Welcome to March!!

Posted on Mar 01, 2015 under 30Days | No Comment

Here we go into March! February was a little bit of a rough month.  Extreme cold days and illness.  The two goals for February were to Read a Poem Every Day and to Write 4 Poems.

I read way more than 28 poems! In the process of reading poems I also made some work towards another goal of finishing books that I started.  I finished reading through The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou.  It was hard to read only one of her poems at a time so I’d read 3 or 4 at a go. I purchased the book last year after she passed away so was glad to finally get around to finishing it. Over the last few days I just searched for poems to read to finish out the month.

I did write 4 poems! I might share them at a later date! We shall see… They were all pretty short (one is actually a haiku!) but were a good foray back into the mindset of writing poems like in high school.  Although in high school there was no website to double check my syllable count!

I continue to make progress on other goals as well:

– I’m still way off last year’s running mileage for the month (33 in 2014 and 14 in 2015).  I don’t remember why I didn’t run the first week of the month, was it too cold or too stressed at work? And then I got a sinus infection towards the end of the month.

–  After talking about planning a spring bike race I finally got around to getting the trainer setup and have used it 4 times this month.  My bike computer needed batteries so I didn’t get mileage for the first few rides, but in the mileage count for the month I estimated (on the conservative side) that I rode 44 miles.  Last year I rode 5 times on the trainer. I also hit a spin class at the YMCA which was a pretty good workout.

– The aforementioned sinus infection hit me on the week that I could have done Crossfit three times  so I only got it once which really hurt my ability to go.  I’ve been trying to make up some of the missed weight lifting workouts on the weekend at the YMCA,  but it isn’t the same.  5/9 times again in February.

– I did mobility 21 days, which is a high percentage than in January.

– Christy and I disagree on the number of kidless dates that we had.  I think we did 2, but neither of us can remember what the other date was.  We went to the new Surly Tap Room and it was excellent food and excellent beer!

My plan for March is to declutter my spaces.. what can be thrown away, given away, or put away somewhere else. An item a day or 31 items.  A Facebook friend posted that for Lent they are getting rid of a bag of stuff a day! That is a lot of stuff.  Similar to last year and with “decluttering the digital” life this can be hard to stop once you get into the flow of it.  We’ve already given a few bags of stuff to Goodwill this year from our kitchen.

I also hope to get outside and ride the bike some.  That is very dependent on the weather, but hopefully it will start to warm up.  Even though March is the snowiest month of the year it also tends to dry up quickly.  Though this winter no one really knows!

Since March is also the last month of the quarter I need to be working on getting to Inbox and Tab Zero!! Yikes :)

Happy 2nd Birthday Stridebox!

Posted on Feb 22, 2015 under Nutrition, Product Review | No Comment

CAM06258I was only a subscriber to Stridebox for a short time in their inaugural year, but they continue to impress and go the extra mile.  For the 2nd year in a row, I got a Happy Birthday box from them.  No, not my birthday… their birthday!  I wrote about their birthday box last year and one of the boxes I got in their inaugural year.

Stridebox was at the forefront of the monthly subscriber revolution.  At least in my eyes, now there are a lot of them from snack food to men’s clothing.  I originally signed up in early 2013 and enjoyed getting boxes for almost a year.  The boxes contained a variety of sample nutritional products and as time went on more actual products that were just starting out.  And it seems more Stridebox branded products as well.

CAM06256 The Stridebox box is a great size for organizing and having around the house. Every box also comes with nice tissue paper wrapping, although not usually gold! And the handwritten (really?) cards are a nice touch!  This year’s birthday box had less nutrition and more products!

From the top, clockwise:

  • Bandana thing
  • Shoe mileage counter
  • Stride lights that flash when they shake (so with every footstep of your shoe)
  • Nuun Energy tablets
  • Stickers
  • Stridebox training log (nicely done, but who uses paper and pencil?)
  • PR Bar

It is probably safe to say that this box is worth $15.  The question is more about is it $15 worth of stuff I would have bought on a monthly basis?  When I was running consistently and training for longer races I easily used all the nutrition products and some of  the other random ones.  Now that my mileage is way down I don’t go through nutrition products at the same rate.

