Tagged: Seven Things

>> Friday, February 29, 2008

Tracie tagged me, and now I need to share 7 random or weird facts about myself. Here it goes:

• I created a video application for Team EvoTri that didn’t make the cut. You can check it out by clicking here (it’s really not that exciting, so don’t bother). What may be MORE exciting is the Blooper Reel. Yesterday, I put all these foibles together to create 70 seconds of mistakes (huh...I think that’s also the way mom refers to the night I was conceived). Check it out:


(If you can’t view the video above, see it directly on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LlVzWvRyzc.)

• I was born on Friday the 13th. When I mention that to people, the most common reaction is, “Oh, that explains a lot.” Jerks.

• I started teaching college a few days after I turned 24. My first class had an average age of 31. Now, about 3 years later, I’ve taught a total of 34 courses at 4 different colleges/universities in the Twin Cities area.

• When I was younger, I thought I was Jewish.

• Two years ago, I said I’d never do an Ironman. Then, I did one. Years earlier, I said I’d never run a marathon. Now, I’m signed up for Grandmas Marathon in June. I guess I’ve learned never to say never.

• I don’t drink much alcohol. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever been drunk. But I make up for that by pooping a lot. I mean, A LOT. I really don’t know what those 2 things have to do with one another, but, well, there ya go.

• I carry a tweezers around in my wallet for those random splinters life sends my way. Seriously. Ask me when you see me - I'll show you. It comes in handy.

Now, as the rules say, I must tag 7 others or my face will explode (or something like that). So, Big Mike, J-Wim, Jeremy, Jumper, Julia, Mister P, and Danielle in Iowa, consider yourselves all tagged.

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Polar Bears Can Do Better Flip Turns Than Me

>> Thursday, February 28, 2008

I went to the Como Zoo in St. Paul this past weekend with my family. One of the polar bears was doing laps in his pool:



(If you can’t view the video above, see it directly on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MCyEcnav9s.)

This polar bear would wind-up a few times, flop on his back, shoot through the water, take a quick breath, execute a near-perfect flip-turn, and start all over again.

I think these are his secrets to his success in the water:
1. He’s super hairy.
2. He spends countless hours in the pool.
3. He’s trapped in a tiny, depressing space he can’t escape.

So, I figure, if I change my routine to match this, I’ll be super speedy in the pool in no time. Here’s my take on those 3 things listed above:
1. Done.
2. OK, so that’s not really going to happen for me.
3. Come on, we all feel like that sometimes.

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LTF Indoor Tri Results

>> Monday, February 25, 2008

If you haven’t seen it, check out the previous post that contains my race report from the Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon yesterday. The results were just posted online, and here’s how I did:



The scoring is based on how you are ranked with everyone else. There were 97 people total in the event, so if you went the farthest in the swim, you earned 97 points. If you got 10th in the bike, you earned 87 points. All 3 events are tallied to determine an overall score.

Place for each event:
- Swim: 22nd
- Bike: 18th
- Run: 5th
- Overall: 11th out of 97 Tied for 10th out of 97

I had hoped for a top-10 finish overall, so I didn’t quite make it. But, like I said in my last post, I PRed in all 3 categories, so I can’t complain. Oops. I thought I placed 11th like the results show. In reality, I tied for 10th, because we both have 239 points. I had hoped for a top 10 finish! Sweet! And I PRed in all 3 categories! Sweeter! Here are my numbers from last year, where I placed 16th:



And here are my numbers from 2 years ago, where I placed 25th:



...So I guess I'm getting better!! I hope to see some of the folks that I met yesterday at some outdoor tris this season! And don’t miss the previous post with more race details (and sweaty boobs). Thanks all!

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LTF Indoor Triathlon Report

>> Sunday, February 24, 2008

This first sentence is kinda depressing: I got ready for the tri last night with a supper of chicken nuggets and 5 bowls of Wheaties (with sugar) while grading student’s projects and watching “Cops,” “Antiques Roadshow,” and “Forrest Gump” at home by myself. Another exciting Saturday night in the Stenzel household.

