Starting Over. Fitness Journey, Take 112…

There’s something both totally lousy and amazingly self-inspiring about starting over.

Yesterday someone asked me “When’s your next marathon?”

Which was depressing as hell  funny to me, because I haven’t run one in 18 months. I don’t even see myself as a runner anymore, and certainly not a marathoner.

Heck, I don’t even qualify as a jogger. I’m a moderately-expressive-speed-walker, perhaps (okay, maybe not so much hyperbole…but it’s not fast).

Some know that over the past five years I went from fairly-perpetual-fat-kid-post-college-who-tried-100x-to-get-in-shape to that of…a fat kid FINALLY getting in shape and pretty leaned out over three years ago.

Then, I got fat and out of shape AGAIN.

Yes, AGAIN. I swore I’d never let that happen.

That’s the “present tense” part that people don’t as often see. Instead people still see the fitter dude from years ago…even though I’m not. I think we most often see and evaluate ourselves, and also others, not as we are today, but as who we were several years ago. For better or worse. Probably worse. And in many ways more than simply the physical.

Shortly after my last marathon 18-months ago (at which point I was in pretty terrific shape and had outlandish goals to try to qualify for Boston in ’16) I was doing box jumps and massively sliced open my shin. It didn’t properly get treated I refused to go to the ER and get stitches and instead sprayed some Windex on it, no not really regarding the Windex…  By the time I got to the doctor, oral antibiotics wouldn’t touch it and it progressed rapidly into a nasty drug resistant (MRSA) staph infection that resulted in three hospitalizations + nearly a month of IV antibiotics every six hours…and a slow recovery.

At one point it was getting serious and scary enough I thought it was inevitable I would lose my leg. But, to be fair, every time I have a headache WebMD also convinces me I have brain cancer. But this was a pretty precarious situation for a while.

After I recovered I took out my frustration with food, to the point that six months ago I was within several pounds of my “fat kid journey” STARTING WEIGHT from four years ago. At this point, I’m saying to myself, WTF? (Why The Face? Literally, why is my face getting so chubby?).

That was REALLY depressing (self-inflicted). So I did the responsible thing to try to solve it…I ate lots of ice cream and Oreos. Shazam, I love Oreos. And Donuts. I love those too. Ben and Jerry’s should make a Donut Ice Cream.

But I digress…

Finally, after getting back on the nutritional wagon back in January I’m getting pretty close to my target weight (I’m only about 15 lbs away, which I should be able to get to in 90-days).

But, shazam am I out of shape from a cardio/endurance perspective. Since my infection I’ve run maybe a total of six times.

And in about six months I’m running the Marine Corp Marathon, so tonight was my first very short training run as part of my 20-week calendar. It was shorter than anything I would’ve even bothered to run two years ago. To add to the frustration, my pace tonight was SLOWER than most of my marathon paces (uh yeah, average mile pace for the whole marathon).

And all that means is…I’m starting over. 

Which, on one hand, can feel really lousy. Like, how did I end up here again?

But tonight on my run (ehhh, jog) I had another realization.

It was a radically different one. 

Which is that this can also be self-inspiration for me. During my run I remembered that my biggest gains (not physically, but emotionally) happened when I went through the struggle of trying to get in good shape in the first place.

It was the battle (you perpetually skinny-and-fit-kids won’t understand this! 😉 ) of fighting the urge not to work out, or to grab the ice cream, or all the little things that are the difference between being fit or fat.

And the humility that you gain from understanding just how weak and broken you are…

So tonight I had this simple epiphany. And it’s randomness that I’m sharing it, though in small part it’s with some belief that other people must struggle with the same things.

The win for me is that if I can just break free of my frustration for why I’m here, and simply commit to go my “there”, and in the process learn a whole new set of lessons along the way, then I’m going to be okay…

Plus, along the way I’m getting another healthy dose of humility (pretty damn good thing for me), so the next time I get in great shape I’ll realize I’m just “Gods grace and one box jump away” from being sidelined.

Raz and Zoe, my first day training again for a marathon (starting ALLLL the way over!)
Raz and Zoe, my first day training again for a marathon (starting ALLLL the way over!)

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The Ironman First Timers List

Ironman pic for blog

The longer I wait at this point, the more I’ll forget. So I wanted to write down a hit list of all the things I learned throughout my process of training for an Ironman triathlon. This includes a list of things I learned in preparation for, and during, the event. It is ALL jumbled together. Good luck sorting it out.

My caveats:

1). My knowledge is limited. If you haven’t done an Ironman, I still might not have more knowledge than you. So go get your own info and test this stuff out. I am NOT an expert. I am an average dude who two years ago was 50 lbs overweight and had never even run a marathon. I completed Ironman Coeur d’Alene with VERY limited time to work out, and a VERY full time gig. I you’re debating whether you can do it, you probably can. The fat kid in me is cheering you on. I hope a few things in here I learned along the way help you out.

