I Swear I'll Stop Talking About Swimming So Much ONE of These Days...

>> Saturday, January 31, 2015

... but today is not that day.

Seriously, I'm still making solid gains in the pool. I can't shut up about it QUITE yet.

I keep doing the same 6-8 workouts, and the times are not dropping as much as they used to, but generally, I'm still getting a bit faster. Last Friday, I did the 15x100 (w/ 0:20 rest) workout I've been doing lately, and it was just 1/3 of a second faster per 100 on average. A few days before that, I did a 4x400 workout that was about 2/3 of a second SLOWER per 400 than the last time I did that. So not EVERY workout has been getting faster. I'm no machine. Except when I'm in bed.

Then I had an amazing swim on Monday of this week! I did the 9x200 (w/ 0:20 rest) workout I've been doing for a few months, and I averaged UNDER 3:00 for the first time ever! In Nov, my average was 3:09. In Dec, it was 3:07. Earlier in Jan, it was 3:02. Then this week, I averaged 2:59.7! Crazy!

The week wasn't over. Wednesday, I did 4x400 again. I wasn't planning on going too hard. But the first one was relatively fast. Then the 2nd one was faster. So then I tried to kill the final 2. This was the 5th time I did this workout, and here were my average 400s from each time I've done it:

- Oct 2014: 6:15
- Dec 2014: 6:12
- Jan 10: 6:10
- Jan 20: 6:10
- Jan 28: 5:59!

Yeah, really. After knocking a few seconds off each time, I took off over 10 seconds this past week.

I never thought times like these would have been possible just 3 months after deciding to start hitting the pool more often. I was lacking on my swim speed in Oct/Nov (I was faster in March and hadn't gotten back to that point), and I got back to "feeling OK" about my swimming by maybe late December. But now it's just still getting better. And I really owe it all to simply swimming more often. I'm really putting in a lot more yards than I'm used to. You want proof? Let's take a look at my Nov-Jan yardage the last couple of years:

2014-15: 61,150 yards!!
2013-14: 33,680 yards (training for a half iron-distance swim in the Red Sea)
2012-13: 12,900 yards
2011-12: 5,600 yards (yes really)
2010-11: 26,000 yards (pre-kids)
2009-10: 14,100 yards

To put these last 3 months of over 60,000 yards in perspective: in 2012, I only swam 39,000 yards TOTAL.

Swim more = get better. Who knew?

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Friday Funny 866: Dumb Patients

>> Friday, January 30, 2015

Some of these are depressing. All are stupid. Whoa.



Oh man... I lost it at the "250 degree" one!

More funny stuff all week at steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com! Happy weekend!

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Friday Funny 865: Why Women Live Longer

It's simple.



Check out more funny stuff on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com.

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Friday Funny 864: Bad Burns

Here are 20 bad burns from 9gag. WARNING: there's some bad language in here. (But it's funny.)



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

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Friday Funny 863: Disney Princesses with Realistic Hair



Ariel with wet hair.


Belle with hair stuck to lip gloss.


Sleeping Beauty's bed head.


Snow White with humidity frizz.


Mulan vs static.


Elsa with *GASP* roots!


A more realistic volume for Jasmine.


Pocahontas can't see to paint with this wind.

Lots more funny stuff on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com!

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Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: High Intensity Workouts Are Good For You

>> Thursday, January 29, 2015

I was alerted to this article in an odd way. The New York Times recently featured this article about the benefits of high intensity exercise, and a former co-worker James O'Brien did the illustration for the article:


Nice work, Jim! (If you're wondering: yes, Jim's a runner too!)

Anyway, on to some of the points in the article. Here's some of what it had to say (with some parts bolded by me):

Many people with chronic health problems resign themselves to lives of modest activity or no activity at all, thinking vigorous exercise is unsafe or that they lack the stamina for it. But recent studies are proving just the opposite.

They are showing that high-intensity exercise may be even better than regular aerobic activities for many patients with conditions like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, pulmonary disease, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease.

The studies strongly suggest that a more demanding but more efficient and often more enjoyable form of exercise known as high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is not only safe for most patients but more effective at preventing or reversing the deficits associated with many chronic ailments.

Whoa. Not just for athletes. And with possible major health benefits!

Researchers have found that repeatedly pushing the body close to its exercise limits for very brief periods, interspersed with periods of rest, is more effective than continuous moderate activity at improving cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic and mechanical functions.

