September Recap

Posted on Oct 04, 2015 under 30Days | No Comment

I don’t really know what to say about September.  Working back into the flow of normal life.  Seeming to be always tired. But hitting the gym and getting stronger.

My main September goal was to read a chapter from the Book of Proverbs each day.  I did end up reading through the entire book, though it seemed like most days I was reading 2 chapters to try and catch back up.  There are so many good little nuggets of wisdom in that Book.  There are also some fairly odd verses as well.

I made it to Crossfit 13 times in September which is a record number for this year!! I’ve really focused in and while I was trying to go 4 times a week, that hasn’t happened.  I’ve been going consistently 3x’s a week.  That consistency has also helped my mobility numbers reach the 2nd highest for the year at 25 times in a month.

My other goal was a quarterly goal of hitting Inbox and Tab Zero.  I was pretty much no where close to that with something like 12 tabs and 25 e-mails…  Oops.

I have officially given up on my running and biking goals for the year.  It just isn’t going to happen.  I think I ran twice throughout the month. Most of the spring and summer I forced the kids to ride in the stroller while I ran and that doesn’t seem too exciting right now and with going to Crossfit more, I’ve reduced the number of times I can run without pushing them.  I’ve been biking to work less since I’ve been going straight from Crossfit to work (yes I shower in between).

That being said, my primary goal for October was to run or bike daily.  I thought about changing that to exercise daily, but I think right now I’m just going to ax that goal completely.  Which leaves me with my secondary goal of only drinking water for the month. When I wrote the goal in January, I thought about needing to drink something to supplement my work outs.  I think we will play that by ear still.

How was your September? Any plans for October?

Movie Premiere: Run Free True Story of Cabllo Blance

Posted on Sep 21, 2015 under Information, Trail Run, Training, Video | No Comment

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“Run Free: The True Story of Caballo Blanco,” as feature-length documentary about ultra-running legend Micah True will premiere at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis on Monday, November 9 at 7 p.m. The one-night-only event is co-sponsored by Minneapolis Running and the TC Running Company.

Micah True, better known as Caballo Blanco – the White Horse – was the focal character of Christopher McDougall’s 2009 best-selling book “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” about the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico. Also known as the Rarámuri, or Running People, they are some of the best long-distance runners in the world.

Caballo Blanco was an enigmatic visionary who lived and ran with the Tarahumara after moving to remote Copper Canyon in the 1990s, and who created the fifty-mile Copper Canyon Ultra-Marathon to honor their running traditions and aid in their sustainability. Now in its thirteenth year, the race attracts hundreds of local Tarahumara to the village of Urique to compete alongside some of the best runners in the world. All race finishers receive five hundred pounds of corn, which the international runners traditionally donate to the local Tarahumara, commemorating the spirit of sharing, or “kórima,” which is a way of life among the natives of Copper Canyon.

The documentary is directed by Sterling Noren, a filmmaker from Seattle who met Micah True in 2009. Most of the material for the film was recorded in the weeks leading up to the 2012 race. Shortly after that race, Micah True disappeared in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico during his daily run, prompting ultra-runners from all over the country to drop everything and join in the search. His body was recovered several days later, found on a trail in a deserted canyon by some of his friends.

“We wanted to tell the story of Micah True in a way that was exciting and authentic, so that viewers could get a sense of what an amazing and inspiring person he was,” said Noren, of Seattle. “Micah’s vision lives on and his legacy is honored in this film. The film shares Micah’s compelling message of love, hope and kórima with the world while helping sustain the people and culture that meant so much to him. We’re honored to be part of this project and are committed to keeping Micah’s mission alive.”

“Micah’s genuine passion for honoring the sacred running traditions of the Tarahumara people was the essence of his being,” said Maria Walton, executive producer of the film and Micah True’s girlfriend at the time of his death. “We made this film to share Micah’s vision of hope for the Tarahumara culture and empower people everywhere with his joy of running.”

