Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Fluff: Movember, Top Fitness Sites, Dear Santa

Last day for Movember, the monthlong campaign to raise vital awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. I'm not sure how many of us look good with the Mos, but I'm proud to have participated and even more thankful for those that fundraised and especially to the donors for their support!

Movember 2012
Not quite long enough to twist the ends!
Maybe next year. :)

Midwest Multisport Life was recently named one of the Top 25 Sites for Fitness and Health in 2012, by MHA Programs. The list includes such great authors as Amanda over at Miss Zippy, Kate at Run with Kate, and a host of others. MHA Programs aims to be a resource for students and professionals in healthcare, so they feel it is essential to highlight those making health and fitness a part of their everyday lives. MHA hopes their readers will share the list of great sites with their colleagues and friends. After all, the ultimate goal of every healthcare professional is helping people live happier and healthier.


Wildly innapropriate, but funny nonetheless...

Dear Santa

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mammut React GTX Trail Running Shoes

Based in Switzerland, Mammut is a well-regarded company in the outdoor gear world, starting as a traditional ropeworks and evolving into a modern, advanced company for the development, manufacture and sale of ropes, netting, belts and equipment for mountaineering and outdoor pursuits. Years ago, when I did a winter climb of Mount Washington in New Hamphsire, their Flight 35 backpack was my first choice, both for its utility on that winter ascent and how it lent itself to rock climbing afterwards.

When Laima and I got some of the Mammut trail running shoes, I was excited to try them out, as I knew they would be well-designed, quality-made, and built to last. The only question was how they performed.

Mammut React GTX Trail Running Shoes

Mammut sent me their React GTX Trail Running Shoes, which is an ideal Midwest trail shoe, as we often go through wet, cold spells, but also need a shoe that doesn't get too hot under fairer conditions.
"The GORE-TEX® version of this mountain trail runner is also brimming with innovative technology: double-layered single shell mesh construction for optimal ventilation, lighter weight and fewer contact surfaces; 3D textile lining for extra cushioning, abrasion and improved temperature; clever asymmetric lacing garage solution; EVA Superlight wedge with Kevlar protective covering; Stone Shield insert to prevent penetration of sharp stones; cushioning Strobel design and the gripex™ Iguana sole – a new improved version of the tried and tested Reptilia sole. In addition, technologies such as Base Fit®, Foot Mapping, Memo Foam, Speed Lace System, Rolling Concept®, Hybrid Shell, asymmetrical lacing, PU Shock Absorber and a GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear Membrane are all basic features of the MTR React GTX®."
The React GTX was comfortable out of the box and I tried them out first on the treadmill, in case a break-in period was needed. While the sole was quite stiff (as with most trail running shoes), they felt so comfortable that I busted out 6 miles without worry. Since that initial run, my initial positive reaction has been confirmed on multiple runs, ranging from a few miles to elevenish, on every type of surface imaginable: pavement, gravel, singletrack, grass, and others. Apart from the stiffness, these shoes take whatever you dish out -- I've tried to get them dirty and they just seem to repel it with no problem. First world problem, I know. The initial stiffness is starting to ease up, which makes these even more comfortable and, since they still look and feel brand new, I can imagine keeping these in the running rotation for quite some time.

One facet of the design that I didn't care for, but easily remedied, was the "lacing garage," which is two plastic pieces through which the laces pass. The function of this is to keep the laces tight even if they become untied. While it definitely works, it didn't seem to work as well with my heel-lock lacing system, becoming untied most times, not sure why. Without them I'm happy to double-knot the laces and, voila, no problems. In a situation where quicker shoe donning and removal was important (like an XTerra offroad triathlon), these would definitely speed things up.

Overall, my first impressions were definitely met and surpassed - very well-designed, quality-made, and built to last, these are great out of the box and appear brand new after not only repeated wearing but attempts to rough them up. An added bonus is that, while they are awesome to take out on the gnarliest trails, they are equally comfortable on street or treadmill as well.

More information can be found on the Mammut website, by liking on Facebook, following on Twitter, and subscribing on YouTube.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this item for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Mammut. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What is CrossFit? Video

What Is CrossFit?

