Friday Funny 681: Funny Sights at the Gym

>> Friday, February 28, 2014

Here are 16 strange/funny/odd sights from the gym:

Check out lots more funnies on!

Stop back this weekend for a NEW GIVEAWAY!!


Friday Funny 680: The Best Amazon Review for Hair Removal Cream

You've maybe seen a lot of funny Amazon reviews. This is my current favorite. (It will take a few minutes to read, but it's worth it - don't jump ahead.)

Lots more funnies on


Friday Funny 679: Poop Humor

Here's a ranking of different kinds of poop. I hope you're not eating.

#10 is the best.

Related: "If fast food poops were movies"

More funnies on


Friday Funny 678: Incorrect Answers that are Kinda Correct

I like to do meth with my students too.

And those 3 things that the one kid wants to do in the future sound GREAT to me! Go get it!

Lots more funnies all week long on!


Updates from Henry in Snowy Minnesota

>> Thursday, February 27, 2014

A week ago, we got another dumping of snow. Minnesota is shaping up to have one of it's top-5 coldest winters on record: our average high right now is above freezing, and we're looking at highs in the single digits all week (actually, our high temps will be BELOW 0 for a few days coming up). Any day this winter that has been "average" has felt like heaven!

At least Henry doesn't mind the snow. He's always out helping me. Here are some Instagram photos from the snowstorm late last week:

"Daddy's little snowstorm helper." Thanks for bringing your hoe, buddy.

"Henry blazing a trail back to civilization. #NoFilter"

On Friday, it was 10 below windchill, so (naturally) Henry and I went for a hike.

Shadow Falls!! (Mostly frozen.) Henry loved it!

I didn't instagram these next 3 photos, but here's a bit from our hike to the falls:

Cold sun up the valley walls.

A few times, I had to convince Henry to blaze a trail for me. He'd knock down a lot of
the ice and snow, and then I'd come through. THIS IS WHY PEOPLE HAVE CHILDREN!!

Another photo showing a bit more of the frozen falls.

We got home, warmed up, and then headed back out to do more shoveling.

The pile of snow along our sidewalk is getting P-R-E-T-T-Y high.

Stop back this weekend, because I'll be posting a GIVEAWAY. It's some pretty awesome "nerdy" stuff.


Beat-Up Chest and Swim Meet Results

>> Wednesday, February 26, 2014

50 yard freestyle:


3 out of 4 in the 30-34 male age group
43 out of 48 men
54 out of 67 overall

With that crappy, crappy dive, it makes sense that I was a little slower this year than I was last year.

500 yard freestyle:

7:26.08 (a default PR - my first 500)

50 splits: 38.32, 42.73, 46.00, 47.09, 46.38, 45.62, 46.34, 45.62, 45.00, 42.98
100 splits: 1:21.05, 1:33.09, 1:31.72, 1:31.96, 1:27.98
3 out of 3 in the 30-34 male age group
17 out of 20 men
27 out of 32 overall

I mentioned in my race report that "I bet there will be a 0:15 spread between my 100s." Well, I wasn't far off: my first and 2nd 100s were over 12 seconds apart. I needed to hold stronger 200-300 yards into this race. Ideally, I'd say I should/could swim this: 1:22, 1:30, 1:29, 1:30, 1:27 = 7:18. And being I did a "pool start" for this 500, I could easily compare this race with an all-out effort at any time. I might do that in a month or 2.

100 yard freestyle:

1:09.88 (a PR by about 0.3 seconds)

50 splits: 33.03 and 36.85
2 out of 3 in the 30-34 male age group
26 out of 38 men
33 out of 50 overall

I swam the first 50 nearly 0.7 seconds faster this year, and then finished with a 50 that was 0.4 seconds slower. But that's not surprising because I had just swam a 500, so I was beat. (But I didn't really feel tired during this race, so that's not really an excuse.)

As a follow up to the red chest poor-dive photos in my race report, here are some more recent images to enjoy:

Bruising over 24 hours after the meet.

Above my left boob over 24 hours after the meet.

This was from late last night: 2.5 days after the meet.
The small spots are getting better, but this bruise seriously contains about every color.
Roy G. Biv is well-represented on my chest.

Talking with Katie (the speedy swimmer who I met and chatted with for most of the meet who swam a 1:01 100 and a 22:48 1650) after she saw me dive for all of my races, she had a little advice. She knew what I was TRYING to do: I was aiming for a good pool-start dive where I shoot across the pool and then pop my hips up to get a dive action started. But the problem is I can't do that last part. My hips are like Shakira's: they don't lie. (I don't know what that means.) She recommended just diving straight in at an angle without trying to shoot as far across the pool. That will be a less-proper dive start, but it will probably be a lot better for ME. She warned that I'd probably go too deep a few times, but I probably get the hang of that pretty easily, and it'd give my chest a rest. Maybe I'll try that next year.