2. I have no idea from where I am puling this info at this point, b/c I read so much and asked questions of many along the way–and received great advice. So I am quite sure little of the below is original thought, it is stuff I either learned through personal experience, or more likely what I learned from others.

Here’s my list. In no particular order:

1. If you’re debating doing a triathlon, sign up and do it. Do not wait for some magical moment. Pick one reasonably far out, but not too far out. And just get going. Most shit doesn’t get done because people don’t ever really commit. The other reason shit doesn’t get done is that people commit and then fail to execute. So, it’s really this simple. 1. Commit. 2. Execute. Sorry, I really wish I could complicate it some more. But I can’t.

2. If you can get a coach, get one. (I didn’t). If not, be prepared to read, research, and do some trial and error. Learn what works with your body. Yes, my eyes rolled too when I hear people say that. But it’s true.

3. There are some great triathlon books, one I skimmed was something something triathlon something Bible. By someone. Or something like that. Just check out Amazon reviews and googling for great books. I did a ton of very rapid fire reading across the Inter-web, grabbed the stuff that made sense and passed on the rest.

4. Ditch some advice that doesn’t sit right along the way. If I’d listened to all the “experts”, I wouldn’t have made it through my training (got really sick w/ flu and couldn’t work out for three weeks about 12 weeks prior to IM, and several experts said if you miss more than a week of training altogether you should bail). Obviously, I didn’t listen to that portion of advice.

5. But generally heed advice of experts. I got way more good advice than bad. And ask a lot of IM’ers questions. Not just experts, even people that only did a few Ironman events–because sometimes their learnings and advice was markedly different, and in some ways equally as helpful, as the “experts.”

6. Nutrition is super killer key on race day. Begin prepping for this using your long training day and mimic what you’ll eat on race day–from when you wake up until the end of the day. Start this months prior to your Ironman.

7. My typical “long training” Saturday food consisted of: egg-banana-yam-baked-stuff (more below) around 5am…Getting your early calories in on IM day is CRITICAL, b/c when you’re out you’re largely out. Body can only process about 300 calories (incoming) an hour on the bike, and about 100 kCals (incoming) on the run. And that day you’re going to burn about 15-20k calories. So you’d better have a lot stored up. But don’t also overeat, esp prior to the swim. That can suck.

8. My Ironman breakfast thingy is this recipe: one can coconut milk, 12 eggs, 3 bananas, 1-2 (already baked) garnet yams, honey to taste + some splenda, and 1/2 cup to 1 cup coconut flakes all blended together and then baked into a loaf, meh 375-ish for 60-mins ish? It’s a great loading dose of protein, carbs, and fats. Super high calorie. NOTE, I didn’t eat ALL of this on training day. I’d make a loaf of it for the week and eat slices in the morning. I love this recipe. I might not have all the measurements right above, I pretty much just eyeball things and adjust to taste/consistency. You can opt out of the yams and it’s still great, but I like garnet yams.

9. Carbo-Pro + Cytomax were beverage staples of mine on the long bike ride (supplements to my water bottles). Other items: Honey Stinger waffles (not Paleo), dried fruit, almond butter and jelly sandwich on gluten-free bread (one before and midpoint on ride), bananas, and bonk breakers are the single best source of kCals I found for the bike.

10. Get a bento box for your bike. I didn’t even know what this WAS or that they even EXISTED up until 12 days before my Ironman. I learned it from a local expert (who REALLY IS an expert and amazing Ironman competitor).

11. Get fitted for your bike. It should be less than $100. Do this before you do all your training, or a lot of it. Do it even if you’re a month out. But don’t wait until you’re a month out.

12. Learn fundamentals and form for all three sports, particularly swimming. Join a Masters Swim program, but much better than that is to take a Total Immersion course. I would NEVER have finished the 2.4 mile swim without Total Immersion. Game changer for me. Two beat kick. If you don’t know what this is, it will CHANGE YOUR SWIM dramatically. And for the better. Google it.

12.5. (yes, I just did a 12.5) Join an Ironman Facebook group. Ideally, there is a group of people in a closed forum on Facebook for the event you’re participating in. I made some virtual friends that have turned into enduring ones, and learned a TON of great stuff along the way. And it was encouraging.

13. Check out Chi Running, 26.2 is a long time on your legs–esp after being in the water and bike for 8-12 hours (for us slow ones). It’s the training that wears your body out–so focus on form, and it’ll serve you on the day of the big event too.

