Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Choice is Made!

For Christmas, my family surprised me with the registration fees for the Rock 'n' Roll Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN on Saturday, April 26th 2014. This will be my first full marathon and I've already been warned that it's a hilly one. My Runner's World Smartcoach plan puts me at running a 3h:36m marathon. Smartcoach was only about 5 seconds/mile off on it's estimate for my 1/2, so it's at least in the ballpark. I signed up with the 3h:45m group, but I can always adjust as the dates get closer.

Monday, December 23, 2013

So it begins...again!

This past week I started a new training plan. 26 miles in 4 runs. They were all on the treadmill since we got a bunch of Snow, Ice and Rain in the last weeks. That's ok though. But I do have to say that 10 miles on the treadmill was BORING, even if I could watch Netflix at the same time.

5 miles - easy
6 miles - tempo : 8m 15s / Mile pace for 4 miles
5 miles - easy
10 miles - long :  9m 24s / Mile pace

The major difference in this plan from the last one is that it is not a half marathon plan. It is a full marathon plan! I've got 18 weeks until the marathon. There are 2 marathons in the last weekend of April of 2014 and I haven't made up my mind which one to run yet. They are the Illinois Marathon or the Nashville Rock n Roll Marathon. I'm leaning towards Nashville, but have had a bunch of folks tell me that the Illinois Marathon is a good race. Any thoughts about either of these races?

I also got notified last week that I will be a Hammer Nutrition sponsored Athlete for 2014! I've been very happy with Hammer Gel & Endurolytes. Be sure to check them out. You can also get 15% off your first order from them. Use this link below or mention my email or customer number (218538) when you check out!

Friday, November 01, 2013

2013 - Rock n Roll St Louis - Half Marathon Recap

Well it's all over. I've taken my time writing this post for a couple of reasons. It really does signify that my first major race is in the books, I'm heading into the next couple months of maintenance work and have to make a decision about my next race.

Well it was quite a week at our house last week. Elijah, my 4th son (8) who just had his tonsils out, spent Thursday the 24th in the hospital, the same day that my mom and step-dad came into town to see the race. Some flight delays put them here just in time to grab a quick bite to eat before we headed to see Noah (14) and Ethan (13) march in the Vandalia, Illinois halloween parade. So that was fun.

Friday, my folks and I headed into St Louis to the Health and Fitness Expo held at the America's Center. I got my race packet and swag bag and we cruised the booths getting some freebies and drooling over some Garmin watches, 'The Stick', and more training gear than you can shake a stick at. I was a little disappointed at the expo as I had hoped some of the local stores that showed up there would have had some better pricing on items. I didn't feel like there was anything there I couldn't pick up on Amazon for either the same price or cheaper, and don't get me started on the 'Official Merch' prices. I about wet myself looking at those price tags. I guess I better get used to that being the way these expo's go.

Saturday night we got to bed early and got up at 4:00 Sunday morning to head into St Louis. The race packet suggested being there 90 minutes before the race. So at exactly 5:30am I stepped into the fenced off area. It was in the mid to upper 30s at that point and I was a bit chilly. I think I was one of only about 100 people milling around at that point. At around 6:00 I dropped off my gear bag and headed to find the brave souls who ventured into STL with me, my mom, step-dad and 3rd son Justin (10).  We chatted while trying to stay warm until about 6:45 when the crowd really started to thicken. I downed a couple packs of Hammer Gel and I headed to my corral.

The race started at 7:00 and my corral crossed the starting line at 7:07. What a rush. I blinked and it seemed like we were already a mile into the race. The pace was decent. I'm not used to running in a group like that, so just keeping up put my first mile was at a 9 minute mile pace. Pretty much right where I wanted to be to start. Then I kept the rest of the race under 8:45 the rest of the way. Here I am at mile 1.5 where my family saw me last before the finish line. I really felt great, like there was barely any effort for at least the first 5-6 miles. Then after that it was a little more work to keep my pace. Part of that I think is because that is where the crowd started to really thin out and I had to drive my own pace and I had passed the pacer for the 2:00:00 half marathon and so it was harder to gauge at any given moment if I was gaining or losing time of my desired pace.

The trek through St Louis really was nice. It really showed off the variety of landmarks and scenery in the downtown area. At mile 5 I took 1/2 of my nutrition bottle and then the rest at 9 miles. I had packed an extra single serve Hammer Gel which I took at mile 11 to give me a final boost through the end. I did find myself a little disappointed as I came up on mile 11.5 or so that I had not trained for the full marathon. I knew that I was only about 15 minutes out from finishing and I was not ready for this very cool experience to end.

But all good things must end eventually and so as I turned east onto Market and then on to Chestnut, the finish line approached and I gave it my all. An extra cool boost was that Chrissy had made it down in time with the rest of the crew and I saw them on my final approach. That really gave me a boost for that last tenth of a mile or so. So this pic was taken by my Mom, Step-Dad and Justin, while I was waving to my wife Chrissy, Noah, Ethan, Elijah, Isaiah, Miley and Judah.

The finish line area was well stocked with fruit, Powerbars, drinks (Gatorade, chocolate milk, water, etc), space blankets, and the coveted finisher medals. I had my finisher photo taken and left the 'secure area' to meet up with my family.

Official time was 1:52:25. I am very pleased. I had originally set out to have a sub 2 hour time, even if it was 1:59:59, but beating that by almost 8 minutes really was great.

We caught some lunch at the Hard Rock St Louis and made it back to the stage to hear our hometown favorites The Madison Letter play the finish line stage.

So Rock n Roll Marathon Series, total winner in my book. The event staff was friendly, the event was organized well, I'm hooked. I've not decided 100% to do a full or half marathon for my next event, or if I should head up to the Illinois Marathon or the Nashville Rock n Roll Marathon. They are on the same weekend in April 2014. Either way, I look forward to it.

So that's it. For now I'm focused on some weight training and maintaining some decent weekly mileage until the next training cycle starts in January.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Race Day Nutrition and Hydration

So with race day only 10 days out, I'm getting pretty excited. I've had a few training runs that have left me very encouraged, while others have left something to be desired. I'm still working on my pacing strategy in order to hit my mark. I just don't have a good feel for what 'race day adrenaline' is actually going to do for me and how long it will help sustain me at a slightly faster pace.

One thing that I am pretty well set on at this point is my fueling and hydrating plan. I've decided that since I have spent my entire training cycle wearing my Nathan Elite One Plus belt, that it will be going with me. I actually just picked up some Race Number Clips to add to it. So far in training I've been taking in water every 1 to 1.5 miles on long runs, and keeping it at less than a mouthful. I'll be adding an Endurolyte Fizz tablet from Hammer Nutrition to my 22oz water bottle (probably Mango flavored).

