Sunday, November 6, 2011

Training Rethought

Following Tough Mudder I was on a little bit of a high.  I felt awesome and I got a little relaxed.  This week I realized that I was falling behind in my training and I needed to kick it up a notch. I watched this video of some death race training and realized I can make just about anything I do a death race training tool.  Here's the video:

Death Race training incorporation step one.

Heather and I love to play disc golf.  It's a fun, moderately active time but I realized that I could make it more.  So... Heather and I set off the morning and went over to the university to play 9 holes of disc golf.  Here's how I kicked it up a notch.  I took a 20lb kettlebell and did overhead presses from the tee to each throw and then picked up my disc, threw again, and back to the presses.  By the end my arms were starting to feel the burn.  It was awesome.  Next time I think I'll take a cinderblock or something similar and throw it along the way. (Maybe a big river rock if I can find one!)

We had planned on a couple mile trail run after disc golf.  So, we ditched our disc golf gear and I filled my new military backpack that I found at a garage sale yesterday morning (for 10 bucks!) with all the stuff we had in the car.  (poor planning but it worked)  So...disc golf discs, a couple jackets, the kettlebell from before, a dog toy, a pair of cleats, a pair of waders, and Heather's softball mitt were stuffed into the pack, it came out to 36 lbs.  I strapped the backpack on and we headed out onto the trails for a run.

The added 36lbs  slowed me down quite a bit, but I still powered through two miles, barely faster than a walk...13 min miles. But, It felt great.  It's time to write some lesson plans for next week and watch some football!  I'm planning TRX for tonight followed by a 3 miles jog with Heather in the neighborhood.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tough Mudder

What an amazing experience at Tough Mudder on Saturday.   The 12 mile course was further than I'd ever gone before, not to mention that the obstacles were much harder than the previous "mud run" obstacles that I'd encountered.  It truly was a Tough Mudder!

I was one of the vast minority of runners who didn't show up with a team.  Many of the obstacles were designed for the runners to work together to overcome the course.    Obviously this put me at a disadvantage, but luckily about 2 miles into the course I made a new friend, Rigo.

As Rigo and I met up on the trail I noticed he too was running solo.  "No team?" I asked.  "No team." Rigo replied.  "Yeah me either." I said.

And that simple conversation changed the whole experience of the event.  Rigo simply said, "Well, you have one now."  And for the rest of the race we ran and
conquered the obstacles together. 

Mile after Mile, through mud, sludge, logs, ropes, water (just thin mud really) and a variety of other obstacles we forged on.

We were by no means the fastest on the course, but we did manage to beat over 90% of our 11:00 heat.  We finished ahead of a large portion of runners from the 10:40, 10:20, and 10:00 heats as well.  We even beat a good number of runners from the 9:40 and 9:20 heats.

While we were out on the course, something I read in one of Johnny Waite's blogs a while back kept coming back to my mind.  What was it that was separating us from so many of the people we were passing.  People who were obviously in much better physical shape than the two of us.

At about the 5 mile mark and beyond nearly everyone on the course was walking.   With so many people around me walking it would have been easy for my mind to convince my body that I should be walking too, after all...I WAS really tired.  But my new friend was the perfect motivator.  I kept running, because he kept running, and I didn't want to lose my only teammate!

It was eye opening  to see how much longer I could push myself after I felt like I was really tired.

When I finished the race I felt amazing.  My knees weren't hurting like I thought they might after that distance.  My SI pain was actually less than when I had started the fact it was pretty much gone. (at least for then, it came back later)

All of that feeling good stuff ended later that evening - I was exhausted.  Totally drained of all energy!  So i slept :)

From Sunday morning until now I've been more sore than I ever have in my life.  Every muscle in my body is sore and on top of that the front half of my body is covered with nicks, cuts, scrapes, bruises and abrasions which hurt every time anything touches them!  I wouldnt trade it for anything.  I've never been this happy!

Reflecting on the event.  I definately learned a few things:

Number 1:  Although I've always had strong legs, that is no longer the case.  It was the upper body challenges that were easier for me and the running towards the end of the race that was killing me.  My legs are WEAK and I have so far to go to get them ready for the Death Race.

Number 2:  I was dead tired after the event.  It was a fraction of the length of the Death Race.  Again, I have so far to go to get ready.

Number 3:  I was so proud of how well I did, I can't wait to take it to the next level and do something even harder.

Number 4:  Heather is awesome as a race supporter/photographer!

With Tough Mudder down, I'm looking forward to the Nov 19 Warrior Dash and Dec 3 Super Spartan and I'm probably going to sign up for the Tough Mudder on the coast Jan 28!

If you're at all interested in running with me at any of these races you're more than welcome!

Special shout out to Rigo - You absolutely Rock Buddy - I can't wait to run with you again!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Li (Death Race) fe

First and foremost this post is my excited announcement that I will be racing in Pittsfield Vermont  June 15th through the 17th? 18th? 19th? Who the 2012 Death Race.  The post has been a few days in the making, but as most of you know, that thing we call life is always getting in the way.  So let me catch you up there first.  

I've been truly blessed these past few weeks.  A month ago my close friend Jennifer and her awesome husband Eric came up to Tyler for a visit.  I had planned to cook dinner for them at our house, but a combination of a hectic schedule and my procrastinating personality left me with nothing to cook and no plan of what to cook the day they were supposed to be here.  Abort plan A and commence with plan B.

