Saturday, January 29, 2011


Don't forget to join the 2-minute Burpee Challenge.

Ran another 10-miler in training today. Beat my old 16-km PR by 7 minutes and 16 seconds!

Miles 3&4 were supposed to be at Marathon Pace, be dumbass me, picked the toughest uphill part of the run to do 3&4, did I mention it was into the wind and blowing snow (and locusts ... and mustard gas ...)

I got lead-feet just after Mile 10 and it was absolutely awesome!!!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Burpee Contest

  1. only burpees with push-ups count (Katie will have a demonstration at Run for the Bikini
  2. most completed burpees in two minutes
  3. last time to enter your results is end of Sunday February 20 (in your time zone)
  4. results will be tabulated on Monday February 21 and announced shortly afterwards
  5. enter results as often as you like at the Burpee Results Page
  6. prize for first, second, third and last will be a banner graphics for your blog, an interview, and lasting admiration of your fellow blogizens
  7. any results also including a video of the entire 2 minutes will be entered into a gift give-away random draw (one entry per person) - the more video entrants the more gifts will be offered to placing results 
  8. Form will be judged by Katie at Run for the Bikini
Katie has a great description of the Burpee.  (Zuzana Light - a fellow Canadian of Slavic decent - called and asked if she could be considered if Katie was not going to do it. Katie agreed, so it was no contest.  Next time Zuzana.) 

Interesting stuff from the Discovery Channel (boom-dee-a-da, boom-dee-a-da) that Katie talked about:

Burpee Results Page

Post your official results in the Burpee Contest below.
Include video links if you like or url's back to your blog.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Belt-Hole Progress & Burpee Contest Maybe?

In mid-August I wrote a post on the Bulletin of the Belt where I tracked my weight loss progress with the belt loop I was on.  I'm due for the next post on the topic in February, but I want to toss some of my belts out of my closet so I thought I'd to the post now.

So far (last 8 months) I've lost 9 inches worth of belt-holes, and about 55 or so pounds (of fat).

Just as a feeler: Anyone interested in a burpee contest?  Most burpees in 2 mins.  I'll host the contest and I'll see if I can't get a few prizes for the winners that everyone can use.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The King's Speech

Some points you should know about me as a reviewer:

  1. I'm 45, and have had my fill of holding dieing people's hands, near-death experiences, sickness and family loss in my own life
  2. I prize witty, clever, and intelligent humor
  3. I don't enjoy films about the British Monarchy
  4. I like "based on historic facts" movies
  5. I don't like overly-simplified characters
  6. I don't like shooting or car chases when I pay $13/ticket (it's alright with commercials on TV though)
  7. I don't like 5000 main characters in a movie
  8. I like movies about personal struggle and the way people address their difficulties
Overall, this movie was quite good.  The only negative point is that if you don't know much about Wallace Simpson and Edward VIII (like my wife), you won't understand what a shock the changes were for England and how the way "Bertie" interacted with him developed the main character.  Of course this is not a fault of the movie, as you need to be a little educated to understand what was happening, but the movie sort-of assumes you should know what is happening.  The movie seemed to float by and was well paced, and did not fill me with too much pomp and nonsense about the British Monarchy - it presented some key people as likable.  They say some dirty words in it - and it's actually funny!

So my review of this movie (that my wife dragged me to) is:
▪▪▪▪▫ 4 out of 5

Not a running movie, but I felt surprised enough by it recommend it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Vitamin D

Went to the Dr. yesterday to review my blood work.  Absolutely everything was ok except for Vitamin D.

66 nmol/L

Doctor says that +75 is good, but +100 would be better since I have Osteopenia in neck and tail bone and you need Vitamin D to absorb Calcium.  I take pills with Vitamin D/Calcium and eat a lot of dairy, but I'm going to have to up the Vitamin D supplements.

Slight addendum for everyone (I tried to find a more forceful source to back up what my doctor said, but the best I could find was SUNLIGHT, VITAMIN D AND HEALTH by Laurance Johnston, Ph.D):

"Exposure to vitamin-D-producing UVB light can vary greatly depending upon many factors, including time of day and year; and the latitude, altitude, and prevailing weather conditions of where we live.
"Latitude is especially important. For example, if you live north of about 37° (roughly, a line from Richmond to San Francisco), you will be exposed to little UVB from at least November through February because the sun’s zenith angle is so low that the atmosphere absorbs most UVB before it reaches you."

What do you guys use?

Some Childish Humor for the Start of the Weekend

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Motivation and the Pulse Button

I have a question for you.

