Three weeks of Training Post-Triathlon Season

>> Monday, August 31, 2015

Three weeks ago yesterday was the North Mankato Triathlon (my last race). My achilles was a little flared up leading into that race, so here's what I've been doing since to try to get ready for the TC 10 Mile (and the TC Loony Challenge). Oh, and you won't be seeing any swimming here because I stopped swimming after the North Mankato Tri to try to let my "Dad Elbow" heal.

THE FIRST WEEK was recovery and trying to see what shape my achilles was in. I had an easy ride Wednesday morning, and a longer ride that Sunday. I mentioned in this post last week that I'm trying to do rides over an hour as extra endurance training for the TC 10 Mile especially now that I'm not gaining any endurance by being in the pool. My A.R.T. Doc told me to try 3 miles on Thursday, 5 miles on Saturday, and then a few more on Monday. That's every-other-day of running (what I usually try to do) with then 2 days off after 3 runs. And as you can see from the calendar above, that's what I've stuck to so far (adding mileage as I go).

• 8/13: 3 miles EASY: a bit achy near the end, but OK.
• 8/15: 5 miles EASY: NO PAIN! Calf felt great.

THE SECOND WEEK I tried to tack on miles. I did a moderate trainer ride on Wednesday (purple on the calendar), but didn't go too hard because my bum was a little sore. (Damn saddle sore from last month wasn't fully gone.) Then I had a WINDY long ride on Sunday where my 5 miles splits on the way out were around 16:30 (18.1 mph), and were around 12:30 on the way back (24.0 mph)!

• 8/17: 4 miles easy/moderate on a treadmill: OK, just a bit achy.
• 8/20: 3.8 miles easy, got a bit painful at the end. D'oh.
• 8/22: 6 miles with 1 mile building speed and 2 miles at "race pace." I posted about this here last weekend. Heel felt OK, and I cranked out the middle 3 miles in 6:13 pace. Definitely nothing super for me, but it felt good to be running HARDER again.

THE THIRD WEEK had another longer trainer ride on Wednesday, but this one had a lot more effort. Then an easier/shorter spin yesterday as the boys napped. Here's how the runs went:

• 8/24: 5.2 miles that felt SLUGGISH and SLOW. A little tightness, but could have been in my head.
• 8/27: 5.2 miles at a little more MODERATE of a pace. Felt OK.
• 8/29: 7.1 miles with 1 mile building speed and 3 miles at "race pace." I had a little calf pain at the end of this. Last week's long run had the middle 3 miles with PERFECT half-mile descends: 3:19, 3:13, 3:05, 3:02, 3:01, and 2:59. This week it was MUCH LESS perfect. It might have just been the difference of adding on 1 more hard mile. The half-mile splits for the fast 4 miles were 3:16, 3:13, 3:08, 3:06, 3:06, 3:09, 3:14, and 3:10. Those faster miles were 6:20 pace on average.

I did an easy 5.5 miles this morning, and things felt OK. So now, I have just less than 5 weeks to the big race weekend. My long run this past weekend was 7 miles. The plan RIGHT NOW (because it might change) is to keep upping the long run by a mile/week, but to not be adding as much to the other runs each week (that would end up being too much of an increase too quickly if I keep that up as I've been doing). If the trend is do-able, that would put me at an 11 mile long run the week before the race, which I'd LOVE to hit. (I'd try to move up the runs a bit so my last solid long run would be 9-10 days pre-race, and not just 7.) If I'm not able to get my long run up that far, that's OK, but I'd like to get as far as I can.

If my legs are feeling good, I'd LOVE to try some speed work on Thursday before 8 miles on Saturday. The most I would try would be something like 3x1 mile - I crave something anaerobic! Here's to hoping!


"Hill Numbers" from Duathlon Nationals (yes, the race back in JUNE)

>> Saturday, August 29, 2015

I've had most of this post written up for over 2 months, but I forgot about it. Here are some final numbers from Duathlon Nationals in June.

Me, sister-in-law Annie, and her boy-toy Matt after Du Nationals.

