Monday, December 31, 2007

Workout 12/31: Cheers to a Strong Back!

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! So we have come to the end of another year, and we have accomplished some things, failed at others, and continue to grow in life. I hope all who have read this little blog have enjoyed following me through some of my experiences. I look forward with anticipation to continue sharing more of these special times with you in the upcoming year. Later this week I will sit down and take inventory of my goals from 2007 and create new goals or re-establish old goals for 2008. This way you all can keep me accountable. Thanks!

CrossFit: Row/Squat/Extend
5 Rounds for Time of:
500m Row
30 Squats
15 Back Extensions
(Time: 24.38)

That one burned my back up! I hobbled around the gym for many minutes after doing that workout, and I think I garnered some funny looks. It was amazing to see so many new must be the new year. Resolutions were intact a day early and Christmas presents were cashed in. I hope everyone sticks with their goals and not fall off the "bandwagon." For all of you starting something new, try CrossFit. It'll keep you going, and it may make others stare at a good way. CHEERS!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Workout 12/29: 5k Run

CrossFit: Simply Run a 5k (3.1 Miles) for Time:
Time: 25.54 (8.20/mile pace)

Workout 12/28: Barbara Lite (Almost)

CrossFit: Barbara Lite
5 Rounds; Timing each round individually with exactly 3 minutes of rest between each round or:
10 Pull-ups
20 Push-ups
30 Sit-ups
40 Squats

Rd. 1: 4.14
Rd. 2: 4.38
Rd. 3: 4.38
Rd. 4: 5.29

*Ugh! I walked away from this one after 3 rounds, but talked myself back into it for a 4th round. But since I felt a little guilty being at the gym for as long as I had, I decided to skip the 5th round. Well, there's always a chance to complete it next time. I hit the WALL if you can't see that between Round 3 and Round 4.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Workout 12/26: "Total" Recall

So Christmas is over with, and we had a blast celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. We made Him a birthday cake, and we got the chance to finish the Advent story. Evie loved every bit of it. Of course, she is now dealing with the post-Christmas blues of not giving and getting gifts, but she was reminded that we still have that Ultimate Gift given at Christmas time.

What a great time for an end-of-year progress report! It's been nearly a year now that I have started CrossFit, and it's time to check on the gains I have made in physical strength. During my first month of CrossFit, I did CrossFit Total, which is one measure of strength gained using the Back Squat, the Shoulder Press, and the Deadlift. Way back in April I set the goal of obtaining a CFT score of 615 by Thanksgiving. Well, I slacked a month before CFT came up again, so figured I ought to tackle it this time. I didn't meet my goal, but I am getting closer. The body still amazes me, and now it's time to set another future goal.

Goal: CrossFit Total score of 650 by Grad School Graduation Day (June)

CrossFit Total:
Back Squat-205#
Shoulder Press-115#
TOTAL: 575#
(Click the link above to see what CFT is all about)

Workout 12/24: Rowing Bench

Three Rounds for Time of:
500 meter Row
115# Bench Press

Workout 12/22: Modified "Joshie"

CrossFit: Modified "Joshie"
Five Rounds for Time of:
25# Dumbbell Snatches (Right Arm) x 15
Pull-ups x 15
25# Dumbbell Snatches (Left Arm) x 15
Pull-ups x 15
(Did Not Time)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Workout 12/21: Modified "Badger"

I worked out with my co-worker who , unfortunately, grew up in Wisconsin. So when she heard that today's workout was named "Badger," she got all excited. Well, even though it isn't named after the love-able "Bucky," we agreed that we did feel like we were attacked by an overgrown ferret afterwards. So, when we exit the school in a few short hours to enjoy our two-week break away from school, we will remember the pain of a "Badger" attack.

Speaking of Wisconsin, I hope all of my relatives and friends in places like Wausau and Madison have a blessed Christmas! Don't fill up on too much cheese! And for those sports fans, all I have to say is "Go Bears! Win us a moral victory!," and "Go Tennessee! A badger is no match for a volunteer!"

CrossFit: Modified "Badger"
Three Rounds for Time of:
55# Squat Cleans x 25
Jumping Pull-ups x 25
800 meter Run
(Time: 33.41)*I mean, just look at that face. It doesn't look like he really enjoys it either. It must give him a stomach ache.

Workout 12/20: Run

So, CrossFit called for a 5k run today. Running was fresh. I realized I really do enjoy running still. I ran with members of my newly formed high school track team. This totally reminds me of Team M3 training...oh how I miss you Foreman High Schoolers...Keep on Truckin'!

Run: 2 Miles

*Okay, so I didn't run 5k. Thanks for helping realize my flaws.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Workout 12/19: Fran

I did "Fran" as perscribed! Ugh! That's hard! I guess there is a reason why people boast over times that break the 5 or even 10 minute range. Here's how it went down...and it went down hard!

CrossFit: "Fran"
21-15-9 rep sets of:
95# Thrusters
For Time!

*It's an easy workout to type, but not to actually do! In fact, I'd say the workout is just about as harsh as listening to the person pictured below. I'd much rather do this workout again than watch an T.V. show with her on it.And at least she is doing things to improve the health of women (see

Friday, December 14, 2007

Workout 12/14: Stop the "Press"

Oh my goodness...the 24 hour rule really does apply to me. I did "Angie" the other day, and I felt great 12 hours later. But then 4:00 PM rolled around, and what did I experience? I felt like I was slowly being hit by a train. My body is so sore right now! I now know what people mean when they need to have recovery days after doing that workout. I feel like some recovery days, but I am stubborn enough not to take many; in fact, I was found working out again this morning at I a little nuts? Maybe eating all of those nuts on the Zone diet have made me mentally nuts too.

Reader BEWARE! The next paragraph has to do with Pukie, so if you don't want to read about it, skip this paragraph. Okay, so I have never experienced "Pukie the Clown," a lovely name for working out to the point of puking (Thank you CrossFit). However, I witnessed Pukie last night in the form of my daughter. We were having a great time with the kids as we sang and danced around the family room. We sang the old song, "If your happy and you know it, clap your hands...[clap] [clap]...etc." I got creative and added things like "spin around," "jump around," and "dance like crazy." Evie, being the awesome girl she is, had a blast following my direction. However, I think my direction went a little over board when she got the hick-ups from laughing so much. She hick-uped a little Pukie, but she held it in her mouth. She kind of chewed a little and puffed her cheeks out some, then slowly swallowed her treasure. After about a minute of us laughing hysterically, she sweetly said, "Yummmm, lettuce!" Ugh! My wife nearly experienced Pukie after that! Ah, memories!

CrossFit: Press Medley
Shoulder Press-1x65#, 1x95#, 1x115#, 1x115#, 1x120#
Push Press-3x95#, 3x105#, 3x105#, 3x115#, 3x120#

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Workout 12/12: Angie

Oh wow! I had no idea the workout I did was going to be so hard. I was looking at times on the CrossFit page, and figured I could finish "Angie" in about 20 minutes or so. Well, I had my expectations handed to me on a plate all mangled up. "Angie" was a nasty dish, but I will return for seconds next time it is served up. Kudos to Kim for doing "Angie" in an amazing time. I guess I have to learn that kipping action and lose a few dozen pounds. That would definitely make pull-ups easier.

CrossFit: Angie
100 Pull-ups (15.37)
100 Push-ups (8.47)
100 Sit-ups (8.45)
100 Squats (4.07)
For Time: 37.17

*This is an accurate photo of how I felt at the end of "Angie." Photo courtesy of CrossFit Atlanta. It looks like a fun time had by all down there. That reminds me, I have to get to my local CrossFit facility--Windy City CrossFit.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Joys of Taking a Christmas Picture with Kids!

I think the pictures tell it all...

Workout 12/10: Deadlifts

Okay, I am starting to be consistent enough with CrossFit that I am beginning to repeat workouts. This is great because I can now see progress! Yay, PROGRESS! I have also pulled new CrossFitters into the mix. I again worked out with my co-workers today, and all of them tried the deadlift. One of these days, one will walk into my school and see a bunch of buff teachers...HA!

This weekend was a blast! We put up our Christmas tree, and our children loved being involved in the process. Evie put ornaments all over the tree and "helped" me put the star on top. Ezra was dazzled by the lights as they were strung around the tree. This gets me so psyched for Christmas! Two weeks! YAY! Pictures coming very soon!

