This Weekend's (Non-Existent) Duathlon

>> Thursday, May 05, 2016

A friend alerted me to a blurb about me regarding this weekend's Cinco Du Mayo Duathlon on Minnesota Tri News. The article is a preview of Cinco Du, and here's the small paragraph about me:

We know who won't win Cinco's Sprint. Two-time champ Stevie Stenzel, who probably hates to be called "Stevie," has a broken body part, thus his spring du season is over before it's starts. Too bad. We're going to miss his flamboyant bike pants. His plaid ones are cool. So are the one's with lightning bolts.

TOTALLY wish I was racing!! This was set up to be my "A-race" for 2016. But I plan on being out there to cheer and/or volunteer. I need to try to not be on my feet much, so we'll see what I can do. Hopefully (at the least) I'll have an album full of photos from some good racing.

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Long Weekend With The Boys

>> Wednesday, May 04, 2016

My wife went out of town for 4 days this last weekend, and I was tweeting/instagramming all about it. She went on a mini vacation with 4 of her Pharmacy school friends:


Dressed up for a night out. (Yes, the friend on the far right IS about to give birth...)

Here are a few pics of my 4 days alone with the boys (most of these being pics that I sent to my wife throughout her vacation):


FRIDAY: A smirk from this guy as we wait for his brother to finish his speech therapy.


One of our 2 big weekend splurges was a trip to Blue Sun Soda.
See lots more pics in this post on my "root beer blog."


Two great ideas at Blue Sun Soda: free pinball (the boys' first play!), and free popcorn.


A Friday night bedtime photo sent to Mama.

So part of I-94 right by our place was closed down for the weekend (something like 10 pm Friday through 5 am Monday). Well, it turns out they were taking down a bridge just about 0.3 miles from our house (Prior Ave - between Cleveland and Fairview). IT WAS LOUD. At 10:30 on Friday night, it SOUNDED LIKE THIS. Click that link, turn up your volume, and hit play. That was right outside our side door. Luckily, the boys slept fine. I didn't sleep very well, and our (newish) neighbors to the north slept even worse. Yikes. Mama picked a good weekend to be away!

So the next morning (SATURDAY), we went to watch the demolition for 20 minutes:


There were a few "bundles" of rebar piled up. The excavator in the middle was squishing
piles of rebar. The excavator to the far left was actively jack-hammering up the bridge deck.


A quilt hung over my bedroom window to help deaden the construction noise for Saturday night.


Heading to cheer at the "Get in Gear 10K."


Cheering the 12 min pace runners through (after the masses of runners have been by).


When Mama's home, he loves it when she takes a nap with him. We call it a
"slumber party." I promised Henry that if he was good, we could have a slumber party
and he could sleep in Mama's spot for the night. Here he is tucked in before bed.

Our 2nd big splurge of the weekend came on Saturday night. After going to church, we stopped at Little Ceasers to use a coupon. It was the 2nd time I'd been to a Little Ceasers in 15 years. We got a deep dish pizza and breadsticks that lasted us for 2 full meals.

SUNDAY was more low-key. We sent Mama a pic of all of the dandelions the boys picked from the backyard laid out in a heart:




And then a little grubby hand destroyed the heart.

MONDAY morning, Henry woke up and hopped in bed with me to be cozy for 5 minutes, so we sent Mama a selfie:




Our second trip to the compost site over the weekend. We needed more wood chips.

Mama got in on Monday night just before bed. Last night, this was the scene at story time:


Charlie picks the oddest ways to get cozy.

See more pics from the weekend on my Instagram: search for stevestenzel. Happy to have you back, Mama!

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PT Agrees: I Need Rest

>> Monday, May 02, 2016

In my post a week ago Monday, I noted a lot of frustration at being injured AGAIN, but by the time I'd posted that, I had come to terms with it. Simply writing that post was probably therapeutic, so thanks for listening to me bitch.

I had a scheduled physical therapy appointment for last Wednesday, and I prepared for my visit with 16 questions for her regarding what I can/can't do, and what the plan of action should be:



Before I could share too much of what I thought I needed to do going forward, she started putting my own words in my mouth from Monday's post: she said now I just need to lay off and let things heal up with lots of rest. Her instructions:

- She put me back in the boot (which I put on last Sunday on my own) for 2-3 weeks. I need to have 4 days of pain free walking IN the boot before it can come off.

- She cut back MOST of my PT exercises. Some of my new 1-legged "balance" moves to strengthen my butt and ankle got the cut as I need to stay off my leg if possible. I can start a few of those again in a few days (hopefully).

- We talked about all other things that this pain could be (I shared a lot of comments from Monday's post, so THANK YOU), and she's still 100% sure that it's a stress reaction / stress fracture. The next step would be an MRI, and that would most likely just confirm what we already know. (And it's mega expensive.) So we'll jump to an MRI if there's still an issue in 2 or 3 months, but she's pretty sure it'd be confirming what we already know right now.

