Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mission Complete

DISCLAIMER: If you offended by foul language or you are a minor, please do not read today's blog.  There will be some offensive language.  Sorry. 

I'm not afraid to take a stand
Everybody come take my hand
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel that you've been down the same road

When I started this blog, the main objective was to journal my quest in never allowing myself to become sedentary and lose my athleticism that I have had most of my life.  It is used as a motivator for myself to find new and different athletic events.  My first event chosen was to run a marathon.  I was 16 weeks out from the event when I started training, which usually isn't long enough time but I figured because I am in relatively good shape, I could just jump into training.  If you have read this blog enough, you will know that I have had several setbacks.  Up until today, there was absolutely nothing done in my training to indicate that I was ready for this.  Knee problems, a week long vacation 4 weeks before the race, and generally only being able to train 3 days a week.  My confidence was very small this morning when I hit the finish line.  I simply told myself I would do the best I can and whatever happens will happen.  I said  few prayers to Jesus to help me get through this without the pain in my knee. 

You can try and read my lyrics off of this paper before I lay 'em
But you won't take this thing out these words before I say 'em
Cause ain't no way I'm let you stop me from causing mayhem
When I say 'em or do something I do it, I don't give a damn
What you think, I'm doing this for me, so fuck the world
Feed it beans, it's gassed up, if a thing's stopping me
I'mma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly
And all those who look down on me I'm tearing down your balcony
No if ands or buts don't try to ask him why or how can he
From Infinite down to the last Relapse album he's still shit'n
Whether he's on salary, paid hourly
Until he bows out or he shit's his bowels out of him
Whichever comes first, for better or worse
He's married to the game, like a fuck you for christmas
His gift is a curse, forget the earth he's got the urge
To pull his dick from the dirt and fuck the universe

I began the race and the very first song was I'm Not Afraid by Eminem.  The lyrics that are written in italics are from that song.  During my training this was my go-to song whenever I was feeling overwhelmed by the task of 26.2 miles.  But that just happened to be the first song today from my ipod.  I knew right then it was going to be my day.  The first 10 miles of the race were easy.  Nothing monumental, in fact I don't even remember much about them.  Oh, with the exception of running through the infield at Churchill Downs.  AMAZING.  Highlight of the race.  There was a bit of stench coming from the stables though so that was kind of gross but other than that, the sight running through the Downs was awesome.  Things started getting a little hairy when I hit mile 13 in Iroquois Park. 

Ok quit playin' with the scissors and shit, and cut the crap
I shouldn't have to rhyme these words in the rhythm for you to know it's a rap
You said you was king, you lied through your teeth
For that fuck your fillings, instead of getting crowned you're getting capped
And to the fans, I'll never let you down again, I'm back
I promise to never go back on that promise, in fact
Let's be honest, that last Relapse CD was "ehhhh"
Perhaps I ran them accents into the ground
Relax, I ain't going back to that now
All I'm tryna say is get back, click-clack BLAOW
Cause I ain't playin' around
There's a game called circle and I don't know how
I'm way too up to back down
But I think I'm still tryna figure this crap out
Thought I had it mapped out but I guess I didn't
This fucking black cloud still follow's me around
But it's time to exercise these demons
These motherfuckers are doing jumping jacks now!

The knee pain started at that point and I knew this would not be good.  I kept saying prayers to help get me through the pain but it didn't go away.  Finally, at mile 14 I was forced to walk.  I walked for 5 minutes and picked up the running again.  I did this for about the next 2 miles.  At the 15 mile mark, I remembered that I brought some ibuprofen.  You're not really supposed to take this while running because it might upset your stomach and it'll mask the pain while not fixing it.  Well I WANTED to mask the pain so I could complete the race.  The medicine kicked in at about mile 17 and I was able to run pain free for the next 6 miles.  That was great!  I kept waiting for the pain to come back but it held off until 23 miles. 

And I just can't keep living this way
So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage
I'm standing up, Imma face my demons
I'm manning up, Imma hold my ground
I've had enough, now I'm so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now

Downstait.  Holy cow this couldn't have come at a better time.  I got my pace back up to about a 9 minute mile and maintained that for the rest of the way. 