This was my third annual indoor tri, and this event holds a special place in my heart. Two years ago, this same indoor was my very first triathlon (the one that got me hooked). Anyway, I headed out this morning, and I heard Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” on the way to the tri. I smiled a bit to myself, and at that point, I knew it was going to be a good day.

I arrived at Lifetime Fitness and got ready to go. I went out to the pool to watch the group before my heat take off. As I was sitting by the pool, I started talking with 3 women. This was their first tri, and I was trying to be “the helpful guy who’s done this before,” but not “the creepy guy that won’t stop talking about how much he knows about tris.” One of the ladies wants to pawn her bike off on her middle-schooler so she can by a nice, new tri-bike for herself so she can start doing outdoor triathlons. I love a woman with a plan! We had a nice chat, and we all hopped in the pool to get ready.

The Swim:

I was hoping to swim 21 lengths. That was my biggest goal for the day: 525 meters in 10 minutes. I had been working with Andrea, a swim coach at my Y, who had given me some drills to help with my breathing and hopefully speed me up a little. I wanted to see what I could do. I asked my lap counter to help me get to 21 lengths. She laughed and said, “I really can’t do much about that!...”

Some woman shouted “go” and we all splashed about. I had lost track of my lap count. Along with my form. Andrea would have been pissed. My shoulder wasn’t doing what Andrea wanted it to do. After 10 minutes, it was over. My lap counter was smiling. “Twenty-one?” I asked hopefully. “Twenty-one! You did it!” Here she is (broken leg and all) after I got out of the pool:


Apparently, that swim cap didn’t do much for my hair...

The Bike:

We all had 10 minutes to run though the locker room and get up to the spinning studio. Not much to say here. I hopped on a spinning bike that had the resistance set (and taped down), and my hips were rockin’ all over the place. My cadence was nasty fast, kinda like sex with Carrot Top. Here’s a sweet, sweaty-boobs pic of me about half way through the bike:


Shut up. I don’t photograph well during triathlons.

The Run:

We had five minutes to get from the spinning studio to the treadmills. I was there and ready to strap on my Nikes. But there was a little problem. Each year at the indoor tri, I’ve had a minor emergency. Two years ago, I had too much guacamole the night before and was a little “squirty” at the start of the swim (no need to say more - in fact, I’ve already probably said too much). Last year, the toe-cages on my bike pedals were on backward, and the little medal clasps kept catching on each revolution. This year, it was time for some drama on the run. As I got to the treadmills and pulled my shoes out of my bag, I realized that a water bottle had leaked into my bag. My right running shoe was SOAKED! Poop. Well, nothing I could do. I threw on my shoes and hit the treadmill.


Shut. Up. It was hard work.

I started at 9.0 mph, and in just a minute or 2, I bumped it up to 9.5 mph. With 5 minutes left, I bumped up to 10.1 mph. I wanted to break 3.0 miles. After 20 minutes, I had run 3.19 miles. Sweet.

Final Numbers:
- Swim: 10 minutes: 21 lengths (525 meters)
- Bike: 30 minutes: 16.6 miles
- Run: 20 minutes: 3.19 miles
- I PRed in every category! (Previous best: 19 lengths last year, 15.3 miles on the bike 2 years ago, 2.58 miles run last year)

I don’t think I’ll end up placing as high as I’d like, but I really can’t complain about PRing in all 3 categories! I went home and made 2 ham, egg, and cheese burritos with salsa:



Official results will be up tomorrow or Tuesday. Check back then to see how I placed. Thanks all!

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Good News/Bad News/No News

>> Wednesday, February 20, 2008

• First, the Bad News:

I made a “video application” for Team EvoTri in order to try to be added as a member of their team. It was a long shot, but worth a try. My video didn’t make the cut into the top 10. Boo. It was even more of a bummer because 3 of the 5 people on the team are fun, quality individuals (not to say the other 2 aren’t, but I personally know how great 3 of them are). Voting takes place over these next 2 weeks, so head over to Team EvoTri’s website to watch the top 10 videos and vote for the person who you think should become the newest member of the team.

