Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Cheap Running Shoes (and garage work)

>> Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My wife and I left the boys with my folks on Sunday night, and they're coming back today. On the way back from dropping them off, we stopped at the Nike Outlet Store in Medford, and I found TWO pairs of my running shoes for $50 each:

Normally, they're around $120, so I'm thrilled to get 2 for $100. The Outlet store can be totally hit-or-miss, but it was a HIT for me this past weekend.

Oh, and this is what I've been working on with the boys gone. I finally tore off the "temporary" stairs going up to my studio space in the "new" garage we built 3 years ago. Monday and Tuesday were spent cutting, ripping, and installing the treads and risers, and today I've already got a coat of poly on everything:

The "before" shot after I started ripping up a few steps.

"Before" from above.

Last night: treads and risers installed and washed down.

Just a few moments ago: after the first coat of polyurethane (2 more to go).
I may caulk the edges along the walls when I'm done with the poly.

Some trim work that was polyurethaned. (Note the tiny "ledge"
to the right in the looking-down-from-above photo - this is for parts of that.)


Three Weeks of Workouts (and weekend debauchery)

>> Monday, August 29, 2016

My last 3 weeks of workouts show a slow improvement:

SWIM: I'm slowly working back into it after a shoulder impingement in July ("swimmer's shoulder). These 3 short weekend swims have all been a little freestyle, some kick drills, and a little more freestyle (basically to keep from doing too much shoulder work straight through). The shoulder's not 100%, but it's getting better. I'm still doing some PT exercises for it too.

BIKE: Both of the days with bike rides were hauling my boys with my mountain bike. The first was when we went to cheer on Mama at the Women's Tri, and the 2nd was just lots of riding last week as mentioned in Saturday's post. I'm finally able to CONSIDER getting on my tri bike again - it'd be the first time since April. (The theory a few months ago was that being sharply bent over wouldn't be good for my back issue that was sending pain down my leg. But now that we think it MAY not be a back issue, it's still not great to be "pulling up" while being clipped in. That strain is what's causing my lower leg to hurt.)

RUN: I'm doing my "prescribed" slow build. The first week on that calendar above was 5x(4 min running, 1 min walking). The 2nd week was easy 25 minute runs. And last week was easy 30 minute runs. On Wednesday, I'll start a week of easy 35 minute runs.

STRENGTH: I'm doing lots of good core, some decent upper body, and lots of little, random PT moves for all the parts of me that are broken.

Oh, and you can see that I did nothing on Saturday. That's because I spent a total of 7 hours in a car hanging out with some boys for a bachelor party. Remember my sister-in-law Annie and her fiancé Matt from the Duathlon National Championships at Harriet Island last year:

Well, they're getting married in a few months, so I spent Saturday with some my bro-in-laws and their cousins. I Instagrammed this after we got off the Kickapoo River:

"Spent 5-6 hours on a river in WI with these guys today. Happy bachelor party Matt!"

Here are a few more pics of the bachelor party on the water:

The whole gang. Heads (l-to-r): Justin (Matt's bro-in-law), bro-in-law Jon,
bro-in-law "Old" Matt, bro-in-law Mike, cousin Ben, cousin Andy, and "New" Matt.

Ben was the bravest (in the cold, COLD water).

Brotherly love.

Yeah, that's me in my Tutti Fruiti shorts and the
man-of-the-hour riding an inflatable sheep down the river.

Me driving all the drunks back home. I didn't get too crazy
with my 2 cans of Coke Zero and bottle of diet root beer.


Long Ride with My Boy(s)

>> Saturday, August 27, 2016

On Mon-Wed, Henry had kindergarten orientation. He's now SUPER pumped to go to school. On Tuesday, I loaded the boys into the Chariot, and Charlie and I dropped Henry off at school. Then I got Charlie strapped back in to the gym:

Snack time in the Chariot!