Here, I must digress for a second time.  Heather and I have been researching extensively food, nutrition, and healthy eating and living for a few months now, and as a result we have become pretty much vegetarian, but not quite vegan.  I'll still have some cheese or an egg here or there, but not too often.  In addition to that, we are juicing fruits and veggies daily and eating a large portion of our diet as whole-raw foods.  I have a whole blog post planned for that topic so I'll stop there for now and get back to the first digression from my original digression...dinner. (confused yet? I almost am!)

So where can a vegetarian go get something yummy to eat while still giving his non-vegetarian friends a tasty option?  We decided on Mongolian barbeque.  Which is how we found ourselves discussing cafeteria food at schools in Texas less than two feet from the table beside us.  As we are ranting about how ridiculous the food choices are and how wasteful the school policies are, one of the ladies at the next table over interjects her two cents into the discussion.

After a few minutes of discussion, she tells us that she works at a local elementary school.  We connect based on the fact that I'm a teacher without a job, looking for substitute work.  The conversation continues, she texts some people from my last school about me, and they of course tell her how awesome I am :)  She eventually reveals that she just doesn't work at a local elementary, she's actually the Assistant Principal.  She tells me about an upcoming long term sub job that I might be able to do. We part ways for the rest of the meal, and I don't really think too much of the whole encounter.

One week later exactly I get a call from the principal at her school.  They have an opening for a teaching position and she wants to know if I'm interested in interviewing for the it. I told her I was, suppressing my exuberance long enough to hang up the phone, before I lost it in excitement.  I interviewed for the job and got it.

I had two days to help move a teacher out of my classroom and set it up for my kiddos...not nearly enough time!  So...I'm now teaching 21 first graders at Douglas Elementary here in Tyler Texas!!! As I type this I can barely talk, my voice a casualty of my first two weeks of my new career.  I  don't think I could have gotten luckier in the whole deal and I don't just have any job...I've got a great class of kids, a very supportive administration and some pretty awesome coworkers!

All of that to say that life has been a whirlwind the past few weeks and that's why it's taken me a few days to write this important blog.  On to the original topic...Death Race 2012.

What is the Death Race?  It's a 48 hour grueling test of not only your physical endurance, but also and probably more so, your mental strength.  Here's a quick montage from this year's race if you haven't heard of it before.

If you've read any of my previous blogs you know I started this blogging endeavor after reading THIS BLOG written by Johnny Waite.  It's an account of his training sessions, preparing for the Death Race.  I was hooked.  I kept up with his training and his trip to the event.  He was one of only 35 finishers out of 235 entrants...80 didnt even show up and 120 quit during the race.

Fast forward to this past Saturday.  Johnny posts this on facebook:  

Death Race 2012 is June 15. As an alumnus, I can register one additional person at a significant discount. Who will commit to doing it with me. I am serious. It will be the best/worst experience of your life. Message me ASAP if you are interested. 

As you read down the comments you see things like "Let me be the first to say ....... No fucking way!!!!!!"(which nine people liked) and "I love that you had to add the 'I am serious' part just to clarify. lol" and " BTW. Asking people to join you in an outing wherein "you may die" is somewhat akin to handing someone a bottle and asking "does this taste poisonous?" Just sayin...."(which 5 people liked)  so naturally I commented too.  But instead of telling him how crazy he was, I told him how crazy I wanted to be too!

And that's how it came to be that I'll be Death Racing next summer.  I won't be the fastest or the strongest physically...But I'll be ready mentally and I plan to give myself incredible leverage...that's what will separate me from the vast majority of competitors who DNF every year.   

Here's an excerpt from a post Johnny wrote after his experience:   
As I looked around the church at the 35 finishers, I thought, "What is the difference between us and the 125 who dropped out, or even the other 80 who did not even start?" There did not seem to be an easy answer. It certainly wasn't just physical strength, as I watched huge, chiseled Marines quit. And it wasn't just conditioning either, as there were phenomenal triathletes who fell by the wayside too.  
The next obvious thing to consider was mental toughness, but we all seemed to have that at the outset, and I know that some of the people who were no longer racing would have never ever ever imagined not finishing. Obviously they had demonstrated mental toughness in the past.
Not being able to see inside anyone else's head, I turned my attention to mine. What had kept me going? Well, my fundraising for POGO. I had promised a beautiful young girl that I would finish. I said "If she and her family can survive three years of cancer treatment, then I can survive three days of racing." Plus the 60+ people who had donated over $5,000.00 to that cause. Then there were Jack and Katy. I actually posted on Facebook that I wanted them to be able to tell people "My Dad completed the Death Race" and not "My Dad started the Death Race but quit when it got hard."
Speaking of Facebook, by broadcasting my training and my progress and my commitments online, I now had thousands of people who would want to know how it went. I could not just sneak back into town in the night and never really mention it again.
So, as I realized, all of this was leverage. Leverage on myself. I had thrown my hat over the fence, as the saying goes, and now had to go get it. No matter what. Reading some people's blog posts after the race, I found that they had left themselves loopholes - where there was still room to call it a success for having tried. I don't think I could have given myself that credit. I had bet the house. I can, however, think of too many other ventures where that wasn't the case. Where I had quit long before I started and then went through the motions. What if I only started things from now on that I intended to finish, no matter what. How powerful a perspective would that be to live from?