The 90-minute film recently won the 2015 Bud Greenspan Memorial Film and Video Award, presented by the Track & Field Writers of America. In addition, the film also was named winner of the prestigious Award of Excellence from the IndieFEST Film Awards, which recognizes film, television and new media professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, contributing to profound social change. The IndieFEST Film Awards said of its latest winners, “The IndieFEST is not an easy award to win. Entries are received from around the world from powerhouse companies to remarkable new talent. The judges were pleased with the exceptional high quality of entries,” of which Run Free was singled out for its creative excellence.

Most recently, the film was named the Best Documentary at the 2015 Arizona International Film Festival.

A percentage of the film’s profits, including from DVD sales, will go to benefit Norawas de Rarámuri (Friends of the Running People), the non-profit agency founded by Micah True to preserve traditional Tarahumara culture. Norawas de Rarámuri works to provide maize, non-GMO seed corn, and cash awards for participating Tarahumara runners, both men and women alike. On this way, the organization offers Tarahumara families nutrition during drought and support for a tradition of small farms necessary to both physical and cultural survival.

Tickets for the event are $12 in advance at or $15 at the door the night of the show, or can be purchased at either TC Running Company location for $11. The TC Running Company, the Twin Cities’ premier running specialty shop, has locations at 6405 City West Parkway in Eden Prairie and at 12862 Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove. For more information, go to

The Riverview Theater is located at 3800 42nd Ave. South in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Running is a website created in 2012 as a virtual clearinghouse for all things running in th Twin Cities. Its motto is to “motivate Minnesotans to become strong runners while living happier lives.” For more information, go to

For more information about the film, go to

Anatomy of a DNS

Posted on Sep 06, 2015 under Health, My Running, Race Review | 7 Comments

DNS… Three nasty letters that I’ve never had to use before (at least in the running sense).  Did Not Start… DNS…  In my mind I know that a lot can happen between signing up for a race and actually reaching the starting line. A percentage of people get hurt during training, travel snafus, etc…  In my 20 some years of running I can’t recall ever having a DNS next to my name. I can definitively say that I’ve never had one in my post-collegiate career.

So why after 20 years did it occur?  That’s a good question and not really an easy one to answer. It was a combination of things that really culminated in one simple answer.  It wouldn’t be a wise decision.

I felt some reluctance to not start and even though my wife and I talked about it over a week before the race I couldn’t bring myself to announce it to anyone beforehand.  I felt bad for my 1st Covenant – Team World Vision teammates, I was their captain and I wasn’t going to be racing alongside them. I felt bad for my 2015 donors who had given to support me and brought clean water to people in need.  Honestly, I did feel a little bad for myself too – was I a quitter?

But it was the right decision and being at the race actually confirmed my decision.  They day was significantly better than last year, but still warm, humid, and sunny.  Those conditions plus the shadeless, rolling hilly course wouldn’t have been ideal for me.

So why didn’t I run? Simply put I wasn’t in shape to run a half marathon on August 1. That’s the easy answer.  But why wasn’t I in shape?  I’ve been doing Cross-fit, running, biking, hiking, etc.  The fitness should have been there.  But it wasn’t. Why not? I wasn’t being super-consistent with my training but I did the long runs, pushing my kids even.

Ok, let’s roll back the clock. For a period of time now while running I’ve gotten these weird sensations in my chest and my heart has been beating like crazy.  Don’t freak out.  My wife, a nurse, and my doctor have both already grilled me.  I wasn’t having a stroke or heart attack. When this happened I would back off the throttle and let my heart rate come down a bit and be fine.  Sometimes this would take awhile and it would usually come with a loss of power for a bit.  Some of you who have ridden or run with me might remember some of these random instances. I didn’t really think anything of it.

