Semi Wordless Wednesday: March Running Weather

>> Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Here are 4 photos that show how much the weather in March can change here in Minnesota, taken over the last 10 days. (And I've posted the first 2 photos here before.) The first is from March 21st:


From my Instagram: "It finally got above freezing, so we all headed out for a run.
Five miles with the first 4 at 6:30 pace on some hills.
This was the sight when I opened the stroller when we got back home."


Notice the bare grass in the background. Here's our backyard just 2 days later on March 23rd:


From my Instagram: "'I'm gonna eat all the snow off this railing.' And by-golly, he did."

Oh, and in case you think I was exaggerating or that my son's a liar, here's a photo from 10 minutes later:


He worked his way up that railing, eating all the snow along the way.

Finally, here's a photo from yesterday (March 31st):


From my Instagram: "After 5 miles with the boys: Henry made a dash for the sandbox,
as Charlie was abruptly woken up by the shade flying open."


Not only is there no snow in that last photo, but you can see Henry was just in a short sleeve t-shirt for a half hour run. Oh Minnesota. I love you. I hate you.

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Weekend Workouts

>> Monday, March 30, 2015

Quick training update:

FRIDAY, I did 40x50 in the pool. Nice to have that out of the way before the weekend.

SATURDAY, I went on my longest run since the TC 10 Miler back in October. I did 7.7 miles in my new shoes. I kept it all easy or moderate/easy and just focused on form.

SUNDAY was windy as hell, so (naturally) I went for a bike ride:


Yep windy. (Some scaffolding at the new Viking's stadium site collapsed into the street!)

And this MONDAY morning, I hit the pool:



Pharmie got in a run and ride this weekend too, and she made lots of food for the week, so it was a great weekend over here!

Oh, and in related weekend news, our living room was host to a "Superhero Grandpa vs Superhero Henry battle" a few days ago:



I love my life. :)

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New Running Shoes… FINALLY.

>> Saturday, March 28, 2015

I don't think this has happened since my first year of running back in 2006, but I just wore 1 pair of running shoes for over a year. According to my running log on BeginnerTriathlete.com, I first wore my Nike Structures on 3/3/14. Then I sprained my ankle a month later, and cut back the running a lot over the summer. I wore them last on 3/24/15, having logged 550 miles on them. (And I may have forgotten to log some miles with them, so I could have had close to 600 miles on them.)

But on Tuesday, we stopped by Run N Fun to get a new pair. Charlie found a sweet pair of shoes too:



Two days later, I did a quick tempo run in my new shoes between 2 classes at Hamline:


Carpeting in a college football locker room is nasty. It smells like sweaty jock itch in here.

I did the middle 3 miles of that run in 6:13, 6:08, and 5:54, for a total of 17:53. So the shoes did the trick. (And they carried me another 7.7 miles just now - my longest run since the Twin Cities 10 Miler back in early October of last year.) Happy weekend, everyone!

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Friday Funny 897: How to Survive Animal Attacks (and funny links)

>> Friday, March 27, 2015




Like I do every few weeks, here are some of my recent favorite posts from my tumblr page:

10 Athletic-Related Funnies:

Awesome yoga pants.

Mens vs Womens bikes. I've never understood this.

[GIFs] When listening to an instructor at the gym.

A problem on a bike ride.

Good use for an old bike.

The definition of downhill skiing.

I'm into fitness. Related: I'm into fitness.

I'd do anything to loose 10 pounds...

An awesome light made out of bike parts.

10 Non-Athletic Funnies:

Boycott Subway (not really).

Me with food.

A "child-sized" soda.

Groupon is awesome.

Internet browsers.

A Star Wars / Star Trek dilemma.

A venn diagram of people who get to touch your nether-regions.

One day, I will solve my problems with maturity.

St. Patrick's Day explained.

Weekly coffee evolution.

Somebody got bad news.

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

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Friday Funny 896: Life Sucks

OK, I don't really mean that. But here are 26 pictures that sum up how sucky life can be at times:



Lots more funny stuff on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.

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Friday Funny 895: If Superheros Sexted

Some funnies from College Humor:



Lots more funny stuff posted all week long on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com!

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Friday Funny 894: Parents

Parents are hilarious. Or real jerks. Sometimes, I can't tell the difference.



The "Tron" one is evil!

