Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stop the New Year Madness

It's that time of year again. Time to make a life altering New Year's Resolution that odds are, most of us will not keep. Why is that? I have found over the years that most people do not put too much thought into these resolutions. Often they are made after too many cocktails or just a repeat of last years failed attempt. How do we stop the madness?

Of course there is no fail safe plan, it all depends on you, your motivation and dedication level. I recommend that you start thinking about some challenging, interesting and fun goal or event that you'd like to undertake. Come up with a doable goal but not an unrealistic one like looking like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Sorry guys, that ain't happening for any of us. Or the same old goal of losing weight.

Set a fun goal, like a race, strength contest or charity event, and work systematically towards achieving it. I tell people not to focus on weight loss, but to let it become a by-product of your training. That way you're not constantly obsessed with food, not eating and those evil scales.

For instance, I have a group of clients training for January races from a half marathon to a 50 miler. They're all getting in shape, having fun together and losing weight. Weight loss is a by-product of their training.

You don't have to choose a marathon. Your goal can be a 5k, 10k, Cancer March, Triathlon, Muddy Buddy, Strongman, Highland Game, Bodybuilding show or Ultramarathon. You pick it! Make it fun, adventuresome and exciting. Gather some family and friends to join ya. That's the best part.

For instance, here are some very cool goals that some of my friends and I have for 2008;

My friend & client, Michelle Ehda, is getting married in 2008. She wants to get in the best shape possible. You can follow her progress and support her at - http://community.active.com/blogs/Michelle_Wants_to_Get_Active

Another friend, Toby at Active.com, is getting ready for his first 100 miler and other crazy fun stuff. You can check him out at - http://community.active.com/people/Active%20Toby

These are just a few of the events I have on the radar.
-Chicago's Strongest Man competition, http://www.nastrongmaninc.com/pdf/entries/ChicagoStrongestMan08.pdf
-La Ruta de los Conquistadores,
-North American Wife Carrying championship, http://www.sundayriver.com/summer/wifecarry.html

Come join the fun. Life's too short. Work Hard and Play Harder!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Barkley 100 - The road to hell

In the world of UltraRunning there's long very doable trail runs, then there's Barkley. It's like no other. In the history of the run, only a handful have ever completed it. It eats the world's best for breakfast. And now, it's my new goal for 2008. I am actually nervous about a race for the first time in years! Read the entry form below and check out the attached link to see why. Anyone wanna join me?!

Website - http://www.mattmahoney.net/barkley/index.html

BARKLEY MARATHONS - 100 MILE RUN & 55 mile fun run

Put this down. Get away from it. You are holding a one way
ticket thru the portals of Hell. One way in and only one way out.

The Barkley is not the most imposing 100 miler. Only 2000'
separate the highest and lowest points. Yet, somehow, year after
year nobody finishes. Why? Because, eventually, everybody quits.
Maybe it is the endless gut-wrenching climbs. Maybe it is the leg-
wrenching descents. Maybe it is the sawbriers and blackberries.
Maybe it is because the Barkley is truly man against the
mountain. We don't have cute little glo-lights every hundred feet.
If you can't find your way, you shouldn't be in the woods. No
gourmet stands every half mile. You are lucky we put out water.

The Barkley is not for the pretty boys. The Barkley takes away
your speed and leaves you a struggling shadow of yourself. The
Barkley runner must be tough. A thousand foot per mile elevation
change exacts a heavy toll. He must be savvy. Finding your way with
a map is easy if you know how. Knowing where you are on a remote
mountainside at night requires no little skill. He must be self
reliant. At the Barkley we provide a venue, and render it
reasonably safe. The rest is between you, the mountain, and that
little voice inside you that says " Mommy, it is too hard, I want
to quit."
There are reasons that the fun-run averages only 2 finishers
a year. There are reasons that no one has ever finished the 100. To
know the Barkley is to know humility...and fear.
Date: April 1, 1995 : packet pickup March 31
Starting Time: Saturday morning
Time Limit: 55 miles, 36 Hours : 100 Miles, 60 Hours
Location: Frozen Head State Natural Area
Don't ask, if you can't find the park on your own, then
you don't belong "out there".
Average Weather: Temperatures 0 to 80 f. Possibly during the same
race. Rain, snow, sleet, hail, hot sun have all occured
in the past.
Requirements: Rigorous requirements must be met: NO women. They are
too soft. No children. They are too small. No Californians. This
race is not cool. NO soccer fans. Soccer sucks. NO marines. They
don't biodegrade. NO yankees. We don't want them buried here. NO
wimps, worms, slugs, or weenies. They don't got what it takes. And
most of all, NO Health Fascists. We encourage smoking during the
Course Profile: Gently rolling, numerous downhills (27,000' in the
fun-run alone). Very scenic.
Trail Description: Varies. Some of it ain't for sissies.

