Friday, December 30, 2011

It seems you can’t teach stupid:

7:00 AM this morning. Not only is it foggy but it’s also drizzling. Running with the oncoming traffic is the faint outline of a jogger in a light grey hooded sweat suit. The road is a two lane divided highway with only a two foot shoulder. Nobody has any business running along this highway. It’s a very busy road that long ago, on a clear day; I learned it’s just not a safe place to be, even if you’re running properly against traffic and can see what is coming toward you.

The jogger and the drivers coming up behind him are completely oblivious of each other. Two cars pass him from behind without moving over to avoid him. My guess is they never saw him. A third car comes up from behind; jogger is startled this time and eats the ditch. Driver of the car continues on, seemingly unaware of what just happened.

Pulling over into a driveway I see the jogger get up and I holler over at him. He says he is fine. I tell him to change sides of the road and to get off it ASAP. He just waves me off and resumes running on the same shoulder he was on. I did not recognize this runner and he had a hood up. I can only assume he was also wearing headphones. He was quite fortunate that the car did not strike him and he’s also lucky not to have taken a header into the power pole that was only a few feet away.

If I am able to indentify this guy at a later date, and I see him out running again, I will make an effort to talk to him about staying safe. However, by the way he shrugged me off I doubt he'd care.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Seriously? Capacity Issues? Wow!

Tourists and locals flock to Orlando area theme parks

ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - For the second time in as many days, several Orlando area attractions have reached capacity crowds.

Shortly after noon on Thursday, Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure had to place guests in queues outside of the theme park until staff could accommodate additional people. As it did on Wednesday, Universal Orlando announced extended at IOA.  The park will close at midnight, rather than 11 p.m. as originally scheduled, according to Public Relations Manager for Universal Orlando Resort Alyson Lundell.

Three of Walt Disney World's major parks -- Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom -- reached capacity crowds on Wednesday.  The parks were expected to be as crowded on Thursday.

Park capacity has not been an issue for SeaWorld Orlando because of additional parking and holiday celebrations which are primarily nighttime events, according to a park spokesperson.  Terry Prather, President of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment's three Orlando parks said this year has seen one of the top holiday weeks ever. "We're having an incredible holiday season," said Prather. "The weather is great and crowds are pouring in to experience Seaworld's Christmas Celebration."

By late morning, new arrival to Florida's attraction offerings, Legoland Florida, was nearing a capacity crowd.  The park had to turn away guests around 2 p.m. just a day earlier. 

Once people do get through the gates at most of the major theme parks, they are having to wait even longer for their favorite rides.  Wait times of 1-3 hours are not uncommon for popular rides such as Space Mountain at Disney's Magic Kingdom or Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure.

For those who are tech savvy, you can use special mobile applications which are availble through iTunes which allow guests to track wait times at Walt Disney World and wait times at Universal Orlando .

The large crowds are expected to continue through the holiday weekend.  Those who plan to visit an area theme park should arrive early and expect to wait in long lines.   It would also be advisable to call ahead to make sure parks haven't already reached capacity.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Wallpaper

Happy Holidays from the Snowy Trunda

Monday, December 19, 2011

Breaking a Wall

It has been a number of weeks since I posted anything about training on this blog, so with only a couple weeks left I figured I should chime in.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how quickly someone can lose their conditioning. Equaly amazing is how quickly you can regain endurance if you have not slacked off too long.

Over the past weeks I have been consistently getting in "some" exercise. Mostly I'd been hitting the elliptical and getting in 5 miles at a time 4-5 times a weeks. Certainly not slacking but a week ago on the 10th I came to a surprising revelation.

The weather had finally warmed up to low 40s and I knew I needed to get in a long run in my new shoes. As I began my run I found my breathing was very haggard even when I slowed down my breathing was so choppy that by mile 3 I had to walk and the next 3 miles was a mix of walking and jogging.

Upon reflection I realized that when I was on the elliptical my breathing was steady - so steady in fact, that I could breath through my nose for 65 minutes and never have any difficulties.

The difference being, that when I transferred back to the road, the experience became completly unique. Compared to the machines at the gym, movements are no longer fluid. Every heel strike transfered impacting forces through my core, turning me back into an avid and gasping mouth breather.

So over the course of last week I focused only on getting in treadmill miles when the temps dipped back down into the 20s.

This past weekend temps reached back up into the 50s. Christmas plans kept me off the road on Saturday but Sunday afternoon I was free to run. I think it was around 56 when I went out and the breeze was very light. Shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt were perfect. I kept my pace in check as I started out and it wasn't log before I knew that already the treadmill work had helped greatly. In all I completed 10 miles with a 10:28 averaged pace. At mile seven I did walk for about two tenths of a mile to catch my breath at the top of a hill, but other than that it was a steady jog.

Today I'm a bit sore but its a good kinda sore. Tomorrow I will get back on a treadmill if weather does not permit me to get out on the road.

I want to share one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. In this scene from Run Fatboy Run, Simon Pegg hits the wall at mile 17 of a marathon.

This scene really speaks to me. As Simon's character Dennis Doyle comes to mile 17 he is surrounded by supporters and yet when he hits that wall they all fade away. This puts the focus on his personal struggle. When that brick moves and he sees himself urging himself on, ahh what can I say?

This scene has so much truth in it. To achieve our goals its great to have support, but once you also beleave in yourself, nothing can stop you.

Beleave my friends. Marathon weekend will soon be here!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merry Christmas Podcast

Nando, Fred, Jeff and now a new alias comes into view as I launch a trial podcast which I might turn into limited series.

Hello my name is Carlton and I'd like to introduce you to KHTH Radio. A podcast series that will showcase musical choices inspired by or featured in the themeing of Disney's Hollywood Tower Hotel.

Carlton is one of the Tower Hotel's many Bell Hops and he also happens to be in charge of the music playing throughout the grounds. He knows that a tragedy befell the hotel back in 1939 and he steadfastly believes that the music of the era he grew up in was simply the best ever recorded. My intention is to model Carlton's voice and delivery after Terence Stamp who played Ramsley in Disney's 2003s Haunted Mansion movie.

I've been trying to come up with a way to launch this possible new show and Christmas music of the 1920's is were I have chosen to start. Below is the link to the podcast blog. The show will start automagically.

Please leave feedback here or on the other blog page.

Excited or Not?

Apparently a trip to Disney can sometimes be more for the parent.

In this second clip I would really wish the video had not ended. I would enjoy hearing what else this mom had to say to her kids.


But on the other hand. Sometimes a trip can bring joy to pop culture

or in real life.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

End of Year Maintenance

Out with the old

In with the new

Yesterday was phase one of my big end of year maintenance. In all we replaced six end of life servers and upgraded another six remotely. To our retiring SUN v240 I say thanks you've served my company and our customers well.  Never had one hardware problem in over five years. Very solid equipment. I hope the new x4250s are as reliable. I can say they are freaky fast.

The over night maintenance was performed Tuesday into Wednesday and ran about 14 hours. Very long, very tiring, but knock on wood very smooth.

The equipment we replaced runs our Video On Demand service and delivers streaming video to Des Moines and three other major locations. Our furthest customers are located in Flandraeu, SD and Little Rock, Ill.

Today the field engineer remains on sight and will be providing training on some new software features.

Having this completed is a huge weight off my shoulders going into January. There is a second phase to this update in that, due to some space limitations the new equipment had to be activated in a temporary location. The plan is that once this has been stable for a week or two we will power down and remove the old gear and then schedule moving the new servers to a permanent location. My hope is that due to Christmas and my upcoming vacation this can be done when I return from Orlando. I should be able to confirm that today.

In other news...

I was able to take a 1.6lb step off last weeks weight plataeu and this weeks new number is 215.6 I'm getting there. My new shoes are working out great in the gym. Hopefully I will get some road miles in soon.

