race report.) Julie was the female winner and set the COURSE RECORD!

Here's a photo that Julie's awesome hubby took nearing the finishline of last year's race. It shows me JUST after I passed Julie in the background:

I didn't know if she'd be back this year, so I asked her on Facebook:

(That's the race director who "liked" this...)


I had "The Throw-Down with the Soccer Mom" at the Mosquito Man Duathlon last year. This year, I guess I have "The Face-Off with the Former Gymnast" at the Cannon Falls Duathlon.

I won the "soccer mom" duel by about 2 minutes last year.

This year, I'm afraid I'll have my ass handed to me by Julie.....

This should be FUN!!! I might post a quick photo on Sunday, and I'll have my full report on Monday.


Winner of the Hydrapak

Last night, I picked 1 random number for the winner of the Hydrapak Avila:

I entered my variables in Random.org, and I got #70 as the winner:

Who was #70? That was Detroit Runner!! Congrats Detroit Runner! Contact me and I'll put you in contact with the Hyrdapak people so they can send you your goodies!

And thanks for the giveaway, Hydrapak!!


Butt-Kicking Duathlon Workout

>> Monday, April 25, 2011

We had a long winter. I got out on my bike 3 times over the course of 8 days when we had some "decent" weather a few weeks ago. But that's been it. And with a duathlon coming up in FIVE DAYS, I knew I needed to kick myself in the ass a little this past weekend. So Friday (before all the Easter goodies), I did Kevin O'Connor's duathlon workout.

Note: I've mentioned this workout before. I heard about it at the Gear West Duathlon Clinic last spring, and I did it 3 times last summer. Here are links to those workouts:

- First, I did it at the track with Marie on April 1st.

- Then, I did a shorter version with Matt a few weeks later.

- And finally, I did it NEAR the track while running on the sidewalk in mid-July.

So, when I wanted to do this workout on Friday, it was 41 degrees, breezy, and raining:

I didn't really want to sit out on the track in that weather and be miserable, so I decided to be "THAT GUY" and work out in my garage. It was just lightly misting as I was hauling my bike, trainer, etc to the garage:

Everything's a little damp

Here's what my set-up looked like in the garage before I started the workout:

Ladder as an extra bottle holder, cardboard to transition on, ....

... and my old darkroom timer propped in front of the bike to keep time.

I didn't have any music ready, and I thought I MIGHT just go crazy because all I had to look at was the shadow of the ladder on the garage door:

I had mapped out a 1 mile run from the door of my garage. I just had to go down the ally for a bit, and then down the street to a light pole that I found in the satellite view of MapMyRun:

I started warming up on the bike. I used the self-timer to grab one last photo before I really got into the workout:


WU on trainer (mostly easy with few pick-ups): 10:00
Transition: 0:17
1 mile run (85% effort): 3:06 / 3:11 = 6:17

I took it easy on that first run because I'm still coming back from that heel injury. And (as you could tell from of the photo of me on my bike above), I wore my calf-sleeves to help keep my calves / heels warm and loose. They always help.

Transition: 0:18
Spin (30 hard, 30 easy): 9:30
Transition: 0:16
1 mile run: 3:05 / 3:00 = 6:05

That mile felt better. I was still trying to keep my running cadence high, but that was HARDER being I was just trying to go fast (I wanted to "stride" a little bit). But one thing I was enjoying was doing the running on the sidewalk. It was nice to have more of a "real" run, and not the perfectly flat and smooth surface of the track. It felt more like a race. I liked it. I decided then and there that I'd be doing this workout more often out of my garage instead of at the track.

Transition: 0:22
Spin (30 hard, 30 easy): 9:45 (longer to make the intervals land on 30/60)
Transition: 0:15
1 mile run: 3:03 / 2:56 = 5:59

Sure, that run was sub-6, but I got stopped by a neighbor for almost exactly 2 minutes near the start of that run, so I had an unfair little break. We chatted for a moment before I took off again.

