How to Photograph a Tri Bike

>> Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trek Bikes posted a funny photo yesterday. This was the context of the image:

In honor of Team RadioShack's Fumiyuki Beppu taking the Japanese National Road and TT Championship, we present to you his Speed Concept. If you've ever wondered how we keep the bikes upright for these photos, wonder no more.

And here's the photo:

Awesome. Now I'll be looking at the shadow of every "free-standing" bike photo to see if I can tell if there's a tiny Asian man hiding behind it holding it up.


Mpls Tri Coupon Code (with Orca and CEP Giveaway)

>> Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 30th is the LAST day to register for the Minneapolis Triathlon. If you aren't sure if you want to race it, check out the "sneak peak" I was given of their trophies and medals:



If you want to race the Mpls Tri, use the code STEVE-BLOG2011 to save $10.

If you want to do the race AND YOU USE THAT CODE, you are automatically in the running for an Orca Waterproof Bag AND a pair of CEP Compression Socks!!

Here's a bit on the bag:

Waterproof Backpack
Waterproof Backpack White/Black - YVAH24 USD $99.00

The Orca Dry Bag is a popular multipurpose bag for active people that can be used for everything from going to the gym, to taking your gear to and from transition. The dive/cycle courier style bag is constructed from tough and durable PVC, and has a top which can be rolled up and locked into place, keeping contents completely dry. The large main compartment is perfect to stow shoes, garments, towels and your wetsuit. There is a smaller front compartment with a waterproof zip for valuables and smaller items, while there are elastic toggles on the outside for wet gear or a cycle helmet. The padded adjustable backpack-style straps and waist and chest straps keep the Orca Dry Bag comfortable and secure. There's also a small compartment on the waist strap which is perfect for an music player, wallet or phone.

And you all know how CEP Compression Socks can aid in racing and recovery. I'm not sure what color the Minneapolis Triathlon has to giveaway, but here are some images of their socks:

So use the code STEVE-BLOG2011 if you want to race the Mpls Tri, and that will save you $10 AND enter you to win the bag and the socks. Register NOW for the race, because you you have 2 days before it's closed!!!

One final big THANKS to the people at the Minneapolis Triathlon, CEP, and Orca for the awesome giveaway! (And for the discount code!)

The Orca Waterproof Backpack

CEP Compression Socks

p.s. Back with another quick H20 Audio giveaway in the next few days. Check back for that!

p.p.s. Just so it's clear, when you use that code above, I do NOT get any sort of "kick back" or prizes or payment for each person who uses it. Just use the code if you can, and you'll be entered in Mpls Tri's bag and socks giveaway. You get stuff. I get nothing. ;)


Tempo Run: Before and After Children

>> Sunday, June 26, 2011

I thought this could make for an interesting comparison. This is all based on actual events.


• Get to bed early the night before to be well-rested for a hard morning run.

• Have a decent breakfast.

• Decide that breakfast was too "hearty," so determine that it's better to do some grading or other prep for class and put off the run until a bit later in the day.

• Consume plenty of water all day.

• If needing to put-off the run until even later in the day, eat a decent lunch: chicken, sandwich with lots of spinach, etc.

• Before getting too hungry before the run, eat a pack of "Sharkies," a banana, or a Powerbar to keep hunger at bay.

• Change into running clothes, and stretch out any nagging areas (usually my heel).

• Loosen up nasty areas with a foam roller if necessary.


• Post run: stretch and roller most of the lower body.

• Consume recovery drink ASAP, and have a healthy high protein meal soon after.

• Get a decent night's sleep to help aid recovery.


• "OK, Pharmie and Henry are sleeping. I'm totally pooped, but now's my ONLY chance for a run."

• "Wait, I just had a piece of string cheese and a cookie.... oh f*ck it... I gotta go NOW!"


Here's the adorable reason why my running habits have currently changed:

Henry's first "real" bath at home (12 days old)

p.s. As expected, that string cheese and cookie combo sitting in my gut was not good. Not. Good. At. All. But I got in my run for the day, so I'll take it!


Friday Funny 196: Whisper Dirty Things Into My Ear

>> Friday, June 24, 2011

To all the new parents out there (like Pharmie and I), I hope this doesn't hit too close to home....