In other other news...

Yesterday it was announced that actor Harry Morgan has past away at age 96. Harry was best known for roles on Dragnet and M.A.S.H. He was in numerous movies including many Disney films. In fact, he was in so many Disney films I was surprised to find he is not listed as a Disney Legend. In my opinion he should be. I will have to look to see how Disney Legends are nominated. Harry Morgan was a likable person onscreen, I'm sure was was just as likable off. To learn more about Harry, visit this link to the IMDb database. You may be surprise at how many films and guest TV spots he has done.

If I had my way this screen would be found on our local VOD menu today. Actually I think a few of Harry's films are in our current library.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Shoes are like a box of Chocolates

Over the past five years I've tried a number of shoe brands.

Saucony: My feet shred the insides of these shoes. The material is not durable.

New Balance: Arch support? Why provide arch support? Who ever heard of arch support? And speaking of arch support,what is it anyway?

Asics: I have owned two pairs of Asics. I ran my first two halfs in Asics. Des Moines 08 and WDW 09. I also developed plantar fasciitis while using these shoes for long runs. I can't truly blame the shoe. The problem really lays in the fact that regardless of the shoe I need some additional arch support.

Mizuno: My first pair was an Alchemy 9. These I ran in using heat molded arch supports from RED WING. An absolute and proven combinition for me. Later on when discussing how my toes fell asleep during long runs my Doctor suggested I needed a wider toe box. It was at this time that my running shoe store placed me into my second pair of Saucony's. I used them twice on a tredmill and took them back. The interior of both shoes had ripped apart behind my heels. So I asked the saleman about going back to Mizuno and while they did not offer anything with a "wider toe box" we found that the Alchemy 10 in a 2E wide worked well for me. I've since retired two pairs of those shoes and they have held up great. After adding up my miles a few weeks ago realized I was way overdue for a new pair. There was only one problem. My running store informed me that Mizuno had retired the Alchemy 10. The new Alchemy 11 was a close replacement but they did not have it stocked in a 2E. Hence I ordered the shoes.

A few days ago my impatience got to me a little bit and I began looking over the Mizuno website. I ran through an online shoe fit guide and it suggested two different shoes. I went back to the running store and asked in my order had arrived and then I asked to try on these other options. Those were in stock but WOW even in a wide shoe they we tight!!!

So I just had to wait and hope that the 11 would fit right.

The next day I received a call and my shoes were in. I brought along a new pair of inserts I had molded to fit my old shoes and the fit was...


Yesterday was a balmy 25 degrees so I tried my new shoes out on the treadmill at the Y. Got in 5 miles and my feet felt good. Planning another trip to the Y today after my wife gets home.

This past weeks weigh in was a bit disapointing. I've finally hit a plateau. Looking back over and comparing the last few weeks I can see why. Last week my daily calorie intake creeped up due to holiday goodies which I mistakenly thought I was displacing with exercise. Too much sugar here and there I guess. One other eye opener is that my weekly calories have been in the 50% range since I started watching calories. I need to work on getting the carbs down and the proteins up. As I said, no weigh loss for the week is a downer,but it does not take anything away from what I've accomplished so far. Besides another weigh in is less than a week away.

And now back to happy news. My Magic Express packet has arrived!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crossramp 16

At last a workout that felt good again! I seem to finally be over feeling so "off." I don't know if it was some bug trying to make me sick or perhaps the switch to daylight savings time is to blame. Anyway last night I had a great elliptical workout at the Y. I did a whole bunch of experimenting with the different crossramp and resistance settings. My favorite setting was a crossramp of 16 with a resistance if 10. This really targeted my glutes and calves. I felt the burn last night and its still there today. It feels great.

My one concern right now is that I've not jogged more than 6 miles in some time. Cold weather has pushed my training indoors. I'm going to have to man up and get outside this weekend for sure.

In other news my new Mizunos have still not arrived. This is concerning to me as I now have over 600 miles on my current shoes. I need to pick up some new supports as well. I really hope the shoes make it in this week.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Strange Disney Dream

I had a most peculiar dream this morning about Walt Disney World and rather than forgetting it I’ve run right to my computer to write it down.

The dream began with my daughter and me exiting some cloud themed attraction located in what had to be the Future World area of Epcot. As we walked along I noticed construction was everywhere. Most notable was that the concrete walkways where being replaced with bricks so as to give them an aged cobblestone look. In fact much of future world now had a Victorian age look about it. This struck me as very strange. I did notice a construction sign which I read but at present I do not recall precisely what it said. Something about remodeling being done by the new owner and it was signed by order of “The Quarterman.”

From this point my Daughter and I somehow made the jump over to Liberty Square where we found Jonathan talking with someone I did not know. We sat down and talked a bit. It was at this time that I looked up and noticed the exterior changes to the Haunted Mansion. The entire exterior of the building had changed. It now resembled an oversized carnival ride with rail ways carrying passengers in and out of the façade. The whole thing was painted a light purple and the windows and doors were a dark purple. It made me feel very uneasy. I asked Jonathan if he had seen the changes at Epcot. He said he had not but was aware changes were happening in all the parks. I suggested we all go over and check out the mansion to see what in the world was going on.

Nailed to the front door was a large scrolled note from “The Quarterman” I think it was a warning but I’m not sure, regardless we went on in. Upon entering the foyer we found ourselves literally walking through a dark ride. Everything was bathed in black light. Fluorescent words written on the walls told the tale of the Mansions new and resident owner “The Quarterman.” There were no references to Master Gracey anywhere to be found.

At last we came to a door and waited to be admitted. To the right of the door a painted version of a bust would appear from time to time. The name below the bust read “Quarterman” and the image which shown in the black light was painted in florescence purple and pink. Bright white eyes glared out. Below the bust was more writing. Again I can’t recall what was written but I think it was a limerick about his fate.

(At this point of the dream I’m asking myself if this Quarterman guy could somehow be a real ghost and how the heck is it that he was taking over all of Walt Disney World.)

At last the door in front of us opens and a group of us are escorted by an elderly butler wearing a coat with long tails and a top hat. (He looked very much like Mansfield in Hot Lead and Cold Feet. Which by coincidence or not I had watched only two days ago.)

We were not in the stretching room. Instead we were in a long well lit hallway perhaps 500 feet long, 12 feet wide, and with a ceiling 18 feet high.

On each side of the hall were the paintings you would normally pass on the way to the library. There were also other paintings and again I don’t recall what those may have been of. At the end of the hallway the butler turned toward us and told us the Quarterman tale. What I recall (and this is somewhat gruesome) was that Quarterman had died in a manner related to his name. Simply put, he was drawn and quartered for being a greedy land baron who would stop at nothing including murder to get what he wanted.

After telling us this story the butler stood still, looking straight past us toward the door we had entered from. Someone noticed a small table with a tray on it to the left of the door behind the butler. Someone also placed some money there, apparently as a tip for telling us the story and that is when the next door opened. (hmm greedy indeed)

This room was a study. On the left was a roaring fire and the room itself was decorated with a desk, some books, a lamp, paintings. Everything one might expect to find in an old home office, everything that is with the exception of a way out. The door we had entered from had vanished.

Everyone in our group began to spread out and began moving books, flipping switches, looking behind paintings, all of us where looking for something that might trigger a hidden door. Finally someone picked up a jewelry box, removed two drawers from the box, placed those on top of the box and after setting it back down a door opened up on the wall opposite the fireplace.

It was at this point that my dogs woke me up and so then ended the dream. It was very strange indeed and I’m not sure what to make of it.

Friday, November 25, 2011


This mornings post Turkey day weigh in revealed a 1 pound loss for the week. Ok I'll take it. I did all the right things. I got in exercise and measured food. yadda yadda yadda. Overall as long as each week brings even a small loss I can not complain. 13.49% is the overall percentage of body weight I've lost since my heaviest weigh in.