CrossFit: Deadlifts 3-3-3-3-3 (that's 5 sets of 3 reps for maximum weight)
CF Warm-up x 2
Deadlift Warm-ups: 5 @ 135#, 5 @ 135#, 5 @ 155#
Deadlifts: 3 @ 185#, 3 @ 205#, 3 @ 225#, 3 @ 235#, 3 @ 245# (PR)
*Eyes to the ceiling...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Workout 12/8: Lynne

I love weekends that aren't burdensome with lists of things to do. Sleeping in is perfect during these cold wintry days, being woken up by my daughter as she jumps on the bed is priceless, going on gym-dates with my wife as the kids hang out in the nursery is wonderful, and putting up our Christmas tree with Evie's hand-made ornaments is going to be oh so memorable. We'll see if I can put the star on top of the tree after today's workout. I'm afraid I might not be able to lift my arms over my head by that time of the day. Have a wondrous weekend everyone!

CrossFit: "Lynne"
5 Rounds of Max reps of:
115# Bench Press
(17-7, 8-5, 8-4, 7-4, 6-3; 46 BPs + 23 PUs = 69)
*Ezra wasn't having it in the nursery, so Susanne had to pull out of our workout together. So without the spotter, I had to switch over to the dreaded Smith machine. Working out with someone there to push you is so much better than none. What do you say Susanne? Want to workout again sometime soon? I loved it!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Workout 12/7: Run, SDHP, Thrust

Aren't intentions good enough? No? Oh man, well, at least my intentions got me through 3/5 of the workout. I had a blast though; today I recruited my first workout partner with CrossFit. My co-worker, Ms. Turner-Ayala, joined me as we tackled one of the harder workouts I have done in a long time. Yes, all CrossFit workouts are hard, but I thought I'd crumble today. I am already looking forward to this workout again, because I want to do it in completion.

CrossFit: Run, SDHP, Thrust
Five Rounds for Time of:
400m Run
65# Sumo Deadlift High Pulls x 21
65# Thrusters x 21
(Made it through 3 Rounds: 27.44)

*Had I completed that as listed, I would have been late for my morning teacher meetings. It's the first time that I was actually thankful for professional development meetings.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Workout 12/5: Pull-ups on the Minute

Winter is here! Fresh snow is on the ground (about 4 inches), and most of it is still white. Ask me how I feel about winter in a week, and you may find me having a different attitude. My attitude about winter turns sour as soon as the snow turns grey. But for now, I will relish the positive attitude.
Okay, fine, there are fun things about snow...this picture proves it!

CrossFit: Clocking Pull-ups
With a continuously running clock do one pull-up the first minute, two pull-ups the second minute, three pull-ups the third minute... continuing as long as you are able.
7 Rounds + 4 (Total: 32 Pull-ups)

*I feel like a weakling, and then I remember when I couldn't even do one pull-up without assistance. These were REAL, TRUE, STRICT Pull-ups...WOW! Okay, I'm finished patting myself on the back! It just goes to show what training can got me to and through three marathons, and now it is improving my total fitness and strength.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Workout 12/3: Michael Redux

Wow! Time flies! I cannot believe that it is December already. July doesn't seem that far away (other than the fact that it is about 9 degrees outside instead of 90). November hardly seems like it existed (that month flies by so fast, why is that?). And before I know it, Christmas will be upon us.

This year, December is going to be extra special since Evie is now at the age where she can be completely involved in Christmas. On Saturday, we started reading through an Advent book and lighting the candles on the Advent wreath. This book is so cool! Each page has a beautifully designed page with a door that the kids can open. Inside each door is a new part of the Christmas story, so each day you go back and review the story and then open a new part. Evie is so excited to open the next day's door! It's so cute! I suggest you all check this book out, especially if you want to start a new Christmas tradition that brings the focus back to the REAL "reason for the season."

So, what else does this mean? Well, I have three weeks to meet any of my goals for the year. Most of my goals have been accomplished or nearly accomplished. However, I want to make sure these goals last all the way until January 1. That means I have three weeks to stay active, start running again, and continue watching what I eat. Oh, but my body wants to go into hibernation mode. CrossFit will get me out of that nice cave of comfort called the bed.

CrossFit: Michael
Warm-up (Thanks to Kim for posting her warm-up on her blog, it gave me new ideas)
Three Rounds for Time of:
800 m Run
50 Back Extensions
50 Sit-ups
(Time: 35.45; 30 seconds faster than 2 weeks ago...yay!)
Okay, so I wasn't in this much pain! Thank goodness that CrossFit doesn't have us working on crazy machines that contort one's body...see this article for an interesting view on massive GloboGyms.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Workout 11/30: Elizabeth

So today I added a new feature to this blog..."CrossFit Teachers." I have been so inspired to see more and more teachers write on their blogs that they are making CrossFit their workout of choice. The community of CrossFitting teachers is growing! This means that more and more students are seeing models of physical activity and fitness in school environments where physical activity and fitness are being limited by fewer gym classes and recess times. My hopes are to start a track and cross-country team here at my school, and I think CrossFit will make its way into some of our training. I am also loving the various threads and videos on running technique that are beginning to show up on the CrossFit site. It's giving me more ideas on how to actually coach these sports seeing as I have never coached these sports before. But the interest is there for the students; how could I say "No" to that?

So the week of being battered and bruised by the "Girls" of CrossFit is over. On paper, the workouts look easy, but I was shown quickly that they are evil. I suppose this just shows me that I have a long way to go with this program. This is a good thing though, since I really enjoy CrossFit and look forward to a future of using it.

CrossFit: Elizabeth
Rep Sets of 21-15-9 for Time:
75# Cleans
Bar Dips
(Time: 16.07)
*I tried to start out with 95# on the cleans, but realized quickly that I would not be able to sustain that load. Dropping to 75# was perfect because I still wasn't able to do the sets without breaking.
*Photo courtesy of Mike's Gym. This is what I feel like doing all weekend, but I should probably do more than that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Workout 11/28

I don't have much wit or wisdom to spread today, so here's my workout.

CrossFit: "Nancy"
5 Rounds for Time of:
400 meter Run
45# Overhead Squats x 15
(Time: 20.30)

Here's a picture of power! I tried to get low in my squat like this, but I have a long way to go!
*Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Workout 11/27: Back to the Beginning

When I started CrossFit, my very first named workout was "Helen." This time around, I must have been sleeping when I was writing the workout on my hand because I totally misread the reps on the dumbbell swings. So, my time is still not accurate, but there will be more opportunities to do it right. This is the "Week of CrossFit Girls" since I took a break from the routine around Thanksgiving time. So this week it's Helen, Nancy, and Elizabeth...three workouts that are bound to leave me totally trashed at the end of the week. But I am excited to be back to workouts that require a bit of running. I must admit that I do miss running after marathon training over the summer. Yes, I was ready for the end of marathon training, but it doesn't take long for that bug to bite again.

CrossFit: "Helen" (misinterpreted and modified)
Three Rounds for Time of:
400m Run
55# Dumbbell Swings x 12
Assisted Pull-ups x 12

*One day I'll get it right! If she can do it right, I can do it right!

*Aren't kids amazing! I signed my daughter up for a Mom, Pop, and Tot gymnastics class starting in January. I can't wait to "work out" with Evie! Photo courtesy of

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Four Days of Thanksgiving

It's good to be back in Chicago after spending time with family for the past four days. Yes, I love my family, but being away from home in Chicago is hard. My parents were gracious enough to let us stay another night in Grand Haven, MI. My wife's parents were awesome to host a whirl-wind 1st birthday party for my nephew Calvin. But arriving home last night felt good. There is a definite comfort to being in a place you call home and a bed that you call your own (even though we need a new mattress).

Thanksgiving week provided wonderful opportunities for me to share things with my wife and my parents. Susanne and I went out for a nice run on Thanksgiving morning, and we spent the whole time listing things that we were thankful for over the past year. It's amazing to see how many things we really do have to be thankful for. I had special moments as well to share with my dad as we shopped together. He shared som things with me about his father who I never met since he passed away long before I was born. It makes me wonder what my children will remember about me and say about me after I am gone from this world.