If you remember, in the sprint race, we had to bike a loop 2 times that started with a MAJOR climb just 70 second into the ride (the "standard" distance did it 3 times). In my race report, I noted that most everyone I talked to about riding up Ohio Hill said that the first time was rough, and then it didn't feel as bad. And those were my sentiments too: Ohio felt faster YET easier the 2nd time up. Well, the time spent on the hill confirms that. They had a "King of the Hill" challenge, so they had a timing mat at the bottom and (near) the top of the hill. Here were my splits and my crew's:

• Steve: 2:24 first lap, 2:21 second lap
• Annie: 3:36 first lap, 3:39 second lap
• Matt: 3:12 first lap, 3:04 second lap, 3:13 third lap

Also, my bike Garmin data shows my *slightly* faster second loop. Here's my overall bike speed:

Up Ohio early on, enjoying some speed around mile 2.5, down the steep hill
to the Yacht Club at mile 4, then some flat riding along the river back to start the 2nd loop.

I took the 2 loops on the bike and laid them on top of each other to see where they differed. The 2nd loop is in red. They are pretty similar (1st loop being faster in spots and the 2nd loop being faster in other spots), but the biggest difference is that I appeared to be carrying more speed at the end of the 2nd loop (back to transition) than I did at the end of the first loop:

And then in the spirit of overlaying Garmin speed data, I put my 2 runs on top of each other. This shows what I figured it would: a much more "constant" feeing first run (in blue), and a much more "jumpy" and sporadic 2nd run (in red) as I was awaiting the sweet release of death:

Here are some links to "Duathlon National" posts back in June:

- The first part of my race report (mainly Matt's race as Annie and I got ready to go)
- My full race report
- Lots more awesome photos of me racing from a friend


Friday Funny 972: Ikea Puns (and funny links)

>> Friday, August 28, 2015

This is my kind of humor. Unfortunately, Donna doesn't seem to appreciate it...

Direct link:

"Good luck, tiny pony." That's gold, right there. GOLD.

Like I do every couple of weeks, here are a dozen of my recent favorite posts from my tumblr page:

Athletic-Related Funnies:

I need this "Gone Running" sign.
Racing in the Tour (kinda).
This COULD be me...
I want to wear this when I workout.
Warning cyclists!
When you get so sweaty...
A toilet at a pool.
Weight loss tips.
[Inspirational quote over a sunset].
5K races.
Bike skills.
Runner's logic.
Brooke Ence is an awesome "hard body of the day."

Non-Athletic Funnies:

A calculated risk.
Dad tip.
Dad pun.
[GIFs] Some awesome nerdy, math/design news.
Microsoft puns.
If someone calls you trash, be inspired by this.
A great interaction at Target.
A good pick up line, followed by lots of failed ones.
100 days sober.
Are you lonely?

And as always, stop by for funnies all week long. Happy weekend!!

Back with some duathlon stuff tomorrow, and some injury/training updates on Monday.


Friday Funny 971: Beer Troubleshooting

You'll find this helpful the next time you're out drinking:

More funny things posted 10x a day on


Friday Funny 970: Movies Described With The Same Sentence

Lots more funny stuff posted all week long on


Friday Funny 969: Worst Summer Jobs

It's the end of summer - a good time to share some #WorstSummerJobs shown on the Tonight Show:

That last person is one of the most hated people in the world.

More funny stuff on!


Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Training and EATING Like a Kenyan.

>> Thursday, August 27, 2015

I came across this interesting article written by good ole' Matt Fitzgerald on last month about EATING like a Kenyan.

There's no doubt that Kenya produces some of the best runners in the world. There are many theories about this: high-altitude environments in which many Kenyans are born and raised, widespread early exposure to running (as a means of transportation), and the long-legged, ectomorphic body type that is common among Kenyans.

