Instagram of the Day: Fall Colors and Sleeping Henry

>> Sunday, September 30, 2012

Henry and I went on a 10 mile run this morning to put my Sept total over 105 miles! That's the 2nd biggest month all year for me! (And 38 miles of those were with Henry, and I think that's the lowest month of "Henry miles" in a long time.... mainly because school started back up.)

Here's a photo looking across the Mississippi around 2.5 miles into our run:

"Some pretty Fall colors across the Mississippi River during my run with Henry."

And here's one I snapped as we finished up:

"Henry was pretty zonked out after 10 miles with me this morning...."


8 Days Away: The TC Marathon!!

>> Saturday, September 29, 2012

Next Sunday (Oct 7th) is my wife's birthday!! On that same day, she'll be running her 13th STRAIGHT Twin Cities Marathon!

Her streak includes 9 pretty "normal" marathons, 1 marathon with pneumonia 4 weeks after doing an Ironman, 1 marathon pregnant (which was in 2010, and she ran it EASY knowing she COULD be pregnant - we found out for sure the next morning), and 1 marathon 16 weeks postpartum (which was last year).

Internet buddie Pattie recently asked me about cheering at the Marathon:

First of all, yes.... I'm not sure if the farm animals will make an appearance. (Click here and here to see the farm animals cheering at the last 2 TC Marathons - something we've been doing since 2007.)

Secondly, how did Pattie know I was planning on adding those songs to my "Marathon Cheering Mix?!?!?" Good call, Pattie!

If no farm animals appear at the marathon...

... I'll at least wear one of my bright Speedos to cheer in:

The "Pinky and the Brain" shorts or....

.... the "Tutti Frutti" shorts.

We'll just have to see what ends up working best for cheering next weekend.

If you're in the mood to see some cheering, dancing farm animals, here are our 3 cheering videos from 2009, 2010, and 2011. Happy weekend!!


Friday Funny 401: World's Best Father

>> Friday, September 28, 2012

Dave Engledow has been taking funny "Father" photos of himself and his daughter Alice Bee for a few years. Earlier this month, he launched a "Kickstarter" campaign to try to raise $1,200 to make those images into a calendar. Because of the popularity of his images, he already has 211 backers and has raised over 6 times that!

Here are some working images for his project called "World's Best Father 2013 Calendar:"


Friday Funny 400: Things You'd Better Not Mix Up

This is slightly disturbing, but it's pretty funny too:


Friday Funny 399: Foam Roller

If this is a shirt, I NEED this!!



Friday Funny 398: A Better Pain Chart

Finally, a "rate your pain" chart that I can relate to! Supposedly, this was actually posted in a hospital:


Suzie's Ironman Debut

>> Thursday, September 27, 2012

I met Suzie just over 3 years ago. She was a local up-and-coming multisport athlete who could out-bike me and run nearly as fast. We met at a super small "Splash and Dash" event. Here we are with all 7 athletes about to compete in a swim / run / swim / run:

Me on the left, and Suzie 3rd from the left.

Suzie did her first Ironman a few weeks ago in Wisconsin:

She finished FIRST in her age group in 10:38!!!

Suzie said "I was afraid to take off my left shoe when I finished after watching blood squirt out the top for over 7 miles."


And her sister posted this photo of her in an ice bath post-race along with the caption "This is what a 10:38 Ironman looks like!"

Congrats Suzie! :) That's bloodier than my foot after my 25K, but my feet look nastier overall. Check out Suzie's blog here.

(In related IM WI news, check out yesterday's post and give some IM training advice to my friend Justin. Thanks!)


Ask Steve: Ironman Training Advice

>> Wednesday, September 26, 2012

If you've been reading my blog for a year, you might remember Justin. Here are 2 photos of him from the second part of my Lake Marion 2011 race report as he was finishing his FIRST TRIATHLON!!

Heading to the finish!

Finishing his first triathlon!!

And Justin's wife (a mother of 3) just became a duathlete for the first time this summer! Congrats Kelly!! (Yes, their names are Justin and Kelly. Yes, like the first season of American Idol. You have to move on. Please. I did. We all have.)

So I recently got an e-mail from Justin mentioning that he signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2013! I knew he had fun last year in his first tri, but I didn't know he had THAT much fun! I'm super pumped for him!

Part of his message said this:

My question initially this summer was going to be "Is there a BMI/body fat % cutoff for running around the neighborhood shirtless in tri shorts/spandex?" Since then I've dropped 20 lbs. so I think I'm ok, or maybe it's never ok to do that if you are a sweaty, sweaty, hairy man.

