Sunday, October 22, 2017

Camelback at Dawn

Regrettably, for the last week, I've been doing nothing except sitting around getting fatter. Flab is the new 40.

I was out of town for work two weeks ago and caught a nasty bug which turned into a sinus infection and bronchitis. So, while I have wanted to do something/anything, even walking up the stairs put me into a coughing fit that seemed to go on for hours. So, what to do if you can't do something? Reminisce about old glory days! If only my HS coach would have put me in.....we would have totally won state.

Having lived in Phoenix for nearly 10 years, there are a few things that I've always wanted to do but never had the chance.  Ride a dolphin like a pony at the aquarium. One of the things at the very top of the list was hike to the top of Camelback Mountain at dawn and watch the sunrise. So, with nothing better to do two weeks ago, I set my alarm for 4am and was off!

Camelback Mountain is one of the central landmarks in the greater Phoenix area. It separates Scottsdale from Phoenix and sticks out like Mt Rainier in the middle of the city. There are two trails to the top, both somewhat short at 1.5 miles each way, but somewhat technical with a few bits of hand over hand climbing. Of course, that doesn't seem to phase the old guys in jeans with a 20oz water bottle and not much else power walking past me in the 110 degree heat...

Probably my favorite non-kid pic of the year

Hiking in the dark is honestly a bit scary - mostly because I'm afraid of snakes.  I didn't have a headlamp, so like most things I do in the dark, I was terrified, did it mostly by feel, sobbed and apologized for it being so fast afterwards, and tried to pretend like I knew what I was doing.  Thankfully the trail is pretty straight forward at the beginning and there was a full moon so there was plenty of light.  I was surprised that there weren't any more hikers on the trail than there were.  Oh, how wrong I was....

Me and one other person at the top waiting for the action to start

The hike itself wasn't bad at all.  I was able to maintain a consistent pace - running the flats and power hiking the uphills.  The tick tock of a 6:25am sunrise provided all of the motivation I needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other. In fact, at a total of 75 minutes of actual hiking time, it was a new record for fastest time top to bottom.

I made it to the top with 15 minutes to spare and secured a prime spot to stare at the sun Donald Trump style. You're not a true American unless you burn your eyeballs staring at the sun. The sky went from blue and orange hues to increasingly more ambers and yellows. And, before I knew it, the sun was cresting over the horizon lighting up the sky.

Another day begins. Just kidding it began 90 min before when my alarm went off

As the morning went on, the number of people hanging out on the top of the mountain grew and grew.  But, the views didn't get any less amazing - in spite of the people in the foreground of all of my pictures.

Panorama looking east

While the sunrise was cool, I have to admit that some of the prettiest things were not the actual sky but instead what the daybreak sun did to the rest of the city.  If I looked west, I could see shadows of buildings and even the shadow of the mountain I was standing on cast across central Phoenix.

Shadow of the mountain

Finally, with the number of people on the top of the mountain reaching critical mass, it was time to head down.  The nice thing about being one of the few people going down while everyone was going up was that I was able to run most of the way. What were once tough boulders that I was stair-stepping on were now the perfect distance apart to gazelle jump on all the way down.

Overall, I'm really glad I finally made the time to go on the hike. I've actually since started to look for other hikes that I could do early in the morning without fear of getting bit by a snake. I'm not sure there are any, but I'm willing to stumble around in the dark taking the chance if pictures like these are my reward!

They needed a meat counter ticket system.  "Now serving: Hiker number 302"

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pic of the day outcasts

As I close in on my 4th year of taking a photo a day, I can't help but sometimes look back at what  made its way to the cutting room floor. As I've mentioned before, most days I take 3-4 pictures out of habit. Just like brushing your teeth every other day whether they feel dirty or not, its almost impossible not to form a habit after doing something 1,400 times.

So, since I haven't been to crossfit as much as I would like in the last week, I thought that looking back at some of the would-be photos of the day would be a good blog filler would be interesting!


