Monday, August 31, 2009

Random Items

After getting back from Minnesota on Sunday, we ended up decompressing one more final day before getting back on the workout track today. Both of us went on short, quick runs today (separately) to get the legs moving again and ease back into it.

I'm starting to learn a few things:

- I can't take more than two days off in between runs.
- I need to warm up and stretch at least a little before a run.
- I'm getting to the point where I can't eat a lot of grease/crappy food - otherwise I feel the repercussions for DAYS.

I also learned that Famous Dave's's (?) chocolate-covered pig lickers (that is, bacon) are FANTASTIC.
Chocolate-Covered Pig Lickers

All things considered, neither of us did too badly at the fair. We split some cheese curds with his parents (fried cheese balls; pretty tasty), split french fries, split a chocolate shake and split the above cup of chocolate-covered bacon. Separately, I had a lemonade while he had a diet coke and a corn dog. Given the Minnesota State Fair and the various foods on sticks and fried crap that they have there, I figure we ended up okay.

While we didn't put in an official workout while there, we did a lot of walking around the Fair, downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America.

We also tried out EA Active for the Wii. Verdict: I love it SO MUCH BETTER than Wii Fit. EA Active has you doing stuff with a resistance band AND has harder exercises. Wii Fit is best for those who want low impact exercise (that is, yoga and balance games) or for those just trying to ease their way into exercise for the first time. EA Active is for those who want to graduate from Wii Fit and actually get a halfway decent workout while using a video game.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Enjoying myself...

Since T posted a few days ago, I'd like to point out that both of us have not had an "official" workout. We are both relaxing and decompressing for a couple days up in Minnesota, though I think that walking around the state fair for a few hours and walking around downtown Minneapolis last night is hardly R and R...but I digress.

Wednesday was my first official day off in a week. It felt nice to relax my muscles, which had been screaming at me to take a break. It also was nice to kind of reflect where I was at with working out. Basically, aside from trying to set a PR in a 5K in 3 weeks, I'm really not training for anything...other than keeping in shape for my triathlon and running season next year. But I always feel better when I work out. My body feels better, my head feels better, etc.

So that all being said, after a few days of resting up in Minnesota, we'll be back on the workout horse tomorrow!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


First off, since my last post, I've actually been on the workout wagon (again. i know.) I ended up taking two days off after the race, starting back up on that Wednesday ... and my next off day wasn't until yesterday.

I'm not entirely sure how this happened. Maybe it's because I've been feeling productive - Wednesday was super-productive-cleaning-day for me and I scheduled in a long run and that newfound motivation carried on through. Maybe because summer's starting to turn into autumn (my favorite season) and I'm determined because of that. Whatever it is, though, I'm happy for it.

Anyway, this is what I've done:

8.19 - Ran 3.19 mi in 34:08 - 10:42.01/mi
8.20 - Ran 1.36 mi in 13:13 - 9:43.09/mi
8.21 - Ran random park sprints (almost an off day; didn't keep track of any distance or time)
8.22 - Swam 400m in 11:00 - 44:15.42/mi; lifted core and legs
8.23 - Ran 1.04 mi in 10:10 - 9:46.54/mi
8.24 - Swam 1000m in 25:00 - 40:14.02/mi; lifted arms (and am STILL FREAKING SORE)
8.25 - Ran 3.35 mi in 35:30 - 10:35.82/mi
8.26 - OFF DAY!!!!
8.27 - Ran 1.36 mi in 13:21 - 9:48.97/mi

Of note: I never walked anytime I ran (wooo!) and all swimming (except for like 50m on the 22nd) is done breaststroke (i know, i know).

However, one thing I've noticed happening - and I don't know if it's because it's starting to be fall or what - is that I've FINALLY been able to get my run times under 10 minutes/mile. FINALLY. It has taken all damn summer and look. Granted, it's only on my shorter runs, but that right there is a HUGE victory for me.

Granted, I know that in theory, my times should drop if I keep running enough, but that hasn't happened all summer. The fact that it finally is happening makes me giddy. I'm not down to the 8:30/mi that I managed to get down to in 2007, but maybe it'll happen by Autumn Color. Maybe.