14. The hardest part really isn’t finishing the Ironman, it’s finishing the consistent training required to get you to a level of fitness to do an Ironman. Yeah, the Ironman is a long day. And I am NOT at all undermining how hard it is to finish, there are probably a lot of Ironman finishers who would be pissed to think I’m suggesting otherwise. But, the Ironman is just one day. And it’s backed up, largely, by your training. Yes, IM day is a hard day. And amazing. And cathartic. But months of training are really what carry you. Though there’s a fair amount of mental mojo required on IM day too.

15. Create a checklist for Ironman day, and start working on it and putting stuff together a solid month out. You do NOT want to show up to your destination and have to figure stuff out or buy more things. I found checklists online. Look at a few of them then create your own or use one that looks solid. On that checklist, you should add one thing that will not be on any other checklists: do not get Gorilla Glue on your front brakes the night before Ironman (yeah, that happened).

16. If your IM swim is in cold water, you REALLY SHOULD do some cold water swimming beforehand. Your CNS, when cold water hits your forehead, will start to go into a state of shock. It’s very difficult to pull yourself out of this, your heart rate rises and you naturally start hyperventilating…this happened to me the 1st time I swam in the SF Bay (my first open water swim ever, four weeks prior to the IM). The temperature, open murky water, waves, along with a vigorous swim just creates a tough environment. I assumed this would happen to me, because I’d read about it. But I also believed that I would be able to talk myself through it. Which proved difficult to do. The only way I got adjusted was to get my body used to cold water swimming through frequency, and eventually my body got used to it. Plus, training in 52-55 degree murky SF saltwater was WAY tougher than a 62 degree lake swim (though the swim was in rough waters that day, wasn’t prepped for that).

17. Paleo. I’m a huge fan of Paleo. When I’m on the Paleo wagon, I feel as strong as a….Caveman (see what I did there?). But you’ll have to supplement, you need SOME carbs. I added white rice and white potatoes to my diet, and garnet yams–I eat those with almond butter all the time. And Taro bubble tea…because, well, Taro is a root, and somehow this is in someway tied to Paleo. And I love it. There, I said it. I love bubble tea.

Also–get your body fat down. Not too low, you need enough storage of kCals. But anything in excess is a serious penalty for your time, joints, etc. I was at about 9% body fat, maybe 9.5% on Ironman day, which was fine. In retrospect I wish I’d worked harder to drive down to about 7-8%, but I got as close as I could.

18. Do a triathlon or two before your Ironman. For me, the Ironman was my first ever triathlon. This is not the best idea, but apparently I am full of “not the best idea” ideas, and this was the way I wanted to do it.

19. Schedule everything. And I mean everything. And I got off schedule, of course. But having a schedule ensured I was more on than off. And kept me focused. When I got off schedule I simply revised my schedule. And I did nothing social for most of my training. I worked. A lot. I worked out. Some. I slept. Some.

20. Quit drinking. Yes, really. You don’t have to. But I felt like I ran a lot cleaner free of alcohol, and a big part of my training focus was maximization of efficiency. Drinking is overrated anyways.

21. When doing swim training, watch some Mandy McDougal videos on YouTube. Especially the one on breathing. You actually WANT to keep some air in your lungs, it’s what keeps you buoyant.

22. Wear two caps if you’re swimming in cold water. Ideally a neoprene one underneath your other cap.

23. Don’t add anything new 2-3 weeks prior to your IM. NOTHING. No new shoes, cap, wetsuit, bike, socks. Nada.

24. Get your bricks in, one a week. I don’t think you need to do more.

25. You can’t win on the swim. But you can lose on it. Make sure you get enough yardage in so that you can finish the swim comfortably.

26. BUT, after you’ve trained enough on the swim to know you can finish comfortably, spend as much time as you can on your bike. That bike is one long ass ride. Speaking of asses, yours will be in some serious pain at the end of the ride.

People asked me “so what’s it like to be starting a MARATHON after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles?” You know what the honest answer is? Ummmm, flipping AWESOME. Yeah. Awesome. To be able to run–even if you have to run a marathon–after being on a bike generating this condition called “raw butt” for 6-10 hours is simply unbeatable. After 112 on the bike, you will be THAT PSYCHED to be starting your run.

Not because you love running. But because at that point, you hate biking. Hate.

27. Supplement long rides with spin classes. I went to spin once or twice a week. And I did one long ride on weekends. That was the extent of my biking prep for most part. Could never get out of work in time to do a decent road ride during week. And I never did enough biking. This was my weakness.

28. Be prepared to wake early. I did a lot of my workouts from 5:00-7:00am. Did I mention you’ll have no personal life during your training time?

29. Pack a fresh change of clothes in your Bike to Run transition bag. Remember, I told you this list was going to be a combination of training tips AND in-race tips, and it’s totally mashed together? Sorry.

30. Use salt tabs on the bike ride, the ones without caffeine. Caffeine has a useful life of only about 4-6 hours. For energy and recovery I used a product I love called LifeShotz (note, I am one of their Advisors…also note, I do not care whether you use it or not).