Transition: 0:15
Spin (30 hard, 30 easy): 9:28
Transition: 0:16
1 mile run: 2:58 / 2:50 = 5:48

That last run felt very "out of control," and I felt like my form was crap. But my cadence was still good! That final mile time of 5:48 was good and bad. I thought it was GREAT that I could bust one out that fast after so many weeks of NO intensity (due to injury), but I was also disappointed that I "saved" so much for the final interval - I should have gone harder in the middle of the workout and not kept so much for the end. That was a little worrisome.

1:05:00 total workout time (not including the 2 minutes of talking to Susan).

I snapped a HORRIBLE photo of myself literally 10-15 seconds after finishing the workout:

Nice hair and glasses. Dweeb.

That brings me to a couple of points:

- I needed to wear contacts! That cool, damp weather mixed with my hot body led to a lot of fogging up. I should have known better!

- I didn't go crazy! There's really no time to "get bored" doing this workout, so I didn't go crazy staring at the garage wall. While repeating "0:30 hard, 0:30 easy," I found myself always thinking about what was JUST about to be happening, so I was never bored.

- My heel felt good! It didn't feel like it was 100%, but it didn't hurt during the workout, and it was fine all weekend!

- I've been doing a lot of core work, but there's nothing like running HARD to get your core to really go nuts! I felt it "nicely" in the 3rd and 4th intervals.

- My running cadence is getting better. I've been working on that on the treadmill. It used to be too low, which leads to my heel-striking issue. I'm trying to get it higher so I don't over-stride and heel-strike so much. During my last interval, I counted after the turn-around, and I had 179 foot-strikes in a minute. I started around 160 a few weeks ago, and I've been working my way to 180, so that's good!

I loaded all my bike gear back into the house, and then Ella helped me stretch:

That was a GREAT workout to lead into the weekend. I'll be doing that again throughout the spring and summer, and I'll make sure to ask if any locals want to try it with me sometime! It's a GREAT kick-in-the-pants!

Oh, and 1 last reminder: the Hydrapak giveaway is open through TODAY (Monday). If you haven't entered, scroll down to last Tuesday's post (or click here) and leave a comment on THAT post to be entered. And then check back in a day or 2 to see if you've won!


Nine Things Right Now

>> Saturday, April 23, 2011

Protein immediately after workouts:
This was something that Jenny Evans told me to work on when we met to talk about nutrition a year ago. She had me keep a "food journal" for a week, and then ripped me a new one when she saw what was in there. (Click here for more on that.) She wanted to make sure I was getting SOMETHING put back in me that's what she said after a workout, and I've been making sure to have a recovery drink or a protein shake. Anything is better than nothing. Thanks Jenny!

Doing LOTS of my PT leg exercises:
Case in point: in the first 3 weeks of April this year, I did 9 hours and 54 minutes of strength work (that's upper body, lower body and core all combined). Last year, I did just over 4 hours of strength work during the first 3 weeks in April. I'm trying to add some muscle to this tiny ass. (Well, not really. I'm just trying to strengthen it as my PT sees fit. I'm not trying to add "ass bulk.")

Foam rolling like CRAZY:
This is really helping my heal my heel. I try to foam roll my calf for about 90 seconds twice a day. It's helping to keep it loose, which helps reduce the "pulling" on my heel so it can get better. I'm trying to keep my IT band loose too, but my left one is ALWAYS tight (which is all the more reason to keep foam rolling). I love my foam roller:

Pregnant Pharmie is still adorable as ever:
Sorry, no recent photo to share, but if you haven't seen her blog post from 2 weeks ago regarding what clothes she's found to work as a pregnant athlete, you might want to check it out. There are some cute / funny photos in that post.

A new tri shop and a new bike shop in the Metro:
"Urban Tri" in Minneapolis had it's grand opening last weekend. I was there (and actually won some socks!). Click here to see photos of the newest tri shop in town! And I also stopped in to a little bike shop in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul called "Omnium Bike Shop" (on Selby Ave, across from Cheeky Monkey Deli). I talked to the owner and snapped some photos - click here to see the photos.

Hydrapak Giveaway:
If you didn't enter the Hyrdapak giveaway from last Tuesday, make sure to scroll down to the post (or click here) and leave a comment on that post to be entered. The winner will be announced on Wednesday or Thursday.