• Now, the Good News:

I just received my reviews from fall semester. Every student fills out a form that rates different aspects of the class, as well as how I did as their professor. At the end, there is a place for additional comments. Those are always fun to read, but few are actually helpful. For example, here are some that I just received:

“Steve is great. Woo-woo.”
“Steve Stenzel is the coolest man alive. He is definitely my idol. We love Steve!!”
“Steve is very well organized, it helped so much that he was eager to help, and that he actually knew what he was talking about. Steve rules.”

Now, I know being a “fun” or “cool” professor doesn’t make me a good professor, but it’s still kinda nice to hear. However, out of all of the useless comments, this one is the best that I’ve ever received:

“This is completely true: I’ve had bad anxiety and was given some anti-anxiety CD’s. I was asked to envision a peaceful place where I felt safe, and I pictured Steve’s classroom because I love it so much. This is completely true.”

Talk about heartwarming! I think I teared up a little when I first read it! It’s small things like this that make teaching so darned great!

• Finally, the No News:

I have another event coming up. I’ve been keeping busy with a bunch of small events just on the horizon, and it’s been helpful to keep me motivated all winter. This Sunday, I’m doing my 3rd annual indoor triathlon in the Lifetime Fitness in Chanhassen, MN. I’m in wave 11, which starts at 10:20 am. Wish me luck!

Oh, one last bit of “no news:” I’m hungry. Someone get me a burrito.

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PSA: How To Rid Your Body Of Hair

>> Friday, February 15, 2008

I won’t lie: I was scared the first time. I didn’t know what to expect. And the hair removal cream had a warning on it telling me to keep it away from my nipples.

I.
Did.
Not.
Want.
To.
Burn.
Off.
My.
Nipples.


Let me make this clear: I do NOT know everything regarding hair removal. But I will share what I can and hopefully you (or your hairy loved one) can make the transition from “hairy, slow beast” to “smooth, aerodynamic, speedy athlete.”

Lesson 1: Method

Pharmie wanted me to wax. I’ve seen “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” and that kinda turned me off to waxing (just a little). So, admittedly, that’s something I don’t know anything about. In my case, I figured I’d shave my legs, shave my arms, and use a cream on my chest.

The first time I used “Hansen for Men: Hair Removal Lotion,” and the second time I used “Nair for Men.”



Both worked fine. Neither of them burned my skin or did anything strange. They both smelled fine (Hansen might smell a little better) and both did the trick. Hansen came with a bladeless razor, and Nair did not. But that wasn’t a real issue. I would say they are pretty equal products, but I might prefer Nair just because the Hansen tube was hard to get everything out of, whereas Nair comes out of the can easily like shaving cream. I tested Hansen on a tiny spot on my chest a day before using it all over, just to make sure it wasn’t going to make my skin burn off or break out.

I wanted to try a cream because it wasn’t as painful as waxing, but it would go a little “deeper” than just shaving. I’m glad I used the cream. Waxing may have lasted a little longer, but, I admit, I’m scared to try.

Lesson 2: Attack That Hair

I like “dramatic effect.” Therefore, when I spread the cream on my chest for the first time, I only spread it on half of my chest. Dramatic effect. I waited the proper 5 to 10 minutes, and then used the bladeless razor to scrape it all off. Here’s the dramatic result of half hairy / half hairless:


Notice the ring of hair around my nipple because
I didn’t want to burn off those fellas

I finished the other side of my chest, and all was well.

The second time I removed my chest hair, I tried “Nair for Men.” Like I mentioned before, it did not have a bladeless razor. Nair recommended using a bath towel to wipe it off. But that would have been nasty. So I lathered up and wiped it off with paper towels. (Many of my “regulars” will remember this from around Christmas time.) I started by removing a heart:



The heart came clean easily, and then I lathered up the rest of the chest:



After the scary use of the magical cream, I took a razor CAREFULLY around my nip-nips. Then I worked on the rest of my body hair. I used an electric clipper on my arms and legs.