11/22: Run with wife (Distance: ???, Time: ???, Mood: Thankful!)
11/24: 50-40-30-20-10 rep sets of: Push-ups, Sit-ups, and Squats (Untimed)

*No, Gio, I did not do the Power of 10. I'd love to try it some time, but I didn't have a partner nor the right equipment for it. I look forward to more workouts designed by you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Workout 11/21

Yay! Vacation starts soon! It's going to be a light day with my students today, and then we are going to hit the road to Michigan. What a lovely trip it will be when it starts to snow (notice the sarcasm)! I just hope people remember what it's like travelling in snow so that the roads stay safe. In preparation for Thanksgiving, I set out to do the "Filthy Fifty" this morning. See how I did below. Most Thanksgiving mornings start out with a 5K race, but since we are going to be somewhere different, I am taking my family out on a nice little run together tomorrow morning. I can't wait to see the kids all bundled up. Evie has been begging to wear her boots, so if there's snow in the morning, she'll finally get her chance. Oh, what fun that will be! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

CrossFit: "The Ilthy Fifty" a.k.a. The Not-quite-complete Filthy Fifty
For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch step
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Dumbbell swings, 30#
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows (improving)
50 Push presses, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Thrusters, 15# Dumbbells in each hand
50 Tuck Jumps
30 Burpees (supposed to be 50)
(Time: 50.21)
*I walked away from this twice while doing the Burpees. I was going to stop short, but I kept going back telling myself, "You HAVE to complete this since tomorrow is Thanksgiving...EARN that yummy stuff!" Well, I didn't quite complete it, but I am happy with what I did. My body is trashed! I figured going at it for 50 minutes made up for shorting the Burpees by 20. On a happier note, my Knees-to-Elbows are totally improving. My knees don't touch my elbows yet, but my knees are getting higher and turning in toward my elbows. SO EXCITING! This shows me what hard work can actually do and how it pays off eventually. That motto says it all! Photo courtesy of CrossFit Eastside.

Monday, November 19, 2007

WHOA! Determination...

Want to see what heart is all about? Want to see how determination can drive you to a goal? Watch this clip and read this article! But be warned, you might want to fortify your stomach first.

Workout 11/19...Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

This is how I felt after today's workout!This week is chock full of wonderfully painful workouts since Thanksgiving dinner is just around the corner. Yes, I know I should still approach the holidays with an inkling of moderation in mind, but when it comes down to it, I don't always have the self-control that I need. Since starting the Zone, my body craves sugar like no other. Sugar has always been my weak link, so when starting something that restricts sugar intake to nearly nothing, my body goes into this "gimme, gimme, gimme" mode. I'm like the Cookie Monster before he became health conscious in the age of political correctness. Saying this is like my way of asking you all to keep me accountable. We'll see how it worked.

CrossFit: "Michael" as Rx'd
Three Rounds for Time of:
800m Run
50 Back Extensions
50 Sit-ups

*Photo courtesy of Ade Miller

CrossFit in the Park 11/17

Yet another brisk Saturday morning was warmed up nicely by a little bit-o CrossFit in the Park. What I didn't know was that this workout would leave me with a little bruising where I least expected it...on my forearms. Why forearms you might say...well, today was my first experience with kettlebells. If you don't know what kettlebells are, Google them. I had always subbed dumbbells for kettlebells when I did CrossFit workouts in the gym, so I had to learn a whole new piece of equipment. Bruising aside, I had a great time with the little group. It is a bit more inspiring to watch someone suffering through the same thing you are than to be alone in the process. I have found this to be true in all of my training experiences whether it be running, marathon training, or CrossFit. And I think my wife is catching the CrossFit-bug too. Just this weekend she walked through a WOD with her sister. We'll have to check in on her to see how sore she is. Well, here's what we did in the park today.

CrossFit in the Park:
"Kettlebells in the Park"--3 rounds for time of:
One-Armed Kettlebell Swings x 30 (15 each arm)
Kettlebell Push Press x 30 (15 each arm)
Kettlebell Push Jerk x 30 (15 each arm)
(I have not a clue what my time was; I was focused on form more than anything else since kettlebells were new to me)
*Photo of One-Armed Kettlebell Swing courtesy of CrossFit Rainier

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Workout 11/16

In case you wonder why I do CrossFit, I found the following quote from Jim Decker found in CrossFit Journal Issue #51. This quote sort of sums up my answer to that inquiry. It's kind of like the attitude behind my attempts at marathons too.

I am endlessly fascinated and impressed by civilians who
CrossFit. All the military, law enforcement, firefighters, MMA
champions and the like—we CrossFit to survive. Train
hard=fight hard=come home safe. Got it, no ambiguity there.
But what about the teachers, the businesswomen, the engineers, website designers, and all the rest who don’t (on a literal level) engage in mortal combat? What drives them to put themselves through the grueling events?

It seems to me that no external stimulus could be the answer.
CrossFit is hard. People quit (some even before they try) every day because it is hard. I think the drive must be internal, a competition with oneself, a continual test of one’s own limitations. This is where mental strength is born. External competition, while good and healthy, will only make you work just hard enough to beat the competitor to your left and right. Internal competition will push you farther, faster, and harder than any opponent ever will. As the man says, “Men will die for points.” Even more so, it seems, when the score to beat is one’s own.

CrossFit WOD: "Fran"
CFWU x 2
Three rounds, 21-, 15-, and 9-reps, for Time of:
65# Thrusters
Jumping Pull-ups
(Time: 10.35)
*So it doesn't seem like a very long workout, but you are very winded at the end. My chest cavity was sucking in breath after breath for quite a few minutes after this one.
Photo of Thrusters courtesy of CrossFit Budapest

Workout 11/14

I am currently reading "Ultramarathon Man." This book is about Dean Karnazes who has accomplished feats beyond imagination for some of us mortal beings--running the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run, surviving the march through Death Valley in the Badwater Ultramarathon, and trekking 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. If you desire some inspiration that will get you out and about, I suggest you read this book. There are so many little quips and sayings that stick in one's mind while reading this book. One that I just came across was a quote by Lily Tomlin; "Exercise is for people who can't handle drugs and alcohol." I am happy that I cannot handle drugs and alcohol, nor do I desire to have that ability. Exercise makes me feel pounded at the end, but the bounce back is so much more enjoyable than being strung out (at least I can assume that feeling although I've never experienced it).

CrossFit Workout:
CFWU x 2
7 Rounds for Time of:
65# Sumo Deadlift High Pulls x 10
Dips x 10
(Time: 21.04)

Sumo Deadlift High Pull photos courtesy of CrossFit Cape Fear and Diablo CrossFit

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Workout 11/12

Yes, my muscles are sore. Yes, I am tired out. Yes, I am going to workout! Does that sound crazy? To some people, yes. To me, no. Sore is far different than pain. Sore just tells me that my body is trying to work through its weaknesses. I find that I experience this soreness in many different areas of my life. I may be "sore" from work when I try to become a better, more organized teacher. I may be "sore" when I try to have a disciplined walk with Jesus Christ. My stomach may be "sore" when trying to change some bad eating habits (sometimes my brain is sore through this process too). So when my muscles are sore from working out or training, I just realize it is part of the process. Now if I were in non-functional pain...that's a whole different story.

CrossFit Workout:
CF Warm-Up x 2
As many rounds in 20 minutes or:
3 Assisted Handstand Push-ups
6 Assisted Pull-ups
9 Walking Lunge Steps
(I completed 10 rounds...I was rushing that last round to fit it in...whoa!)

*One example of an assisted handstand push-up courtesy of CrossFit London

CrossFit in the Park 11/10

Finally! I made it to a CrossFit workout at Wilson Park on Chicago's northwest side. I have been looking forward to this chance since the end of marathon training, so my family and I jumped at the opportunity provided to us by a weekend without too many plans. Our trainer, H. Giovanni Salazar, greeted us with a wide smile and a warm heart even though it was a bit cold outside.

Little did we know that we would be stripping added layers of our clothes rapidly once we got started with the warm-up and workout. Evie had a playground to run around and Ezra just chilled in the "Chariot." They became antsy later, but we were still able to participate in the workout. I can't wait until they are ready to begin working out with "Daddy" and "Mommy." What a joy that will be!

CrossFit in the Park Workout: "The Broomstick Mile" (all exercises done with PVC pipe, except the runs)
Run 400m
Back Squat x 50
Front Squat x 50
Overhead Squat x 50
Run 400m
Military Press x 50
Push-Press x 50
Push-Jerk x 50
Run 400m
Hanging Power Clean x 50
Hanging Power Snatch x 50
Run 400m

Ugh! That felt good! Soreness all weekend is a definite! THANKS GIOVANNI!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Workout 11/9

I don't have any wisdom to espouse today, so if you came here for that, I apologize. If you came to see what I did in the gym today, here it is:

CrossFit: Deadlifts 3-3-3-3-3 (that's 5 sets of 3 reps for maximum weight)
CF Warm-up x 2
Deadlift Warm-ups: 5 @ 135#, 5 @ 135#, 5 @ 155#
Deadlifts: 3 @ 185#, 3 @ 205#, 3 @ 205#, 3 @ 215#, 3 @ 225#

Form is crucial, otherwise you will end up with major back problems. However, deadlifts will work your back too. I am not certain that I have the best form, but will continue to practice it. I need a video camera. That way you all can give me pointers. Oh, and I guess I can use it to capture awesome family moments too!

Photo courtesy of CrossFit Eastside

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Workout 11/7

I can't believe it is November already! Not only that, but a whole week of November has flown by like the blustery wind here in Chicago. Today was a great day to get out and go to the gym...I didn't have to be at school until 11:30. Yey for report card pick-up day! I got to take Evie to the gym too. It's so fun to see her eyes light up when she gets to join "Daddy." I hope she continues to enjoy those times as she gets older.