Looking back it has never occurred during a WOD at Cross-Fit or while taking a spin class at the YMCA.  It seems to happen when I pick up my pace while running or biking, or after a long period of exertion.  I haven’t consistently worn a heart rate monitor over time but when I have nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  In April I rode the Dickie’s Scramble 75 mile gravel (and hill) grinder.  It was a brutal ride and I had some trouble with some of the hills, when I pushed hard my heart rate went up.  I wasn’t watching my heart rate monitor but after the ride I remember that it said I had a Max HR of 238.  I mentioned it to the guys at dinner and we all agreed it had to be an equipment mistake.

So why did I sign up for a race? Remember, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.  Something that would improve with conditioning. I trained, doing long runs and as long as I controlled the pace or maintained a steady, comfortable pace I was fine.  Ok, let’s come back closer to the present time.  On my July 11 long run several odd things happened that kind of messed up the routine. That was the day of the Lifetime Triathlon which makes it really hard to get to where the Team World Vision group runs meet.  No worries, I parked nearby and was going to wait for them to come down.  I even got to cheer a few people I knew racing the triathlon.  As I waited and waited I decided they might actually have gone a different way, so I took off.  After stopping at the porta-pot for Nadia they actually caught up to me.

My usual running partner was racing but I’ve run with some of the others so I fell in with them.  Chatting along the pace got a little faster and I felt my heart speed up, so I slowed down. I was pretty confident I knew the 10 mile route and wasn’t too concerned.  I don’t remember the whole run, but I do remember it was warming up and I was getting tired.  Sure mental games that we all must endure, so I endured.  Some of the group in front of me turned around and passed me heading the opposite direction.  Odd, but they are training for the marathon, I kept going.  Somewhere in there I had another “episode” or two, but kept trudging along.  My run took forever…  And I screwed up the 10 mile route and only ran 8.5 miles (probably a good thing).  I ended up running an average of 10 minute pace which is pretty slow for me, even pushing the kids.  My last run with the kids was 7 miles at 8:49 pace.

Ok, so I had a bad run.  Chalk it up to a crappy day.  I had actually remembered to wear my heart rate monitor for the run and when I looked at the data it said Max HR 238 and average HR was in the 170’s.  Possibly, still an equipment error, but I felt horrible.  It took over an hour for my HR to come back down into the resting zone and by the afternoon I felt like I’d run a marathon.  The next morning, I still felt horrible like post-race horrible.  Not an easy 8.5 mile at 10 minute pace should feel.  That’s when I decided something might be up.  The culmination of all of those things happening at one time made it clear to me that I needed to go find a doctor to check me out.

Understandably my wife got a little freaked out.  Asking lots of questions, getting out her stethoscope.  I do have a low-grade heart murmur and she says I have an occasional arrhythmia. The doctor did his work… And of course everything was fine and normal while at the clinic. He had to listen carefully to hear the murmur and I didn’t have any irregular heart patterns while he was listening. He did do an EKG on me and had some blood work drawn.  He said the EKG looked perfect and my blood work was all in the normal ranges.  So next step is to see a Cardiologist.  He wants me to see a specific guy who doescardiac electrophysiology, or studies how the heart’s electrical system (rhythm) works.  Unfortunately, I can’t see him until mid-September. The doctor who did the exam said that I would be fine to continue working out – running, biking, and Cross-fitting.  But to be careful.

So a DNS, being careful.  Knowing a hilly course and that I’d want to push the pace and “race” or at least PR the course. Knowing me, a DNS was the right choice.  Yes, I’m a little more concerned now than I was over the past few months. I’m being more careful about pushing the pace, running hills, etc.  And I’ve started to pay more attention to what is going on with my ticker.

I’ve started wearing my heart rate monitor on more workouts and wearing my RoadID bracelet more often.  I definitely don’t like talking about this kind of stuff, but it has been good to talk about it.  I’ll keep you updated as I learn more.

August Recap

Posted on Sep 03, 2015 under 30Days, My Running | No Comment

August felt really short and really long.   The short part was that we went camping for a few days and then boom, I had to start back to work.  The transition back to working seemed harder this year.  It could be because it was earlier in the calendar and maybe also the fact that my work day now starts at 7:30am.  The good side of that is that it ends at 3:30, well is supposed to end at 3:30!