There is a time when we get tested.  We've all had them.  Physics exam in University.  Attending a sports team try-out in high-school.  Lifting a boiling-hot dragon-emblazoned cauldron with your writs.  If we are prepared well, these events are less stressful times than when we are not prepared.

When I was actually blending a shake in high-school about 30 years ago, I wondered what that pulse button was on the blender.  I noticed the blender went cookoo for cocoa-puffs every time I pushed it: the counter would shake, the potted herbs on the window sill would rock back and forth.  And the shake would come out extra frothy.  I liked extra frothy.  So I blended with that button pushed in manually every time!

The blender broke.  It couldn't handle the stress.

The real purpose of the pulse button was to mix up the routine of blending and to break a log-jam in the activity. Press it for a second or two, have the stuck stuff drop into the blades and then let it blend as normal, then release the pulse button.

I think as runners we have a pulse button as well.  I reach for mine when I have to run negative split intervals and I have about 1/2 mile to go in my workout.  Or when the workout changes from 400x track repeats to 800x track repeats and my body is telling me at 401m, "Hey, we're supposed to slow down now buddy."

I've been looking at what wakes me up to deliver: I've been creating images in my mind of different situations:

  1. running for fear of my life
  2. running to save someone's life
  3. running to show someone that their opinion doesn't count
  4. running to feel like being strong, muscular and healthy
  5. running in the zone

The jury is still out on this, but appealing to the emotions involved in the first 3 doesn't work to motivate me.  What I do see is that moving out of the social/judgmental/intellectual state of mind into an animal/instinctual zone seems to be more effective.

But the amazing conclusion I have in my running is that whenever the "mind" gets involved, I run poorly.  When my mind steps out of the way and just I just am, I run better.

Do you have a pulse button and what is it?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

No Laughing at this Post

The coach's training plan has me running around 25 miles a week.  During it I have different types of running speeds and distances, and then I also have hill repeats, stride-outs, track intervals and drills after the most energy-consuming runs (of course that has changed this week!).  Plus I do weights, cross-training and core stretching and strengthening workouts.

Ok, just wanted to set the tone that I do work hard.  Keep that in mind when you watch this video of me doing a couple of Mountain Climbers and Burpees with Push-ups.  I know it looks like I'm an injured whale caught in a fishing net, but I just got back from a mixed interval run in freezing rain - and I'm tired.  My form is pretty bad (if you can call it form) mostly because I have this big gut hanging there.  It is getting smaller - slowly!  Also notice the lightning speed of the workout ... I had to cut the whole 15 down to 3 from the front and side, else the video would take half an hour to load!

Notice the T-Shirt?  I got it in the mail on Monday!  Thanks EMZ: one day I'll be fast enough to be chicked by you at the 13.1 mile mark in a Marathon!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Secret to Everything

Jerry Rice was born and raised in Crawford, Mississippi.  The young Jerry, developed strength in his hands while he worked with his father, a brick mason.  As a high-school football player, he was selected to the All-State list, but was made no scholarship offers from the first division college teams.  In the early 80s (coming from a second tier NCAA college) Mississippi Valley State's coach Archie Cooley made him an offer to play at Itta Bena, Mississippi and Jerry accepted.

From 1981 to 1984, he lead the division in receptions, receiving yards, and named the first team All-American. He also set a single game record by catching 24 passes.  But when it came to the NFL draft, he was chosen 16th.  (The USFL had drafted him 1st!)

For 15 years in a row he managed to reach 1000 yards receiving; he was named player of the year 3 times and rookie of the year in 1985.  He made the Pro-Bowl 13 times and the All-Pro team 11 times.  In addition to having three super bowl rings, he is currently rated as the #1 NFL Player of all time!

People would write to the coaching staff of the 49ers and ask them for information on Jerry's training.  The coaches didn't want to release the information, not for fear that another team would learn the secret, but that they were afraid that people would hurt themselves. Rice would run 2½ miles nonstop up hill (at The Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve) each and every day during the off-season. Then his cool down was ten 100-yard "Easy Stride-Outs" up the first leg of the hill! He would also tackle more conventional training regimens with similar intensity.

What was the secret to his success as a football player?  Rice said, "It was about being able to put your body through pain." And that ability was driven by his desire and love for the thing he was doing.

Good luck runners!  You are called to be brilliant!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Protein Powders

I try to eat a lot more protein than usual because I want to build hard useful muscle mass.  Apparently muscle mass can't be built from water, fire, beer or celery, so you need to increase your protein on a daily basis to make sure you have the muscle-building components floating around your system when they are needed.  Anyway that's the theory I'm under right now.