Instead of continuous movement for 20 or more minutes, as is typical for exercise walkers, joggers and cyclists, HIIT usually involves 30 to 60 seconds of exercise near the peak of a person’s ability, followed by a comparable recovery period of easy activity, with the sequence repeated for a total of about 20 minutes three times a week.

“We know that exercise is good for people at risk of chronic disease, but people tend not to exercise,” said Jonathan P. Little, a specialist in exercise physiology at the University of British Columbia at Okanagan. Yet he and other researchers report that study participants find interval training more enjoyable than continuous aerobic exercise, making it more likely that people will continue it on their own.

I'm actually one of those people that find it "more enjoyable." And I think the crossfit trend is full of people who feel the same way too. (Not that I do crossfit.)

The authors of the study go on to say that high intensity training ISN'T for everyone, just for "low-risk individuals" or "moderate-risk individuals who have been cleared for vigorous intensities by a medical professional." And it's good for LOTS of people:

“We’ve seen, for example, that interval training is remarkably effective at lowering glucose levels in people with diabetes,” Dr. Little said in an interview. “Just one session improves a person’s glucose level.”

[…]

By making blood vessels better able to expand, HIIT can improve the cardiovascular system’s ability to respond to added exertion. Oxygen-carrying blood can flow more smoothly through arteries that are wide open, which also reduces the risk of a vessel-blocking clot.

And they say these physical benefits can be seen “after as little as two weeks of training” with high-intensity! And an earlier study done by researches in Canada, France, and Switzerland pointed out that “HIIT appears safe and better tolerated by patients than moderate-intensity continuous exercise” and more effective at increasing patients’ peak oxygen uptake, blood vessel flexibility and pumping ability of the heart.

So don't shy away from those intervals!

CLICK HERE for all posts tagged with "Thirsty Thursday" - posts about body science, training tips, or other informative things.

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Semi-Wordless Wednesday: My 2015 Racing Kit

>> Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ole' swimming buddy Julia is on to something here...



Julia's right - I'm gonna need to lube up. Time to place an order for this.

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A Weekend Lego / Train Project

>> Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pharmie had to work this past weekend. Henry and I spent late Friday morning through late Sunday morning making this (watch it full screen for best effect):


Direct link: http://youtu.be/IpOdOrq4i5g

I used a lot of Legos at the start of the project (and used less and less as we went along) because I had no plans of it being this big. At first, it was just going to go up to that first short white Lego table with the red and green top. Then it looped onto the end table. Then it crossed the Lego table again. Then it crossed over a gap to the train table where it finally ended.

Here are 6 pics of the current set-up in the playroom:


Also showing the big "figure 8" on the ground (and note Charlie on the far left).


The tallest sections on top of the heater and stool, with Henry for scale.


The ramp up (and Charlie on the left again).


The long, tall, straight stretch.


The final curves (on top of the train table that I built
for Henry last year with scraps from our new garage).


What a weekend! :)

Oh, and the majority of these legos, trains (only 1 pictured but we have LOTS), and track pieces came from a Craigslist STEAL last summer. We got much more than was pictured in the ad, and it ended up being $600+ worth of trains and Legos for $50 or $100 (I can't remember how much exactly). Here was a photo I Instagrammed back then showing all 143 new track pieces set up in an endless loop (with 3 tunnels, 2 dump sites, 3 mini bridges, and 2 places where cranes can fill up trains):


June 2014.

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The Tale Of Two Triathletes

>> Monday, January 26, 2015

ONE: BFF Pro Triathlete Devon Palmer is turning Amateur.

After earning tens of dollars in the illustrious world of pro triathloning, Devon has announced his new amateur status for 2015. Here's an excerpt from his post last week:

I am very excited to announce that for the 2015 triathlon season I will be taking a big step forward and racing as an amateur! This is a huge move and a major decision and something that I am confident will impact the sporting world from top to bottom. I am leaving behind the rough and tumble rodeo of professional racing for the glitz and glamor of amateurism. Am I ready to race in the big leagues? After spending five years developing in the salt mines of pro racing I know I am crusty enough to finally bark with any of the big dog age groupers out there. Why make the leap now? It’s my time.

When he announced this on Facebook, there was a lot of feedback. Allow me to direct you to a few of the 45 comments:


But seriously, those 6 comments were made within 5 minutes. DOES NOBODY WORK?