My goal is to lose a total of 62lbs. As of today I'm 34lbs into that journey and staring down 26lb more to go. Percentage wise I'm 54% of the way to my goal. How I love the idea of a deminishing goal.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Great Tundra Blue Jean Conspiracy

For this weeks report I'm sharing some good numbers mixed in with a lack luster week of training performance. (so far anyway)

This morning I took some measurments and found that I've lost 4 1/2 inches around my abdomen. I also noticed throughout the day that my jeans have become noticably looser. After work I tried on some old jeans and found that they fit my legs well but my waistline still needs a little work.

So I went out shopping for some better fitting jeans to wear until I can get back into the old pairs I've held onto.

Shopping for jeans really chaps my hide. I don't now why there has to be so many different styles and cuts. The Sonoma brand that I liked at Kohls is no longer made. Instead they now have Urban Pipe. I was looking for a size 34/32 and nothing in this brand worked. I was able to finally find a pair of Levis I think the style was 569. This style was not even close to fitting in a relaxed cut, but Levis offers a loose cut version and these fit great. Only trouble was the store only had one pair and the denim that covered the fly was sewn or mashed in such a way that the zipper was exposed and this looked bad. Try as I may I could not find another pair in the store. Finally decided to try another Kohls but on the way I began thinking about the price and $40 is really too much to spend on jeans. So we ended up at Target where I tried on a relaxed pair of Wranglers which snapped easily enough and were comfortable as long as I stood. I knew sitting down would not work. Grrrrr. So back out onto the sales floor to look around. I found they carry an offshoot brand from Levi called Denizen. Now the leather tag that reads Denizen looks utterly tacky but a loose pair of these jeans worked out well. The jeans were $20 and Target is running a $5 off special for any jeans over $15 so I got a pair for $15. I wanted a second pair but once again after looking high and low another pair was not to be found. I'm of the opinion that a conspiracy exist amonst the clothing stores around the Des Moines metro area. Either that or there is descimination against anyone wearing a size 34/32 pant.

Now onto the lack luster portion of my week and maybe I'm being a bit hard on myself. This past Saturday was suppose to be much warmer than Sunday so I decided upon a long run for that afternoon. The weather app on my Ipod read 54 but driving into town I found the temps were actually in the low 40's. This would not have been bad except for the 17 MPH wind gusts that just chilled me. I completed a four mile loop that brought me near my car and called the run short. Running into all that cold wind really zapped me. Sunday my wife and I visited our local YMCA and I hopped on the Elliptical Climber. This workout felt very dragged out and I my heart rate never got into the cardio zone. I felt very off.

I walked Monday night and again tonight and still I'm feeling off. Tonight should have been a jogging night but I did not feel any drive to break into a run. I did stay commited to walking a full 60 minutes both nights.

I'm not having any problems with a desire to exercise it's just that as I've said twice already I just feel sort of off. Hopefully I'm not coming down with something. I really do not want to get sick. However colds have been going around the office.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

El Guapo

El Guapo, you can't live with him, you can't live without him.

Over the past few months I've had good success in the areas of weight loss and training. I'll provide a training update later in this post but for now I want to share that some of old nemeses have begun to creep back in over the past couple weeks. Typically when one hears the word nemesis, thoughts turn to heroes and villains. Flash Gordon and Ming the Merciless, Batman and the Joker, Seinfeld and Newman are such examples. The list is endless.

Now I’m not battling any super villains but lately I’m finding myself slipping into some old habits. Job stress has been a big factor. I’m currently involved in a project that should have been resolved last spring (or actually last year).
Over time many of the computer systems my office uses will receive an” End of Life” notice. Such is the case with our Video On Demand hardware. Our vendor notified us way back in February 2010 that when July 2011 rolled around they would end hardware support on certain systems. There are many details about the delays in this replacement that piss me off. (All of which are in house) I won’t go into it here let’s just say that it took a catastrophic event after July 2011 to wake up the higher ups and get the ball rolling. (Hello I’ve only been ringing the cowbell on this for a year) Now I’m responsible for getting this project complete by months end. So right now STRESS is my El Guapo and its led to a few nights here and there where I have eaten more than I should and even to enjoying the occasional beer. But the big issue I’m fighting is Pop. I am surprised at the amount of Diet Mountain Dew I’ve been drinking. Sure I’m getting a little bored with flavored water but I know its stress driving this pop issue. Funny thing is that on some level I know I really don’t need the pop. It’s more about just taking a few minutes to step out of the office.

Ok ok ok, What was today’s theme anyway? Oh yes the dreaded nemesis. In training a number of factors can negatively influence your thinking and if you don’t keep them in check… well then El Guapo wins and the next thing you know, you’re riding off into the sunset with nothing but your fancy sombrero.

What El Guapo do you need to crush in the weeks ahead? Is it a food craving, fear of injury, lack of motivation, not setting aside time to train, apathy? Think about it and please share some comments.

Now don’t be too worried about me. Besides the work stress I’m doing well over all. When I’ve indulged in a little extra food or had a beer I am logging it all down and counting my calories. The calorie counting is still paying off although I wish I was seeing some bigger numbers. My past three weigh ins have been -1.6, -1.4, and another -1.4. By my calorie counting I should be losing at least two pounds per week. Mentally I’m trying to stay focused on the BIG PICTURE, knowing that a loss is better than a plateau and also that slow loss is healthier than rapid loss. As of last Friday I was down 32lbs from my heaviest with another 30 to go. Ideally I would like to drop another 12lbs by January.

On the running front I’m quite happy. This past Saturday I completed 8 miles in 81 minutes for an averaged paced of 10:2. It was a good solid run. The only thing lacking was that due to colder weather the city has turned off water fountains in the parks. So I ran without taking in any water. The cool temps kept me from overheating. I also completed a 3 miler a couple weeks ago that pace out at 9:45.

So far I have been able to overcome those moments when motivation is lacking. Hopefully in the weeks ahead I can continue to meet my weekly mileage goals.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Break Out Your Snappy Serape

Since the invention of the Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato sandwich the world has had its fair share of notable trios. Some famous, and well others, not so much.

Abraham, Martin, John.
Larry, Moe, Curly
Peter, James, John
Peter, Paul, Mary
Sabrina, Kelly, Jill
Starsky, Hutch, Huggy Bear
Kukla, Fran, Ollie
Alvin, Simon, Theodore
Jack, Chrissy, Janet
Snap, Crackle, Pop
Yakko, Wacko, Dot
Maxene, Patty, LaVerne
Barry, Robin, Maurice
Tom, Dick, Harry
Jan, Marsha, Cindy
Greg, Peter, Bobby
Mike, Chip, Ernie
Hoss, Little Joe, Adam
The Lion, The Tinman, The Scarecrow

Oh there are others to be sure, pigs, billy goats, mice and bears, plus three guys in a tub whose names shall remain forever anonymous.

But as for Me, Myself, I, not even Huey, Duey, Louie hold a candle to those three happy chappies with snappy serapes better known as The Three Caballeros, Donald, Jose, and Panchito.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that the 2012 WDW 5K was to be themed around three of my favorite Disney characters. I just could not resist the temptation to add this run, so this morning I officially registered. Not sure what this makes me? Certainly not a Dopey, but more than a Duck for sure. This raises the question. What should we call 16.2 miles in two days? “The Donald Plus Fun Run?” or perhaps "Duck Sauce 2012"

As of this post we are just over 10 weeks away from Marathon weekend. Are you ready? Is everything coming together?

Here is an update on me, post Des Moines Half.