So this begins my Leverage.  I will finish next summer.  I'm not leaving myself  any outs.  Hell, if anyone probably should have had an out last year it was Johnny.  Going into the race he had foot, shoulder, and knee injuries and had been on doctors orders not to run for many weeks heading into the race.  But he gutted it out anyway.

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly know how
far one can go."

-T.S. Elliot

Any and all of you are more than welcome to come to cheer us on this summer.  Hopefully I can even con a few of you into being my crew for the race! 

If you want to learn more about the race check out  The video there is a couple years old and the race is much longer now, but it still gives you insight to how it works.  Thanks for reading all of this (if you made it this far) - I have to write an essay about why I want to do the Death Race this weekend and I'm headed down to Austin for Tough Mudder, which seemed hard before, but now seems sorta puny  compared to what I've got ahead of me, but I'll try to post again next week!  Thanks again to Johnny Waite for changing my life last spring, and again this week.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Learning to Run and Having Fun

I recently read the book "Born to Run" by Chris McDougall.  I thoroughly enjoyed every page of the book...I couldn't put it down.  As entertaining as the book was, the story starts with a simple question.  "Why does my foot hurt?" 

I've been asking myself similar questions for a few years now.   Why do my ankles hurt?  Why do my knees hurt?  Why does my foot hurt?  Why?

This excerpt from his website pretty much sums up what I'm feeling:

". . . I’d abracadabra myself from a broken-down ex-runner into an unbreakable, unstoppable, ultrarunning dirt demon. I was at least partially correct: the secret to injury-free running isn't the proper shoe. It isn't stretching. It isn't even training mileage.

It's skill.

Like every other sport, healthy running is all about technique.

But why hadn’t I ever heard that before?

All I ever heard, over and over, was about shoes. Every podiatrist, sports physician, and running magazine preached endlessly about the absolute necessity of corrective footwear. I was never told what to do; I was only told what to buy. "

Imagine that.   I've been a sucker for marketing yet again.  I even wrote a blog a few months back about how many different shoes I had tried and how excited I was for my latest pair.  I eagerly strapped on those new kicks and started pounding out the miles, assured by my "research" that I had finally found the solution to my problems.  Two weeks later I had pounded my knees into such pain I  couldn't walk without a limp for over a month, and it was almost two months before I could jog again without my right knee killing me.

It was clearly the fact that I had bought the wrong shoes.  Yep, of course it had nothing to do with me, only those damn shoes!

Then Chris McDougall had to bring reality crashing in on me.  It wasn't my shoes, it was me.  Like so many other runners out there I was running wrong.  My cadence was too slow and stride far too long, resulting in some serious heel striking going on.  Naturally when I switched to my new minimalist shoes that I thought were the solution to my problems, my heel striking form crushed my lower body into oblivion with the lessened cushioning of the shoes.

After finishing "Born to Run" I really started reading up on proper form. 

This is a good starting point, pretty much where I started a couple weeks ago.  Over the past two weeks.  I've run consistently almost every day.  I've really focused on my form and nothing else.  What I found is that I haven't had any pain at all, none. 

Another thing I've noticed is that I'm actually faster taking shorter faster strides landing on my midfoot than I am with a longer stretched out stride (thanks high school track coaches for constantly encouraging to "stretch out my stride"). 

It's definitely not an easy transition, and the longer I run and the more tired I get, I can feel my body trying to slink into my old lazy form.  I really have to focus hard at those times.  I'm training my body how to run all over again, and its refreshingly fun.   Three weeks until Beachpalooza, Five until Tough Mudder!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tough Mudder Incoming

Less that 6 weeks until the Tough Mudder and I'm seriously behind on my training.  With the move and job search I've been slacking lately with the workouts.  Heather and I got up this morning and jogged a quick couple miles, but that's the first run in a few weeks (sad I know)...Sooooo less than 6 weeks till Tough Mudder and I've got to kick things into high gear.  I'm still doing well weight wise - down 21 lbs since I started this blog back in April.  I'd still like to lose another 10 or so before the race.

We'll be doing the Beachpalooza in Galveston at the end of September as a warmup - its a 3 mile obstacle race on the beach in Galveston and it should be a blast. 

I'll be posting at least training recaps from now till then to help keep myself accountable!

On a different note, I had a great interview today so maybe things will be turning around soon on that front.

Finally - I posted this video a month or so ago on Facebook but if you missed it check it out!

Monday, August 22, 2011


While I was living in Ohio this summer I often rode my bike past a house on hwy 84 that was covered in writing.  In addition to the writing on the house there were signs in the yard and the van parked in the driveway was also covered in writing.

Obviously someone was trying to make a statement.  It turns out the guy that lives there is in a 10+ year litigation regarding his brother.  I don't know near enough details to even begin to form an opinion on the matter. 

What I do know is that his brother got in trouble with the law, there were supposedly two separate automobile crash sites, both of which were the spot where his brother had wrecked his car.  According to the guy who lives in the house, there are all sorts of conspiracies upon conspiracies that make this ordeal more and more of a mess.  Throw in a few crooked lawyers, dirty judges, his mother's will and some unscrupulous friends and this guy has become obsessed.