Another video that shows the incredible variety that is CrossFit - uploaded to YouTube by CrossFitHQ. Bummed I couldn't start this week, but looking forward to getting healthy and starting Monday!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzD9BkXGJ1M

"What is CrossFit? CrossFit is an effective way to get fit. Anyone can do it. It is a fitness program that combines a wide variety of functional movements into a timed or scored workout. We do pull-ups, squats, push-ups, weightlifting, gymnastics, running, rowing, and a host of other movements. Always varied, always changing, always producing results. Kids, cops, firefighters, soccer moms, Navy SEALS, and grandmas all do CrossFit. In fact, hundreds of thousands worldwide have followed our workouts and distinguished themselves in combat, the streets, the ring, stadiums, gyms and homes. Welcome.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday with Goodsearch

goodsearch

Giving Tuesday, November 27th, today, helps people do what they can to give back to their favorite cause this holiday season. Through goodsearch, more than 15 million people are turning their everyday actions into ways to “simply do good.” Here’s how:

Goodsearch.com: Each time someone searches the internet with goodsearch.com (powered by Yahoo!), about a penny is raised for the charity or school of their choice! You use it exactly as you would any other search engine.

Goodshop.com: Each time someone clicks from goodshop.com to one of the 2,500 plus participating stores (including Amazon, Target, Toys R Us, Sephora, Macy’s, PetCo and more), an average of 4% of the purchase price is donated to the shopper’s favorite cause (at no cost to them!). To support Giving Tuesday, goodshop has partnered with dozens of top merchants to provide exclusive discounts so everyone can shop, save money and give back this holiday season!

Gooddining.com: Each time someone dines at more than 10,000 gooddining.com restaurants across the country, up to 6% of the cost of the meal is donated to the diner’s favorite cause.


Doing good doesn’t have to cost money or be complicated, and your actions can count both on Giving Tuesday and every day! Supporters of over 108,000 local and national nonprofits have used goodsearch to raise millions in meaningful donations, helping causes from animal welfare to education, among others. The ASPCA, for example, has earned more than $47,000 – all through the searching, shopping, and dining out of their supporters!

The Goodsearch team is revolutionizing online philanthropy so that everyone is easily able to support the causes most important to them, every day. “Goodsearch users have taken over 1 billion simple and free charitable actions to raise nearly $10 million for our nonprofit and school partners”, said Scott Garell, CEO of Goodsearch. “We are delighted to help America simply do good on Giving Tuesday when people search the web, dine out or buy holiday gifts with our exclusive deals.”

An easy and great way to show our thankfulness!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

1000 Mile Goals: 6 Weeks Left

At the beginning of 2012, I set two goals for myself, to both run and bike 1,000 miles this year. As of yesterday, this is how things stood:
  • Cycling: 104.5 miles left.
  • Running: 212.68 miles left.
Monday: Off
  • STILL feeling sore after CrossFit, guess that's what happens when a middle-aged man with spare tires tries something new that's physically brutal. :) No work in the city this week, so took today off and will add a bike outing Wednesday.
Tuesday: Run
  • Beautiful morning for it, 50 degrees, no wind, wore shorts, lightweight Icebreaker and ear cover, almost too warm (had to take the ear covers off). Felt great even with some lingering CrossFit soreness and remaining vestiges of the illness. Even ran a bit faster than normal pace. :)
  • Such a beautiful afternoon and a nice run in my Mammut trail running shoes! Full product review coming next week on the blog. Also wearing Saxx Kinetic Briefs - most comfortable athletic underwear ever!
Wednesday: Cycling
  • Laima and I had dinner at People Lounge last night, which threw off my sleeping and woke up feeling congested and tired -- so done with this illness, but it's not done with me, unfortunately. Planned on riding my bike after a kitchen consultation (we're planning a remodel), but after all was said and done, just wanted to take it easy.
Thursday: Run
  • Bonfield Express 5K - somewhat frustrating running with the stroller through all the slow walkers who felt they needed to start near the front. This race unfortunately has grown too quickly and is not handling the logistics of the actual event too well, definitely need some crowd control before the start and then afterwards as well. Not sure I'll run it again, except that it is nice to support a local event.