31. Drop the glow sticks at the finish if you’re finishing at night on IM day, it’ll mess up your picture. 🙂

32. Start slow on race day. It is easy to burn through your glycogen fast and early. It’s a super long day, save it.

33. However, if you get to be a decent swimmer, do not start too slow. I thought it would be better for me to try to pace with the 1:15-1:30 group for the swim. Huge mistake. Because I am a bad swimmer? No. Because you will be situated with 1,000 other bad swimmers. Plus yourself. I could’ve swam a 1:10 pace, I should’ve swam with the 1:00-1:15 crowd. The 1:15-1:30 swimming crowd is like a bar fight at an irish pub.

34. Hydrate enough. But don’t over hydrate. But hydrate enough. 🙂

35. Yeah, it’s okay to pee in your wetsuit. When it is cold out, it also feels good. #truth

36. They also say it’s okay to pee on your bike. In my mind, this is only okay if you are attempting to do a sub-12 Ironman. #thatisalsomytruth There is something wrong about someone who is biking very slowly on the Ironman, to simply take a leak on said bike to save 30-seconds from stopping.

37. You can pee on the run in your shorts. But same applies above. Though, I will say that for my first marathon ever I missed a sub 4 by 33 seconds due to a last min bathroom stop. I still wish I’d peed in my shorts. But I can’t quite get the hang of this, plus I’m too vain.

38. Don’t overtrain. Seriously, two weeks out start tapering. And if you overtrain to point of injury then you’re in trouble. So train. Hard. Don’t overtrain. #seriouslydonotovertrain

39. CrossFit. I did this 2-3x/week as part of my training. I’m a fan. Not everybody is, but it’s changed my life. If you do CrossFit, though, do lighter weights and higher reps. And stop CrossFitting 1-2 weeks prior to your event, or if you go within days of the event use REALLY light weights and do not push yourself to the max.

40. Bodyglide for the wetsuit where you will chafe. If you forget body glide, you will pay the price around your neck that week.

41. Take a dramamine before your long swims, do it race day too.

42. Know how to change your bike tire. And make sure you carry at least two spares on race day, and one in your half way bag.

43. You need a day of rest. Pick a day and take it. Mine was a “floating” rest day during week. Not the best thing to do, but I needed to do it that way out of necessity. Better to pick a Monday and rest that day after a hard training weekend, or only do light active recovery stuff.

44. Get enough sleep. Nutrition and sleep are really vital throughout this entire process. You are taxing your body to high levels, you need to get reasonable sleep.

45. GU w/ amino’s for the run…I carry five with me for a marathon, one before it starts then one every 45-mins thereafter. And I alternate water and Gatorade at each of the stops.

46. On the bike, use higher gears and maintain a high cadence–about 90 RPM. Lower gears burn your leg muscles faster.

47. You will likely feel really bad during the Ironman. Expect this. And keep going. Or pull over to regroup. Just don’t stop permanently.

48. Did I mention yet that nutrition on race day is super critical? I wrote out my meal plan for training days and IM days MONTHS before the event.

49. Incorporate a protein drink into your daily workout life…I generally used whey at least once a day after tough workouts (SFH and GNC brands), but I also used a LifeShotz product called LS Vibe for recovery and overnight muscle repair.

50. During your Ironman, thank people. And say hi. I must’ve talked to 50 people during the event, and said hi to 500. Especially the volunteers. It motivated me, but also keep in mind these volunteers are just that–so extend some authentic appreciation. They’re giving up their entire day (plus days prep beforehand) so you can have your day. Thank them. I was really inspired by all the people there.

51. Carry ibuprofen. At mile 15 on the run, you will wish it were T3. Or even morphine. But, ibuprofen will do if you find yourself in a jam.

52. Remember, swimming is largely technique. Learn technique first, then you can limit your swim sessions. And focus on the bike.

53. Bank time on the bike (intentionally repeating myself). Get an indoor trainer to use if needed. The swim you can nail with good technique and limited hours in the pool. Biking time and performance and training also translates and carries over to the run. Running doesn’t help nearly as much with the bike. So if in doubt, train the bike.

54. Do a few Century rides prior to your IM. Note, I didn’t. The most I did in advance were a few 80-90 milers. If I had the time, and could do it again, I’d do about five 120 mile rides prior to the event. But if you can’t log that kind of time, no sweat. You’ll be fine. At least one Century would benefit you. There’s a big difference between miles 90 and 112.

55. Don’t get sick in training (again, sleep). DEFINITELY do whatever you can to avoid getting sick the week of your Ironman. I drank copious amount of elderberry syrup the week before the Couer d’Alene Ironman. And I stayed away from anyone that looked anything short of super healthy.