I did a good 40 minute core workout at the Y, and I stretched my legs well too. Then we took the "long way home" by adding on more miles on the Greenway and along River Road. Charlie zonked out for a bit:

So he missed it when I stopped to say "hi" to 2 turkeys:

We got back to school, picked up Henry (and got to see his locker, which NEARLY made me tear up a bit), and then rode easily home (adding on a few extra blocks just to "flush out" my legs. Total, it was nearly 16.5 miles on the day, with almost 14 miles of that averaging over 14 mph (the 14 miles with only Charlie - it's amazing how much harder it is with an extra 5-year-old in there!).

p.s. I've been posting a fair amount on my Photography Blog recently, and I want to make sure any locals know about this post which is about a Photography Biennial I was asked to be a part of at Concordia University. The opening is under 2 weeks away. Check out that last link for more info, and/or check out the gallery's Facebook event for the opening reception.


Friday Funny 1143: Olympic Funnies

>> Friday, August 26, 2016

I love the Olympics. A lot. (See Monday's post about hot to get over the Olympics.) So here's a handful of "Olympic funnies" from my tumblr page:




The top photo of these next 2 (Phelps beating Le Clos) was circulating with the caption "Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners." Someone added on to it...








Lots more funny things posted 10x every day on HAPPY WEEKEND!!


Friday Funny 1142: One-Liner Sex Jokes

This gets a little bit "spicy." But if you normally read my blog, you can handle this.

Lots more funny things on

Back with a final Olympic farewell "Friday Funny" shortly.


Friday Funny 1141: Health Tips We All Want To Hear

Find lots more funny stuff on


Metatarsal Support and New Theories About My Body

>> Wednesday, August 24, 2016

On Friday, I went to the Doc to ask about this foot pain I've been having. They did an x-ray and found nothing broken, but they DID find a bone spur from Lord-knows-what from some possible trauma X many years ago:

The Doc thought the same thing as my Chiro: I need some metatarsal support. That support comes in the form of a dense triangular-shaped pad that goes under my foot just behind the ball of my foot but just in front of my arch. My foot is collapsing for some reason, and this helps hold it up the way it should. (At least, this is my understanding of the situation.)

I have one in my "walking around" shoes, and one in my running shoes.

That provided relief right away. My foot is getting better too because I can be barefoot for longer now without pain. Before, I could take a few steps barefoot and my foot would hurt right away. We'll see if these pads lead to "correcting" the issue, or if it just "manages" the issue/pain while I wear them.

At the advice of my P.T. (who is now throughly confused about my body and whom I've stopped seeing), I've been seeing my Chiro. Tomorrow will be the 4th time in 2 weeks, and I think we're about to start slowing down. As I mentioned in a post last week, he's pretty sure my lower leg pain is NOT referred down from my lower back. He's just never seen any case like that and can't believe that. He's been doing some Graston Technique "massage" on my lower leg, and that's been helping. He's also been trying to adjust my lower back, but earlier this week, he uttered some words that he felt bad for saying: "Steve, maybe that Doc from 3 years ago was right - I don't think there's anything I can do, so this pain in your lower back might be something you just have to live with." He thinks my sacrum is a little locked up on the right side, but he's not having any luck with it.

Taped up after a Chiro visit. Yes, I have to shave that section of leg.
It's like a "landing strip" that goes nowhere.

Last night, I had another visit with Robert at Element Wellness Group. He worked a bit more on my lower back...

Lots of needles under the heat lamp.

... and he worked on my foot too:

So the good news in this "oh-my-God-my-body-is-so-busted" post is that I'm still supposed to keep running. Today I started week 6 of my "return to running" program which means I'll be doing three 30-minute easy runs this week. ACTUAL running! For a duration that actually FEELS like something! I'm still not out of the woods, but I'm hoping to be able to build up to 60 minutes in the next 6 weeks.


How to Get Over the Olympics

>> Monday, August 22, 2016

I first posted this nearly exactly 8 years ago, after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Some of it was specific to Beijing, but some of it still applies to today:

That’s it? They just stop?!? We’re all addicted! There was no weaning period! Last night, do you know what I saw at 10 pm on NBC? I saw the local news!! What the hell?!? Where are the swimmers? The volleyball players? The gymnasts? The heartwarming stories of overcoming a TV friendly life-obstacle?