Or maybe he's just passionate?  Anyway - here are few shots from his house - quite an interesting guy, quite an interesting place.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Life Moves On

"Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such."

~Henry Miller

I've been so busy since I got to Ohio in June that I've barely had (or made) the time to stop and smell the roses.  And's moving on at a blistering pace.

First of all, Heather and I reached the worst financial place we have ever been in this past month.  You'd think that having finally finished my degree I'd be making more money now than before I had the coveted diploma...wrong.  Thanks to budget cuts school districts are scaling back in a huge way and as such, I still haven't found a job for the fall as a teacher.  But, the bills have to be paid and since there isn't any substitute work in the summer I needed to do something to help out.  Heather was able to get me in at Avery Dennison with her.  It's a factory job, I operate a couple huge machines that cut 10,000 foot rolls of paper into sheets of various sizes.  Sounds fun right?

As boring as it sounds, I actually really enjoy it.  I just enjoy being active and having a full day...and there is no lack of work in the factory.  All good things must come to an end though and in 2 1/2 weeks we will finally be headed back to Texas.  I can't wait.

As usual after a couple months of great eating and working out, things slowed way down up here.  It started with the knee injury before I got here and that just sorta faded into everyday life.  I have actually been riding quite a bit but up until this week I hadn't run in a month.  I got back on track yesterday though.  I got up at 5 both yesterday and today and logged a quick 3 miles before heading to work.   It feels great.

It's late and I'm headed to bed, but more tomorrow on the changes I've made with food.  It's amazing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Feel Great!

WOW! I feel GREAT!  For the first time in several weeks I actually feel totally healthy.  No sore feet, no sore knees, no SI pain.

I've been out of touch with the "internet world" for the past week trying to get everything ready for my trip up to Ohio.  I left Tyler a week ago on Tuesday and arrived in Geneva  Wednesday night around 8:00.  It was so nice to make the trip in a car rather than a U-Haul truck that keeps breaking down every 20 miles!  Anyway Heather and I had great weekend and even squeezed in a quick overnight camping trip on Saturday night.  I had a dentist appoinment on Monday and that brings us to yesterday.

Feeling adventurous and with extra time on my hands up here in Ohio i set out on the bike headed to Austinburg.  I made the 7.5+ mile ride in just over 30 minutes.  When I arrived at my destination I found this funny sign:

From there I changed out of my biking shorts and shoes into some regular shorts and shoes and headed out on foot down the Western Reserve Greenway.  This path is part of the Rail to Trail initiative where they have replaced old railroad tracks with biking/hiking trails.

The weather in Ohio is so much different from what I'm used to in Texas.  It was 65ish all day, compared to the 102 that Tyler was feeling the same day.  Deceived by the cool temperature and the cloud cover I sported a sleeveless workout shirt for the trip (remember this).  Along the way I saw a chipmunk, a treat since we don't have those in Texas, and quite a few birds and squirrels.  I ended up going a little over 7 miles on foot - hiking most of the time, jogging here and there.  It was an awesome time.  Once I made it back to my bike I changed again and rode the 7.5+ miles back to Geneva.

What a great day outside.  The only bummer of the day turned out to be the sunburn I got courtesy of the sleeveless shirt! Oh well!

If you missed this on my facebook pages check out this really cool video!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

On the Road Again

After two week exactly my knees were feeling good enough to give it another go on the road.  I switched to a more supportive shoe that I had purchased a while back.  The Brooks Beast.  I only ran 1.4 miles and i kept it to a very easy pace, but all together it was a pretty successful run.  I just wanted to get out and see how my knees would respond to a light run.  I had a slight pain in my left knee that came and went throughout the run.  Nothing too serious though.  I iced it when I got home and it feels fine now. 

I really think the camber of the roads around town are contributing to the knee pain.  I need to find a place to run around town that  has flatter roads or just a softer surface all together.

I'm going to ease back in nice and slow, I definitely don't want to re-injure my knees.  These past two weeks have been torture.

Monday, May 16, 2011

On the Lighter Side.

My knees are really sore after yesterdays long run so nothing major going on today, I have a few videos to make you laugh though - Enjoy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Human Nature

Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have naturally.

The inspirational Johnny Waite posted this on facebook late last night, I shared it on my wall, but I wanted to post it here as well in case it was missed on the news feed as so many things often are.

I was immediately hooked watching this.  Each time he was turned down it was amusing, each time he asked a question and they answered it was intriguing.  I rewatched it this afternoon because I thought about it off and on all day.

Why are some people so closed off and afraid?  Why are others willing to share their feelings with a stranger...and not just about trivial questions.  I mean this guy was quizzing them on love, fear, government, and the meaning of life.  I felt myself answering each question as he asked them, agreeing or disagreeing with the comments he solicited, almost wishing I had been on that subway so I could have shared my thoughts.

Having a background in videography and video editing  I was also really drawn to the style of the film.  The interviews, less than ideal framing, less than ideal focus really conveyed the feeling of the tight quarters in the NY subway.  The people who he highlighted were from an amazing variety of cultural heritage.  The music was absolutely perfect.  It felt raw and unedited even though he took great care to edit seamless transitions.

I know it was a little longer than the normal video, but please, if you didn't watch the entire thing, take 12 minutes out of your day and watch it all.  You might take something away from it.