56. You’re going to hate it.

57. You’re going to love it.

58. Once you finish, you won’t be the same.

Enjoy the journey.










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Ironman Race Report–My First and Last (Part One)

Royce and Zoe doing the Ironman-Lift-Your-Bike-Over-Your-Head-Thing
Royce and Zoe at check-in, they’re not stressed at all–they got this! 🙂

Here’s the 1st iteration of my race report.

It’s part advice for first-timers, part experience sharing, and part closure. A few caveats:

1. This will be riddled with some profanity, which I try to keep to a minimum. But for this posting I’m not going to dilute it–I’m going to share it like it happened, or as I/others said it, or as I thought it.

2. I’ll write a separate race report that’s more about the technical aspects of beginner training, what worked what didn’t, nutrition, scheduling, resources, etc. The one below is more along the softer side of my experience, versus the metrics, scheduling, structure, etc.

3. This isn’t a “hey aren’t I great” post, and man do I REALLY hope it doesn’t come off that way. There’s a lot I’m not good at, and a lot of mistakes I’ve made–both in the last 4-6 months with my Ironman training–and also in life. In fact, I feel like as time goes on I realize how fallible I am. Which is very. Thank God for grace. Literally.

Moving on…

If you check out ONE thing in this post, check out this video below. It’s THE VERY LAST finisher RIGHT BEFORE midnight–the cutoff at 17:00 hours. The chills I got from watching THIS GUY finish were way more than my own finish. Can’t even tell you  how many times I’ve watched this–way more than I watched my own video clip.

So. Flipping. Insane.

Many know two years ago in June I was fat and out of shape. 100 times I tried to lose weight. And 101 times I failed (see what I did there?). Finally, I decided to get my ass in shape. What did it for me? A few things, but one in particular was seeing a ton of before/after photos of people who lost weight. I finally thought “Okay, if THEY can do this…” Long story short, two years ago in June I started running with the plan to do my first marathon that year. I started at just two miles at a time. Months later I started eating a strict Paleo regimen along with CrossFit 3x/week. Below is a picture of me as a fat kid, not too long ago.

Fat Kid
My 240-250lb days, two years ago. Sigh. Heavy (literally) sigh.

In December of that year I ran my first marathon (Sacramento CIM Marathon), nearly 50lbs lighter and missed a sub four by 33 seconds. It was one of the happiest moments of my life, because it served as the start for shedding the fat kid in me. For years I thought I would never be able to run a marathon or lose weight. I had finally completed both. Skinny people, and lifelong runners, probably look at this, shrug and say “meh, big deal.” I get that. But for me, it was.

That night, after my first marathon, I came home and wondered “is it EVEN POSSIBLE that I could do an Ironman?”

Months later, I signed up for two half Ironman triathlons (I’ve never told anyone this until a week ago). I skipped them both. Partly due to work conflicts. But it was mostly that I never started training–I couldn’t do the swim. I mean, you could throw me in a pool or a lake and I’d be fine, and you would think I could swim–but not with any distance. Undoubtedly I would’ve failed on a 1.2 mile swim (half Ironman). And I was really pissed at myself for failing at this.

And then one day I had moment.

In the start-up tech world there is a well known expression: Fuck it. Ship it.IMG_3427

What it really means is you should get your product launched because good enough sooner is better than perfect later. So I finally had that moment personally, and I said to myself, well, you know…So a year ago in June of 2013, I signed up for the Coeur d’Alene Ironman–my first ever triathlon. As I mentioned, I’ll do a separate post on training, but here are a few top level things I’d suggest if you’re considering an Ironman (or any triathlon):

1. Get a tight training plan and stick with it. From a book, online, or a coach. I didn’t have a coach–most of what I learned was from rapid fire searches and scanning articles, collecting the stuff that I liked and dumping other stuff, and talking to others–one of whom gave me a good training plan. I’m an 80% solution guy, and find that just jumping in and figuring out stuff as you go is a better course. Then, after you make some progress, tweak and dial stuff in.

2. Join Masters Swim and take a Total Immersion Course (unless that’s already your strength, but for most it’s not). 120-days ago I couldn’t swim more than 50 yards without taking a break. For some context, a 2.4 mile Ironman swim is 4,224 yards. You can see how four months out I was really stressed. Swimming is largely technique, and the best advice I received was to nail that first. I found great freedom in attending Masters Swim classes and introducing myself to each coach with a consistent “Hey, I suck at swimming and need to be able to swim 2.4 miles in four months. I’ll do anything you tell me to, and don’t go easy on me.”

One of my first, and more memorable swim lessons, the coach started yelling at me mid-class saying “Raz! What is the problem? Why are you fighting the water? Do the fish fight the water? Raz! Are you angry with the water? Raz! Do you need to make peace with the water?”

Welcome to California.