In the past 16 weeks I've been chowing down on a variety of protein powders. They are quite good in comparison to the yeast bars we had to eat when we were weight-lifting in the 80s on the football team. There was also this drink that tasted a lot like a slurry of freshly cut grass and cottage cheese that I stayed away from when I was working out.  The flavors of today's powders are "a little" more palpable.

I currently use Promasil, but I have used all of the WHEY products in the table below in the past 16 weeks.

From Wikipedia:

Whey  protein is the name of globular proteins that can be isolated from whey. (Whey or milk plasma is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained.)  It is typically a mixture of globinstagers beta-lactoglobulin (~65%), alpha-lactalbumin (~25%), and serum albumin (~8%), which are soluble in their native culture forms, independent of pH.

My point to moving around to different products is to get some variety in the "claimed" mix of nutrients and protein-types AND not be forced to figure out how that flavor I'm tasting is supposed to be the flavor on the container.  You should take the flavors and consistencies as "my opinion only" and you need to make a decision on your own.  As you notice I think they're all pretty yucky (yucky is a scientific term).

Per Serving
/100 g of pro
Size (g)
Actual Flavor and Consistency
Soft-Serve Vanilla
Paint Bucket
Yak Vomit With Chunks
Football-sized cylinder
Raw Chicken Juice
Vanilla Ice Cream
Football-sized cylinder
Shopper's Drug Mart
Camel Dung Soaked In Fermenting Milk
Dutch Chocolate
Ready Mix Drywall Compound
online- US GNC
Dry-Grilled Cat Turd
Creamy Vanilla
Football-sized cylinder
online- US GNC
Nivea mixed with Oil-based Primer

They all have different contents and marketing spins.  Promasil, for example, claims that it is the only protein mix endorsed by the Canadian Olympic Committee and guaranteed not to have any banned sports substances.  I'm trying out for the Olympics next weekend, so I'm pleased with this information!!!!

I have mixed them with many different types of milks and flavored milks, but they taste the least offensive to me when they are mixed with chilled reverse-osmosis water.

I haven't noticed any deviation from this, but the larger the container the better your cost is per serving.

I will probably try others as well, but I'll stick to vanilla, and a mid-sized container.  Prices also vary, and stores will have sales/promotions for certain brands over the season.  But I will be sticking with a size and protein content that gives me 100g of protein for under $5.00.  The giant containers are great for saving money - but I'll buy them once I try it from a smaller container.  There's nothing like the feeling you get when you experience having it delivered on forklift to your front door and the first drink you have you think, "Yummy, I've got a knee-high ready mix drywall compound container of dry-grilled cat turd to get through in the next two months!"  And then the amazing thing is, you use it all up!

I think I'm insane.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

From Spiritual Direction

My Lord God, 
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, 
and the fact that I think that I am following your will 
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe 
that the desire to please you 
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire
in all that I am doing.

I hope 
that I will never do anything 
apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this 
you will lead me by the right road, 
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust you always 
though I may seem to be lost 
and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, 
for you are ever with me, 
and you will never leave me 
to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude" 
© Abbey of Gethsemani

I received this from my Spiritual Director Fr. Roger today.  He doesn't know I'm a wannabe runner, and this prayer was to help me gain courage and hope in some career decisions I need to make shortly.  But In my mind, it says so much about running that I thought I would share it with you.

I was out on the slush and ice tonight on a 7 mile run (1 mi wu + 5 mi @ 10:48 + 1 mi cd) and I tripped on a big chunk of ice, did a summersault and slid for about 6 yards.  Got up right away and stepped lightly on it, then hobbled for a few yards and then ran the rest of the run at 75% with a light touch on the left foot!  It's slightly swollen, but I've got Dr. Miracle working on it and I'm listening to her 100%!  It was iced and then was taped up with "spider-tape" to immobilize some of the movement.  I run next on Monday.  I think I should be 98.2% by then!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blog Awards

I received the following awards recently:

Stylish Blogger Award (from Julie @ Hotlegs Runner, Teamarcia @ Running off at the Mouth, Chris @ BQ or Die), and the Versatile Blogger Award (from Julie @ Hotlegs Runner).

Thank you all!!!

My Versatile Blogger responses haven't actually changed much they are here.

The rules for the Stylish Blogger hot potato are:
1. Link back to the person who awarded this to you.
2. Tell us 7 things about you.
3. Select 5 recently discovered bloggers to pass this onto.
4. Let them know they've been selected.

