Posts categorized “Exercise and Fitness”

2010 Year in Review - The Good

January 13, 2011   6:00 pm

This post begins (and ends) my look back at 2010 called “2010 Year in Review - The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous.” If you’ve been reading them as I posted them, this is the end; if you’re new, just keep scrolling, and all three posts are there in order. What follows is a non-exhaustive list of the things I considered good in 2010.

Firesheep

Toward the end of October, a Firefox plugin called Firesheep was released. This plugin illustrated a gaping security flaw in the way a large number of sites handle trusted communications. While the media reaction was negative, with accusations of this being a hacker tool, I think it’s a good thing. Firesheep didn’t create the problem, but it did illustrate, in vivid detail, how easily non-secure web traffic can be intercepted and impersonated. With the explosion of Facebook (which does login securely, then switches back to insecure, and has not changed as of this writing) over this past year, the time was right to remind people that there are serious flaws that need to be addressed.

I should note, for those unfamiliar with this whole scenario, this only affected open, unencrypted Wi-Fi points; if you’re connected to a secured wireless network or a switched wired network, the plugin wouldn’t be able to see your traffic. In response to the plugin, many sites have begun enforcing or offering an always-encrypted (https) connection to their sites. Also, note that WEP-secured networks are now able to be broken in less than a minute - WPA or WPA2 is what you want to use to secure your wireless network.

Forest Home

I don’t know if Forest Home Christian Camp in Forest Falls, CA was better-than-ever in 2010, as 2010 was the year I became acquainted with it; however, I can state unequivocally that 2010 was a great year to attend Forest Home’s family camp! We checked in on a Sunday and checked out on a Saturday, and were blessed from the time we got there until the time we left. Worship, eating, hiking, exploring, a night-time zip line - and that was just the first 36 hours. They have a lake (fed from melting snow - refreshing!), several hiking trails, swimming pool with diving boards, mini-golf course, as well as a game/lounge area with pool and ping-pong tables. If you’re looking for activities, they’ve got it.

But what made the week there such an amazing week was the quiet times. There was singing and teaching in the morning with the director, Kent Kraning, and singing and teaching in the evening, let our week by Dr. Erik Thoennes of Biola University. Other than those times (where all age groups had their own programs), there were hikes before breakfast, family devotion times after breakfast, free time in the afternoons between lunch and dinner, and time after the evening sessions where you could reflect on what you’d heard. One of their core values is solitude - getting away from the noise so that you can hear God speak. I presented a laundry list of activities, but through the campground, there were benches and seats where you could just stop, sit, think, and pray. It’s amazing how clearly God can speak when you unplug for a week and listen. I pray that 2010 is only the beginning of many years of family camp at Forest Home.

Personal Fitness

2009 was the year I got my head right, and 2010 was the year my body followed. The scale said I was 17 pounds lighter at the start of 2011 than I was at the start of 2010, and I can tell that I’m in the best shape of my adult life (possibly excluding the month or so immediately after basic training). The big change in 2010 was the way I view food - food is fuel, not fun. We used to celebrate everything with food as a central focus - birthdays, holidays, date nights, even fitness achievements. I have actually celebrated passing a fitness test by going to Outback Steakhouse for an order of Aussie Cheese Fries. How ironic and self-defeating is that? The quantity of food that I now eat is less than half of what I used to eat, and I’m still consuming enough calories that I have the energy to exercise. Of course, I’m not perfect - occasionally I will have more than I know I should, but it’s still nowhere near the huge amount of food I used to eat.

NASCAR Parity

NASCAR in 2009 was a two-horse race between Joe Gibbs Racing (Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano) and Hendrick Motorsports (Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.). 2010 saw the resurgence of Richard Childress Racing (Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, and Clint Bowyer) and Roush Fenway Racing (Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, David Ragan, and Greg Biffle), and steady improvements in Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray). That’s a lot of driver names, and while some of them weren’t title-competitive this year, the teams are becoming more and more balanced. Every year brings new rules to which teams must adjust, so 2011 is still up in the air; however, the parity that existed in 2010 is a good thing for the sport, and makes for good races for its fans.