Here's to my running FINALLY getting better, here's to all of you in hopes that you've had similar breakthroughs with training/life lately and here's to a whole crazy FOUR DAYS OFF from work ... two and a half of which will be spent in Minnesota. State Fair, downtown Minneapolis, the Mall of America, a Twins game and much fun will be had this Friday and Saturday. Woo!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Race #5 of the Season: Alferd Packer Cannibal Run

After the tri, Brandon and I hadn't really planned on doing another race until the Autumn Color Run, which would be the technical end of our racing season (with a thanksgiving race for the hell of it).

However, I came across a fun-sounding race in one of the free local sports magazines given to us at another race (one of those mags that have lists of all local competitions) - "Run For Your Life: The Alferd Packer Cannibal Run."

For those of you who don't know who
Alferd (or alfred) Packer is/was, think the Donner Party of Colorado. Long story short, Packer led a group of miners from Utah to Colorado hoping to find gold. The trek was in winter, they got lost ... Packer was the only one who showed up out of the group to Colorado. Remnants of the bodies of the others were found and Packer was accused of cannibalism; got tried for murder, but only served time for manslaughter. His grave is found in Littleton Cemetery ... and Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park" fame made a musical movie about his story which is hysterical and I recommend it to all (and will eventually make brandon watch it).

ANYWAY, as part of Western Welcome Week, the Littleton Rotary club apparently hosts a 5K/10K race in Packer's honor called the "Alferd Packer Cannibal Run." It landed on Brandon's birthday and as he "didn't want to do anything" for his b-day ... I figured running a 5K would be fun. So we signed up for it.

We arrived at the race at 7am to pick up our packets and despite some snafus regarding the race people figuring out who we were, we got our stuff and were pleasantly surprised to learn that you had the option of being chip timed. Obviously we exercised said option.

Alferd Packer Cannibal Run
Brandon before the race with Ivan and Nelson.

Given that we were there so early, we took time to do our, um, business (mine didn't go so well; of course, my food consumption lately has been crap, crap and more crap) and stretch out really well. Also, given that it was Brandon's birthday, I got him a party hat to run in!

Alferd Packer Cannibal Run

We had discussed a sash, but I forgot about it and had found the hat a few days prior, so we went with the hat.

Anyway, there weren't a lot of people lined up for the start despite there being two events, so we snapped another picture before we ran.

Alferd Packer Cannibal Run

At 8am, we were off. The race went partially along the Platte River on the same trail that we'd cycled on a multitude of times before. We knew that the race would be partially on the Platte ... but we didn't know that it would be less than a mile of it. Right around the marker for the first mile ... we made the left to go back under Santa Fe and head toward Prince (and Packer's grave) ... which, go figure, was uphill. However, it was also out of the headwind that we usually bitch about while on our bikes, so that was good.

Much of the second mile was uphill including some fairly tough sections within the first quarter mile of mile two. Stupid me also forgot that Prince was also a nice, hilly road. Anyway, we kept plugging along until the second mile marker which was right after we ran past Packer's grave.

We continued on Prince for a little while longer, sloping downhill and cutting on to another trail to go back under Santa Fe back toward the finish line. This part was relatively flat, which was nice. We were thanking all the race volunteers and cops we passed ... most of whom were high school kids who paid us no mind. Losers.

Soon enough though, we were nearing the home stretch. Almost forgetting I had my camera, I snapped a pic of Brandon running in that last quarter-mile.

Alferd Packer Cannibal Run

Right after this point, we made the turn to the 5K finish and started our final kick - the only time we really didn't run together. As I have a marginally better kick, I finished a second ahead of him in 32:46 ... for around a 10:32/mile. Not great, but not bad, either.

I know I have lots to work on in terms of my running if I want a good time at Autumn Color this year, but I know that I can push through and do it. Hey, I didn't walk this race and it was one of the few runs I've done with Brandon (and actually WITH him) that I've enjoyed myself.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Official Tri Photos!

In seeing that Brandon's been the good one in updating (and i've been totally bad about it), I realized I forgot to do a post with our official race photos! So, without further ado, here they are.

Thanks in advance to FotoJack, whom I ... um ... jacked these from.

Brandon on the bike. Look! He's happy!