Friday: Cycling
  • Woke up feeling unwell AGAIN, seems like I won't be able to shake this anytime soon. Tried to take the kids for a walk at Greene Valley, but the cold and
Saturday: Run
  • Spent the whole day at home, pretty much on the couch, wondering what is going on. Almost feel like a doctor's visit might be necessary, but still holding off.
Sunday: Cycling
  • Woke up feeling better, decided to take it easy anyway (we were having friends over for the Bears Game), and then tweaked my back getting ready for it - spasms all day and into the night. Talk about adding insult to injury.
Weekly Totals:
  • Cycling:  17.25 miles planned, 0 miles accomplished, 104.5 miles left.
  • Running: 32.5 miles planned, 14.5 miles accomplished, 198.18 miles left.
Never say die, but the running goal looks like it might be sliding out of my grasp - I'll have to average 40 miles a week to complete it. A couple of good rides and cycling will be done, though the weather is fast becoming unrideable for the gear I have. There is a forecast for some decent days, hopefully my back  will be up for it. CrossFit will be delayed a week now due to my back problems, still looking forward to it. What a drag it is getting old...

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Funny: CrossFit Humor

Like all fitness subsets, CrossFit has their own sense of humor - hopefully you'll find these as funny as I did.

Original CrossFit Games
Original CrossFit Games

I Clean, I Jerk, and  have a nice Snatch.
I Clean, I Jerk, and I have a nice Snatch.

T-Rex Hates Wall Balls
T-Rex Hates Wall Balls

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Three Things Thanksgiving Thursday

It's Thanksgiving morning, so our family will be participating in the Bonfield Express 5K, a family tradition for the past few years. Then, in the afternoon, we'll head over to Laima's aunt's house for a feast, family time, and football. Who else ran or will run a Turkey Trot today?

Bonfield Express 5K

Fan of Nike? 25% off already-reduced clearance styles starts today, through October 27th! Enter promo code BLUERIBBON at checkout. Also, Nike is offering free shipping for orders until 12/20. To receive free standard shipping, enter promo code JUSTDOIT at checkout.


Have you seen this video yet? A feel-good way to start this Thanksgiving morning!


Have a great holiday!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Backarc Pro Neck and Back Massager

Backarc Pro Neck and Back MAssager

If you work out, you get sore, simple as that. If you're an elite or sponsored athlete, you might enjoy the ministrations of a professional masseuse on a regular basis. For the rest of us, the only opportunity we get to experience massage is after an event, when the free tables are set up. It's not enough. Foam rollers are a great addition to recovery time at home, allowing you to massage tightness and soreness in a variety of places. To this I would add the BackArc Pro -- for the price of a mid-level running shoe, you can have this in-home massager for use whenver you need it. The Backarc Pro is the first and only wall-mounted system designed for self-massage. This professional quality massage system allows you to relieve back and neck pain by using as much or as little pressure as you like. The adjustable system means you can adjust which pressure points to target or have multiple users for one system!


The unique design combines 8 soft rollers with an “arc” shape that mirrors the natural curve of the spine. With a simple height adjustment, Backarc Pro can be used in the standing position or seated with an exercise ball. You can use as much or as little pressure as you like to massage muscles in your back, neck and shoulders. The custom designed roller contact points are soft and flexible, engineered on a wheel system with bearings. A Rubberwood arc section, stainless steel axles and anodized aluminum wall track ensure quality and durability -- don't believe it? The Backarc Pro carries a 2 year warranty.

Our whole family was fascinated by the Backarc, though not everyone was on board with its intended use, as Little Worker kept saying "skateboard, skateboard." Everyone enjoyed rolling up and down, feeling soreness and stiffness ease away. I'm sure as time goes on, the novelty will wear off for the kids, but Laima and I will keep using this as long as we get sore, which is pretty much every day, at my age.

Backarc Pro Neck and Back Massager
Backarc Pro Neck and Back Massager
mounted in the basement - quick and easy!

The Return Policy: If you aren't completely satisfied with Backarc Pro, contact their customer service team to receive a return authorization number within 90 days of your purchase. Then, simply return the product for a full refund.

