Make Your Contribution

I am running to raise money for The Wounded Warrior Project.  This foundation provides direct services to veterans and active military, aiding those wounded in the line of duty.  You can make a contribution here or by clicking the image to the left.  Every little bit helps me reach my fundraising goal.  Please post a note on the Sponsorship Page, letting me know you donated.  Thank you for your contribution.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of Strength Training

Just running every other day isn't going to cut it for the Tough Mudder. So, I decided to start doing some strength training before work today.  My impromptu routine is listed below.  I will change the exercises as I do more research and progress in my training.  It was enough to break a sweat and elevate my heart rate, so I'm going to call it a cardio workout as well.

  1. 100 full sit-ups
  2. 50 push-ups with feet elevated 18"
  3. 3 sets of bicep curls at 25, 35, and 45 reps with 18lb dumbbells 
  4. 3 sets of shoulder at 10, 15, and 25 reps with 18lb dumbbells 
  5. 3 sets of lunges with stabilizing leg elevated on chair and 18lbs dumbbells in each hand at 10, 15, and 25 reps

Monday, August 30, 2010

Better Late Than Never

Went for an evening run today, which is not preferred over morning runs.  I squeezed it in to stay on schedule, because I need to stay consistent.  I waited 3 hours after eating, and made sure not to drink too much water beforehand either.  I wanted to get back to the 1.7 mile run I did the two runs prior to this, but I only made it to 1.2 miles.  I walked until 1.4 miles, and then went back to a good pace for the last 0.3 miles.  I realized something by running like this, I should be running longer distances with breaks.  This is how the competition will work, and it's still good cardio if my heart rate stays high enough during walking breaks.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another Day Off

Last nights dancing really helped prevent me from getting sore again; however, it may also be that my shorter aided in this.  Today I took it slow again, as I'm looking for a new job.  Most of the day was spent on the couch, staring at a laptop.  In light of this, I made sure to do a full session of stretching. 
I have decided that I need to put together a weight training or yoga routine for my non-running days.  If I don't ramp up this fitness training, I'm never going to be able to do the race in October.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Afternoon run

After work and some auto maintenance, I decided to go for my every other day run.  This time I ran in the late afternoon, while normally my run is the first thing I do in the morning.  I waited several hours after my last meal, so not to make cake because of a full belly.  Still being still from the pushing myself a couple days before, I decided not to repeat the same run.  This time I did just one mile with hills, which turned out to be just right for my legs.  I did notice that I was a little slower, and I am not sure if it's from running later in the day or the sore legs.  I still did my banana, orange juice, and protein shake with milk immediately following my run.

Dinner included some steamed and then grilled sweet potatoes, which are packed with potassium.  This helps sore muscles, so I force myself to eat these disgusting things.  I don't like sugar or sweet tasting things at all, so I try to find ways to change the sweet potato taste.  Steaming them before grilling them with ground turkey, brown rice, and green bell peppers really took the sweet out of them.

After dinner, my brother happened to stop by, and he was wearing Vibram Five Fingers.  He let me try on his one size too small Sprint model, which fit all but my big toe perfectly.  In my KSO Trek VFFs, my big toe fits perfectly, but my smaller toes don't fill in the 'fingers' very well.  I did run around with one of each pair on, so I have decided to buy another pair for running on cement.  I love the Trek sole, but the tred can be a bit painful during running on hard surfaces.  I think I should invest in the Bikila running model that I had tried on before.  The only problem is that I cannot find a sale price online.  I think it may be a newer model, so I may just have to pay the pricey retail price again.

It has also occurred to me that while these shoes help my feet flex more naturally, using them on artificial flat and hard surfaces work against using my feet in a natural way.  There is quite a bit of research on walking barefoot from various indigenous populations, as well as research on barefooted running.  Perhaps someone should do a study on the affect of wearing these shoes, or no shoes at all, while walking on hard, flat, man made surfaces.