But I do have a question - I'm doing IM Wisconsin in 2013 - I'll be starting it anyway, don't know about finishing - what tips/suggestions do you have for training - books, coaches, websites, training plans, fuel, gear, etc. Also, any tips for the spectators going to watch?

First of all Justin, I'm a sweaty, sweaty, hairy man, and I'm ALWAYS running topless. But maybe the rules are different out in the suburbs than they are here in St. Paul. I dunno.

Secondly, about your Ironman questions, I'll give you my 2 cents, but I'd like to ask all of you for your input too! I've only done one Ironman, and it was in my 2nd year of triathlons, so I DO. NOT. KNOW. IT. ALL. But I'd love to help if I can. Please comment if you have any thoughts for Justin! Justin, here are my thoughts for you:

1. Books: Pharmie's favorite book is "Triathlon Training" by Michael Finch. She thinks it gets overlooked and people don't seem to talk about it much. Many people seem to love "The Triathlete's Training Bible" by Joe Friel (which we have, but we just don't love as much). We've also liked "Going Long: Training for Ironman-Distance Triathlons" by Joe Friel, and "Training Plans for Multisport Athletes" by Gale Bernhardt.

2. Coaches: I don't know that you need a coach. Just knowing that you're a busy Doctor / Dad, coaching might be too much. I LOVED my time with Coach Jen, but she'll kick your ass. Locally, I know a lot of people like the coaches at Optum. Tell them Steve sent you. That will get you nowhere, but you can still say it. (Even though I just said I don't think you need a coach, the RIGHT coach will really be able to work with you and your busy schedule, and they'll take ALL the thinking out of it for you, so really, it might be a good idea.)

3. Websites / Training Plans: When Pharmie and I trained for IM WI, we used a free training plan from Now I think you have to pay for them (it's not much). It got us there, which was our only goal. I finished in 13:53, and now I keep thinking about hour many hours (yes, HOURS) I'd like to take off that finishing time the next time I'm insane enough to sign up for an Ironman. BT also has some good forums where you can search for questions or ask your own. It's a good community.

4. Fuel / Gear: Use what works for you! That's what it all comes down to. We loved "Carbo-Pro" powder during long-distance training and racing. It's a flavorless powder you can add to anything to get more calories. (Read more about Carbo-Pro in my blog post about my first 100 mile ride back in 2006, and there are more details Carbo-Pro in this mini-review I did of it.) Pharmie and I both did our first Ironman Triathlons on relatively cheap road bikes with aero bars clamped on. It was nothing fancy, but (as I said above with our training plan) it got us there. Check out THIS BIG BLOG POST from about a year ago where I talk about my race-day nutrition - that post is geared slightly more toward shorter races, but much of it can be translated to longer distance racing. Obviously, this is the stuff I TRAIN with as well as RACE with. IM requires you to NAIL your nutrition on race day, so practice, practice, practice with the same nutrition in training.

5. Spectator Advice: There's a shuttle that goes out to the middle of the bike course so your family can go out there if they want to (but that might get a little hectic with 3 kids). When we've cheered, we've just stayed in town because it's easy to get around and see a lot there (just not a lot of the bike). The run loops around, so it's easy to have your family move about 4 blocks and see you 5 times on the run! And check out this recent post (and the comments of that post) where a friend asked for cheering advice at an Ironman. Some of the commenters pointed out something I missed: bring a fold-up camp chair!

One final bit of advice is to sign up for a half-ironman before your full Ironman. The Liberty Triathlon is in June, and the Chisago Lakes Triathlon is in July (many locals use Chisago as a "tune-up" for IM WI). It's a BIG difference going from a half to a full (think of the difference between a half marathon and a full marathon), but I still think it's good to feel a 70.3 before jumping to a 140.6.

Good luck over this next year, Justin! Start getting those miles in! And if you need any more inspiration, read my 5-year old Ironman WI race report or my post of more race photos. I always like to look back on that race report when I need a good kick in the pants. :)

Do you guys have any thoughts for Justin on training for his first Ironman? Thanks everyone!

p.s. If you have a question you'd like me and / or my readers to answer, please let me know! I'd be glad to help! Thanks!