Here are a few more parenting funnies from 2 weeks ago.

And as always, check out more funnies on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com!

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Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Getting the Most out of Protein Powder

>> Thursday, March 26, 2015

Katie Davis (MS, RD, CSSD, LDN) is the owner of a sports nutritional consulting business, and is only 1 of 550 registered dietitians in the United States to be board-certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. (She's also a runner, triathlete, snowboarder, and rock climber.) She recently offered 4 tips on how to use protein powder SO IT ACTUALLY WORKS in this article on usatriathlon.org. Here were her 4 main points:

1. Assess your reason for using it. Are you trying to lose weight? Bulk up? Lean out? Are you a vegetarian or vegan needing to up your daily protein intake for overall health? Figuring out why you think you need a protein powder is an important step before you buy a powder. This is because powders are often formulated for specific reasons, from different protein sources and with different additives. Using a good powder for the wrong reasons makes it the wrong powder.

This is a great point, but I wish Katie went into detail as to what kinds of protein are good for those specific goals. What kind of protein is good for endurance athletes? She doesn't say. Dang.

2. Buy a good product. Once you determine your reasons for buying a powder and that you actually need it (note: often protein powders are unnecessary), buy a good product. Pick a product that is certified as clean and safe. Visit nsf.org, usp.org or informed-choice.org to view certified products. These products are certified to be free of illegal and banned substances and to actually contain what the label says. Whether or not you are an athlete being drug-tested, it is nice to know that you are using a clean product. Also, realize that often companies put a lot of extra "stuff" into protein powders when you really just need protein. More is not better when it comes to the ingredient list.

I didn't know about those links, but I'm not too concerned about foods/supplements that are "certified to be free of illegal and banned substances." I'm sure all of the candy/chocolates/junk food I eat contains trace amounts of "banned substances."

3. Time it correctly. The best time to incorporate a protein powder is post-workout because this is when liquid calories are most important. Using liquid calories post-workout assures the nutrients get to your muscles fast for efficient recovery. However, many athletes also like to use protein powders in smoothies for breakfast because it is fast and easy. This is the second-best time of day to incorporate protein powder.

Jenny Evans got on me about this one - she really pushed me to get in some protein within an hour after a hard workout. (If you've been around a while, you'll remember when Jenny interviewed me in 2010 about my eating habits.) And regarding this article, I hadn't heard that "liquid calories" get the nutrients to the muscles faster. It makes sense, but I never knew that was a selling point for post-workout protein shakes.

4. Don't go overboard. When it comes to protein powders, many athletes believe that more is better. However, I have had athletes put on body fat instead of muscle because they were using protein powders three or four times a day and/or double the dosage recommended. Too much protein intake can just as easily lead to body fat gain as too much fat or carbohydrate intake. Use protein powders no more than once daily to leave room for protein intake from real foods such as meats, poultry, fish, nuts, nut butters, dairy, beans, soy/tofu and legumes. Protein powders should really only be used for convenience; there is nothing magical about protein in powder form and you won't get everything from protein powder that you can get from food protein sources.

Oh, and another things related to Katie's final point here is that I was recently hearing about taking in too much protein at one time. If what I've heard is correct (and if I'm remembering it correctly), too much protein at one time cannot be absorbed by the body. So don't load up on 5 scoops of powder in a tall glass of milk post-workout. Refuel a bit post-workout, and then eat properly throughout the rest of the day.

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

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Training Updates

>> Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I've done nothing too dramatic over the last few weeks, but the workouts have been decent:

SWIM: I've been shortening my swims a bit simply because I've been doing more running and biking lately, and I don't have time for everything. And really, if I'm just planning on sprint tris, do I REALLY need to be doing 2500 yard swims?

Ten days ago I did my fastest 100s ever (averaged 1:23.66/100 over 15x100), but since then I've been doing non-fast "normal" swims: some 200s just over 3:00, some 500s in just under 7:40, etc.

BIKE: After hitting the trainer more in February, my "go-to" outdoor ride loop was surprisingly fast for a March ride! I did it in 47:03, which is a 19.7 mph average. (I set my "go-to loop" PR last September in 45:55 [20.2 mph], and that was the first I'd broken 20.0 mph.) I felt pretty good on this ride, and my time was pretty great for March. The trainer time was time well-spent!