Results - Dam to Dam Run 2010 - 1:10:12

September 5, 2010   4:11 pm

I finished this year’s Dam to Dam Run 10K in 1:10:12, which gives me a pace of 11:18/mile. My goal had been 11:00/mile, which would have had me finishing in 1:08:12, so I missed my goal by 2 minutes. While I’m a little bummed, I did take over 3 minutes off last year’s time of 1:13:27, and a change to the course replaced a flat portion with an uphill/downhill portion, which increased the difficultly a bit. At the start, I got caught up in a pack of runners that were faster than my usual pace, but because the area across the dam was so narrow, I couldn’t find a spot to drop to the side and drop back to let them get ahead. By the time I did, about 3/4-mile in, I knew I had set myself up for a tough rest of the race. Last year, I didn’t walk a single time; this year, I had several short walk-breaks to help a muscle stop hurting, or to try to get circulation back into my feet. (Yes, I loosed my shoe laces; no, it didn’t help.) Around the last mile, I also got a headache, which made pushing on tough, especially uphill. Interestingly enough, though, once I got back to the first dam, I was able to find a nice pace that helped me finish strong.

The 2010 Dam 2 Dam t-shirt, along with my bib #809I had planned to listen to All Praise > on our local Family Life Radio station as I ran; however, when I turned on my music player, the only button that would respond was “play,” which meant I had to listen to whatever was next. It was good music, but it wasn’t what I was going for. I think a new music player may be in the cards for me. This isn’t the first time this one has behaved oddly.

This year’s run was once again sponsored by Great Harvest Bread and Starbucks, so I enjoyed a slice of sourdough bread and a cup of coffee at the end of the race. You wouldn’t think that coffee is good after running, but it is. :) At least I think it is! I did start with water. Keva Juice didn’t sponsor this year’s race, and I also didn’t see any mention of Brent’s Place, the home for children with cancer that was the beneficiary of last year’s Dam to Dam Run. I asked, and it turns out they had a race in Denver back in July that was actually named after them. It’s good to know they’re still raising money to support their work. This year’s Dam to Dam Run supported the iRunFit program, an after-school youth running program.

The t-shirts were black this year! To the right is the front of the t-shirt, and my bib number, 809.

Up Next - Dam to Dam Run 2010 - 5 Sep 10/0800

August 30, 2010   2:06 am

I have registered for this year’s Dam to Dam Run. This will be my first competitive 10K since I ran in it last year, and I’m excited to see how I do. My goal is to average 11-minute miles for the run, which will be 1:08:12 - that’s 5:15 faster than I ran it last year. It’s a challenging run; a lot of it is uphill, and a good portion of the uphill is getting back to where we started. I’ll post my results once I’ve completed it.

Results - 1st Annual Kirtland AFB Top 3 Fundraiser 5K - 33:25

June 8, 2010   2:14 am

This run was exciting! I ended up with bib #76, and finished in 33:25, which is a 10:22/mile pace (the course was actually around 3.2 miles). This was a PR for me for distances greater than 3 miles. I actually passed and came in ahead of one of the NCO academy instructors. (I don’t think she was racing me, but I was racing her - heh)

Not sure what my next run will be. We’ll be out of town for the Cherry Garcia run, so it may be the Chunky Monkey. It’d be cool to do that a year after I did it the first time, and see how much faster I could get it done.

p.s. Sorry this this is a little delayed - I couldn’t get logged in to Active.com over the weekend. I figured Monday morning would fix the problem, and I wasn’t wrong. :)

Up Next - 1st Annual Kirtland AFB Top 3 Fundraiser 5K - 4 Jun 10/0830

May 24, 2010   6:25 pm

Sponsorship Needed - see paragraph 2! My next race will be the 1st Annual Kirtland AFB Top 3 Fundraiser 5K. This volunteer organization is made up of the top 3 enlisted ranks in the Air Force, and does volunteer work to benefit the entire enlisted population. They offer scholarships, put on programs such as Supper and Stripes (a dinner where volunteers sew new ranks on junior enlisted members’ uniforms for free), and encourage professionalism for enlisted members. The race itself is a 5K that meanders through the streets of a former base housing area.

This is my first race that I’ve run that needs sponsorship. They have a specific goal in mind, but I won’t put that out here because I don’t know how many runners they have; that will impact what they need per runner. If you are interested in sponsoring me, please e-mail me and let me know. Once you do, I can get you further information on how to get those funds through me to the Kirtland AFB Top 3.

New Fitness Goals

May 17, 2010   8:13 pm

This past year has been a year of change for my fitness and health. Nearly a year ago, I began a military training class at 211 pounds. Over the course of the 6-week class, I got down to 195. I lost another 4 pounds a month later when I had some wisdom teeth removed. In September, I injured my back, and put those 4 pounds back on. Through the winter holidays, I put on another 3 pounds. I lost a few pounds, but I was stuck between 195 and 197. In April, I did a two-week liquid diet (protein shakes and soups), which broke me out of that rut, and took me down to 186. As of this morning, I’m now down to 184, and the liquid diet has shrunk my appetite so that I’m eating at most half of what I used to at each meal.

