I don’t know how many of you ever played pick-up basketball at your local gym or school. In my experience, when there was a limited number of courts, there was always a group of players waiting for their turn to play… these guys had “downs.”  The rule was that the winners got to play another game against the team of “downs” while the losers had to sit.

When the winning team vanquished its opponent, we (because I won some, don’t laugh) would shout out “NEXT!!” in our most arrogant voice to signify ourselves as the victors and as a form of trash talking to the new team we were about to play (i.e. they were also about to be defeated).  (I think this is similar to gorillas beating their chests…haha!) Now I haven’t played real basketball since law school (though I still wont let Crystal get rid of my high-tops… I could play again!!).  Still, after conquering INSANITY, I feel the need to call out my next opponent.


Up next is a half marathon…the Magic City Half, right here in Birmingham on November 18.  I have started training already.  I also have the Rock ‘n Run obstacle course in Georgia in September and the Warrior Dash in Alabama in October. The training will include running for the half marathon followed by weight training on my “off days.” My schedule looks like this

Sunday – Long run

Monday — Chest and Tris and abs

Tuesday – Easy run

Wednesday – Back and Bis and abs

Thursday – Tempo run

Friday – Legs

Saturday – Off or core

The running schedule comes from Runner’s World and is based on my race day. The weight lifting strategy was designed by me.  I plan lifting relatively heavy through the first of October, but as the runs get longer, I intend to do more high rep, light weights to hopefully maintain any gains through the marathon.

I know some people will take me to task for continuing to lift while training for a half.  But those people don’t understand my goal. Yes, carrying extra muscle in my upper body for 13.1 miles will undoubtedly slow me down.

But I will need that muscle (and much more) to complete the ultimate goal, the Tough Mudder next April. A 10-12 mile obstacle course “challenge” designed by the British Special Forces and supporting the Wounded Warriors project. This race intimidates me; the distance especially. The Barbarian Challenge almost killed me and it is not nearly this far. I want to do it, just so I can say i did it.  Does that make any sense at all?

I am thinking of doing  BODY BEAST (a new Beachbody program designed to build muscle) after finishing the Half Marathon to try to gain back any muscle mass I lose (while cutting back a little on my running — the end of November, December and January, how much am I going to want to be outside anyway??!! haha.)

What do you guys think?  Sound like an overly optimistic plan? Am I insane?

Now consider that I turn 37 today, but am in the best shape I have been in perhaps ever but certainly since I was 28.  I think pushing yourself toward new challenges is the only way to get fit and getting fit is the only way to stay young.  What is your “NEXT”!!??!!


INSANITY results

Sorry that it has taken me so long to post.  I always get nervous before posting results pics.  As many of you guys know, I failed at INSANITY once before and a few months back, I vowed to conquer Shaun T.  Well, I did it. INSANITY is a 60 day program.  With my obstacle course training added in, it took me a few more than 90 days to complete it.  I still feel AWESOME about the accomplishment.

The results… I lost inches on every measurement including 2.5 in my waist.  I also lost 14 lbs. Now for the pics…


And After:

Still got a ways to go, but I am still on the path.  (As I write this, I have cheese puff residue on my fingers.  I think my diet may still need adjustment. Haha!!)

Running tips for Newbies like me and OUCH!!

As many of you know, I have started running. Obstacle course racing has really made me realize this deficiency in my fitness and I am trying to correct it.  I am still learning so found a cool article on form in Runners World online.  I summarize it below but the full article can be found here.

The Perfect Form … its the name of the article, I am not commenting on the subject runner!! 😉

Head Tilt – look at the horizon and not your feet.

Shoulders – Shake out your shoulders to release tension if they creep up toward your ears.

Arms –  Don’t clench your fist and don’t allow you arms to swing across the front of your body.

Torso – Run tall — stretch yourself to your full height when running.

Hips – “When trying to gauge the position of your hips, think of your pelvis as a bowl filled with marbles, then try not to spill the marbles by tilting the bowl.”  I have no idea what this means…

Legs/Stride – “slight knee lift, a quick leg turnover, and a short stride. Together, these will facilitate fluid forward movement” Foot should land directly below your body.

Ankles/Feet –  “land between your heel and midfoot–then quickly roll forward. Keep your ankle flexed as your foot rolls forward to create more force for push-off. As you roll onto your toes, try to spring off the ground. You should feel your calf muscles propelling you forward on each step. Your feet should not slap loudly as they hit the ground. Good running is springy and quiet.”  For what that is worth.

I have been trying to improve my form, concentrating on the shorter strides, tension in the shoulders, and running tall (i.e. the ones that make sense to me). Saturday I ran over 5 miles.

Afterward, the top of my left foot hurt… a lot.  It felt like the bone between my big toe and ankle was bruised or something. I stayed off it on Sunday. On Monday, I did an upper body P90X2 routine to try to protect it.  It was feeling a little better today so I went for my run (well on the treadmill, but that still counts, right?).  It ached the first mile or so, but feels better now.  I read somewhere that it was caused by tying your shoes too tightly and your feet swelling.  I kept them really loose today.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Onederland = Winning

With credit to my fellow blogger for the Onederland idea (happily, she is here, too), I am happy to report that I have reached my original goal weight — a number starting with one.   I have actually been here for over a week (I didn’t want to jinx it when I first dipped under).  Since I started P90X, I have lost 40 pounds.  30 with myfitnesspal (which I cannot recommend enough).

Winning feels good, even to people who aren’t insane!