I also took a Total Immersion course with Mandy McDougal. Total Immersion was, without question, the best thing that happened to me. She’s great, and I can’t stress enough the benefit you’ll derive from a two-day Total Immersion course. Mandy also has some great YouTube videos on swimming technique, check them out here.

3. Schedule everything. It requires a lot of training. And a ton of discipline. In the six months prior to my Ironman, I think I went out twice with friends, and family time was pretty limited. And by saying “going out” it wasn’t exactly riveting–equating to two dinners from 7-9:30pm on a Friday night and I was in bed by 10:30pm. Most, but of course not all, of my life for the last six months fell in a few buckets: a) I worked (a lot); b) I worked out; c) I did meal prep; d) I slept

4. Supplement your swim/bike/run with CrossFit. I had to focus on most bang/buck, and in a future post I’ll explain more about my schedule and what worked (or didn’t). I read one person’s CDA race report six months ago and she suggested that you must train ~25 hours a week. Ummmmm, total bullshit. And frankly that’s impossible for many (most?) people who have these little nagging things called… jobs.

When I read stuff like that I just ignore it (though she had some really great insights in her race report too). Because 25 training hours is more like 40 actual hours (prep, cool down, stretching, icing, driving, etc). When someone hears a statement like that it implicitly tells him or her that training for an Ironman is impossible for someone with normal circumstances. Or even difficult circumstances. Just. Not. True.

I’m the CEO of a start-up company, and not one week did I ever work fewer than 60-hours. Likely it averaged much closer to 80-hour weeks–and some weeks were more, and all while training for an Ironman. I also got very, very sick with the flu for weeks–the worst sickness I have had in my life–and it killed my training schedule where I didn’t work out for three weeks, and this happened about three months in advance of the Ironman event. I read online one coach who said if you miss 2-3 weeks of training within your four month Ironman window you should bail. Meh, that’s lame. Life happens, deal with it, work around it and make it happen.

But you do have to be really disciplined and selective with your training, and I did a LOT of my workouts very early in the morning, or a couple days a week in the late evening.

CrossFit helped tremendously, but next time (purely a HYPOTHETICAL “next time”) I would only do CrossFit 2x/week and trade that extra session for two hours on the bike. And I’d only swim 3x/week, now that I have the fundamentals down and instead would spend extra time–ding ding ding–yes, on the bike (and doing some interval work for running, which I did for my marathons but not this). I would, however, go really light on CrossFit 2-3 weeks pre-Ironman–I torqued a nerve in my back with ten days to go by lifting too heavy. All ended up being well but could’ve been a disaster.

5. Nutrition is killer key. You really have to dial in your nutrition, and it took me months to figure out what was worked. In a nutshell, here’s what I did: fairly strict Paleo, with the addition of gluten-free bread, rice, potatoes, and tons of water. I’ll drink anything other than bottled water (which contains tons of toxic chemicals and destroys the environment), but I used to regularly fill up bottles with FloWater at work (disclosure: I’m the CEO and an Investor of FloWater and I am massively biased to the amazing, hydrating, refreshing performance of coconut-filtered, oxygenated, and remineralized FloWater :)) and bring it home for hydration in the evening and weekends.

I also consumed high quality protein supplements immediately post workout and for recovery, I used SFH grass fed whey immediately after workouts, and LS Vibe for afternoon/evening recovery (disclosure: I’m on the Advisory Board for LifeShotz). I also consumed copious amount of fish oil which is like WD-40 for my joints, also from SFH, and consumed LifeShotz–and took some massive loading (3-4/day) doses of this for three days prior to the Ironman, LifeShotz it’s like rocket fuel for my body (another disclosure: I don’t personally like the taste of either the fish oil OR LifeShotz, but they’re two staples of mine–they just are that good). I also regularly loaded up on Black Elderberry syrup which is a strong immune booster, and I think the brand from Gaia is most potent–plus it tastes great. Finally, I took a MegaFood vitamin twice daily.

So, onto the trip…

Okay, seriously..most fun kids ever. Amazing.

I left Wednesday after work with the kids to drive to CDA (Erica had to work and flew in Thursday night), and we arrived that Thursday AM after a loooong all nighter driving through with a total of 60-minutes of sleep between 5-6am (not best thing to do Ironman week). During that 16-hour drive I became a pretty big fan of Oprah Chai, I lost count after a while. But I really am convinced Oprah saw the surge in donations to her charity last week–because I’m pretty sure that was me…That was me, right…Oprah?

Road trips with kids are the best way to get to really know them–this one was no exception. I listened to more Taylor Swift than I care to admit, but they also tolerated my music (and calls). When I asked the kids if they liked my musical tastes (Hardwell, Kaskade, Deadmou5, Blackmill) Zoe replied “Dad, I really don’t even think it’s music. I like music that has pleasant sounds and actual words.” I seem to remember my parents saying this to me when I was growing up, too. On the way Royce asked me 101 hypothetical questions, which I loved–she’s so darned curious.

