Bike Fitting!

>> Wednesday, March 29, 2017

On Monday, I FINALLY got a bike fit for my “new” bike (which I’ve now had for nearly 1.5 years, but because of a big injury last spring, I’ve never raced on her). I headed out to Gear West Bike and Tri, and I Instagrammed this Monday evening:


Caption: Big thanks to Trent at @gearwestbike for fitting me on Eiffel today.
(And to @jared_voorhees for helping with some wheel issues.)
Lots of "minor" adjustments seemed to make a big difference. Thanks guys!


Here’s what (I remember) was done to Eiffel:

COCKPIT:
- Spacers under aerobar pads to move them up
- Aerobar pads moved outwards *
- Aerobar pads angled inwards
- Shorter stem
- 1 spacer taken off top of headset to lower everything down
- Entire cockpit angled downward a bit **

SEAT:
- Seatpost moved up
- Old seat installed (it’s a bit longer)
- Seat slid forward
- Seat tipped down a bit ***

RANDOM:
- Left foot cleat moved inward to get foot outward to stay more over knee

Basically, I was a little “stretched out” on Eiffel before, which I was aware of. Most of the adjustments were in the name of “tightening” it all up a bit, and getting my legs more under my hips so I can produce more power. (That’s my understanding of the situation at least.) We'll see how it feels!

* My aerobar forearm pads used to be quite close together. It was the SLIGHTEST bit uncomfortable, but I never brought that up to Trent. He moved them out because they were actually causing my shoulder blades to pop up. So by widening them, I maybe became a LITTLE less aerodynamic, but I maybe gained some of it back because my shoulders flattened out more. And it’s more comfortable now. Nice.

** I might be tweaking the angle of the entire cockpit after another ride or 2, but I think that’s pretty set.

*** Tipping the seat farther downward is one of the last adjustments I may be making on my own in the name of comfort. We’ll see if I think that’s necessary or not.


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Race Report: O'Gara's Irish Run

>> Monday, March 27, 2017

Or, "The First Race in the USATF MN Series."

Or, "The Ugliest Race in St. Paul."

I'm not quite ready to "race" hard on my sore knee/quad, but I was ready to run a LITTLE BIT hard for my team at this race. (We had 4 guys signed up, and you need 5 to score, so I was #5.) I heard an appropriate song on the way to the race:




The side of Starbucks near the race. The woman in purple at the front-right did
ALL she could do to teach me "dive starts" at our old gym years ago. Thanks Andrea! :)


The back of O'Garas had this vent that was spewing out the BEST greasy breakfast smell!


I convinced Nicole to share a porta-potty with me for my traditional pre-race photo.
She a good sport. (Yes, we both had our pants around our ankles. Yes, I'm also a liar.)

In Saturday morning's post, I noted I didn't want to run too hard to hurt my leg/knee, but I wanted to test it a bit. I noted that I figured and hoped I'd run a bit easier and finish around 31:15 - 32:30. I really tried to keep that in mind all morning pre-race, because I kept feeling the urge to RACE.

Oh, and the 2nd line in this post notes that this is "the ugliest race in St. Paul." That's my own title for this race. It's meant (slightly) in jest, and I live in (and love) St. Paul, so I can say these things. It used to run down historic Summit Avenue with it's great boulevards and large mansions. Now it runs down Selby Avenue - a super generic street that is parallel to Summit. In my race report below are 13 photos showing how unattractive this race is.


Ugly photo 1 of 13: looking back toward the start from 2 blocks down the race course. Lovely, no?


Lined up at the start!


Heading up the bridge within the first half mile.


Ugly photo 2 of 13: to the south of the bridge: warehouses and RR tracks.


Ugly photo 3 of 13: to the north of the bridge: this crapfest (with an auto salvage yard in the distance).


Ugly photo 4 of 13: a U-Haul rental machine shed.


Ugly photo 5 of 13: running under Hamline Ave. At least it's a NEW bridge.

Someone bumped my left arm a bit. Then they bumped it again. I looked back, and gym buddy Casey was trying to say hi. So I took a selfie before mile 1 with her:



• MILE 1: 3:04 + 3:07 = 6:11. That was pretty fast, but I was feeling pretty good. I figured I'd be slightly slowing up as to not hurt myself.


Ugly photo 6 of 13: getting ready to cross exotic Lexington Ave.


Former Olympian Carrie Tollefsen turned around on her way to an 18:31 5K finish.


These drummers were full of energy. Although their beat was too fast to run to.


