"Is That BARE SKIN?!?!"

>> Saturday, December 30, 2023

Two weeks ago, we had a few days of "normal" temps in an otherwise pretty warm December. I headed out for a long run in shorts at 20 degrees, and there were 15-20 mph winds that put the wind chill in the single digits. That's about the lowest I'll go in shorts, but I was fine all run.

Early on in the run, I came upon 2 women running together that I needed to pass. It was well before daylight on a dimly lit trail. When encountering 1 or 2 women in the dark, I tend to make my presence known (jingling keys, etc) and then swing WAY wide as to not appear as a sneaky threat.

So on this run, I actually swung into the bike lane on the edge of the road. I was totally in "do not scare these women" mode. That's all I was thinking about at the time. (Not obsessively, but just noting where my mind was.)

So when one of the women gives out a shriek, my first thought it "oh shoot... I've scared her" without actually hearing what she was saying.

What she was saying was this: "OH my GOD!! Is that BARE SKIN?!?!?"

Yeah, I didn't startle her. She was remarking about my bare legs in those conditions. I'd normally have something sassy to say back, but I was so taken aback that I could just turn and smile a little.

I got home with a slightly red chest, but the "bare skin" on my legs was fine:

Happy New Year... here's a photo of my chest.



Friday Funny 2338: Nostalgia

>> Friday, December 29, 2023

Find more funny things on SportsAndLaughs.tumblr.com. HAPPY WEEKEND!


Friday Funny 2337: The Chapstick Christmas Story

I got a funny surprise for Christmas. To help understand the story, you need to understand one of Henry's teachers. Here's a post about that teacher from a few months ago:

And that brings us up to the Chapstick Christmas Story, featuring the same teacher. Here's what I posted just after Christmas:

HERE'S A BIT MORE ABOUT THAT "LIVING AT THE STATE FAIR" part of the story if you're interested.

Find more funnies on SportsAndLaughs.tumblr.com.


Friday Funny 2336: Married With Children

Lots more funnies posted all day on SportsAndLaughs.tumblr.com.


Car Crash / Bike Ride

>> Thursday, December 28, 2023

NO, I didn't get hit by a car while biking, but YES I was in a car crash. But I'm fine.

My wife worked on Christmas, and my boys and I surprised her that evening at work by stopping by with a Christmas cookie and some snacks for the end of her long double shift. On the way home, it was raining and dark, and I missed a red light and t-boned a truck. I saw it just before it happened and slammed on the brakes and slowed a little. My boys and I were fine, and the guy and his significant other in the truck were even more OK - much less damange to his vehicle. My car made it home without any warning light going off, but I heard some hissing from the radiator area, so I didn't know if it'd be driveable again.

Well, it started up the following day, so I figured I'd try to drive it to our insurance-approved repair shop. It made it there without overheating and STILL with no warning lights going off!

The guy at the shop said "Oh this isn't bad." Hoping there are very few engine issues.

Dropping my car off at the shop, ready to bike home!

That's the upside to this warm December - biking home with no problem! I took the bike rack off, put it in the back seat, left them my keys, and headed for home. Crossing the Mendota Bridge shouldn't look like this at the end of December:

That's the Minnesota River with downtown St. Paul way in the distance.

Drop off was quick, and I got going on my bike so easily that I could tack on some extra miles on the way home. I did an extra 6+ mile loop in the middle of this ride to get over 20 miles on the day:

Across the 35E bridge, back to the Hwy 5 / Mendota Bridge,
BACK to the 35E Bridge AGAIN, then past Hwy 5 again towards home.

Just a 15 mph ride on my mountain bike, but it was nice to be out for 80 mins after a stressful night and morning. Here's hoping I can bike down there again shortly to get my car back!


Christmas Day "Winter" Long Run

>> Wednesday, December 27, 2023

On Christmas morning, I headed out for a long run. Only it wasn't snowy and bright... it was rainy and in the mid-40s on the way to a high in the 50s. I had a hat and mittens if I got too cold, but they were all off early on in the run: I was running in shorts and a thin long-sleeve shirt.

In other words, it was a great day for a non-winter run in late December in MN!