The last two weeks at work have been a struggle. There have been system outages, personnel challenges, and generally just a lot of work going on.  I haven't even had time to keep up on twitter or facebook!!! :( :( To say that I've been living on a diet of horse steroids and caffeine would be the understatement of the year. So, while I rarely buy Starbucks, some random day two weeks ago was an exception. A lovely photo of purple flowers while on a walkabout meeting was what was ultimately posted, but the coffee was a close second.

Living the Pumpkin Spiced Latte Americano Life 

Last weekend Iowa State University beat the 30.5 point favorite OU Sooners. (Fun fact, if you go to you'll be taken to my blog.) I was at an OU watch party with a buddy and his husband and afterwards went to lunch with them both to calm his nerves due to the loss.  No. Really... It was in a trendy part of Scottsdale near the civic center. Art abounded and a NYC style LOVE sculpture made the cut, but this creepy statute dumping paint on herself was nearly selected.

Art is.....terrifying

The weekend before last, I did something that I've always wanted to do: I did a predawn hike to the top of camelback mountain and watched the sunrise. While rubbing crystals together talking about how Mercury is in retrograde. I'm hoping to draft a full blog post about the hike, so I'll save the details for then.  But, a gorgeous daybreak photo of the city made the cut while all of my actual sunrise photos remain trapped on my phone.

Another day begins

This last week I was in the boot heel (south eastern tip) of Missouri for work.  It made for a long week with longer days of travel.  Fortunately, I always enjoy seeing my team there which makes the travel bearable. Unfortunately, the weather isn't exactly as predictable there as it is in Phoenix. While a post-crossfit photo of me sweating made the cut, this photo of it POURING down rain was much more representative of my time there.

Ummm, mom ignore that speedometer in this pic. 
It was broken, I was totally stopped and in park

Finally, a photo that I really wanted to use but didn't end up actually posting it was this sunset over the town I was staying in.  I was actually standing in the crossfit gym (is there anything crossfit can't do?) looking west after it had been raining all day. Me chasing ducks away trying to get a picture was what won out because it was hilarious, but there was something about this sunset that gave me a case of the feels.

A rainy day MIGHT be worth a sunset like this. At least every once in a while

As a postcript, while not a photo a friend posted something on Twitter the other day that made me do a double take.  "I will not compare myself to strangers on the internet".  I commented that while on Thursday my pic of the day was me outside in front of a fire at a very fun winebar, I had actually spent two hours at an urgent care earlier and received not one but two shots in the butt for a nasty sinus infection.  (Steroid shot gave me a second wind to power through to the winebar!) So, just like only 1/3 of my photos of the day see the light of day, you can't always trust what you see online. There is usually much more than what actually bubbles to the surface.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Three Things Thursday: Doctors, Crossfit, and Fall

Back when I started this blog a few things were a certainty: Blogs were personal and engaging and never tried to 'influence', only 35% of the guys online were creeps (95% of the guys who claimed to be boring were creeps, obviously), and people posted three random things on Thursday. Welp, here are three things that are all three of those - personal, creepy, and Thursday!

I don't like doctors. Whenever I go to them, they tell me to stop doing things I like to do like horse steroids, make me feel bad for having a few bottles of wine here and there, and order a bunch of tests that I don't feel are needed.  Well, enough people convinced me that I'm "at the age" where I should stop using words like Ratchet and Fetch find a full time doctor vs various urgent cares so a few weeks back I went to a general practitioner for the first time in 10+ years. Do you want to know what happened? I was made to feel bad about having a few bottles of wine in one sitting here and there, she totally didn't write me another horse steroid prescription, told me I should eat less salt, and I now have ultrasound scheduled for my kidneys. Lovely. The kidney thing is because my blood pressure is higher than a 15 year old's at Hooters.  Whatever, pass the salt. Doctors are so ratchet.