- No biking or swimming. I could still probably aqua jog, but what's the point at this stage? So my thoughts in last week's post about just needing to do NOTHING and rest up was about 100% right on.

Well, I think I just set an odd PR. I don't think I've ever averaged an hour of strength work / day over any given week, but I did that last week:



The ONLY good news with my old body is that I'm lifting weights again! My elbow/forearm is still sore, but the doc told me back in early March that it's probably being hurt from my day-to-day stuff with the boys and computer work, so some extra stress lifting weights isn't going to "hurt" it. I have to be careful how to do certain moves, and I can't do certain things (pull ups, push ups, and cable rows all HURT), but I'm finally moving back up with regards to the amount of weight I can lift. Two months ago when I re-started lifting, I would put 25 lbs on either side of the bar to bench (95 lbs total), and I'd do that 12-15 times. A few weeks ago, I started with 35 lbs on either side. On Thursday, I put 45 lb plates on either side (135 lbs total) mainly because I was at the Hamline gym and I apparently have a bit of an ego when surrounded by 19-year-old meatheads. I'm still lifting much less than when I stopped lifting last June, but I'm working my way back.

Finally, on Saturday, the boys and I cheered at the first race in the MDRA series and in the USATF series that I had to miss this year: the Get in Gear 10K:



My wife has been gone for 3 days and is still gone today, and I've been posting updates on Twitter and Instagram.

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First Quarter Totals for 2016

>> Saturday, April 30, 2016

It was the very end of March that I got put in the boot, so I was pre-occupied with getting better and doing fantastically entertaining and not mind-numbing at all aqua jogging workouts that I never posted my "quarter one" totals for 2016. Here's what Jan, Feb, and March looked like:

SWIM: 0 yards
BIKE: 124.42 miles
BIKE TRAINER: 10 hours 46 minutes
RUN: 255.84 miles (5.11 of that with Charlie, and 5.25 of that with both boys)
STRENGTH: 44 hours 57 minutes


Weekly distance: still no swimming, but decent run totals
along with some fun rides for it still being winter!


All of those "sports" minutes are bike trainer workouts (except for 16 mins
in Jan that were stairmill, and 64 mins at the end of March that were aqua jogging).

If we were to say all the trainer workouts were done at 19 mph (I don't have a bike computer, but I do Spinnerval workouts most of the time, so it's pretty intense riding), that would be "month milage totals" of 76.0, 112.7, and 15.8 on the trainer, for TOTAL monthly riding of:

- Jan: 76.0 miles
- Feb: 140.8 miles
- March: 112.2 miles
- TOTAL: 329 miles for Jan-Mar

That's for sure my best ever Jan-March on the bike. Last year, I only had 71 outdoor miles and 6.5 hours on the trainer (vs. 124 miles and 10.75 hours on the trainer this year). My 2016 numbers were quite nice, but not over-the-top. That's why I was so bitchy in my post on Monday about having to throw in the towel on this duathlon season - I was ready to rock it!

My swim was the worst ever (being I'm still resting that elbow), and my running was nice until I got injured - I stopped running with a week left in March. My strength work is about the same as last year.

Alright, back to lots of rest for this broken leg. Back soon with an update.

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Friday Funny 1089: Ron Swanson at the Doctor

>> Friday, April 29, 2016

These are all awesome answers:



More funny stuff posted all throughout the week on steveinaspeedo.tumblr.com. Have a great weekend, everyone!

p.s. My wife's out of town for 4 days with her college friends, so check my twitter for my #MamasOnVacation updates of me and the boys!

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Friday Funny 1088: Slogans That Work For Condoms Too.




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

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Friday Funny 1087: The Worst Things Ever

So I know that me being stuck back in a walking cast is NOT the worst thing ever, but THESE things ARE:



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

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Friday Funny 1086: Celebrities on Instagram

Australian comedian Celeste Barber has been having a lot of fun on Instagram as she pokes fun a photos posted by celebrities and models by "recreating" them. I just love her.











































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

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Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Aqua Jogging Tips

>> Thursday, April 28, 2016

No one WANTS to aqua jog, but there are times injuries deem it necessary. I've been in the pool for hour-long aqua jogging sessions 9 times over the first 3 weeks of April before throwing in the towel to try 100% rest this past weekend. I feel like I learned a few things, so here are my 8 aqua jogging tips.


ONE: Have a workout.

Aqua jogging is about the worst thing to do. I can run on a treadmill for an hour and not flinch. I can hop on my bike trainer for a while as long as I have a TV. But aqua jogging can get boring FAST. Having a specific workout to do helps the time go by faster than just hopping in the pool and moving your legs in a running fashion for 60 minutes.