I would still recommend signing up for Stridebox.  If you haven’t why not?

Bike Race Scheduled – Dickie’s Scramble April 25

Posted on Feb 16, 2015 under Bike | No Comment

I finally have a bike race scheduled for the year, which will hopefully motivate me to get on the bike trainer more! I’m looking forward to hitting some gravel on April 25 at the low-key Dickie’s Scramble event. The 75 mile gravel ride starts and finishes at JJ Tailgators Bar & Grill in Elgin, MN. The event will include:

I have a couple of options that are ready to go and we are looking at 68-80 miles of river valleys, climbs and rocky ‘B’ roads.


Throughout this ride you are responsible for yourself. No one is going to come get you. Ride safely and within your limits. Bring anything you think you will need. Do not assume what will be around the next corner. Cars, trucks, ATVs, cattle, and dogs (and even a pet pig) all share these roads. Follow the law, don’t pee in someone’s yard etc.,

There is a checkpoint at the halfway point. It is potluck style.

and who doesn’t want to finish a 75 mile ride with a sprint?

If you want to finish the course faster than your friend that will be determined by the Elgin town sign sprint.

A lot went into finding a ride for this year. Last year Almanzo was kind of picked for us and a group rode it. But they cancelled the race this year and then the city decided they wanted to keep it going this year. We had all counted it out and the timing doesn’t work for at least one guy, so we kept looking.

I did a decent amount of research, found some cool websites and some fun sounding events! April isn’t necessarily ideal for a ride, the pictures from last year’s event include snow on the road side. But really it makes it harder to get out for long rides on the road during training. So I was surprised at how many there were in MN in April!!

One resource that lists a lot of non-pavement rides around the country is Riding Gravel. MN Bike Trail Navigator has quite a list of events for the year on their blog. It was written in October, so it may be a little out of date, but it has a long list for the whole year and includes all styles of rides.

One ride that looks super awesome is the Mammoth Gravel Classic. It was so awesome looking, that I can’t actually ride it, well no one without a mountain bike can ride it. See:

The course will not be marked, so we suggest using GPS navigation. There are hungry bears in this area, and we will not have a course sweep – so you must take care of yourself out there. This multi-surface course will be roughly 50% gravel roads, 25% double track firelane, and less than 25% pavement. We absolutely recommend only riding a bike with mountain bike width tires on this course due to many very soft sand pits. DO NOT bring your Cyclo-Cross bike or any other skinny tired bike. The narrowest tire recommended is 40mm.

It does sound like a lot of fun. I would love to take my cyclocross bike over there are try some of of the firelane! But that is also probably where the sand pits are… maybe I could rent or borrow a bike. And the Gandy Dancer Bike Trail sounds like a nice place to ride as well. Maybe this summer!

Do you have any early season rides planned?

January 2015 Report

Posted on Feb 08, 2015 under 30Days | No Comment

Yea, a week late, but whose keeping track?

I was 50/50 on the two main goals for the month:

I decluttered my digital life by more than 30 unfollow, unfriend tasks.  Once you get started it is easy to just keep unsubscribing! Most days it felt good, some days it was more of a stretch to find something to get ride of.  A few times I did just change my subscription preferences to reduce the clutter.  Most of my e-mail is filtered around into various labels (thanks Gmail) so my Inbox stays relatively clutter-free but the time and mental energy taken to process the others is still wasted if I don’t need it anymore.  So it felt good!

I struggled with the 30 Day/5 Minute Plank Challenge.  I did a great job of doing them until I needed to hold the plank for 75 seconds.  I just couldn’t get past a minute.  My body would start shaking 10 seconds in and just shake the whole time.  By about 50 seconds my back would start to hurt and bam, I couldn’t do it. I took a few days off and then ended up just doing a bunch of 1 minute planks.  I ended up doing or attempting the workout on 24/31 days.  Some of those 24 were also scheduled off days!  I plan to revisit this in November, so hopefully that will work better!