Once again, thanks to Johnny Waite for sharing and continuing to inspire me and I hope I can pass the feeling along to someone else.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pushing it.

I subbed for kindergarten today so it was a long day with hardly a moment to take a breath.  The end of the year is nearing and you can tell just by how active the children are at school.  After school I had to meet with a school testing coordinator to do some training for a Linguistically Accommodated Testing (LAT) version of the TAKS for make-up testing next week.  Needless to say, by the time I got home I was pretty beat.

I watched some TV and relaxed for a couple hours and then motivated myself to get up and get my run in.  I did another 3 miles but today I really tried to even out my pace, even uphill and after I was winded.  It paid off, I took a few minutes off my last time for the exact same route.  My feet feel great post run and even more importantly I feel GREAT.

3.0 Miles


8:34s Min/Mile 

In other news...the damn Red Sox lost again...every time they get within a game of .500 they seem to find a way to lose again.  Today, a 7-6 loss to the Toronto.

And Finally:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:  I had a great Mother's Day with my parents and my grandmother.  We all went out to eat for lunch and spent the afternoon together.  We didn't do much in particular, but it was just a great day together with family.  After I drove back home I pumped myself up and went out to Rose Redman to run on the trails there.  Day two on the new shoes, and the long run for the week.  Once again the shoes felt great until half way through mile 4.

The Bad:  Half way through mile 4  I started developing a blister on my right foot, nothing major but enough to turn an enjoyable run into something far less so.  I dont know if it was the shoes or the fact that I was running on concrete trails.  I'm inclined to think its more the running surface but I'll know soon enough.  The awesome thing though, is that as soon as the run was over and I wasn't rubbing that blister over and over, my feet felt awesome, like I hadn't even run at all.  I really do like these shoes.

The Ugly:  I'm not a huge basketball fan, I keep up with it as a sports fan but my real enthusiasm has always been in baseball and then football.  I do like the Dallas Mavericks though, always have.  Way back to the days when Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn were teamed up with Jason Kidd and they were only winning a dozen games a year.  So, You'd think it wouldn't be in "the ugly" when I tell you that my favorite basketball team just swept the Lakers in the second round of the NBA playoffs.  Game 4 score - Mavs 122 - Lakers 86!

But, what was ugly, was the behavior of the Lakers players.  After getting their butts whipped for 4 games in a row, the two time defending champions resorted to dirty play.  As a result of their dirty play Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum were both ejected from the game after dirty hits on Mavericks players.  Talk about sore losers... Go Mavericks!

I stole a cool widget from Sara and her new blog  "Just Call Me Grace" so I can keep track of my running - its over on the left of the blog!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Kicks

Alright, here's the truth.  I have terrible feet.  Terrible.   I don't mean terrible in an annoying way, like Carrot Top telling a joke.   I mean terrible in an painful way, like when you hit your thumb instead of head of the nail when swinging a hammer. (Yeah I hit my thumb pretty hard while working last Tuesday)  Anyway, my feet just suck.  I've tried stability shoes, motion control shoes, cushioned shoes, arch supports, and heel supports.  I've gotten feet massages and soaked them in Epsom salt.  Hell, I'll admit it...At one point I could even answer the question, "Are you Gellin?"  "Yes."

I've heard about how great Asics, New Balance, Saucony, and Brooks shoes are.  I've tried them.  I  liked some of them, didn't like others, but there's been no "great" shoe for me. Nike, Adidas, Puma, K Swiss.  I've sported them all at one time or another.  Heather has a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes, and these really do look interesting to me.  Enough so that I was about to try them when she told me about another shoe she'd seen an ad for.  Some Reebok shoe.  Reebok?!?  I didn't know they even still made shoes.  Then I remembered seeing some Peyton Manning commercials about Zigtech shoes and I said, "No thanks babe."  She assured me it wasn't those shoes, it was something new they had.  So I looked it up online a couple weeks ago and found this interesting video:

Ok I'll admit I was interested.  Maybe I'm a sucker for marketing...maybe I'm just  tired of the sledgehammer hitting my feet...  So when my feet were killing me after my run yesterday I decided I needed a new pair of running shoes.  So tonight I went down to the shoes store to try on these new Reebok shoes.  Most shoes feel awful the instant I put my feet in them, most of the ones that don't feel awful 20 min later.  But when I put these new shoes on they actually felt pretty good.  I walked around in the store for 15 minutes.  I know that may seem like a long time, and the the store clerk agreed, he was discretely keeping and eye on me as if at any moment I might make a run for it and sprint out of the store and steal these new shoes!

Anyway, after getting a good feel for them, and to the relief of the salesman, I didn't run, I bought.

I rushed home slipped them on and headed out to log a few miles and see how they did.  It's only the first run, only three miles.  But they felt GREAT.  An amazing difference.  I only hope the hammer won't be back soon.  I'll keep you posted.

May 6 Stats:

Total Distance: 3.01 Miles

Total Time: 27:31s

Avg Pace: 9:08 min/mile

It's the greatest comeback since Lazerus!

Ok first a little music to listen to while you read.

I posted it on facebook a while back so you might have already heard it, if's still awesome.

