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:

planking2015

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNP03fDSj1U
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?

November into December

Posted on Dec 01, 2014 under 30Days | No Comment

Hard to believe that December is already here. Where has time gone?

I had three goals for November. The main one was to write a thank you note every day and mail it to the person. I did horrible on this one. I wrote 4 and mailed them I think. I did create a list of people to send notes to but didn’t actually get around to writing any. I feel bad that this is a goal I failed miserably at. I’m going to keep the goal in my to-do list and plan on getting up to 30 of them before the end of the year. I’m not sure why it was a challenge to complete. I guess I need to be more thankful.

I was able to do 10 air squats almost every day. I really only forgot once and the other day I was so tired that I didn’t get them done. Then I hurt my back shoveling and didn’t do any more. I completed 25/30 days worth of squats. I had only missed 2 days before I hurt my back.

I started doing mobility work using the Ready to Run book focusing mostly on my feet. It really helped and I could notice being more flexible. I could also tell some of the disparity between the two sides of my body and how one was looser than the other. I’m looking forward to continuing that.

I screwed up in the 12 week Magnussen Progression when I switched to the Intermediate. I had to change my goal and I did on the Google Sheet I had created. I didn’t realize that it hadn’t updated the weights. When you copy and past from Excel into Sheets it doesn’t carry the formulas over, just the values. So I screwed up two weeks worth of that. We noticed it because I did 15 reps at the end and most people have been struggling to get the required 8. Oops!

The 30 Days Goal for December is:

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

I will continue to do some type of mobility work each day. It has been helpful for getting some hotspots worked out. I’m going to take a break in December from any other physical challenges and give my body some rest time.

Mileage:

Running – 24.9 more than doubling October!

Bike – 15.8 one commute before the snow hit the ground and ended my season!

Crossfit – 7 times.

Note: I finished this on 11/30 and not sure why it sat in draft.. I suppose if I’d written anything in December I would have realized that!

Recap: Turkey Day 5k

Posted on Nov 30, 2014 under 5K, Race Review | No Comment

CAM05917

First I’d like to say that the idea of running a “turkey trot” with thousands of people wasn’t my first choice when I asked my sister if she wanted to run a 5k on Thanksgiving morning. I really wanted to do the trail race in St. Paul, but since we would be pushing the kids in the stroller that wasn’t even an option. So I looked at the lower key race around one of the lakes that had a nice kiddo race too.  Buried deep in the fine print it said, “no strollers”.  Fortunately, I saw it just before we registered!  So we signed up for the Lifetime Fitness Turkey Day 5k.

We got a discount for being REI members and some of the swag included a 20% off REI coupon!  Registration was pretty easy online and packet pick-up at REI went pretty smoothly.  They assigned our race number at pick-up so you could get them at a variety of stores around the metro and no chips.  The event included a race village and kid’s carnival with a race.  Unfortunately, due to the extreme cold we didn’t really get to partake in those activities.

CAM05920Waking up on race morning the temp was -1.  We probably should have bailed at that point.  But we paid a decent chunk of change to participate and dressed in multiple layers.  It took some time to get the kids dressed in multiple layers as well and we were finally out the door already sweating and running a little behind.  The plan had been to save a few bucks and park at the church lot and take the LRT down to the starting area which was less than a block away. As we were buckling the kids into the stroller my sister made a random comment about our shirts and I realized we had left the race numbers at home!! I ran home while she took the kids to the LRT, fortunately I made it home and back before the next train came.  We rode with a few other runners to the start and waited maybe 10 minutes for the proverbial gun to go off.

It was cold!! Even dressed in 2 layers it was cold.  My toes (mesh shoes) and fingers (Saucony Utili-Mitt gloves) were the coldest. Once we got moving they warmed up.  It did take almost a mile before I felt like we were really starting to warm up and feel like we were going at a decent pace.  They had 3 waves of runners and I figured with the stroller we’d line up at the back of the first wave in the 10 minute per mile range.  I’m glad we did, but man we passed a lot of people!  It was super congested for pretty much the whole race.  My sister and I didn’t necessarily run side-by-side, but trying to keep track of each other and the stroller meant we had to slow way down at times to get around into a clear spot to pass someone.  And I know this was a fun run and a family event more about the getting out and exercising together, but come on – if you are going to walk within the first half mile you need to line up farther back!  I can’t tell you how many people we passed or were walking down the middle of the street in the first half mile.  Ugh.  I did need to stop for a second in the first half mile, I can’t remember why now, but we made our way to the edge and stopped.