Recomended Clothing: Enough to get thru briers. You should carry
emergency gear. (dry clothing, matches, etc.)
Aid: Access to your car @ 20 mile intervals. Water @ 5-8 mile
Fee: $1.55 and a pair of thick, warm boot socks.
Entry Limit: 25 runner limit. Selection by whim.
Your chances of finishing: You Will Not Complete the 100 Mile Run.
You have about a 10% chance in the fun-run.


* include discussion of all issues involving deorative wood
shavings, unnecessary surgery, Tommy Lasorda, uninspected poultry,
shampoo, duck costumes, reptiles, investment bankers, and unwanted
send entry to: Idiot
233 Union Ridge
War Trace, TN 37183

NAME:_________________________________AGE:_____(in Mercurian years)

ADDRESS:_____________________________________SEX: Y/N

CITY:__________________________________ST____HAT SIZE:_____

FAVORITE PARASITE:_________________________________________________

Complete the following: You can never know too much about fungus,


*** read before signing ***


SIGNED ______________________________________________DATE_________

DEFFN: Fool- enters the Barkley
Moron- enters the Barkley, expects to finish
Idiot- enters the Barkley, thinks he will do the 100
Sissy- does not enter the Barkley

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Even though I have a Guinness World Record for fitness, I still find myself getting bored or becoming complacent from time to time like many of you. When this happens, I know that it's time to add some spice to my workouts or for a little kick in the rear. This usually comes in the form of a 'goofy personal fitness goal.'

There's a set of stairs at the park that I teach my 6 AM Gut Check Fitness Class that just keep going on and on. They are long and steep. You gotta love them. Needing a little fitness attitude adjustment, I decided to try to run 50 repeats in one hour on Tuesday. Was I in for a reality check.

It's 4 AM, alarm goes off. Who's idea was this anyway? Nicole and I get to the stairs at exactly 5 AM. We're off. I'm trying for 50 and Nik for whatever she can get. She keeps me motivated and helps me count. I still have a problem with numbers over ten.

First five stairs, I'm on fire. Five to ten, legs getting warmed up. Ten to fifteen, in the zone. Fifteen to twenty, who's idea was this! Now reality sinks in, I have 30 more to go. Yikes!

Ok, may not get 50 but let's see what we got in the tank. I buckle down, welcome the pain, fatigue and nausea. Now it's on. Mind over matter. "I don't mind 'cuz my body doens't matter!"

Clock strikes one hour. Not bad, was able to get 44 stairs. Nik got 35 and Megan, 20 in 25 minutes. Didn't get 50 but will definitely be back for more.

Even though I doubt the stairs are initimidated, it does and will continue to be one of those goofy fitness challenges that will keep me and others in my group motivated. "Watch out stairs, here we come." What's your fitness challenge?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

High Desert 30k & 50k Race Report

On Saturday, Dec. 1st, 14 of us carpooled from San Diego to the big town of Ridgecrest, CA. Our goal, to run and complete the High Desert 30k & 50k. Our group consisted partially of trail running newbies and some old pros. A great group all around.

Not long after leaving San Diego we started to notice the wind picking up and the temperature dropping. The closer we got to Ridgecrest, the windier it got. Me, being the genius with the bright idea of running in the desert in December, started to get a little nervous. I knew if the wind continued and temperature dropped that I would be in for it come race day.

We all got checked in, picked up our race packets and headed to the local pasta establishment for some carb loading. It wasn't fancy but mission accomplished. Next we were off to Big 5 for last minute items. With 10 women in the group, I'm still a little skeptical about the shopping being necessary or not. But I sure as heck wasn't going to argue!

Race day. The weather channel has the local temperature at 19 degrees. Yes, that is Fahrenheit! Yikes, I haven't seen 19 since I left DC a year ago. I was a little nervous about the amount of grief that I might catch. Luckily everyone was in good spirits and ready for the run.

And we're off. The 30k runners are Kim Martini, Ses & Greg, Nancy & Jeff and Eldar & Erin. The 50k runners are Mindy, Rebekah & her mom Lynn, Marie & her dad Will, Nicole & me. What a good looking group we are! The very first thing we notice while leaving the parking lot is a local runner wearing only what looked like his sister's running shorts and a Fabio hairdo. That'll wake you up!

It was a beautiful sunrise in the desert. As the sun began to rise, so did the temperature. By noon it was close to 55 degrees. Perfect running weather. The course was laid out very well with extremely friendly volunteers at each aid station.

All fourteen runners finished the race with big smiles on their faces. Not sure if that was due to being finished or knowing that there was beer & pizza at the finish line. You tell me! For Kim, Nancy, Jeff, Eldar, Erin, Ses, Greg, Will & Lynn, it was their first. Great job! For Marie, Rebekah, Mindy & Nicole, it was a new 50k PR. Way to go!

CONGRATULATIONS to all of you! You guys trained hard and it showed. You made this run not only look easy but very enjoyable. Everyone seemed to have a great time and many are talking about what's next. Thank you all for a wonderful adventure!