Now on to business.  I can't believe how the time is flying.  It's been almost two weeks since I posted a blog.  Despite my lack of commitment to blogging I have been doing great on everything else.  I've been subbing for both Elementary and Middle school and and working on the building out at the farm. 

This morning I sanded the floor down on the second story and it's ready to be stained now.  After I finished with the floor, I installed a pretty cool ceiling fan, the place is really coming together.  I'll have to take some pictures next time I'm out there to post. 

My eating has been pretty close to excellent for six weeks now.  I'm still not doing anything crazy, just eating good foods, limiting my portions to real sizes and eating lots of fruits and veggies and with few exceptions, organic meat.

The most exciting thing going on recently is that my SI problem seems to be gone again.  It's been about two weeks since I had any pain and this week I actually started running again.  Not a lot - 3 miles on Tuesday, and Thursday.  I'm going to do 3 more tonight and then start "going long" on Sundays.  I'm starting with 5 miles tomorrow and I'll increase it by a mile every week.

I also registered for a 5k at the end of a month, I'll run a 10k around the end of June/beginning of July and probably again in August before the Tough Mudder October 8th.  That's subject to change, I might squeeze some other things in there depending on how everything goes.

Also looking forward to reading about Johnny Waite's weekend training for the Death Race.   Go Johnny! 

That's it for now, I'll keep the updates coming more frequently now that I'm actually making progress on my workouts. Oh...I'm down 16 lbs now.  Things are coming around.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Just a quick note to say that another busy week has passed.  I've been substitute teaching in Frankston and working out on my parents farm quite a bit.  The time just seems to be slipping by.

On a positive note I've now gone 4 days without painkillers and it seems like my SI joint is finally getting back to normal again.  I'm going to start working out pretty hard again tomorrow and hopefully my SI joint will respond well to it. 

I'm really looking forward to a return to working out.   Even with my limited mobility and difficulty working out I'm still making positive progress.  I've lost 13 pounds in the past few weeks since moving back, simply from my change in diet.  I'm not doing anything special except eating more veggies and fruits, less meat and the meat I have been eating is hormone free, organic ect. 

I feel great and I can't wait to see the results of adding workouts back in with my healthy eating habits. 

I'm helping administer TAKS testing this week so many long days ahead for the rest of the week.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Busy Week

I finally got my paperwork finished for substituting at Frankston on Tuesday and then I spent the afternoon working on my parents farm. I'm doing some construction work for the kennel/art studio they have been building out on the farm.  I worked pretty late and by the time I drove back to Tyler, fed the dogs, ate some dinner and got ready for bed it was near midnight. 

Exhausted I crawled into bed and passed out!  Five hours later I'm awaken by the phone ringing.  My thought on the matter: "Who is calling at 5am!" But then as I answered the phone I realized I had asked to be woken up like this.  It was the school calling me to tell me they needed me to substitute.

I spent the day with some pretty awesome third graders and all went well.  Then at 4pm I left the school and drove out to the farm to get in a couple more hours of work out there.  Drive, eat, feed dogs, sleep at midnight.  I wake up at 5am expecting the phone to ring, but it doesn't, I lay there till 5:30 and still nothing so I'm thinking, "OK they wont need me today I can sleep in."  I fall back asleep and don't wake back up until....6:45 when the school calls to tell me they need me to sub in kindergarten that day.  6:45! I live at least 30 minutes from Frankston and I still need to shower, eat, dress, and feed the dogs (don't forget I do raw feeding with them so it's not as simple as tossing a scoop of food in the bowl.) 

Rush, rush, rush and speed (even though the jeep doesn't like to speed) to Frankston and then spend the day with the kindergartners!  Then at 4pm I left the school and drove out to the farm to get in a couple more hours of work out there.  Drive, eat, feed dogs, sleep at midnight (sound like a broken record yet)?

Then friday after working at the farm for the majority of the day my mom and I headed into Palestine to take our dogs to the vet.  Remly and Marley needed rabies vaccines and mom had puppies that needed health certificates so they can be shipped and their last round of puppy shots.  What an adventure that was. 

We had to pull over no less than 4 times to try and get those damn puppies to quit tearing stuff up and escaping from their crates.  Add to that the fact that my Remly was killing us with his perpetual farting and it made for one interesting trip, but we finally made it back out to the farm.  From there I bet you can guess... Then at 4pm I left the school and drove out to the farm to get in a couple more hours of work out there.  Drive, eat, feed dogs, sleep at midnight.

And that brings me to today, I had to get up early to get ready for the Tyler ISD job fair.  With the current state of the education in Texas and the number of jobs that are getting cut the job fair wasn't near as productive as it should have been.  It was basically a chance to give my resume to all the different principals without having to travel around to all the schools individually but each principal basically had the same script that they gave to everyone who came and it wasn't very positive.

Soo....after quite a hectic and exhausting week it's awesome that Kyle and Jessica invited me over to their place for dinner tonight!