It was a good month overall though.  Camping, my family visiting, rode in Powderhorn 24, had a friend from college visit, reconnecting with co-workers, and doing a short triathlon at the last minute! I didn’t do any blogging, though I wrote some posts.  We continued to work on getting our house unpacked and settled!

My running and biking stats might as well be non-existent.  It seems pretty much unlikely that I’ll hit my goals.  I’m at 50% of my running at 43% of my biking goal so unless something dramatically changes – which won’t because I’m going to focus on Crossfit for the next 8 weeks. I was much more consistent at getting to Crossfit now that life has gotten more routine.

I did manage to get outside for 15 minutes or more every day but one this month.  I can’t remember why, but August 19 I didn’t make it outside for any chunks of time.

My goal for September is to read one chapter out of the Book of Proverbs in the Bible.

How was your August?

July Recap

Posted on Aug 02, 2015 under 30Days | No Comment

Wow, July really flew by and with it means that my summer is slowly quickly winding down.  We spent a lot of time outdoors in July from camping to yard work to just playing in the sun!! I love July (in part because I was born in July) but usually the weather is pretty great for being out and adventuring.

Some of my yearly goals are dropping into the unreachable category.  Which I think I’m okay with. Goals are something to strive for and sometimes other things happen that require a shift.  More on that later.   I did take a picture every day in July, I didn’t post all of them.  I think only one or two were really an oh crap, I need a picture.  It helps that we were adventuring so much of the month!! So goal accomplished!!

I did a lot of reading in July!! I read 18 books during the month which seems a little counter-intuitive since we were out and about so much, but something about reading while camping or laying in the backyard hammock is a perfect way to spend July! I should have been more picky and read a book I’d previously started, but I enjoyed reading through an entire series of shorter books but with some bigger ones thrown in!

I’m not going to post any stats as they are pretty deplorable.  I did get out for 2 nights on the Superior Hiking trail so that was another goal accomplished!! 

The goal for August is to spend 15 minutes or more outside each day.  I think that will be relatively easy, but with working starting back up it might be a good challenge! I think some of the other things will fall back in line as I get back into a more routine life again!

Race Review: MN Spartan Sprint

Posted on Jul 10, 2015 under Race Review | No Comment

Wow. That was the hardest 4.5 mile race I’ve ever completed. We did at least 6,000 feet of climbing, most of it in the last 2 miles. Brutal on the legs would be an understatement. Oh, and did I mention that there were 21 obstacles to complete throughout the course as well? Oh yea! My official time of 2:28:33 (yes 2 hours for 4.5 miles) was good enough for 463rd place (out of 822) overall, 376th man (out of 574) and 62nd (out of 100) in my age group (30-34). The winner was a 34 year old man named Ryan Samson who finished in 1:13:41. My sister and I ran it together! She placed better than I did in the female and age group categories. We finished 1 second apart (my bad…) 20150627_092732

I didn’t do much specific training thinking that my Crossfit workouts and running would be enough to get me through.  Well, it obviously got me through, but I’ve got some things to work on.  Like running more hills!  Seriously though, I had some surprises and some disappointments.
I was surprised, was that I successfully threw my spear into the hay bale! Yay!! That was obstacle number 13 and most people were missing and having to do burpees.  Each failed obstacle required 30 burpees as a penalty. I was generally surprised at how relatively easy some of the obstacles were, especially if you were smart about them.







