Semi-Wordless Wednesday: A 'Henry Run' and Pumpkin Carving

>> Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sunday morning, Henry and I headed out on a 34 degree morning for a 10 mile run. He was happy to be bundled up:




After 10 miles with the middle 6 at sub-7:00 pace.


Disheveled and happy once he woke up at home!
(Yes, those are dino slippers...)

Then we got to work carving some pumpkins:








He looks like his Grandpa Bryan here!


Pharmie and Henry! (Just after this photo, Henry tried to sit in the "pumpkin guts" bowl...)




The finished product!

Then we went out with all of my Stenzel relatives to celebrate my Grandpa's 84th birthday. Henry enjoyed some ice cream:



Back with some thoughts (and asking for suggestions) regarding night-time biking tomorrow.

Happy Halloween everyone!

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A Readers' Lesson Learned During His First 70.3

>> Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Back in July, I posted a letter from a reader about how he accidentally found my blog by searching for "hot men in speedos." (There's none of that here. If he wants "HAIRY men in BRIGHT speedos," he'd maybe find something...)

Anyway, this same reader just sent me this note yesterday after completing his FIRST HALF IRONMAN!! His bike ride got a little bit interesting.... Check out his story:

Hi Steve,

It's your favorite gay speedo-lover from Houston, CrashHouston. I completed my first half Ironman yesterday in Austin, TX. It was 44 degrees at the swim start which is about 30 degrees colder than I would have preferred. The water felt good at 71 degrees. It was my first ever swim in a wetsuit, and it took a few minutes to get used to it. I wore a lovely full-length sleeveless number and felt sorry for everyone with sleeves. I think sleeves would have been too hot. My swim time was decent - 2 minutes lower than my goal, which I attribute to being blind as a bat and unable to site.

T1 was really slow. I'm a pansy when it comes to cold weather, so I took my time drying off, changing out of my wet swimsuit and layering up.

When I finally got on the bike, I discovered that my bike computer was dead. It was working just find the day before, so I pulled over and tried adjusting the sensor. It was definitely dead. The heart rate monitor was still working, so I decided I'd ride at 130-140 beats per minute and that would keep me at a 20 mph pace. About 5 minutes into the ride, the heart rate monitor flatlined. Good times! So I decided that I'd just ride hard and back off if I started breathing heavily. That worked well and I was feeling ok until I had a tire blowout at about the halfway point. Not a tube blowout, a TIRE blowout. It sounded like a gunshot. I pulled over to the side of the road and discovered a 4-inch gash in the tire wall. Can't ride on that. A nice lady who had also stopped at the same spot to eat said she would ride to the next support station and ask that they send a bike tech to me. One hour and 45 minutes later, the bike tech arrived.

I saw something yesterday that I never imagined I'd see in my life - I saw the police escort who rides behind the last rider. The police escort arrived right behind the bike tech, and the last guy in the race passed me up while the bike tech was adjusting my rear brake so that the loaner wheel would fit my bike. It took the tech about 15 minutes to fix up my bike (with a sweet-ass loaner carbon State Cycling Wheels aero wheel that was much better than my Roval aluminum stock wheel), and I was off again.

Out of 2539 racers, I was in 2539th place.

When you are waiting on the side of the road watching everyone pass you by (and I mean everyone), you think about a lot of things: dropping out of the race, being angry at the Continental Gator Skin tires that I put on the bike a month ago because they are supposedly durable tires, whether you should keep eating every 45 minutes even though you've stopped burning calories, not making the cutoff, crying, laughing, where to pee (there was no private place to pee), the money/time investment we make to be triathletes, whether you really want to run 13.1 miles at 2 in the afternoon when the sun is at its peak...

I passed only 6 people on the remainder of the bike course. I knew I was far behind, but I didn't realize I was that far behind. My expected bike time was 2:45. My actual bike time was 4:48! I made the bike cutoff with a little time to spare and thought again about quitting. I knew I'd ridden pretty hard the last half of the bike to make up for lost time, my quads were really sore, my eating/water intake was jacked up.

The run was a 3-loop course, so I decided to run the first loop and see how I felt. I had a a good 1st loop and despite the hills (it was really hilly and I'm not used to hills), I felt ok. So I started the 2nd loop and decided to run 9 minutes and walk 1. The 1st two cycles were good, and then, my quads started cramping and my right hip started screaming at me (IT band issues have been dogging me on long runs for a while). Ugh. I've never cramped in my quads before, so I tried running 4 minutes and walking 1. That got me through the 2nd loop, but I knew I was several minutes off my first loop pace (I forgot o check my watch - I cold just feel that I'd slowed down quite a bit). When I started the last loop, I was jogging slowly and walking often. But I was passing people up which felt really great. I definitely wasn't going to be in last place! When I finally saw the 12-mile marker, I knew I had to run it in. And although its no fun being on a course when the volunteers are cleaning up, I was happy that I was going to finish the damn thing. There were still spectators on the course cheering the last few of us on - I felt the urge to stop and tell everyone who was yelling for me to keep it up just what had happened on my bike and that really I should have finished two hours ago and that I'm not that slow, but of course I didn't. I finished and didn't come in last. I didn't know whether I wanted to cry or laugh or get my gear and go.

On a side note, Andy Potts' name was announced shortly after mine was announced for finishing. The awards ceremony was going on as I finished - he won the male pro division. It's the only time in my life I'll ever hear Andy Potts come after CrashHouston! I'll take it.