Swim Meet! My 50, 500, and 100 Race Reports.

>> Monday, February 24, 2014

Yesterday was the "Ys Guys" masters swim meet at the University of St. Thomas. I claim to be no "master" at this thing that I do in the water.

SOME PRE-RACE DRAMA: So I noted in a post on Friday that my goggles were splitting in 2 pieces during some practice dives. I got some well fitting goggles on Friday night, and I tested them in the pool on Saturday. I ran into someone special while testing them:

The goggles worked great during the practice swim. Crisis averted. For now.

Sunday I got to the St. Thomas pool just before they opened it for pre-meet warm-ups:

I did 300 once we could warm-up, and I threw in a few "race-pace turns" in the warm-up, and all was well. Then they opened up 2 lanes for dive-start practices. This didn't go so well:

• DIVE 1: My new goggles ended up slipping off and sliding down over my mouth during the dive.

• DIVE 2: I tightened them, and they still slid off during my dive.

• DIVE 3: I tightened them AS MUCH AS I COULD, and the still slipped off.

• DIVE 4: My only "extra" pair of goggles laying around were my FIRST pair of goggles that I started swimming with in 2005. Yes, they're pretty old. But I thought I'd try them at the meet... and they slipped off. Damn.

• DIVE 5: I tightened my old goggles, and they NEARLY stayed put! But they started filling up with water even by the end of 1 length of the pool (which is why I stopped wearing them in 2009ish).

• DIVE 6: I tightened my old goggles a bit more, and they pretty much stayed put! But they leaked a little water again by the far end of the pool.

• DIVE 7: I borrowed a pair of goggles from Scott. They were staying put for him, so I was hoping they would work for me. But they didn't.

That confirmed it: it wasn't the goggles. It was my diving.

After those horrible practice dives, my chest looked like this:

This is not altered in any way. Unfortunately.

About 90 minutes later as I was getting ready to race, it looked like this:

Some bruising starting to the middle-left and the lower-left.

I cheered on some old and new buddies at the pool. Speedy local runner Lance Elliott (who ran a 4:34 mile last winter) was there for his first swim meet. He was telling me that back in December he could barely swim down and back without dying. Here he is in his first 200 which he finished in 3:01:


Lance took hold of my camera to get some shots of my 50. THANKS LANCE! (He had just finished a 50 free 2 waves before me.) Here's the story of my entire race in 14 of his photos:

Beat-up chest on the blocks.


This was the exact moment the gun went off.
Apparently, my first reaction is to raise my toes! WTF?

I think I got my hands into a streamline position a little TOO quick.
But it's not too horrible yet. It REALLY gets bad in this next picture...

Sweet Baby Jesus. I don't think I'm supposed to be diving "knees first." Help me Lord.

OK Lord, I guess you did all you could with what you were given. This was the result. FLOP.

A bit of a bright spot here: that's a decent underwater streamline, right?!?!!

But then I ruin it by trying to take a stroke WAY to quick while I'm still underwater.
Talk about putting the brakes on. Sheesh.

Again, the horrible "too soon" stroke. Damn.

Swimming. Finally.

A big splash from a kick, proving that I WAS kicking.

A final breath before the single turn.

Back at the finish, checking my time.

I can't tell you anything about this race: it was too short to remember much. Really about the only thing I remember is telling myself to not breathe too much during the final half-length of the pool. I don't even know if my old goggles leaked - I really don't know. It was just a quick, hard race. I was a little disappointed because I was about a half second slower than my PR from last year: I went about 31.6 seconds. But with that shitty dive, I guess that's to be expected.

Two heats later in the 50, I got a photo of Katie (a new-to-the-metro-area swimmer/triathlete who had her gear next to mine so we chatted a lot) showing what a start from the blocks SHOULD look like:

Diving with the PROPER body parts first.

Katie's nice small splash in the middle!


About 35 minutes after the 50 was the 500. I wasn't going to take any chances here: I thought it'd be best to wear my GOOD goggles (that didn't leak but DID fly off with every dive start) and just do a pool-start for the 500. I basically decided to give up 1 second or so to ensure I didn't have goggles full of water for 7 minutes of racing. I think this was a good call.

The MOMENT of the start: the woman in lane 7 is diving as I'm going under to push off.

THANKS!!!!! (And thanks for the photos, Katie's fiancé!)