Ugly photo 7 of 13: this was once a rented 3-classroom space from CVA (the school I used to teach at).


Once we crossed Dale, the neighborhood got a bit cuter. (I lived 4 different places within
2 blocks of this part of the race course.) Here are the leaders coming back on the left.


SteveQ out to spectate. (And I lived in that yellow house to the right for a year.)

• MILE 2: 3:09 + 3:12 = 6:21. Well, so far, I have perfectly ascending half-mile splits. But the pace felt easy enough (I mean, I was still breathing hard) and my leg felt OK. Happy so far.


More people headed towards us, in a cuter neighborhood.


The turn-around RIGHT in front of where I used to live in my college days.
Also, that's tri-buddy Suzie Fox rounding that turn!


Ugly photo 8 of 13: I *tried* to make a photo of teammate Michael, but
only got this photo of some sweet plaid drapes in some shop next to a dance studio.


Teammate Anne (and still right behind Suzie, but I didn't realize that yet).


Teammate Dina.


This was when I realized that was Suzie in front of me. I ran up and said hi!
(And this is right next to my former favorite pizza place in that neighborhood.)


Ugly photo 9 of 13: back in front of that concrete former CVA building.
But butts make it better. Casey is giving chase to Suzie and Sara.


Ugly photo 10 of 13: a water stop in front of some unattractive brick buildings.


Ugly photo 11 of 13: I didn't know "vegan graffiti" was a thing...


Casey made a move on Suzie!


I made Suzie feel better by taking a selfie with her. (I look gross mid-blink,
but Suzie's still cute as ever with 1.5 miles left while running sub-6:30 pace. NBD.)

Sidenote: I posted about Suzie last month when she set a half marathon world record with a double stroller! I didn't get a chance to ask her more about that at the race this weekend. Congrats again, Suzie!

• MILE 3: 3:15 + 3:07 = 6:22. Well, I held those perfect ascending half-mile splits through the turn-around at mile 2.5. But I didn't care. I just sort of ran with the pack I was in and kept the pace solid. I thought a few times "Yep, this is just slower than tempo pace," which is where I wanted to be.


Ugly photo 12 of 13: come visit beautiful St. Paul for sweeping vistas like this.


These policemen at Lexington were the BEST. They were really cheering a lot. And after
the 2nd one saw my camera, he did a double bicep flex (but I missed that). Thanks officers!

• MILE 4: 3:11 + 3:17 = 6:28. Slowest mile of the day. But keeping the pace I needed to. I kept shouting up to Casey to GO because she was racing some women around her! (I think she caught 1 person she hoped to but not another.)


Ugly photo 13 of 13: running in a 30' long pothole heading to the bridge near the finish line.

I caught that woman in front of me up the hill, but then she threw down a major kick and I just let her go. I "upped the pace" for the finish, but people were generally out-kicking me in the final block. I didn't want to hurt anything, and I did what I needed to throughout this race!

• MILE 5: 3:17 + 3:02 = 6:19.

OFFICIAL RESULTS:

Steve Stenzel, M, 36, St. Paul

31:46
6:24 pace
138 out of 430 overall
13 out of 28 in the M 35-39 age group


[Garmin: 4.99 miles at 6:21 pace]

15:46 first half (6:19 pace)
16:00 second half (6:29 pace)

- Start to turn-around: passed 47 and was passed by 6.
- Turn-around to finish: passed 7 and was passed by 6.


4 POST RACE NOTE:

• The first half had perfect ascending half-mile splits, and I had a positive split. That's not usually how I race (generally I negative split or keep pretty even splits), but after settling in after the first half mile, I actually stayed with the same pack of runners. So I guess that's how most people race.

• Three things that show I wasn't "racing:" First, I swam and did core the day before. I'd NEVER do that before a normal race. Second, I didn't bring a GU, banana, or Powerbar to the race, when I usually eat all 3 in the hour before. And third, I swam again yesterday (the day after the race), when usually I need to take a full day or 2 off to let my legs rest.

• I feel good about how hard I "raced," but now I feel like I should have "tested" my leg more. But I suppose that's always the concern you'd have after running hard-ish when nothing hurts worse afterwards. What would my leg feel like today had I tried to run 30 seconds faster per mile? Would I still be fine? Just a little sore? In a wheelchair? Who knows.

• I apologize if you're pissed at me for running "kinda hard but far from 'all out' pace" while still running 6:24 pace. My wife is one of these people. "Fast" is relative, and I didn't necessarily feel FAST on Saturday.