There are a LOT of great comments rolling in! Thanks for your help everyone! Keep them coming! I want to note that I REALLY agree with riding the course once (or twice) ahead of time. Pharmie and I might be going out to a free organized WI group ride next summer called WIBA. (Commenters have mentioned this - it's put on by Pharmie's team. We've been out to it every year except the last 2. Here's my first WIBA write-up. Try to get out to WIBA this next summer!) And if you can find a friend (or training group) for those long rides, that will make things more bearable. Actually, I REALLY agree with everything Jason said. So check out the comments, Justin. Thanks everyone!!!


3 Instagrams from Henry's 14-Miler with Me

>> Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sunday was a cool morning in Minnesota. We woke up to temperatures in the 30s, and it was still only 43 degrees when Henry and I took off for a long run around 10 am:

"Henry bundled up before our 45 degree 14+ mile run this morning."

That cute dude passed out a few blocks into our run. :)

I gave Pharmie the Garmin for the morning because she was heading out for her last long run (22 miles) before the Twin Cities Marathon in 12 days! (It will be her 13th straight TC Marathon!!!) Henry and I were just going to go on an easy-ish long run, so I didn't need all my splits, mile markers, etc.

Pharmie will be enjoying this view on the Marathon course in under 2 weeks:

"Fall colors appearing on my run with Henry today. #MississippiRiver"

Henry and I took a route we'd never taken before. We ran farther north along the river than we EVER had before!! He woke up just after we pulled into the yard after 1:43:14:

"Henry woke up happy (but a bit disheveled) after 14.2 miles with me!"

Yeah, I found out that we'd gone 14.17 miles together once I mapped it out afterwards!! (Using 14.3 miles is our longest run together, so had I known I could have ran for another 90 seconds to "PR," I would have!

Sunday held 3 PRs for us:

- Farthest Henry and I got from home: 6.67 miles. We usually loop around the river near home. There's enough to see (I don't get bored), and if Henry wakes up cranky, we can get home quick. On a normal 12 mile run, we usually don't get more than about 2.5 - 3 miles from home.

- First time across the Stone Arch Bridge on foot. Yeah, really. I've biked across it a few times, but being I was running past it with Henry, I thought I'd run across it with him. (It was full of Vikings fans heading to the game!) You can see the little out-and-back across the bridge and back at mile 8-9.

- Most miles ran by my family in one day! Pharmie did 22 miles, and Henry and I both did 14.2 miles. So we covered 50.4 miles total on Sunday! But I suppose Henry cheated a little being he slept through all of his miles....

Henry sat down with Pharmie for some chocolate milk after her 22 mile run:

I love these guys!! :)

p.s. Follow me as stevestenzel on Instagram.


What 25K Does to My Feet

>> Sunday, September 23, 2012

At the end of my City of Lakes 25K race report, I shared this lovely photo:

Well I took more photos.

Lucky you.

Here's the underside of that foot:

Big callous outside of my big toe, torn open blister under my big toe,
raw tips of my toes, and a little blister on the bottom of my foot.

I headed up to the bathroom to take a closer look:

I got out the "needle-nose tweezers:"

Once I drained it, I found another small blood blister UNDER that big one:

Here's the bloody fluid that came out:

Foot photos: helping put the "Gross" in "Steve in a Speedo?! Gross!" since 2006.


Friday Funny 397: Fitness Plan

>> Friday, September 21, 2012

This makes total sense to me....


Friday Funny 396: Deserted Island

I can't argue with his reasoning....


Friday Funny 395: How Disney Can Appeal To Women

I can only name about half of these Disney men:


Friday Funny 394: 20 Types of Ironman Triathletes

20 Types of Athletes You'll See at an Ironman Race (from a First-Time Spectator)

This was written by a women cheering on her brother last month at the inaugural Ironman NY last month. Below is what she wrote about cheering at her first Ironman...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So, to help you live vicariously, here's a list of 20 athletes you'll likely see if you spectate an Ironman (and I highly recommend that you do...)

Ironmen/triathletes: is one of these you? Let us know below!

1. Guy who is pouring anything he can find on himself to try to wash away the urine that was recently released all over his shorts and legs.

2. Guy who motions for the crowd to cheer as he approaches on his bike.

I LOVE this guy! His energy and enthusiasm epitomize the spirit of the Ironman. If you don't cheer for him, you should be banned from spectating (IMO).

3. Alien hat guy.

Actually, about 30% of the bikers were wearing these helmets, but they never got old. They are soooo funny lookin'. If you think the drawing below is an exxageration, click here.