Lots of people have been posting similar sentiments lately:

I wasn't feeling fast after a weekend of eating crap at Christmas parties, but my 2.5 mile warm-up didn't feel horrible. When I started my faster "pace miles" in the middle of this run (I was shooting for 6 harder/faster miles), I descending the first few nicely, and got under 3:00/half mile quite early in the run! My first half-mile splits of the harder miles were 3:10, 3:07, 3:05, and 2:59! My next half mile split didn't continue the descend, but it was up 1 of the 2 biggest hills of these harder miles, and it "slowed" just to 3:00! I wasn't sure I'd last all 6 miles, but I was happy with this effort.

I hit my 3rd "harder" mile with that 3:00 split and a 2:58 for 18:20 through 3 miles (6:06.7 pace). The goal at that point was to see if I could hit the last 3 harder miles in about the same time (and keep my 6 pace miles under 37:00, which would be 6:10 pace).

In the 2nd half, I couldn't get my splits back down to sub-3:00 until my final half mile, but I didn't bleed too much time: my last 3 miles had half-mile splits of 3:03, 3:03, 3:01, 3:06, 3:04, and 2:57 for a final 3 harder miles of 18:17, which was 6 "pace" miles in 36:37, or 6:06.17/mile pace!

That may have been my fastest winter long run ever! In January (11 months ago), I snuck away to Florida for a long weekend with my brothers-in-law and had a great long run with 6 "pace" miles in 37:08 (6:11.3/mile). And the overall pace faster this week as compared with 11 months ago as well: 12.04 miles in 1:21:09 (6:44 pace) this week vs. 12.17 miles in 1:24:24 (6:56 pace) in Florida last winter. This was faster, and in Minnesota. (But a WARM Minnesota.)

"Pace" miles from split 5 to split 17 (half-mile splits).
Note the dark blue slow-down at the upper left after the pace miles!

45 degrees when I started, about to rain later in the day.

Post-run. No snow in sight... for now.

Let's keep this strong running going!...

p.s. One thing that could have helped this run be faster was that it was after sunrise. Almost all of my runs since late September have been in the dark, and there are plenty of areas of River Road that don't have working streetlights right now (copper thieves). So there's a chance I was faster because I could see where my foot was landing.


Merry Christmas!

>> Monday, December 25, 2023

Click here for a larger version.

The selfies with my cutie and me are my wife’s 2 favorite selfies from our Italy trip in August (San Gimignano in the upper left, and wandering in Rome in the lower right). The selfie of of the 4 of us and the pic of Henry with the deep dish pizza were from our Chicago trip in October. And the pic of Charlie with his 15” largemouth was from a summer trip up north!

Henry’s other possible image (if he didn’t love the pizza one so much) was his fencing photo from a few months ago:



"Intensity Minutes" Dropping

>> Saturday, December 23, 2023

Last week was a nice training week (after ANOTHER nice training week), and I ended with 1561 “intensity minutes” on my Garmin, which I think is my 2nd highest week. The chart below shows last week to the far right:

The 4th week back above (to the left) was low because of being out of town 2 different days for Thanksgiving. And then the 4 weeks before these past 4 weeks look like this:

1598 to the right (5 weeks ago) is my highest week in my Garmin.

As I’ve posted about a few times, I’ve been biking to work 2x each week this past semester. And one of those days each week (Monday) was also the same day as my long run. This past Monday we were done with the semester already, but I still biked to work to return some final projects. Because of these big running and bike commuting Mondays, I’ve had 9 out of the past 10 Mondays with over 300 intensity minutes (when it took me nearly 3 months of wearing my Garmin 24/7 to hit 300 minutes/day, which happened on March 6th for the first time).

The 1 time out of the last 10 weeks when I DIDN’T have a Monday with more than 300 intensity minutes was the day after the USATF MN 8K CC Championship race, so I obviously didn’t do a long run that day (but I still biked to work).

And then the few weeks before these last 10 weeks were a bit easier/shorter on Monday because of the Fall Classic Duathlon and the failed TC 10 Mile.

Oh, and my 3 biggest weeks of intensity minutes have all been within the last 5 weeks.

But now with Christmas, family get-togethers, grading final fall semester projects, prepping for spring semester, and not having to bike to work a few times a week, I WILL have some weeks with fewer intensity minutes. And that’s OK - I’ve had a good run!


Friday Funny 2335: Christmas Funnies

>> Friday, December 22, 2023

Lots more funnies posted every day on SportsAndLaughs.tumblr.com.



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