Devon's 6 years younger than me, so we won't be competing in the same age group. UNLESS it's a small race that has 10-year age groups, in which case we could be going head-to-head for the first time in the summer of 2017 (he'll be 30, and I'll be 36). Stick around 2+ years to see if that happens...


TWO: Local Speedy Amateur Triathlete Heather Lendway is turning Pro.

As Minnesota loses a slightly-better-than-average-looking male pro triathlete, we are gaining an amazing female pro triathlete. I've mentioned Heather a bit since this past summer when we officially met at the Trinona Triathlon. She is insanely speedy, completely humble, and has little body/facial hair. (Sort of the complete opposite of Devon.) And her Dad makes a mean apple crisp.

She started tris in 2012, doing 6 races and finishing 3rd at the lowest. (Winning a few too.) She was named Minnesota's Rookie of the Year.

In 2013, she won 8 out of the 10 triathlons that she entered, and 4 of those wins came with course records (INCLUDING a course record and win at the USAT Olympic Distance Age Group National Championships).

Then in 2014, she entered 13 races, won 12 of those, and 9 of those wins came with course records! She got a ANOTHER course record at the National Championships (making her a back-to-back National Champ), but failed to get a course record at the ITU Olympic Distance Age Group World Championship in Canada. But she still won. Yep, WORLD CHAMP. It will be fun to see what she can do as a pro.


U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! (At the ITU World Championship race in Canada.)


After having won the World Championship!


Her pro card.

I like this because stinky Minneapolis loses a pro triathlete, and awesome St. Paul gains one. Nice.

Sidenote: Heather's only non-win in 2014 was a 2nd place finish at her first draft-legal race in Michigan. I don't know this for sure, but it seems like she was thinking about going pro and decided to try her hand at an ITU draft-legal race before making the leap. Very few people around here knew she was doing that race: I think only her family and the guys at Gear West Bike and Tri knew about it (because she borrowed a road bike from them so should would have legal equipment to race an event like that). Again, I don't know that for sure - I'm just sharing my speculations as if they were facts. I'm like "The National Enquirer" or the "STAR Magazine" of Minnesota triathlon news (but with less celebrity crotch-shots).

Check out Heather's race reports and blog posts on her website, and follow her on twitter.

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Look What I FINALLY Did!

>> Saturday, January 24, 2015

This FINALLY happened:



That's right! I finally did my first trainer ride of the winter got my bike put on the trainer.

Yeah, that's all. It's ready to go, but it hasn't "went" yet. Soon. I hope.

I was finally prompted to get this ready because my workouts at the Y have been cut short all month. Charlie - however adorable - has been really "growly" lately. He's just noisy. He doesn't really get upset, but he's loud enough to get the other young kids riled up, and then the Y daycare employees have to get me. He's rarely crying, but he's just growly. He's been this way at home too. I don't know what's up. He's stopped doing any baby talk, and now just grunts and growls. So maybe, MAYBE, one of these days at nap time if my Y workout is cut short, I can take the baby monitor downstairs and spend a little time on ole' Goldilocks. We'll see. But don't hold your breath.

Unrelated: former student / running race buddy / 2-time triathlon teammate Jeremy was 7th overall at the Securian Run Half Marathon this morning. Before the race, he Instagrammed this photo:



Sorry about your blue splash, but nice running today, Jeremy!

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Friday Funny 863: A Perfect Watch (and funny links)

>> Friday, January 23, 2015




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

7 Athletic-Related Funnies:

Doing planks.

A sports t-shirt for your non-sports-watching friend.

Running in a nutshell.

Training vs racing.

Everyone who works for the Patriots right now.

A running flow chart.

A running shirt.

A Bunch of Non-Athletic Funnies:

Me and food.

Who else is getting ready for tax day like this?

My fav ice cream.

Who needs a mirror?

[GIFs] This looks like an awesome thing to do to your home (but I bet this guy will not have sex for a week).

How to trick your body while eating pizza.

Honest "back soon" sign.

Cute nicknames for your girlfriend.

Breastfeeding in public.

My life with cats.

[GIFs] A stand-up comedian's take on her bout with breast cancer.

Sex positions that get weirder and weirder.

THESE are the powers I want from "Frozen."

Reasons for dying in Call of Duty.

Adulthood in a nutshell.

Proper ways to mis-spell Matthew McConaughey.

A depressing thought about Fridays.

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

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Friday Funny 862: Things You Can Say About Your Drink But Not Your Partner


















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

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