Friday, January 27, 2012

USA Swimming Deck Pass App

If you have a youngin' involved with a swim team, then you need to have this free app. Deck Pass is the official mobile application of USA Swimming.

All swimmers, from state champions to summer leaguers, can track their times with the log book and even keep track of their personal goals through Deck Pass. USA Swimming members can also look up their times and recent meets, check their IMX scores, and see all of the Deck Pass patches they’ve earned.

Signing up for Deck Pass is easy. Simply create an account on If you are a member of USA Swimming, be sure to link your USA Swimming membership to your Deck Pass account. Just follow the prompts after you sign up for Deck Pass to link your account to your USA Swimming membership. If you wish to complete this step later, you can go to My Account to make any updates. I signed up the Boy® and indicated I was the parent. Within minutes I was reviewing his meet history. We have also started to set goals.

If you have any trouble setting up the account, there is a nice FAQ section here.

When you link your USA Swimming membership to your Deck Pass account, all your times from USA Swimming-sanctioned meets will automatically be updated on Deck Pass, so you can begin earning patches right away – or at least as soon as you compete in your first meet of the season. Also, your coach can award you patches for all the hard work you do in practice and at meets.

If you’re not a member of USA Swimming, don’t worry. You can still use Deck Pass. Your times will not be updated automatically, but you can keep track of your times in the Log Book and set goals with our Goal Setter.

Deck Pass Mobile features include:
- IMX scores, best times, recent meets and rankings
- Digital patches for your achievements at practice and at competitions
- A way to connect with your swimming friends
- A tool that allows coaches to award digital patches to their swimmers
- Your team's times, scores and ranks
- USA Swimming information on events, meetings, certifications and results
- A digital logbook to keep track of your times and earn more patched
- A goal tracker to set goals for the season and monitor your progress

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Upcoming Events

Well, the holidays were bad to me. Wayyyy too fat. Time to bear down and see if I can drop those excess pounds and see if I can start to get into fighting shape for the upcoming season. I have been training fairly consistently the last two weeks and trying to adjust to life with osteoarthritis in the left hip.

I've been a good boy. Instead of running every day, sometimes twice, I have been taking running free days and so far the hip has been OK. Of course, I expect this will result in some very weak running times in 2012 but we'll see what happens. Stiff upper lip and all that rot.

If you are in the Tundra area in February there are two events to consider and chances are you will see me there.

Feb 5 - Hamel 5K

A very low-key 5K in which there are no awards given. There is no chip timing so be sure to bring your own watch if you want to record your time. Click here if you want to see the course (Garmin) and read about the results from 2011. The whole Maas family will be at this event this year, a first. The race web site can be found here.

Feb 11 - Stone Cold Cupid Snow Shoe

This is yet another event by Final Stretch. I contacted race director Mark Bongers this week and he indicates that if there is a lack of snow the event will become a trail run. This is something the whole family is considering at this time. Per their race site:

This is the first year that Final Stretch has hosted the Stone Cold Cupid Snowshoe race. The course consists of a 3.5 mile loop winding through the trails of Terrace Oaks Park in the center of Burnsville, MN. The trails are normally utilized as cross country ski trails and will be groomed prior to and after the snowshoe race event. You can choose from a 3.5 mile one loop, a two looper for an extreme 7 mile race or bring your significant other and share in the fun and each do 1 choose who gets to go first.

The route is scenic and challenging with a good amount of hills, fast flats, and open terrain.

All races will be chip timed by Final Time using the Championchip timing technology. Chips must be returned immediately after your race is finished at the finish line chute. Fees will apply if chips are not turned in!

We will have access to the park pavilion, which is located just east of the parking lot. We are also going to have a bonfire just outside the pavilion near the finish area so you can warm your toes pre and post race. Hot beverages will be served for all participants as part of the registration package, and the park will also supply hot cocoa and other edibles to everyone at an extra cost. Snowshoes must be worn to participate. There will be no exceptions.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Seafood Weekend

We had a hankering for seafood over the weekend. So spaced over two meals I cooked up:

Chili Garlic Scallops
  • 1-LB dry packed sea scallops (dry packed are not treated and never frozen)
  • 4-oz Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce
  • If you are brave, toss in 1-2 minced jalapenos or habaneros 
Heat up the chili garlic in butter for a few minutes then saute scallops for 1 & 1/2 mins each side and no longer!
Finishing touch - place a scoop or two of fish roe on top of each scallop prior to serving.
Steamed Mussels

  • 3lbs mussels
  • 4 shallots
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 2 pints white wine
  • fresh herbs 
Saute onions, shallots and garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add mussels and cover. Steam until mussels open (about 3 mins). Add fresh herbs. Serves 3.