Later, I decided to go out dancing for a bit.  I ran into some old friends, and ended up mostly socializing.  My legs weren't sore, but they were definately tired, so I didn't feel much like dancing the night away.  I did get down a little with a bunch of poppers and lockers, and it was just enough to work out any stiffness.  I decided not to push my legs much and to not screw up my sleep schedule too much, so I headed home at a reasonable hour.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Almost Too Far

Wow, pushing harder sure did take a toll on me, but this time it wasn't as bad.  I did stop at the right time, and I would be laid up if I had pushed any farther.  I did my stretching and had some potasium.  Not sure what else I can do. I should do some weight training, but I don't have my gym membership renewed.  I may not even renew it this time, as I may ditch the weights and go the route of P90x instead.  It seems easier with having kids around, and I don't like taking the time to drive to the gym, and also not being able to use my shower right afterwards.  I should probably renew the membership incase I ever do decide to go back, as I only pay $100 per year at 24-Hour Fitness.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pushing Harder

I did my run today, but wanted to double it.  Partway into second mile, I decided to lessen it a bit.  Looks like I did 1.7 miles, and I barely made it back to the house.  I actually feared I was close to making cake or losing control of some bodily functions.  Afterwards I did my stretching and drank my after workout nutrition.  I think I pushed too far, because I was flush in the face and took forever to cool down.  I won't do 2 miles next run, but will try to repeat this run again instead.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Better Recovery

I had a much better day after my run yesterday, in comparison to last time.  I wasn't sore at all, but I was stiff.  I loaded up on potassium and did my stretching.  I was sure to be active all day as well.  I am glad that I had scaled back with the stepping machine, and I think that's why the run was so much easier than last time.  I even feel like maybe doubling the run scheduled for tomorrow, but we will see when it happens.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Touch of Hills

Getting back into my workout again. I did my first run with hills in my mothers neighborhood. Google Maps has determined that I did one mile, which was moderate paced and without stopping.  I'm glad I did the sessions on the stepper, because I was less winded and my calves weren't as tired this time.  I think I'm going to start going everyother day, and gradually push the distance farther.  After the run, I was sure to do some streching, have my after workout nutrition, and took a hot shower.  Later in the day, I did more streches, when I was standing around doing nothing.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Accidental Day Off

I meant to run this afternoon, atter taking care of some things this morning.  I ended up getting called into work right before I planned on running, so there will be no workout today.  My brother emailed me asking if I have been running consistantly, and tommorw I will get back into a routine.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Supper Day Off

Feeling depressed today about some personal matters, I sat around all day and then had dinner with my brother. In hindsite, I should have gone for a run to improve my mood.  Next time I'm feeling like this, I will be sure to do so.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Major Change

I felt pretty good sore muscles.  I did have a major personal change that forced me to relocate to my mother's house.  I don't know if this change is permanent or temporary, so I'm not sure what the future of this training will be.  I may not be doing the Tough Mudder in October.  We will see what happens as the days pass.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I wanted to skip a workout today, but forced myself to keep focus.  I did one hour of cardio on the stepper machine, hoping to be back to running next time.  Pushing it to one hour was difficult, but my legs held up fine.  I did a few minutes of two steps per minute, and then ramped up to do a squating while bending faster paced burst.  Bending over like that is ment to simulate some of the obsticles I will face on the course.  This was pretty tough, but cooling down to my regular pace did help.  I can now see how people are able to do longer workouts, as they aren't going full board the whole time.  Afterward, I did twenty minutes of streching, to be sure that I don't spend two or more days recovering.  Then I had my after workout nutrition, and went on with my day.  I did have a ton of energy and was very active for the rest of the day, so I see why people workout first thing in the morning.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hail Cesar!

Still sore again today, so I did more deep stretching to aid recovery.  I also went out and got a Caesar haircut to help to keep the hair out of my eyes while running.  I also made sure to have more potassium to help my muscles recover faster.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sore Again!