I learned a whole lot about running my own race yesterday. When you aren't gunning for a time or a pace or a place or to beat a buddy - when you are racing just to do it even though you had a lot of bad luck and a bit of an injury and nothing is going your way and you have that police escort behind you signifying you are in dead last place - that's when you realize just how much you love, really love, competing in triathlons regardless of where you finish. I wanted to share my story with you because you've been a big inspiration to me. We could all use more positive influences in our lives, and you provide a positive influence to me and, I would imagine, many of your readers. Yesterday's race - it was by far the best race I've ever had. Even better than the one time I finished in 2nd place in a sprint tri. I can't even begin to describe how strong the urge was to quit yesterday and how satisfied and happy I am that I didn't.

Keep up the great work, Steve.

CrashHouston

Holy hell, CrashHouston... that's AMAZING. Last place in a 70.3? (Even if just for a bit?...) That's a special kind of skill. :) And I LOVE that bit about Potts - LOVE your attitude! Ha!

It's those tough races that are the ones to remember. I had a tough time in the middle of IM NOLA 70.3 in 2009, but then I ended up running a 70.3 run-split PR as I was getting "misty" at the end of that race. It wasn't as epic as this, but you can still click here to read it - it gets interesting in T2 after I wrote "This is when the shit in the fan.". Check it out if you like a nasty race that turns out OK.

CrashHouston, thanks for sharing your story! I looked up your results, and it's pretty astounding to see your average bike pace and your average pace / mile on the run were nearly EXACTLY the same number! (To those reading, think about that - those numbers should be VASTLY different, like 18.0 - 21.0 mph and 7.0 - 9.0 mins / mile.) I wish you MUCH better luck during your next 70.3!

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Costumed Runners at the 2012 Monster Dash

>> Monday, October 29, 2012

Saturday, my family got bundled up to head down the road to cheer at the 2012 Monster Dash Half Marathon and 10 Mile. We knew a lot of people running, and we knew there'd be some fun costumes to watch go by. It was 31 degrees when we left the house, so Henry was bundled up:



We jogged down to the mile 4 marker just down the road from our house. We made it JUST in time to see cousin Ben go running past:




I ran past him to get another photo.
Ben went on to finish the half in 1:29! Nice work, Ben!


A pretty fast (and probably pretty chafed) chicken!


Gross. I mean... awesome.


As this guy ran past, I shouted
"Oh that's embarrassing! You forgot to take off your helmet in T2!!"


Pac Man ghosts.

Then Matt spotted us from the middle of the pack! (That's Pharmie's brother who I've done a ton of duathlon relays with as "Team Happy Pants.") He was running it with his girlfriend Angela!


Matt, with Angela just over his shoulder!


Angela flashing Henry a smile!


Off they go!

They BOTH ended up PRing, but Angela finished a few minutes ahead of Matt in 1:53! Nice work you two!!


A pretty sweet monkey.


A dissected frog! SWEET!



Then we spotted Pharmie's training and racing buddy Laura from the TC Marathon:



Remember I showed this photo below in my "sherpa report" from the TC Marathon where Pharmie just stopped to hug her Mom and Laura was just "floating" there waiting for her:

Well, Laura has decided that she needs to be floating in ALL of my photos because she stopped at the Monster Dash on Saturday to pose like this:


Fan-freakin-tastic!


Now get back to your race, Laura!


"Personal Trainer."


This couple had "pixelated bits" on the front. Awesome.


We were flashed!


The Ambiguously Gay Duo. They need to switch sides.


Pharmie and Henry cheering in the cold.


Brother-in-law Jon running up to say hi!


Jon needed to shed a base-layer, so he left it with us. Henry watched on in amazement.


Cute unicorn. And I think that's the Allstate "Mayhem" guy! Nice!


Another friend named Laura!


Remember: it was 31 degrees. And here's a topless Pac Man and ghost.


Their latex body paint didn't look that breathable (note the lower back of Pac Man).

We were cheering with Steve Q, and he brought his homemade root beer for us to try! Thanks Steve! Steve recently found out that I have a root beer passion much like him. (I've started keeping a root beer journal.) You know you're in for a treat when you're about to try something homemade and the "maker" asks "You're not allergic to too much... are you?"


Steve's home brew. It was heavy and delicious! (Note the ring it left in the cup.)

Henry was getting a bit crabby as it was about time for a nap (he was up early). So we thanked Steve Q for the root beer treat and we headed home.


Henry ZONKED OUT on the walk home.

Don't forget about the 15 pairs of Injinji socks that I'm giving away!! Check it out HERE if you haven't entered.

Happy Monday!

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Just Got My Bike Ready For Winter...

>> Sunday, October 28, 2012




Have you entered my Injinji sock giveaway yet? Check it out HERE.

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Friday Funny 416: A Thought On Lance

>> Friday, October 26, 2012




Too soon?...

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Friday Funny 415: Halloween Funnies

I think the ShamWow guy should go as Spock:



And Bob from Bob's Burgers (GREAT SHOW!) should go as Walter White from Breaking Bad:



Here are some hipster Disney Princesses:



And if hipsters have kids that are heading out to "trick-or-treat," I'm sure they'll be going as one of these 3 artists:



Finally, here are some of Mike Mitchell's costume options for Superman. I like the last one the best:











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