It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me
Admittedly I probably did it subliminally for you
So I could come back a brand new me, you helped see me through
And don't even realise what you did, believe me you
I been through the ringer, but they can do little to the middle finger
I think I got a tear in my eye, I feel like the king of
My world, haters can make like bees with no stingers, and drop dead
No more beef flingers, no more drama from now on, I promise
To focus soley on handling my responsibility's as a father
So I solemnly swear to always treat this roof like my daughters and raise it
You couldn't lift a single shingle on it
Cause the way I feel, I'm strong enough to go to the club
Or the corner pub and lift the whole liquor counter up
Cause I'm raising the bar, I shoot for the moon
But I'm too busy gazing at stars, I feel amazing and

I finished the race around 4 hours and 10 minutes, I think.  I really have no idea.  It was somewhere around that.  I originally wanted 3:30 and then as of yesterday I slowed it down to 4 hours.  But today wasn't about time for me.  I did something I never thought was possible for me.  I am very much a fast twitch muscle fiber guy that used to think running anything over a mile was pointless.  I went beyond what I thought was possible.  Sure my whole body feels like it's been hit with a hammer right now, but it was worth it.  I did it.  I actually got a little emotional at the end because, again, my body wasn't really bred for this and I never ever thought this was going to happen.  Going back to the beginning of this entry, there was nothing to indicate from my training that I would make me believe I could actually finish.  But I did.  SCREW YOU 26.2!  I BEAT YOU!  YOU DID NOT WIN, I DID! 

I'm not afraid to take a stand
Everybody come take my hand
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel that you've been down the same road

It's funny, at mile 18 I remember thinking to myself, I wonder if I could complete an Ultra Marathon.  Hmmm...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Less than 2.5 days

For 2 weeks now, my wife has been battling a terrible case of nausea.  For about 10 days now, my son Eli has been battling a terrible case of nausea.  Yesterday my son Abe had nausea and threw up.  Today, I felt nauseated.  NOT NOW!  I have less than 60 hours until the race and I can't afford to be sick.  This is not the time!  NO!  I'm not sure how I'm going to battle this but I am not going to allow all of my training go by the wayside because 2 days prior to the race I get sick.  Screw that!  If I have to run the marathon with a bottle of pepto in one hand and peppermint candy in the other, I will. 

I have rested for the last 2 days.  I plan on heading out to the street tomorrow morning for about 2 miles just to stay loose.  I've been going through all of my mobility exercises with my hips and ankles.  I've been loading up on ibuprofen and have been icing my knees every night.  Tomorrow I am loading up on my food because the optimal time to load up is 48 hours prior, not the night before which is what is routinely accepted.  I'm getting very excited about this and am hoping that my knees allow me to complete the whole thing. 

For you CrossFit lovers in the area, there are some big things happening to the Louisville Crossfit scene.  The gentlemen down at Derby City CrossFit are moving out of thier downtown location and moving to the St. Matthews area.  I've noticed they seem to be moving away from the total CrossFit concept and moving towards a powerlifting gym.  Kind of like Louisville's version of Westside Barbell.  Moving into DCCF's site downtown will be a new CrossFit affiliate called CrossFit The Ville.  It's run by a fellow named Jacob and I spoke to him on the phone today.  He's got some really great ideas and sounds like he has a lot of similar ideas and thoughts as I do.  What's going to be a little unique about this is that he is partnering with CrossFit Louisville East.  Jacob and Daniel are going to allow their members to workout at either facility.  Nice idea and I think it will do wonders for the CrossFit scene in Louisville.  I think it'll help establish Louisville as a hot hub for CrossFit.  At least that's what I hope. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Your Mobility

We take how we move for granted.  We wake up, sometimes a little tight, maybe a little sore from yesterday's workout, and we go about our day.  Maybe if we are still sore and tight by lunch time, we might take some ibuprofen.  Then after work we head back to the gym, maybe stretch for about 5 minutes, maybe do 5 minutes on the treadmill to "warm up" and we get going with our respective workout.  What I just described to you is a typical day for the average person the exercises.  It's extremely common.  I've been in the fitness field for 10 years and that scene is something I observe all of the time.  But it's wrong.  Everything about that is wrong, with the exception of maybe feeling tight and sore in the morning. 