Note that if the mussel does not open after cooking, don't eat it. You want them debearded already when you buy or ask to have them do it. Most good seafood shops will do that for you. Also, I typically use about a 1/2 bottle of wine.

Seafood Curry

  • 2 lbs of seafood - such as shrimp, scallops, firm fish. Fish recommendations are sword, marlin, tuna, monk, grouper, mochong. opah, ono, or wahoo. The shrimp should be deveined.
  • 8+oz of curry paste. I recommend Patakas (with the purple top)
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • Optionals - Mushrooms, onions, spinach, and garlic

Cube fish (if not already done) to approx. 3/4 to 1 inch. Marinate seafood in paste 2-24 hours. Shorter the better. I typically marinate about 4 - 6 hours. To marinate, just mix all the fish ingredients by hand in a bowl. Wear an apron as curry paste will stain. Mix until yellow throughout.

Sautee optionals in oil/butter. I recommend just a bit of olive oil. Onions first, then mushrooms, then garlic, then add an entire bag of spinach. Use a lid to squish the spinach down. Don't worry, the spinach will 'disappear' even though an entire bag will seem excessive. Add left over curry paste on top of spinach.

Pour in the cococnut milk, and reduce to desired thickness. I typically use about one to 1 & 1/4 cans for thicker curry. Add in the seafood and simmer for 5 minutes on medium high. When the shrimp tail touches the head, it is done but I'll go a bit longer myself. Pour over Basmati rice.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Product Review: FitDeck Cards

I received FitDeck cards in my Xmas stocking and was able to use them recently. FitDeck was created with a simple premise – make exercise simple, convenient, and fun – and people will stay motivated. With this in mind, the most basic way to use FitDeck and FitDeck Booster cards is as follows:

1.Warm up (3-5 minutes)
3.Shuffle cards
4.Draw a card and flip it over
5.Perform exercise
6.Repeat as desired
7.Cool down and stretch

Using 1-minute per card as a guide, draw the number of cards consistent with your fitness level and time available:

For example: 20 minutes = 20 cards

This is the most basic way to use your FitDeck cards. For hundreds of FitDeck games, workouts ideas, partner challenges, group routines, and fun workout combinations, click here.

The deck comes with nice packaging as a hard case is provided so that you can carry your cards with you, especially for those who travel. FitDeck is a unique deck of Exercise Playing Cards that makes exercise more simple, convenient, and fun. FitDecks are available in 56-card and 26-card Booster decks. 56-card FitDecks specialize in bodyweight-only exercises (i.e. Bodyweight, Junior, Senior, Yoga, Pilates, Stretch, Prenatal, and Postnatal). 26-card Boosters may require certain equipment (i.e. Exercise Ball, Pull Up bar, Dumbbell, Office, Travel, Kettlebell, etc.). They even have a deck specific to swimming.

The cards themselves are the size of standard playing cards. The illustrations and the written instructions are clear. So you won't have any issues getting benefit out of FitDeck. I have started to use them after my workouts during my cool-down session. This is a fun way to force yourself to cool down properly.

If you use the cards as you would any deck of cards you can shuffle them to come up with an almost unlimited number of workout combinations. The deck I received was the stretching set. While there wasn't any stretch I have not heard of or performed previously, this helps to keep everything fresh and allows you to change things up without losing track.

Prices vary by the type of deck and they are available at Gear West.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

How I Kept This Body

A year ago the StarTribune ran a series of articles entitled "How I Got This Body" in which they did a write-up on myself. They recently revisited three people they had profiled in the past year to find out how their fitness programs were going -- and how they keep themselves motivated. I was one of those three people. I wanted to share this so that people who do not follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook would be able to see it as well. Also I wanted to note that at the time the interview took place I was in the Top 7% nationally but it appears I will fall into the Top 11% overall once final year-end rankings come out.