P90X2 was the program that got me started again after several months being satisfied with my P90X results.  Insanity kicked it up a notch and my new-found love of Obstacle Course racing certainly helped as well. The kicker was the new HRM which helped me blast through the last plateau.

That number was such a colossal mental barrier. I am certainly happy to have achieved it. I am now in better shape than anytime since law school (eight years ago).

I know find myself attempting to figure out my next goal… I don’t think it is a weight, per se, though my buddy has a number that he thinks is the perfect running weight (which I am about 7 pounds away from).

What do you guys think?  How do you go about setting new goals?

Barbarian Challenge Recap

Alright, after a couple of days of recovery, let me fill you guys in on this obstacle race…Coach Crystal’s Barbarian Clan started out in good spirits:

Spirits high!

Crystal and I were also clowning:

Look at that gun! She was sad when her number finally washed off… she called it a badge of accomplishment.

Amid our high spirits, we began the Barbarian Challenge.  After successfully getting over the junk cars obstacle, it was on to the electric crawl… You crawled under hanging wires, some of which were live.  I was the only one to avoid all the live wires.

Then it was down a hill and into the creek… the exit from the creek was not well-marked so several of us out front continued down the creek bed until being alerted to turn around (about .25 mile I guess). Once we got back to the creek exit, we found it bottle-necked with people.  The hill was so steep and muddy, it was almost impossible to climb without help.  Basically, you pushed the butt in front of you and someone pushed yours to get over the slickest part… Haha.

There were a lot of huge hills. In fact, I found the terrain harder than any of the obstacles…  I ended up on hands and feet on several them. There was the slick tarp obstacle, a balance over mud, a VERY difficult wall obstacle,  a rope climb obstacle (no knots and slick = HARD), a lot of muddy crawls under the barbed wire, travel through a creek on slick rocks, through a culvert, and a weird crawl under a tarp, pitch black, with hay bales blocking your path (a maze I guess, but it was 15 degrees hotter under there and seemed like a ridiculous obstacle to save for last).

Finally, a race to the finish.  While we didn’t intend it, our Barbarian Clan ended up finishing in two groups.  Crystal and Jeremy finished together about nine minutes ahead of me and Brian.  We didn’t run together, the rope climb just bunched everyone back up.

Overall, we finished 7th out of 35 Barbarian Clans which I thought was pretty good. (Most people ran individually and not in Clans). I finished with a time of 1:24.  (the winner finished in :48 WOW, right?).  So this race took me almost three times as long as my last Warrior Dash… and was at least three times as hard.  I almost got sick (after the rope climb) and thought I was going to pass out on the last couple of hills and after the race (hills doesn’t do them justice… bluffs maybe?  not quite vertical cliffs?) .

We weren’t as spry afterward:

I was staring off into nothingness… but I was proud of that medal!! It was earned!

But we bounced back once the endorphins kicked in:

We may have been delirious!!

Overall, it was an achievement. And I have the T-shirt… Not the one below! Crystal’s shirt will never be the same.

White?? Really??

INSANITY … literally

Well, she has done it. Coach Crystal has officially lost her mind.

Any NASCAR fan has heard of Talladega, one of the two restrictor plate races on the Circuit.  Restrictor plates are necessary to slow the car down because it is so fast. Anyway, in September, Talladega Speedway is hosting a half marathon to combat prostate cancer.  Coach Crystal wants to run it… not only that, she wants me to run it too.

It is a good cause and strikes close to home because my grandpa died of prostate cancer.  So I have agreed to do it. I have to complete it in 3.5 hours, so I should be ok even if I have to walk some of it.  You also run through areas that the public is generally not allowed to visit. You end at the finish line after running on the apron of the track.

(You can’t actually run on the track in the corners because they are banked — on a side note, I have driven a race car on that track… freaking awesome!! The corners sorta look like a wall rising up to you as you travel toward them at 160+, but while cars can handle them, ankles probably could not.)

So my INSANITY program has to be extended.  I am still doing it, but the last two weeks will probably take a month because I have to run three days a week.  Otherwise, I will never be ready in September. What do you guys think — is she insane or am I?

No, he didn’t!!

With time at lunch, I headed home to do the next INSANITY workout.  However, it was so pleasant and (relatively cool – 81 degrees in Alabama) that I decided to put the workout off and use my new app, RunDouble, to continue to get ready for longer runs.

It was much more difficult today.  The temperature kept rising (85 degrees when I got finished).  The hills were far greater than South Alabama.  And I had to keep jumping off the road as cars came (longer distances mean I ran out of the subdivision… I think I may just do a couple of laps instead in the future.) Not counting warm-up and cool-down, I ran 3.87 miles in 44 minutes (40 running and 4 walking).  I was disappointed to have a pace over 11, but I can only improve.  Total distance including warmup and cool-down was 4.31 miles, so that is good.

So I got back from my jog and noticed that my neighbor had seen my garage door open and, thinking we had forgotten to shut it, closed it for us.  Unfortunately, I was now locked out of my house.  “Why did you leave the garage door open when you ran?” A very good question and one asked by Coach Crystal when she came to let me in.  I don’t know, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

And then we were in the kitchen and I was getting water.  Crystal asked where the dog was.  I told her that he was outside and went to let him in and found that … THE BACK DOOR WAS UNLOCKED!  I had not thought to check it even though I had let the dog out before my run.  I don’t think Crystal would have even noticed if the chagrin on my face hadn’t given it away.  She was not happy in the moment (she had to skip her jog), but can laugh about it now.

A word of advice…. any time you think you are locked out, check all  your doors first!!