More info and purchase options are available at the Backarc Neck and Back Massager website.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this item for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Backarc.I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CrossFit Amplify Intro Session

CrossFit Amplify WOD

Saturday morning, I headed over to CrossFit Amplify to get an Introductory Session and see what I thought - a cool thing about most CrossFit boxes (maybe all?) is that you can get a free intro session to see if you like what CrossFit is all about and to see how you feel about that particular box. We have 4 or 5 boxes within easy driving range of home, so we have plenty of options. CrossFit Amplify was my first choice as it's the easiest to get to with no train crossings, and so far I've liked the vibe a lot.

Know those butterflies you get when you're about to try something new, whether it's bungee jumping, eating a new food, or meeting your child's teacher? I had that feeling, in spades. I had no way to know what to expect, except that the participants were all sinewy, tattooed, endurance freaks (that's the common perception of CrossFit, right?). I have a couple of tattoos and have been called a freak, but in no way am I sinewy. I walked in and most, if not all, of the people there made eye contact, smiled, and said hello. Nice.

Luckily (or not, I hadn't decided), I was included in a typical Saturday morning class, rather than a one on one intro session, which would be more the norm. An actual class would really show me what I was in for, but I was also worried I couldn't complete it. Either way, I had to sink or swim.

Saturday's Workout of the Day (WOD):

In Teams of Two:
5 Rounds For Time:
  • 30 Box Jumps
  • 30 Wall Ball Shots
  • Run 140 Yards
Mike, one of the partners, and my gatekeeper to CrossFit, introduced me and we were off. 3 laps around the perimeter of the gym and then we gathered on the turf half for some dynamic stretching, moving from one end to the other. So far, so good.

Out came the boxes, set up just below the rings. These were for box jumps. Medicine balls next, against the wall across the turf from the boxes. Here we'd be doing wall ball shots. Running would be 4 times up and back on the turf -- the gym is 35 yards long. With each step, Mike went over the basics of what we'd been doing, solely for my edification, as the rest had been doing this for several months or longer. We'd be paired with another CrossFitter, so each partner could do half the workout, or, as in my case, a stronger partner could shoulder a heavier burden.

CrossFit Box Jumps
Image from "Inside the Box"

Box jumps are simple: step or jump onto a box, extend so knees are straight, step or jump down. Repeat. On a 20" box, my partner and I started with 10 jumps each, then 5, and were on our way to the wall ball shots.

CrossFit Wall Ball Shots
Image from "Inside the Box"

Wall ball shots are a little more complicated: hold a medicine ball at chest height (ours was 14 pounds), go into a deep squat, then use the upward motion coming out of the squat to toss the medicine ball up to around 10 feet or so (I think, didn't measure....). Repeat. My partner and I started even steven with 10 shots each, then 5.

Next up, running, for us a shuttle run of 4 lengths on the turf. Should be easy, except after the jumps and then the deep squats, it takes a few moments to get your running legs under you, sort of how one feels getting off the bike for a run in triathlon.

In my mind, I had us doing 3 rounds and, by the end of the 3rd round, I was sucking wind. Even though I thought I was relatively fit cardiowise, the jumps, squats, and constant motion showed me that wasn't the case. Mentally, I struggled to fathom what another 2 rounds would feel like. For the 4th round, I was no longer doing my share, instead getting about a third of the work in. I dug deep for the final round and managed to do most of my half and then, just like that, we were done. Once everyone had completed their 5 rounds (we weren't last!), we did some hip and hamstring stretching, then people slowly filtered out.

Mike and I talked a bit about what had transpired and he let me know what would happen next, if I decided to return. Next up would be 2-3 weeks of ELEMENTS -- ELEMENTS class is required for all new members. Attendance three days each week for one month is highly recommended for new members who have little or no CrossFit experience. After one month in ELEMENTS participants should have a foundation for successful CrossFit skill and workout completion. Length of time in the ELEMEnts program is dependent on each person, obviously, as to how quickly the skills are acquired.

With the holiday week, we decided that I would go back on the 27th to start my ELEMENTS program. Three days after my intro session, I am still sore, so I know that, not only did this kick my ass, it's an ass-kicking I need. Cannot wait.