CrossFit: Back Squats (single reps x 7)
CFWU x 2
10 45# Back Squats
5 95# Back Squats
1 115# BS
1 135# BS
1 155# BS
1 165# BS
1 185# BS
1 185# BS
1 195# BS (failed)

It is hard to not lean forward on the back squat when the weight gets heavy. I am looking forward to seeing how this improves as time and experience with CrossFit increases. I felt like my back was doing more work than my legs at certain points, and maybe that has something to do with where I am weaker. If anyone in the CF community has any words of wisdom on this, please comment. My running shoes might be another reason why I'm leaning forward more (i.e., the cushioning raises the heel slightly).

Looking forward to seeing what the group CrossFit workout in the park is like this Saturday. I am sure it'll put me on my butt.

*This is not me...yet! Photo courtesy of CrossFit Newcastle

Monday, November 5, 2007

Workout 11/5

I am at my goal weight! YAY! It has been 20 weeks since I started tracking my weight and trying to bring it down. Now I am at my goal weight and can't wait to see where things go from here. CrossFit is gearing up, so I know there's a good chance that I can stay in this range. I just have to remain consistent. This morning was the first time I worked out with some of my co-workers. Our little weight room seems to have enough to work with. There's no pull-up bar, but that just means that I get to modify the evil "Smith" machine. Yes, there is a use for a "Smith" machine, just not what it was intended for.

CrossFit: "Nasty Pups" (Brand X Puppies modification for Nasty Girls)
3 Rounds for Time of:
20 Squats
10 Pull-ups
10 Dips
10 #65 Hanging Power Cleans
Time: 16.05

*Pull-ups and Dips were hard due to sore muscles. Hanging Power Cleans were U-G-L-Y; I need help with form.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Workout 11/2

Yay, it's back to posting workouts! So my ankle is still a bit sore, but I can tell it is getting better. No running yet, no major leg workouts yet, but they are in coming in the foreseeable future. Today was back to a CrossFit regimen. For anyone interested in learning about CrossFit, go to The workouts and philosophy center around total fitness, not just specialized fitness, but there is room for specialized fitness using this method. One fun thing about the workouts is the names of some of the created ones. CrossFit has official workouts named after "girls" and soldiers who lost their lives in wars. Other creative affiliates name their workouts creatively too; you will see some of them being posted here. My goal with CrossFit is to be well-rounded in my fitness rather than specialized as a marathoner. I think this will keep me healthy and going with my family and with various sports. Now that that little advertisement is over, let's get into it!

CrossFit: Modified "Lynne" (5 rounds of Max Push-ups and Max Jumping Pull-ups)
Push-ups: 29-22-15-15-14 (Total:95)
Jumping Pull-ups: 15-11-7-7-7 (Total: 47)

*Proper Push-ups are "Nose and Chest to the floor and back up."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Okay, so I'm not a big fan of Halloween, but I think this will have to be my costume some year if I ever decide to dress up. Crazy!

Grand Rapids Marathon Recap

Okay, so it has now been a few days since returning from Michigan where I ran the Grand Rapids Marathon, and I have had some time to recover and reflect on the experience. Although this marathon was not as historic as the 2007 Chicago Marathon that I "ran" three weeks ago, this marathon was just as memorable. I only have one complaint--I was not able to run with a high schooler. That was the biggest highlight of the Chicago Marathon. You cannot understand the inspiration you can get from watching a teenager accomplish something as daunting as running 26.2 miles until you have actually experienced it. So here's a shout-out once more to Miguel--YOU ROCK!

So back to Grand Rapids. I set some pretty lofty goals for this marathon thinking that I could burst through as a marathon runner. But I guess my body has limits, and my body definitely told me what they were. As I sit here writing this, my legs are still reminding me what my limits are; perhaps it's because I tried to push those limits two times in the same month. Here was my goal: run as fast as George W. Bush over a marathon distance (3 hours, 44 minutes). At the expo, I picked up my "Dubya's Running Mates" pin-on and a pace band. I looked at the pace band and thought to myself, "Whew! 8.32/mile pace! I did it before...over 8 miles." I have to admit that there was a seed of doubt buried there in the back of my brain. But my wife's continual excitement and encouragement made me deeply bury that seed and try to move past it.

When race morning arrive, I anxiously stood at the start line behind my other "running mates" as we introduced ourselves to one another. Once the "gun" went off, we were off. Wow, I felt good. The pace was nice, the weather was crisp and a bit frosty, the sun was on the rise, and we were making our way along the streets of west Grand Rapids. The previous day my family took a drive along part of the race course, so I knew there would be some hills coming, but I just focused my energy and eyes on the pace group. Each mile our pace was updated by numerous runners with the GPS watches (a bit annoying to tell the truth). Those updates made that seed of doubt rise quicker than I wanted it to. We were off to a pretty brisk pace as we were doing faster than the 8.32/mile pace. But I continued to focus on the beauty around me. As the sun rose, the fog lie over our heads. It was wonderfully beautiful.

By Mile 10, I was starting to lag behind some. I could still see the team and their post, but I just decided to take my own pace. I was blessed by that decision because I was able to enjoy the scenery much more without the constant pace updates. I know I would have benefitted from the supporting banter too, but I wouldn't have seen some of the things I saw. A deer running its own marathon. A stilt walker walking the entire 26.2 in world-record time. Sharing a passionate kiss with my wife. It was blissful...then Mile 15 happened.

Mile 15...11.2 to go...calf twitching! Uh-oh! Ankle hurting! Um?!? Pain rising! I had to resort to a 15 minute run and 1 minute walk for a lot of the remaining miles. This was a blessing in disguise because I think I enjoyed cheering my fellow runners on too. I think if I remaind so concerned with finishing in a certain time, I may not have had the chance to say encouraging words to those who were suffering right along side of me. So, Mr. President, Mr. P. Diddy, and Mr. Will are all faster marathon runners than me. Congratulations! My finish time: 4:18.59. YEAH! Personal Record! YEAH! End of marathon season! I am sure I'll get antsy in the near future for another one, but until then I am done.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ready For Another Marathon!!!

Two days remain until I run my final marathon (for the year). I'm heading up to Grand Rapids, Michigan to take on the autumn colors and George W. Bush. Yes, I am planning on being his running mate (i.e., trying to run his marathon time--3:44). I am carb-loaded (cookies, french fries, ice cream) and ready to roll (literally) to the start line. Thank you for all of you who have wished me luck (survival) for the run. I'm ready (for marathon season to be over) to get back into the gym (cozy bed) and return to CrossFit. Stay tuned for a (recovery) update on how Sunday's run goes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Workout 10/22

I hope to look like this again after running Grand Rapids!

Run: 2 Miles (17.39, 8.49/mile pace)

Running with the Wife

My wife dragged me out of the house Sunday morning for a run around Wheaton. It has been awesome to see her excited about running. She used to hate it with a passion. I think it stemmed from me and my attitudes on a few select race days early in our marriage. I am so glad that we have come far since then. Sunday morning's run was a blessing for me to run alongside her and to have to opportunity to share our lives together on a peaceful, crisp autumn morning. I am in love with my wife, and I thank God for that everyday.

Workout 10/20

This morning was my final long run before the Grand Rapids Marathon. It felt good to wake up early and head out into the darkness to conquer the end of marathon training. The friendliness quotient has deteriorated greatly since the spring. In case you have forgotten, the friendliness quotient is caluculated by the number of responses to the familiar morning greeting. Before the sun rose, that percentage was at 20%. After the sun rose, people became much more friendly. The sun has an amazing effect on people's moods. Thank God for the sun and the Son!

Run: 8 Miles (1:08.27, 8.33/mile pace)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Workout 10/19

I guess the Chicago marathoners whined enough to make people have pity on them. It seems like marathons around the country are trying to one up everyone else; first it was Des Moines giving a discounted rate, then it was Denver offering free entries (one just had to buy the airfare), now Lake Geneva, WI is handing out freebies too...nice that it is the general vacinity of Chicago for those who live here. Sure the Lake Geneva Marathon is everything that the Chicago Marathon is not, but what does one expect. Remember that old saying, "Beggers can't be choosers." I think that's important to remember in cases like this. Here's my suggestion, let's go, not complain, run, and make the marathon our own by having fun in the process.

I'm going to put it on my "To Run" list. Anyone who wants to join me on the run, let me know. Ah, winter training, this is going to be fun! And I know I keep wishing marathon training to be over...well, it looks like a mix of CrossFit and running for me. Details will follow!