If you're signed up for the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in MPLS:
They're having a giveaway on their Facebook page for anyone doing their race. You can win a pair of CEP Compression Socks. Head to their Facebook page, scroll down to the CEP logo, and leave a comment to be entered!

First duathlon of the year is in ONE WEEK!
Matt and I are heading to the Cannon Falls Duathlon next Saturday! I did a crazy bike / run / bike / run / bike / run / bike / run brick workout yesterday that I'll post about on Monday. We can't wait to race! Next weekend kicks off 4 duathlons over 5 weekends for Matt and I!

Reminder: eat right this weekend:


Friday Funny 179: The Mayan's Were Right

>> Friday, April 22, 2011


Friday Funny 178: Having a Boy or Girl?



>> Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lindsey, my physical therapist, thinks I'm special.

And not in a good way.

When I saw her for the 3rd time this past Monday, we started looking at my leg length. When I stand up, my legs are perfectly even. My pelvis is in perfect alignment and everything is "square."

However, when I lay down, my left leg is a full 1 inch longer than my right. Lindsey has NEVER seen anything like that. Great. Glad to be your first, Lindsey. ;)

She gave me one more exercise to help "place" my femur into my pelvis more correctly. (Or at least that's how I understood it.) She warned me that this would be worse (meaning "more embarrassing to do in public") than the "Suzanne Somers" exercise she gave me 2 weeks ago. It looks like this:

It's hard to see from that image, but I'm basically squeezing a small ball between my knees while slowly "setting" my left leg back into my pelvis.

The best part of that new exercise? Well, that'd have to be the fact that the only ball I have that is about that size was one I bought a few years ago to use when I play with my cousins during the holidays. And that ball looks like this:

So if you ever stop by and find me rolling a pink "Girls Rule" ball between my legs, please don't look at me funny. Thanks.

But I'll do whatever Lindsey says because my running is progressing nearly pain-free!! If you'll remember, I "tested" it 2 weeks ago with a little speed on the treadmill. Last week, I took it easy (so I wouldn't over-do anything), and I tried my first outdoor run in a long time. This week, I've already had 2 runs that felt great during the run AND there was no achyness the next day!

On Monday, I did a treadmill tempo run. I warmed up for 1 mile, and then I moved straight into 4 miles at 10.0 mph (or 6:00 / mile). Around mile 1.5 of the tempo, I didn't know if I could hold it (but my heel was feeling fine). I ended up doing the 4 tempo miles in 5:59, 5:59, 5:59, and 5:51 (bumped it up to 10.5 mph [5:42 / mile] for the last 0.5 mile). That was 23:51 total for those 4 miles. I forgot to bring a "good" running shirt to the Y, so my cotton shirt was a little sweaty when I got done:

And then yesterday (Wednesday), I did a longer, easier run (again on a treadmill). I did 6.5 miles in 48:07. That's my longest run since the end of January when I got injured! I started easy, and bumped up the pace every 0.5 mile for the first 2 miles, and then just held it at 8.5 mph (7:03 / mile): 8:37, 7:44, 7:03, 7:02, 7:03, 7:02, and 3:32 (last 0.5).

With both of those runs, there was a little heel ache around mile 1.5, but that went away quickly and never returned. (It was like a 0.5-1.0 on a 1-10 pain scale.)

Tomorrow afternoon, if the weather lets me, I hope to do that "Duathlon Workout" that I've done a few times in the past. It's the one where you set up your bike on a trainer at the track, and basically do 4 intervals of 10:00 on the bike followed by a 1 mile run with transitions as quick as possible. (The bike is 30 sec hard, 30 sec easy, repeated for 10 minutes each time [well, for 9:30 each time because you're supposed to skip the final "easy" 30 sec].) If it's raining, I might try doing it out of my garage and just run down the street. Whatever happens, I feel like I NEED to get in a solid brick workout, because the first multisport race of the year is in 9 days!! I hope it stops snowing by then. Sheesh.