Friday Funny 195: Your 30s


A Track Video For Father's Day

>> Thursday, June 23, 2011

I meant to post this on Father's Day, but I nearly forgot about it. The video is a little cheesy, but it tells a great story from the 1992 Olympics:

Direct link:


"21 Workout" and Links

>> Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saturday, I did the Crossfit workout called "Twenty One." I've done it a few times in the past (maybe 4 or 5 times) when I only had a little time for a quick workout. I cheated a little, and those "cheats" are noted with the asterisks below.

Complete the following for time:

• 20 push-ups/1 sit-up
• 19 push-ups/2 sit-ups
• 18 push-ups/3 sit-ups
• 17 push-ups/4 sit-ups *
• 16 push-ups/5 sit-ups *
• 15 push-ups/6 sit-ups *
• 14 push-ups/7 sit-ups *
• 13 push-ups/8 sit-ups *
• 12 push-ups/9 sit-ups
• 11 push-ups/10 sit-ups
• 10 push-ups/11 sit-ups
• 9 push-ups/12 sit-ups
• 8 push-ups/13 sit-ups
• 7 push-ups/14 sit-ups
• 6 push-ups/15 sit-ups
• 5 push-ups/16 sit-ups
• 4 push-ups/17 sit-ups
• 3 push-ups/18 sit-ups
• 2 push-ups/19 sit-ups
• 1 push-up/20 sit-ups

Push-up standards: Body stays planked whether you are on your toes or your knees. Chest touches the deck. Arms to full lockout.

Sit-ups on an Abmat with feet unsecured**, all the way up.

* I had to finish some of these push-ups on my knees (usually the last 3 of the 5 sets marked with a "*").

** I locked my feet under our entertainment center once I was doing 12 or more sit-ups.

It took me 15:11, which is a PR for the 21 Workout. It's more killer than it seems. Pharmie came down from upstairs just as I was wrapping up the workout, and she grabbed this photo of me doing one of my very last sit-ups:

Working hard with a lazy cat in the background
(and there's the "vein of approval" on my forehead coming out to say hi!)

In other news, here are some links to some of my Examiner articles recently:

8 tips from one of Minnesota's best runners (along with my "2 cents" as a perennially injured runner).

• Chris "MACCA" McCormack will be coming to Minnesota to race this summer! This is huge!

• Local race director is a cover model on the "Swimsuit Issue" of Triathlete Mag.

• Grandma's Marathon (in Duluth) was this weekend, and it was the closest finish EVER to the race. Click the link to see a photo of a 26.2 mile race decided by only 2 tenths of a second!

• Starting later this week is a series of 7 open water swim clinics at Lake Nokomis.

• And I'm working on 2 more articles that will be published shortly: one on the best local trails / routes as voted on by City Pages readers, and one on local bike laws. Become a fan of the St. Paul Triathlon Examiner on FB to get links to my articles in your Facebook news feed.

Oh, and one last link: I promised that I'd link to my wife's story on Henry's birth, and she just published that the other night. If you'd like a little more detail on the birth of our cute little Hankopotamus, click here to go to her blog post. (And if you missed my write-up on Henry's arrival, scroll down a number of posts or click here.) Thanks!


Running on the Moon

>> Monday, June 20, 2011

About 10 days ago, I got to try my hand at some "anti-gravity running" in an anti-gravity treadmill. I was set up with an hour of time to try a AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.

I headed out to OSR Physical Therapy in Eden Prairie (a suburb of the Twin Cities). I learned there are locations all around the Twin Cities that have Alter G treadmills, and they can also be found all around the US, too.

To answer your 2 questions:

1: What the hell is an "anti-gravity treadmill?"

Well, if you'd watch your language a bit, I'll tell you. It's a treadmill that will let you dial-in the percentage of your body weight that you'd like to be running with. AlterG's anti-gravity treadmills use "differential air pressure technology" designed by (who else?) NASA. It provides your body with a comfortable and uniform "lifting force."

2: Why the hell does someone need that?

Again, if you could watch your language, I'll fill you in. (After all, I have a child now. Sheesh.) By reducing your body weight on this treadmill, you'll reduce the impact on your body. The idea is that you can still get a decent workout, but you can take the load off your body / joints.

These treadmills can be used for TRAINING: Rusty at OSR was telling me about some of the local rockstars who stop in to do longer runs or even speed-work on the AlterG (a few names I knew from Team USA Minnesota). They don't have the POUNDING of their regular runs when they can essentially subtract some of their body weight.