Here is how the story appeared:

Maas currently ranks in the top 7 percent of 50-54-year-old male triathletes in the U.S. -- despite taking 12 weeks off last spring after suffering a pelvic stress fracture. He shares a few of his tips for staying motivated (and injury-free):

Motivating factors are really having goals (I call them carrots) to shoot for. My son, Graham (now 11), is now running 5Ks and competing in triathlons. This last year, he and I teamed up in a triathlon relay in Park Rapids, Minn., and won the relay division. I swam and biked and he ran. Also joining us is my wife, Jackie, who is also competing in 5K running events. The highlight for us was each of us winning our respective age groups in a race in Bismarck, North Dakota, earlier this year. Lastly, my 70-year old father, Don, competed in his first-ever 5K in Fargo this year and I was in that race as well.

In the last three years I have competed in Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. ... Training for events in Texas keeps up the motivation during the winter months.

The rule of thumb is not to increase your mileage by more than 10 percent over the previous week. When I got my pelvic stress fracture, it was during that nice stretch of warm weather last February and I basically doubled my run mileage for two straight weeks. Too much, too soon. [But], I responded [to injury-induced time off] by attacking my workouts to get into shape quickly and salvage the remaining 2011 race season. Also, I get deep tissue massages twice a month during the off-season and weekly during race season. This has helped me in terms of addressing those nagging aches and pains. I can literally barely hobble into my massage a day or two before an upcoming race and be running comfortably the day after and in fine shape for the race.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Good News, Bad News: The Detail on the Latest Setback

So, the good news is I do not have another stress fracture. The bad news is I have osteoarthritis in my left hip. I'd rather have the fracture. Fractures heal. Arthritis lives on. Here is the official write-up and conclusion:


CLINICAL INFORMATION: The patient is a 50-year-old male with left hip pain. Evaluate for stress injury.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION: Large field-of-view coronal T1 and STIR images were obtained. Thin section coronal and sagittal proton density and T2-weighted spin echo sequences were obtained through the left hip followed by axial proton density and fat saturation T2-weighted images. Comparison is made to the prior examination dated 03/16/2011.

INTERPRETATION: STIR imaging of the pelvis shows no evidence for marrow edema or cortical injury. There is no evidence for residual signal change involving the left superior or inferior pubic rami to suggest ongoing stress or traumatic injury. No evidence for injury to the sacroiliac joints or symphysis pubis can be seen. The left and right proximal femora appear normal. There is no evidence for femoral stress injury or avascular necrosis.

Degeneration and blunting of the central and anterior aspects of the left superior acetabular labrum can be seen with chondral thinning and irregularity along the superior and anterosuperior articular surfaces of the left hip. Mild subcortical cystic changes involving the anterosuperior aspect of the left acetabulum is present, and the findings are in keeping with mild osteoarthritic changes. No evidence for intraarticular loose body is seen.

No abnormal fluid collections about the hips and pelvis can be seen. There is no evidence for iliopsoas or trochanteric bursitis. No acute intrapelvic abnormalities are seen.

No definite musculotendinous abnormalities about the hips and pelvis are present. There is no evidence for myotendinous strain or intramuscular mass. The common hamstrings origins appear intact. No injuries to the distal gluteus medius or gluteus minimus tendons can be seen.


1. Mild osteoarthritic changes of the left hip can be seen with chondral thinning and irregularity along the articular surfaces and mild subcortical cystic changes. Degeneration and blunting of the central and anterior aspects of the left superior acetabular labrum can be seen.

2. No acute bony abnormalities about the hips and pelvis can be seen. The previously noted areas of stress or traumatic injury have resolved.

3. No musculotendinous abnormalities are present.

4. No abnormal fluid collections are seen.

Not sure I totally trust the diagnosis. I have little trust in our our fine medical community given some past personal episodes. What if there is a stress fracture not in the pelvic region but in the femur and the MRI did not cover that area? What if there is some necrosis from the past stress fracture (March 2011) and the femur/hip/pelvis are getting a reduced blood flow, in essence killing the bone?

Look at it this way. I can take any runner that has been pounding the pavement for 35+ years and they are going to show some mild osteoarthritis in the leg joints. It goes with the territory. So does this equate to the leg pain I've been having?

I have other issues going on with the left leg as well. The middle toe on my left foot goes numb off-and-on during the day. The inside of my upper calf area (between shin and muscle) is painful to the touch. The lower quad is also painful to the touch. It feels as if someone has just been pounding the quad area with a hammer. So, is there an underlying circulation issue and there may be some time of deep vein thrombosis? Time will tell. For now, I have to go on what is being told to me.