Crossfit is coming along. If, by coming along you mean "any day I don't come in last is a good day". No. Seriously. But in spite of my performance challenges, like any other new activity in my carefully choreographed life, one of the things I'm struggling with most is locking in a schedule. Work has been absolutely bonkers which has not only put a strain on my sanity but also my gym routine.  So, while I wish that I was getting there 5x a week, it is usually closer to 4. I'm still purposely not doing a ton of weight because I'm still so terrible at all of the lifts. The good news is that I am indeed getting better and, dare I say, stronger. I would imagine the first 6 months will produce most of the big gains and then after that I'll just coast on my good looks and my newfound fitness modeling career.

Finally, to end on a positive note, this is probably one of my least favorite times of year in Arizona. Now, to be clear, fall (autumn?) is my most most favorite time of year.  But, in Arizona fall is 95 degrees and I have to put up with everyone else posting things like "omg, pumpkin spice and 55 degrees is amazorbs!"  Truth is I'm jealous. I want to be able to be able to eat a pumpkin spiced bagel while wearing my ugg boots and posting a follow me pic. Instead I'm relegated to sweating it out while dreaming of cooler temps. Don't worry though, I'll be sure to point out when it is 70 degrees in January!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Working to Rx my WOD in the Box

Bro: How many plates can you clean?
Me: Um, I have a dishwasher? So probably like 15? But I only have like 8 plates right now, I don't have a lot of dinner parties and my formal table only seats 8. Wait, do you have more than 8 friends!?

Every hobby has its own language. While never meant to be elitist, this is often done to foster a sense of community among people with common interests. If you know the lexicon, you are one with the tribe. So, while I am working very hard to learn the language of crossfit (WOD BOX Snatch!), I'm still struggling to learn how much weight I can do for each workout. How many plates can I do?  Zero, the answer is always zero.  Quickly followed by: Well, how much does the bar weigh? Lets start there....

When I first started running I had a similar problem (Fartlek, interval, stride, 8x400 what?). How fast should I run this training run? Usually, the answer was "figure out how fast will kill you and back it off a bit".  Hell, even when I was an experienced runner I often struggled with how fast to run.  Never did I have a more confused look on my face than when I was trying to figure out a pace for a 12k race or answer the question "how fast can you run?".  Usually I would fumble around with pacing like in the bedroom and come up with some sort of middle ground between what I think would be too fast and what would be too slow and completely blowing up 2/3 of the way through also like in the bedroom.  Crossfit has been no different.

With the wide variety of lifts, movements, and frankly things I haven't done in 10 years, I'm constantly trying to figure out how much would be too much and how much would be too easy.  In all seriousness, the strategy thus far has been to take the suggested weight for females and use that. Most of the time it works, but often times I have to drop it down even from there - especially for leg workouts.

I'm finding that anything that has super high reps I'm good at.  Anything that has super high weight, I am terrible at. Which, makes sense. I haven't lifted anything other than my skinny legs for 10 years so I have a LOT of slow twitch muscles built up. Unfortunately, while logical, it is still tough on the ego to see almost everyone else doing more than you.

But, never to back away from a challenge, I'm willing to put in the work to make it better. Afterall, if I can Rx my next power clean workout, maybe my friends at the box will finally see me be on top of the next AMRAP. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A post about nothing

Since this blog has always been a very thinly veiled attempt at telling all of my witty life stories under the guise of running, I thought it was time enough that I ramble on about nothing and everything all at once. The last 6 months have reminded me of the saying, "if you want something done, ask the busiest person you know and they'll find a way".  That is me. I'm the busiest person. Everyone is asking me to do everything. I would tell you it was a lie that I've had to schedule time to poop, but.....

My son is still as fun as ever. Fun of course meaning I have to ask him to do things 3 times and then usually yell something like "IF I FEEL YOUR TOOTHBRUSH WILL IT BE WET?!".  Checkmate, little man, brush your teeth.

Hey there, sweetheart. Do you come here often?

I have to admit, I've gotten pretty good at nagging him to do things. Usually I'm nagging while I'm on the couch looking at crossfit Instagram accounts.  Have I mentioned I'm in crossfit now? All I need is a nasty recliner that is for some forsaken reason outside on the porch and a careless attitude about nudity in the locker room to go along with way too much body hair and my transition to old man would be complete. Get off my lawn

The picture before this we all had our tongues out

But, in spite of some of the frustrations, every so often he reminds me that he is still my baby boy that weighed 5lbs 14oz when he left the hospital.