And then there’s diet. Few experts argue that the traditional Kenyan diet, which is maintained by most of the country’s top runners, is the number-one reason they run so well, but it clearly isn’t hurting them, either. Fitzgerald recently visited Kenya to do some research for an upcoming book: The Endurance Diet. He spent two weeks meeting with top Kenyan runners, including 2:03 marathoner Wilson Kipsang, and with Kenyan nutrition experts such as Vincent Onywera of Kenyatta University.

Fitzgerald also ate only traditional Kenyan foods while there to see what effects they would have on his body / running. He says it was "not a formal scientific experiment, but the results were eye-opening. All in all, my personal experience and my research convinced me that several features of the Kenyan diet are key contributors to the success of that nation’s runners and should be emulated by runners everywhere who want to perform their best."

Here are Fitzgerald's top 5 ways to eat and run like a Kenyan:

Eat fresh, local, unprocessed foods.
Kenyans eat very few processed foods. The most highly processed food available in the kitchen of my host family in Nairobi was a jar of peanut butter. A typical Kenyan meal consists of ugali (a type of cornmeal porridge), sukuma wiki (collared greens), ndengu (stewed mung beans), and chapati (a tortilla-like bread made with wheat flour), all homemade. The most memorable meal I ate in Kenya consisted of six items, all of which had been grown or raised on the property owned by the people who prepared the meal for me.

Runners in the U.S. and elsewhere would do well to stock their kitchens as Kenyans do, with a full crisper and relatively bare cupboards.

Eat a starch with every meal.
Virtually all Kenyan meals are centered on a starchy whole food. Among the most popular breakfast foods is uji, a porridge made from fermented millet and often flavored with lemon juice. At Lornah Kiplagat’s High-Altitude Training Centre in Iten, where I spent a couple of nights, ugali, rice, potatoes, and pasta were in constant rotation at lunch and dinner. This is typical of the Kenyan diet.

Because it is starch-based, the Kenyan diet is very high in carbohydrate. A 2004 study by Onywera found that elite Kenyan runners get 76 percent of their daily calories from carbs. Although we have been taught to fear carbs here in America, it would behoove us to overcome this fear and learn the difference between cornmeal and corn syrup if we want to run more like the Kenyans. A diet centered on starchy whole foods provides a winning combination of high-octane fuel and satiety and thereby promotes high performance and a lean body composition.

Eat meat infrequently.
The typical Kenyan runner eats meat or fish three or four times per week. While in other countries a tedious argument rages between Paleo dieters, who believe people should eat more meat than anything else, and plant-based dieters, who believe that every bite of animal flesh takes a day off one’s life, Kenyans may have found the sweet spot between these extremes. Recent science, including a massive 2013 study involving more than 400,000 men and women, lends support to the idea that eating a small amount of meat is healthier than eating either none or a lot. The practice certainly agreed with me.

Eat snacks and dessert...of fruit.
Kenyans rarely eat desserts or sweets. I did see rural Kenyan schoolchildren munching on raw sugarcane, but that’s closer to eating an apple than it is to drinking a can of soda. Indeed, when Kenyans do crave something sweet they are more likely to reach for a papaya or a banana than a candy bar or cookie. Most of the unscheduled feedings (i.e. snacks and desserts) that Kenyan runners partake of consist of fresh fruit.

Sugar hysteria has gotten so far out of control in the United States and elsewhere that fruit has been lumped together with other sweet-tasting things and labeled “unhealthy.” In fact, fruit is one of the healthiest food types in nature. Research has consistently shown that higher fruit intakes are associated with favorable health outcomes. For example, in a scientific review published in 2009, Danish researchers looked at past research on the relationship between fruit intake and body weight. Of 16 studies analyzed, 11 showed that elevated fruit intake either prevented weight gain or induced weight loss.

Do some runs on an empty stomach.
Elite Kenyan runners run two to three times per day. Their first run is usually done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Although the reasons for this practice are practical rather than scientific, recent science indicates that doing a portion of one’s training in a low-glycogen state (i.e. a state of semi-depleted muscle carbohydrate stores, as occurs after an overnight fast) enhances some of the fitness-boosting adaptations that occur in response to workouts. If you run “only” once a day, you won’t want to do all of your workouts in a low-glycogen state, but training once or twice a week in such a condition is one more thing you can do to run like a Kenyan.