4. Took-as-many-sponges-as-humanly-possible guy.

This guy looks like a stripper tucking dollar bills anywhere they will possibly fit. (For those of you who are unfamiliar: race organizers sometimes hand out cold-water-soaked sponges at certain parts on the course as a way to help cool down the runners)

5. Biker guy who throws his water bottle at the fans.

At first I was alarmed, thinking I had done something to offend this person. But then I realized he was just doing a good deed by chucking his empties in a race-spectated area for easier cleanup.

6. Guy running the Ironman with one fucking leg.

There is nothing, other than seeing my brother, that turns me into a psychotic crazy fan than seeing these so-called handicapped people doing things that 99% of "able-bodied" people will never do. I cheered so hard I actually tasted blood (can you rip a vocal cord? Is that possible?)

7. Biker guy wearing a yellow jersey.

1. First of all, he is not winning. Also, his name doesn't rhyme with Shmance Barmstrong.
2. Second of all, I'm making a point of this guy because he was the least friendly participant on the course (when I say "he" I am referring to every racer wearing a yellow jersey.) One yellow-jerseyed-man rode directly on the line that spectators are supposed to stand behind, and then shooed us away (a sweep of the hand, like "step back, plebes") as if we were getting too close to greatness. Whyyy? BTW, there are studies showing that smiling enhances your mood and performance. All of these yellow jersey guys were just kind of .... jerks.*

*If you are friendly and happened to be wearing a yellow jersey, please bring back honor to your yellow-jerseyed peoples by commenting in the section below.

8. Guy who has turned himself into a human billboard for something comically unrelated to running, biking, or swimming.

Hey, If you run the race, you should wear whatever you feel like wearing! Just make sure there are big printed words so I can cheer you on ("YES! YOU'RE ENDING DIABETES! YAY! JEWS FOR JESUS! SALLY'S CLEANING SERVICE LOOKING GOOD!" If you print it, I will scream it.)

9. Guy who printed his name AS LARGE AS POSSIBLE on his uniform.

In doing so, he has announced to me that he enjoys being cheered for, and therefore I will probably pretend to know him.... "PETER oh my God is that really you???!! I have been waiting for you for MY WHOLE LIFE!!" (Yes. I actually do this. It usually goes over well. Usually.)

10. NYPD and NYFD guys running with photos of lost friends.

So touching. There's something about it that gives you that gutteral "proud to be a New Yorker" feeling every time.

11. The pro who's curled up vomiting somewhere along course, but won't take help because he doesn't want to be disqualified.

There are rules about assisting the participants - if you help people in a certain way it can actually kick them out of the race. I've heard amazing stories about people crawling to the finish at Kona, refusing help from anyone.

12. Old guy.

How are you doing this? More importantly, how are you beating my brother?

13. Pro women.

I was BLOWN AWAY by these ladies. The top female competitors were incredibly close to the top men. They. Were. Killing. It. Major props to these rockstar fembots showing all of womankind that we are in it to win it. I got chills.

14. Guy who bought a nice new white spandex unitard and shaved all of his extremities.

Except his ass crack. Which you could see clearly through his white shorts.

15. Fat guy.

I go wild for the fat guy. He's doing this Ironman just like the rest of them, but he's sometimes carrying almost an entire additional person's worth of weight on his frame. The epitome of "no excuses". Super inspiring.

16. Hottest chick I've ever seen.

This one is actually drawn directly after a woman who was running the race with a turquoise top (anyone who spectated will remember her, she was basically the picture of fitness). She had a nasty bod and her hair was in these cool braid things. She, too, was beating my brother. Girl was crushing it. Plus she always smiled at the fans.

17. Guy who lost like 30 pounds training for the race (and was normal-size to begin with) and you barely recognize him when he runs by.

Ironman training = major calorie deficiency. Really hard to keep weight on.

18. Guy who looks like he just got flour-bombed with sunscreen.

19. Super triumphant guy.

His joy is infectious, especially as he crosses the finish.

20. Superman.

AKA my brother. Because despite the fact that the "peeing on himself" guy may have been loosely entirely based off of him, or the fact that the old guy and the hot girl beat him or that he didn't finish sub-11 hours like he wanted to, this guy continues to be my hero in every sense of the word. Being an ironman? Cool. Being a better big brother than any other big brother of time? Way cooler.*

*Would like to note that he is currently tied with my other big brother for the "best big brother of time" award.

Love you D!

Have you run an Ironman (or a triathlon, or any other race that involves these stereotypes)? Which one are you? Let me know in the comments below!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm one of those #3s, and when I did IM WI I was #17 and #18. And I can't wait until I find a doctor to complete the operation and I become #13 I can be #12 some day.



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