Hydrapak Review and Giveaway

>> Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I was recently sent an "Avila" Hydrapak to try out. (It's like a Camelbak.) Here's what it looks like:

Here's what their website has to say about the "Avila" pak:


Speed Harness Ultimate Mobility Straps (SHUMS)
Ultra-Light Weight Materials
360 Degree Reservoir Insulation
Applied Mesh Pocket with Elastic Pump Loop
Silky Slider Sternum Strap
Key Clip
Reflective Light Loop

Weight: 7 oz.
Gear Storage: 40 cu ( in top flap)
70 ox (2.0 L) Reversible Reservoir II with Classic Connector
Measures 13” x 6” x 2.75”
Silcone Impregnated D Trilobal Ripstop and 210D Nylon Construction

I tried it out on my first long ride of the year, which was about 10 days ago. Here are photos from that process:

All wrapped up

The empty 70 oz bladder

Nearly plump full

The closing system is great - it's just a "slide" that goes over a folded part of the bag. I didn't know if it would really be water-tight, but it sure was!! Also, I didn't know how easy it'd be to get the full bladder into the tiny backpack, but it went in MUCH easier than I thought.

Loaded and ready to go

The next question I had was "how much 'stuff' can the backpack hold?" Surprising, a LOT. I put in my cell phone, all my keys, and 2 gels, and I had TONS of room left. Here's the little zippered part opened up, and you can't even see the things I've put in there:

I didn't really test it, but I could imagine that it could hold another 6 gels, or a few PowerBars, or whatever else. But the storage is MUCH more than I thought it would be, and that's when I tested it with a full bladder of water in it too.

So I set out on a long (for me for this time of year) bike ride of 34 miles. I posted this photo last week (from about mile 8 of the ride), and if you look closely, you can see the Hydrapak:

Right after I took that photo, I had to make a minor adjustment and loosen the shoulder straps. When I put on the Hydrapak before heading out, it felt nice and snug. However, when dropping into aero, it was a little TOO tight across my back, so I loosened it a bit, and it was perfect for the rest of the ride. (Imagine wearing a very tight shirt while going into aero position - it would feel really tight / stretched across your back at that point.)


• 70 oz is a LOT of water! I can't carry 70 ounces with my 2 bottle cages.

• Easy to put on. You'd think a TINY backpack could be annoying to put on. It's not. It goes on just fine.

• Extra storage. I like to carry a lot of crap. This allows me to (if I'd like to).

• Easy open YET water tight bladder. It's kinda like a "zipper seal" Ziplock bag, but even more "trusted." This was one of my favorite features.

• Essentially "hands free" operation. The mouth piece just hung by my chest, and I just needed to pop it in my mouth (which took 0.5 seconds), and then I could drink all I wanted to without taking my hands off the handlebars. This would be great for mountain biking where your hands off the bars could make you end up in a tree!

• Mouth piece did NOT drip. When I was in aero, the bladder of water was on my back, and the mouth piece was hanging over my shoulder in front of my chest BELOW the height of the bladder. And yet there was no dripping.

• You're not going to lose it. When you hit a big bump while road riding (or if you're just going over normal trails while mountain biking), it's easy for a water bottle to pop out of it's cage. This Hydrapak ain't going anywhere.


• Not as easy to refill as bottles. On water bottles, you just pop off the top. There's a LITTLE more work involved with the Hydrapak to open the pack, pull out the bladder, "zip" off the top, and fill. That's not a TON of work, but it is a little more.

• Harder to use when breathing hard. This is what got me on my long ride 10 days ago. When I was going hard, it was difficult to gently bite the mouth piece while sucking to get water - it would have been a bit easier to just squirt water from a bottle into my mouth. So this ISN'T for use during really strenuous "Zone 4-5" workouts, but it would work GREAT for those easy, all-afternoon "Zone 1-2" bike rides with that special someone. (And as far as racing goes, I WOULD consider wearing this for an Ironman, but nothing shorter. I could imagine using a Hydrapak for my CarboPro - that way, I know I wouldn't lose my calories for the bike, and I wouldn't be going SO hard in an Ironman that I couldn't take an easy sip now-and-then.)


• I would NOT use this for: time trials, hard sprints, or Olympic Distance triathlons. It's too hard to get the water out while working (breathing) hard.

• I WOULD use this for: mountain biking, easier road riding, longer races (like HIM or IM), or easier running. It's easy to forget back there (in a good way), and you can store a lot of water. Like I mentioned above, it'd be a great way to get your calories for an IM (by adding something like Perpetuem or CarboPro).