Sent in proof of time to RunDisney. They confirmed my proof of time but could not locate my half registration. Panic set in and I called Active to see what was up. At first they told me I was not registered because my credit card had been declined last June when I signed up. WTF? I insisted that I was registered and Active finally figured out the problem. During my first sign up attempt my registration was declined and then I recalled why. It was because I had forgotten to add the 3 digit code on the back of my credit card to the online form. Once I updated that form last June it had gone through. For some reason Active had a matching confirmation number on both the failed attempt and the successful one.

I informed RunDisney and all has been cleared up and I now have an updated registration confirmation that includes the new proof of time. This morning’s 5K sign up went through without incident.

Last week’s exercise:

Wed 19th: 4 mile walk

Thu 20th: 3 mile jog, 1 mile walk. Paced 10:08 during the jog.

Sun 23rd: 8 mile jog. Paced 10:40 (I have a blood stained shirt to prove it)(Body Glide Please!)

Mon 24th: 4 mile walk

Chris commented on my last post wondering about goals. Here are my goals leading up to and including marathon weekend.

Two weeknights each week walk for 4 miles. If under 60 minutes keep walking to get in a full hour.

Two weeknights each week jog for 60 min. Once casual and once pushing myself.

Weekend. One long run either Saturday or Sunday. Watch forecast on Friday and commit to which day. 8 mile minimum. If weather is bad get to the Y and get in those miles.

My Goal for the January Half is to finish with a PR for the half. This means breaking the 2:22 finish I had in Des Moines back in 2008. Doable? Yes! How do I get there? Commitment.

My plan is to move up the pace of the virtual partner on my Garmin from a 12:00 to the 10:80 I averaged during the 2008 Des Moines half. Then just stay ahead of it. If I can continue to average what I achieved last Sunday I should be good. Outside of working to improve pace and endurance my goal is to keep a close eye on my daily calories and keep losing weight.

Monday, October 17, 2011

2:29:28 Updated 10/18/11

Last January when I received my corral placement for the half marathon at Walt Disney World I set a few goals and this past weekend I achieved the first of those goals. That goal was to be able to provide a proof of time performance at a 10k or longer event during the year to allow me to move up in the corral placements during Disney 2012 marathon weekend.

The past three Disney half’s that I completed were each over 3 hours and I have been on a quest to not only break that 3 hour window, but to get back under a 2:30 finish. My best half marathon run was in Des Moines 2008 where I finished the IMT half marathon with a 2:22 finish. Following that run I developed planter fasciitis which greatly affected my training for WDW 2009 in which I finished with a 2:49.

Since 2009 I have struggled with continuing to exercise and keeping my weight in check. Between 2009 and this past weekend I have completed a few races, but to be completely honest all I wanted to do during those runs was to finish and all I did for training was just enough to get me by.

Since I turned 40 I have wrestled with my weight, knowing that my family has a history of heart disease on both sides. My maternal grandfather passed away at 49 following a heart attack and my paternal grandfather passed away at 67 following complications after open heart surgery. At 40 I found myself thinking pretty heavily about my prospective life expectancy. I won’t rehash the past five years here. It’s sufficient enough to say that I had gotten into good shape and that somewhere during the past couple years I lost my drive. Part of it was fear of future injury but for the most part was simply that regardless of family history I stopped caring.

Friends who follow this blog know that in the early days of its history I was very active and posted nearly every day. Then for a while I stopped posting and more recently I post only to provide a semi regular update to say hey I’m here and this is where I’m at.

So where have I been and where am I at today?

Last year I was 235lbs going into WDW 2011. That’s 35 pounds heavier than I was in 2009. This past summer I tipped the scale at my heaviest to date 252. My best weight since turning 40 was when I got down to 185 in March of 2009. In May of this year I began exercising again but my weight never seemed to change. (all due to diet) I just kept cycling between 252 and 244. In late August I finally started to look at calories and since that point things have been turning around.

In May I was able to walk/jog six miles and average around a 13:35 pace. A couple months into it I was finally reaching into the 12s. Once the calorie counting began paying off I dropped into an 11:20s pace range. Mentally the past couple months have been good for me and I am back to getting anxious if I miss a planned jog or gym visit. I used to blame my rotating work schedule for getting in the way of working out but I have found ways to get around that. I’m finally getting consistent with training and its been paying off.

This past Saturday at 229lbs I participated in the 10th annual running of the IMT Des Moines Marathon weekend. My race of choice was once again the half marathon. (The full marathon just seems like such a mammoth under taking) The half continues to be a distance that works well for me. It provides a challenge and requires me to be at a reasonable level of conditioning.

Race day found me quite anxious when I lined up behind the 2:30 pace group. My Garmin virtual runner was set to a 12:00 pace and my plan was to just keep ahead of that pace.

Miles 1-3. Stayed with the 2:30 pace group and felt that they were pushing a bit hard. Somewhere between miles 2-3 my Garmin lost 3/10 of a mile. (Must have been the buildings)

Mile 4. As we approached mile 4 the pace leader checked her watch and realized she was indeed ahead of pace and slowed down to a walk. I was not about to walk so I kept up my pace and although my Garmin’s distance was messed up the clock was fine and as I crossed mile 4 it read 45 minutes which was in line with my goal.

Mile 5-7. Sometime around mile 5 I did have some mild stomach concerns. I blame that on all the fluid I was taking in during this run. Past training runs had not included much fluids and my stomach was complaining a bit. At some point during this section of running I was able to mentally check out and let my mind wander a bit. I found myself thinking about being in Florida and seeing my friends in just a couple of months and as I ran I pictured that these are the miles where you approach and run through the Magic Kingdom.

Mile 8-10. I found myself thinking about my more recent long runs and focusing on the fact that I’ve done this distance and that getting through it should not be too difficult. Although I was growing a bit tired, I did not hit the wall at 9.5 as I had the previous weekend. Instead I focused on nearby runners and picked out a few that I wanted to pass and others whom I wanted to pace with.

Mile 11. Coming into mile 11 I was feeling good and someone ahead of me turned around and mentioned that a pace runner was coming up. That pace runner was the 2:30 pacer who I left behind earlier. She past me on the hill coming out of mile 11. I was a little surprised by this but kept my focus on that pacer and refused to let her out of my sight.

Mile 12-Finish. Slightly downhill and flat during this stretch. I walked briefly twice in order to catch my breath. I was pushing a little too hard trying to get ahead of the pace runner. I realized that I might not catch her, accepted it, and kept moving forward. One block out from the finish I had the slightest twinge of a cramp in my right calve. This was my one brief moment of panic on the course. (In 2008 I cramped up really bad here and fought to keep my legs moving) I kept moving and it did not worsen I just knew that after I crossed the finish I needed to get some potassium and salt. I crossed the finish with an official time of 2:29:28. 33 minutes ahead of my WDW half last January. I actually got a little worked up over it knowing that my efforts over the past several weeks had paid off. I also thought about how Chris had such a great full marathon the day before crushing his goal of a sub four hour finish by fifteen minutes. What a great weekend.

Post Race:

I’ve been feeling great. Nothing outside of expected sore muscles. Saturday and Sunday I just shelved the whole calorie counting thing. Monday and today my calorie intake has been more in line with maintaining weight but tomorrow I go back to keeping my daily intake down and getting back on the weight loss train. I’m not sure what Friday’s weigh in will bring but up or down I’m not going to sweat it. I’m just going to keep working at it with a goal in mind to drop another 19+ pounds before January.

Tomorrow I will also resume walking and some light jogging.

Monday, October 10, 2011

8+2=10 and other important numbers

Just Around the (Des Moines) Riverbed

With the 16th only a matter of days away I wanted to post at least one update prior to the event.

This past Saturday I went out for a planned 8 miler but as I was running a few anxieties set in over making the jump next weekend to 13.1 miles. Midway through my run I decided to add 2 and go for 10.