If you're on the fence, I strongly urge you to try it out. It was really difficult, but also a lot of fun. I lucked in to a class where the work was done with a partner, so I had someone to push me and also to pick up the slack. Since it's free the first time, visit a few boxes (if you have the option) to find one where you're comfortable.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

1000 Mile Goals: 7 Weeks Left

At the beginning of 2012, I set two goals for myself, to both run and bike 1,000 miles this year. As of yesterday, this is how things stood:
  • Cycling: 104.5 miles left.
  • Running: 218.9 miles left.
Monday: Off
  • Woke up feeling terrible, sore throat, still coughing, achy all over. Thought about maybe cycling today, but this morning was also really cold after a storm blew through in the the night, so that made it less appealing. A rest day made more sense, so taking it easy was the way to go. Off from work for Veterans Day (thanks to all who serve to make our lives safe!), so minimal mental exertion as well. :)
Tuesday: Off
  • More feeling terrible, more no training. So tiresome being sick. Thankfully I can telework, so I don't have to drag myself into work.
Wednesday: Off
  • Third day the charm? Unfortunately not.
Thursday: Off
  • Felt better, but still not quite there yet. Took a sick day from work and really took it easy. 
Treadmill Open Heart Surgery

Friday: Run
  • After 4 days of no exercise, I had to do something. Decided to perform open-heart surgery on the treadmill. REALLY dusty around the motor -- vacuumed, wiped everything down, today tried an easy 30 minute run. Some slight smell, no smoke, and felt okay, hoping this illness is behind me for good.
Saturday: CrossFit
  • Thought about running or cycling this morning, but decided to see how I felt after my Intro Class of CrossFit. Wow, that class really kicked my butt and it wasn't anything technical or anything. I thought I was relatively fit cardiowise, but that simply isn't true. Sore as hell later in the day. Full write up Tuesday.
Sunday: Run
  • Wasn't sure what to expect today, really sore after CrossFit, but overall a pretty good run. 32 degrees but no wind, sunny and a great way to start the morning. Still feeling the illness, can't wait for this to be over.
Weekly Totals:
  • Cycling:  17.25 miles planned, 0 miles accomplished, 104.5 miles left.
  • Running: 32.5 miles planned, 6.22 miles accomplished, 212.68 miles left.

Definitely not the week I'd hoped for, but not an entire wash. Fell behind some miles, but will pick up the slack over the next 6 weeks and finish strong! Definitely going back to CrossFit, almost done with cycling, running goal still within reach. 

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Fluff


Hostess Closing

Not sure what Fast Cory is going to do now, except maybe run 100 miles out of grief, but Hostess is closing up shop. "Hostess Brands -- the maker of such iconic baked goods as Twinkies, Devil Dogs and Wonder Bread -- announced Friday that it is asking a federal bankruptcy court for permission to close its operations, blaming a strike by bakers protesting a new contract imposed on them." (http://money.cnn.com)

Foodista Drink Blog of the Day

I was pleasantly surprised that 50 States Of Wine, my food and wine blog, was chosen as Foodista's Drink Blog of the Day yesterday - so awesome!


Our high school, Downers Grove North, created a fun video for their Fine Arts Department, to the song It's Always A Good Time"" - Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Craig Alexander: As the Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies book

Australian Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander is one of the fittest people on the planet, five time World Iron Man Triathlon Champion and the list goes on. In As the Crow Flies (Boulder, CO: Velopress, 2012), the five-time world champion reveals his approach, his training, and the relationships that make him the successful athlete he has become.

Alexander has a reputation as an incredibly hard worker, friendly and fair competitor, who toes the line of races as ready as any man there. The most striking thing about Crowie to me is how he has integrated the demand of triathlon with his first priority, Team Alexander: his wife Neri and their young kids Lucy and Austin.

Alexander shares key workouts, training blocks, and pivotal moments in big races, balancing the day to day training and racing with examples of injury, illness, and replacing sponsors, revealing the delicate balance between elite performance and disaster. None of this was deterrence enough, as he won both the Ironman and Ironman 70.3® world championships, making him the first person to win both championships in the same year.

Sharing center stage with Crowie’s words are striking photographs from acclaimed sports photographer Paul K. Robbins, who has captured moments both active and still, with family and alone. The photos add a layer to this complex portrait of a World Champion who is the epitome of grace and professionalism in his sport.

If you buy only one book on triathlon, this should be the one. Coffee table beautiful, a bio of a true champion, and a smidgen of practical training advice, the balance of sport and family makes this a lifelong keeper.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free to review on my blog, courtesy of VeloPress.  I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CrossFit Amplify, Lisle, IL

"AM • PLI • FY
To make greater or more powerful; increase.
To add to or expand, in volume or significance; make complete."