Yesterday's workout made my calves sore again; however, it wasn't as bad as before.  I did some deep and long stretching and ate some bananas.  Hopefully, recovery won't take as long as before.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Fog Is Lifting

Feeling better today, but still took it easy.  I was so sore after my initial run, that I decided to scale my training back a bit.  I did 45-min on a stepping machine, which is like a mini stair climber.  I noticed that it got really difficult at 30 minutes, but became incredibly easy at 35 minutes.
This is the first day that I wasn't working all day in awhile, so I played all morning with my son and spent the afternoon cooking.  I did buy some sweet potatoes, and made mashed potatoes for a dinner side.  Because I have sweet potatoes, I mixed them with an equal amount of red potatoes.  This changed the flavor to taste more like

Monday, August 16, 2010

Under A Holding Weather Pattern

Still under the weather today, and it's a 12-hour work day too.  I am drinking lots of water and green tea.  A couple of Advil do help too.  It is a definate improvement from yesterday, so I should be back to training soon.  Being sick is a routine part of having a child.  Unfortunately, it really hits you hard, as it is usually a strain of something you have never had exposure to in your life.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sick Day

I woke up around 5am, with a sore lump in my throat. Two ibuprofen and a tall glass of water, followed by more sleep. Around 10am I woke up again, but a queasy stomach had replaced most of the pain in my throat. After laying about in bed, I made some chicken broth with rice and whole wheat low-sodium crackers. This was a staple weekly breakfast for those hung over days of when I used to drink heavily at night.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Marco..........Polo..........Fish Out of Water!

Went for a swim in my brother's pool today, for the first time in years. I hate chlorine, so I have only been in a pool a few times this past decade. We did every type of stroke we could remember, and let's just say my form could use some work. I did push myself until I was winded, and that is my main goal with each workout. I need to push my lungs and heart, to develop more stamina.
Later I went dancing to get some more cardio. Unfortunately, where I went kind of sucked, so I didn't do as much dancing as I should have. On the bright side, my calves are feeling much better after the days activities. I also learned that VFF are great for dancing. Every pair of the many shoes I own allow my feet to move differently. Several styles of footwork require a specific soled shoe, but I can do most all of them while wearing VFF. That's one more point in favor for my experimental shoes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Twelve Hours on My Feet

My calves are still killing me today.  I have been drinking water every hour, and eating like a horse too.  Stretching does help temporarily, and I'm popping two ibuprofen every four hours too.  The main stretch that seems to help was one my chiropractor showed me.  I put my foot up on a curb or step with the ball of my foot on the edge and foot bent, then lean in with the knee slightly bent.  This stretches the muscle deeper inside your calf.  For the outer muscle, I've been doing the standard stretch against a wall or door jam.  I even tried doing the downward dog yoga stretch behind the counter at work, but chose to stop when customers were giving me funny looks.  I decided not to go for a run today for two reasons, I had a 12-hour work day with half spent on my feet, and I can barely walk still.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


What I thought to be a simple run, turned out to be over doing it. I now wish I had properly warmed up and cooled down. My calves are so sore that I can hardly walk, and each step seems to hurt worse. The clerk who sold me the shoes did tell me that they made your calves work overtime, but I can't attribute all this agony to just the shoes. I should have done the run properly or started off easier.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Clean Boot

It had been several hours since my last meal, when I finished work. Before dinner, I suited and booted up my new kicks, and decided to go for a light run. Intending only a light test of my new VFF, I forewent any stretching or warm up. I started off around the block, but just kept going down the main road. I hadn't noticed a discernible difference in the shoes, which was one reason I kept going. I turned the corner at the next main street, and did pick up on my change in running style. I was landing mid-foot and pushing off from the ball of my foot. It was impossible to hammer down my heal, which would create a braking effect. Doing so ends with a painful jolt to the heal, so I had to run as if I were barefoot. I pushed further with ease, until I rounded the corner back towards home. Knowing that I was almost done caused a desire to just give in and walk the last bit. Running away from home was no trouble, even after I started to reach my limit. I suppose knowing I was almost done caused me to hit 'the wall.'
Upon arriving home, I felt as if I were about to lose control of my bodily functions. I flopped on the bed to catch my breath. After a tall drink of water, I decided to finally eat dinner.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tough Mudder???