In my mind that 10 mile mark means that all that remains is a 5K. With 10 miles in my pocket it's easier to face that remaining 5K rather a 5 mile hurtle. During the half at mile 10 there will be a water station. I'm hoping that this station will be run better than it was a few years ago. Miles 9 through 11 of the Des Moines are run on a bike path that circles Grays Lake. The problem with that water station before was that they set up tables on both sides of that pathway which created a bottle neck. Coming out of mile 11 is an uphill stretch that runs for half a mile. After that its flat to the finish line.

But let me get back to this past Saturday. The course I ran last weekend was a figure eight that brought me to a water fountain at mile 4 and 8. Repeating part of the first loop would take me back toward where I had parked my car. I hit the wall at 9.5 miles and felt completely drained. With just a short distance ahead of me I somehow shook it off and resumed jogging. A check on my Garmin's history showed that I had averaged an 11:24 pace. I had used the virtual partner during the run and I plan on using that as a guide this coming weekend end.

Post run as I was getting into my car I could feel my right calve tightening up on me. I knew my body needed some electrolytes and sodium so I drove to the neighborhood Kum & Go. By the time I got there both calves were cramping. I purchased some Gatoraid and took a brief walk and my legs began to improve.

It would be very easy for me to get concerned over my leg cramps and the fact that I hit the wall. But actually I'm not worried about it. I feel that it all came down to the lack of fluids and come race day there will be Poweraid and water every couple miles. (plus I've already purchased some clif blocks)

On Friday I will attend the local expo and inquire about what they plan to have for pace runners. I'm still counting on my Garmin, but last time out I did like having a pace runner nearby.

Oh and regarding the other important numbers... My office is once again offering Bio Metric Screening. If you have healthy numbers or show a marked improvement in health in at least three categories from the previous year you get a $30 per month discount on health insurance. I could rant for several pages about this topic as I find it quite intrusive but I'm going to edit myself and not complain on this blog.

Aside from still being overweight all my blood work numbers have come back at healthy levels. My total cholesteral has dropped from 246 down to 160. On the weight side I'm down a total of 15lbs since late August. If I can keep losing 2 lbs a week I could be below 210 in Janaury.

As of this posting the WDW Half Marathon is 12 weeks 4 days and 8 hours away. Oh and I may be adding the WDW 5K event to my schedule. Why? I'll give you three reasons. Donald, Jose, and Panchito

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Professor Von Drake Explains

Hallo und Willkommen. Meine Güte ist es ein langer Zeitpunkt da unser letzter Besuch gewesen. Es ist so wundervoll, Sie wieder zu sehen. Warum betrachten Sie mich so lustig? Oh mein vergaß ich, dass ich auf Deutsch sprach. Erlauben Sie mir, auf englisch zu wiederholen.

Hello and welcome. My goodness it has been such a long time since our last visit. It is so wonderful to see you again. Why are you looking at me so funny? Oh my I forgot I was speaking in German. Allow me to repeat in English.

I’ve just returned from a wundervoll octoberfest celebration. And now with the mass consumption of liquid bread behind me it’s time to get back into the class room and teach you kids a few things. Things such as how you should not drink your calories. Believe me I’ll be paying for it for some time to come. Oh boy will I ever, but where was I? Oh yes calories.

Your body requires energy to keep it running. This energy is defined in calories. Everyday your body burns calories and the food and drinks we consume replace those calories. It goes without saying that some things we consume are healthier than others but for the purpose of today’s lecture we are looking at a calorie simply as that, a calorie.

How your body burns off calories affects your weight. A person who burns and consumes the same number of calories each day will maintain their existing weight. If your calorie intake is greater than you burn off you will gain weight. If you burn more calories than you ingest then you will lose weight. Pretty simple stuff huh? Well it’s a little trickier than that. If your calories are too low your body’s metabolism will slow down. This can make losing weight very frustrating.

Weight loss requires a few things. The first thing you must know is how many calories does your body burn in a typical day. There is no flat answer to cover everyone. Your calorie burn is determined by age, height, weight, and activity level. Now there are very scientific formulas for figuring all this out but thankfully in today’s age of computing technology we can simply visit a web page such as the one listed here.

Once you go the link above simply input your data and your personalized Basal Metabolic Rate will appear in the green box. Take your BMR number and multiply it by the factor below that best represents your current activity level.

1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2

2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375

3. If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55

4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725

5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

And Vwalla just like that you now have your daily calorie need to maintain your current weight. Subtract 500 from that number to lose 1 pound per week or subtract 1000 to lose 2 pounds per week. As your activity levels and weight change you’ll want revisit this formula and adjust accordingly.

Before we close today’s lesson let’s use our friend Jeff W as an example. Over the past several weeks he has been using these numbers along with the myfitnessparter app for ipod.

At 5’10’’ and age 45 Jeff started at 244lbs with a BMR rating of 2169 that was multiplied against a light activity factor of 1.375 giving him a daily need of 2983 calories to maintain weight. By keeping track of, and balancing, exercise and food consumption he has been successful in eliminating 1000 calories per day for an average daily total of 1983 calories.

This morning Jeff weighed in at 229lbs giving him a new BMR rating of 2076 which when multiplied against a light activity factor of 1.375 gives him a new daily need of 2854 calories to maintain weight. Jeff plans to continue eliminating 1000 calories per day so his new daily target is 1854 calories.

Jeff’s goal weight is 190lbs. At that point his BMR rating will be 1833. Multiply that against a light activity factor of 1.375 and he will have a daily allowance of 2520 calories to maintain weight.

That concludes today's lesson and now here is a brief update from Jeff.

Hey just need to update as it has been awhile since I posted anything relavent to training. Since the end of August I have steadily been losing weight and increasing my mileage. My heaviest this year was 252 and for many months I kept recycling eight pounds of that. In August I discovered a couple different ipod calorie apps which I am always updating. Using an app has been a huge help for me. Since using the app and bumping up my exercise I've gone from 244lb to 229lbs. My goal is to be near or below 210 in January.

On the running front (yes I said running!) I am currently up to jogging continuous 8 milers. I can fell a little fade toward the end of those runs but each one gets a little stronger. Pace on the 8 milers has been averaging in the 11:20s. On Oct 16th is the IMT Half Marathon and I will be running in it. I do have some concerns about how to best approach this. (Being that I'm jumping 5 miles out from where I've trained at) Right now my plan is to use the virtual partner on my Garmin and to stay ahead of a 12:00 pace. I ran this course back in 2009 so it does help that I an familiar with it. In fact this weekend I may go down and jog a portion of it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Somebody Find Me a Working VCR

Do a Google search for the soon to be released Star Wars blu ray editions and you will find much anger coupled with the gnashing of teeth. Fans around the globe have bombarded Amazon's consumer review pages and dropped a hopeful five star rating down to a mere one. Outrage abounds and as a fan who grew up watching the orginal trilogy in the theaters the purest in me is in full agreement. Why won't Lucas give fans what they truly want? Original pre special edition theatrical versions of the films. I'm sure that releasing just the first unaltered 1977 film would be huge finacial boon for Lucas Arts.

I've read many complaints and some I do agree with and others... well I think some of the complaints go a little too far and are just too stupid to gripe about. One reviewer of the last DVD release complained that in one of the films opening scrolls Lucas had the nerve to capitalize the R in the word rebel that was sooooooo wrong because it wasn't original. Give me a break. I could care less that in the blu ray version Ewoks now blink. Frankly I never noticed that they could not.

And you call yourself a fan?