CrossFit Amplify

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to visit my first CrossFit box, CrossFit Amplify. In a new facility for a few weeks, I wasn’t sure what to expect -- located in an industrial/business park, the brick-clad exterior gives no hint for what lies within.

Half the space is given over to a turfed area for cardio, while the balance includes rings, weightlifting racks, ropes, medicine balls, and the like. Well-lit and airy, it was a welcoming space even devoid of people. I could well imagine how loud it must get during class times, though.
“CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.

Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.

The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.

The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.” (From CrossFit.com)

CrossFit Amplify

I met with Mike, one of the partners, who explained to me the general way things worked, their introduction process, and the variety of memberships available. He also talked about their business plan, which I didn’t expect, but it was a good sign that he included that, professionally speaking. He did not come across as the typical used-car salesman you might find in a globo-gym, which was refreshing – his candor that CrossFit is not for everyone made sense, as not every activity is embraced by all (how boring would that be?).

Pretty much my entire life I’ve been reasonably fit in terms of endurance and cardio, but overall strength has always been a weakness. Typical gym workouts, such as weight machine circuits, bench presses, or the like always left me cold, and I usually quit before seeing any results, which might have compelled me to stay the course. One of the things about CrossFit that appeals to me from the side is that it looks like fun – I’d much rather swing a weight than just try to lift it from a static position for endless reps. Climbing ladders, trying out the gymnastics rings, these are active strengthening exercises, not like boring lat pull-down machines.

Still and all, it was sort of strange to stand in an empty warehouse, gear surrounding me notwithstanding. I’m looking forward to returning for an initial class, where they’ll take a look at me and I’ll take a look at them. Could happen as soon as this Saturday, depending on whether or not we can get our schedules to gibe (with 4 kids, that’s not always easy!). I'm not kidding myself that it will be a cakewalk, but I owe it to my overall fitness to give it a try.

More information can be found on the CrossFit Amplify website, by liking on Facebook, subscribing on YouTube, and by following on Twitter.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Skin Sake Athletic

“For All Your Delicate Parts!”

I must admit that, when Skin Sake first contacted me about reviewing their product, my first thought was sake, as in Japanese rice wine. Turns out I was wrong. :)

Skin Sake Athletic is a skin ointment used to prevent, soothe and treat chafing, blisters and abrasions during training and racing as well as to treat and soften areas of skin that may need special attention. One of the things I really liked was that Skin Sake Athletic has zinc oxide in it (the white sunblock you see on reruns of “Baywatch”), which not only allows you to see where the product actually is, but also gives you sun protection. Nice thinking!

Skin Sake Athletic

Skin Sake is available in a stick form, with a retractable dial for more or less usage or packaged in convenient 5 gram doses (about the size of a typical energy gel), an easy size to carry with you during a race.

A simple product that works, though the coverage wore off for me under 2 hours - for most, that's plenty and it's easy to carry more in the gel packs, so shouldn't dissuade anyone from trying it. I also loved the smell!

More information on the Skin Sake website  and Facebook.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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Monday, November 12, 2012

