'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton
Showing posts with label running. Show all posts
Showing posts with label running. Show all posts

02 May 2012

Lu's Half Marathon

Last Saturday was the Hurricane Half Marathon. 13.1 miles of "what the hell were you thinking". This race also has a 5K that Lu and I ran last year. When asked if I was going to run it with her I broke down into gales of laughter. Uh, no. Lu would be going this one alone. Well, the kids and I did our best to encourage her without actually doing anything more stressful than getting out of the pickup and cheering madly.

Up at 0500 so she could make the bus at 0530. Turns out we could have dropped her off ourselves but who doesn't like a nice school bus ride at odarkthirty?
What does one feed a hungry crew and runner just before a torture test? Jelly donuts of course. Breakfast of champions.

The start line. We figured about 500 runners. The ambulance in the distance is confirmation that this race is not for the faint hearted.

Lu getting warmed up for the 0630 start. Surprisingly it went off almost exactly on time. It was cool early so Lu started off with that yellow jacket. By the time she got to The Hill it had disappeared.

On your Mark. Get Set.


And they're off.

Lu started off well. She has a good pace, not exactly record breaking but sure and strong. This is a woman who, up until a few years ago, didn't really do any kind of serious exercise. Now she's learned she loves to run and can she ever run.

This is OMG Hill, last seen here when Lu and I were riding up it during a 29 mile charity ride for Spina Bifida. Lu is waaaay down there at the bottom. Go sweetheart. You can do it!

Hurricane PD were being kinda difficult about things so I didn't manage to get a shot of her at the top but I did get this one just past the summit. Still looking strong. The top of the climb is at the 6 mile mark.

 Lu at the 7 mile marker. Over halfway!!

Lu coming up on the 11 mile point. She's still looking good but by this point she was ready to be done.

11 Miles and now running through town. Almost there.

At this point we called Sarge and MIL and met them at the finish line. You can't see her but Lu is just up ahead, on the home stretch.

The kids running a few steps with Lu heading into the finish chute. We think it's vital for them to see us doing stuff like this and participating as much as they can. Besides, how cute is that?

Lu crossing the finish line. We don't have her official time yet but it was right at the 3:08 mark. She was shooting for under 3:30 and feared the 4 hour cutoff so she was ecstatic at her time.

That is one Hawt Chick right there. Is there anything sexier than an athletic, confident woman? Down boys, she's all mine.

There are awards and then there are Awards. The kids spent hours making sure Lu was properly recognized by those whose opinion really matters to her.

This was something Lu has wanted to do for a long time and the smile of joy on her face tells you all you need to know about how she's feeling. It's also testament to staying active and never letting fear rule you. Age is a challenge not a barrier. Go. Do. Have fun.

I'm so proud of you sweetheart. You did good.


10 April 2012

Dogs And Lizards And The New York Marathon

So. Angus and I went for a ride this morning. Well, I rode he ran. His legs being too short for a bicycle and all. We loaded up and headed for a well known trail just a few blocks from Casa Six. As we rode (And ran. Can't forget about the doggy running) I saw him suddenly stop and stare. Not the casual kinda stare where someone of the opposite sex has sauntered by, oozing sex from every well muscled and tanned pore and you are desperately trying to act casual so as not to alert your significant other that you are in fact ogling someone other than themselves but they know anyway and you will absolutely pay for it just as soon as they get you alone. No, not that kind. This was the mad dog stare. The kind that will cause someone wearing eleven pounds of bling, crotch to the knees pants and tear drop tattoos to ask "What you looking at?" The stare that says "I'm so gonna tear you a brand new waste elimination orifice." That kinda stare.

He quivered as every muscle in his sturdy body got a jolt of doggy adrenaline. He was obviously preparing to thrust himself into mortal combat. His fangs bared in a rictus of anger as if he was anticipating an imminent fight to the death. Angus was clearly pissed. Or excited. Or happy. Or hungry. With Angus sometimes it's hard to tell.