Well yes I do. The small tweeks don't send me over the edge but the glaring ones do. I agree with those who are complaining about Vader crying "Nooooo, Noooo" as he throws the Emperor to his death. I've seen a youtube video and if this is real it does indeed take away from the scene. A couple more changes that do bother me. The replacement of actor Sebastian Shaw as Anakin Skywalker at the end of Return of the Jedi. Seeing Hayden Christianson standing next to Yoda and Obiwan just ruins the close of that film for me. What are we to think, that upon his death Anakin's spirit is transformed back to a teenager? (Remember this is Luke's vision, he never knew the younger version of his father) At least Lucas left Alec Guiness in there and didn't replace him with Ewan McGregor. Now I like Ewan but it would simply be wrong to put him in that scene. One other change that I hate, hate, hate (yes hate is a strong word) is when Luke, Ben, C3PO and R2D2 arrive at Mos Eisley. As Luke's landspeeder pulls into town we get a barrage on people and robots moving from left to right across the screen. There is no depth to it, it looks fake and it sucks.

Star Wars opened May of 1977 and ran exclusively at the River Hills in Des Moines for 29 weeks between May 27th to Dec. 13th, and was eventually replaced by “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.” It then moved next door to the Riviera auditorium, where it ran for another 27 weeks for a complete run of 56 weeks before being moved to other theaters.

I first saw this film in its 42nd week, the theater had a full house and clearly everyone there was already a big Star Wars fan. Over the next several months I saw it in theaters 4 more times.

I was eleven when Star Wars was released and it just blew my mind. To me that first film, as it originally was released, will always remain my favorite out of all the films. It was futuristic yet it fit well with the open title script "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away" This was not the typical shiny flashy utopian science fiction film. This movie had grit and it felt lived in. It was good because it had a great story, the characters were believable, and it just happened to take place in space.

When the original or rather the Special Editions of the first trilogy were re-released in theaters 25 years later, it did not matter that I already owned all three film on VHS. Each of the films ran for one week on the giant curved cinerama screen of the River Hills. When these versions came out there was plenty of advertising pointing out there would be some new surprises. I was thrilled to see these movies up on the big screen and I happily paid my money to catch them all.

Fast forward a couple years and the the first prequel comes out. The movie was ok but not great, Still when Phantom Menace was released to video I bought the VHS to add to my collection. Yep VHS was still popular at that time. As the second film was released to home video DVD was beginning to drive the death nail into VHS. Knowing that a third film was planned I did make the smart choice of waiting for all of the movies to be available on DVD and then bought them all. This time Lucas had further doctored the original trilogy and like this pending blu ray release not much was out there to clue buyers into expecting more changes.

If your a real fan chances are you heard rumors of changes all over the internet. If not you may go out and buy the blu ray set and be surprised at what you get. I will echo what others have said. This was a wasted opportunity by the Lucas camp. Blu Ray can hold far more data. I wish George would have included at the very least, the original 1977 film along with his new vision and simply given us, the consumer fans, the choice of watching either version we felt like watching.

One thing is for certain. Lucas will alter the movies yet again in upcoming 3D versions. 3D is nothing more than a commercial gimmick to rack in move money at the box office. Very few movies benefit from 3D. Tron is one example of a film that I actually enjoyed seeing in 3D. However, I enjoy it much more in standard HD on my home theater. We have a 47" 3D set at work for testing. The 3D on it looks so fake and not at all like in the theater.

Star Wars "The Complete Saga" will be released on blu ray September 16th. Like the dismayed German leader in the video above. I may just rebell and break out my VHS.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Yesterday Cooley High was on TV. I had not seen this film in years. I really enjoy rediscovering old movies that over time I may have forgotten about. On the internet the film has been compared to American Graffiti. I don't quite get the comparison unless you account for how the movie does just drop you right into a day in the lives of those on the screen. The characters are engaging enough that you want to follow along. One thing I did enjoy was that the movie does not fall victim to the many black exploitation films made during the seventies. I really think this movie has stood the test of time.

Here is the movie summary as found on the IMDB.

In the mid-1960's, a group of high school friends who live on the Near North Side of Chicago enjoy life to the fullest...parties, hanging out, meeting new friends. Then life changes for two of the guys when they meet a pair of career criminals and get falsely arrested in connection with stealing a Cadillac. We follow their lives through the end of high school and the dramatic end to their school year.

The song played above was orginally recorded by G.C. Cameron and was used in one of the final scenes. The original version can be heard here

I found this song to be very moving as I reflected back on the past few years. Years in which both of my in laws and other friends have past away. Even as recently as a few short weeks ago when my brother in law passed and then the same week another friend. It can be rough looking back but in your memories those whom you loved can live on. It's good to remember.

My hope is that you'll play the video again and think of your loved ones and not just those who are no longer with you. Think of those still here. We may not have forever but we do have now.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Deer, Bullsnakes, and Skunks,

are just a few of the things I've encountered these past weeks out on the roadways of the Iowa Tundra.

One weekend morning four doe ran across the street about 40 feet in front of me. Later that same morning I came upon a bullsnake lying in the road. Luckily the snake was dead but it sure startled me as I did not see it until I was right on top of it.

On another weekend I encountered the aroma of skunk about three miles into a jog. That was not pleasant at all. It lingered for quite awhile and I had to jog past it again coming home.

During evening walks I see and hear plenty of frogs. One night I saw a small figure coming toward me under a street light. At first I thought it was a mouse but it turned out to be a salamander.

Another common sight has been turtles, particularly snapping turtles. Our housing development and another nearby have plenty of open lots and some of those have deep ditches along the road ways. There's plenty of moisture in the ditches so that seems to attract these critters.

Here is a list of long milers since my last update.

2.54 mile walk with my wife followed by
7.00 mile wog averaged wog pace 13:03

7 mile wog averaged 12:23. The weather and how I felt on this day came together for my best pace in many months.

7 mile wog averaged 13:55. Pace this weekend was horrible. My legs felt like lead during each of my walking segments. I had done a 5k a couple nights prior and felt the same way. Generally I can keep my walking pace in the 14s but on this day I had to fight to get under 19s. The jogging segments went fine.

Due to the elevated heat index here I visited the YMCA to get in my long miles. The Y was completely packed. I managed to find an open eliptical climber. Completed 8 miles with an averaged pace of 13:01. I felt great about that workout because I was able to keep a continueous pace throughout.

I'm on vacation this week so I have no excuses. Plan is to get in a minimum of 4 days eliptical. Our heat index could be around all week. Hopefully it will break before the weekend. My next road goal is to plus out the 7 milers.I'd like to get in 8 road miles.

On another topic. My weight has not seemed to be dropping and this bothers me a bit. But my pants are a little looser and this past Friday when I donated blood my blood pressure was down to 120/84 and my resting heart rate was at 52. These are significant numbers for me that are going in the right direction.

I will check in here again in a few weeks. Until then enjoy this vintage stop motion by Chuck Menville and Len Janson. Remember, Be Kind, Share the Road.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Whichever Freaking Way You Can

Just taking a few moments tonight to check in and say I’m still out there putting in the miles. My recent long runs are listed at the bottom of this post.

My long run on the 19th was the most mentally challenging yet. Just two and a half miles into it I came off a jogging portion and found my thoughts dwelling on many other things, none of which was related to fitness in any way. I actually got a little down and even mad at myself over nearly two months of slacking. I came very close to calling that run short and going home. But I talked myself into completing my planned seven miles regardless of my attitude or pace. As I was walking mile four, my GPS showed my pace had decreased to a nineteen. I began to tell myself I had to get my head straight and I began looking at the positive side of the past four weeks.

My attitude did turn around and soon I found myself thinking about things like what if Clint Eastwood made another sequel to “Every Which Way But Loose” and this time Philo Beddoe was fighting Rocky Balboa. In other words my thought process was back to normal.

Somehow I managed to break a fifteen average. I really thought the slow walking was going to kill my time.

Coming off the June 19th run I felt that I needed to do some work on boosting my cardio. To do this I hit the YMCA four times last week for three elliptical climber workouts and one standard elliptical workout.