IMG_7169After the first turn I realized that we needed to be further out on the outside for turning.  We actually found some nice breathing room and was able to pick up the pace a little before getting super congested again.  At one point I needed to tie my shoe, so Meg pushed the kids and I got stopped.  Catching back up was easy as I could weave my way through the crowd. The course made a few turns downtown and ended up on the Riverfront from Gold Medal Park until 4th Ave.  The kids had done pretty well in the stroller until we made that turn.  Then Caleb began crying and shortly after Nadia started in.

IMG_7171So for the last 1/2 mile or so I got lots of judgmental looks. I thought, if these people’d just get out of my way I’d finish faster and we’d all get the chance to warm up! We did finish in 32:53.  With no chips my Strava report will be the closest we get to an official time.  Not very fast but considering the conditions and the congestion I’ll take it.  At some point in the last mile my sister stopped to tie her shoe.  I didn’t realize it and she wasn’t able to catch back up, oops.  As soon as I crossed the finish line and walked the requisite block that the announcer kept talking about I stopped and picked up Caleb.  As soon as I held him he calmed down.  Meg picked up Nadia and we all started walking towards Target Center so we could warm up.  Nadia’s feet were pretty cold.  Caleb couldn’t communicate and was just super fussy – pointing down but when I set him down he’d cry.  Then crying for a bit while I held him.  We decided to head back to the car, Nadia was cold enough that she didn’t want to find the kid’s carnival.

At this point I kind of regretted that we had parked so far away.  We re-bundled up and headed back out into the arctic air.  We swung through and got some Aspire and hot chocolate before getting on the LRT and heading home.  Once we got home we all cuddled under some blankets to warm up!  As we were boarding the LRT I saw a bunch of people with strollers coming through the finish area.  I felt a little vindicated in the fact that at least my kids weren’t out there as long as others!! Just that in the first part of the race there wasn’t any strollers.  I don’t think we could have done much more to keep the kids warm.  They were both wearing warms clothes and socks under their full winter gear, under a fleece blanket in the Chariot with the wind/rain shield zipped up and a hand warmer stuffed in there.  Before we started running they actually had fogged up the rain shield quite nicely!

All in all it was a good morning.  Way colder than it needed to be!  I probably wouldn’t PhotoGrid_1417372292358do it again just based on the congestion factor alone.

Here is my Strava data:

From my Instagram feed:

IMG_20141127_104012

Running with Skis

Posted on Nov 23, 2014 under My Running, Trail Run, Winter | No Comment
CAM05865Well, I didn’t run with skis on, that’d be ridiculous.  But I did try running while pulling the kids behind me in our Chariot with the ski attachment.  I’ve been trying to think of ways that I still be able to work out this winter some outside with the kids. So I thought, why not try pulling the Chariot Ski while running trails.  Iposted awhile back in the TC Trail Runners Group on Facebook (the group isn’t super active, but has provided some feedback about other things) and didn’t get a response.
CAM05864This weekend it was going to be warm enough for me to feel comfortable running with the kids and there was still some snow on the ground even though it was starting to get slushy.  The challenge is finding a place to run that has a short loop (in case it was a disaster), had a place for the kids to play after (trying not to be selfish), and most importantly a place that would be fine to run on (not destroying cross-country ski trails; though the weather did that for us).
I decided to run from the Richardson Nature Center at Hyland Park. They have a few winter hiking trails from the center that make a few nice loops. They also have some ski trails that start at the center.  The Nature Center is a great building with restrooms and super small concession stand, you can also rent snowshoes for $5.  But most importantly they have a nice indoor play area for the kids and a really cool outdoor exploration area!
CAM05879But back to the running.  I forgot how hilly it was.  Oops, try pulling almost 100 pounds of weight behind you up a hill. My heart rate had to be maxed out for most of the run. Going downhill wasn’t much better as you are trying to slow down 100 pounds behind you and not get run over or fall and spill the trailer!  But the flats didn’t feel to bad. Once you got moving it actually seemed to go just fine, maybe even better than actually pushing the stroller. It would be interesting to know which would be easier overall.  Pulling the skis I was able to maintain full arm motion and just had the belt pulling on my midsection.  You do have to be careful as you turn – its similar to pulling a trailer with your truck, you need a little bit more room. Actually turning with the skis on snow was easier than with the tires on pavement. I wore Yak-Trax to help with extra traction, but I think it was too slushy to make much impact.
A couple of key things, the trailer is attached by firm poles to a belt around your waist.  The trailer can’t actually run you over, but slipping and falling could potentially really hurt, both for the runner and the kiddos!  Our Chariot has a zipper rain fly which is a little bit nicer fit, though the flap keeps slipping off the rail allowing cold air or rain/snow to get into the compartment. You obviously can’t use the skis without snow so I had to use the wheels to get to the snow and then switch them out.  This wasn’t too problematic as I did it with the kids inside still. But you then have to carry the tires with you too.  They fit easily into the rear storage bag, but took up most of the room.
Final verdict, I’d do it again! I would maybe try to pick a place that is flatter!  Do you have any recommendations of places to try?
Here are the stats from Strava:

Winter Arrived…

Posted on Nov 16, 2014 under My Running, Winter | No Comment

Winter came a little bit early this year and it came with a fury. I think most of us in the Twin Cities were glad that the storm track moved and we missed the 14″ of snow that some had predicted!  Nevertheless, I went for a run with my visiting sister during the snow storm this past Tuesday morning!

#running in the first snow storm of the season with @megthemalex she wasn’t excited about the white stuff and temps!

A photo posted by @crossn81 on

She wasn’t really prepared for such nasty weather so I had to loan her a few things. I actually had to dig out quite a bit of winter gear myself. I wore tights and merino wool shirt underneath windbreaker pants, a long-sleeve t-shirt, and a windbreaker jacket. I started with a Smartwool neck gaiter but that proved too hot and an Icebreakerz hat. And my Saucony Utili-Mitt. I love those gloves! I had to loan her pretty much the outer layer of everything and gloves/hat. You can read more about my winter gear plans on this old post about running at -21.

I pulled out the Yak-trax and I actually had just gotten a pair of new ones in the mail to review. But decided at the last minute not to wear them. Probably should have. My dilemma is that the first 1/2 mile of my run is on the hospital’s sidewalk which is usually pretty much immaculate. Yak-trax are horrible on dry or little snow covered surfaces. But for the rest of the run they would have come in handy. They aren’t super easy to slip-on mid-run. Sometimes I’ve just ran in the “grass” instead of the sidewalk if I know the route will be super icy. That isn’t a bad solution for a short period of time.

Oddly as it seems, I am looking forward to running a bit more now that winter is here. Last Sunday I rode my bike to church for the last time for the season. Depending on how the storm progressed I had contemplated riding it to Solcana Monday morning, but there was already enough snow on the ground that I decided that I was done for the season! Since I won’t be riding to work on a regular basis anymore, that leaves an extra day for running! This past week I ran 2 days and Crossfit 3. I thought about running on Saturday morning and could have without the kids but thought I should take it easy. I’m not sure if I’ll run with the stroller much. Two main reasons – too cold on the kidddos and don’t want to ruin the trailer. It seems that if I don’t want to ride my bike in the salty slush, I probably shouldn’t use the trailer which cost almost as much as my bike! How cold is too cold to push the kids? I’m tempted to try a trail run with the trailer using the ski attachment. Anyone tried that with the Burly or Chariot? I know it works well for skiing and snow shoeing.

Ok, so that’s some random winter thoughts. Are you excited for winter to be here?

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