Run: 6 Miles (52.31, 8.45/mile pace)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Workout 10/17

I'm really not happy with Ronald McDonald and what his food does to my ability to run long distances. I have less than two weeks to shrug off the effects of his french fries and his quarter pound of beef with cheese. Running six miles this morning was difficult, but I did chug out every tenth of a mile even though my stomach was complaining most of the second half of it. I guess diet still does matter even when you are a marathoner. And, yes, I am still counting the days down until marathon season is over and I can return to a fun and diversified CrossFit schedule. But before that, I've got a marathon to run! C'mon Grand I come!

Run: 6 Miles (Time:???, Pace:???)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Workout 10/13

Ah, the environment. It's a hot topic these days...literally hot seeing as the focus is on our warming climate. It's so hot that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee decided to award Al Gore the Peace Prize (for making a movie?). Well, I thought I'd vie for the Peace Prize by running from my front door this morning rather than driving to the Lakefront Path or to the Globogym. Now all I have to do is get some fabulous writers on my side to make a fantastic proposal to the Committee; I think I have a lock on next year's Nobel Peace Prize. So all of you who are even considering making a run for that "prestigious" prize, you can give up now because it already belongs to me.

Run: 6 Miles (49.32; 8.15/mile pace)

*The back of my knee is starting to bother me. About two weeks to go until my next marathon (Grand Rapids). I think I best slow it down a little and just focus on quality miles and not pushing the pace too much. Stretch, stretch, stretch.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Back to the Grind (Workout 10/10 and 10/12)

After a few days of rest, it was back to the workout grind to prepare for the Grand Rapids Marathon which is coming up in about 2 weeks. And yes, I have been planning this one before the Chicago Marathon debacle. In fact, I think the Chicago Marathon experience has excited me more for the GRM since my body was reminded what 26.2 miles really feels like. I get to use this race to push myself and my limits. And that's what I tried to do today during my workout. Here's what I've done recently.

10/10: Run 2 Miles; 70 Push-ups
10/12: Run 3 Miles (25.32, 8.30/mile pace), 30 Assisted Pull-ups

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chicago Marathon 2007 Recap

Ah...ideal weather conditions for marathoning! Too bad it is merely three days too late. My brain has finally cooled off, and I have had some time to process all that went on during Sunday's Chicago Marathon. I am sure you have all heard the complaints and problems, so I am going to try my best to steer clear of that old news. I'd much rather tell the amazing story of Miguel the Marathoner and his trusty

Seven months of training finally led up to its climax on Sunday as we all gathered in our tent in Charity Village. Mentors and students buzzed with excitement as we scribbled last-minute names and messages on our arms, legs, shirts, and chests. Temporarily tattooed in permanent marker, we "warmed up" our muscles even though the heat and humidity had already helped warm up our bodies. Many mentors kept checking their watches with anticipation as 7:30 AM approached...time to get to the start line AS A TEAM! We wound our way through the crowd and planted ourselves near the 4:45 Pace Group marathoners...who knew at that time that a pace number on your bib would mean nothing in a few short miles. Miguel and Jose R. joked and laughed it up as we waited for nearly 40,000 runners to get moving. Over and over again, Miguel shouted "GO!" as nervous marathoners jerked their heads up thinking we were actually supposed to be moving. After 20 officially-timed minutes since the "gun" went off, we finally reached the start line and crossed it with running legs.

The smiles on our faces continued as we passed runners taking their potty breaks on the side of the road, as old men walked faster than us runners, and as we discussed our anticipated finish time (, 4:30...okay, somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00...hey, let's just cross the finish line). Slowly but surely we got into a groove of focused running and occassional encouragements. Our group of 6 eventually broke into two groups of 3 (2 mentors per student). Miguel, Michelle, and I trotted on at a 10:30 pace which we considered a decent modification for the heat. But then reality hit as water stations came up dry, and our smiles turned to a more concerned look. But we were saved by many spectators, all one had to do was be brave enough to ask for help...water, Gatorade, Body Glide, cell phones...all available at the hands of helpful lookers-on.

Our group could not stick together through a few water and ice stops, and at Mile 9 our group fell apart. Miguel got caught up at a station, I put on a light jog, and Michelle lost us in the wave of people. It took me a mile to find Miguel, and all that time I kept my eye out for a tall, skinny kid with a Cubs hat turned backwards (a Cubs hat of all things)! At Mile 10, my wife and sister-in-law had bottles of Gatorade ready for us, but I was a lone runner at that point and only took one bottle. When I turned around to keep running, who did I see right in front of me? Miguel! We rounded the corner onto North Avenue thankful that we had found each other and grateful that Elvis was ahead. That was the motivation and help we needed to truck along back into the Loop and be greeted by our lovely Team M3 volunteers cheering us on. Jose R. and Jose H. eventually caught up to us too and proceeded to pass by us with supportive smiles.

But that's when it started to fall apart for us. Miguel's ankle bothered him, the heat bore down on us, and our muscles were doing their best to support us. It was stop and go for the remainder. Thank goodness we weren't pulled off the course like so many other runners who didn't pass the half-way point by 11:30 AM. Miguel and I continued to encourage each other because that's all that gave us the drive to keep going. Pain slowly rose up from our ankles to our calves, to our hips, and finally all the way up to our shoulders. Five hours and fifty-nine minutes after crossing that start line, we bravely crossed the finish line to receive our piece of metal that was genuinely earned over 26.2 miles of perseverence. This will always be the day that Miguel became a marathoner along with twelve other brave high schoolers from the City of Chicago.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Last One Standing...

Now this looks like a good show! This would be a fun show to participate in as a fan of fitness and travel. I was wondering how a CrossFitter would do on a show like this. Wow! Three cool shows to anticipate: this one, American Gladiator (Yes, it's coming back!), and The Amazing Race.

Check out the trailer or advertisement for Last One Standing. Talk about something that makes you want to go workout.

Workout 10/3

This is the end of my runs as we know it...and I feel fine! (R.E.M. tune playing in my head). Well, I had my last official training run this morning, and I had a few kinks to work out, but I am ready for the Chicago Marathon. I'm obsessing a little bit over the weather, and I should just ignore it and have fun (it's suppose to be in the mid-80s). I am sure if I obsess too much, I am going to ruin the day and dread it all. So let me just put on a happy face and take what is given to us on race day (even if that does mean thunderstorms too). Thank you to all of you who have sent me encouraging notes and will be following me throughout the race. I'll be back on Monday to give you the low down on how it all went.

Run: 4 miles (38.35, 9.38/mile pace)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Workout 10/1

Finally! It's October! MLB Playoffs (um, not sure how to feel about the Cubs though)! Chicago Marathon! Grand Rapids Marathon! CPS Shakespeare! Cooler Weather! Autumn! Ah, there's so much to like about the month of October. So, I had to start it off with a run.

Run: 3 Miles (28.26, 9.28/mile pace)

Final Team M3 Training Run

The marathon is just around the corner, and training is coming to an end for the Chicago Marathon. Today was a perfect day for the last run with these awesome high schoolers. The mood is light and the nervousness of being one week away from the marathon leaves a little spark in the air that jolts us a bit on our run. This is going to be exciting. I hope everyone who has had the chance to follow us on this journey through this blog posting will be able to make it out to the race course to cheer on these fabulous young people. If not, I know your thoughts will be with us.

Run: 6 Miles (51.31, 8.35/mile pace) Whoo! That was quick! Shame on us!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Workout 9/28

Taper, taper, taper...what a relief not to feel like I have to push myself. Oh, but tapering is so boring. I tried to do a slower run this morning, and it was as if my legs didn't know what to do. Forcing your legs to go a minute or two slower than what they're used to is hard. But with less than 9 days to go until the marathon, I shan't put too much stress on them (yes, I know I said shan't). So, I disassociated majorly this morning a.k.a. listened to rockin' music. A buddy of mine, David, gave me a bunch of hip-hop and rap that has kept my ears busy. Please check out the link below to hear one of the most inspiring songs as I try to find "purpose in every step" I take. This song is my marathon song; I plan to have it in my head when I need to disassociate over the long haul of the Chicago Marathon. Check it out, even if you don't want to watch the video, listen to the words of the song.


Run: 4 Miles (38.28, 9.37/mile pace)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Workout 9/26

I have been reading a book lately titled "Can Man Live Without God?" It's a discussion about the differences between theists and anti-theists, or people who believe in God and those who don't. It's a fascinating read, and one thing stood out to me in the last few chapters. When I look at how I am made and the capabilities I have physically and mentally, how the sun rises in the mornings and sets in the evenings, how my wife was able to give birth and that amazing spectacle, I cannot fathom the thought of all of this happening by chance. I know there is a creator to all of this, and if one doubts that, I just say "Open your eyes and look around." Marathon training and CrossFitting makes me aware of just how awesome the body's design is, and I am truly impressed by how The Creator has put it together. And to think that this shell is an imperfect reflection of!