I did make progress on other goals!

– We went out on two kidless dates!!

– I read all 31 days of the Bible Reading Plan

– I did Crossfit 5/9 planned times, I was sick at the beginning of the month.

– I only ran 10.4 miles, which puts me behind the “schedule” and is way off the 40 I did last January.  It was cold, I was sick, and the schedule has some kinks! The weird snow-less weather has meant that I haven’t been able to do any snowshoeing either.

– I did get to ride my bike outside which was fantastic! On an almost 50 degree random day I snuck out and did the Cedar Lake loop for 11.5 miles.  I biked more last January too, but didn’t get outside at all!  This also puts me behind the curve, but that’s to be expected!

– I’ve been doing mobility.  Some days I squeeze it in right before bed, others I plan on squeezing it in and then forget. And some days its just a quick roll with the foam roller. I did it 21/31 days.  I need to work on some of the quality of it…

February is short and sweet!

– Read a poem a day,

– Write some poems!

(sneak peak –  so far I’m on track and I’m also knocking off another goal of finishing books I’ve already started)

Getting to a 5 Minute Plank

Posted on Jan 04, 2015 under 30Days, Cross-Training | 1 Comment

One of January’s Challenges is to hold a 5 minute plank.  Minneapolis Running retweeted a link from a local blogger who initiated the challenge.  The Right Fits blogs about running and fitness in the Twin Cities and beyond.  She laid down the challenge in her first post of the year and a Facebook Event. She kindly offered a “training” plan to get there in 1 month.

I must admit, it seems a little daunting to think about holding a plank for 5 minutes… I know people who can run a mile that fast!! Or do 100 burpees… but holding one position.  That’s a challenge.  I’m actually 3 days in and I was pretty shaking at the end of today’s 30 seconds.  And I feel like I’m in decent shape! We must find our weaknesses, expose them, and fix them!

Here is the plan:


30 Day Fitness Challenges has pretty much the same formula and an app to go with it! A quick search for 5 minute plank apps produced a couple that do a 5 minute workout moving through different plank positions, but only 1 that I saw that might actually work for this challenge.  Check it out here, I downloaded it on my phone. It has additional plank exercises that I don’t see a way to actually skip or remove but it has a timer on it and it is a pretty straight-forward no frills app.

In a text format the workout goes:

  1. 20 seconds
  2. 20
  3. 30
  4. 30
  5. 40
  6. Rest
  7. 45
  8. 45
  9. 60
  10. 60
  11. 60
  12. 90
  13. Rest
  14. 90
  15. 90
  16. 120 (2 minutes)
  17. 120
  18. 150 (2:30)
  19. Rest
  20. 150
  21. 150
  22. 180 (3 minutes)
  23. 180
  24. 210 (3:30)
  25. 210
  26. Rest
  27. 240 (4 minutes)
  28. 240
  29. 270
  30. Rest
  31. 300 (5 minutes)

January 2015 Challenge Accepted

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

January has two challenges:

1) Unfriend, unfollow, unsubscribe, remove, delete – basically get rid of some digital clutter!

2) Hold a 5 minute plank by undertaking the 5 Minute Plank Challenge!

I can’t forget that I need to go out on at least 2 dates with my wonderful wife! And work towards my other goals like mobility, Bible reading, etc.

Challenge Accepted!

2015 Challenges Ready to Go!

Posted on Jan 01, 2015 under 30Days, Highlights, My Running | 4 Comments

Welcome to a new year!! So much happened last year that wasn’t planned or expected that it is hard to imagine what the next year will bring!  But like last year I’ve decided to break down the year into 12 (ok 18) manageable 30 day challenges.