Here are 10 ways to hold on to the glory of the Olympic games for a few more weeks:

(If you have any ideas to add, please leave a comment, and I will update this post with my favorite ideas).

1. Hearing their names: Every hour, say the names “Phelps, Nastia, and May-Treanor” to yourself. You can’t just stop hearing their names. It’s not like weed or internet porn which you can stop at anytime.

2. Age controversy: Hire a 12 year old girl to mow your lawn. Spend way too much energy (unsuccessfully) trying to convince your neighbors that she’s 16.

Oh man. I nearly forgot about that gymnast. After this Olympics, the controversy could be the intersex athlete from South African running as a female. But I'm not sure how to work that way into my every day life.

3. Baby-faced Costas: Place a life-sized cutout of Bob Costas behind your kitchen counter. This way, every time you walk to the kitchen, it will look like he’s reporting on the day’s events.

4. For the sake of the country: Ship your 4-year old off to a government run training camp for gymnastics. You might miss them for a week, but HTFU. At least it will take your mind off the fact that the Olympics are over. Don’t worry, you’ll see them again at the 2020 Olympics. They better do better than Silver, damn it.

5. Who’s better looking? Who’s the better singer? Next time you go to a birthday party, hire a singer (who’s less attractive than you) to stand behind you to sing “Happy Birthday” as you lip-sync.

Oh jeez - I forgot about that too! Remember the singer during the opening ceremony who was lip-syncing because the "real" singer wasn't attractive enough to be on TV? It's kinda like how Ryan Lochte isn't smart enough to be on this planet.

6. Glue a feral cat to your body. This one has nothing to do with the Olympics, but I bet it’d take your mind off the fact that they are over.

7. Ceremonial: Erect a huge tent in your yard, and hire 1000 men to dance around in footy pajamas that light up. Do this while you neighbors down the street go hungry. (Sorry, just a little bitterness here.)

8. Happy thoughts: Every time you get an erection while you’re thinking about that amazing 100 meters that Jason Lezak swam in 46 seconds to anchor the 4x100, punch yourself in the junk. Have I taken this one too far? I really don’t think so.

9. Shopping at Home Depot: According to their commercials, it looks like Home Depot employs every US Olympic athlete. So, the next time you need a box of finishing nails, go in to Home Depot and DEMAND to be helped by an Olympic medalist. If they claim that they don’t have any Olympians working there, storm out and go to Menards.

10. Training like the athletes: In the name of training like Michael Phelps, start consuming 8,000 to 10,000 calories per day. But don’t do any of that swimming stuff that Phelps does - that looks like a lot of work.

Man, I hope this works. I gotta get over these games. I’ve got to go purchase #3. And I look forward to #10. Do you have any ways that you’re hanging on to the Olympics? Let me know your thoughts, and I’ll update this post with my favorite submissions.

Reader Updates:

Dave said, "Hold a competition for an event you know no one else will show up for, like handball or rhythmic gymnastics. Invite local media to awards ceremony." I like it! It's like the Doughnut Run 5K race that I won earlier this year. That SHOULD be an Olympic sport: it takes a balance of speed and intestinal fortitude to run a race while eating 15 Krispy Kreme doughnuts!

Danielle in Iowa said, "At my race on Saturday, I made sure to slap hot people on the ass as they passed me - if it is good enough for beach volleyball it's good enough for running!" Great idea!!

Vanilla said, "Low-ride your pants so that you look like Phelps in his Speedo LZR racer suit. This is appropriate in any situation, I'm currently wearing my wool suit around the office in that manner." I really, really hope that's true about your suit!

Greyhound had 2 good ones. First, he suggested, "Doing a training ride with 40 to 50 heavy smokers in front of you to simulate a 'blue sky day'." And then he offered this one, which I think I'm going to do: "Put a Nike Swoosh on all your spouse's bras and panties so you can pretend she is Misty May." Greyhound, you even got the right volleyball player! (I like a solid woman!)