1000 Mile Goals: 8 Weeks Left

At the beginning of 2012, I set two goals for myself, to both run and bike 1,000 miles this year. As of yesterday, this is how things stood:
  • Cycling: 123.64 miles left.
  • Running: 251.79 miles left.
Monday: Cycling
  • Another ride attempting to stay off main streets, saw some great sights, love seeing the variety of houses! Cold, windy, and hilly, but a good ride anyway.
Tuesday: Off
  • Woke up with more lower back pain, midway between a twinge and an ache, decided to take off to see how it feels, maybe tomorrow. 
Wednesday: Run
  • Back felt better today, so ventured out for a run. 40 degrees but not cold, very strange -- totally overdressed and was sweating by mile 2, almost turned around, but finished my planned run. Lately Google Maps have been really far off on the distances, at least compared to my Garmin - my run today was a half mile short and a ride recently was over a mile and half shy of what the maps showed. Hmmmm....
Thursday: Run
  • TM run, watching a blast from my past, "Repo Man," not sure what I ever saw in this movie. We were excited because it was about punk rock, but once again, Hollywood got it so wrong. Punk rock and surfing, two things it's hard to make good movies about. :)
Friday: Cycling
  • Beautiful day for a ride, sunny, slight breeze, just starting to warm up slightly. Totally ruined by an aggressive jerk motorist who felt the need to pull up too close to me at a stop sign, veer into me during my turn, honk, and then roar off -- pitiful excuse for a human being. Kept riding for a bit, but was unnerved enough that I just headed home.
  • In the afternoon I visited CrossFit Amplify for some info - will try to head back a week from Saturday for an intro workout, to see how I like it. Excited!
Saturday: Run
  • Watched "Speed" on the TM - decent movie, but already very dated looking. Good start to the weekend.
  • My almost 2 hour run seems to have severely wounded the TM. With the fan on I didn't notice during the run, but afterwards the burning smell was very strong and there was quite a bit of smoke in the basement - yuck! Not sure when we'll have extra cash to have someone come out and look at it. Outdoor running for the foreseeable future.
Sunday: Cycling Run
  • Beautiful morning for it, mid-50s, but VERY windy - sidewind, tailwind, headwind, you name it, I got it. Tried some new insoles in my PureFlows, feel a lot better, nice to have them back. :)
Weekly Totals:
  • Cycling:  17.25 miles planned, 19.14 miles accomplished, 104.5 miles left.
  • Running: 32.5 miles planned, 32.89 miles accomplished, 218.9 miles left.
Tough week to get the miles in -- everyone, including me, is under the weather to varying degrees, so sleep has been sporadic and interrupted, not ideal. With the TM, slightly more time and effort are needed to get ready and get outside, but no complaints, the weather was decent this week. Thunderstorms and warm yesterday, 60 degrees today, maybe snow tomorrow, our crazy fall weather continues.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

What is CrossFit? Video


Reebok CrossFit logo

This video was aired at the 2011 CrossFit Games during the opening ceremonies.


If you're still waiting to check out what CrossFit is all about, this is a pretty inspiring way to get some motivation to start. Yes, it's also an advertisement for Reebok CrossFit, but they are the first of the bigger companies to put some serious money into this new sport.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Three Things Thursday


I'm looking to try out CrossFit and I thought I'd visit some of my local boxes to see if it made sense to join one or if I could do it on my own. The first place I contacted was CrossFit Amplify, first because they are the closest box to my house and second because I'm a sucker for the Anarchy symbol. Their intro sessions are evenings only, so that doesn't work for me at this time, but I'm still hoping to visit just to check it out. More on Amplify and other boxes in coming weeks.


"During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo's, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives." I'm not raising funds this year, but am growing a moustache in support - have never had a moustache alone, so kind of scared to see what results! :)

International Tempranillo Day

In 2011, Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society (TAPAS) organized the first annual International Tempranillo Day: A celebration of the Tempranillo grape with all its regional synonyms.

Today, November 8th, is the 2012 date.  Open a bottle of Tempranillo, enjoy the fun, and share your experiences online with the hashtag #TempranilloDay!

¡salud!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kona’s Final Star, Jeff Schmidt

Kona Final Finisher - Jeff Schmidt

Many of us celebrate not just the winners, but all those who finish the IronMan. But what about those that don't officially "finish," but still complete the race? I got an email recently from Outside PR about one such person, Jeff Schmidt:
GU Energy president Tal Johnson was at the finish line in Kona late on the night of the race, watching them tear down the chute, when he saw a (literally) staggering site. The final competitor to come under the arch this year was Jeff Schmidt, an amputee who finished at 12:20 a.m., heralded not by Mike Reilly and thousands of spectators, but only a few volunteers and -- Pete Jacobs and Andrew Messick. Tal caught the scene with some video and this short essay [on Roctane.com] .


Motivational stuff!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day!

Vote in sport science!
Thanks Sport Science for the free voting shirt! Get yours on their website.