In a moment the reason for his posture became clear as the focus of his lethal attitude suddenly burst into the open and took flight, clearly unwilling to face such a Black Furred Instrument Of Fearful Rending Death. What was this imminent threat to life and limb you ask? And well you should because the whole point of this post would be lost without that, dare I say it, critical information. There, I said it and I won't take it back. It's critical to know the creature which caused this sudden life or death situation. If I was to omit it you'd get to the end of this story and ask yourself "Just what was the point of that whole mess? What was the author trying to do other than to waste a few minutes of my valuable time?" And where would you be then? Probably somewhere where you weren't actively losing brain cells reading stuff so dreadful the Federal Department Of Things That Are Bad For You will declare it a Superfund clean up site.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

Well I'll tell you. It was a lizard.

I can hear you now, gales of laughter issuing from your lips but let me tell you, this was no ordinary lizard. This was The Lizard Of The Apocalypse. He was huge, maybe as much as three or four ounces and as high as a mouses knee. I think that's about sixteen pixie hands tall. Yeah. So there.

So this monster of a lizard, having taken one look at the fierce and deadly Angus, made a break for it. I heard Angus, using his best command voice, order the lizard to stop and show his hands. Or feet. Paws? Mandibles maybe? Anyway, the order was given and completely ignored. The Lizard Of The Apocalypse never even slowed down.

Did I fail to mention Angus can talk? Well he can. Of course only I can hear him. And he doesn't talk, even to me, when anyone else is around. And he usually uses telepathy. And sometimes he simply won't shut up even when I wear my CIA Approved Reynolds Aluminum Beret. And I'm not really sure I should be listening to him at all, considering what he wants me to do. I mean, who tells people to pee on cats for crying out loud?

So the Lizard ran and ignored the clearly legal order to stop so Angus took off in a cloud of dust, black fur and glee, chasing the malefactor. Around and around the cactus, sage brush and dropped bicycle they ran. The lizard fleeing for his life from the Imminent Jaws Of Drooling Death and dodging the Lumbering Human Of Inadvertent Squishing. The chase lasted for seconds as each tried to outwit and outrun the other. The running part was clearly going in Angus' favor. The wit part not so much. The lizard ducked into the Hole Of Obvious Hidiness and Angus lost him. Frantically, he quartered the area in a vain attempt to pick up his trail again. Alas, it was to no avail. The perpetrator was lost, never to be seen again except as an extra on a cheesy ScyFy movie of the week titled Attack Of The Killer Nuclear Lizards Who Can Also Hide Like Nobody's Business.

Angus was down trodden. Then I stepped off his tail and he was Ok again. He said "Hey, where there was one Lizard maybe there will be another that looks just like him" and immediately set off on The Great Lizard Hunt. Of Death. Several times on the rest of our ride/run I saw him again adopt The Posture Of Significance, indicating another Lizard Of Chasing had crossed his Path Of Accidentally Seeing Something While Running Down A Trail At Mach 2.7.

It was all in vain though. He just never could get past that whole outwitted by a lizard with a brain the size of ant poop thing. But it did give me a chance to observe his technique and reach an epiphany. And here it is. Ready? Because it's an epiphany of such monumental significance that I'm not sure the world is ready for it's world altering truthiness. It may shatter your world view and cause you to immediately sell all your worldly belongings, send the money to me and trot off to the nearest mountain top, there to contemplate the purpose of naval lint and the place toe fungus occupies in the flora/fauna argument. Don't say you weren't warned.

Angus wasn't trying to kill Apocalyptic Lizards Of Doom, he was actually training for the New York Marathon.

How exactly does this relate to the New York Marathon you're asking? A good question. A very good question. I sure wish I had a good answer. Have I told you how smart you are? And good looking? Have you lost weight? New hairdo? Glasses? New Dress? Want some bacon? See the shiny coin? No? You want an answer? Oh, I have an answer it's just not a good one. 

Ever see the New York Marathon? I mean on television because normal people don't watch such things in person let alone participating in such endeavors. Not that any of us is normal but you know what I mean. Anyway. There's always this one guy, That Guy, who, when the starter gun sounds makes a sudden break for the lead. Running his lungs out just so he can say he lead the New York Marathon for 1.5 seconds. He never admits it was for the first 50 feet and that afterward he promptly collapsed and had to be rushed to the emergency room suffering from Near Terminal Oxygen Deprivation Through Sheer Stupidity (It's an actual condition, look it up. Ok, I'm lying. Don't look it up.).