The verdict is still out on if I’ve seen improvement from that directly but I have to say my Walk/Run on Saturday was both a challenge and a personal success. As I approached mile four I realized that I was on track to average a flat 13:00 pace. I just missed the four mile goal and I dropped back into a brisk walking pace as I began figuring up what my time needed to be at miles five and six to reach that thirteen minute pace. I increased my pace into a comfortable jog but I missed the pace by seconds at both mile five and six. By now I was determined to give whatever I had in me and man did that wear me out. I thought back to how I had lost my focus the previous week and I compared this week against that. This gave me another boost to keep pushing forward. At the end of the run I was pleased to see I had squeaked under a thirteen to finish with a 12:54 average.

Going forward it would be great to keep an average pace in that range but in the weeks ahead I am going to be focusing my long runs at seven miles while working to eliminate the walking portions. That will be my main focus in July. I just want to work with a distance range that is comfortable and connect those dots. If all goes well I will push August out to eight to nine miles.

I’m still considering the Des Moines half in October but I am not going to commit to it until I can assess August.

5/29 Walk/Run. Six miles. Averaged pace 13:43

6/5 Walk/Run. Seven miles. Averaged pace 13:39

6/13 Walk/Run. Seven miles. Averaged pace 13:28

6/16 Biking. Eighteen miles. Average speed 5.46 MPH

6/19 Walk/Run. Seven miles. Averaged pace 14:45

6/25 Walk/Run Seven miles. Averaged pace 12:54

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Raise your hand if your SURE.

After nearly two months of sitting on my butt playing video games I've finally gotten off the couch and back out the door. I have lacked motivation on a scale that you may not believe coming from me. I have wallowed around unable to get my head on straight because getting back to where I was a few short years ago seems like such an obstacle. The very idea that I could get back into the shape I was in back in 2008 seems
insurmountable. Truth be confessed I must own up to the fact that I am my own obstacle. The whole vault boy idea was a metaphor of how I was feeling and was supposed to be a creative way for me to once again have some fun mixed with exercise. But I'm leaving that behind. One reason is I don't have time to be as creative as I would like to be over there. Here at least I can have a little fun now and then but I can also just keep it real when I want to.
So as for keeping it real. For the past two weeks I have been back out on the streets and have racked up 29+ miles. During the week I've been focusing on walking under a 16 min pace. On the weekends I've done long wogs of 6 and 7 miles. Those averaged in the 13s for a pace. My comfortable running pace is in the 11s but last Sunday I managed two 1/4 sprints in the 9s. I need to be consistent and not over do it here so I'm going to work on keeping the jogging portions in the 11 range and streaching out the distances. Hopefully that approach will be the best for my cardio. My feet hate the fact that I'm carrying around an unwanted 50 lbs. I need to lose that but I am finding that I am still stress eating and that is just putting back in the calories I burn.
I am considering doing the Des Moines half in October. I like the idea of a pre Disney goal but shades of past injury from that race haunt me. I also am concerned that I could fall into a past race lag and not keep training at the level I really need to be. I know at some point I need to declare the fears for what they are and face them. I know what caused my injury in Des Moines and it was lack of arch support. I've since gotten arch supports and run a number of races without incident. So why the fear? I think it comes down to this, consistency equals confidence. Confidence does grow but you have to keep at it.
So Raise your hand
Be confident
Be secure
(i just realised this post reads like it was sponsered by a deoderant ad. this was unintentional)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Freak Storm Destroys Snowy Tundra

Locals take to underground vaults in effort to preserve humanity.

Your's truly has decided to follow in the footsteps of fellow adventurer and roadway wanderer Byron Hall and is taking things in a new direction.

Jeff W has left the Tundra and can now be found at

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ludwig on Charlie

Oh hello there, I mean willkommen and so glad to see you again and all that jazz. My goodness it’s been a crazy week in the world of psychology with every Tom, Dick and want to be Freud out the chiming in with their opinions concerning Charlie Sheen. At least when we see these alleged psychologists on TV the first thing they state clearly is “I have never met nor have I treated Mr. Sheen.” To that, I say thank you for the clarification because I never would have guessed. But of course they go on to give their opinion of a man that the media is having a field day with and yes making a nice profit off of too.

Now that others in my field have had their fifteen minutes of fame (and that’s what it is, I mean let’s call a spade a spade here) I have reached my own conclusions regarding Mr. Sheen’s “out of control behavior” and that conclusion is, Charlie is perfectly sane. Oh sure, some may not understand his lifestyle but then again who understands yours or mine? We are not celebrities and our lives are not under a microscope, TMZ , E! and others are not going to come knocking on our doors. (there’s just no money in it.) Each of us, like Charlie, are unique and in my opinion a truthful examination of some of his quotes sounds like a self-help book in the making. Here are some examples taken from his twitter account.

“My sons' are fine... My path is now clear... Defeat is not an option..!”

Allow me to rephrase the simple English here ‘things in my world are under control, I’ve got a plan and I know what I’m doing, and I will not lose.’

“Ready for my next fastball, world?.. PLAN BETTER Applies to everything where an excuse now sits. Try it. U won't be wrong. Ever.”

Again plain English with an opening line targeted right at those who might (gasp) be shocked at the pending and profound statement which says ‘stop making excuses, examine your goals, make a plan and if you stick with it you can’t go wrong’

“this just in.... another cosmic fastball from theMind of your fav Warlock; Earn Yourself
You already own you. Now go... Earn the power. Earn the Truth. Earn the most important component in this entire dimension, your self”

This one is simple enough that Fred, Jeff W, Nando, or even I can understand it. 'you are who you are, make the most of yourself, learn who you really are.'

I'll admit the "entire dimension" part does get a little fuzzy for me, but my take on that last part is that you have to trully know yourself before you can help others around you. In this case my dimension would be my circle of family and friends.

“Face it folks, you just feel better when you say it. WINNING”

Perhaps Stuart Smalley can explain this one.

“Winning..! Choose your Vice.”

To the untrained mind this line may not make sense when the very definition of the word vice is to quote Webster "a moral fault or failing" So what we are really hearing here is this 'Hey I'm at the top of my game and if success is a vice, so be it.'

“Bring it!!”

In a take no prison attitude Charlie is saying 'Give me your best shot, I can take it.'

My concluding opinion is that as a celebrity Charlie is using his so called “antics” as a way to deal with the producers of his show. Keep in mind that normal life also goes on and the tabloids mix the two into a fodder that sadly many people take far too much interest it.

Not only is the spotlight on Charlie it’s also on them. Besides, anyone who can knock Lindsay, Paris, Britney, Jennifer, Brangelina and that crazy woman with the eight little kids out of the news is alright with me. Now if you all will excuse me I think I'll have a nice cold bottle of Tiger Blood.

mmm taste just like cherry soda!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Paradise Awaits

Brief post simply because well hey its been a while and unfortunatly I've got to be leaving for work.

February have been a mixed month for me. I started out with a crummy sinus infection that caused me to use my first sick day in like three years. Very little milage there. The next week I pushed through and exceeded my weekly 28 mile goal by 2.2 miles. This week I have a mere 5 miles in. Life has just got in the way. There is an easy solution if I could just get in the habit and thats to get up early and hit the gym before work. It's just ugh I hate getting up early. Last summer when I could just step outside in the morning it wasn't so bad. Weather here has been in the 40s and feels great. I am hearing rumors that snow will be returning again. RATS!

In other news it looks like I will be making my way out to Disneyland in September for Coast to Coast. Couldn't get into Grand Californian but Paradise Pier had a park view room available that I used DVC points toward. I wish more of the team was heading out there. I'm only aware of Justin, Krystal and Amanda and this point. Our friend Deb may be coming out as well now that she has been bitten by the Disney running bug. Hopefully my wife and Daughter will join me out there.