I leave you with this video of an amazing race - It's the California State Championship 1600m (1 mile), and during the third lap one of the kids starts his "kick" with a lap and half to go - everyone thinks he's miscounted his laps...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

CSI: Canine

Let me start by saying that we used to feed our dogs a raw diet.  If you aren't familiar with what this, it means that instead of putting a scoop of processed grain and meat by-products (dry dog food) into our dog bowls we give them a ratio of raw bone, meat and fat (chicken necks) and organ meat (chicken gizzards and beef liver).  We supplement that with "Force", a dehydrated mix of human grade ingredients, tripe, and a doggie multivitamin.  Sounds expensive right?  Well it sorta is, but it's not as much as you think.  It more closely mimics the natural diet of a canine and the dogs absolutely love it.  They have wonderful coats and their poop turns to dust in a few days (TMI?).  So many healthy benefits to feeding the dogs this way.

Despite all these benefits we actually stopped our raw feeding last summer and started feeding the dogs dry food...a change they were reluctant to make but the time involved in the raw feeding combined with the cost was just too much for us at the time. Fast Forward 9 months to week before last.

We decided to go back to raw feeding.  Remly, our newest dog, had never eaten raw before since we got him after we made the switch.

Thats my sweet boy right after we got him.  Anyway, so we started feeding raw again.  Remly was quite a food-monger before the switch but now he will stalk me anytime i go to the kitchen...He LOVES the new diet.  Everything went fine for a week, the dogs ate well and they looked great.

And then last Sunday, 30 minutes after his evening meal, he broke out in hives.  He totally freaked me out (I'm really overprotective of him after losing Sybil last year).  I started giving him Benadryl, called Heather, and called my mom.  After his third dose of Benadryl he started to look a little better.

I went outside to check the backyard to see if there was anything out there he got in that could have caused an allergic reaction...I found nothing.  I came to the conclusion that it had to have been something in the food.  So I decided to try and narrow it down.  The next morning I gave him only chicken necks and chicken gizzards, no beef and no force.  After breakfast I put him in the backyard as usual to take care of his personal business.  Fifteen minutes later I checked on him, he seemed to be doing fine, so we took off together for the disc golf course.  No sooner did we arrive than I noticed him covered in hives again...Race back home, administer Benadryl, allergy found - he's allergic to the chicken!  Called heather, called mom, relieved to have figured it out but a little stumped as to how I was going to continue his raw food diet without chicken.

That evening he was all cleared up so I put him in the backyard to play for a bit while.  When I let him back in an hour guessed it...covered in hives again, and he hadn't even eaten yet. WTF!  Ok so everything rewound in my head, feeding, activities, ect.  If it wasn't the food, what was it?  So, determined to solve this case I head out to the backyard.  Search everywhere. Find nothing.  Disgruntled and defeated I started to leave the backyard and head back inside...and I see the only thing that has changed in our backyard in the past few days.  Two chairs I put back there a couple days before.  Could he be allergic to the chairs? After a few more testing attempts with the chairs removed, having been fed chicken, the case had been solved.

Remly was allergic to the damn chairs!

Now the only other thing you need to keep in mind to get the full picture:  I was hobbling around while doing all this investigation because of the SI mess.  I'm feeling much better, Remly is doing well, and he is stalking me for more raw food as I'm typing this final sentence.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dig a little deeper.

When I'm dealing with something like this SI injury it's so easy for me to "postpone" physical activities.  "I'll wait until tomorrow, I will probably be feeling better then."  That's what I keep telling myself.  But this is when I have to dig a little deeper.  Search within myself and push myself to do what I need to do.  Was it any easier for Derek Redmond?

Nope, not even close.  What about for Anthony Robles? He just won the NCAA wrestling championship...with only one leg.

And talking about not giving up or just going through the motions when you'd have every reason to...

And if none of those spoke to you as much as the spoke to me...I saved the best for last...amazing - simply amazing.

Inspiration is so motivating.  Thanks to those who've shown such heart so that we can look at what they've done and push ourselves to do our best, even if it's only a fraction of their effort.

A Pain in the Ass (Part II)

Apparently it was a premature assumption that my current bout with my SI joint was nearing the end of its cycle.  The pain WAS almost gone though...I worked all day Saturday at my parent's farm helping my dad with his building project and I really didn't  have a single problem all day.  Sunday I was a little sore but it was a different pain than I normally experience so I figured it was just from all the activity on Saturday...

But Monday, everything changed.  Throughout the day the pain in my butt was pretty bad, but I had been invited to go to the Rangers game in Arlington by a friend of mine and there was no way I was going to let this butt pain beat me!  And so, after hobbling around the ballpark for a couple hours and four hours of sitting in a car (round trip), I found myself in debilitating pain Monday night. 

For example...I live in a really small house and it normally takes about 10 seconds (literally) to walk from the kitchen to my bedroom (and that's the entire length of the house).  Monday night it took me 15 minutes to make the same journey.  With each step, the intense pain shooting into me made my leg want to buckle.   When I finally did make it to the bedroom it was another 5 minutes just to transition from standing to laying down in bed...and that's when the real problem started.  It didnt matter if I was laying on my back, either side, or my stomach, each position somehow was irritating the problem and making it impossible to sleep.

And to make it worse (yes it got worse) each time I shifted my weight or body even a fraction of an inch to try and find a comfortable spot, pain would shoot through me.  At 5am, on the verge of tears, I called Heather for ideas.  I was sure that I needed surgery or maybe even amputation!!...something to end this.  I willed myself out of bed and back across the house, I took 8 ibuprofen, sported my stylish SI belt which is supposed to help support the SI joint and hobbled back across the house.