This is exactly Angus' hunting strategy. Run like stink for a vanishingly small fraction of a second, slow down, stop, peer carefully around with a confused look on your face and then collapse to the ground while breathing heavily and claiming victory because the whole thing went exactly according to plan right up to the point where you pulled your groin and couldn't possibly have gone on another second but if not for that you would have won easily and handily. Or caught the Lizard. Depending on who's narrative I'm currently channeling. And I channel a lot. Have I ever told you I used to be a princess on the Isle of Moo? But never mind that for now.

Of course all this means that Angus is a natural for the Marathon. I didn't even know he was interested but now that I do I will do all in my power to assure his success. We'll get endorsements. We'll get chicks. We'll get cash. We'll get rolled in Central Park. I just need to figure out how to get a Black Lab registered for the New York Marathon. I mean, how hard could it be? They let Jared from Subway fame in right?

Look out Big Apple, here we come!


04 June 2011

Triathlon To The Power Of Ten

I posted about this event yesterday morning. It's a triathlon with a twist; 100,000 pounds lifted, 10K run and 100 miles on a bicycle, all without leaving the comfort of my home gym. I wandered around the house, thinking about it and playing it out in my mind. Shortly after 2:00 I decided heck with this. I gathered up Lu and headed out to the gym to get things rolling.

A partial view of the gym with the bicycle already hooked up to the rollers. That's the official 100 Miles Of Nowhere plate on the bike. The whole thing was done in my humble home gym out behind my house. The gym equipment for lifting, the run on a treadmill and the bike on rollers. Never left the gym except once to use the facilities which were in my own house. How cool is that?
2:30 PM and the official start.
The scoreboard, depressingly free of completed disciplines.
Lifting was up first. As the Big Board attests I did 7 exercises. The totals went like this.
Bench Press - 100 reps @ 185 pounds = 18,500
Barbell Curl - 100 reps @ 70 pounds = 7,000
Dips - 100 reps @ 245 pounds = 24,500
Rows - 100 reps @ 185 pounds = 18,500
Overhead Extensions - 100 reps @ 100 pounds = 10,000
Shoulder Raises - 100 reps @ 55 pounds - 5,500
Deadlifts - 60 reps @ 200 pounds = 12,000
Squats - 20 reps @ 200 pounds = 4,000
If my math is correct that's 100,000 pounds in 680 repetitions for a 147 pound average lift. The first time I did 100,000 pounds training for this it took me 1250 reps. I started to do squats, intending to do 100 reps but at rep number 10 felt a twinge in my right knee. On the second set of 10 it went from a twinge to a full blown owie and squats were out and maybe the entire triathlon. I switched to deadlifts and managed 60 reps before the pain became too great. I added some weight and reps to shoulder raises (I was only planning on doing 60 at 50 pounds) and made up the weight.
Take a look at that face. It was about this time that I recognized there might be a problem and was considering how to continue.
Here's Lu loading plates. She spent the day and night setting up, bringing me food and drinks and just generally coaching and cheer leading. Not to mention the recovery massages. Love that woman.
Here's the what the final board looked like. Not exactly according to the plan but done.

With lifting done it was to event number 2. I was planning on biking at this point but Lu convinced me that my arms were so pumped that supporting myself on the bike might be problematic so the 10K was next.
The problem knee. It kept me from running the pace I wanted but held together long enough to finish. I did no better than a fast walk and a light jog but I finished every step.
6.2 miles aka 10 Kilometers. The time was disappointing but I finished.

The mid way meal complete with a smile and a thumbs up. Mac and Cheese with bacon bits (because everything is better with bacon), whole wheat bread and a glass of milk. I went through about a gallon of water, a half gallon of Gatorade and a tall milk. Yes, that is indeed a drill press behind me. Don't ask.

