12 Challenges for 2014

Posted on Jan 02, 2014 under 30Days | 2 Comments

This year instead of creating a list of goals to accomplish throughout the year, I thought I’d try doing a small challenge each month.  During August of 2013 I unsubscribed to an e-mail newsletter each day and it felt very gratifying and actually helped me to continue feel “empowered” to unsubscribe from e-mails still today!

I also figure that 12 “mini” challenges are easier to keep than a few larger ones.  Each month you get to start over!!

There isn’t a whole bunch of rhyme or reason to my 12 Challenges and I’ll throw some more random ones out there as they come up!  Please feel free to join with me too!!  At the beginning of each month I’ll post a short description of the challenge and a review of the previous month’s challenge.

January - Get rid of something every day – After a busy holiday season of getting gifts and buying stuff for yourself on clearance it is time to remove something from your life!

February -  Do the 7 Minute Workout Each Day – The doldrums of winter are here…  Hitting the 7 minute work out will hopefully spice things up!

March Unsubscribe, de-friend, unfollow - Time for some spring cleaning.  Clean out your inbox or news feed by getting rid of some unwanted/unneeded clutter!

April 30 Day of Biking - This popular event in its 3rd or 4th year is a great way to break out the bike and hit the trails!

MayRead a poem - Read a poem each day this month.  The sky is the limit with so many great poems to choose from…  Don’t just pick 30 haikus though!

June - Blog everyday – There are some cool writing challenges floating around the interwebs about writing novels, etc.  Find something to compelling to write about each day.

July - Be Outside – We don’t have enough nice days to sit out in the sun, so spend 15 minutes or more outside each day in July to soak in some rays!

August - Take a Picture a Day - I’ve done photo challenges in the past, mostly trying to take a picture a day for a year and while that created some cool pictures, I also got some fairly lame ones.  Do it for a month and be creative.  Avoid the weird 30 day challenges that show up on Facebook!

September - Proverb a Day – With school in full swing it seems fitting to go back to the Book of Wisdom and read a chapter from the Book of Proverbs each day.

October - 30 Days of Core Work - Haven’t had a fitness challenge in a few months… Mix it up… 30 days of planks and push ups? or 30 days of planks and squats? Pick 2 or 3 areas and stick with it!

November - Give Thanks - Send in the mail a note of Thanksgiving each day.  A little Cheesy maybe, but we need to spend more time being thankful.

December - 30 Days of Advent - Find something advent related and read/reflect on it each day.

I will doing a few things on top of the 30 day challenges like, reading the Bible each day using this plan and reading out of this daily devotional book.  I’d also like to read 20 or so books this year (as long as Amazon keeps giving me free books!!)

And then I can’t resist a challenge like the January 50 mile challenge laid out by Minneapolis Running!  On the racing scene my plan this year is to complete the following events:

April half marathon with my sister?

5/13 Almanzo 100 (bike race)

8/2 Minnesota Half (running)

8/15-16 Powderhorn 24 (bike race)

10/3 Something… maybe the TC Loony Challenge?

What are you thinking about for 2014?

Instagram a Marathon #tcmarathon

Posted on Oct 13, 2013 under Foto, Marathon, races, World Vision | No Comment

Last Sunday was a beautiful day for running a 10 mile race or Marathon.  After the 10 mile I didn’t go back out to watch the marathon, but I did find some amazing pictures via Instagram’s hashtag #tcmarathon.  I can’t figure out a way to search via the computer so I can’t create a link, but there were over 2,000 pictures posted throughout the day!!

I didn’t look at all of them, but here are a few of the best that I saw:

Finish Line:

Cheer Signs:



Local photographer Ben Garvin captured some amazing finish line shots that have been making the rounds.

Trails Closed But Congress Serious About Fitness – For Selves

Posted on Oct 12, 2013 under My Running, Trail Run | No Comment

From Pioneer Press article

I didn’t realize until 1/2 way through my run this morning that the trails I was running on were closed due to the shutdown.  There were no signs at the trailhead I used – it was in a state park.  There were plenty of National Wildlife Refuge signs all along the trail once I entered the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.  When I emerged at the Lyndale Trailhead there were signs posted saying the trails were closed – with a QR code with more information.  I didn’t have my phone so that was useless and I couldn’t snap a picture, but I found a similar sign (right) online.

On my run back to the car I didn’t see any signs along the way indicating the trail’s closure and I didn’t when I popped out at the Hopkins Cir/Hopkins Place trail head either.  It isn’t super clear when you leave the State Park and enter the Wildlife Refuge.   So fortunately no ranger was waiting to give me a ticket like happened to John Bell.

Bell said he drove to the park Sunday morning and noticed that internal park roads were barricaded, much like they are at night after the park closes, so instead he drove to a remote parking lot off of state Route 23.

He proceeded to run about five miles through the 3,500-acre park and returned to find a pair of park rangers in the parking lot.

“When I came back my car was surrounded by two ranger vehicles with their lights flashing,” Bell said. “I felt like I was a terrorist.”

Bell said the rangers asked him if he “watched the news” and told him the park was closed because the government is shut down. Bell said they had already placed a $100 ticket on his car.