Shaved arm hair in the sink


Shaved leg hair in the tub

Then I shaved my arms and legs. It was weird the first time:



Lesson 3: Clean Up

When I got down wiping off that body hair, I had paper towels strewn all over the bathroom with creamy body hair all over it:



If you go with cream and wipe off some body hair, there WILL be a mess in your bathroom. Clean that junk up. If you have pets, make sure to take out the trash, or your furry family members (I’m talking about your pets - remember YOU just took care of your hair and are no longer furry) will get into the hairy, creamy mess. Also, wash your bath towel right away. Any rogue cream could discolor your towel or get spread around the bathroom before you know it.

Lesson 4: Reap the Benefits

At least one of three things will happen once you go “hair-free:”

1. You will get faster.
2. You will feel faster.
3. You will get sexed up.

I don’t know if I got any faster, but, as Meatloaf said, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. Here I was, the day after first going hair-free, getting ready to do the Chisago Lakes Half-Ironman:



Lesson 5: Maintenance

If you want to keep up this hairless lifestyle, you’re far from over. You need to keep it under control. I think I shaved about 1 to 2 times each week with a regular razor to keep up the manscaping between my first shave and Ironman. Here are the 2 razors in our shower:


As I’ve admitted to everyone before, mine is the pink one

A few days before Ironman, I did my last, complete all-over shave:



Then I made final touch-ups the day before IM.

I haven’t been keeping up the hairlessness because it’s flippin freezing here, and every bit of body hair helps. Sometime mid-summer, I’ll go through this process again. Probably right before the Lifetime Fitness Olympic Tri. Look for the debut of “2008 Hairless Steve” at that triathlon.

Final Thoughts

Once you’re smooth, everything is different. Putting on a shirt is strange. You’ll really be able to FEEL the shirt on your body. Crawling into bed is a smooth motion. Honestly, I could take or leave the smooth chest. I don’t know what to think about it. It makes me look like I’m 11 years old. But the shaved legs are kinda nice...

So, do you have any advice to give on this subject? Can you help out? Please comment with your experience on manly hair removal. Thanks everyone!

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You’ll Puke From Cuteness

>> Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pharmie’s aunt e-mailed me a few days ago. She told me how she was at a family function at their church. The topic of discussion that night was “marriage.” She was there with her 2 youngest kids, Grace and Ben. She went on to write this:

“...Father Tom asked, “Of the married couples you know, who do you think has a good marriage?”

BOTH Grace and Ben said, “Sarah and Steve.”

I asked, what makes their marriage a good marriage to you?

They said, “They like a lot of the same things, like running, canoeing, biking, and camping. And they have fun together, and laugh a lot.” Ben said, “Steve makes Sarah laugh, and I think that is really important!!”

I thought it was very cute!!! It’s fascinating hearing it from a child’s perspective. Congratulations!!!!”


I’m oozing with cuteness and vomiting up adorableness.

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More Photos From Race Up The Place

>> Monday, February 11, 2008

Before “Race Up The Place” on the second of this month, I took a look at my foot. It needed a little work. It was still (and IS still) beat up from the half marathon the weekend before.


Dead blister from 1 week before


Patched up, ready to climb


And the toe that died during Ironman which had recently
healed up to 100% is now dead again. Dang.

Well, I figured I was ready to run those stairs. Here are some official photos from “Race Up The Place” just over a week ago:


Stairwell cheerleaders and random runner


People catching their breath on the 35th floor


The afterparty on the 23rd floor


My awkward “winners speech” in tighty-whities

I almost ran the 50 flight stair climb in the IDS tower in Minneapolis this past weekend, but I had too much I needed to do at home. I also caught a bad cold right after Race Up The Place, and I wanted to make sure I was 100% healthy before killing myself on something like that again. Basically, I wussed out. Big props to a blogger I just found named Linda who finished the IDS climb in 5th overall place as the 1st female! Nice job Linda!

Oh, and does anyone else think that Amy Winehouse is a weirdo?!? Her “dancing” last night on the Grammys frightened me! And this is coming from a guy who doesn’t correctly know how to wear underwear!! (It’s like when the boy in middle school who eats worms thinks YOU are weird!)