Last year was a successful year and I really liked some of the challenges.  This year I’ve got 18 Monthly Challenges I want to complete and 9 other year long goals.  First the larger goals:
  • Run more than 2014 – So I need to run 341 miles (.9 miles a day)
  • Bike more than 2014 – So I need to bike 1,372 miles (3.8 miles a day)
  • Go on a short backpacking trip – we’ve talked about trying to go as a family, but I definitely want to try and get up to Superior again.
  • Get stronger by going to Solcana regularly and completing other challenges below!
  • Finish 12 Books I’ve already started.  I have a lot of unread books in my Kindle library.
  • Be Tab/Inbox Zero at the end of each quarter.  I’m already starting really far behind!
  • Read the Billy Graham Devotional Plan at YouVersion.com
  • Become more flexible by doing mobility daily. From the Ready to Run Book complete at least one mobility exercise.
  • Go on 2 kid-less dates each month!
Some of those will take more work than others to accomplish. But things like running, biking, Solcana, and the Bible plan are already pretty routine for me, so listing them is more of a just needing to express them than something new to change or do!
Now for the exciting part! The Monthly Challenges for 2015!
January – Unfriend, Unfollow, Unsubscribe – After doing this last year I got rid of a lot more than 30 items, friends, or newsletters.  And it gave me the motivation to keep doing it sporadically throughout the year.  Time to do it again!! The less stuff that I have to click archive or scroll past the more free space I’ll have for important things.  And it makes me more careful about what I subscribe to or follow.
I’m also going to do a 5 minute plank challenge.  At the end of the month I should be able to hold a 5 minute plank!
February – Read a Poem a Day – I downloaded a great app last year and I also ended up buying a collection of Maya Angelou book for the Kindle so I’ll have lots to choose from.
Write a couple of poems!
March – Declutter! Time to get rid of some crap! I mean used wonderful stuff! This felt really good last year.  We got rid of a few boxes of stuff! Similar to the online decluttering, it is hard to stop once you start!
I also want to get out on the bike and start riding it!
April – 30 Days of Biking – Need I say more? Get out and ride.  It will be a challenge to ride to work most of those days! But we don’t have any spring break plans yet and since I won’t be traveling internationally for work I won’t have that excuse!
May – Daily Yoga – Already have an app for that! I might be so flexible from doing mobility that I won’t need it, haha! This will be good for me to slow down during a stressful time of year!
I’m also going to try to drink only water for the month. I might need to add some electrolyte’s but we’ll see how straight water goes!
June – TED Talk a Day – I might regret this one in summer, but it will be a good chance to expand my learning and hopefully find some really good ones along the way!
Last year’s push ups every day went really well, so more pushups! . I’ll need to decide on a set number to do or something like the 100 push-up plan. A college buddy just did an insane pushup challenge and he looks pretty cut from it!  He did the total of month x day + 14 so 1/1 was 14 pushups and 12/12 was 158.  He said he did over 42,000 pushups for the year! I’m not that crazy!
July – Take a Photo a Day – July should be a good month to take some nice pictures! I’ll only be limited to where we go!! I want to try to be creative or at least get some nice pictures!
August  – Be Outside Every Day for 15 minutes or more.  As school starts back up it will harder to get outside and enjoy the gorgeous August weather!
September – Read a Proverb a Day – you can’t ever get enough of the Wisdom Book and it is setup perfectly to read a chapter a day!
October – Run or Bike Daily – before the weather turns it will be good to try and force myself to get out every day.  The only challenge might be over fall break if we travel again!
November – NaNoWriMo – I’m writing this with trepidation…  I didn’t finish last year’s write a thank you note a day, so how do I expect to write 1,600 words a day? I don’t know…  Hopefully I’ll come up with some ideas to write about!
I’ll also revist the Plank Challenge for January and see how it goes…
December – Write/Read About Advent – As we ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus I can passively read or I can do some reflection and writing on the topic.
So there we go… I don’t have any races scheduled for the year, but I’m sure we’ll do Powderhorn 24 again.  I’m thinking about signing up for some type of race series so that I’ll have some motivation to get out and run on  a regular basis.  Team World Vision is doing the same half-marathon at the beginning of August so I’ll probably do that.
What are your plans for 2015?
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