Saturday, January 28, 2012

Week of Change & Feeling Good!

This was a very busy week for me at work and trying to introduce a change in my workout.  I had four basketball games to supervise, a soccer game at 10:20 at night, I worked an extra job on Wednesday.  I think I can successfully say that I was able to complete both and feel good about myself.  I finished the week off with a 15.7 mile run this morning and now I am sitting by the fire with a cup of coffee and couldn't feel better!  Life is Good!

Last week I decided I would get some more weight training into my workouts and I was able to complete these with some consistency this week.  Thankfully during the week, I had another group that really wanted to lift too.  So Todd C., Lisa R., Curt S., and myself all got in some serious core workouts.  I can feel my abs still today, which is a good thing, they are a little sore.  I am in hopes to continue this type of regimen next week.  And hopefully this will provide me with some sort of base that I will be able to continue as I train to complete the triathlon.

On the running side of my training, I really feel like I have made some strides in the right directions. I am way above and beyond where I was at last year at this time.  Again, and I am sure people get tired of hearing it, but the groups I run with provide me with such support and accountability is so AWESOME. They are always there and make running enjoyable.  On both, Tuesday and Thursday, we were able to really run some nice six to seven mile runs.  Tuesdays run started very slow and non-conversational and ended with a 7:32 mile on mile six.  Thursdays pace started out pretty fast and stayed that way and most of all my heart rate was in the target, that is key for me.

My biking probably suffered the most this week.  I was able to get in a great hill workout on Monday on the stationary bike, which I don't really like but it is a good workout.  Wednesday, i was able to get a spinervals workout in before heading to the Y to get my weights in.  I decided to take Friday off of the bike due to a busy week and big run I knew I had today.  I had a soccer game on Wednesday night at 10:20 which tends to throw a loop in the training schedule.  My legs were just tired and I did not feel as hydrated as I should have been so I decided rest was best.  Which I have more to talk about rest in a bit....
Today I joined the Leadville runners again and we had a huge group of SEVEN this morning.  John, Rick, Aaron, Curtis, Katie, Ben,  and myself set out at 5:30 to get our miles in.  I really felt like I had a good run this morning, I was able to pick it up at end the and push a little.  We completed 15.7 miles in 2:26.  I believe this was Curtis's longest distance and again, I think the group (especially John and Rick) are so supportive that completion is inevitable with them.  Great job to Curtis, I know the feeling!  The wind was a little chilly this morning , otherwise a really nice morning once the sun came up.  It was kind of a refreshing feeling and seeing the warm sun.  I can't wait till spring!  Again, a great job to the group this morning, Awesome run!

As I mentioned before, rest is best.  I have talked in my blog about how much running and working out with groups are such a benefit to you, and make you feel accountable.  Also, some of the friendships you create are pretty powerful.  My friend Aaron, had some knee issues (see his post) this week and was feeling pretty bad.  One thing to understand is that Aaron is very competitive and when he sets goals, watch out.  As he was willing to continue working, ignoring his knee injury.  I felt like I needed to say rest it, even though I was a little hesitant.  I did not want to say the wrong thing and it is always easier to tell someone else to rest, rather than doing it yourself. I did relay my message and I think he took it to heart.  I was worried what he would think and then I was able to read his post about it.  It made me think a lot about the people I am surrounding myself while training and how important it really is.  Not that I am some savior or anything.  Sometimes you need that outside help to say "it is okay",   to make yourself feel alright about certain situations.  After a couple of days of rest Aaron was able to rejoin us today and had a good run.  Good Luck to him in the Indoor Tri-Melon tomorrow in Muscatine.

On to some rest for the day and enjoy those around me, mostly my family this weekend!  Sorry, I kind of rambled on again today but it had been a few days since I had blogged.  What CAN you accomplish this weekend?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Workout Change...and ME!

Been a couple of days since I have blogged.  Most of it due to laziness and time constraints.  Enough with the excuse and time to move one.  Last Friday was my last swim for a couple of weeks.  I am going to focus on biking and running for a couple of weeks along with fitting in some weights.  I have really been focused on swimming for a while and I also got some new art on my body that I need to let heal.  The picture is my new art.  My girls hands with angel wings, they are my angels and mean everything to me, they will always be by my side.   Kind of one of those secrets I have that nobody really knows, I really like tattoos.  Just one of those things and this one means a lot, I love my girls, plain and simple!  