Wednesday night’s one-hour hotel. Better digs than a hostel in Asia, though…Plus I was 30-feet from a McDonalds! 😉

Zoe woke up at 2am worried about me driving through the night, and stayed up until 4am talking with me to keep me awake. She retold me what I find is a hilarious story, and added some details that she previously omitted. A week ago Zoe came into our bedroom and says “Dad, I gotta tell you something…Yesterday I was hanging with my friends and one of these dude lifeguards was saying ‘hey, isn’t your dad the guy who is running all around the neighborhood wearing a spandex onesie???'” Then she pauses and looks and me and says with a dead serious face “Dad, you gotta stop doing that…”

Bwahahaha, I can only imagine the mortification for a 10-year old kid hearing that about her dad! Also, for the record, it’s not a one-piece–it’s two 😉

So tonight on the drive she says to me “Dad, there’s more to that story…” I pause, and glance over and say “Okay, really? Go on…” So she continues “Yeah, well this guy continued asking What other outfits does your dad have?'” (hahaha, like this is some kind of weird clothing fetish–they’re called Tri suits boys and girls…). Zoe continued “I went on to tell him you have this one piece outfit with some straps that goes over your neck.” LOL, well those are biking shorts for the record, and I promised Zoe I’ll start running in the other section of the neighborhood. She went back to sleep shortly after getting that off her mind.

We arrived Thursday morning into CDA and the kids hung out and did various activities while I worked, with the exception of check-in during lunch. Energy walking in was both pensive and electric. It wasn’t like marathon check in. It was calm. Of course, it was also days before the event. I got my bag, and asked people 100 questions like “Okay, what happens in transition–’cause all I know is what I’ve seen on YouTube.” I was nervous. And excited.

RoZo making a cheering sign

That evening I did my first swim in the lake, water temp was about 62 degrees–it felt awesome, and the water is relatively clear and clean, so much better than SF Bay’s salty murky 54 degrees. There was this energizing feeling being with other triathletes who were also warming up and trying to get a few last minute workouts in. After the swim, I went and ran a quick five miles and was done for the evening.

This is where you drop off your form saying no matter what happens to me, I will not sue you Ironman association. And it’s also check-in, which was so fun (yes, really). Loved.

Evening rolled around, and we had a great dinner with friends but I was exhausted–a trip to the airport to pick up Erica didn’t get me into bed until 1am and I was up at 6:15am the next day. Crappy sleep continued.

Summer, Raz, and Richard Brooke–CEO/Owner of LifeShotz

Friday I took a vacation day–the first one in 18+-months, and attended an Advisory Board meeting for a company I’ve really grown to love that’s coincidentally headquartered in CDA. Around lunchtime our meeting broke, and it was time to swim 800 yards in the lake followed by an hour on the bike. Felt good. That was the day, the first day, where I had some solitude to myself that evening and I thought to myself “You know what? You’re going to do this. And you’re not leaving the course until it’s done.” Until then I’d been having doubts. But I knew it’d come together mentally a day or two before the event–that’s just how I’m wired.

Epic evening, on the drive to where we were staying I pulled off the side of the road and watched this gorgeous cloud formation pull through and set up over a valley. Magical.

That evening I knew I HAD to get a good night of sleep in. My Sunday morning wake-up was at 3am and at best I’d only get five hours. And combined Wednesday and Thursday night I had a total of ~6 hours–so I was intent to be in bed by 10pm and was going to sleep until 8am to catch up.

This is where the shit got crazy.

The next day was gear check, it’s where you put all your gear in every transition bag together and you turn in your bike–so they set everything up for Sunday morning. So I’m hustling trying to get everything ready, last check to make sure I’ve got the right running shoes in the T2 bag, tape, change of socks, nutrition and hydration, salt tabs, LifeShotz, Cytomax, etc.

Zoe noticed on my bike earlier that day that the padding on my tri-bar forearm rests were coming off, likely due to the 1,000 mile drive with lots of wind and a fair amount of rain. So I picked up Gorilla Glue that afternoon, and at 10pm I realized I hadn’t fixed it yet.

No problemo. I. Am. An. Expert. Gluer. (also super fluent in Spanish–can you tell, no?)

“Apply liberally” I thought to myself. “You don’t want these bad boys coming off during your race” I said repeatedly. “When it comes to glue and duct tape, you can never really use enough” I thought quietly. So I applied the glue to my pads and leaned the bike up against the garage and said goodnight to her.