Kaeti mentioned an obvious one that I missed: "Uh, duh — hire Bela Karolyi to yell 'Go Girlfriend!' and follow you around muttering unintelligibly all day."

TriGuyJT told me to "install an outdoor shower on your lawn and set up a camera, then shower just like the divers do....for no apparent reason..."

Happy Olympic Hangover!

p.s. I'll have some "Olympic Funnies" this week as a "Friday Funny," so make sure to stop back for that.


Sister Madonna Buder: The Iron Nun

>> Saturday, August 20, 2016

86-year-old Sister Madonna Buder is awesome. You've maybe seen her name in running or triathlon magazines for years. Here she is in a Nike commercial that aired during the Olympics:

Direct link:

Love it.


Friday Funny 1140: Modern Captions on Classical Art

>> Friday, August 19, 2016

More funny things on Happy weekend!!


Friday Funny 1139: Marathon Guts and Olympic Swimsuits

Below are 2 videos. This first one is not funny. Here's Gabriela Andersen-Schiess in the 1984 Olympic Marathon in LA. This is only a minute long, but it gets hard to watch. Wow:

Direct Link:

In a more pleasant video: here are normal people trying on competitive swimsuits:

Direct Link:

More funny things posted 10x a day on


Friday Funny 1138: Wrestling Photos that are You Taking Care of Your Drunk Friends

This is amazing:

More funny things posted all week long on


I had an ACTUAL run!

>> Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My "return to running" program from my P.T. has been going OK. On Sunday, I actually FINISHED it with my first straight-through run since MARCH. It was 20 glorious minutes of solid running. Here's what last week looked like in my training log:

W and F were both 5x(4 min running, 1 min walking), a short easy swim on Saturday
with some kick drills, and some riding with my boys on Sunday
as we cheered on Mama at the Women's Tri

P.T. says to keep progressing with my running like I did this fall after I took time off after the Loony Challenge: I'll be running easy runs 3x/week adding 5 minutes to the runs each week. So this week I'll be running 25 minute runs, next week I'll be running 30 minute runs, etc.

I'm not out of the woods by ANY means yet. I stopped going to P.T. 2 weeks ago because she says she can't help me any more. I went to a chiropractor on Monday (and will be going back tomorrow) to check on my sacrum, which appears to be a little locked up. Here's a rundown of what's up with my injuries:

• My Chiro thinks my leg pain is NOT referred pain from my back. He thinks it was/is a separate tendon/ligament issue that didn't show up on my MRI just because it wasn't flared up that day. For certain reasons, I believe him, but I'm not totally sold. He's going to address them both, but as separate issues.

• Leg pain is being kept in check throughout these runs. It's not 100% gone, but P.T. was still OK with me running as long as I wasn't making it worse. At WORST, it's just a bit of a deep ache.

• Lower back / disc / sacrum / whatever-it-is feels the same. It's felt this way for nearly 3 years, and it's really not getting any better (with lots of P.T. and 4 months of non-running) or worse. This is part of the reason why P.T. said she can't do any more for me. She recommended maybe going back to my doc again to see if there's anything else we should do. (Cortizone shot?)

• My shoulder wasn't feeling much better over the last 6 weeks, but then I went for a swim that HELPED! Remember, I went for a swim back in July, and my shoulder had some pain right afterwards. I couldn't massage it out. P.T. said it was an "impingement" (basically "swimmer's shoulder). I've been doing some exercises for it for a few weeks, but it's just ached and ached. Then I went for a short swim just to "test" it on Saturday, and that made it feel 10x better! So maybe just a short swim each week to keep the blood flowing if it helps! I'd LOVE to get back to swimming again!

• With everything else progressing slowly in the right direction, I'm currently most worried about my left foot. I mentioned it as a possible issue in this post 2 weeks ago, and since then it got a bit better, and has since stalled out. It doesn't hurt when running, which is probably a good thing. But I can't walk around barefoot for more than a few minutes before it starts to ache. I'll give it 1 more week of running before talking to P.T. and/or my doc again.