These treadmills can also be used for THERAPY: By taking the weight off your body, people coming back from major surgery (such as knee surgery and the like) can walk with "normal form." They can get in some good "range of motion" movements without all their body weight.

So I got to try it out. Rusty first had me change into a pair of tight shorts - they were like bike shorts with a big "lip" around the top. Rusty lovingly calls them "Umpa-Lumpa Shorts."

Don't worry - you get to wear running shorts underneath those

I stepped into the AlterG and Rusty raised it up around my waist. Around my shorts was a zipper that corresponded with a zipper in the AlterG. Soon I was hooked up and running:

If you're curious how you get into this contraption, check out the first 60 seconds of this video:

Direct link:

I ran for a bit at 100% gravity (normal running). Then I knocked it down to 80% and felt the weight starting to come off my legs. I was gently being lifted evenly throughout my entire lower-half - not just at my waist:

My stride was still very normal, even though I didn't have all the weight on my legs. I bumped it down to 60% and kept running:

You can see the white zipper that attached my shorts to the treadmill

Close-up of the last photo showing the controls:
percentage of weight, time, and speed

I bumped it down to under 50% of my body weight, but that was too "foreign" and felt a little unnatural. And Rusty warned me of that before I tried it - he told me that around 40%-50% is really like running on the moon. I found out I could still run pretty normally down to 60% of my weight. I checked my foot-strikes (something I've been working on), and it was RIGHT where I've been keeping it in my normal runs: 178 / minute. So it was lifting me up a bit, but it really wasn't altering my stride for the worse.

Here are some things to note regarding running in the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill:

- If you think it's easier to run with a "lighter" body weight, it's really not! It takes the pounding off your joints, but it's STILL a workout. Rusty actually handed me a towel, so even he knew I was working.

- I'd love to try a long run on one of these treadmills. I DO think it'd be a great workout, but the POUNDING wouldn't be there.

- You'd think being zippered into this thing would be a bit restrictive, but it wasn't. It really didn't limit my movements at all. And it wasn't claustrophobic.

- The AlterG would be helpful for run training, but I really see how it could be helpful in rehab. Being able to walk / move without limping because some of your body weight has been "removed" could be REALLY helpful.

- It's similar to "water running," but it's closer to "actual" running. I feel like people would head for an AlterG or water running for similar reasons (similar injuries). I HATE water running, but I could do a lot more running on an AlterG. (When water running, I can only go about 3 minutes before looking at my watch and wondering how long it's been. But I can run on a treadmill staring at a wall with no TV or music for 30 minutes easily. I did a 13 mile treadmill run under those conditions last winter while getting ready for a winter half marathon. Maybe that makes me a better fit for the AlterG.)

- The final "interesting" thing that happened while trying the AlterG was when I was wrapping up. Rusty told me to make sure to walk or run on the treadmill a bit back at 100% body weight. And as I did that, I felt like a fat ass! "How am I THIS heavy!" Now that I was back to 100%, it was hard to imagine that THAT'S what I feel like when I normally run. (It's like when you're on a trampoline for a long time, and then you try to jump once you're off the trampoline and if feels like you SUCK at jumping.)

Bottom line: I think it could really help those of us (like me) who get injured a lot. Removing some of your weight for some of your runs now-and-then can really help your body. The biggest downside (as with most things) is the price. If you just want to walk in and use the AlterG (and it's not a "prescribed therapy"), it's $1 / minute. If you're not a sponsored athlete where someone else can pay for that, it's hard to drop $60 for an hour run every week or 2.

If you want to learn more, check out the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill website. And if you have an AlterG treadmill in a nearby rehab / PT clinic, check and see if you can try it out for free. I know where I went (OSR Physical Therapy), you could try it for 10 minutes for free if you'd like. (I was given an hour to be able to "review" it a little better.)


7 Quick Henry / Workout Updates

>> Saturday, June 18, 2011

• 1: This blog WILL change:
This blog used to be mostly about my swim / bike / run adventures, with a little of my random personal life thrown in. Well, now there will be a little MORE of my personal live thrown in with a cutie like Baby Henry in the house. I'll try not to go overboard on "Henry posts," but they WILL exist from time-to-time.

So if you've been stopping by lately for only Henry-related posts, I'm sorry - you'll have to deal with some fitness-related posts too. And if you've been a fan for a while and are just used to my swim / bike / run posts, I'm sorry - you'll have to deal with a few more photos regarding my personal life and the cute child that came from the seed of my loins.