There's a growing movement in the fitness field and I have touched briefly on this before and I'm going to keep talking about it until it finally sinks into your brain.  The movement has to deal with increasing mobility and stability to prevent further injury, improve performance, and possibly rehabilitate past injuries.  Grey Cook has done a wonderful job of marketing the Functional Movement Screen.  More and more universities, high schools, pro teams, and gyms are all starting to incorporate the FMS into their screening and assessment process.  I highly recommend you check out to check out more information about it.  Another route you could take is by checking out  This site is run by Kelly Sterrett and he showcases 2-5 minute videos of mobility exercises you can do everyday. 

These gentlemen, along with countless other individuals in the fitness world are moving towards emphasizing mobility exercises before moving on to heavier Olympic lifts.  If you're not into Olympic lifts (WHY NOT?), then performing the mobility exercises before taking that spin class, jazzercise, running, rowing, or whatever machine you are heading to.  I spoke to a female to today and she was having all kinds of knee problems.  I asked her to lay down and allow my to passively move her knee around in its natural range of motion.  No pain.  So that tells me that her knee pain when she moves is actually coming from her hips (or ankles).  I asked her if she has tight hips and she said they are insanely tight.  Boom!  Imagine that.  So I gave her some exercises to do to help loosen up that hip joint.  Not just the muscles around the hip, but the joint itself.  She said she is going to do these exercises and get back to me on how she feels.  I have a feeling that she is going to be feeling a whole lot better if she does these exercises regularly. 

By performing mobility and stability exercises daily, you will help your workouts, decrease occurrence of injury, and help rehab some deficiencies you might have from years of training (wrongly).  So go check out those 2 sites, seek out some help from your local trainer, or shoot me an email.  I'll be glad to help you any way I can.  Good luck and happy mobility everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

1 Week!

Can you feel it?  I sure can!  The race is 1 week away.   I think I have trained enough and I think I have eaten well enough.  I guess I will find out in a week.  My issues with my knees is well chronicled so far and that is still my biggest concern.  I have written the organizers of the Derby Marathon to switch me to the Mini (twice) but I have yet to hear anything from them.  If they don't allow me to switch, I'm just going to do the best I can on the full and see what happens.  My chiropractor went to town on my knees, fascia, IT band, and whatever else he could get his hands on.  I've been trying to roll my muscles, fascia, and bands out with a simple rolling pin every day.  I"ve also been trying to ice the knees every day.  I'm praying that this is enough to get me through.  I have a feeling that it won't be but there is nothing that can be done about that. 

My workouts recently have been focused on tempo and cadence.  I never really knew what tempo consisted of or the importance of it but several people who have run marathons have told me recently that I really need to pay attention to the cadence of my strides.  Cadence prevents you from over striding, which is what I have fallen victim to throughout the course of my training.  I have loose knee joints and they don't like overstriding.  Elite marathoners generally focus on obtaining a cadence of 90-95 on one leg, which is easier to count.  The best to to count cadence is to count the strides on one leg for 15 seconds.  If you are between 22-24 strides, you are good.  Now I never said I was elite but I have been trying to keep this cadence for some shorter runs.  I did a 5k this morning and was able to keep this cadence the whole time.  Things may change quite a bit when I get to the full 26.2 and I may have to adjust my cadence to around 85-90.  For any marathoners reading this, let me know if I should focus on that right away.  My goal is to finish at 3:30.   But at least now I'm focusing on this and we'll see if this helps me with being able to finish the full marathon, which is the ultimate goal. 

There's a number of other races coming up including Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Bix 7, and countless others.  I don't know what I am going to focus on next, if any.  I do have this prospective business opportunity coming that I am chomping at the bit to tell you about.  I trying really hard to not say anything until I get some stuff set in stone.  Let's just say I'm extremely excited and I think it'll change the face of fitness in Louisville (and Indy, and Cincy, and Lexington...).  That's a little hint for you as to what my long term plans are.  You never know, I may just put one in my hometown of Davenport, IA. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Random quotes from endurance athletes

I ran across these quotes the other day and just had to post them.  Love 'em!