“I’ve got to go to federal court if I want to fight this thing,” he said.

According to the article over 20 tickets have been issued at Valley Forge.  Runners World reports that there will be a protest run tomorrow.

Relevant Magazine reports that at the same time this occurred Congress deemed that Congressional gyms were essential, but unfortunately gyms for Congressional staffers aren’t.

Ironically, that very week, Congress deemed their tax-payer funded personal gym “essential” so that they could still workout during the shutdown. (Though, we should note, the “staff” gym—for employees of our elected officials, was closed.) Congress can keep their fancy gyms, but as John Bell is reminding everyone else, from the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, ?this land was made for you and me.

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8 Stages of a Marathon

Posted on Oct 10, 2013 under Marathon, Video | No Comment

This is great!


HT: Running is Funny

Trail Half Tomorrow

Posted on Sep 20, 2013 under Half Marathon, Race Plan | No Comment

Tomorrow I run the Surly Trail Loppet Half Marathon.  This is a fun/tough course that I ran last year in 1:55:18.  I didn’t write much of a review last year, but it is pretty much all hills!

Last year I did a 10k training plan as part of my training for the Square Lake Triathlon.   I feel pretty good about tomorrow even though I’ve run a lot less hills – having 2 kids make slipping out for runs at Wirth harder.  My plan is to go out conservative and see where I’m at around the half way mark and pick it up from there.

I think that means going out between 8:30 and 9 minute pace.

Wish me luck!


I’m racing as part of Team World Vision raising funds for clean water projects in the Congo! $50 provides clean water for life for one person.

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Infant in a Bike Trailer

Posted on Sep 17, 2013 under Equipment, Information, Safety, Video | No Comment

Even though all of the bike trailer companies and the American Medical Association say you aren’t supposed to let an infant ride in a bike trailer, we’ve been pulling Nadia in our Chariot Cougar 2 since she was 5 months old.  Obviously, the trailer companies want you to be extra careful so they don’t get sued and the AMA is smart to say babies need to be a year old – at that point pretty much all babies can hold their head with a helmet on it.  Wearing a helmet is a given and being able to control your neck and head does seem pretty important.

We took care of those issues by rigging up a way to use Nadia’s car seat in the Chariot.  If it is safe enough for a car, why not a bike?

Here’s a short video that shows how I did it:

Running with Purpose: A Short Story

Posted on Aug 31, 2013 under Charity, My Running, World Vision | No Comment
I’ve been a runner since 8th grade.  I didn’t join the track team in 7th grade because I was afraid.  I don’t remember what I was afraid of, track is the only sport that you couldn’t get cut from!  I remember the first time I had to run around the cinder oval – it hurt and felt like forever.  Who would have thought that 20 years later (yikes!) I would have run two marathons, numerous half-marathons, and many many other races.
Throughout middle and high school and much of college I ran to be a part of a team. Sure I got picked on by the upper classmen because I’m a scrawny little guy..  but on the track I felt great.  It seemed natural to join the cross country team in college and that was as close knit as any fraternity I’ve seen.  Some of my best friends are from those 4 years.
Somewhere in college my body and I got addicted to running.  I couldn’t stop.  As I traveled to England, South Africa, New Jersey, Ghana I ran. Running is a great way to see the world and to explore it in a different way.  You see a different part of a city when you run at the wee hour than you do when the tourists are out in force!
As I moved around and settled in to life I kept running.  Running is such a huge part of my life that the times I’m not able to run hurt.  I’ve continued running because I enjoy the pure pleasure of the wind in the face and the dirt on the legs after a great run.  I’ve met many great people and had numerous deep friendships develop on the roads and trails in my life.
Why am I telling you this? Another passion of mine is concern and compassion for the international community.  During my studies in South Africa and Ghana I’ve seen some of the worst poverty imaginable. I’ve seen hope and progress, but the poverty still lingers.  The continent of Africa has captured my heart and won’t let go.  As a family we continue to pour our lives into sharing with others the skills we’ve been blessed with.
In 2007, at the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon I saw something that would soon bring my running world and my passion for international issues together – a Team World Vision jersey.  After some research, I discovered that Team World Vision was raising money for clean water in Africa.
In 2008 I ran my first marathon raising money for water projects in Africa.  Each year since I have been involved with Team World Vision as I’ve done a variety of races.  This has become a better purpose for my running.  Connecting with others about the needs around the world, raising awareness, and supporting others as they run their first races… Why?
Did you know that people are still dying because they don’t have clean water?  This is 2013 and kids are dying because they don’t have clean water to drink.  The statistics will overwhelm you (783 million lack clean water, 6,000 kids die daily as a result of waterborne illness), but the solution is fairly simple.  $50 provides clean water for one smiling kid, for the rest of his/her life.   In the time you’ve read this several kids have died…  Would you consider supporting me as I raise money and awareness about the need for clean water?  I live in the City of Lakes in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and these lakes are cleaner than the nasty water that many kids around the world drink, cook, and bathe in each day.
Please thoughtfully consider a $100 donation at this website.  It is safe and secure and would provide clean water for two wonderful children – maybe even some as wonderful as my Nadia and Caleb.
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