At my turn at the 100 mark, I saw some times on the board: I was around 1:21. I don't know if it was good or bad that I saw that. It was nice to know that I was moving pretty good, but MAYBE it "allowed" me ease up a bit around the 200 or 300 yard point. I saw the scoreboard at the 200 yard mark too, and it said something just under 3:00. That was the last I even tried to look at it - time to just swim. If I had to do it all over again, I think I wouldn't try to catch a glimpse of my splits.

My back and shoulders started getting fatigued around the 300-400 yard mark. This was brutal, but I wasn't dying. Which meant I was doing it wrong. I maybe saved too much in the middle.

Near the middle of the 500.

Just taking a quick break to check on the weather out the windows: it was still sunny.
Good. So I got back to swimming. (But really, I don't do flip turns.)

Nearing the end, gasping for a breath before my push-off.

I hit the wall, looked at my time, and probably had the biggest disappointment of the day. I was really hoping to break 7:30, but I was HOPING to get closer to 7:00. I ended with a 7:26. It was my first 500, so I'll take it. I think my first 100 was great, and I think I needed to keep the middle 300 stronger! (Although I was fried by the end: I had lost track of lengths, and I was HOPING to see "17" on the lap board at one point - telling me I was in my final 100.) I'm curious to see my splits when they come in: I bet there will be a 0:15 spread between my 100s! I'll post those when I see them.


Again, I had about 35 minutes between the 500 and 100. No photos of me swimming here: just another sub-par dive (but maybe my BEST of the day), and a lot of pain.

Lance had just done the 500 and the 100 (3 waves before me), and he said he actually felt like the 500 prepared him for this race, and that he didn't feel tired from it! I was hoping for a similar outcome. I REALLY wanted to PR and break my 1:10.17 from last year, but I didn't know if I'd just be too pooped to do that.

I went out HARD like I did last year - when I see the splits, I'm sure they'll tell the same story. I remembered to kick well in the final lap of this race. I used as little oxygen as I could, and breathed only every 4 or 5 strokes where I could, instead of my usual 3.

I hit the wall not sure if I'd PRed or swam a 1:13, but I felt happy with my effort. I felt smooth and fast for the race. The scoreboard read 1:09.88! I HAD MY PR!!

Katie's dive (a little better than mine) during her 1:01 100!

The final wave of speedy 100 swimmers.

I'll post the official results with the official splits in the next day or 2. Until then, you'll find me working on my diving while applying various pain-relief creams to my chest...

From Instagram post-race: Who has 2 thumbs, a bruised chest from
horrible diving, and 2 new swim PRs? This guy.

p.s. If you want to see my horrible diving in action, check out the video and animated GIF from last year where I was diving a little better. And stop by for the official results in a day or 2.


Goals for Tomorrow's Swim Meet

>> Saturday, February 22, 2014

The final "psych sheets" are out for the meet tomorrow, and there are no surprises: I'll be one of the slower ones there.

First up is the 50. Out of the 50 people signed up, I'm seeded 38th:

GOALS FOR THE 50: Don't dive like a complete ass, don't take any extra breaths near the end, and shoot for a sub-31 PR. Can you go sub-30? Doubtful (it will need a REALLY nice dive), but go nuts.

After that is the 500. I'm scared of this one. Everyone's been telling me that 500s hurt like a mother. I'm seeded 21st out of 31. MAYBE I can gain a couple of spots and finish around 7:00. We'll see. I'm freaking out a little.

Hey, it looks like I WON'T be in the slowest heat! Woo hoo!
(Now let's just make sure I don't make a fool of myself in the 2nd slowest heat...)

GOALS FOR THE 500: Start off hard but not TOO hard for the first 200, then don't be a wuss (push the effort) from 200-400. Really concentrate on good streamlined push-offs, and don't worry about not knowing your 100 splits at the moment. Just turn in a good effort. (I could be thrilled with a 7:30 or pissed off at a sub-7:00 - I have NOOO idea what to expect here.)

And then just 2 events after that is the 100. It's more important to me to PR in the 100 (than the 50), but after that 500, I just might be hashed. Again, we'll have to see. A PR would be overtaking the next time in front of me (sub-1:10.17):

Seeded 28th out of 42.

GOALS FOR THE 100: Streamlined push-offs, and lots of pain in this race. Just deal with it and go. Can you go sub-1:10?

It's a good thing I didn't sign up for the 1000. Patrick Parish is a local speedy triathlete (who is never the first out of the water at a triathlon), and he's seeded 3.7 seconds out of last place in the 1000:

Had I done this, people would be waiting around around 3-5 minutes for me to finish. Yikes.

Keep an eye on my Instagram photos and my tweets on Sunday morning and afternoon because I'll probably be updating from the pool. Here goes nothing....

p.s. Did you see my red chest in my last post from my horrible practice dives? I'm just not good.



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