Ok. On to the bike. My arms were still pumped but I considered this the easiest part of the whole deal. Hey, we're all wrong from time to time. Right?
The obligatory Zero miles shot.
I was going to do the whole ride in my official Team Fatty Jersey but...
Fatty, I love you and Twin Six but by this point my arms were still so pumped the jersey was cutting off circulation to my hands. I went with something a little more...open.
Man, this is hard. In addition to a triathlon this was my first Century on the bike. I found myself looking down at the odometer thinking "I must almost be done by now. Come on, let me almost be done by now" only to discover I still had 75 miles to go. Oof. It was grind it out time so I put my head down and put in the miles.
The finale was most satisfying.

And just like that it was done! The clock on the wall said 11:26 PM.
The official time was kept by Lu on her official Ironman Timex
8:55:42. 8 hours, 55 minutes, 42 seconds.

The final Big Board.

I wanted to do this event for a couple of reasons.
First to support Team Fatty and all his good works and do my part in The Fight.
Second to prove to myself that I could do it.
Finally, and most importantly, to let my Mother know how I feel about her. Ma, I love you more than I could possibly say. I did this because you couldn't. It's my small way of honoring you, your life and your fight. Cancer may seperate us but you will ever be in my heart. Fight your fight and know I'll be beside you the whole way. And when your fight is done I will take it up as my own. That is my promise to you.

And so it is done. My legs feel like a bag of angry cats. Lu has been taking good care of me with plenty of Tylenol and leg massages. I've spent the day sleeping and eating anything and everything that gets near me. Now, as far as I can tell I'm the first to do this particular brand of triathlon. If so I believe that makes me the World Record Holder. If not I'm still the winner and record holder in the Male, 51.9 year old (I'll be 52 in a couple of weeks), Clydesdale, Hurricane Utah, Home Gym, Balding division. I declare myself satisfied. And hey, maybe someone else will step up next year and go for my title. Oh, almost forgot one thing. I started the tri at 245 pounds. After it was done I weighed myself again, thinking I'd see how much weight I'd lost. Kinda like the last chance workout on Biggest Loser. I weighed in at 247. I have to be the only guy in America who can do 9 hours of straight exercise and gain 2 pounds. Jillian would be so disappointed.

Thank you to all of you, my friends, for your support and encouragement. A big Thank You goes to Fatty. The fight goes on my friend but as long as people like you exist how can we possibly fail? Thanks for letting me participate and honor my Mother. I owe you.


29 April 2011

Why Is It....

That the night before an event I have a butterflies and won't be able to sleep? This in spite of the fact that there is absolutely nothing at stake (except for the ribbing Murphy's Law will give me if I don't manage to post a time that's at least somewhat respectable). I don't understand it. I'm sitting here with my stomach doing flips and picturing every step of the 5K in my mind. Over and over again. It's only 3miles. Heck, I'll walk the stupid thing if I need to (and I almost certainly will walk some of it. Hey, I'm comfortable with my middle aged masculinity. Stop that laughing ML).

It's sick. There's no other explanation for it. I care about what a bunch of people I don't know and will never know think about my ability to haul my 240 pound butt around a 5K course. That's strictly for charity. Tell me that's not twisted.

It's not like I don't have experience in competition or having to perform under stress conditions for outcomes that had a real impact on my life. This is literally a cake walk, one Lu and I are doing just so we can exercise and generally do something fun together.

I'm never going to get to sleep and we have to be in the staging area at 0530. Anyone got an Ambien?

Oh, and as for my time? I plan on lying. Often and spectacularly.


26 April 2011


Lu talked me into running a 5K with her this year so on Saturday I take the plunge. It's the Hurricane 5K and Half Marathon. Since I haven't gone completely insane we're going to pass on the 13 miler this time. Lu wants to do one down the road. I told he I'd be her enthusiastic cheer leader though I'm not sure the skirt will fit. The pom poms are actually kinda fun.

Anyway. Since I'm in training for the NowhereMan Triathlon this fits into my training schedule nicely. It's awfully early though. I think we have to be at the start line at like 6:00 AM.

Lu normally runs a 5K in about 38 minutes. If I can break 50 I'll be happy. And if I can't I'll still be Ok. A runner I am most definitely not.

Pics on Monday. If I survive.