I look forward to the race but I must admit that Labor Day weekend is not what I had planned for a first time Dinseyland visit. I'm already stressing about crowds and if its even worth buying park tickets. Should I just be happy with running through the parks this trip?

Opps gotta go or I'm going to be late.

Be sure to stop by Mike has recorded a new show which I've posted.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yop! I’m still here.

Wow, is it February already? Chris gave me a rough time about not blogging and ok I’m guilty of not checking in here, but I certainly haven’t felt left out. I’ve really been enjoying the email chains going around and those have been a great motivator for me, so much so that I’ve been able to shrug off many of my old excuses for not fitting in my exercise. Post Marathon weekend I’ve only missed 5 days of not getting in at least an hour of walking or elliptical work. My KOTH mileage for January is 74.36 miles. That’s a big jump from the 10 miles I was getting in during the previous months.

On Tuesday I kicked off February with 4.5 miles. Regrettably I was not able to get in any mileage today but I have an excuse.

What’s that Jeff, an excuse!?!

Yes and it’s legitimate. Here’s what happened. Yesterday while I was at work (evening shift this week) one doozy of a blizzard rolled in creating poor visibility and deep drifts. I should have stayed at work but decided to leave an hour early at 9pm to top off my gas tank and see what the roads were like. I decided that it was worth trying to make it home. The interstate was well plowed and I was able to follow a Semi most of the way home. Once I left the interstate the roads were pretty poor but as long as I kept the car moving all was fine. I found the east bound lane of the highway heading out toward our development was drifted over but fortunately there was no traffic in the other lane. As I approached what should have been my turn I noticed a hip deep drift blocking my access. Nothing in the neighborhood had been plowed. Luckily we live near a 24 hour Wal-Mart and I was able to make it into the lot. I called my wife and explained where I was and why and that most importantly I was safe. I went into the store twice during the night for some water, a sandwich and a nature break but most of my time was spent in the car.

How does one occupy their time when spending the night in a car?

Well my time was spent listening to The Savage Nation, playing some games on my Itouch and watching Oceans 12 on my laptop. I also tried to get some sleep and found the back of my HHR fairly comfortable when the seats are folded flat. Only thing missing was a pillow. I would run the car for 30-40 minutes at a time to keep warm. Around 2am I noticed a few trucks pull into the parking lot to begin plowing and finally about this time I fell asleep for an hour. When I woke up I found the parking lot was mostly clear and I also noticed plows go by on the highway. At 3:15 I tried for home and found the streets had been cleared. Pulled in my driveway at 3:30 to knee deep drifts and decided to break out the snow blower before heading in to bed. An hour later I finally made it to bed and slept until 10am.

So my excuse is that I was exhausted and didn’t have time to work out before driving back into work.
I hate missing a workout because I feel it means I need to catch up to reach my mileage goal. I’d much rather have my 25 miles in and then take a day off than feel like I’m behind. But hey I still have time this week so I’m not going to dwell on it.

Enough about me, how’s the weather in your area?

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Finishers Medal

The Finishers Medal is just that, it is not meant to be a participation medal. Shame on any organized event that hands these out to non finishers. Evidently this now includes Disney.
Disney you have just robbed my friend of the incentive he truly needs to train and return victorious across a future finish line. A friend, who may be surprised at reading my words here but will hopefully understand where I’m coming from. My friend and others like him do not need to be enabled; they need to be encouraged to rise and try again. And although I celebrate my own accomplishment, it, along with thousands of others has lost a bit of luster.

Listed below is what earning these medals has come to mean to me. To my friend I can only say this. Disney has not done you any favors during the past two events. Whether you want to admit it or not, you and I have been robbed. This sounds harsh but its true. My frustration is mostly aimed at Disney but I admit to having a problem with your justification of receiving said medal. Others we know did not finish past events and did not get medals. You’re better than this and in the weeks and months ahead I want you to prove it. Not to me but to yourself. Train for, enter a race and kick its ass!

Over the past few years I’ve competed in three Dam to Dam 20Ks, one Des Moines Half Marathon and four Disney Half Marathons. Upon finishing each of these events my efforts to get there were rewarded by having bestowed upon me a shinny object known as The Finishers Medallion. Wearing this symbol in post race areas (and in the parks at Disney) allowed myself and others who rose to that days challenge to acknowledge one another with congratulations. Walking through a Disney Park and wearing my medal is an exciting thing. On occasion another medal bearer may ask how your time was but most simply congratulate you and you reciprocate. In a way it’s an unnamed brotherhood.

To me “The Finishers Medallion” represents every mile of training and every mile of the final competition. In the case of my Dam to Dam and Des Moines race medals the distances are stamped in the metal. In Disney events my medal lanyards clearly state 13.1, the distance in miles I had to cover to earn it. That 13.1 and the time it took me to complete it says that in the months prior I put in what I got out. More training and I could have been stronger, faster. Less training and I would have been slower and possibly not finished. Had I not lived through what it took to earn it, I would not receive it. Were it offered, I could not accept, knowing in my heart that I left too much left undone on the training field.

Each of my medals holds a different meaning.

2006 Dam to Dam 20K: 2:19 
My first race and something I never thought I would/could do. It took a year and half of weight loss, walking and jogging but I did it.

2008 Dam to Dam 20K: 2:04
2007 had found me backsliding but I had set a goal to return for another go at DAM. I was determined to break my 06 time and I did.

2008 Des Moines Half Marathon: 2:22
I had not intended to do the race but my employer sponsored my entry. Following Dam I had kept up well with my training and was feeling good going into this run. The day after the race I had a set back. I had developed plantar fasciitis in my left foot. The pain was nearly unbearable. My first Disney half was approaching and how was I going to keep training?

2009 Disney Half Marathon: 2:49
Excitement was in the air for this event. In the weeks prior I had to limit most of my training to biking and elliptical work. By race day my left foot was feeling decent but my time paid the price do to limited training.

2009 Dam to Dam 20K: 2:59
In the weeks after Disney I fell into many old habits. I had additional stress due to a now fluctuating work schedule. When I trained I did not push myself as I had before. Felt fine after this race walking around and visiting with Justin and Krystal. When I stepped out of my car at home I realized something was wrong, plantar fasciitis had returned but this time in my right foot. It was so bad that I visited my doctor who x-rayed my foot. New shoes and arch supports were in my future. Found some over the counter supports by RED WING that worked well and I still use them today.

2010 Disney Half Marathon: 3:06
Following two cases of plantar fasciitis I was hesitant in my approach to train for this run. This has proven to be a challenging year for me mentally as I have lost much of the enthusiasm I once had for running.

2010 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon: 3:14
In the summer prior to this event some of the stress factors in my life had quieted down. Early on I had been getting out there, trying to rebuild my endurance levels. As summer turned to fall I once again fell back into old habits. Even with the support of friends I felt discouraged by how much of my fitness I had let slide. To this day I struggle with it. In the weeks leading up to this run I was doing 4-6 mile weekend jogs including one 13.1 mile run in which I broke three hours. This should have been a stronger event for me but factors such as the late evening start, humidity and not balancing food well in the hours ahead took its toll.

2011 Disney Half Marathon: 3:02
Although not my fastest, this run felt good throughout. My endurance was good, only waning during the last mile. I did have a brief cramp in my left calve at mile 11 but was able to walk it out. Going into this run my longest outdoor runs were 6 miles. Due to cold weather here most of my training had been at the gym on the elliptical and the stair elliptical. The gym training really helped my endurance.

So eight events are done with. Not sure what the future holds right now. My weight is back up and I need to lose it badly. At one point I was considering just spending the year without any planned race events but the more I think about it... the more I realize that I need to keep something out there to reach for. DAM 2011 I'm coming and I want my medal!