Run: 4 miles (31.58, 7.59/mile pace)
CrossFit: 3 Rounds of...
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats

Monday, September 24, 2007

Workout 9/24

Workout: Run 4 Miles (33:50, 8:28/mile pace)

Spirit of the Marathon

For any of you running the Chicago Marathon or thinking of running a marathon in the future, check out the trailer for this movie. Having less than two weeks until the marathon, I found this trailer to be extremely motivational...and that's just the trailer. Our Team M3 students are going to attend the advanced screening of this film, and I know it will pump them up to run with the field.

Perfect Fall Bike Ride!

The family went for a bike ride Sunday afternoon, and it was so peaceful. The smells reflected the beginning of fall, the sun reflected magnificently on the lake, and our children peacefully enjoyed the ride (our son giggled some and our daughter feel asleep since she didn't take her normal Sunday nap). We were a little sad that we didn't get out on the bikes as much this summer as we had in the past, but the times that we did proved to be very nice. We are just hoping that next weekend the weather is just as nice to continue enjoying the oncoming autumn. Yes, it does mean winter is just around the corner, but we have at least one more month before snow normally decides to rear its face. Thank goodness we didn't have this problem to deal with today...

Workout 9/22

A perfect day to run! I got out early on my bike to go to Team M3 training, and people were already out for their training runs at 5:30 AM! Now that's dedication. If I were training on my own, I would be out about then too. But that would be out of necessity to get home and help my wife with the kiddies. I must day, sleeping in on the weekends has become a very foreign concept. Welcome to parenthood!

Well, I got out on my bike today since I knew I wouldn't be able to run the whole 11 miles with the students since I has a workshop to go to. It was a great workshop, by the way, on engaging in conversations about faith and Christianity with people of other faiths. As I have been learning with most things I am involved in, RELATIONSHIP matters. I am blown away when I recognize just how important relationship is in mentoring, teaching, sharing, training, etc. So I've made it an important focus to begin building true relationship with people that moves far beyond how weekends were, how the Chicago Bears are doing, and what the weather is like. Keep me accountable, please!

12.5 Mile Bike Ride
5 Mile Run
12.5 Mile Bike Ride (broken up)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Workout 9/21

I disassociated a lot today while listening to music on my run, so I did not ponder too many things. Unfortunately, that means I don't have a whole lot of wisdom to espouse today. There are only 16 days left until the Chicago Marathon, and tapering is my new favorite friend. Mileage hasn't dropped off too much this week, but next week signifies noticeable fewer miles on the schedule, and I am looking forward to that. Other than that news, there's not much else to say. Although my wife will laugh when I say this, but I was able to do some weighted pull-ups yesterday. They were my first attempts at weighted pull-ups, and I was only able to do one at a time. What was the weight you ask? My son (about 18 pounds)! He was strapped to my chest in the Baby Bjorn! That was fun...for me at least.

Run: 4 miles (33.00, 8.15/mile pace)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Workout 9/19

A post-run sunrise is inspiring! Today's sunrise was other-worldly in a way. A HUGE red ball of light creeped over the horizon this morning greeting me with a reminder of why it's totally worth it to run in the mornings as opposed to any other time of the day. Yeah, sunsets are okay, but none of them can compare to the beautiful sun this morning.

Run: 5 miles (41.00, 8.12/mile pace)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Workout 9/17

I disassociated this morning. Sounds fun, doesn't it? I was reading the most recent issue of Runner's World, and there is an article in there about how runners "associate" and "disassociate" with their running in order to cope with the stresses and performance of the task. Basically, associating is the task of focusing on one's body and the environment in order to increase or decrease effort in order to meet a goal and/or maintain healthy functioning. Disassociating is the act of taking one's mind off the task of running in order to enjoy the moment and not focus on the stresses the body is creating while running. So this morning I through on my headphones in order to disassociate with the task of running on the treadmill. Yes, it is still marathon training season, but I jumped on a treadmill this morning in order to make running possible in my tight schedule. Better to treadmill run than not run at all. Good thing I had tunes in my ears or else I would not have completed the 5 miles out of sheer boredom. If running is becoming boring for you, take some time to disassociate!

Run: 5 miles (42.30, 8.30/mile pace)

Workout 9/15

20 MILES! We have finally reached our peak for marathon training. Team M3 rocked the Lakefront Path this morning even though a chill nipped at us and made us want to pull the covers over our heads before we even stepped out of the house this morning. But once we got moving, our bodies warmed up. I am wishing for a day just like that on October 7th. Chilly, light breezes, and beautiful sunshine. I ran with Roberto for the first half of this long run...Roberto is a STUD! Ask many 16-year-old sophomores if they want to get up early on a Saturday morning and run for 20 miles, and I'm sure the answer will include some explicatives in the negative. But Roberto attacked the path with a positive spirit. When he wanted to stop, he kept his eye out for the next mile marker and drove toward it. Ah, this experience is GREAT!

Since duty called at home (or should I say "doo-doo" since Evie is still potty training), I decided to truck the last half of the run on my own while Roberto hung back with another group of runners. It was great to just let loose and run. It was great to be reminded of how fresh you can finish your run if you don't push your pace too fast too early. I must remember this lesson on marathon morning and remind my student of it because race jitters will be running high. Now begins the mild taper. Three weeks to go, and the fun begins!

Run: 20 miles (Time: ???, Pace: ???)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Workout 9/14

Okay, Dean Karnazes is a stud! I was listening to some interview with him, and I'm blown away by the things that he does and his attitude toward it all. In fact, it's a bit humbling. In particular, I was listening to his take on nutrition, and it mirrors many of the things found in the ZONE diet (also encouraged by CrossFit). He was explaining how he tries his best to go all-organic and cut out high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils from his diet. So with that information I went home after work to a lovely wife and children who had prepared a dinner. I was curious about what was in everything, so I took a quick look-see. Of course nearly everything we ate had something unnatural and unhealthy in it. Not to mention that I craved ice cream after all was said and done with dinner.

Susanne and I were craving ice cream so badly that we were inserting comments about ice cream into President Bush's address to the nation last night. For instance, "Whatever political party you belong to, whatever your position on Iraq, we should be able to agree that America has a vital interest in..." ice cream! Or, "Americans want our country to be safe and our troops to begin coming home from Iraq..." for homemade ice cream! So, of course, I made my way to the freezer for more ice cream. Well, I hope I worked some of it off this morning with my workout.

CrossFit: Sorta-Heavy Fran
15-12-9 Rep Sets of:
45# Thrusters
Pull-ups (real, unassisted, studly ones)

Run: 1 Mile Treadmill Run (7.0 mph)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Workout 9/12

I finally made it back to the gym this morning, and it was a very satifying experience. I haven't had the chance to have many quality workouts over the past few weeks due to busy schedules, achy muscles, crampy legs, and tiredness. So I have been taking it a bit easier because I don't want to burn myself out or hurt myself. Even though the Chicago Marathon is less than 4 weeks away, I know that if I hurt myself, I will not be at the starting line. Some running wisdom I heard lately says, "Better to toe the line undertrained than overtrained." So I have been applying that wisdom while I let my muscles rest a bit. But I have been itching to get to the 20-miler this weekend. In preparation for that long, long, long run, I figured I ought to work out while I had the chance.

Since Evie is potty-training today, I was able to have the car and save on my commute time. Twenty-five minutes to commute is so much better than an hour. I am so excited too for Evie. I am just sitting here awaiting the phone call to congratulate her on making her first duty in the toilet. That may sound weird to non-parents, but it is a HUGE accomplishment that I can't wait to praise Evie for. Well, here's what circumstances allowed me to do this morning.

CrossFit: "Modified Barbara"
5 Round for Time or:
10 Assisted Pull-ups (very light assistance, I am improving)
15 Push-ups
20 Sit-ups
25 Squats
(Time: 28.15)IT'S POTTY TIME!!! GO EVIE!!! (literally)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Workout 9/8

It is great to be out in nature this weekend. I have left the BIG CITY for greener pastures...or at least more wooded pastures. I came out to St. Charles for training with a group called GRIP. It was an awesome experience to inform me and prepare me to teach the kids that sit in front of me daily as I teach them (or they teach me sometimes). We received a lot of information about culture and boldness, so I needed some time to rake through it all in my head and create practical understanding from the info. What better way to do that than to go for a run? There is none! My buddy Dan and I decided to catch the Fox River Trail in downtown St. Charles. We ran, talked, mentally wrestled, and drank some water for approximately 12 miles from St. Charles to Batavia and back. It was a great time, and I was deeply refreshed by it. I encourage all of you who are stressed out or dealing with big issues to take a step outside today. Go for a run! And if you don't run, at least let your feet take you some place to clear your head or make sense of an issue or two. It won't solve everything, but it will help a little.