But I can't let up - I need to work on my bike speed if I want to perform the way I'd like to in some spring races. I've hit the trainer twice already this week. Keep it going!

RUN: I'm happy to report that my sacrum/hip is still feeling OK after STARTING to bring a little speed back! It's been 2.5 weeks since the indoor triathlon where I posted a 18:20 5K, and things are OK. I knew I'd need a few days after that race to see how my injuries would act, but they didn't flare up.

I ran easy the week after the race, and then I bumped it up a bit the week after that (last week): I did 6.6 miles with 3 at tempo pace (6:06), and I did another run that was few miles with the boys with some sub-6:30 miles. Then yesterday I got out for a quick 7 miles between classes. My ankle and hip/sacrum felt JUST FINE over that long run.

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Instagrams of the Day: Workouts and Family

>> Monday, March 23, 2015

Pharmie worked this weekend. Saturday morning was a big morning:


"After becoming mobile just 10 days ago, today Charlie discovered stairs.
I went upstairs, and when I came back down Charlie was on the landing (2 steps up).
Now he's obsessed with getting past the baby gate."



"It finally got above freezing, so we all headed out for a run. Five miles with the first 4 at
6:30 pace on some hills. This was the sight when I opened the stroller when we got back home."


Notice the bare DRY grass in the background of that photo. Well, the outdoor runs with the boys are put on hold for a few days, because this morning I Instagrammed this:


"'I'm gonna eat all the snow off this railing.' And by-golly, he did."


"Buying women's underwear with Batman. You know... just another normal day with the Stenzel boys."

Sorry for the delay with this post - BUSY and AWESOME weekend with my nonprofit. I'll have a bit on that shortly, and a review of the Fitbit Surge that I've been wearing for the last few months.

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"Skippeda50gate" and Lisa Running from her Responsibilities

>> Saturday, March 21, 2015

BFFFN Devon chimed in my shortened swim at the race 2 weeks ago on his blog:

As you know Steven Stenzel is my Best Friend Forever For Now and you also know he won a challenge at the YWCA Indoor Tri last weekend against Lisa Lendaway. It was a fierce battle. They swam 600, biked 12 miles, and ran a 5k on the indoor track. Seeing Steve in action reminded me of a Panther hunting it’s prey. He is a smooth and ferocious and very gifted natural athlete, like the Panther. Information is emerging about their race, however. It would seem Steven, and I stand beside him through thick and thin regardless of the scandals he immerses himself in, ALLEGEDLY may have swum 550 yards instead of 600. Yes, he ALLEGEDLY cut off a 50. This is shocking. An investigative committee is already looking into the controversial case. I’m withholding judgement until I have all the information and once I do my judgement will still be in favor of Steven, for friendship reasons. I think that is how our justice system works here in the US. Anyways please stay tuned for more information about #skippeda50gate.

#skippeda50gate: nice.

Remember how the winner of our challenge won free childcare from the loser? (Lisa and I both have 2 kids, and we love it when we have time to get in a workout.) Well Lisa's been pulling the "I'm too busy" excuse since the race. Lame. Last weekend, she couldn't watch the boys because she HAD to go to Florida for a 70.3 race. She finished 7th OVERALL and as the first female. Lame excuse for not babysitting my boys. She was out of the water 2nd OVERALL in 17:30, had a 2:26:21 bike, and then a 1:44:38 run. She finished in 4:31 overall.


1st female in every division, and overall female winner by a half hour.

I could have totally done a 4:31. Or maybe I could have done a 5:31. Well, sub-6 for sure. Maybe.

Then she taught her daughters what a recovery meal looked like:



While I hate her lame excuses for ducking out of her babysitting responsibilities, I DO respect her parenting style. Nice work, Lisa. Hope to have you babysit my boys before they have their drivers licenses.

In case you missed it, here's my race report where I fairly beat Lisa (and explained the controversy), and here are Devon's photos from the race (a lot of my bum).

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Friday Funny 893: "Motivational" Running Posters

>> Friday, March 20, 2015

Remy from Runner's World often posts Motivational Posters. Some are funny, some are inspiring, and some are a little dull. But here are my favorite 15 from the last 2 years or so:
















I once called out "LIAR" to someone cheering at a race. The person either
told me "lookin' good" or "you're almost there." I don't remember. But neither were true.















Lots more funny stuff posted all day long on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com! Happy weekend!

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