I started out yesterday with a pretty hard hill climbing bike ride on the stationary bike at the Y.  I rode 8 miles with quite a bit of resistance on the bike.  Then I hit the weights.  I did the following, most of what was a mix of workouts from Men's Health:
3 x 10 - Lateral Body Weight Squats
3 x 10 - Lateral Box Shuffle
3 x 10 - Barbell Bus Driver's - Barbell with weight on one end and other end propped in corner.
3 x 10 - Barbell Squat  w/ One Arm Extensions
3 x 10 - Barbell One Arm Deadlift with twist. 
3 x10 - Dumb Bell push up with row
3 x 10 - Scarecrow twist w/ 15 lb weights
All in all a really good workout, legs a little sore from squats but feel pretty good about it.  

Today was to focus on running.  I joined my running buddies; Aaron, Jane and Katie.  Set out on a six mile run and really had probably my best run since last winter.  Not to mention, it was a great day out again, on January 24!   We started fairly slow but ended up running a very strong last mile.  The mile time is as follows:10:02, 8:42, 8:29, 8:10, 7:53, 7:32 for 6.14 miles in 51:53.  My milage may be a little off because it could not find the satellite before we started running.  As I said before, I really think this is the best I have felt being able to push towards the end of the run.  

I think back to waking up and I did not want to go at all, just feeling sorry for myself, and wanting to go back to bed.  I knew I had my group waiting for me to run.  I really thought about it, but this exercise is not  for my group (although I can't say enough about how much I cherish their company and running experience), this is for myself.  It will benefit me, it will allow me to be around for my girls and my wife.  Groups are awesome and provide accountability that I have talked about before, but in the end, you have to be in the game for yourself for it really to mean anything.  Everybody has their reasons for "doing" or "not doing", but I believe that "doing" for yourself first is most important.  Make yourself the most important thing to take care of and all else will fall into the right place.  Some people say "family first" but, I, myself, am part of my family, and if I don't take care of "I" then my family won't be there.  Hope all that makes sense and does not sound selfish, because I love my family and I don't think I would be anywhere close to being "who I am" if it was not for them.  I CAN control my destiny this way.

Tomorrow I have a bike ride scheduled and then off to the Y for some more weights.  I will get up a little earlier to get both in.  I am looking forward to doing some sprinting on the bike.  I will join some friends for weights, Todd and Lisa, at the Y after the bike.  

Hopefully, I don't sound to selfish while talking about taking care of myself.  In the end, I CAN, Dig Deep (John Byrne) and Get it Done (Aaron Maurer) and make it happen for myself so the rest can fall in place.  

Kind of a random post but those are the thoughts that came about while thinking about my past couple of days.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brisk Morning!

Today had to be an early day for me, I have a bunch to do so 4:00 am wake up was first on the list.  I knew in order to get this done today it would have to be early and it just so happened that the Leadville runners were thinking the same thing.  Pretty happy that it worked out that way.  Five people with CAN do attitudes showed this morning.  John Byrne and Rick Fountain (Leadville Men), Aaron Maurer, Katie Gaffney and myself showed up at 4:30 to get this run in.
I will admit going into the wind, my face was freezing, but to every down side there is a good.  I knew we would have to turn around and have the wind at my back.  Running in the snow/ice covered streets is a lot tougher than it may seem, maybe like running in sand?  First hour and a half was great.  All five of us had a good pace, good conversation ( probably the best part of running with this group). In the first hour and a half, when ended just short of nine miles.  John, Rick, Aaron and myself set out on another 40 minute run.  Thanks to John and Rick for altering plans a little for me.  I appreciate it because, I know they do not have to, but they do because they CAN.  Good Luck to them today, as they are still running for three more hours and completing 26.2 mile and they will do the same tomorrow.  Back to the last 45 minutes for Aaron and I, we got another 4 miles in to complete the day just above 13 miles.  No to bad before 7 a.m.!
I think the thing I like most about these runs is that I control my target heart rate for a sustained period of time and it is really helping my running fitness a ton.  Sure, I could out and blaze 3 or 4 miles but 2 hours in my target heart rate is helping me out tremendously.  I feel like I have made some big strides in the last couple weeks in my running and I look forward to what I CAN accomplish in the next couple of weeks. Running is back to being enjoyable instead of work.  Who would not enjoy it with the company I am keeping on these runs.  Surround yourself with good people and good things happen!
I need to be on my way as I have a large list of to do's today.  Today I have accomplished a half marathon before 7 a.m., what CAN you accomplish today?  Have a GREAT weekend!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter Has Set In...Grab it By the Horns!