• 2: My first moments with Henry:
I can be a bit of an emotional sap at times. And so can Pharmie. So the last week has been filled with a lot of happy tears. Sure, I was choked-up when I got to announce to Pharmie "It's a boy," but there have been a few more after that.

About 90 minutes after he was born, I got to hold him for about 20 minutes straight. Before that, he had a lot of skin-to-skin with Pharmie, started nursing, was cleaned up, had his blood sugar tested, etc, etc. Monica (my mother-in-law who was there for the entire birth because she's a Labor and Delivery Nurse AND because she's AWESOME) told me to go grab a bite, and I was back in the room after doing that. So Monica went to get some food for herself, and Pharmie was in the bathroom with the nurse getting all cleaned up - it was my moment alone with Henry in the chair by the bed.

I started talking to him, and my first words were "How are you doing, little Henry?" It totally caught me off guard, but I was bawling by the time I said "Henry." I realized it was the first time I was calling him Henry - I had said his name so many times to the nurses and to all of the people that I called, but THAT was the first time I called HIM Henry to his face. I cried as I rocked my little guy in my arms. Then I heard (and felt) him fill his pants, and I knew I'd keep him. ;)

• 3: Full Henry delivery story:
I didn't allude to much in my story of Henry's birth, but there were a few scary moments during the 30 hours we were at the hospital leading up to his birth. I know Pharmie will be posting a more complete story on her blog in the next few days, and I'll make sure to let you all know when she does. (I might post a little more of my experience too, since all I posted so far was pretty short and to-the-point.)

• 4: Toe update:
It's amazing what a week of not running will do to help heal beat-up toes! My nasty left toe now looks like this:

A week ago, it looked like this:

The "forced" time off has helped!

• 5: First workouts:
On Thursday, I posted that I hadn't done much for a week. Well, I was finally able to sneak away for a good weights and core session on Thursday. And yesterday I was able to fit in a quick 7 mile run (1.6 WU, then stretch, and then 5.4 run).

• 6: Showered:
Yesterday I showered for only the 2nd time in a week. (Friday afternoon [the 10th of June], then Monday at the hospital, and now FINALLY Friday the 17th.) I guess babies do that to people.

• 7: Henry photos:
Finally, here are a few more recent photos of our 6-day-old Henry:

2 days old, ready to go home shortly

Headed home

Ella trying to figure out what this burrito is all about

Henry with his cousins Ian and Bree

Cat, cat, baby

After his first bath at home

Henry likes to look at himself in the mirror

Proud (topless) Papa!

Our first walk yesterday! We went for ice cream!

Pharmie and Henry on our first walk

All of us back in our yard after our first outing

I hope to be back with my review of an interesting training option (good for recovery, therapy, and training with an injury) early next week. Happy weekend, everyone!!


Friday Funny 194: Go The F**k To Sleep

>> Friday, June 17, 2011

WARNING: There's a lot of the "F word" in this video.

One of my wife's teammates sent me a a link to a PDF of an entire children's book called "Go The Fuck To Sleep."

The PDF has been taken down (due to copyright issues, I'm sure). And a few of the videos regarding the book have been taken off of YouTube as well.

But one that's still up is Samuel L. Jackson reading the book, and here are a few clips of it being read:

Direct Link:


If you'd like to buy this book for Pharmie and I, you can find it on Amazon. ;) But I can't promise to actually read it to little Henry.


Friday Funny 193: Emergency Breast Pump

Tuesday evening we loaded little Henry into the car for the first time and headed home from the hospital.

A few hours later.... well.... we'll just let Facebook tell the story:

Yeah, that's kinda funny.

What makes it funnier is that 20 minutes later, my former student posted this photo on my Facebook wall:

Nice. (But Maisey, we're STILL NOT bffs. Sorry.)

A colleague commented on my status: "Welcome to parenthood. Expect bizarre conversations." (As if some of my conversations weren't bizarre enough already...)


Recent Workouts

>> Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just a quick update with my recent workouts:

Let's see.... when was my child born again? ;)

I'll try to turn this trend around shortly. But for right now, I'm focusing on being a good husband and dad while being less concerned about being a good triathlete.


How The Act of Blogging Has Changed

>> Wednesday, June 15, 2011







Liberty Triathlon Race Report

>> Monday, June 13, 2011

This was going to be my 3rd straight Liberty Olympic Distance Triathlon. Here's some of the major play-by-play:


5:00 pm: Loaded my bike into my car.