Mark Merchant, gym owner training for the 2011 Death Race talking about his workouts
  • "I intentionally put myself in a situation that I may not finish. So that if by chance that happens to me in real life, I'm going to have more tools in place in order to be able to handle it."
  • "I don't want a program that I'm going to fail. I want a program that makes me THINK I'm going to fail"
Zach Ginerich, winner of the 2010 Badwater Ultramarathon (135 mile race through Death Valley)
  • "I probably don't eat the typical stuff. A lot of Skittles, beef jerky, and some kept-cold ravioli. Normal runners go with gel packets, but I learned that I'm kind of happier when I'm eating junk food.
  • "I remember the fist race I did, I started to break down, and I said a prayer. The next song on my ipod was an Eminem song about not quitting and persevering. It's funny to think that God would help you with an Eminem song."
Jonathan Basham, 9th person ever to complete the Barkley Marathons
  • "Part of my training is to take cold showers every night. I'd want the water as cold as it could come out of the pipes just so I could become familiar with being uncomfortable."
Stefaan Engels, ran 365 marathons in 365 days
  • "I'm not saying everybody should run a marathon every day for a year, but do something with your life. Something you don't know if it's possible."
Todd Carmichael, first American to reach the South Pole solo on foot
  • When you turn, you see the tracks behind you kind of lead to the horizon and then they fall away, and that's all you see. It's just beautiful. I mean, you made those tracks." (this one's my personal favorite)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

2 weeks out

Well I am less than 2 weeks out from the Derby Marathon.  I am not even remotely close to being ready for a marathon.  My knees are still bothering me and I haven't been able to get much training in lately.  About 3 weeks ago I wrote an email to the event organizers about switching to the mini-marathon.  After not hearing back from them, I wrote again this week.  I still haven't heard anything from them.  My friend Monica, who knows the organizers, says that they aren't very good at communication and I'm probably going to be stuck running the full.  If that's the case, screw it, I'll run the full and just see what happens.  I remember a few years ago my buddy Brad Lawlor and I signed up to run the Quad City Half Marathon.  Well, I signed up for it, and he signed up for the full.  He didn't really train much at all, went out and completed 16 miles.  Couldn't complete the whole thing but still made 16 with minimal training.  He's a beast and I hate him.  So maybe that will happen with me this year and maybe I'll finish.  We'll see.  As you can see, I'm not feeling very confident but I am still showing up, still getting my training in when I can, and still going to give this race everything I have. 

On another note, I worked out with my ninja friend Justin this week.  We have a standing agreement, I train him with strength and conditioning and he trains me with MMA.  He's a multiple black belt in several disciplines and is pretty good and allowing me to feel like I know what I'm doing when I really don't.  We do a lot of jujitsu, which I'm somewhat comfortable with because I used to wrestle when I was a youngster.  There are obviously some big differences between the two but there are also a lot of similarities.  But we have fun and he allows me to punch him in the face every now and then.  I don't allow him to do the same but for some reason his fist always finds it's way to some part of my head.  Needless to say a good time is had by all. 

I guess the purpose of this entry is to remind myself to keep showing up and keep trying new things.  While I might not finish the full marathon, I'm going to keep pushing forward and do the best I can.  And while I will never find myself inside the cage, I'm going to keep trying new things and learn new ways to be active through martial arts.  It's fun, high energy, and slightly liberating when you get punched.  Good stuff.  If you get a chance, head out to some MMA studio near you and get a couple of lessons.  It's definitely worth it. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Vacation training = half training

So as you know now, I went on vacation for a week.  Not necessarily the smartest thing to do with 4 weeks left until the race.  But that's when the kiddos spring break fell and so that's when I took the trip to Jamaica.  I had great plans of running on the beach every day and doing my usual pushups, squats, jumps, and that type of stuff on the beach.  A funny thing about plans is that they don't always come to fruition. 