I think that this is possibly the hardest time of the year to get going in outdoor workouts.  It seems like this is the easiest time of the year to make excuses because of the weather.  However, I have to disagree.  We have a morning group on Tuesdays and Thursdays that try to get outside and get six to seven miles in.  We call ourselves the CRAZIES! This group includes Maurer, Gaffney, Wheeler on a consistent basis and anyone else is welcome to join.   So far for me, this is the best thing I have done, make myself accountable, by running with others.  I have found that running outside is just refreshing.  Yeah, sure, it gets cold sometimes but while running, I feel oblivious to the weather and focus on the exercise and the company that I keep.  Because of this, I CAN make this experience a positive and benefit myself in health and even be social. 

Yesterday was a bit chilly.  About 6 degrees Fahrenheit and a 13 mph wind and some snow.  I thought I would have a little fun and bring a little something to lighten the mood of the group before we set out on this adventure.  I was looking for something to protect my neck and I found this scarf thingy that my wife had gotten for Christmas.  It has a big flower on it.  SO I threw it on and out the door I went.  This provided a little entertainment, especially for Maurer, which he had commented on his blog .  You can see my garb below!  
After getting in a good giggle we set out on a run in the cold, wind, and snow and had a pretty tough run.  The terrain was a little slick, especially when we were going uphill.  We went 6.68 miles and had a 8:53 pace.  Again it felt much faster but I think the snow held us back a little.  Overall, we had a great run and conversation.  Having people to meet and run with at this drury time in the Midwest, it is AWESOME to have a great group of people to surround ourselves with and make your lifestyle and I CAN lifestyle instead of excuses. 

Last night, I also participated in my weekly soccer league at the River's Edge.  I like this league because it pretty competitive and it is exercise that is out of the ordinary.  Again, I have surrounded myself with a great group of guys who like to play the game for fun, yet still gets a little competitive. My legs need a little recovery from this due to the sprinting and the morning workout.  I made sure I get lots of hydration in me before I go to bed.  I think it is important to have something like this to get outside the "normal" workout.  Something were you can enjoy the shape you have put your body into and still get a little extra! By the way we won 5-4 and I actually scored the game winner (by the way, this is not usual).  My fun exercise ended with a extra positive.  

This morning, I jumped back in the pool to get my last swim in for a while.  I had a very nice 1500 yd swim, I didn't even keep track of time, but I felt really good. I warmed up with a 250 yd swim and a cool down of 250 yards for a total of 2000 yards.  This was good for a number of reasons, one being that it loosened my legs up nicely from all the activities yesterday and gave me some confidence in my swimming abilities.  I was able to push a little on the 1500 yd swim and still felt like I had some in the tank.  Overall a good week of training in the pool.

For a couple of weeks, I am going to focus some of my time on some weight training, mainly core exercises, biking and running.  I feel like in swimming I have made good strides and I need to make the same in biking and running as well as strength. I will put the goggles away and hit the others hard.  When I finish those couple weeks, hopefully, I will find a good balance between all three and be able to exceed at all three.  

Looking forward to a long run this weekend and some rest.  I kind of rambled on this post, I guess that is how it will go sometimes.  I know, I have a focus.  I CAN make my life better and CAN accomplish anything I set out to do.  Surrounding myself with positive people and CAN DO attitudes, anything CAN be accomplished.  Here is to the next couple weeks to see what I CAN accomplish!  Have a GREAT weekend!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Making a Difference...I CAN