As far as fueling goes, I'll be using Hammer Gel. My plan is to take 1 or 2 single serving packs 15 minutes before the race. Then have 3 servings (from my 26 serving jug) in my 5oz flask. I'll take 1/2 the flask at 5 miles and the rest at 9 miles. I also plan on keeping an extra single serving pack on me in case I need a boost towards the last couple miles.

So yeah, nothing new on race day for sure. These products have done well for me over the last 20 weeks and I feel good about bringing them with me.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Finish Line is in Sight (Sort of)

2 weeks from right now, it will be over. 20 weeks of training culminating in my first 1/2 marathon. 20 of the hardest training I've done in my life. Last week being the hardest yet with 42.8 miles and next week has 45 on the schedule. My training long run this last weekend put me within 2 minutes 30 seconds of my goal of being under 2 hours.

What is really crazy is how I'm already looking forward, past this race. This race isn't really a finish line. It's a warm up. Coming in April I have a choice of 4 races. Whether to do the Half or Full marathons at the Illinois Marathon or the Nashville Rock and Roll Marathon. I'm weighing the options of what differences there would be in training between a half and a full and if I'm ready to take that step. Also I'm looking at the couple of months between my current race and beginning of training for the next one. I'm trying to find the right balance of maintaining endurance level, but also strength training which I think could help take me to a whole new level.

Some Helpful Blender Keymappings

Blender is one of those one size fits many programs and it can really grow to fit your specific workflow. One area that is nice is the ability to add custom hotkeys. Here are a few that I have added lately that have saved me a bunch of extra clicking

To add a hotkey, go to the user preferences menu and the input tab. Go to the place in the tree menu where the hotkey needs to work, scroll to the bottom of that section and press "Add New"


  • Area Type Popup Menu
    • wm.context_menu_enum
    • Context Attribute: area.type
    • Shift Cmd Spacebar
3D View -> Sculpt

  • More Brush Hotkeys!
    • Clay Strips
      • paint.brush_select
      • Sculpt Tool: Clay Strips
      • Cmd C
    • Crease
      • paint.brush_select
      • Sculpt Tool: Crease
      • Alt C
    • Obviously You can use this patters to add your own favorites that don't already have a hotkey.  But these were 2 that I use a lot and wanted a quick way to get to them.   
  • Brush Direction Popup Menu
    • wm.context_menu_enum
    • Context Attribute: tool_settings.sculpt.brush.direction
    • Cmd D

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

"Are We There Yet 5k" Race Recap

This last weekend I ran in the Greenville First Christian Church Preschool "Are We There Yet 5k".  This race holds a special place in my heart because the 2013 running was the first race I ever trained for in my life. I purchased my first pair of running shoes 5 weeks before it and jogged it at 34:55. This year was different. The 5k took place on the morning of one of my long runs, so I swapped it out with this race which I would consider a short speed workout. The race is an out and back race around a little corner of Greenville, IL.

I got there early and took a 1.25 mile warmup jog and got ready to run. I went out at a good pace and only fell off a little. Runtastic puts my miles at 7:32, 8:17 and 8:40 with my final time at 24:56. That was good enough for 3rd place, only 2m 10s minutes behind the winner. It wasn't a super competitive race, but I feel good about my run. I ran hard and hit my target time of 25 minutes.

So what can 1 year and 900 miles of training do to you? It can cut 10 minutes off a 5k.

Rock and Roll St. Louis is this month!

In 27 days I will be standing in my starting corral at the St. Louis Rock and Roll Half Marathon. I signed up for it 4 months ago and in the last 16 weeks have put in 72 workouts with a total of just under 500 miles. I have 3 more weeks of hard training and a week of taper before the actual race. I'm feeling good about my prospects in my first 1/2 marathon. I think a goal of under 2 hours is attainable. It will not be easy, but no goal worth attaining is easy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

800 Miles and counting

$49 Adidas from Kohl's, you served me well!
Today I crossed the 800 lifetime mile mark since I started running a year ago. When I stop and think about it, that is a long way. I'm on pace to cross 1000 miles for 2013 by mid-November. Just crazy.

During these miles I've used 2 pairs of shoes, the first got retired yesterday with 476 miles on them. The second pair, Saucony Guide 6s still have 100 - 200 miles left in them. But soon I'll be heading to the store for my next pair to break in before my half marathon. 

I'm interested in the Altra Instinct 1.5s, but I'm not sure about transitioning to a zero drop shoe. At $100 I need to be sure they are the right move. 

Otherwise, I'm interested in looking into other shoes like the Brooks Pure Flow 2. 

Friday, September 06, 2013

Hammer Nutrition - Hammer Gel - Tropical and Espresso Flavor

I'm most of the way through my 2nd 26 serving bottle of Hammer Gel from Hammer Nutrition. The first flavor I got was Tropical and the 2nd was Espresso. Of the 10 flavors available, these are the 2 flavors that contain caffeine and that is what I was looking for. Now the tropical has 25mg of Caffeine and the Espresso has 50mg. To put that in perspective, a 12 oz can of Mt Dew has 55mg of Caffeine and a 12oz can of Diet Coke has 45mg (12oz of Starbucks coffee has around 250mg). So a 1 oz serving of Espresso does have about the same 'kick' as a can of soda, and at 90 Calories it packs a good amount of energy. Luckily it is a much slower burn than the sugar rush you get from soda.

As far as taste goes, the tropical had a very light sweet flavor and went down very easy especially in the heat of the summer. The espresso, is a lot heavier, it kind of tastes like pure chocolate syrup. So be ready for that. It's pretty strong and a little harder on the stomach in my opinion.

During a long run I will usually have a single serving mixed up to take before my run. I'll mix 2 or 3 servings to take with me. About 5 miles into the run I'll drink 1/2 of my nutrition bottle, then at around 9-10 miles (depending on total distance) I'll drink the rest. This provides a nice steady stream of energy for me.

The 26 serving size is great. I use the 5oz nutrition bottle that came with my Nathan hydration belt and can take as much or as little as I need without having all the foil packs. And at $0.77 a serving it's about 1/2 the cost of single serving foil packs. That is certainly what initially drew me to Hammer Gel over other Gels. I also emailed the company and confirmed that I can mix up some with water and don't have to refrigerate it overnight. So I can get my stuff ready the night before a 4:45am long run.

I've tried single packs of Vanilla and Montana Huckleberry. They were very good, the Vanilla totally tasted like frosting.  One thing I do wish is that Hammer would put out a lighter flavor with the higher caffeine content of the Espresso.