My first full day there, the Mrs. and I went to the gym on the resort.  I guess technically it was a gym but it was a room about 20 feet by 20 feet, had 2 broken treads, 2 broken but usable spin bikes, 1 elliptical, and 3 upright bikes for cardio.  For strength there was some funky ab machine, a chest press machine, and an odd looking lat pulldown/tricep extension/bicep curl.  Oh, and 3 medicine balls each weighing 8 lbs.  Needless to say I was extremely disappointed with these amenities but since this is where my wife wanted to workout, I would make do.  We did 5-4-3-2-1 minute sprints on the bikes with 10-8-6-4-2 pushups/situps with a med ball/squats.  Not too intense but simply something to get the heart rate going.  The sprints provided quite a jolt to the system so I was happy with that. 

My 2nd day there I did a beach workout with modifications.  I was able to run 1.5 lengths of the beach totalling about 3 miles.  That was great as I got a mixture of terrains from sand and water and running through some trees in the parts that the resorts weren't on.  Unfortunately though I didn't get my strength training because the beach was getting packed and it's a relatively small beach to begin with so I didn't have a whole lot of room.  But I did get a great run in and was pretty happy with that. 

The 3rd and final full day was a waste.  After 2.5 days of getting fairly intoxicated by noon, I simply didn't have much energy.  I decided to go for a swim since I did have the ocean right there.  Have I told you in the past how crappy of a swimmer I am?  Well let me tell you know.  I'm bad.  So bad that I've had people try to teach me only to tell me I need to stick to land.  But I took a crack at it here since the water was pretty shallow and wasn't too worried about drowning.  I tried the breaststroke but only did that for a couple of minutes.  I could've gone more but I didn't have goggles and this really sucked without them.  So I turned to my back and did a back stroke for a couple of minutes.  This just got me tired.  Did I mention I'm a bad swimmer.  Then I turned and did side stroke for a while.  This was OK and I was able to do this for about 4-5 minutes.  All in all it was about 10 total minutes of swimming.  Not bad but hardly a workout. 

So in my 3 full days of being there, I got 1 good workout, 1 OK workout, and 1 bad workout.  I tried to get back on track today with a 5 mile run.  Here's a math equation for you: very windy day + 1 week of intoxication in Jamaica + trying to develop a new stride = crappy run.  So I'll try again tomorrow and keep going until race day.  I'm excited to switch to the Mini marathon.  I"m confident I'll do well in that with my new running style. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Let's play catch up

Sorry for the long time in posts, I have been on a great vacation to Negril, Jamaica.  Wonderful time full of great activities which I will write about tomorrow.  Today is a post that I meant to post before I left last week.  It's about my stupid knees.  Enjoy. 

In my ongoing injury diary of my knees, I have discovered the problem.  On a visit to the chiropractor today, it was discovered that my knees are too loose and have too much mobility.  This increased mobility leads to hyperextension with every single stride I take while running.  At first this may not seem like too much of a problem but over the course of a long run, marathon training, the muscles and tendons wear down around the knee and become inflamed.  This hyper mobility also leads to instability within the joint and causes pain in the ligaments. 
"I see!" said the blind man!
So what now.  Well I have a few things I need to work on.  First and foremost I need to change my running style just a bit.  I need to shorten my stride, keep my feet underneath my body rather than out in front, and stay away from heel striking.  I need to land mid-foot and keep my knees low and bent while maintaining a tall rest of my body.  This style of running has commonly been referred to as Chi Running, or a variation of Pose Running.  Both styles emphasize the importance of short quick strides and landing mid-foot rather than heel strike.  I also must strengthen my quads and hammies.  I guess I'm not hitting my strength training hard enough. 
I'm still probably going to switch my run to the Mini Marathon for now but there are a couple of other full marathons later in the year that I can participate in.  If I can focus on changing my running style to accommodate this issue, I think I'll be OK. 
On a completely unrelated note,  There is a great fundraiser coming up on Memorial Day.  It's for one of our fallen soldiers and the workout is a staple in the CrossFit world.  For more information, please visit  I encourage everyone to participate and contribute to an extremely worthy cause.  And get a crazy good workout in the process.