Over the course of this year, during the periods of training, my focus has been on short-term goals - lose 1-2 lbs/wk. I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to select as a “high-water mark” - a weight that I do not want to ever be over again. I’m not planning on making any major changes in my training and diet, and I’m sure that my weight loss will slow. I’ve selected 175 as my first high-water mark, and set as a goal being that weight by my birthday, September 14th. That will put me at 3 lbs/month loss; along with running speed work and endurance, and body-weight-resistance strength training, I believe that’s a reasonable rate of loss.

I also have performance-related goals for my running. By July 1st, I want to be able to do 1.5 miles in 14 minutes. (That’s a requirement of my employer.) As long-term goals yet without dates, I’d like to do a 5K in 30 minutes, then a 10K in 60 minutes. All 3 goals involve running approximately the same pace, just for a longer period of time straight.

Why am I making this public? Well, first, I’m excited about the progress I’ve made; I’m in better shape than I’ve been in 10 years. Second, by making it public, it makes it a lot tougher for me to change them (to make them easier, anyway). So, to summarize, my fitness goals as they currently stand:

  • July 1st - 14:00 1.5 miles
  • September 14th - 175 lbs (-9 from today)
  • Long-Term - 30:00 5K
  • Long-Term - 60:00 10K

I’ll post updates as these deadlines arrive.

Results - Dam to Dam Run 2009 - 1:13:27

September 6, 2009   9:58 pm

I completed my second 10K this morning, running the inaugural Dam to Dam Run to benefit Brent’s Place. Brent’s Place is a set of apartments in Denver, Colorado, meticulously maintained to prevent infection, where families with children with severe medical conditions (cancer, transplants, etc.) can live together during important times in their life. I had never heard of them before signing up for the race, and hadn’t really heard about them until the start of the race. It was nice to know that most of my registration fee goes to helping these folks do their great work.

On the performance side, I beat my Chunky Monkey (CM hereafter) time by 3:22. This was especially exciting because the CM course was pretty much flat, and this course was more like a cross-country course. I ran sub-12 minute miles at this distance for the first time. It wasn’t an easy run, but I was exhilarated when I turned the corner towards the finish line and saw the clock.

Starbucks, Keva Juice, and Great Harvest Bread were three of the sponsors of the event. I felt better after this one than I did after CM, and the water, bread, 1/2 pint of chocolate milk, and bold coffee really hit the spot. Plus, during the awards ceremony, they picked some runners at random to give a door prize. When they called out 102, it took me a second to realize that was me! :) I got a pair of sport socks that are themed from Brent’s Place - a picture of them is at the end of this post.

Up next, I’m still undecided. The next Athlete’s Edge run is a trail run - not quite sure I’m ready for that, but not unsure either. We’ll have to see how that goes.

Up Next - Dam to Dam Run 2009 - 6 Sep 09/0800

August 26, 2009   2:34 am

Come 1 Sep, I’m going to register for the Dam to Dam Run 2009. This route for this run starts at Tramway and Academy, and goes north along the dams on the arroyos coming down from the Sandias. There’s a 200-foot gain throughout the run (and a 200-foot loss, as the course is an out-and-back), so this should be a bit of a challenge, especially the hill between miles 2 and 3.

I’m looking forward to this, as I had to miss the race I was going to do on August 16th due to my wisdom tooth extraction. You Albuquerque people, come out and join me! Registration is open until September 3rd.

Results - Chunky Monkey VI 2009 10K - 1:16:49

July 20, 2009   1:03 pm

I have now finished my first 10K! It was quite warm, though a little wind and cloudcover made it not quite at hot as it could have been.

I had settled in to my place in the group, and then the 5K runners caught us. It wasn’t particularly pleasing to be passed by hundreds of people who weren’t even sweating yet! However, I told myself that my goal was to finish, and I did. I didn’t feel particularly excited or pumped when I crossed the finish line, which surprised me - this morning, though, I do feel much better about it.

My oldest 2 sons also did the Kids K - both of them ran the entire way. I was very proud of them.

My next race will probably be the Albuquerque Cross-Country Classic 3 on 16 Aug 09, assuming my wisdom tooth surgery recovery is as quick as they’ve said it should be.

Up Next - Chunky Monkey VI 2009 10K - 19 Jul 09/1900

July 18, 2009   6:35 pm

I got registered for the 10K I had decided to attempt first! I tried to register online yesterday, but the 10K wasn’t showing available anymore. Through some research, I saw that you could register in person. I went by The Athlete’s Edge, and there was room! I was able to pick up my materials right there as well. Here’s the t-shirt that I got…

And, I feel so official - my number!

The race starts at 1900 (7pm) tomorrow evening. I’m excited, and a little nervous. :)