As I have grown as and adult and even as a younger kid, I have always really liked to help people out.  However, I have not always been the most proactive in this category either.  A lot of times, I have really good ides, at least I think they are, but sometimes I seem to have a hard time following through with them.  Just like this blog, I have wanted to do this for a while, but just needed to do it.  Which seems to be what I need to do with a lot of my ideas.  I have always admired people who can follow through on their dreams and ideas without hesitation.  My problem always seems to be with the follow through, unless I am held accountable for it, by someone.  All the people reading this, you are holding me accountable!  After starting this, I know I CAN follow through on this blog.
As far as making a difference, I have one of my ideas that I really want to make happen.  First, I want to say I am very fortunate to work in a place were I have so much support.  Some of my co-workers are unbelievable with generosity and what they will do to make things happen, all in the name of good.
My plan is get my school moving.  I want it to be BIG.  We have a week coming in February that we call FUN week.  Fun is an acronym for Fitness Unites with Nutrition.  My problem with this week is it is just that, it is one week.  Fitness and nutrition is not a one week deal, it is a lifestyle that anybody CAN make happen.  It may take baby steps to get there but I believe anyone CAN take those steps.  During that week, I will have a kickoff to get students, teachers, parents and anybody else who wants to make those step towards a healthy lifestyle.  Sure, I know I will have a bunch who will buck the system.  But, I believe I CAN make a difference with some of the population I work with, whether it is students, teachers, and/or parents.
After speaking with friends at Live Uncommon and getting much encouragement today, I have an even better grasp on what I CAN do.  As I set out on my journey to help our community live a healthy lifestyle, I will keep you posted.
As for my plan, I am still in the working phase to finalize the layout to change our week of fitness into a lifetime of change and happiness with a healthy lifestyle.  What I do know, I WILL give this my best effort to give the people of my community the opportunity to take a step in the right direction and join in THE REVOLUTION.  I am very excited about this and am excited to share the upcoming events as I finalize them.  Until next post, I WILL be making every effort to make a difference in my community because I CAN!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Days after 19 miles

Good evening!  I did not get a chance to post my workout this morning due to time constraints.  Yesterday was a struggle to really want to do anything.  I made the choice to sleep in since I did not have to work.  I think it was the right choice to let my body rest yet, I really did not feel like getting the swim in that I needed to.  I kept wanting to use the excuse...."I ran 19 miles yesterday, I don't need to do that today"  The truth in the matter is that yesterday is gone and I had new obstacles to tackle.  I needed to get my muscles back to work and get in the pool.  So very glad I did, as that was just what my legs needed to loosen up.  I swam 2200 yards and felt very good afterwords.  And on to today...
I scheduled myself for one of my morning group runs.  Again, wasn't really feeling it, although I had a good nights rest.  It was snowing out and sleeting too. My legs were a little more sore than I thought they would be and my ankle was a little tender.  I did my best to get mentally prepared and made myself get out to meet the group.  Aaron and Katie joined in and we were off.  Have you ever had one of those days running and you feel like you are flying, but in reality you were not really going that fast?   That was me today, I thought we were hauling all six miles today, only to find out is was a pretty moderate pace.  Started above nine minute miles but ended below eight minute miles?  Go figure!
I guess the purpose of this blog is that I CAN overcome mental blocks and challenges and break through them to meet new challenges daily!  Mind over matter I believe is how it goes..what I accomplished yesterday is gone, What CAN I accomplish tomorrow?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Long Run and a BIG Thanks!

Today is one of those I CAN days!  To give you a little more history on myself, I did not start out as a runner, in fact I used to despise it until I figured out how to do it the right way. I do not have a "runner body", I am 5'11" 230# ( football or wrestler build).   Now, I really enjoy it, especially when running with groups.  There is so much good conversation and knowledge passed around. For the last month or so I have really started running with some great people.  Aaron Maurer kind of got this all started, so a big thanks to him,  Jane Wheeler, Katie Gaffney, John Byrne, and Rick Fountain are all people I have ran with over the last month or so.  Anyway, back to my history, 5k's used to be my big goals.  Now I have moved on and did a half marathon last May, The QC Distance Classic (Great race by the way). I had a pretty good race, 1:45.46 for and 8:04 pace.  After that race, I specifically said, why would anyone want to do another 13 miles?  Their CRAZY!  I did not think it would be possible for me to do another 13 miles.  Eight months later....

A couple of times now, I have ran on training runs with John Byrne and Rick Fountain.   These two men are amazing people and athletes.  They are currently training for the Leadville Ultra-marathon (The Toughest Race in the World), if you don't believe that, go check it out:  Last weekend I ran one two hour leg of their training session.  They ran three two hours sessions for a total of six hours of running and 33 miles.  During my session I ran 12.27 miles with them.  This milage is quite a distance to me.  Until today, I had not eclipsed the 13.1 mile mark EVER.  Today, as I set out, they were going to go for a three hour run session.  One and a half hours out and back, refuel, then set out for another hour and a half.  This would be a milestone for me, if I could make it.  During the first part of the run, we discussed this and John and Rick were awesome motivators the rest of the way. There were a couple of times, I began to doubt if I could do this, but today, I CAN say I ran 19.07 miles for the first time in my life.  Thank goodness for my partners, they really kept me going towards the later miles of the run. They pushed and were positive throughout the whole thing but the also made me believe in myself and that I COULD do this.  When it was all said and done, 19.07 miles in 2:55.56.   This is a huge milestone for me, now I believe I CAN run a marathon in the future.  A BIG Thanks to Rick and John for their support today, as they gave me encouragement to push on, even though this was their training day.  Support, I can't say enough about it, without it, I don't think I could have done it.  To all of you out their who say you CAN'T, gather some support, set some goals and make your "I CAN'T" excuses into "I CAN" statements!