I sat down at my computer chair and was actually more comfortable sitting than I had been laying down all night.  I dozed off in the chair, woke up 45 minutes later and BAM.  I was considerably better.  I could walk with minimal pain and standing up wasn't excruciating...but how did this happen?

Rather than think about it too long I hurried back to the bedroom, laid back down (with hardly any pain) and passed out for two hours.  When I woke, I was fearful that I'd be all locked up again, but I wasn't.  It was the same.  I had an 11:30 appt. with my chiropractor, and after she twisted me like a pretzel and body-slammed me a few times there was hardly a trace of pain again.

The rest of the day went smoothly and when I woke up this morning everything was still moving smoothly.  I have no idea what caused the pain to start, or exactly why it left... But I can tell you that today I'm going to enjoy every step I take.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Pain in the Ass

No, really.   I'm serious...I've been suffering off and on for a couple years from SI joint pain...or that's the diagnosis from Dr. Google M.D.   Every few months a mild pain starts developing directly in the center of my right buttock.  It increases in intensity over the course of a few days and after a week I can barely walk.  It's painful to sit, bend over, and even just lay down.

I've killed ibuprofen, heated it, iced it...pretty much anything I could think of.  It's quite awkward to go to the doctor and explain that you have a pain in your butt, but I did that.  I had x-rays and of course nothing could be found, no explanation of what was going on...I've been to a chiropractor with mixed results, and then just as the pain comes, one day it doesn't hurt as bad, and the next day even less and eventually its gone.

SI joint pain, Sciatica...whatever it is, it really is a pain in the ass.  As fate would have it this always seems to happen when I have plans to do something important.  So, as if on queue...I started this new dedication to life and my butt began to hurt.  It's already started to subside, in fact its just about gone (thankfully the entire episode was less than two weeks).  But, why is it that someone can do this:

And I have difficulty simply walking a few times a year...

My hopes are that better diet and exercise will help prevent this mess from occuring as often in the future.   Only time will tell.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Half a package of hot dogs (are you f*#@ing kidding me??) - trashed.

I didn't see myself as someone who would be writing a blog, yet here I am...It's closing in on midnight and I'm tied to the computer, committed to finishing my first post on my brand new blog.  I'm almost compelled to do this.  I'm turning over a new leaf, starting a new chapter in my life.

I moved from Texas to Ohio following my graduation, and then turned around and moved right back three months later.  It wasn't the cold (although I hated that) and it wasn't the snow (I hated that too), it was the long grey days, one after another that seemed to never end.  It was the lack of sunshine.  By mid-March I was  ready to retreat from the oppressive Ohio winter and thaw in the Texas heat, and after a week, I have.  It's the first day of the rest of my life.

My weight has been slowly but steadily creeping up over the past two years.  I've made halfhearted attempts to "get back in shape," losing five or ten pounds, only to get derailed all too easily and gain it back and then some.  And that's how it's been, one step forward, and two steps back...over and over.  The last such attempt happened right before the move to Ohio.  I shed 10 pounds over a couple months of pretty committed working out and was sitting at 180 lbs.  Nowhere near where I wanted to be, but well on my way nonetheless.  Three months of hibernation in Ohio left me nearing 200 lbs and by far the heaviest I have ever been in my life.  It's time make a change.

But, I've said that before, and so, last week, with the best of intentions I started planning how I was going to turn things around and get back to where I wanted to be, where I needed to be.  As I started searching through different workouts and planning what races I wanted to register for, I stumbled across something that has inspired me to change my life.  It was of all things....a blog.  Living myself to Death, written by Johnny Waite.

The first post I read was his account of an intense training for and extreme endurance race: The Death Race.  It was an entertaining read, but it was the very end that really hit home.  Here is the excerpt from his blog that has made the difference for me in my commitment to healthy living:

But here is the most important thing I learned...
Joe did NOT say "Let's see if we can get this tire to the top of the mountain".

He said "Let's get this tire to the top of the mountain."

There is all the difference in the world between those two statements.

He did not know if it would take two hours or two days. He just knew we were going to do it.

Take a look at where you can apply that in your own life. Where do you say "I am going to try to..." or "Let's see if we can...". Because that will be where you fail. You have already given yourself the "out".

Instead, declare"This is what I am going to do." Period. No matter what.

And that's exactly what I am going to do, No more "outs" for me.  I AM going to get in the best shape of my life (Years ago I ran a 4:45 mile and a 16 minute 5k).  Beyond working out, I know the importance of a healthy diet and just as I've made attempts to get in shape in the past I've also included healthy diet...or what I thought was healthy.  As fate would have it, not a week after reading the first blog by Johnny he posted something that moved me even more than before.  His post entitled Do you love your meat? is amazing and thought provoking.  Just check out this video.

After watching that video Johnny went to his fridge and one of the things he found was a half of a package of hot dogs.  His reaction to those hot dogs is the inspiration for the title of my first blog post.

I personally won't be headed to a vegetarian or vegan diet anytime soon, but it definitely gave me the added incentive to buy the hormone free, antibiotic free, free range, and grass fed, organic, ect. chicken, eggs and beef.  But fast food....not if its meat.

I've written far more than I intended, but I'm 100% committed to my new eating choices and to working out, and I'm extremely thankful that I stumbled across Living Myself to Death.  Thank You Johnny.