Here's a post with some of my initial workouts (near the bottom), and here's a second post with some more. The 3 workouts I ended up liking the most were 40 minutes of 1 min hard / 1 min easy, ladders with short rest times (like efforts of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes with 15 sec rest), and 3 x (8 x 90 sec hard, 30 sec easy) with 2 mins of "easy" between sets of 8. I always warm up and cool down for 5-15 minutes, and I add in other random efforts (often starting and/or ending with 5-10 x 30 sec hard/30 sec easy or 5-10 x 1 min hard/1 min easy) to make most of my workouts between 55 and 70 minutes.


TWO: Wear glasses or contacts.

I'm pretty blind without my eyewear. So I make sure to wear my glasses while aqua jogging so I can actually have things to look at around the pool. It helps with the boredom.


THREE: Wear a new(ish) suit.

During a 70 minute aqua jog near the beginning of the month, I was still wearing an old suit, and my "boys" jostled around too much during the workout. I actually had a little uncomfortable chaffing on "righty." Yes. Really. It hurt for the next 24 hours. This problem was solved by wearing a newer, tighter fitting suit where the elastic wasn't so worn out. Fellas, you've been warned!


FOUR: Pick a small "floaty belt."

The 2 pools I've "jogged" at both have a wide assortment of belts to choose from. Both have some belts that were so wide/long that they'd wrap so far around my back and around my sides that my elbows would rub against them during the workout. I learned the smaller/shorter the foam floaty part of the belt, the more comfortable I'd be during the workout. (Save the bigger belts for the grannies floating around while catching up on the latest gossip.)


This belt is about as big as they come. See how you could rub your elbows on that?
Choose a smaller one. And look: someone with a butt smaller than mine!


FIVE: Wear a lap watch, and start it on the minute of the lap clock.

This is actually 2 related points rolled into one. First of all, I like to wear a lap watch to make sure I have my overall time correct. And if you're doing any longer intervals, it helps me note what minute I'm on. When I do a ladder aqua jog workout (like that 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 workout listed in the first point above), it's easy to watch the big lap swimming clock for the short 1 or 2 minute efforts. But I like to hit the lap button on my watch for the 4 and 5 minute efforts so I don't start thinking "wait, was that 3 minutes or 4 minutes?"

And make sure to start your workout (or at least the main sets of your workout) at the same time as the start of the minute on the lap clock, or it will just be annoying. My first few workouts got old when I would glance at that clock and have to think "OK, it's the start of minute, which means I have 12 more seconds left because I started my watch 12 seconds after the start of the minute." It seems minor, but it got to me.


SIX: Choose a pool with a bigger (meaning "longer") deep end.

The pool at my normal gym has a deep end that's about 1/3 of the length of the pool (maybe 8 yards). The pool at the college where I teach has a deep end that's about 1/2 of the length of the pool (around 12 yards). (The college pool has a diving program, so I think the deep end is larger because of that.) The longer deep end of the college pool is MUCH nicer for aqua jogging because it's less turning around. It actually got annoying going to my normal gym after a few workouts in the college pool.


SEVEN: Drag a buddy along for the workout.

One of my 9 workouts this past month was with a running buddy, and it made the time go by a LOT faster. This is no surprise. The workout maybe wasn't AS intense, but that wasn't the goal.


Leah and I pre-aqua jog (as seen in this post).


EIGHT: Plan your workouts during other scheduled events at the pool.

This relates to #2 and #7. I learned it's much less boring when I can watch swim instructors teaching 10-year-olds how to dive a few lanes over. Or when they're teaching 6-year-olds how to swim under water for part of a length. It's fun to watch! And a couple of times on Thursdays in the college pool, the entire female lacrosse team would come in to cross-train with their coach. They were loud, silly, and entertaining for anyone in the pool (but usually visibly annoying to the lifeguard on duty). They helped make the time go by faster.


If you're looking for aqua jogging tips on form, check out this post from earlier this month where I had coaches, trainers, and other fit friends give me some pointers. I also mention a few workouts in that post.

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

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Well, My Season is Over

>> Monday, April 25, 2016

I'll get right to it: I'm pretty pissed.

This was my view as I was grading projects on the couch yesterday afternoon:



Yep, I'm back in the boot. Damn it.

The boot came off 10 days ago on Friday. As I posted last weekend, the Doc didn't initially rule out a 10K this upcoming weekend, but then we called it off. A short duathlon the week after that was still a "go." I met with my physical therapist (PT) right away, and she gave me a plan: walk for 30 minutes, take 2 days off, then try running every-other day starting with walking 4 minutes, running 1, for 25 minutes. That's a whopping 5 minutes of total running.