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This Will Make You Smile

>> Thursday, February 07, 2008

Follow these directions:

1. Make sure no “straight-laced” co-workers are around.
2. Get your mind IN the gutter.
3. Turn up the volume on your computer.
4. Watch the following video that I made a few days ago.

It’s all about the audio, so you NEED to hear it. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s called “The 23 Dirtiest Seconds of ‘8 Minute Abs.’” Enjoy.



If you can’t view the video above, see it directly on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=0kX42Taedvo

Tell your friends. They need to see this.

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Back to Reality

>> Tuesday, February 05, 2008

OK, so I’ve had some good times running lately. I was happy with my finish from my first half marathon nearly 2 weeks ago, and I somehow placed first in the stair-climb last weekend. I’ve been keeping my bad knee strong, logging some miles, and feeling good about myself. But these good times cannot last.

Today, between classes, I’ll be hitting the pool. It’s not going to be for a fast, sexy 2 mile swim. It’s for drills. Breathing drills. Gross. It will help me A LOT this summer in triathlons, but it feels like boring homework right now. Not nearly as sexy as banging out a speedy 8 mile run.

And biking, well, I need to be working on that too. My swimming and my biking have suffered this winter, but my running is hopefully keeping everything strong.

My one last time to shine this year may be during an early duathlon in May. I’ll be doing the Apple Duathlon for the 3rd year in a row in Sartell. But the weekend before that, I have a little something new planned. I was talking to my brother-in-law, Matt, this weekend, and we realized something. I’m a pretty good runner, and a very average cyclist. Matt is not a great runner, but he’s killer on a bike. “What if we competed in the Gear West Duathlon as a TEAM?” It would be me on the 5K run, Matt on the 28K bike (17.4 miles), and me again on the 4K run. Using our strengths, we could maybe place! Here’s a photo of Matt (looking goofy) with his sister Steph, and tell me that his body doesn’t just scream “power on the bike!”



And then, the weekend after, maybe I could rope Matt into doing his first solo multi-sport event, and we could both do the Apple Duathlon individually. At that point, it’s going to be back to my identity as “regular, middle-of-the-pack, age-grouper Steve” for the rest of the summer. The winning times will be over. Back to reality.

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Race Up The Place Results!

>> Saturday, February 02, 2008

Or, “Wow, Racing Up 35 Flights of Stairs STINKS!”

Or, “Apparently, People Remember a Guy in Tighty-Whities!”

Or, “Wait...Wait...Am I REALLY That High on the Finishers List?!”

Earlier today, I ran a very different sort of race: it was called Race Up The Place, and it was a 700 step, 35 flight stair-climb in the biggest building in Downtown St. Paul. It was a fundraiser for the American Lung Association. I’ve been registered for a few months, and the plan was to run it along with some students from my Alma Mater, The College of Visual Arts. For the past 3 years, I’ve also been teaching at CVA, and I THOUGHT I had talked some of my current and former students into doing this run as “Team CVA.”

Paul, the Director of Student Life at CVA, signed up as well, and we made it our mission to recruit students. Art students aren’t known for being that physically active. We thought we had at least 3 students in the bag. But when we were ready to start, there were no students to be found:


There should be students in between us...

Oh well. At least Paul and I had a good time. We got ready to race. Each runner started 10 seconds after the one in front of them. Here’s what the “starting line” looked like, with the blue mats for the timing chips, and a lady in white just starting and heading into the stairwell:


Is #307 really going to run this in his jeans?!?

Paul and I were ready, but I had one more quick change to make. That’s right folks: time to bust out the lucky tighty-whities. Paul thought I was a little nuts. I put them on right over my Speedo Jammer, and called it good. People started laughing, and I was having a blast. Paul nearly refused to be seen with me.