7 things:
  1. I pull to the side of the road when I see an email from Chris on my BlackBerry
  2. I get excited when Adam reads a month's worth of blog one evening and then pees on the corner posts
  3. I was sad to see that KC kept the streak alive
  4. I don't watch much sports anymore on TV (remote is owned by the other people in the house - I think they're called my family)
  5. I want to spend more time with my wife (she's the one in bed with me - so awake time)
  6. I shaved my beard
  7. I have trouble counting
  8. I like good sci-fi movies with good plots (they don't need a lot of action)

5 recently discovered bloggers:
  1. Abby (Fit to run for fun)
  2. Nej (I think I can, I think I can)
  3. Julie (Adventure is out there)
  4. Jonathan (Triathlon MD)
  5. Jeff (Detroit Runner)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pounds Off Playoffs

Thanks for all your great support, wisdom and humor for my Wannabe post yesterday!

Alan, writes a blog called the Pounds off Playoffs.  I don't know how I started to read his blog, but he's gotten to a pretty important cusp in his blog's raison d'être.  And I'd like everyone to know about it.

The background (src: about)

The blog is about everything, but mostly about what diets work with Alan.  He's chosen 16 different diets, does each diet for a week.  Pairs up the diets two at a time, and then the one that helped him lose the most weight goes on to the next round.  Then he pairs them up again and they fight it out.  He's lost 29 lbs. but his writing hasn't lost any wit along the way.  I also enjoy his weight-loss profiles of well-known sports personalities.

So yesterday he posted The Final Four Edition:
  • 2500 Calories per day Diet
  • No Processed Food Diet
  • 8:00 Curfew Diet
  • Three Strikes Diet
I was kinda partial to the "No Whites" diet as I felt this punished him the most (I'm a sadist)!

There's still a few months to go ... please check the blog out!

I won a blogger award from The Hotlegs Runner, that I'll try to post on in the next couple of days, and I wanted to post a bit on my protein shakes that I've been trying ... plus a painful movie of me doing my 20 burpees in a row.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Reflection on Running and "SELFING"

from the free dictionary:

wan·na·be also wan·na·bee (wn-b, wôn-) Informal
  • One who aspires to a role or position.
  • One who imitates the behavior, customs, or dress of an admired person or group.
  • A product designed to imitate the qualities or characteristics of something.
  • Wishing or aspiring to be; would-be.

I am a wannabe, someone who aspires to be a runner.  I imitate the training, eating, dress and customs of my admired group of people: runners (like Jill, Chris, Adam, Beth, EMZ, Johann, Kovas, Q, Neil - but with shoes on).  I am designing myself to imitate the qualities and characteristics of great runners.  I think "wannabe" is a perfect description of me and the way I have been operating.

I enter larger chip-timed races because those races draw the better runners.  I almost always end the race in the back of the pack.  Never for one moment do I believe I am of their caliber.  No.  But I want to be of their caliber.  I want to see them start (but I don't see them finish).

I follow some awesome blogs, and I see the times posted for a mile pace for training (6:22, 7:20, 7:45).  I just ran a full mile at the track after a warm-up in 10:19.  I thank you for your stating that I am a runner.  But I am personally challenged to be a better runner - a faster runner - a longer runner.

I have currently chosen to run an 8-miler in Waterloo on February 20th.  If the Macmillan Running Calculator is correct, and based on last years results, I will end up either the last male or the last person to finish the race at my current running speeds.  That seems super foolish doesn't it?  Why would a grown man do such silly things?  Well, it's because I'm a wannabe.

But please, I don't think being a wannabe at this stage in my abilities is an insult.  I am not discouraged. I am not negative.  I have not missed one training run since I started running.  I have skipped indulging in food that take me off my diet.  I barely know what alcohol is. I am being coached (my closest know what that means).  I do these insane drills (not because some coach will be angry if I miss them, but because I will have wasted an opportunity to convert my desire into achievement.)

I am a wannabe!

I want to run around the track and have flames sparking from under my feet.  I want to come from behind and rip past the struggling herd of finishers to take the win.  I want to reach deep down in my soul, and surprise myself by breaking through tremendous pain to pull incredible drive out of my legs, arms, chest, lungs and beating heart!  I want every emotion (fear, hate, love, forgiveness) to fight in me because I know that for a few moments I am alive fighting with myself.

When I went out running for the Virtual 5k on Saturday, I slipped (even with my spikes) about 4 times before I passed 10 homes on my street.  I had to make a decision on whether this was going to be a killer run, matching my most recent 5k, or a disaster.  I decided to laugh at my situation.  It rains (and snows) on the good and the bad.  No sense in taking it personally - there will be other days.  The only promise I made with myself was that I will be trained for the day that has my name on it.

Even though the weekend's post is kinda funny.  I was really pissed off that I couldn't run later when I knew the sun would be out and the roads would be plowed - but I had family plans that came first.