I turned right back around to head back to some teammates I saw near the finish line. I didn't get a chance to chat with Casey or Suzie post-race. And I missed teammate Geoffrey because he was just 15 seconds behind me. Nice running, Geoffrey!


Ejay working hard to the finish!


Anyone holding a 2' meme is a friend of mine!


Teammates Anne and Michael!


Selfie with my teammates seen in the last 2 photos. Nice racing, gang!

Oh, and I have NO photos that show it, but I was in my "Tutti Frutti" shorts for the race, which got a few cheers from spectators. Here one final photo posted by race buddy Tom R from the start, and you can see me in my shorts back there:


Tutti Fruttis right in the middle (race number ending in 48), with Carrie Tollefsen on the right.

Back with more fun photos and our team results over the next few days or so. Now go out for a run in beautiful St. Paul... just do it around a lake or around the Mississippi River or someplace more attractive than this. :)

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Racing TODAY! (But Not "Racing.")

>> Saturday, March 25, 2017

So on Tuesday, I registered for a race TODAY. (In an hour, actually!) My running team (the YWCA of Minneapolis Endurance Sports Team) lost a few members this year, and it didn't look like we'd have a full team of 5 guys for today's race. Once we got 4 guys confirmed, I signed up so we'd have a full team and be able to score points for the year-long USATF series.

I'm still hesitant to run HARD on my sore knee/quad being that even a hilly bike workout at the end of February caused it to flare up a bit. I need to "test" it soon because it's coming up upon duathlon season, and I'm hoping to race hard. So we'll see how hard I race today.

So here are my 2 goals:

• ONE: Don't get injured. I don't need to be dumb here.

[And to do #1, I need to do this:]

• TWO: Set a PW ("personal worst"). I've ran this race 3 times. The first time was in 2008 when I was just starting to do speedwork, and I ran it in 30:30 (6:06 pace). I wore athletic shorts and cotton boxers for that race:




That 30:30 performance was my slowest (29:15 in 2012 and 29:20 in 2016), and I WILL race slower than that today. I'm thinking I should probably be able to run 6:15s - 6:30s to still feel how I want to, but we'll see (that'd be around 31:15 - 32:30 for a finishing time). I'm NOT going hard. In fact, I might not even be going "tempo" pace. Like I said above, I'd like to "test" it, so if I'm feeling good, I may up the pace a bit as I go. But I NEED to keep my ego in check and not try to "race" anyone. The fastest I should go if my leg is feeling great should be around 31:00. I'm only testing my quad/knee and putting up points for my team.

Back soon with a race report and pictures!

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Friday Funny 1250: Idiots on Facebook

>> Friday, March 24, 2017

How does that saying go? Something like "the internet hasn't made people stupid, it's just made their stupidity easier to share." These 8 people show off that point nicely: (via)


Nice try, Rob.


"It IS NOT bird poop." Sure.








Dear God. Get this kid into a school ASAP.




Take THAT Democrats!

Lots more funny stuff on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.

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Friday Funny 1249: Un-Inspirational Quotes for People Who Hate Inspirational Quotes

These really REALLY speak to me:



To my lovely wife: thanks for lowering your standards a LOT more than I had to.

More funny things posted 10x every day on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.

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Friday Funny 1248: Children's Books You Should Never Write




My boys have been reading #18.

And I sometimes want to hand out #32 to some of my students.

More funny things posted all day long on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.

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Interview in "RunMinnesota"

>> Wednesday, March 22, 2017

We just got our March/April issue of "RunMinnesota" - the magazine published by the Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA). The cover shows some MDRA members taking a polar plunge:



And inside is a "Member Spotlight" interview about me!



Here are 2 closer up version that you can actually read. I SWEAR I'M NOT THIS SASSY IN REAL LIFE!! I must have been in "a mood" when I answered these questions...





This week is my spring break, but I'm home with a kindergartener with some bumps on his back (the Doc's not sure what it is, but he said to say home from school for a few days). But now that my Chipotle order has been published, I'm expecting one of you to deliver today...

p.s. I JUST signed up for O'Gara's 8K this weekend! My team scrounged up 4 other male runners, so with me as the 5th, we have a full team and can score points towards the year-long series. I'm NOT going to "race" it - I'll maybe go around 80-90%. I'm nervous running fast with my knee/quad issue. But I suppose I NEED to test it shortly, being it's nearly duathlon season. We'll see how I decide to run it. Back on Monday with a race report!

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