We got up to the line, and off we went. I had no idea how to run that many stairs, so I just ran. I had no clue what I was doing. I took a split time at the 10th floor when I was starting to slow down a little, and my time was 51 seconds. I took another split at the 20th floor, and my time was 1:59 (or 1:08 for flights 11-20). After that, it just all sucked. It was tough. I was sucking air, and my heart was ready to blow through my chest. I passed about 6 to 8 people in the second half of the run (Paul and I started after a lull, so there was no one to pass in the first half of the climb). I always said “Nice job!” or “Keep it up!” as I passed people, even though it was getting progressively harder to speak while breathing so hard.

I just kept moving. There were people cheering at about every 5th floor or so, and everyone got a chuckle out of my “undies on the outside” fashion statement. Suddenly, I looked up and saw that I was on floor 32. I only had a few more floors to go! So I lowered my head and gave it a little more. I came out on the 35th floor 4:11 after starting. People were cheering. That quickly turned to laughter and comments on my outfit. I had finished, but my lungs and heart were on fire. I should have taken my pulse, because I’m sure it was through the roof!

I had to lie down. I think my quads were probably hot to the touch. I felt like I was about to puke. I wasn’t dizzy or light-headed, but my stomach was ready to purge itself. I closed my eyes, and started feeling better pretty quick. I walked over to get another bottle of water while I was waiting for Paul to finish, and the volunteer who was taking off the timing chips stopped me. “Did you run the Monster Dash?...” she asked. I smiled. “Yes I did! Why...do you remember the undies?” She laughed and said that it was hard to miss! I forgot her name, but she said that she was covered in aluminum foil (as part of her costume) for the Monster Dash, and was actually cheering next to me for a while we were watching the Monster Day Half Marathon. We had a nice chat. It turns out that she ran the half marathon last weekend with me. And she’s thinking about doing IM WI 2009, so I told her a little about WIBA.

So Paul came busting through the finish line, and we sat together to gather our bearings for a bit. The last group of the day was now finishing, and they were firefighters in FULL GEAR! They had all the clothes, tanks, boots, helmets, and everything else for the climb. Here’s a little note for the ladies out there: if you want to see young, sweaty, buff firefighters strip down to tank tops and such, wait for them at the top of a 700 step stair-climb. Paul and I had firefighters dropping gear all around us because they were so heated up from the run. And we were clapping for them. (Because they had just done the climb with all the gear, not because they were stripping in front of us.)

Paul and I headed down from the 35th to the 23rd floor, where they were having an “after party” of sorts. They had goodies and an AMAZING view! I wish that I had brought my camera up with me. Then we walked over to look at the finishers list. Paul couldn’t find his name because he had just recently finished. I looked for my name and time. I had to keep looking higher. And higher. And finally, there it was...

...at the top of the list!

I had finished FIRST!



Crazy! Sure, I pushed hard, but I figured that they’re be plenty of people faster than me. I was first out of 334 runners. I couldn’t believe it! Paul could. I headed back to the goodie table to grab more grub. Then, 2 people approached me and asked “Did you run the Charities Challenge 5K at Como Park?” Again, I laughed and said “Yep! Did the tighty-whities give me away?” They remembered me, and then proceeded to introduce themselves. One of them, Gary, was the founder and president of Charities Challenge. We had a nice little chat, and I mentioned that I had just finished first. Gary grabbed me and took me to the front up by the mic. He said something about how everyone did great, but only one person could finish first. He announced my name, and asked me to come on down. People started clapping, and then started laughing when they realized it was the guy in his undies that won the stair-climb. Gary made some fun comments about my outfit, and then asked me to say a little something. I congratulated the firemen on their amazing climb, talked about how the climb was tougher than we all thought, and I closed with something like “...and, you know, if you ever decide to wear your underwear on the OUTSIDE, you might just find out you’ll be a little speedier!!”

Paul and I headed down to the foyer, and got ready to go. We grabbed one last photo of ourselves with our finisher medals:


(I almost took off the undies before the photo,
but Paul told me to keep them on.)

Well, I had a great time, got to chat with some new friends, made some people smile, and somehow won the event. I’d say it was a great day! It was nice to meet everyone I talked to, and it was great doing this event with you, Paul! Next time, let’s drag a few students with us...

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