04 April 2011


I've talked a few times about fitness and how important I believe it is, especially at my age. I'm just a few months shy of my 52nd birthday and I can say, with absolutely no fear of contradiction, that it's vastly easier to stay in shape than it is to get into shape as we get older. If you're fit make the effort to stay that way. If you're not there's no time like the present. I get asked from time to time what my workout regimen is like. I'm a fan of weightlifting and bicycling. The bike is my cardio training preference though I've been running a bit lately.

Weightlifting. I used to powerlift but as I've gotten along in age my joints are really feeling the beating I've given them over the years so I've (mostly) given up super heavy, very low repetition and gone with more medium weight/medium rep and light weight/high rep routines.

Bicycling. I love to ride. I've got a Giant TCR2 road bike and a Gary Fisher Black Marlin mountain bike. Lu and I like nothing better than a nice afternoon ride among the farms and fields of Hurricane. We tend more toward road riding but there are so many great trails here that there's no way we'll exclude the desert single track and slick rock the area has to offer. We also bought a roller, an indoor bike trainer when the weather turns nasty.

Running. Since I left the Army in 1985 I've detested running. I had to do it in the Academy but I usually need a powerful motivator to run. Lu, on the other hand, loves to run and has convinced me to do a few 5Ks with her this year so I've been running a bit more.

This is my gym. I've got a dip bar, squat rack, bicycle on the rollers
As well as a bench and treadmill. Behind this camera shot is an upright Bowflex machine for arm and shoulder work.
Now there's a bicycle guy out there named The Fat Cyclist (Fatty). Every year he has an event he calls The 100 Miles of Nowhere. The idea is to ride 100 miles on rollers or on an absurdly short course. I've been wanting to do it for a few years and this year, in honor of my mother, I'm going to do it. With a twist. I'm going to do a Triathlon but not a normal one. See, I can't swim. Oh I can kinda dogpaddle around and generally keep myself from drowning but I can't otherwise swim a stroke. Every time I try I look like a walrus being eaten by an Orca. Besides, swimming is for fish, dogs and sissies. So, what to do? Well I can lift so why not incorporate that instead of the swim? Genius and hard core as all get out.

The Warrior Triathlon has been born.

The Triathlon will consist of 100,000 pounds lifted, 100 miles on the bicycle (On the rollers), and a 10K run (On the treadmill). A couple of weeks ago I decided to test my fitness with a half distance attempt. I've completed every discipline except the 100 miles on the bike so I was fairly confident.

I started out with a 5K run.
From there I transitioned to the bicycle. The rollers lift the rear wheel so I put the front wheel on my squat rack platform.

Proof of distance.

After the Bicycle, 50,000 pounds. I concentrated on basic movements, Bench, Squat, Dips and the like. I concentrated on low weight with very high reps. For the half distance I did 50 reps per exercise but for the 100,000 it goes up to 100 reps per. When I last did 100,000 pounds it took me 1250 reps. The half distance was only 500 which is where I need to be, averaging 100 pounds per exercise. 1250 reps just took too long.

Dips are one of my fitness litmus tests. When I can rip them off without feeling like I'm going to have a coronary my strength is good. When I can't I need to get off my butt and spend more time putting in the effort. Right now 5 to 10 sets of 10 are very easy. I'll move up to sets of 15 or 20 when I do the full distance.

Bench is a staple and I'll need to find a lot of weight here.

Squat is another place where I'll be counting on a high lift total.

Minor body part exercises will round out the total. Overheads, curls and the like.

I made the half distance, 5K run, 50 mile bike ride and 50,000 pounds, in 4:43. That means I'm probably looking at 10 to 11 hours for the full Tri. I'll go 3/4 distance at the end of April. The event is June 4th. I also figured out the sequence of events. Lift, Bike and Run with squats as the very first exercise so my legs can recover before the bike and run.

It doesn't matter what your fitness level is or your physical limitations are. Get out there and work out. Challenge yourself. Find what you like to do and do it. Kick butt and take no prisoners. Find your motivation. It only takes a few times and it'll become habit. Heck, Murphy's Law is short a wheel and he runs (better than I do) and bikes. The alternative isn't even worth contemplation. Anyone can find 3 to 4hours a week and a workout can be as simple as a walk with a good friend.

And if you aren't doing anything on June 4th, have I got a workout for you!