One thing I keep reading is to use practice race day nutrition and hydration. So I will certainly be taking Hammer Gel with me when I run in St Louis in 50 days.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Blender: Automating the Setting and Keying of Visibility in Python

I fractured an object in Blender and wanted to swap out the whole object for the shattered one the frame before the collision that sends the shards flying, but didn't want to have to manually set visibility and renderabilty and keyframes for each of 300+ objects. So I wrote this little script to help

import bpy 

hideObjects = 1

for obj in bpy.context.selected_objects: 
    obj.hide = hideObjects 
    obj.hide_render = hideObjects     

This simple script will take the selected objects and if you make 'hideObjects' equal to 1 then it will set the visibility and renderability of those objects and turn them off, then keyframe both properties on the current frame. So doing this I set the value to 0 on my unshattered object and keyed frame 1,   went to the frame where it should disappear and set the value to 1 and ran it again. I did the opposite for my shards. Worked like a charm. I hope it helps you out too!

Gear Review: IK Multimedia iKlip Stand

I received the iKlip stand (for iPad and iPad mini) from IK Multimedia for review and wanted to give you a quick run-down on it.

The first thing you will notice (after you follow the easy assembly directions) the iKlip stand is that it has a very sturdy feeling construction. The weighted base gives the overall stand a very low center of gravity which, even though it is on an arm, your iPad is not wobbling around. The slide in clip for the iPad itself is snug without being too difficult to use. I have used other iPad microphone clips that are more of a snap-in design, which make me a little nervous. But the device feels secure on this stand. The arm is comprised of a hinge joint and the clip is attached with a ball and socket joint that has an adjustable screw for tension, so you do have quite a bit of freedom in adjusting the level of the device and the angle at which you are viewing it.

in addition to the horse shoe shaped table top base, the iKlip stand also comes with a C-clamp style base that can be swapped out easily, for mounting the iKlip to the edge of a table or desk. Unfortunately you would have to remove the clip from the desk to be able to remove the rest of the stand from it. So leaving the clamp on the desk and popping the stand in and out is not an option, if you were wanting something you could easily take with you.

I've used the stand in two settings now. First I used it while I was cooking in the kitchen to watch some Netflix and the other is actually in my pedalboard rig. I run through my standard set of pedals:

Analog pedals, the iRig stomp, iKlip and Amplitube.
Sounds good to me. 
Tuner -> Overdrive -> Distortion -> Volume -> Dual Tap Delay -> Memory Man -> Hardwire Reverb

Then I go into the iRig Stomp which then feeds into my iPad which you can see in the pic is on the iKlip stand. Then back into the iRig Stomp and out to a DI box. This worked out really nicely. It brings the iPad up off the floor away from my feet and leaves it in nice usable level. Also the base of the iKlip is thin, so it fits under the back of my pedal board. Overall this is a very nice stand. The one issue I would probably raise is the price, because at $69.99 it is not cheap. But, then again it does not feel cheap. This might be a case of paying for what you get.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Crock Pot Bread

Here is a cross post from my cooking blog

I saw an article on how to make crockpot bread the other day and so I decided to try it. I took pieces from a couple different articles to come up with how I was gonna make my bread. I've linked to the originals below. Here is what I did:


1 pouch yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups flour


Mix water an yeast in a mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add salt, mix. Add flour 1 cup at a time until all is blended. Add a little more flour as you knead the dough or use a dough hook to knead the dough. Once you have a nice dough ball, dust it lightly with flour.

Line the crockpot with a piece of parchment paper and place the dough ball in the center, there is no need to let it rise.

Cook on high for 2 hours (or until internal temp is 190-200). Remove from crockpot and place loaf on a cookie sheet and place in oven for about 5 minutes on med-high broil setting to brown the top a little. Keep a close eye, you don't want to burn it!

Thats it. Seriously. It tastes good too. It's almost too easy!

Next time to try some seasonings, herbs, etc.

Referenced Articles

Sunday, July 21, 2013

IK Multimedia iRig HD and iRig Stomp

I recently received both the iRig HD and iRig Stomp from IK Multimedia for review.

iRig HD

I have had the standard iRig since just after it came out and while it is a decent unit, I've always felt like it was not really usable in a live setting. The main problem is that without using the noise filter pedal in AmpliTube, that there was too much digital noise, then when you used the noise filter it dulled the guitar sound too much by rolling off the high end and making the guitar sound muddy.

This is where the iRig HD comes in and does things a lot better. For one, the iRig HD is not a bi-directional I/O device, you are not sending signal in and out the same unit. It is simply an input device. This is great because it can focus on it's one task. Converting your guitar signal. If you want audio out of your device, you can use a different interface. So in the case of iOS, you simply use your headphones out, or on Mac you could use headphones out or other external audio device if you have one.

This brings up another area where the iRig HD is very handy. It includes 3 adapters. A standard 30 pin iOS cable, a Lightning cable and a USB cable. So if you are using a Mac, iPad, iPhone or whatever, you can probably hook it up. It was nice to make this modular and not make them device specific. So you only have to get one of them for all your devices rather than getting the Mac version or the iPod version, etc.

One issue I do have with the iRig HD is that there is not a way to use it and have your iPad plugged in to power at the same time. This means that if your battery is running low, you are out of luck until you get a recharge. I'm not sure if someone makes a 30 pin splitter that would alleviate this problem, but it is a problem non the less.

For getting the most pristine signal on your devices for recording / practicing, I think the iRig HD is a great option.

iRig Stomp

AmpliTube to your pedalboard. Well you can with the iRig Stomp. The idea is simple, take the basic idea of the iRig and put it in a pedal box. Here's how it works, you have 1/4 inch in and out much like a normal effects pedal. There is a footswitch that turn the pedal on and off. When the pedal is off, signal simply passes from the inputs to the outputs. When it is on, it send the signal to a stereo 1/8th inch I/O jack. Then with the included long male to make 1/8th" cable, to your iOS device. Using AmpliTube, you set up the sounds you want, then the signal comes back in the same cable. The pedal has a volume knob for you to equalize the return signal to your dry signal. There is a 2nd 1/8th" jack that you can use with a pair of headphones,
Being a 'pedal guy' I thought the iRig Stomp was an interesting idea. What if you could bring the power of

With this setup, you turn your whole AmpliTube rig into another pedal. So why not give it a go? I play guitar at my church. I generally run into my pedalboard, then to my Crate V33-212 amp that is in a backstage closet. I gets mic'd up back there. Since AmpliTube is not just effects, but also amp simulation, I though I would try to run from my pedalboard into the iRig stomp, into my iPad, then out of the iRig Stomp into a direct box.