If you want to see an entertaining "test" of the quality of their bladders, check out this video:



ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST BETWEEN NOW AND MIDNIGHT NEXT MONDAY (the 25th of April). You just need to live in the US or Canada. I'll use a random number generator, or draw a number from a hat, or have a random Facebook friend pick a random number to choose the winner. If you don't have a blogger account, just make sure to leave a comment with something specific like "Hi! It's John Smith from Topeka, Kansas!"

Note: this WON'T get you an extra entry like I sometimes have done in the past, but if you want to fan Hydrapak on Facebook, you can stay up-to-date on their deals and what expos they'll be at. Check them out on Facebook.

So that's it! Comment to be entered! And check back later next week to see if you're the winner of a "Avila" Hydrapak!

The "Avila"

Thanks Hydrapak!!


Matt and I are Sweaty Beasts

>> Monday, April 18, 2011

A week ago, I posted about some great workouts I had over the previous week. Trying to be smart, I KNEW this past week would be a little "scaled-back" in order to let my heel rest a bit. (Even though we're now under 2 weeks from the first duathlon of the year! YIKES!!)

So this past week, I did NO swim, bike, or run on Monday or Tuesday.

Wednesday, I did my first successful outdoor run in about a month! I worked on keeping my cadence high so I didn't heel-strike as much, and I did over 5 miles in about 37 minutes. I didn't try to push the pace TOO much, but I still worked my way down to a 6:40 mile as my last mile down Summit Avenue. My heel felt OK!

Thursday I hit the pool for some kick-drills followed by 4 x 500. My 500s were all within 6 seconds of each other: 7:55, 7:52, 7:58, and 7:57. Those aren't great times, I know. But it was still a good swim for me!

Friday, Matt came over and we hit the trainer hard. We did 90 minutes with Coach Troy yelling at us. Here's a peek into our workout:

That sequence isn't as impressive as I thought it'd be, but the change from first to last is still kinda funny:

I go from "fine," to "sweaty head," to "Lord, just take me now."

And Matt goes from "zipped up," to "unzipped," to "unzipped with water bottle in hand."


We made a mess off the floor between our bikes over those 90 minutes:

Matt's "sweat pool" is always bigger than mine. And I actually spilled a little water, so mine was cheating. (But I spilled the water to the left of my bike, so you can't see it in that photo.)

The whole time we spun, my lazy-ass cats were enjoying a nap by the fire:

What a life.

I did an easy run at the Y a few hours after that hard trainer workout, and my heel was OK. Then it was time to ease off for the weekend.

12 days until the Cannon Falls Duathlon!!! Matt and I are both racing it!!

Oh, and in "giveaway" news, I have 2 quick things to mention: First, I announced the winners of the TYR swim / transition bags in my last post, so check it out to make sure one of the 5 winners isn't YOU! And second, there will be a NEW giveaway tomorrow, so stop back to check it out!!


Winners of the TYR Swim Bags!!

>> Saturday, April 16, 2011

I just printed out all the entries for the TYR swim / transition bag. There were 262 comments in the giveaway, and once I gave extra numbers to those who earned extra entries, there were 443 entries in the giveaway!!

All the printouts once they were numbered

And remember, the Life Time Fitness Corporation had FIVE TYR bags to giveaway!! So I entered my numbers into random.org:

Here's what I got after 5 trys:

(Yes, I actually got #1 as one of the winners!! Just as possible as any other number, I suppose...)

Who did those numbers correspond to? It was these lucky folks:

- Richelle: local Minnesotan runner, checking out the tri-scene.
- Chloe: a teenage triathlete I actually met for a moment after IM NOLA 70.3 in 2009.
- Kyle Crouch: don't know anything about him other than he's in school.
- Lauren: distance runner who's birthday is tomorrow.
- Sean: local triathlete I first met almost exactly 2 years ago!

So, Richelle, Chloe, Kyle, Lauren, and Sean: contact me within the next 2 days to claim your bag! If I don't hear form you in the next 2 days, I'll have to give your bag to another entrant.

New giveaway soon! Happy weekend!!



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