Run: ~12 miles (1:53.29)

BTW: If you are ever in Batavia, stop by the new cafe in Downtown on the corner of River Street and Wilson Street. We stopped in there before we turned around, and they gladly offered us bottles of water even though they weren't officially in business yet. Thanks!

Friday, September 7, 2007


We went on a date last night to see Cymbeline at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. It was great! The stage was colorful, the actors wonderful, and the comedy was especially hilarious. Of course I recommend it to anyone and everyone...even if you think you don't like or understand Shakespeare. Cloten = most ridiculous person on the face of the earth. Iachimo = creepiest man alive. Jupiter = well, you'll have to see to have an opinion about him. Go See It!

Workout 9/5

The human body is amazing! Today I ran with Dan, and he shared with me a story about his dad. More about that in one second. Just the simple fact that we were running made me focus on the awesome-ness of the ability to run. Everything works the way it is supposed to! The fact that my mind can carry me to the next street corner amazes me sometimes, especially when my legs don't want to do that. I bring that up because I felt that way many times today when Dan pushed the pace. Thanks for nearly killing me Dan!

Back to his dad who had quadruple bypass heart surgery on Tuesday this week. Just 24-hours later he was up walking around. AMAZING! Now that is some mental toughness. I have had minor surgery before, and walking around was the least of my desires 24-hours afterwards. In fact, the doctors told him he would be able to participate in a baseball training camp coming up in three months. Now I don't know about you, but I think that is a wild witness to the amazing design and tenacity of the human body. Stories like this abound, and they motivate me beyond what I feel my body can handle sometimes.

Run: No specific distance, we just ran until the "dinner bell rang."

Monday, September 3, 2007

Workout Labor Day

Labor Day-the sign that summer is over and things return back to semi-normalness for those of us who are students and teachers. I forgot what it was like to lay in bed and think about what the "first day of school" would be like. Last night was the first night I experienced that feeling in the last few months. I can't say I miss that feeling, but such is the life of a teacher. For all those students reading this, yes, teachers do get the jitters too. But it was nice to have one more morning to wake up and take a relaxing run without the pressure to get home, shower up, and run off to school. I have made up my mind that I have to wake up early if I want to remain consistent with my marathon training. That means mornings are going to get early very soon and bed times are going to get early too. Ah, the sacrifices one has to make to stay in shape for a 26.2 mile run.

Run: 5 miles (41.54; 8.22/mile pace)

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Alright, if you really need explanations, here they are:

Edson showing you he's alright!

The Team

Awesome Teamwork to cross the finish line!

Our favorite motto: "Run Like You Stole Something!"

The Dudes...My Running Buddies (Jerry, Edson, Jason, Me, Jose)

18 Miler!

Back to posting workouts and training. Again, I apologize for the lack of posts for any of you looking for how training is going, marathon training + CrossFit. Today's planned run was a whopping 18 miles, and we crushed it. But in saying that, I am definitely feeling every sore piece of my body right now. I have also just recovered from a slamming headache too. I think I have learned a very big and important lesson about pre- and post-run hydration. It is vital to the run and recovery. I have 5 weeks to perfect the art of hydration. As I have mentioned in the last post or two, I have been lacking discipline in my runner's diet over the past three weeks or so, and I am feeling it. Hydration is a key part of that diet, and neglecting it through caffenated soda (pop, soda pop, coke) and coffee drinking have really taken its toll. But now that all of the big projects are done, I think its prime time to change that habit. Here's today's stats:

Run: 18 miles (2:54.16; 9.40 pace)

*That pace is not quite what I want it to be, but I think four weeks remaining of diligent training will pay off.

Friday, August 31, 2007

I'm Back!

To all of my avid readers, my apologies for the lack of posts over the past few weeks. Yes, I am still training, but things have been totally hectic with the end of summer and the beginning of the new school year at a new school. It's hard to believe that the Chicago Marathon is only four weeks away. Four Weeks! Training is getting hard! I need to switch my training schedule around too because now I have to commute to school. Life was simple when I just walked out the door and took a nice 15-minute stroll to school giving me plenty of time in the morning to go to the gym and run. Now that I have a 1-hour+ commute in front of me, afternoon training looks like the best option. Maybe I'll have to get the students to work out with me and push me. Otherwise, I fear the LAZY BUG might bite me! Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 12, 2007


A NEW PERSONAL RECORD! Of course I have only run this race two times now, but I did what I wanted to do while still running with a high schooler the whole way. It was amazing! I ran the Chicago Distance Classic with Edson, a high schooler, and Jason, another mentor. The day started out humid because it had rained only about one hour before race time. In fact, we all worried about it starting on time since there was much lightning and thurder to accompany the rains. But it cleared up and the sun came out, but that really wasn't a good thing either because the temperatures rose with the sun. So, it wasn't the most desired conditions for a 13.1 mile race, but we stuck to our guns physically and mentally throughout the race. Edson kept pointing out where he had wanted to stop last year, so we all decided that it would not be a stopping point this year. It was great to run with these two guys because the constant pushing and encouraging was needed. Congratulations to Edson for finishing in 1:54.19! His last kick was amazing and us old foggies could not keep up with him. Keep your eye here for pictures...if only you could have witnessed the joy in everyone's accomplishments!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Urban Trek to Millenium Park

Okay, so taper week does have its benefits...such as having the chance to hang out with the fam in the morning. Yes, sleeping in was nice too, but I can't get too used to that since the school year is just around the corner. Today was a beautiful day to spend picking up my race packet for the Chicago Distance Classic, urban hiking, running around in the "spitting" fountains at Millenium Park, seeing "the bean," listening to Japanese music at the Pavilion, eating a hotdog and snow cone along the lakefront, seeing the artistic globes, and hearing Evie say "ECHO" as we walked through tunnels. I think I sunburned my head with this new haircut. Probably not the smartest idea to go out without sunscreen on since just yesterday the dermatologist scolded me for running without it. Well, tonight is the Pasta Party for Team M3. Wish me luck on eating with moderation. I'll picture what I might leave on the ground during the half-marathon tomorrow if I don't watch what I eat. That will keep me on the right track! Keep an eye out tomorrow to see how we did! Wish the students super-running wishes!The "movie star" and the "rock star"

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Workout 8/8

Since the Chicago Distance Classic (half-marathon) is coming up this Sunday, this week has been taper week. The last time I ran the marathon and half-marathon, I remember looking forward to taper week. But this time I realize what people mean when they struggle with tapering. It's hard to slow down a when you know that there are two marathons coming after this half-marathon. I feel like all I do is eat now. But, I know my muscles need the rest, recovery, and refueling time.

Warm-up: 10 minutes walking

CrossFit: 21-15-9 Reps of 95# Cleans; 42-30-18 Reps of Assisted Dips

Cool-down: 5 minutes walking

Monday, August 6, 2007

Workout 8/6

I finally remembered what it was like to run in Florida, but the funny thing is, I'm here in Chicago. Many of us around the country are learning how to maintain our training schedules in the heat and the humidity. It means making sacrifices that we may not be fond of...running indoors, waking up early, running late in the evening, etc. But hey, we are mentally training too. These diverse conditions force us to pull up our shorts, throw on our shoes, and step out the door while MENTALLY fixing ourselves to face the uncomfortable obstacles. For most of us, marathons are not easy. For many of us, CrossFit is not simple. But it's not always about our physical abilities either. At mile 20, our minds keep us going when our legs can't do it on their own anymore. When doing CrossFit Total, our minds help us push through an extra 20 pounds on our back squat. Don't forget about the mental aspect of sport and begin training for it. 4:30 AM, 90% Humidity, 80 degrees, near total darkness, running alone...PERFECT TIME TO TRAIN YOUR BRAIN!

Run: 4.08 miles (36.22; 8.54/mile pace)

CrossFit: "Modified Jason"
50 Squats
9 Pull-ups
9 Dips
25 Squats
18 Pull-ups
18 Dips
15 Squats
27 Pull-ups
27 Dips
10 Squats
36 Pull-ups
36 Dips

*Why so many Pull-ups and Dips, you ask? Since I can't do a Muscle-up, the modification is to do 3 Pull-ups and 3 Dips for 1 Muscle-up. I wanted to give up! But it was mental training there you go! No, I can't do them without help, so I did do assisted pull-ups with the "GloboGym" machine...I'm not that impressive...YET!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Workout 8/4

We have our team shirts and shorts! Yeah! Team M3 finally received out shirts to wear on race day next Sunday--Chicago Distance Classic, here we come! You could feel it in the air this morning that the big race day is coming. Every kid was motivated to get out there and prove that they could run a long distance. For many of these kids, they are the first ones in their family to run for their health--let alone run 13.1 miles. I am so PROUD of them! This morning's run was paced to the point that we stayed together for most of the run. Manny, Edson, Dave, Rick, Cortez, and I voted early on to run without the 1 minute walk breaks, and we cruised. I know many of them will accomplish their goals on race day. Edson shared with me that he would like to finish in under 2 hours (a very noble and attainable goal seeing as he ran it in 2:08 last year). We are all looking forward to next Saturday--PASTA PARTY!!! Carbo-loading to the MAX! I just hope many of the students don't over eat...I'd hate to see the treasures left of the race course if that happens. We'll emphasize carbo-loading with moderation.