I was pretty surprised at the sound that I got. I did not have tons of time to tweak my sound, so I dialed up the basic crunch amp and set the volume low to simulate the base tone that I usually shoot for with my amp. Pretty clean, but with a bit of breakup. Since I had my American Special Telecaster, which does pick up nasty levels of noise in that space, I turned on the noise filter. This certainly dulls the tone a bit, but I was able to brighten it up a little with the amp EQ.

Overall it sounded pretty good. Certainly a viable option to replace the amp if the need be. It is definitely nice to have the amp knobs at arms reach instead of having to 'set it and forget it'.

If I were to use AmpliTube on the iPad for live settings, I certainly wouldn't use it for all my effects. being able to turn effects on/off with my foot or tap in tempos on certain pedals is a must for me. I could use presets, but again, switching presets is a 2 click process. I would certainly have some usability ideas for IK if they were to ever ask me. Now to be fair, IK is coming out with the iRig BlueBoard which is a BlueTooth pedalboard that will control IK programs on iOS and mac. Perhaps I get my hands on one and see how that works.

Another thing to consider from a purely logistical standpoint is using something like an iKlip. I just had my iPad on my music stand under my music. This was fine until I managed to reset my settings (I think I loaded a preset) right before we started our set. So yeah, that wasn't cool.

I need to fire up the Studio section of AmpliTube still and will be reviewing that in a follow up post soon.

Other Ideas & AmpliTube Custom Shop

Another option would be to run the output of my last pedal into the iRig HD, into my MacBook Pro. Then run AmpliTube Custom shop. Then using a 2nd D/A converter that I have run the output to the sound system. Custom Shop has a lot more options than the iOS version of AmpliTube (rightly so). There is a vast library of amps and effects that you can purchase. You can also try out individual models for 72 hours which is good, because credits will run you between $1 to $0.50 depending on how many you buy at once. Most 'normal' amounts of credits 20-80 credits, they are about $1 a piece. For reference, of the 8 delay pedal models, they range from 10 credits to 15 credits, amps run about 30 credits, speaker cabinets are 5 credits, mics are 5 credits. So using the 72 hour 'try' period is a good idea lest you drop a bunch of cash. The much better way to go would be to spend about $100 on one of the collections and get many more models for the price.

 The free core of the software does come with a modest set of models. Enough that if you were running some 'real' pedals in front of the interface, you could use it in a live setting. But again, would definitely need some external controls, because in the middle of a show, the last thing you want to have to do is mouse around the screen to change settings or presets.

In Conclusion

iRig HD and iRig Stomp are similar products that fill a slightly different space. The iRig Stomp is a great way to either use AmpliTube as another pedal on your board, or use it as an amp replacement so you can run direct. While the iRig HD gives you a cleaner way to connect your guitar into your iPad, iPod or Computer digitally without relying on the crummy D/A conversion that generally happens in the mic in jack on your device.

 I would certainly recommend either of these devices if someone were looking for a way to get a little more digital in their rig or extend some sonic options that may not otherwise be available.

On the software end, there are still drawbacks to using it live, but I think IK is aware of that and hopefully some of their hardware offerings in the future will address these issues.

Hammer Nutrition - Endurolytes Fizz

As I've posted before, I have a Nathan Elite Plus 1 hydration belt which has a 22oz water bottle and a 5 oz nutrition bottle. I had been using just water on my runs in the big bottle, but as it has gotten hotter outside, I realized that I needed to start replenishing my electrolytes, especially since I've been pushing some pretty long runs on Saturdays (14 miles). Since I already have a spot for carbs in the 5oz bottle, I didn't need a full up sports drink in the big bottle, plus I wanted to keep the water as 'light' as possible, to keep it more waterlike and not sicky sweet.

In my research I found Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes Fizz tablets. These are simple tablets that you drop into your water bottle that dissolve. They are very convenient since you don't have to mess with mixes or powders. They add the following to your water:

(from the Hammer Nutrition website).

Endurolytes Fizz Grape
Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 tablet (4.5g)
Amount Per Serving%DV
Total Carbohydrate<1g p=""><1>
Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride)13mg650%
Calcium (as Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Chloride)100mg10%
Magnesium (as Magnesium Oxide)50mg13%
Manganese (as Manganese Gluconate)3mg150%
Chloride (as Calcium Chloride)60mg2%
Sodium (as Sodium Bicarbonate)200mg8%
Potassium (as Potassium Bicarbonate)100mg3%
Tyrosine (as L-Tyrosine)100mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
† Daily Value not established.
Other Ingredients: Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Sorbitol, Stevia, Wheat Germ Oil*
*Patent Pending

A 13 tablet tube is $4.95 (at Hammer's Website). I picked up the Grape and Grapefruit flavors. Both flavors are decent. In 22oz of water, the Grapefruit seems a little stronger taste, but neither is overpowering. They leave the water light and drinkable. I will definitely be continuing to use them.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Half Marathon Training - Week 7

I was off to a pretty slow start on Monday. I was pretty sore still from Saturday's 14 miler. But I still got out on the road. I put in a very slow 5 miles instead of an easy 6. Tuesday was supposed to be 5, so since I was feeling a bit better, I switched it up and put in my 6. Wednesday was a 7 mile tempo run which I was able to complete successfully. Thursday was a 5 mile easy and friday was off. Today I wanted to stay in bed, actually the voice in my head was telling me to take Saturday off altogether. Forget that. I was on the road at 4:35am and did the 14 mile loop again. A bit slower than last week, but still with a good 11:01 pace.

13 weeks to go until the race!

I read a great comic this week from The Oatmeal about running. Beware, The Oatmeal can be a bit crass from time to time, but the author really has a way of getting to the truth of things. Enjoy:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Half Marathon Training - Week 5 & 6

Week five was a self inflicted rest week. Knees and Achilles were aching, so I took 3 days off and did some shorter runs for the rest of the week. Only got in about 18 miles total for the week.

Week 6 was back in full swing.