9:00 pm: All my clothes packed. Well, "packed" is a loose interpretation. Maybe I should say "thrown in a loose pile on the chair." I had a few tri suits and lots of different tops to choose from - it was going to be a chilly morning on Saturday, and I wanted to have options.

10:00 pm: Pharmie and I went to talk to the new college neighbors. We could hear "CHUG, CHUG, CHUG.... WWOOOOOOO!!!" though our windows. It might be a year of college kids who like to party next door. But they're all 19-20 years old, so the cops will take good care of them if we need them to. ;)

11:30 pm: Pharmie shoots up in bed and says "I think my water just broke!" I followed her into the bathroom, and she embarrassedly says "Crap - I think that was a false alarm."


3:30 am: Pharmie wakes me up after being up most of the night and says "Yep, my water DID break a while back. You're not racing today, and we're heading to the hospital in a few hours." So after the noisy neighbor kids and the couple of wake-ups from Pharmie, I got a solid 2.5 - 3 hours of sleep on Friday night.

5:30 am: Pharmie and I headed to the hospital at the exact time that I would have left for the race. She got hooked up in the triage room for some observation for a while:

10:00 am - 2:00 pm: Baby had a few freak-outs inside of Pharmie, and we were all just hoping for the best. Our doctor was amazing.

3:00 pm: Started helping Pharmie with contractions on top of a balance ball. Pharmie's Mom was there (who's a Labor and Delivery nurse herself), and she was AWESOME!

6:00 pm: We walked the halls through contractions (2:00 to 2:30 apart, and about 1:00 long) because the doctor needed to see progress by 7:00 pm or Pharmie would most likely need an unscheduled C-section.

Some brief smiles between contractions

7:00 pm: Pharmie showed a little progress - just enough to be left to continue contractions.

9:00 pm - 11:00 pm: Contractions got more and more intense, but there was SO little progress being made. An epidural was discussed, and everyone thought it would be a good solution to help Pharmie get those muscles really relaxed down there to allow labor to progress. (Not to mention that Pharmie was in a lot of pain at this point, and could not have held out like this much longer.)

12:00 midnight: With the epidural in place, Pharmie was able to get a few hours of sleep along with her Mom in the room.


1:00 am: I wandered the halls of the hospital as Pharmie and her Mom slept. One of the nurses grabbed an empty room for me and I was able to lay down. I got 15:00 of sleep and came back out to check on Pharmie. The nurses yelled at me and told me to go back to sleep, so I got another hour of rest.

5:00 am: After a total of about 2.5 hours of sleep, I went back to be with Pharmie. I had helped one of the nurses turn her in the middle of the night, and she was doing well. She probably got about 5 hours of sleep. The best news here was that when the doctor checked, she was at 7 centimeters!

7:45 am: Pharmie started pushing!! We'd been in the hospital for just over 24 hours at this point, and Pharmie got through the first hour of pushing REALLY well. Then it got harder. I was doing all I could throwing wet and cold wash clothes all over her to help keep her cool. Again, her mom was AWESOME to have there to help. Pharmie's a freakin' rock star!!

8:30 am: We saw hair! There was a hairy blonde baby ready to make his or her way through the birth canal to come meet us!!

11:15 am: After 3.5 hours of hard pushing (and just 1 day past the due date), out popped a healthy baby!!! I got to announce "IT'S A BOY!!!" to everyone in the room (while fighting back tears).

Dear blogger friends, allow me to introduce Henry Steven Stenzel:

Henry's first photo (just a few minutes old)

The 3 of us with our amazing Doctor: Dr. Doty

Pharmie's Mom who was a GREAT help through the whole process!

We all think little Hank looks most like his Grandpa (Pharmie's Dad).
They have the same big honkin' fingers!

My folks with their 3rd grandchild

Henry and his mohawk after his first bath

Clean, swaddled, and resting 6 hours after being born

So, like I said in the opening line of this post, "this WAS going to be my 3rd straight Liberty Olympic Distance Triathlon." But there was something better planned for me instead.



Follow steveinaspeedo on Twitter

Facebook Fan Page

All content and original images copyright 2006 - 2024 by Steve Stenzel, AKA "Steve in a Speedo." All Rights Reserved.
Want to use something seen here? Just ask - I don't bite.