Brandon on the run, looking like he's in some pain but still pushing. I'm not entirely sure where on the run this was taken, actually ...

He picked it up again it seems, just looking determined.

Me, on my way to the water.

Booking it around the corner to the finish line. As I believe I mentioned in my recap post, I started my kick a smidge too early and therefore apparently had to defy gravity going around the corner, praying I didn't fall over.

This picture could also be proof of a hockey background coming useful in a triathlon/road race, as I look marginally like I could be skating. Or did the first time I saw this picture. Either way.

Right before I crossed the finish line. This picture is almost comical. It shows my kick, but it also looks like I'm posed, ready to run as my back foot is still on the ground. Eh, I'm amused.

This last picture is courtesy Brandon/our friend Mark, as boyfriend didn't see fit to post the pic of me actually crossing the finish line. Meaniebutt.

This is me doing my best Steve in a Speedo one-legged pirate impression while crossing the finish line. Too bad I didn't have a watch to check.

If you HAVE Facebook and are friends with either myself and/or Brandon, I believe you should be able to click through and see the picture there. If not, come stalk us (or, at least me)! I like new friends. :)

Why do we do it?

It finally came up. Someone finally asked me why. Why I do what I do? Workout. Push myself. Run. Why do I force my body to do things it doesn't want to do?

I'm flying with a captain this month who I am not exactly having fun with, for a variety of reasons (ask T, she's met him) and the other day, out of the blue, asked me why I did the triathlon. I explained to him that I wanted to see if I could do it. He asked me why did it matter? I told him that I like pushing my body to find out what its limits are. He said he's tired of people all bragging about they do this, they do that and wonders why anyone would push themselves that much. I said because obviously we're very different people.

I'm sure some of you know why I wanted to do the tri, but some probably don't. There's actually a variety of reasons. The main one is that I had a lot of demons to push away. I had the "fat" demons that were following me for so many years and when I crossed the finish line, they vanished. I'm not kidding. The weight lifted off my shoulders was unreal (girlfriend even said so). But also, I found out that I can push my body to a new height. I have discovered something that I want to pursue!

So, my question to all of you out there is, why? Why do you push yourselves? Why are you slaves to your gyms? Or the road? Or your bikes? Why?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Is pushing your body the new way to be cool?

What, I can't come up with a pondering post once in awhile that isn't about me?

7-8 years ago, when I was morphing myself from a muscular football and hockey player into a beer drinking and cake eating tub, running/triathlons/any hard form of exercise seemed so far off the map. I would scoff at the idea of ever running a marathon. A triathlon? You gotta be crazy. And 7-8 years ago, I knew maybe one guy that was into marathons. Sure, every now and then we all might go out and run two miles or something in college, but that's about it.

Fast forward to today. I am now a triathlete and consistent runner. My girlfriend is also a triathlete (thrice) and into running and cycling. And it seems every time I'm on Facebook, someone's status update involves them going for a 20 mile run. Or they are doing a triathlon today. Or they have pictures from the latest race they did. My question to everyone is this: is pushing yourself and testing the limits of your body the new cool thing to do?

Take my 3 best friends in college. We all had our own abilities and athletic prowess. Me for example, I was the strongest and best at football and hockey. My buddy Tim was a baseball player. Great at it. My buddy Eric, for how bony he was/is, was a tennis player, skier, and hockey player. Steve was a skier and distance runner/triathlete. Today, Eric is now a marathon runner, my buddy Tim completed a half-marathon yesterday and is slated to do Twin Cities in October, and I have my first triathlon under my belt, plus many 5K's and a 10K.

Here is what I have observed: marathon runners, triathletes, and the like are still held in high and crazy regard by the public. The majority of people out there have not done any sort of race. We as athletes probably notice more because that's who we associate with. Now, I have observed some people (especially females) who train for 3 weeks in a year, do a triathlon once, and call themselves triathletes. I personally don't like that or care for it. You shouldn't do these events because they are cool and hip and allow you to hold yourself in high regard. No, you should do these events for a reason. Whether that reason be for charity, helping others reach their fitness goals (Steve in a Speedo) or because you are passionate and like pushing the limits of your body.

Running and triathlons may be hip, but make sure you're doing them for the right reasons.