Monday - 6 miles easy
Tuesday - 5 miles easy
Wednesday - 6 miles ( warmup: 3x1600 @ 8:59 w/800m jogs: cool down )
Intervals went well again. But it was super muggy, like breathing in a sauna! But I hit under my goal time. Actually the first mile interval was a 7m:52s mile. Best mile ever. Slowly making progress. Trying to focus on a faster cadence and shorter stride to speed myself up rather than trying to have a long stride. Seems to help.
Thursday - 5 miles easy
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 14 miles - 10m:47s average pace
So I was a little concerned about this run. It was a mile longer than I've ever run before and I was trying out a new route. I was also hitting the road about 15 minutes earlier this time. So the first half hour or so of my run was pretty dark still since I started at 4:15am. But the weather was cool and beautiful and I watched a lovely sunrise over the Illinois countryside. I like this new route through the woods and through farmland. I'll be doing it again next weekend. My body felt pretty good the rest of Saturday, but Sunday I was hurting pretty well. Lots of foam rolling, ice and NSAIDs and I'm coming back together for another week of work.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

All Tied Up with the Ian Knot

I must have flunked tying your shoes class when I was a kid. I can't get a shoelace to stay tied. Even when I double knot, it's always coming undone. That is until recently when I discovered the 'Ian' knot. Actually I was introduced to the Ian knot a couple years ago and thought it was interesting. But when I started running, I found it to be invaluable. No more double knotting in order to keep my laces tied.

I won't try to explain how to tie it, instead, here is Ian Fieggen's website where he explains how to tie it and many other shoelace knots. If you have trouble keeping your laces tied and don't want to spend the money on something like Lock Laces, then check out the Ian Knot

Friday, July 12, 2013

6 Month Progress Report

Well, I started this thing in ernest half way through January 2013. Today is July 13th,  6 months in.  Here are my stats as of last weekend.

Overall Changes:
Weight: 172.2lbs   ( -62.8 pounds )
BMI: 24 ( -8.1 points )
BMI Category: Healthy (Started in Obese I, Went all the way through overweight)
Neck: 14.5in ( -3.5 inches)
Chest: 37.5in   ( -5.5 inches )
Waist at Navel: 31.5in ( -12.5 inches)
Hips: 36.5in ( -5.5 inches )
Thigh: 22in ( -4.5 inches )

I have gone from using running as a convenient tool for weight loss, to loving to run and training for a half marathon, with a second half marathon already in my sights.

Here is a comparison shot from last year to now.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Half Marathon Training - Week 4

This was a 'recovery' week. Monday through Thursday were 5 mile easy runs and Saturday was a 6 mile easy run. I was hoping the easy runs would let my achilles feel better, but alas it's still tender. In addition to Sunday, I am taking Monday off from running to give it a breather. I watched this video from and will be trying to incorporate this stretch into my daily routine to see if it assists in Achilles mobility. Monday Minute - Wall Ankle Mobilization

I also got my Road ID gear this week, a Road ID sport and a nice Road ID visor at an inexpensive price.

I also picked up a couple tubes of Endurolyte Fizz from Hammer Nutrition. I tried the Grape flavor on my 6 mile run on Saturday. It was a nice light grape flavor added to 22oz of water. I'll do a post on it later.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Road ID

While I was visiting my Mom and Stepdad, last month, they showed me a great product that they both use. It is not one the improves performance, makes you look good, keeps you hydrated or anything like that. Instead, it is a little bit of insurance that you put on your wrist. I give you, the Road ID.

Simply put, the Road ID is a way for you to carry important ID on you while you are out running / biking / hiking / skiing / whatever. It is fully customizable with your information. Key information about who you are and who to contact in an emergency to "speak for you when you can't speak for yourself."  So for $20 if I were to be injured during a run, either in pain or unconscious, a first responder would have not only my name, but a couple of contact numbers and also be informed of any other important info I would want them to have.

I usually run very early in the morning 5:00am to 5:30am on shorter runs, as early as 4:30 on long run days. I'm a couple miles in be fore the sun is up. So even though I have on some reflective gear and a flashing arm band, there are still bleary eyed drivers out there and I do share the road with them. You never know what could happen.

 I got the Road ID sport in black (just like the sample image above) It is very comfortable and seems like it will be very durable.

So, check them out, they have brackets, dog tags, shoelace tags, ankle tags and even ones for your dog. They have a good deal of testimonials other site as well of people who were wearing their RoadID when it mattered most.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Half Marathon Training - Week 3

The first half of the week went really well, but I peaked on my wednesday tempo run. I pushed pretty hard and really knocked it out. I was worried about keeping the prescribed 9:47 pace for the middle 5 miles, but instead ended up with a 9 minute pace average for those miles.

But I paid for it. Saturday's long run hurt. By the end of it, my knees were aching, my hip flexors were shot and my right achilles was tender. I'm glad that next week is a recovery week: 5 easy runs. I just need to force myself to keep the pace down even if I'm feeling strong. I'm gonna start the week on the treadmill to do just that.

Week 3 of 21 overview:

Sunday: Rest
Monday: 5 Miles - Easy Run
Tuesday: 4 Miles - Easy Run
Wednesday: 7 Miles -  Tempo Run - 1 mile warm; 5 miles (9 minute pace); 1 mile cool
Thursday: 4 Miles - Easy Run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 13.1 miles - 11:18  pace (long run)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Getting Runstastic to Track your GPS better

I was having a really hard time getting Runtastic to track my GPS in a nice smooth way, sometimes it was decent, but more and more it was becoming unusable. Runtastic recently updated their support site and in their GPS tips section, recommended shutting off WiFi to improve GPS tracking. I guess that way it doesn't try to do any WiFi based positioning. Here are 2 side by side tracks, one with Wifi on and one with it off.
WiFi On
WiFi Off

So yeah, I would say if you are having trouble with getting a good GPS track with Runtastic on your cell phone, try shutting off WiFi and see it that helps

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Half Marathon Training - Week 2

This week started out a little rough. On Sunday, I came down with some sort of stomach bug and it knocked me down for a good 24 hours. So my Monday workout was nuked. But that's ok. I had a 5 mile easy on Monday and a 4 mile easy scheduled for Tuesday. So I just did the 5 on Tuesday and moved on.

Wednesday was killer! It was my first time to hit the track for intervals. It was hot and muggy, so breathing well was tough. After the warmup mile, I kicked it up into the first 1600 fast interval. 9:04 pace was really fast for me. I realized though that this was my target pace for the race in October, so I better get used to it. Interval 2 and 3 got hard, but I managed to keep it going and made pace for the run. I used the updates to Runtastic Pro app to help with the intervals. You can custom program an interval plan and it will tell you when to speed up or slow down. Very handy. 

Thursday was a nice easy 4 mile run, I kept really close to the plan pace and didn't push hard at all. I've read some articles lately that suggest this for easy runs. 

Friday was another day off, I decided not to cross train, just to get some extra rest for the long run.