Run: 9 miles (1:24.40, 9.24/mile pace)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Workout 8/1, Part 2

An interesting topic of conversation came up among many other issues when I ran with Dan this afternoon. With seven and a half miles in front of us along the cooler lakefront, what better thing is there to do than talk about our lives and deeply held opinions. Today's Topic: TATTOOS. A Harris Poll taken in 2003 showed that about 16% of all American adults have a tattoo. In my age range (30-39 for you nosy people), the percentage of tattoo wearers is 28%. Most surprisingly, nearly a third of all people 20-29 have a tattoo, and I can just look around my classroom on any given day and see that teenagers are very likely to have a tattoo. So, what's the big deal? As Christian men, we were trying to figure out how to apply the verse in Leviticus that states, "You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourself." So here's a predicament for Christians with tattoos; is it a SIN to have a tattoo? My opinion is NO. Put the verse in context. I could go on and on about this topic, and I might just do that in another posting, but I don't want to bore you with my arguments right now. So here's what I ask of you; leave me a comment about your opinion and/or your favorite tattoo or tattoo idea. And take the poll you see in the right column.

Run: 7.5 miles (1:12.32; 9.40/mile pace) Not Bad for a Hot Day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Workout 8/1, Part 1

Oh man! I hate to make up days in means I have to suffer through a two-fer workout in 95 degree heat. Okay, I know you didn't come here to listen to me whine, so I will refrain from doing so. I will simply describe what I did this morning.

Run: 3.2 miles (27.22, 8.33/mile pace)

CrossFit: "Helen"
3 Rounds for Time of:
1/4 mile Run
21 45# Dumbell Swings
12 Assisted Pull-ups

*For the first time doing CrossFit, I felt like I could have lost my breakfast. Except I didn't eat breakfast. Now I understand the feeling!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Workout 7/30

I was met at the gym by "Linda" a.k.a. "The 3 Bars of Death." No, it's not an actual woman; it's a CrossFit workout named after a woman. So does that mean women bring you so many aches and pains? Of course not Susanne! But these CrossFit women do...hence the reason why I am not working out on Tuesday. Rather, I will give my body a chance to recover and double up the workout on Wednesday. Okay, so that's probably not the best thing to do for my physical health, but I'm going to anyway. Well, here are the stats on today's workout.

Run: 4.08 miles (36.41, 8.59/mile pace)

CrossFit: "Linda" or "3 Bars of Death"
10-8-6-4-2 Rep Sets of:
185# Deadlifts
115# Bench Presses
95# Cleans

* I'm sure the owners of the "GloboGym" I go to hate me because I sweat buckets all over the floor when lifting weights after my runs. Not that it matters...I am throwing my money at them after all. I might have to start piecemealing a home gym together if we ever have the room. Especially if they make me pay them $900.00 to renew a membership. TOO MUCH!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Workout 7/28

Two weeks and counting! That's how close the Chicago Distance Classic is to our team. I didn't think I was going to run this, but I recently decided to undertake this run with Team M3. I am committed to the marathon, but I know this will be an excellent chance to see some of these kids accomplish something amazing. Today was a 15 mile run! We cruised! A sub-2 hour half-marathon is definitely in sight for a few of our students.

Run: 15 miles (Time:???)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Workout 7/27

Consistency and Expectations...two of the most important elements in many areas of life. Teaching. Parenting. Training. Running. This topic was the highlight of our run today. It came up when I noticed how my students will reach for high expectations when consistently and explicitly stated to them. I'm teaching summer school right now, and many of these students have a history of not meeting expectations. But when it is consistently stated to them that I do not accept "C," "D," or "F" work in summer school, it is amazing how focused they get on earning and meeting those expectations. The same holds true for parenting. It is only fair to children to be consistent in discipline and explicit in expectations.

When thinking about running and training, I came to the conclusion that I have to do the same thing for myself. If I want to meet a goal, I need to be consistent in my training. Taking the weak areas and making them stronger through hard work will only benefit the outcomes of races and fitness levels. If I don't write my goals down, I will forget them and neglect to take steps to meet them. So here's my encouragement to you; be consistent in what you do and be clear with your expectations. You'll be amazed at how that affects both yourself and those around you.

Run: 9 miles (1:23.42, 9.18/mile pace)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Workout 7/25

WEAK! That's what I found out about myself today when I tried to do my goal workout. I was supposed to do 20 (yes, 20!) sets of the CrossFit workout. As you can see, I only squeezed out a measly 7 sets. But, hey, isn't that what training is all about. I read an inspiring quote yesterday that applies to both this physical training and spiritual, faith training that is most important in my life.

Like a sportsman in training, faith must keep itself fit. It must be trim and in good shape. It must keep its hand in and never be out of practice. It will have its limits, but it will know them and do its best to extend them. What it fears above all is the test which shows that its training has gone to seed, its muscles have grown soft, its confidence has been misplaced... Not surprisingly, many of the biblical pictures of faith are strenuous, active and energetic. Faith is the athlete straining for the finishing line, the boxer kept in superb condition by his training, the soldier stripped to his essential equipment... Faith presses forward or is pushed back. Faith trains or grows slack. --Os Guinness

So, not only am I physically weak sometimes, I am extremely weak in my faith often. But this is encouraging because in both we can train ourselves to be that "soldier stripped to his essential equipment" and "press forward" to a strength that can move mountains.

Run: 4.08 miles (37.14, 9.07/mile pace)

CrossFit: 20 rounds of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Sit-ups
(Argh...I only completed 7!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Workout 7/24

Mmmm...tiny bits of protein unexpectedly flying into your mouth is quite a way to start off your morning. One can tell the humidity is on the rise when little flying insects infest the Lakefront Path. Unfortunately, you can't see them before the sun rises, so a surprising mouthful of protein is what you get. It gives a whole new meaning to protein shots to help with your endurance during a longer run. This situation seemed to have an effect on my fellow runners' friendliness reciprocation this morning too. I think I hit an all-time low on received "Mornin"s with a total of 14 out of 18 (78%). Word to my running buddies: "Don't let the bugs get you down." Today was a relaxed run because yesterday's CrossFit still had a hold on me.

Run: 8 miles (1:11.56, 8:59/mile pace)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Workout 7/23

HOLY crossfit killed me BATMAN! I cannot believe what the quick succession of exercises will do to your body and will to live. There were times today where I considered making things easier by dropping weight or by doing fewer reps...but I did it anyway!

Run: 4.08 miles (36.10, 8.51/mile pace)

CrossFit: "Fight Gone Bad"
*In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute.The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. On call of "rotate", the athletes must move to next station immediately for best score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point. (
45# Thrusters
45# Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
20' Box Jumps
45# Push Presses
(Rep. Scores: Rd. 1: 20,17,12,16,9; Rd. 2: 15,16,12,11,14; Rd. 3: 10,17,10,10,10)

Family Bike Ride....for Ice Cream!

What better way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon than taking a bike ride to get some ice cream? We had a wonderful time out with the kids as you can see. So next time the weather is ice cream...then burn those newly acquired calories with a bike ride with you most favorite people.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Workout 7/21

We were rewarded for our hard work in training with a BBQ. MMM...cheeseburgers at 10:30 in the morning do a body good! I ran with Ryne (named after the Chicago baseball icon) today and had a great time talking to him. Sometimes it's hard to believe that he is only 14 years old because he is so bright and well-spoken. It's been awhile since I met a young man of his caliber. Most of our conversations revolved around "Best of..." lists. My favorite topic was talking about comic book heroes and villains. My favorite superhero: Wolverine (he's got the cool factor too). My favorite villain: Venom (again, cool and one bad dude). The BBQ offered us a chance to really get to know the kids on a more fun level. We played kickball, beach volleyball, 3-on-3 soccer, and played around in an obstacle course at the beach. I wish you all could experience this mentoring opportunity because it is totally worth the time to create relationships with teens who's persistence is inspiring.

Run: ??? miles (??? time) *It didn't matter today because we just enjoyed the time out there on the path.