I have continued to swim. This week I have been walking to test if the leg can start to engage in a slow ramp up of running and biking. No 90-120 minutes spins on the bike. No 9-milers on the run. Simple 30-minute stuff. If the pains come back with a vengeance, then I go back in and press for further testing. Otherwise, I continue to slowly ramp up and hopefully will be toeing the start line in the upcoming 2012 season. Let's take a deeper dive into osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder, which is due to aging and wear and tear on a joint. In other words, my decades of running may have caught up to me. Osteoarthritis is a normal result of aging. It is also caused by 'wear and tear' on a joint. Cartilage is the firm, rubbery tissue that cushions your bones at the joints, and allows bones to glide over one another. If the cartilage breaks down and wears away, the bones rub together. This causes pain, swelling, and stiffness. Bony spurs or extra bone may form around the joint. The ligaments and muscles around the joint become weaker and stiffer.

Often, the cause of OA is unknown. It is mainly related to aging. The symptoms of OA usually appear in middle age. Almost everyone has some symptoms by age 70. However, these symptoms may be minor. Other factors can also lead to OA:

• OA tends to run in families.
• Being overweight increases the risk of OA in the hip, knee, ankle, and foot joints because extra weight causes more wear and tear.
• Fractures or other joint injuries can lead to OA later in life. This includes injuries to the cartilage and ligaments in your joints.
• Jobs that involve kneeling or squatting for more than an hour a day put you at the highest risk. Jobs that involve lifting, climbing stairs, or walking also put you at risk.
• Playing sports that involve direct impact on the joint (such as football), twisting (such as basketball or soccer), or throwing also increase the risk of arthritis.

Medical conditions that can lead to OA include:

• Bleeding disorders that cause bleeding in the joint, such as hemophilia
• Disorders that block the blood supply near a joint and lead to avascular necrosis
• Other types of arthritis, such as chronic gout, pseudogout, or rheumatoid arthritis

Pain and stiffness in the joints are the most common symptoms. The pain is often worse after exercise and when you put weight or pressure on the joint. If you have osteoarthritis, your joints probably become stiffer and harder to move over time. You may notice a rubbing, grating, or crackling sound when you move the joint.

OA cannot be cured. It will most likely get worse over time. At best, OA symptoms can be controlled.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cajun Coleslaw

I'm a huge coleslaw fan. And not the dry kind. Gotta be creamy. Dry kind can be good if seasoned just right, but it still reminds me of just eating a dry salad. Make it creamy. Make it flavorful with some bite.

My Texas race partner, Tim Carroll, sent me a plethora of Cajun style cook books for Christmas. Within one of them (Cooking in Cajun Country) was this recipe which we recently had with some smoked chicken I had made in my new Char-Broil Big Easy smoker. Pint of Guinness and I was one happy man. Enjoy!

Cajun Coleslaw

2 heads green cabbage, chopped
1 head purple cabbage, chopped
3 apples, chopped
1 pound carrots, shredded
3 cups mayonnaise
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons can or apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Cajun/Creole seasoning

Mix the cabbage, apples, and carrots together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, honey, can vinegar, lemon juice, and Cajun/Creole seasoning. Stir until completely mixed. Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and fold together. Serves 10 as a side dish.

Notes - We used a bag of coleslaw mix and 3 scallions. We only made half the dressing but used the full 2 teaspoons of seasoning. We did not use the apples.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Boy Swim Update

The Boy® had another good swim outing this past weekend (Jan 7/8). Starting last month, he has increased his swim workout sessions from 60 to 90 minutes. And he is now attending at least four practices a week. We get in a fifth if homework and other outside activities aren't requiring his time.

This meet started out slow for him. He had a poor 100 freestyle followed by a even poorer 50 backstroke. It was at this point that I had to corner him and have a little dad-to-son talk. This was not the 'rah-rah' talk I usually use. This was a 'light a fire under his butt' speech that most certainly got his attention. My coaches would only pull out the "you are better than this" speech when it was absolutely required. Fire was ignited, and he went on to having a great two-day meet. Eight events, eight top 8 finishes within the C-classification, and five personal records. I think he has set himself up well for the C-State Finals on Feb 25/26. I'm positive some B-qualifying times will come out of that one.