I opened a huge can of worms by clicking on a Facebook advertisement today.  The Tough Mudder endurance race is having their NorCal event at Bear Valley on Oct. 9th & 10th. That's 60 days away. How much can you train in 60 days? I began reading every bit of information off the site. I looked at the course map and found the official promo video that shows what it really takes for each obstacle to be concurred.  Honestly, most of them look like a cakewalk and a lot of fun; however, I would be doing them back to back and running 7 miles up and down a 2k foot difference in elevation.  I can't even run 7 miles on a treadmill, how would I be able to do that trekking across a mountain?  As I continued to research past events, I found detailed accounts of what it really took for those who had achieved their personal goal of completing the race.  I then decided that completing this race is something I need to do.
I asked my brothers, cousin, and a couple of friends if they would be interested in forming a team.  Only one brother got back to me, and, while interested in participating, will be out of town that weekend.  He has agreed to allow me to come along on his morning runs, but I think I need to practice on my own to narrow the gap in our performance levels.
He extended some helpful advice on how to start off, and some pointed my feet toward their new clothes.  If I’m going to start running, I’m going to need some new running shoes.  Because I work on my feet a lot, I have resorted to using my two pair of running shoes for work.  My old cheap pair of Asics Gels have an internal injury, with all the inner padding coming loose.  The once nice and expensive pair of New Balance are doing the opposite, external structural failure that leaves pieces of the sole everywhere they tread. Road Runner Sports had a local store that will analyze your weight distribution while running, and make a recommendation of what works best for you.  Then they try to sell you really expensive orthotic insoles that you probably don’t need.  I hesitated to make such a significant purchase, as my form will probably change as I progress from novice to proficient, with my weight distribution being altered as well.  My brother also told me about a relatively new alternative, that don’t require testing of running style and weight distribution for matching with the proper type of engineered footwear.

The Vibram Five Fingers (VFF) shoes are basically gloves for your feet. Each toe is separate in the shoe and allowed to move independently, and the shoe fit like a sock.  The idea is that your foot can flex and contour to a surface the way human feet have evolved human history.  It is similar to wearing moccasins, because while your foot is now free to bend and flex, it is also protected from painful rocks and such with a protective layer.  Ten years ago I would have thought these were a gimmick, but now I think they are the way to go, after learning about the evolution of bipedal primate and hominid locomotion in my physical anthropology courses.  After watching and reading an in depth review, which included scientific data supporting the design, I decided to check a pair out.  Just one mile from my house is a mom and pop outdoor store, Redwood Trading Post, and they happen to be an authorized retailer.  I'm glad I went in, because I was using the manufacturer's online usage chart to determine which shoe I needed. 

Originally, I wanted the KSO because it looked like having coverage all the way up to the ankle would help keep the mud and crud out of the shoe, the item description also suggests this.  After I told the clerk what I intended the shoes for, he pointed me toward the models with better traction.
The Bikila has a sole with tread designed for running, and KSO Trek has an even beefier sole for more traction and is mostly more sturdy and durable machine washable kangaroo.  I put one of each kind in my size and ran around the store. I liked them both on concrete and carpet, but I decided to go with the more durable KSO Trek, keeping in mind the extremes Tough Mudder obstacles will put them through.  If I were going to go be running on paved surfaces exclusively, I would have gone with the Bikila.
I wore the shoes around the house for the rest of the day.  If they cause my feet to work too hard from years of conventional shoes, I will wear them while walking and buy a conventional pair of running shoes from the above mentioned store.  They really are comfortable, and they kind of look like ninja shoes.
This gave me the idea to run the Tough Mudder with a team of ninjas.  I think it would be hilarious for us to wear all black running cloths, a ninja hood/mask, and some cheap plastic kids ninja toys.  

I soon learned that ninja is a different pronunciation of the two kanji characters for the word.  The correct pronunciation is shinobi-no-mono, which is often shortened to shinobi.  Even though ninja is more commonly recognized, it bothers me to not call something it's correct name, i.e. it's Deutschland, not Germany. Hence, the title of this blog Tough Mudder Shinobi.