Today was a long run. it went very well. I tried some Cytomax in my water bottle and had tropical Hammer Gel in my nutrition flask. Overall it was a very good run. I got to also sport a new Under Armour running outfit from my mom and stepdad. Thanks guys!

I've  been having trouble with GPS tracking and got the suggestion from Runtastic's website to turn off wifi on my phone for better gps tracking. I tried this today and got a near perfect GPS track for thie run.

Week 2 of 21 overview:

Sunday: Rest - Came down with Stomach Bug
Monday: Rest / Sick
Tuesday: 5 Miles - 10:25 pace (easy run)
Wednesday: 6 Miles -  warm; 3x1600m (9:04pace) w/800m jogs; cool (speed work)
Thursday: 4 Miles - 11:07 (easy run)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 13.1 miles - 10:43  pace (long run)

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Carb Gel - GU and Hammer Gel

My stepfather, who is an avid cyclist, introduced me to Carb Gel recently. I had heard about them before, but didn't really bother to learn what they were for. During a visit to Phoenix, he sent me home with a bag full of GU and Hammer Gel also some Honey Stingers. Of the 3, the GU and Hammer Gel sat best with my stomach, the Honey Stinger on an empty stomach was not great. The other 2 seemed to be fine in that regard. It may be because the primary ingredient in the Honey stinger is honey which is different than the other 2. For this reason, I'm gonna talk about these 2:

These little pouches contain around 100 calories of carbs. Most of the carbs in both products come the complex carb maltodexterin which is supposed to not give you a sugar rush and crash. Some flavors of GU contain caffeine and some don't the ones that do contain 20mg and the Jet Blackberry GU has 40mg caffeine, the Espresso and Tropical flavors or Hammer Gel contain 25mg.

So far this has been my experience with them: I've put in several 9+ mile runs using these and have been very happy with my energy level. Both products recommend that you take 1 serving 15 minutes before your workout and one every 45 minutes during. At $1 to $1.50 a pouch, that could get expensive. You can mix it with some water and put it in a nutrition flask and spread it out more, that is what I've been doing and it works great. The Hammer gel also comes in 26 serving bottles for a lot less per serving, but then you have to mix it in another container.

Overall, if you are doing endurance sports like running, biking, etc. and find that you run out of juice, you might want to take a look at these gels as a quick source of energy that isn't going to sit bulky in the pit of your stomach for the next 5 miles.

Half Marathon Training - Week 1

I think for the next section of my blog, I'm not going to bore you with daily updates, instead moving to a weekly review of my progress. I've got till October 27th to get in the best shape of my life and hopefully post a great time in my first major race.

Week 1 went like this:

Sunday: Rest
Monday: 10.5 miles - 10:14 pace (this was before I started following my training plan)
Tuesday: 4 Miles - 10:43 pace (easy run)
Wednesday: 7.25 Miles - 10:49 pace (tempo run)
Thursday: 3.3 Miles - 10:50 pace (easy run)
Friday: Cross Train - Insanity Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs
Saturday: 13.1 miles - 11:07 pace (long run)

I was happy with my long run at 2h 26m, obviously I have almost 2 minutes a mile to shave off in the next 20 weeks, but hey. I done crazier things.

I need to speed up my tempo run a little next time. I've gone back to the training calculator and changed the times a little to reflect what my times were this week as a starting point.

Next week I have speedwork (intervals) instead of a tempo run.

Friday, June 07, 2013

A Trip to Phoenix and a run up a Mountain

At the start of the trail just after 5:00am
Last week I took a trip to Phoenix, AZ to visit family. It was a great time of enjoying each other's company, playing games and doing a little bit of working out. I did several runs while I was there. A seven mile on Thursday with my mom for the first mile. Got some new Saucony running shoes at Sole Sports in Tempe later that day. Friday, I did a three mile run with my stepdad Rob (followed by a 10 mile road bike ride, since he is a cyclist and beginning runner). But Saturday was the real kicker. Rob was going to ride the 7 mile road up South Mountain in Phoenix (check out this video to get an idea of this 'city park') with his riding partner. After some debate,  I decided to try and run it. I picked up a Nathan Elite One Plus water/nutrition pack the night before and hit the trail the next day with no real idea of what I was in for.

pushing hard
Originally I was going to run up, then have Rob ride back down and bring the truck up to get me at the peak.  What a scenic, beautiful, peaceful and awesome run. After the 1:30 minute climb (which included some 11% and 12% grade climbs), I still felt pretty good, so I decided to run back down. I didn't quite go all seven miles back to the start, but when it was all over I clocked 13.2 just a little over 2h 30m.

A beautiful morning to run up a mountain

That was a PR for distance. and with a total of 1700ft climb/fall it was certainly the most intense run I've ever done. But it was beautiful! That is for sure. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Completing a run of this intensity is really what gave me the encouragement to go ahead and sign up for the half marathon in the fall.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Nathan Elite 1 Plus Waist Pack

I've been running for about 8 months. I am still very new to the sport and am still learning a lot. A week ago I was at Sole Sports in Tempe, (which if you are in the Phoenix, AZ area, I highly recommend for great service) getting a new pair of running shoes, the saleslady asked me if I carry water or nutrition on my runs. I kind of gave her a blank stare and said 'no'. Why would I do that? Well, while I was visiting AZ, I planned on a 13 mile run up and down South Mountain. So it was time to take a better look at this area of running. I ended up getting an Elite 1 Plus Waist Pack by Nathan Sports. This item has been discontinued, so I got it on clearance, but I love it already. It's main feature is a back holster for a 22oz water bottle. I was worried about it bouncing around, but have had 0 trouble. It even has a nice finger ring at the top that makes getting it out really easy. the 'Plus' is a 5oz nutrition flask. This was another new concept to me. My stepfather, who is an avid cyclist, introduced me to Carb Gel (I'll post more about these later) which are great for maintaining energy during a long workout. The flask lets you mix them with a little water and have a quick source to power through. The pack has some straps and a little zipper pouch.

I may never do a training run without something like this again. Staying hydrated on runs of all lengths and getting extra energy in runs that are longer than say 5 or 6 miles makes a huge difference. One I didn't really expect. Nathan Sports makes all kinds of different styles of packs, backpacks, handhelds and such. I would HIGHLY recommend checking them out.

New Goal - Half Marathon

I've been quiet for a few weeks. I stopped Insanity for a while and have been running again. The crazy thing is, that I've been running a lot. Longer distances and more endurance. Insanity really paid off (even if I only did 6 out of 9 weeks). This culminated last weekend while I was visiting family in Phoenix and I ran 13.2 up and down South Mountain. It is the first time I managed half-marathon distance and it got me thinking. So I signed up for the St Louis half marathon event of the Rock & Roll Marathon in October.