• Acupuncture is helping to keep things loose. I didn't see Robert for a bit in June/July, and that's when things sort of stalled out. I didn't realize it was helping so much until I wasn't getting it. I went back to Element Wellness Group last night:

Nearly 30 needles in me all over my body, with current being sent through
my right side (where things are the most "locked up").

Doing some ear work this time.

Oh, and I should mention 2 concerns that readers recently had. First, someone commented wondering if I needed new shoes. My shoes don't have too many miles on them (I track them RELIGIOUSLY), but I AM thinking about trying something like the Hokas for more cushion. And second, someone commented with concerns that I was running too fast. In my 2 or 3 minute runs, 7-7:30 pace still felt "easy." (That's a minute or so off my half-marathon pace, but for just a few minutes.) Now that I'm up to "straight-through" runs, my pace has dropped because my endurance is squat. On Sunday, my easy pace for 20 minutes was exactly 8:00/mile. Don't worry - I'm not running too hard. In fact, I need a certain pace to keep my cadence up so I don't heel strike and ruin my form.

Alright, back to some easy runs. Here's hoping my foot keeps getting better!


My Wife at the YWCA Women's Triathlon

>> Monday, August 15, 2016

Yesterday, my wife did her first triathlon of the year: the YWCA Women's Triathlon at Lake Nokomis. The boys and I biked over to cheer her on:

Loaded up and ready to go!

We met speedy Heather Lendway crossing the Lake/Marshall bridge WAYYY out in the lead as we were headed to the race. We also saw other friends along River Road in the freshly-paved areas:

Pretty sure this is Marta and Lydia. Sorry for the blurry photos. But I was biking while
towing 100+ lbs behind me while snapping photos on my phone. So deal with it.

More bikers on the smooth not-even-painted-yet road.

We spotted Devon a few minutes later:

It's a good thing he has his looks.

And then we spotted Mama! GOOOOO MAMA!!!

We got to the race site, saw lots of buddies from the YWCA, and then saw speedy Heather win the race by a big margin just a minute or so off the course record:

Another St. Paulie proving she's better than everyone in Minneapolis.
(As a resident of St. Paul, I'm contractually obligated to make jokes like this.)

The boys cheering at the bike in/out as we waited for Mama.

Here comes Mama!

Love that sign.

High fives as she starts the run course!

How do you deal with 2 boys in a porta potty? Keep shouting "DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!"
Also, being this was the Women's Tri and this potty was used by 95% women,
I learned that ladies are just as nasty as us dudes. Gross.

Cheering runners into the finisher's chute.

That's Kate from our Y in the orange. (She did the Donut Mile with me on New Year's Eve.)

At this race, you can finish with your kids. So Mama did!

Congrats Mama!

I had to share this: a friend posted this on Facebook after the race, and it was a bunch of mini-stories from the triathlon. (It was posted by the hubby of Kate who's butt was pictured a few photos up.) This was the end of his post, and it's worth sharing:


The boys and I got home a few hours later, and this was the scene:

I Instagrammed that photo with this caption:

It's been an eventful 12 hours. Henry woke up with a horrible cough barely able to breathe last night around 1. We almost took him to the ER, but I decided to sleep with him to make sure he didn't stop breathing. He was breathing better and finally calmed down around 2:30. I woke up both boys from a dead sleep just before 8 to pull them with my bike to see Mama do a triathlon. (We were planning on being there by then, but Henry needed his sleep.) We cheered on Mama, and she got to run down the finisher chute holding on to each boys' hand! Then the boys and I biked to the Y, where Charlie barfed M&Ms all over the playroom slide (Mama gave him lots of post-race M&Ms) and crapped his pants. I got Charlie all cleaned up and did a leg workout at the Y (which was either genius or a horrible idea), and then had a "personal worst" split on the bike ride home from the Y. This was the scene when I pulled into the driveway. Just another day with my dudes. Nice race, Mama!!

Pharmie had nothing but good things to say about this race. She had a great time and finished in about the top 20% overall with a final 5K of 24:something!

Back with more soon, including my first REAL run last night since March!



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