I keep track of his PR's. For short course, it currently looks like this (click on thumbnail for larger view):

Inspiring stuff for a kid who couldn't really even do the butterfly and now, it is one of his better strokes. He continues to struggle with the breaststroke so we haven't shelved that one for the time-being in meets although he continues to work on it at practice.

The next month will find us working on technique in hopes of it paying off in spades next month. It will also ensure that it gets my fat butt into the pool as well. Always a good thing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 Final Training Numbers

It was not my finest year to have decent training numbers. There was the pelvic stress fracture at the beginning of March. And I now appear to have osteoarthritis in my left hip. I had a MRI on Tuesday (Jan 3) of this week and the summary of the MRI should be in my hands soon. But the doc gave me the heads-up on Wednesday. More on the OA prognosis later this week.

I suppose one could argue that I train too much, which is leading to these types of setbacks. So, I may take a easier approach in 2012. Notice I said 'may'. German males are a stubborn lot.

I loved my results between August and November, the result of my determination to salvage the back half of the 2011 race season. But oh, those spring months with hardly any training were very tough on me mentally. Let us look at the numbers in comparison to 2010, a relatively healthy year for me.


The first quarter of 2011 was off from 2010 as I had a duathlon in Texas to train for and I also was working more on having quality over quantity type of workouts. And I was nagged by a shoulder in which the doc figures I have a bad rotator cuff. Not bad enough for surgery, but one that just sort of bits at you and wears one down mentally. So my numbers did drop a bit late summer as result.

My numbers did increase a bit starting early summer and I kept swimming up until my last triathlon on September 11. I started my typical base build for the 2012 season in December. So I anticipate that my swim numbers will be high for 1Q of 2012 as I spend a little more time in the water.


I had a great month in July, getting in a 500-mile bike month. July is typically my biggest bike training month as I'm all wound up from watching the Tour de France. But overall, I was off of the 2010 totals due to the stress fracture. And I decided to take some time away after my last duathlon of the year on October 2. So I had essentially no time in the saddle from then thru November.

The outlook for 2012 will be low numbers again. I'm guessing that I will require another 2-weeks off for this OA inflammation and hopefully will be back in the saddle soon. Even though the pelvis takes most of the pounding from the run game, too much time in the saddle (90-min or more sessions) also cause it to ache. So, this portion of my training may evolve into quality over quanitity as well.


Such an up-and-down year running for me due to the injury. It really took a lot of time to find my legs but I was certainly back in the game starting in August. Four straight months of some really good mileage. But I learned the hard way that once I get over 170 miles a month, it is probably doing my body more harm than good. So in 2012 I think I will strive to be more consistent with my run mileage and stay in the 120 miles per week zone.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Product Review: Leg Lube

I received this product as a Christmas stocking stuffer from the Well Kept Wife©.  How many guys get leg shaving gel from their significant others for Christmas?!? LEG LUBE is a “Performance Shave Gel” for us leg shavers. LEG LUBE was created by athletes, for athletes.

If you are like most of the leg shaving population you probably use shave cream, moisturizing soap, lotion, or like me, Trader Joes' Honey Mango Shave. What Leg Lube brings to the party is an ultra lubricating formula that reduces drag, nicks, in-grown hairs, razor burn, and the dreaded itchy, scaly, dry skin. It can be used for more than just legs. Use on your legs, face, arms, chest, head, bikini, and back. It has a very pleasant smell that will appeal to both men and women.

So what did I think after using the product recently?

At first use I was looking for the foam, or suds, you normally get with soap products. But once I used it a few times we found the lack of foam and suds no issue and now prefer it. After shaving, my legs were smooth. And most importantly in this winter dry humdity, I did not experience drying effects.

The motto of LEG LUBE is “one bead is all you need” and claims to be so slippery you can shave out of the shower. I haven’t tried it yet out of the shower, but I can see that one could easily use it sans water. The bottle is the same style used for some popular chain lubes, so they say it won’t leak and is TSA friendly. Ingredients include Glycerin, Aloe, Spearmint, Tea Tree, Rosemary, Peppermint and Eucalyptus oils. It’s Paraben free with no colors or dyes.

LEG LUBE comes in a 3.4 oz. (100mL) bottle and costs $8.95. It can be bought at the LEG LUBE website: or at Gear West.