But I warn you Andrew Opala, there is enough time during each week, that I am going to get so trained up I am going to unleash a can of whoop-ass and kick the PRs of your whole family!  No need to wave when I pass you, cuz you'll be just yesterday's news - blowin in the wind.

It's like Dooding and Chicking but when you pass yourself in the last 100 m of the race it's called SELFING! :)  And it's what I'm after!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

FYTO Virtual 5K Race Report

Race day starts with a good breakfast at 9 am (1 cup of oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup)

Weather report: 18°F heavy snow to 6 inches, feels like: 5°F Wind: N 11 m/h ... looking out the front door it doesn't look much more than 5 1/2 inches.

Throw my gear on, pin my race bib on, and snap a picture of the dumbass that going to run in this weather.

Warm up for a mile or so.

Am I warm yet?

Nope ...

It did warm up a bit (no that's not a police helicopter search light)

It got absolutely balmy!  (Had to put some spf 45 on)

Got a little lost, but there was no difference between the rock hard grass and the tar path - both were covered with snow

Made the turn for the finish line and was moved by a pretty flag waving in the pines:

Had some difficulty running quickly in the 6 inch snow.

(P.S. Never look at your feet when you should be looking straight ahead)

But when I got home I checked.  One ... two ... yes the same number of feet I left with ...

Total time 5k: 42:43.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Winter Running Gear

I ran track intervals on Tuesday.  I've been running track intervals for the last 12 or 13 weeks.  I felt a great desire to impress Jill with my speed so I hunkered down to launch fire from my feet.  About 600 meters into 1600 meter interval, I did a Mary Lou Retton split!  So I start turning to the straight away and my front leg gives out and I'm sliding into first.  I got up and finished, ... then progressively slower than I wanted to.

Because the whole city is cold and dry, and the track I run on had about a quarter-inch of powdery snow on it (and a bunch of cratered frozen footprints and potholes), I assumed that my regular running shoes would be fine as usual.  

I went online and ordered some yaktrax but they still haven't given me a shipping date ... so I went to my local Canadian Tire store (Garmin says: 2.42 km from my front door) and picked up a pack of XL Gripons.

I went running on them today for a little fun, but needed to tear through some snow-covered fields to see them work ... they were sort of annoying on the dry road.  They worked pretty well and I could see how the initial position I had placed them in on my shoe altered a bit in the way I regularly struck my foot on the ground over time.

The rubber is not reinforced, and I can see it catastrophically ripping apart while I'm turning on the track - but so what!  They only cost me $12 CDN ($12.04 US) at the store.  Made in Taiwan, with some Chinglish instructions "She should purchase the next larger size for use on the ski boots".  I plan to pocket them for my warmup and cooldown and only put them on at the track.  Maybe they'll last a bit longer.

Tomorrow I run part of my training as the FYTO Virtual 5k.

I've even put together a race bib for myself (please excuse my presumptuousness - but I was first to register from Mississauga!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


December Totals
Total Kms:148.8
Total Miles:93.0
Core Workouts/Drills:8
Weight Workouts:8
5K Races1

2010 Totals
Total Kms:872.5
Total Miles:545.3
5K Races2
10K Races1

Have you ever had a vacation and then came back and realized you need another vacation to recover?  Well, that's me right now!

We had an awesome couple of weeks with the family, enjoying Christmas, Holy Family, New Years, and Epiphany.  Lot's of good food and fun for everyone (even me) last week.  Part of my diet last week was to eat about 2 dozen eggs and down about 10 scoops of protein powder.  And last weeks training runs were just tiring!  And through all the fun I lost 5 pounds over the holidays!  The coach was kind to me - I could have easily been made to lose 10.  I guess there is some kindness inside that Colorado Running Computer after all!  The coach is an asset - I recommend one to everyone who wants to improve.

I don't make new years resolutions.  I just make them when I make them.  I think waiting for certain dates to start things is a little anti-awesome.  And I wannabe awesome.

But what's in the cards for the next couple of weeks you ask? ... continue training, tuning, improving my fitness, running more 5ks, 10ks, maybe a few 10 milers, maybe even a half.  So far I have a virtual 5k on Saturday, and I'm thinking about doing the refrigerator 8-miler in Waterloo on February 20, 2011 (guaranteed PR!).

Tomorrow I'll post a bit on my slippery ground running kit I'm trying out, plus some of my super favorite exercises for generating curses and swearing, and a scale that is being returned for a refund!

Thank you everyone for the awesome gifts, and wishes.  I wish you all a awesome New Year of hard-fought victories and difficult challenges that make you drink the juice of life from every day!!!!