Sport Science announced its partnership with GOOD.is in their Take Back Tuesday initiative, which sets out to make Voting Day a national holiday. I wouldn't mind the day off, though I voted early. :)

It's too late to vote early and often, but it's a great time to exercise our civic duty today and help decide the direction our country will be taking the next 4 years - get out and vote!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

1000 Mile Goals: 9 Weeks Left

At the beginning of 2012, I set two goals for myself, to both run and bike 1,000 miles this year. As of yesterday, this is how things stood:
  • Cycling: 146.28 miles left.
  • Running: 285.17 miles left.
Monday: Off
  • Tweaked something in my lower back yesterday, maybe when planting bulbs, not sure, so no cycling today as a precaution. Laima and I went to Michigan today to pick up a couch from the cottage today. Probably not the best thing for my back, but I was careful and no more damage done. Now we're a sectional couch richer and we got to have lunch at Greenbush Brewing, one of our favorite places to eat in that area.
Tuesday: Run
  • Finally got the 4th "Fast and Furious" dvd, so started that today. Decided to go treadmill rather than outside in case back problems flared up again. Happily, no problemo!
Wednesday: Run
  • Since I took Monday off, decided this morning would be a catch-up day. Didn't want to ride in the dark, so a run was preferable. Planned on running outside this morning before work, but cold and blustery winds made it more palatable to stay in on the TM. Finished watching "Fast and Furious," 4th in the franchise and one of the more entertaining installments.
Garmin Edge

Thursday: Cycling
  • Since I ran Tuesday and Wednesday, I decided today was a good day to ride. 11.5 miles relatively easy miles, though it was hilly and windy. Goal today was to stay off main roads, so rode through mostly southside neighborhoods, saw lots of new places.
Friday: Run
  • 60 minutes on the TM, finished "The Break-Up," more miles in the PureConnects, really liking them now.
  • 2nd TM run today, started watching "Runaway Jury," love movies set in New Orleans! Was in a mood for a John Cusack movie for some reason.
Saturday: Cycling
  • One of my favorite loops, usually not a lot traffic. Got stopped at 2 interminable lights today, probably the only true negative about riding later rather than early in the dark as I used to.
  • Bonus run with the whole family at Greene Valley Forest Preserve. Couldn't believe it, but the kids ran pretty much the whole 3ish mile loop! Good practice for the Bonfield Express on Thanksgiving morning.
Sunday: Run
  • Busy day ahead with 2 soccer games, so got an early run in on the TM -- finished up "Runaway Jury." So nice the time changed and everyone has some extra time to get ready!
Weekly Totals:
  • Cycling:  17.25 miles planned, 22.64 miles accomplished, 123.64 miles left.
  • Running: 32.5 miles planned, 33.38 miles accomplished, 251.79 miles left.
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Friday, November 2, 2012

How To Pick Up a Girl at the Gym

Anyone remember ChrisK, The Manly Runner? Didn't he try to pick girls up at the gym? Maybe he was an early CrossFit devotee?


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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Three For Thursday

Lake Michigan waves

Michigan Outing

Laima and I had the good fortune to head over to Michigan on Monday, to pick up a couch from the family cottage. While there, we took the opportunity to drink some good beer and enjoy a lunch at Greenbush Brewing,  a great spot to visit if you’re in the Sawyer, MI area. We walked down to the lakefront, and Hurricane Sandy’s effect was clearly seen and felt in the wind and waves.

Healthy In Chicago

Healthy Initiative

The goal of Healthy Initiative  is to make Chicago a leader in the fight against obesity and to help change the lives of children and adults. The program starts by transforming the lives of 40 participants over the course of three months. During this time, the participants will receive personalized training and membership to local gyms. In addition, the participants will work directly with Shea Vaughn (Vince Vaughn's mom!) to learn the tools and techniques needed to embrace a healthier lifestyle, along with many other benefits.

Upon completion of the program in February, participants will celebrate their life-changing transformations with a star-studded red carpet gala celebration with the partners of the Healthy Initiative in downtown Chicago. All proceeds and donations to Healthy Initiative Chicago will go to “Give A Little Does A Lot” to fund education, fitness and nutrition programs for children and schools in Chicago.


November is World Vegan Month

Living vegan is good for you, other humans, other animals and our planet. Join in with us to learn, celebrate and share during World Vegan Month.

World Vegan Day marks the start of World Vegan Month, the 1st of November every year – celebrating the coining of the term, ‘vegan’ and the founding of The Vegan Society in November 1944.

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Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports - Patagonia.com

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