That being decided, I needed to take my running to a different level of intelligence. I knew I couldn't just go out and run as far and as fast as I can every day and expect to be ready. So I asked a seasoned running friend for advice and he pointed me to the SmartCoach at This handy app lets you set up a training program very easily. Lets just say I'll be putting in a lot of miles in the next 21 weeks. 

Race Goal

Now I know I can finish the half marathon, so that really isn't the goal. Right now, since I'm still fuzzy about what I can do in the next few months training wise, I'm setting my goal at finishing at 2 hours (or less) I've got a lot of work to get there.

I'll be adding some more posts about some of the gear, apps and training I am doing as we move forward.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

INSANITY - Day 42 Rest

6 Weeks down.

Had a rough week. Weight is up stats are pretty level. Ended Saturdays workout with a pulled quad. Yuck. 

I ended this week where I started Insanity weight wise. Not sure how I feel about that. I'm sure it's just a high water weight day and that I'll go back down. I also think this being the end of week 1 of phase 2 that I may have built some new muscle this week, which is fine. I'm just so set on getting out of the 180's and I'm going the wrong way. I need to take a look at my nutrition and reign in any extra stuff that I'm eating.

Weight: 186.2lbs
Body Fat (caliper): %14.6  (10mm)
BMI: 26

Overall Changes Since Starting Insanity:
Weight: 0             (+4.6 this week)
Neck:    -0.65in
Chest:   -1.25in
Waist (at Navel): -1.75in
Hips:      -0.5in
Thigh:    -0.5in

Overall Changes Since January 2013:

Weight: -49lbs        
Neck:    -3.25in
Chest:   -5.5in
Waist (at Navel): -11.25in
Hips:      -4.5in
Thigh:    -4 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

INSANITY - Day 41: Max Interval Plyo

Pushed it pretty well today even though I was a bit congested and still a little groggy from my cold-medicine induced sleep last night. Actually, I burned 120 more calories than the last time I did the same workout!
I was doing really well actually until I got to the diamond jumps at the end. I just and pulled my left quad pretty well.  Icing it right now. Ouch. Then I sat on the floor to change a diaper after I got home, overcompensated on my right quad and pulled it a little while standing up...I'm pathetic.

Oh well good thing for me, tomorrow is week #6 rest day.My weight has been all over the place this week, so I really don't see this being a 'big loss' week (actually I may be up a pound or 2) But I'm ok with that. I feel strong and am trying to integrate the idea of slow progress/maintenance from here on out rather than the huge losses I was putting up a couple months ago when I had so much to lose. Phase 2 has me sore and that means those muscles are working and growing. That means gains.Now with only about 10-15 pounds left, it's gonna be a slow pound by pound, week by week thing and I have to get ok with that or I'll drive myself crazy and never let myself have any fun. I mean really, what is a life without the occasional biscuits and gravy for supper, or a  movie without popcorn? Whats that point of all this work if I can't enjoy all those things too? .. at least in moderation.

Day #41 Fitness Stats

Max Interval Plyo

Average HR:130
Max HR:175

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Friday, May 17, 2013

INSANITY - Day 40: Max Interval Circuit

Wow, that is one crazy workout. I pushed harder than Monday, but alas left my HRM at home, so I'm not sure exactly how much harder. I'm estimating 50 more calories to put the workout at 775. I peaked around the end of the 2nd circuit. So the 3rd circuit was tough. It is no wonder why I've been sore this week with a routine like this thrown into the mix! I can't believe I'm coming into the end of week 6 already.

Day #40 Fitness Stats

Max Interval Circuit

Calories:775 estimated

Thursday, May 16, 2013

INSANITY - Day 39: Max Recovery

In phase 1 of Insanity I always kind of felt in the back of my mind that the recovery workout was kind of a throw away day. Well, in Phase 2 I was NEEDING it. Soreness from the new workouts had set in and a nice slow workout was just what the Dr. ordered. This is a great workout. There are a couple parts that get pretty tough. The side planks to pushup section and the high/low plank sections are killer. Loved it. Finally felt like myself again after last weekend too. So tomorrow I can try Max Interval circuit at 100% and we will see what happens!

Day #39 Fitness Stats

Max Recovery

Average HR:104
Max HR:151

1 Mile Run

Average HR:142
Max HR:163

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

INSANITY - Day 38: Max Cardio Conditioning

Today was somewhate better. I'm feeling less nasty (not 100% yet) and so that helped a bunch. Also I've noticed that all these new routines in Phase 2 have got me sore all over again :) So that is slowing me down a little. That should pass in the next couple days.

 Max Cardio Conditioning was a good workout. Not so many breaks pretty high intensity except for a little section in the late middle where you recover for a bit and at 48 minutes it's almost 10 minutes shorter than the last 2 workouts. To compare with yesterday, I worked out 7 minutes less and burned 41 more calories today. I'd say I kicked it a bit harder. Soon we take Phase 2 up to 100%.

Day #38 Fitness Stats

Max Cardio Conditioning

Average HR:130
Max HR:168

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

INSANITY - Day 37: Max Interval Plyo

Well, that was terrible. My motivation was gone today. Barely dragged myself out of bed and to the Annex for the workout then schlumped my way through the whole thing. You can see by my numbers below that it was not pretty. It is a hard workout, and my muscles were not there today.  I was not able to get my heart rate up very high. Bleh. I'm tired of these slumps. I'm also still feeling nasty from Sunday's food fest and am still holding on to every ounce of it. Ugh.

There were some cool new exercises in the workout today. Lots of pushups and jumping. Power pushups and balance pushups were good. Hung in there for most of the level 3 drills. 16 pushups, 16 plank runs, up, down, repeat.

I need a bump today to get my motivation up or it's gonna be a long day at the office of coding an event registration website.

Day #37 Fitness Stats

Max Interval Plyo

Average HR:118
Max HR:159

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Monday, May 13, 2013

INSANITY - Day 36: Max Interval Circuit

So I blew it last night and ate way too much at a Mother's day BBQ. T bone steak and pork burger and chips and I woke up feeling bloated. Rightly so, I weighed 4 pounds heavier than yesterday. That a lot of extra water and food weight thats gonna take a few days to clear out. Ugh, it just means I have to clamp down on the nutrition a little harder. That's my cheat for a long time. It also made working out a bit of a chore. bleh. But anyway.

Max Interval Circuit was tough and awesome. 731 cals in one workout...yikes. I'm looking forward to doing it when I'm not feeling so nasty. 194 max heart rate? wow that took me by surprise. But I don't doubt it. Shaun T says he is gonna kick your butt and he is right. 3 circuits instead of 2 and they really move.