So I tried doing that running "workout" on Thursday. The first 1-minute run was OK. The second 1-minute run started to make my leg hurt where it hurt a month ago. Damn it. Minute 3, 4, and 5 were just OK. And then my leg ached the next day. (Which it wasn't supposed to do - I was SUPPOSED to only do things without pain.) I wasn't sure it it hurt from the running or from a good acupuncture appointment Thursday night post-run at Magna (Robert's approach causes a bit of an ache like you might get after a deep massage, and he had a needle right on the sorest spot on my leg).

So I attempted run #2 on Saturday. It hurt in my first minute of running. I walked 4 minutes and tried 1 more minute of running, and it still hurt. I was done. I'm back in the boot, and it feels like it did a month ago when I first went into the boot. I THOUGHT about trying to "run through it" for the next 2 weeks just to be able to race the Cinco Du Mayo Duathlon, but that'd be super, super stupid.

What makes me so upset is that I've been doing everything right! I wore the boot all the time except for PT exercises. I'm RELIGIOUSLY doing my PT exercises and stretches. The Doc said I could still bike, but I told her I'd be safe and start with 10 days on the trainer first (as to avoid too much clipping in and out which could be hard on my leg), and I did all I could to stay seated (as to avoid too much stress on my leg). And even though I haven't been running, my training has been GOOD. Look at these 2 weeks that I now just have to throw away:



The week of the 4th was every-other day of aqua jogging and trainer rides (both are purple) - the equivalent of nearly 60 miles on the bike and 25+ miles of running. And the week of the 11th was nearly 100 miles on the bike and another 24+ "miles" in the pool of running. Those were GREAT mid-April numbers for me! Last April, I was training better than I had in the past, and I've surpassed those numbers this year. Here's looking at my training numbers for 2 weeks that were 2 and 3 weeks before the Cinco Du Mayo Duathlon in April (which I did in 2012, 13, and 15):

- Two weeks of April 2012: 0 miles biked, 57 miles ran.
- Two weeks of April 2013: 36 miles biked, 33 miles ran.
- Two weeks of April 2014: injured (ankle sprain).
- Two weeks of April 2015: 120 miles biked, 31 miles ran.
- Two weeks of April 2016: 152 miles biked, 50+ miles "ran."

(And it's not that ONLY the last few weeks have looked better; my training has been better all winter long.)

I did well at that race last year, and I was ready to kill it this year. AND I'D BE TRYING OUT MY NEW BIKE AT A RACE FOR THE FIRST TIME! But I can just flush that training down the crapper now.

I'm not being "dramatic" with the title of this post: my "season" this year was going to be a few May duathlons. Remember, I haven't been swimming since last August (my last triathlon) because of my elbow issue, so I was going to take the year off from triathlons this year. Duathlon season in MN is May. Then it's tri season.


I saw this last week and I felt like it was fitting.

My 3 goals for right now:

- Don't swim, don't bike, and don't run. That includes aqua jogging. (This is a weird goal.) I just need to totally stop and let my body heal up. No use keeping my endurance up for a season that's not going to happen. In the off chance that aqua jogging and/or biking was hurting my leg, I'll cut it all out so my body can heal.

- Don't get fat. I'm not joking. I'll need to make a conscious effort to watch what I eat a bit more now that I'm not logging those miles. (In those 2 weeks above, I burned about 13,000 calories biking or aqua jogging. That averages about 1,000 extra calories/day. I need to adjust my intake now that I'm not burning those calories.)

- Talk with my PT and/or doc to get healed up and out of this boot ASAP. I have a PT appointment scheduled for Wednesday, so maybe I'll see what she says. I'm not TOTALLY convinced it's a "stress reaction" like the doc first said because would that hurt so much? But what do I know? It's a sharp-ish pain slightly to the inside of my leg along my tibia between my knee and ankle. Thoughts anyone?


I've often, often said "I'm good at being injured" because I know I've been doing something wrong and need to take some time to recover. It hasn't bothered me that much over the years. But now I'm sick of it. I'm over it. I was so smart all winter: I took 5 weeks off after the TC 10 Mile and then started building a good base of easy miles all winter. I just want to be a "normal" runner again. I'm currently on top of the Grand Prix standings, and now that's over. My running team is currently on top of the local USATF series, and I hope they can keep that up without me. And all of this also begs the question: how much longer should I be running? How many more years of running do I have left before it's just not worth it? I'm not saying it's now, but I'm starting to prepare myself in case it's soon.

I the meantime, I have to remember that life is good. Three weeks ago, my Mom was "healthy;" two weeks ago, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer; one week ago, she had it successfully removed; and this past Friday, the boys and I visited her for a bit. Bad things come and go, and in the grand scheme of things, my leg pain is nothing. I posted this on Instagram when I was feeling pretty bummed about life after my last unsuccessful run on Saturday:


... but I was just trying to stretch...

Those fellas. They'll make things better for me.

(Or they'll make me want to pull all of my hair out. One or the other.)

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