For more "Thirsty Thursday" posts that highlight workouts, body science, and all kinds of interesting information, CLICK HERE.


Training Thoughts for the Loony Challenge

>> Wednesday, August 26, 2015

In less than 6 weeks, I'm racing the TC in Motion "Loony Challenge" again for the 2nd year in a row. It's a 10K and 5K on Oct 3rd, followed by the TC 10 Mile on Oct 4th. Last year, I ended up winning the series. (Oh, and here's my 10K and 5K race reports from last year, and here's my 10 Mile race report.) I'd love to win it again this year, but my training isn't quite the same, so who knows.

Here's a graph of my swim, bike, and run distances (made on where I log my miles) in the 6 months leading up to the race LAST YEAR:

Bad ankle sprain in early April, and then a quick build of running miles in July, Aug, and Sept.

Here's what THIS YEAR looks like so far:

Keeping running injuries in check in June and July as I was doing lots of triathlons, and
noting where my August running miles should end up if this next week goes as planned.

(Also notice that I stopped swimming after the North Mankato Triathlon a few weeks ago to let my sore elbow heal. I'm done swimming for a while because of that.)

The biggest thing that these 2 graphs DON'T show is bike trainer time: last year, over these 6 months, I only had 2 rides on the trainer for about 80 minutes total. This year, I've been on the trainer 880 minutes (14 hrs, 40 minutes) over these 6 months, which is the equivalent of 278 more miles on the bike (if you take my average speed outdoors and apply it to the time spent doing Spinerval workouts on the trainer). So my bike fitness is much greater this year, but I'm working on keeping these injuries at bay. And I'm using rides of 75-90 minutes as a way to keep my endurance up for the (hopefully) roughly 63 minute TC 10 Mile.

So after last year's race, I thought if I did the series again, I'd have a goal of running the SAME times. My 10K and 5K times/efforts were right where they needed to be. And then I MAYBE took it a little too easy in the opening miles of the 10 Mile on Sunday (scared that my legs were going to run out of steam). But the 10 Mile was just a little short, so my 1:01:42 finishing time was really actually the equivalent of 1:02:34. So if I ran the same times this year, I'd technically be faster. I finished the 3 races in 1:59:00 flat last year, so even if I run the same 10K and 5K, and then run the same pace for a full 10 Mile as I did last year, I COULD break 2 hours. (That'd be 1:59:52.) I guess that will be my "A" goal. But I don't think I'll quite be able to do that. Here are my goals for the upcoming weeks:


• FIRST, STAY HEALTHY! I need to increase my miles, but I need to be smart. I need to do what I can to stay injury-free. Being at the starting line with less training than I want but feeling relatively injury-free is more important than limping to the line on day 1 only to completely die on day 2 of racing.

• SECOND, BUILD DISTANCE. Miles. That's it. But don't loose sight of goal #1 above while doing it.

• THIRD, BUILD SPEED. This needs to take a back seat until my legs are feeling great. I need to let this go and not worry about it.

"The gang" before the 10K and 5K last year. Then, Matt and I did the 10 Mile the next day,
and Pharmie and Angela did the Marathon the next day. And that's the plan this year too!


Ladies, Contain Your Orgasms

>> Monday, August 24, 2015

Be warned. The following is an unedited sexy shot of me in bed last night:

Put your panties back on, ladies.

So that's my super sexy bedtime get-up for the next few weeks. I've shared photos of the "night splint" before on my blog - I got that in 2011 when I really had some bad achilles tendon issues on my left leg. And I've worn it a few times since then when I feel the possibility of a calf/achilles injury coming on. Here's a photo from a post in early 2012 showing the sexy night splint:

(First seen in this post from 2011.)

So in the photo of me laying in bed, you see it on my right leg - that's the calf that gave me issues last month on a 7 mile run.