I haven't done fit test 3 yet. Maybe I can squeeze it in sometime tonight.

Day #36 Fitness Stats

Max Interval Circuit

Average HR:136
Max HR:194

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

INSANITY - Day 35 - Rest & Week 5 Stats

5 Weeks down and into Phase 2 tomorrow

Here are my stats after 5 weeks: No real weight change, but lost size in all the right ways, so not unhappy about that at all.

Weight: 181.6lbs
Body Fat (caliper): %14.6
BMI: 25.3

Overall Changes:
Weight: - 4.6lbs (+0.2 this week)
Neck: -0.65in (-0.15 this week)
Chest: - 1.25in (-0.5 this week)
Waist (at Navel): - 1.75in (-0.25 this week)
Hips: -1.0in
Thigh: -0.75 (0.25 this week)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

INSANITY - Day 35: Core Cardio and Balance (Recovery Week Day 6)

Recovery week is over! Rest tomorrow. Actually, I think I am going to do Fit test 3 tomorrow. Since I do the workout at 5:00am and the next routine is just over an hour, I don't have time to tack on a 20 minute fit test before it. I don't want to have to get up at 4:30! I previewed the next DVD and I'm a little nervous about it. It looks like it goes from level 9 out of 10 to about a 15 out of 10.

Day #34 Fitness Stats

Core Cardio and Balance

Average HR:120
Max HR:157

2 miles - Treadmill

Average HR:142
Max HR:160

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Friday, May 10, 2013

INSANITY - Day 33: Core Cardio and Balance (Recovery Week Day 5)

Kicked it back up again today and was feeling pretty good, even if I was by myself. Except for putting my foot down a couple times and dropping my arms a couple times during the burners, I did the entire workout with no stopping. I've found that here towards the end of recovery week I start the exercises while Shaun T is still explaining them on the DVD to get a little extra in, or just jog in place while he talks.

 Hit the treadmill for 20 minutes of just over 9 minute miles. Pushed pretty hard there too. Wasn't till after that I realized my max HR on the treadmill was so high. One more day of Core Cardio and Balance, a day off then the dreaded PHASE 2!!!

Day #33 Fitness Stats

Core Cardio and Balance

Average HR:125
Max HR:163

2.2 miles - Treadmill

Average HR:157
Max HR:176

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Thursday, May 09, 2013

INSANITY - Day 32: Core Cardio and Balance

Dialed it back today. Low motivation and energy translated to a much slower day both in INSANITY and treadmill. I guess today is my recovery day from my recovery week. Hopefully back into it strong tomorrow.

Day #32 Fitness Stats

Core Cardio and Balance

Average HR:114
Max HR:149

1.6 miles - interval program treadmill

Average HR:112
Max HR:140

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

INSANITY - Day 31: Core Cardio and Balance

Pushed it harder again today. Really starting to feel it on the abs. I can't believe I'm at the half way point.

Day #31 Fitness Stats

Core Cardio and Balance

Average HR:129
Max HR:171

1.8 miles - treadmill

Average HR:140
Max HR:163

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

INSANITY - Day 30: Core Cardio and Balance

Kicked Core Cardio and Balance up a notch today and it felt good! I got all the way into the burners before I had to take a mini break (those are TOUGH!)

I was pleased that I pushed through a minute of level 1 drills without stopping and with keeping the Shaun T pace.

I'm excited about next week. I've read so many horror stories about month 2, but I'm ready to hit it HARD! I'm getting a taste of being in shape for the first time in a long time and my body likes it.

I'm going to have to figure out how to fit in some running too, because with the longer workouts, I'm not going to have time to hit the treadmill after Insanity in the mornings and I don't want to take a full month off of any running.

Day #30 Fitness Stats

Core Cardio and Balance

Average HR:125
Max HR:165

2.02 miles - treadmill

Average HR:147
Max HR:168

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Monday, May 06, 2013

INSANITY - Day 29: Core Cardio and Balance

This was the first of 6 days on Core Cardio and Balance. Not a bad workout, meant as a 'recovery' week. You can push it as hard as you want. You do a lot of the exercises you are familiar with, but in different orders and mixed up a bit for a minute at a time. Then there are the burners sections. Where your hip flexors and your shoulders will be on FIRE! Pretty good. I do need to push a bit harder tomorrow, now that I know what's coming.  Overall a good morning at the gym.

Day #29 Fitness Stats

Core Cardio and Balance

Average HR:116
Max HR:156

1.6 miles - treadmill

Average HR:138
Max HR:160

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)

Sunday, May 05, 2013

INSANITY - Day 27 & 28: Plyometric Cardio Circuit and Rest: Week 4 stats.

I went with my son Ethan on a field trip on Saturday, so I ended up swapping my Sunday rest and Saturday work (since I messed up my phone alarm and didn't wake up early enough on Saturday). So today I did plyo circuit and running before church. I kicked it pretty well. Also had about 2 and a half hours of hiking on Saturday at Elephant Rocks State Park and Johnson's Shut-ins State park in Missouri. Both are really nice places if you are looking for a nice day out in the midwest.

Day #28  (27 swapped out) Fitness Stats

Plyometric Cardio Circuit

Average HR:135
Max HR:166

2.1 miles - treadmill

Average HR:146
Max HR:160

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad) Here are my stats after 3 weeks:

End of Week 4 Body Stats.

Weight: 181.4lbs
Body Fat (caliper): %14.8 (I think I'm doing it right now)
BMI: 25.3

Overall Changes:
Weight: - 4.8lbs
Neck: -0.75in
Chest: - 0.75in
Waist (at Navel): - 1.5in
Hips: -1.5in
Thigh: -0.5

Friday, May 03, 2013

INSANITY - Day 26: Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs

A decent Pure Cardio / Abs day. I left happy about it.

What I was more happy about was stepping on the scale this morning and seeing that I've broken into the 170's (just barely). I am now around the weight I was at the end of my Freshmen year in college (almost 20 years ago). I am now less than 10 pounds away from my weight my Senior year in high school and 15 pounds away from my 'super ambitious goal'.

I know BMI is a debated stat, but I find it to be an easy to calculate estimate of how I'm doing. When I started paying attention to these things 4 months ago, I was 15 pounds into the obese category at almost 33 BMI. Today it looks like this

Day #26 Fitness Stats

Pure Cardio

Average HR:132
Max HR:166

Cardio Abs

Average HR:117
Max HR:169

Stats taken with Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Google Affiliate Ad)