IMG_9467My biggest disappointment was the rope climb.  We do rope climbs somewhat regularly at Crossfit and I’m able to climb the rope and touch the top of the rig.  I’m usually good for a few climbs in any given WOD.  Granted the Spartan rope climb was way harder than anything I’d done I figured I’d be ok with it. I couldn’t get out of the 4 foot deep water pit and even try to climb the rope.  I think I just wasn’t able to get a good latch with my foot (slippery shoes) and the exhaustion by that point (Obstacle 19) just made it impossible.
I was generally disappointed at how hard it was to climb the hill and how easily my heart rate went up and wouldn’t come back down.  My sister did a much better job repeatedly going up the hills and she’d stop and wait and then we’d keep going.  Lots of people were struggling with the hills and the sun/heat (hardly any shade on the ski hills) so I wasn’t abnormal, just disappointed that my cardio wasn’t there when I needed it most.
IMG_9470My sister and I ended up with same number of penalties throughout the course. We each failed 3 events (though we realize now the errors of our ways) and yes we each did 30 burpees for each failure (sure).  She failed the spear throw, while I failed the Z walls.  We both then failed the rope climb and Multi-bars. Our error was in not helping each other more.  Obviously we couldn’t have done much for each other on the spear throw (I got lucky) or the rope climb (maybe climb up each other to start?).   But on the Z walls, she probably could have helped hold me on the wall and to make some of the harder stretches.  When we did the monkey bars the volunteer was telling us to help each other, so we could have done that for the multi-bar as well.
IMG_9499Probably the hardest obstacle I completed successfully which didn’t require a little bit of luck was the atlas lift (obstacle 12).  We had to pick up a huge (70 – 100 lbs) stone, carry it 10 yards (under a 3 or 4 ft rope), do 5 burpees, and return the stone to its place. I seriously almost couldn’t lift the ball off the ground the first time.
I think being a parent of a toddler and pre-schooler helped with a couple of obstacles.  Obstacle 7 was supposed to be a hay wall, but instead was a sandbag carry.  I got a 40 lb bag (some people were forced to carry two bags as a penalty for not running between two hills, but it really seemed arbitrary). The problem with this was that you had to carry it for maybe 50 yards, but it was down a steep hill over and then back up the hill.  The other was obstacle 9, bucket brigade.  Don’t get me wrong, this was hard.  We had to fill a 5 gallon bucket with rocks then carry it up and down a hill for about 50 yards. Without the handle! I started out carrying it from the bottom and then part way up shifted to carry it at a little bit of an angle more like I might a screaming toddler! That seemed to work okay and I didn’t spill too many rocks!
IMG_9507I’m not going to write about all the obstacles, but I think 2 that required a little bit of thinking or knowledge to be successful involved moving heavy weights around. Both involved moving weights by pulling a rope.  I think some people were trying to pull them hand over hand (like belaying) which actually requires a lot from your upper body.  Both easily allowed for use of your whole body to help move the weight.  The plate drag (obstacle 3) had a sled with 80 pounds on it that needed to be drug about 10 yards by a rope and the pulled back using a short chain loop until the rope was taunt against the stake. I had to pull hand over hand for the first few to get enough rope length on the slack side, but then once you get a good grip you can just pull and walk it back until it hits the stake. The other is the herculian hoist (obstacle 10) involved pulling a 150 pound bag up about 20-25 feet using a rope and pulley, you also had to lower it to the ground carefully.  Some people were also trying to pull hand over hand on this.  It is easier to get a good grip, pull and lower your body to the ground, climb the rope and repeat.  This required using the leverage of the log on the ground, but worked pretty well.  Lowering it was a little harder, but required pretty much the same technique.
IMG_9509A lot of the obstacles involved climbing up and over a variety of things and those vary in difficulty but really come down to more about being comfortable on the various nets or walls.  I think most people can climb a cargo net, but the fear of heights and the tension of turning yourself around and over the top can be a challenge.  Pulling up and over the walls can be a tough challenge and I don’t have any good thoughts on that.  I slammed my toe really hard on the 8ft wall and it still hurts over a week later.  For awhile I thought I might have actually broken it.
My sister and I both wore sunscreen, but still got burnt.  We were grateful for 3 water stops to drink water from and several “cooling stations” were water was spraying down on the course.  The last few mud pits felt really, really good!
IMG_9518I guess I should make a note of what I wore.  It was a tough decision… I ended up wearing a Under Armour compression shirt (wouldn’t snag on barbed wire as easily), with a pair of triathlon shorts (same thing wouldn’t snag).  Both also would dry out and not require me to carry a bunch of extra weight. I ended up wearing a pair of triathlon socks (I think they are actually Ironman brand, but not sure) and a pair of North Face trail running shoes that I’ve had for awhile – they don’t have any style marking so I’m not sure what they are, but I think the Cardiac.
IMG_9520I wanted a shoe with the traction of a trail shoe, but not one that would retain a lot of water and mud.  Gore-tex shoes would repel the water off the wet grass or small amounts of mud, but would retain it when submerged into a moat. A full on mesh shoe would retain the least water but probably wouldn’t be sturdy enough for the trails and definitely would make rope climb hard.
IMG_9523The last thing I wore, besides my required headband/bib, was a pair of gloves. I bought a pair of Under Armour CTR Trainer finger-less gloves. They provide a little bit of protection on the palms with a lot of mesh on the back of the hand. They are also usable for me at the gym, etc. I did a little bit of research on the gloves and the ideas ranged from man-up and go gloveless to wearing a specific pair of gardening gloves. I also wore my gloves the whole race and a lot people took them on and off.  The only complaint about the gloves was that I slipped right off the first monkey bar obstacle.  It was a combination of wet gloves and a wet bar, I’m sure.  Ok, and maybe some grip strength problems! For the second I grabbed some grass to try my hand a bit first and that helped a lot.
As we were leaving the Spartan Festival Grounds at Welch Village, I heard someone say that he’s done a bunch of Spartan races and this was the hardest one he’s done.  His reason – the terrain!  Should I do it again next year?  Only time will tell.