On my left leg in the top photo is a Strassburg Sock. It works in a similar way and helps reduce calf/achilles tightness and pain, but it also is supposed to help with planter fasciitis and a few other things. I just bought that on Friday and have been wearing it at night ever since. I always figured a Strassburg Sock would be more comfortable than my night splint, but it's really not - the pulling back on the toes is a little uncomfortable.

These are my words, but this is my understanding of these 2 "devices:" basically, both the night splint and the Strassburg Sock work by not letting the calf and achilles totally relax and "shorten" overnight. When you lay in bed, your feet and legs are not at 90 degree angle - your toes are a little pointed. Pull up some covers, and the weight of that will point your toes a little more. When your calves are relaxed but your toes are pointed, that allows your achilles and calves to "shorten" a bit. Lay like that for 6-8 hours, and they will start to think that this shortened state is their new normal. So then you hop out of bed in the morning, and with your first steps you feel tight, achy, sore calves and/or achilles because now your feet and legs are back to a 90 degree angle for the first time since the night before. These 2 devices don't stretch the calf/achilles, but they hold everything at such an angle that it can be relaxed but not "shortened" as you sleep. Make sense? That's the best I can explain it.

I had more acupuncture for my arm and my calves on Friday, but I don't think that's doing much to help either issue (calf tightness and forearm pain). I Instagrammed this photo of a few acupuncture needles in my ear:

Caption: "25 needles in me. Trying 4 in my ears too."

A photo from 2 days after my acupuncture showing where 1 needle bruised my forearm.

One needle in one of my hands felt like it was moving the whole time. And right before the needles were pulled out (after 20-25 minutes or so), the needle just popped out. I was told that sometimes the body forces out needles. It was weird. (And not "sexy weird" like the top photo in this post.)

Back to stretching and doing my leg exercises to keep my legs happy! Hoping for a long run of 7 miles in a few days! We're less than 6 weeks from the "Loony Challenge," so my mileage NEEDS to be increasing.


An ACTUAL "Training" Run!

>> Saturday, August 22, 2015

Well folks, I had a successful long run today. It was only 6 miles, but it was 6 miles in the right direction since having lots of heel pain nearly 5 weeks ago. And it was my first real "training" run in about 7 weeks!! (When I did a 2x2 mile efforts with Charlie in the stroller on July 3rd when we were "at the lake" at Aunt Jen's house to celebrate the 4th)

I did some "race pace" miles today. I warmed up with 2 easy miles (where I had a little heel tightness), and then "built" for a mile, and then did 2 miles around my 10 mile race pace before cooling down for a final mile. In the past, I've talked about liking "race pace" miles and not "all out" tempo miles because the FAST work gets me injured. I was hoping to be able to hold about 6:10s for the race pace miles, and my mile splits looked like this:

- 2 mile WU, 1 mile building, 2 miles "race pace," 1 mile CD
- Mile splits: 7:12, 7:24, 6:32, 6:07, 6:00, 7:13
- Half mile splits: 3:33, 3:39, 3:42, 3:42, 3:19, 3:13, 3:05, 3:02, 3:01, 2:59, 3:37, 3:36

So I'm pretty happy with that. Sure, I've been a LOT faster in the past (in fact, my last "training" run with Charlie in the stroller had 4 miles faster than any of these!), but the main goal is to stay injury free while building some endurance, so I'm on my way. More on this on Monday - we'll see how my legs feel over the next 24 hours...


Friday Funny 968: Wacky Food Thoughts

>> Friday, August 21, 2015

Technically, corn comes out of the ground on a stalk. And I think that rice line is a Mitch Hedberg joke.

But the pizza one kinda f-ed me up.

More funny things on my tumblr:


Friday Funny 967: What Your Race Shirt Says About You

A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday. It's so true it hurts.

More funny stuff posted all week long on


Friday Funny 966: Fortune Cookies

Incredibly handsome best friend forever for now Devon just posted this fortune he got on Twitter:


In his honor, I found some more fantastic fortunes from 22Words:

More funny stuff on!