On another note, a HUGE shout out to my workout partner, CoffeeChug; Mr. Aaron Maurer for bringing home the state championship for Lego Robotics to Bettendorf Middle School.  Lots of time and effort into this and it has paid off!  Nice work Aaron.

Till next time, what CAN you do to make life better?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My First Blog Post

Well, here goes nothing!  This is my first attempt at blogging.  I have read many blogs and decided the world needed one more.  Whether it will be worth anything or if I can keep up with it, is yet to be determined.  The first and foremost item is that I am not a very good/grammatical/creative writer.  As you have already probably figured out!  Anyway, I am going to blog because of many different reasons, but most importantly, because I want to keep account of what I am doing in life and what I am learning.  The main reason being what "I CAN" do in life.
I am a 39 year old middle school science teacher in Bettendorf, Iowa.  I am surrounding by many people who I consider awesome!  The first being my family.  It would be hard to imagine what life would be like without them.  Mary, my wife, is awesome.  She is an outstanding mother in so many ways.  She is also very supportive of me and my determinations (This is what I call, she may call them crazy ideas).  Then I have my two daughters, seven and four,  they are the center of my life.  I can't imagine a day without them.  Even though they make life hectic, it is worth every second to watch them learn and grow.
Second, I have my exercise community.  Over the last couple of years, I have be introduced to many people in the realm of exercise.  I have found that surrounding myself with people of the same goals, it makes my goals much easier to achieve.  Those people range from heavy lifting partners to running marathons and other crazy races.  I will mention these people much more as I talk about my journey on achieving things I CAN do.
So the main reason I am on here is to focus on the positive side of life.  I am always ready to jump on new aspects of life and blogging is one of them.  One of my biggest adversaries in life is getting down on life itself and letting little things bother me.  So, instead of being negative and getting grouchy, I want to remain with one focus, stay positive, no matter what is thrown at me.  I am hoping by blogging and getting my thoughts on paper (or digitally), I will be able to keep this focus straight ahead of me.  I will focus on what "I CAN" do instead of the other side.
For example, for many years, I have said I am not a runner.  In the past years, with help of many other people, I have found "I CAN" run.  I completed a few 5k's last year and the peak of my year last year was a 1/2 marathon that I feel I ran quite well, but could do better.  This year I have a few other goals such as completing a sprint triathlon and completing a few more running races...another half for sure and I am thinking "I CAN" do a marathon.
I think another aspect of me, that is important to know, is that I am a ex-football player and wrestler (just high school) that had great aspirations to play football in college until my knees decided to go on the fritz.  Since being a junior in high school, I have had four knee surgeries, most being scopes.  I wish I would have had the "I CAN"  attitude in high school and persevered in football.  That is behind me now and I will take on these new challenges in life.
Now that I have entered the blogging life, this is also a new challenge.  As I mentioned before, I am not a writer but I have decided "I CAN" put my thoughts on paper.  So this will be another challenge in 2012.
I will probably be posting a lot from as well, this is where I post a lot of my workouts.  Daily mile serves as an accountability piece for me, so sorry if you get annoyed by it, but it helps me.
I also started my "I CAN" bulletin board at home so I can remind myself everyday that "I CAN" do ANYTHING I set my mind out to do.
There is one thing that I did not add to my board yet, due to need to print pictures, is my joining of the Backwater Gamblers Water Ski Show Team.  My daughter and I did this in 2010 and so far it has been one of the best things a father/daughter could do.  We were able to ski in shows together last year and it was awesome.  This year my other daughter and wife will join and I am looking forward to that.  Last was our first year and I was able to accomplish quite a few things.  One of the biggest being able to deepwater barefoot.  I love bare footing, although it came with a few injuries, it was one of the best experiences I have had.  Cruising 42 mph, across the top of the water, on nothing but your god given feet, AWESOME!  I will keep posts on here about BWG as well.
Now you know a little bit about me and I will try and keep this blog going and keep you  up to date on what I CAN do and hopefully motivate you on what YOU CAN do!  Hopefully you will have an GREAT weekend!