Snuggles with his favorite Luigi doll

So, I have a beard now. You would know this if you followed me on Instagram hint hint. I am still not sold on it 100%. It has more gray hairs in it than I would like to admit and most days I feel like it is more work than just shaving (leave it to me to figure a way to make everything harder).  But a few people have told me it looks good and I think that it will be hilarious to look back on 5 years from now in a "what are you talking about mullets were totally in style!?" kind of a way.  This coming from a guy who had a bowl cut for a solid 8 years growing up.

Stupid beard....

My dog Max has been...... Well..... He is a puppy. How long can I use that for him being a little shit?  Either way, I'm sure he'll grow out of the chewing stage in 5 or 6 years.  In the meantime, all of my couch pillows are now on lockdown and every time I come home my son and I play the what did Max eat today game....the game where nobody wins.

RIP pillow

Finally, I'm still posting a photo a day on Instagram.  I'm nearly 4 years in - in fact, I've posted over a thousand picture on there.  This Friday will mark day 265 which means there are 100 days left in the year.  As much as I joke about stuff, things in the 'Boring household are going along swimmingly. But, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I was a bit reflective on the time left in the year. I think I'm going to spend some time this weekend deciding how I want to spend the remainder.  I'll bet I could get at least 5-6 photos out of pumpkin spiced lattes!

Monday, September 11, 2017

A week in review

One week of consistently doing (is 'doing' the right verb?) crossfit down! After a week, since I am now officially an expert, I can only assume that sponsored blog posts and free equipment reviews are only a few days away!  So, since everything is still new in the "awww, its cute when he bites his fork while eating" kind of way, I thought that I would provide a few of my first impression thoughts.  Like everything else that is new, I'm just laughing at all of the jokes, trying not to get handsy, making sure to keep it fun and light, and try to keep my sweating under control.

Me and all of my crossfit friends
Quote a friend of mine: "No one gets to crossfit early".  Noted. 

I'm sore....and my butt is chaffing.....and I have blisters everywhere
So, look. I'm not built to do a lot of work all at once. I'm built to do a little bit of work 1,000 times. Helllooooooo ladies.  The thing about crossfit, or lifting weights in general, is that the most you would ever work out would be an hour - usually closer to 30 minutes. That means that the workouts are INTENSE.  This is both the appeal as well as the black eye of crossfit. On the one hand, the intensity is fun! Grunting and sweating and farting and lifting and more sweating are what makes it challenging. But, on the flipside, that is how people get hurt. For me, it just means that I'm sore in all of the wrong places and have blisters where I have never had them before. Also, I am sweaty.

The workouts might look hard, but there are a billion cheats accommodations
Ah yes. My saving grace. Every single workout has a prescribed weight (for Arnold Schwarzenegger, I assume) as well as a host of ways to make them easier for us mere mortals. No one bats an eye if you throttle down the weights a bit and only a handful of people use the full weight required. This is honestly one of the things I like most about it.  I never have to fear of not being able to do something when I go. Although, I will admit that it is tough to see almost everyone using more weight than me which brings me to....

Be Humble.
Time for a little truth talk. So, I'm used to being good at things. Especially working out. When I stopped running before my surgery, I was pretty regularly in the top 5% of runners. Conversely, I am NOT good at crossfit.  Like, I'm comically bad. I've had to force myself to remember that I got good at running not because I was a good athlete but instead because I refused to quit for 10 years. 80% of success is showing up.  I'm stubborn that way. Quite honestly, half the fun of crossfit right now is the challenge it provides, which I am sure will continue for the next decade or so.

Be Humble.
(Mom, don't listen. There are lots of swears.)

So.  So far, so good. That is, as long as you call struggling to get off of the toilet in the morning "good". But, I'm willing to keep with it. At least for the next 10 years or so.