Instagrams of the Day: Bike and Museum

>> Thursday, August 20, 2015

These 2 photos that I Instagrammed yesterday basically sum up my day. First, an early morning trainer ride before the boys were up:

"Live shot: finishing up a sweaty hour on the trainer."

Then a trip to the museum with the boys: "Mona Henry."


The "Powderhorn 24"

>> Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I didn't know about this event until I stumbled across it on a run this weekend. The Greenway (bike trail) was PACKED, even for a Saturday morning. I soon heard "HEY STEVIE!" from a passing cyclist. It was Jamey, a college buddy, fellow cyclist, and groomsman at our wedding.

Jamey and his daughter headed out for a ride via Jamey's Instagram.

A few blocks farther, the Greenway was PACKED with people in tents on either side. I saw a sign that said "Butt Stallions" on one of the tents and was intrigued. I noticed people wearing lanyards with the same card hanging from them around their necks. I had stumbled across the "Powderhorn 24."

The Powderhorn 24 is a bike race of sorts. You can do it individually, or as a team with 2-6 people. It started the night before (Friday) at 7 pm, and went for 24 hours until Saturday night (at 7 pm, duh). You have to hit 4 checkpoints in order, and have it marked off on your card. You can go any way you'd like, but here's the "suggested route" from their website:

That's about a 4.7 mile urban loop, with the north edge being the Greenway Trail.

There are "bonus stops" which earn you extra points, but I don't know anything about those. You basically do this loop as many times as you can in 24 hours, or you take turns with your teammates as 1 rider from each team is doing that loop at any given moment for 24 hours as a giant relay. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?

From the Powderhorn 24 website: a group pic from 2014.
(Along the Greenway in the NW corner of the map above.)

Another pic from Jamey's Instagram as it was about to start on Friday night.

As the sun was setting on the Greenway (via twitter). These tents went on for a few blocks!

I went online to see the live results as it was still underway on Saturday. The team names are the best. Here's just SOME of them that I liked. (These are copy-and-pasted from the results, so the top of this list are the fastest teams.)

Hecks Angels
Blisters of Mercy!
Slow is Forever [sidenote: this was the first place SOLO man,
     covering approx. 310 miles NOT COUNTING bonus stops!]

We climbed Val Kilimannjaro
Fallopian Tools [an all women's team, duh]
Small Gears Large Beers
id rather be walking
Struggle Bus
Butt Stallions
Dropbars Not Bombs
Legion of Cunt Crushers
Protect Kirsten Dunst At All Costs
Powered by Bacon
Alpha Mommy
I don't own biking shorts :,(
Snakes on a Bike!
Probably Bill Murray
Ham Sandwich
12 Ounces At A Time: A Marathon
Meadowbrook Senior Living Activities Board [I don't think this one's supposed to be funny…]
2 + 2 = tutu
Almost no broken bones

The lead team did 78 loops, and hit 40 "bonus stops," for a score of 118. (There were 12 teams with 110 points or more, so it was close at the top!) If we call the loop exactly 4.7 miles, then the lead team biked 366 miles plus the bonus stops! That's all urban riding too! AND having to stop 4 times a lap to get your card marked! CRAZY! Jamey was doing great (as an individual) as he posted this photo early Saturday afternoon:

A photo as it wrapped up on Saturday evening (via twitter).

Pharmie and I were both intrigued. This could be fun to be a part of next year. It's like Ragnar, but for hippie cyclists. Check out more on

p.s. Don't ask how it ended for Jamey. He was well on his way to his goal of a double century (200 miles), when he stepped off his bike funny and had a lot of calf pain. He had to call it quits with a torn calf muscle 24 miles shy of his goal:

D'oh. I feel ya, fellow injured brother.

p.p.s. But don't think Jamey got hurt because he was stupidly biking too far. Last month, he biked across Minnesota south-to-north with his Dad over a week. I think they covered just under 500 miles in 6 days or so. It was awesome to "watch" him do that on Instagram. Head to his Instagram page and scroll down a bit until you see classic Minnesotan photos like these to see lots of photos from his week-long ride:



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