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Functional Training

Posted on Jun 24, 2015 under Cross-Training, CrossFit, Health, My Running, Training | 2 Comments

The idea of Functional Fitness has been around for awhile.  I’m not 100% sure of its origins, but it is based around the idea that going to the gym and lifting weights doesn’t necessarily make you strong enough to do every day tasks. Say that you can bench press 300 pounds but you can’t move a couch across the room – you are really strong, but lack functional fitness. Your 300 pound bench is meaningless in real life. Your fitness lacks a daily function.

Crossfit is a huge proponent of Functional Fitness.  I’m not sure what flipping tires has to do with daily function, but really we don’t do that very often.  Much of our workouts improve or focus on our core strength which can have a huge impact on our daily functioning.  We are also constantly working on improving overall strength in areas that are weakened by our sedentary lifestyle and office/seated working styles.

But my thought today is about more than being functionally fit. It is about using our fitness, but more specifically our daily training as a part of daily life. What does that idea mean to you? To me this could look like a few different things:

1. Stretching or doing yoga poses while standing in line.  You might get some funny looks, but why not reclaim some of that time?

2. Changing daily activities like sitting at your desk, to improve fitness.  Get a treadmill desk, standing desk, or balance ball chair.

3. Using your training to complete a task.  Ride your bike to work, the store, etc.  Or even literally run errands.

This cam to my mind recently as I literally ran some errands.  Based on the schedule I couldn’t get a morning run in, but I was dropping the car off the get serviced.  It was going to be a good 2 hour service, so I decided to run the 5 miles home.  I rode my bike back to pick up the car later.  I’ve done this before with the bike, but I needed to get a run in that day so I swapped it around.  Running to work can be hard as you’ll most likely need a shower even in cooler weather while biking is a little more forgiving in that area!

I’ve been using a balance ball chair for over a year now.  Two things I have to remember are to keep it inflated and to make sure I’m sitting properly in it.  Mine has a little bit of a back so it is easy to slouch which negates some of the benefits.  Having it fully inflated makes it harder to slouch!

I have a friend who often would stretch while waiting in line. Of course some people gave him funny looks,  but really who cares. Most of the people you will never see again.  Some stretches are super easy to do and don’t require you to expand your personal bubble too far!

How can you integrate your fitness regime more into your daily life?

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