Is it Gorilla Glue? You’re screwed…

Couldn’t sleep. Was 10x checking my bag, logistics, thinking through transitions, what I might be missing and whatnot. At midnight I go to check on my bike. Open the garage door, and guess what? Gorilla Glue FOAMS like crazy. It erupted like a little volcano and dripped ALL OVER my front brakes. Yes, JUST the brakes. Not one drop on the floor. Panicked, I furiously tried to scrape it off with a screwdriver but it had cured–damage was done. Then I’m furiously rummaging through my guests garage after midnight trying to find a solvent–any solvent, someone just get me a solvent–and I find WD-40, and spray it like a crazy man, but nada. I found some gas stabilizer.Didn’t help. At this point I’m pretty much grappling for anything that has a label that says “this is poison and can kill you if ingested.” I’m scraping with my nails, screwdriver, furiously scraping, swearing, scraping some more–but the glue is in every crevice of my brake. I google and google and google solutions, then found some naturalist wrote that a combination of sea salt and olive oil would do the trick. Nothing. I didn’t go to bed until 1:30am totally in a panic and woke up at 6:30. umulative sleep over three nights now totaled about 11-hours and I was really worried I was screwed with my bike brakes–let alone my lack of sleep.

Below are the pics of my Gorilla-glued bike, my 1st attempt at a brake biopsy, and then getting her all repaired up Saturday at Vertical (thanks again guys!).



Saturday, I checked into a bike store and Vertical Sports fixed me up by noon (LOVE those guys).  I was at bike check by 12:30, at the Ironman athlete briefing at 2pm then hanging with my great friend from college, Jon Lewis, by 4pm.

Jon Lewis, one of my best friends from college. A thousand thanks, Jon, for supporting me at this event.

I got home to the house we were staying in that evening around 6pm. Everyone was gone, and I had solitude until past 8pm where I just prepped, contemplated, and listened to my music. Had dinner with friends and family that night from 8:30-9:30, popped a few Melatonin from Source Naturals and was out by 10pm.

I was only slightly paranoid about missing my wake up alarm…

Sunday, I awoke at 2:20am and read in bed until my alarm went off at 3am, then started the process of getting ready. Left the house at 4am and arrived into Ironman camp at 4:30am. Checked the bike, filled it up with nutrition and liquids then checked on my transition bags–added a few last minute items, and then hung out under a pine tree with more than a breeze whipping about (winds were up to 25 MPH that day) and looked out over the VERY choppy lake–still worrying about the swim. If I could just finish the swim I felt I could at least finish the Ironman. But I wasn’t sure I could finish the swim, or how I would do with thousands of people swimming with me in cold choppy water. My first open water swim was just three weeks before, and it didn’t go well (interpretation: hyperventilation; I just couldn’t deal with the cold water and panicked).

At 6am I threw on the wetsuit and made my way to the beach along with everyone else. Did a warm up swim to get used to the water, and then waited 40 long minutes until our heat departed. A mistake I made, not knowing how I would do in the swim, was going in the 1:15-1:30 heat, which was bad primarily b/c I slotted myself at the back of it and what I learned is that all the other bad swimmers were with me! 🙂 And it just made it, for me, too difficult to pass anyone. In retrospect I should’ve jumped in the 1:00-1:15 pack.

This was the 2nd year (I believe) of the tiered start, vs. a mass start where everyone swarms the water at once. I’m sure it’s much improved, but I’d still describe the swim as “chaos” and “scary as shit” when you finally realize that there are flapping bodies, arms, and legs kicking everywhere. Truly, though, I don’t think it would’ve been that bad had the waters not been so rough–I swallowed a lot of water with headwinds from 10-25MPH on the way out (two loops). 100 yards in I said to myself exactly the following: “There is no fucking way I can do this for 2.4 miles, I’m going to drown.”

But I also knew in advance I was going to have this feeling, everyone warned me about it. So I was fully expecting it, and planned on grabbing the first buoy for 20-seconds to reset and basically said to myself what I’d said 50 times before the race when I knew this was going to happen: “Okay, calm yourself down. You’ve done plenty of swimming the last few months, just make it to each 100 yard marker and take breaks if you have to.” Another guy grabbed onto this 1st buoy as well, and I shouted over to him “Hey, you doing okay?” And he replied, “No, I’m really not…not so good.” Ummm, I paused…I wasn’t prepared to give any advice. I expected everyone to say “Yeah I’m great–this is AWESOME!” I thought quickly about any suggestions, so I yelled out “Look man, you’re going to be fine–just take a few deep breaths, make it to the next marker and take a break” and then I pushed off. I think I said that as much for me as I did him, we were in the same boat.

Everyone thinks I’m on my iPhone making a call immediately after the swim, but it could also be that I’m removing my ear plugs. But the iPhone is more likely…

From there on, I only stopped at the 2-mile mark and only that because I had to pee (yes, you just go in your wetsuit and I couldn’t do it while swimming). At 1:33 I came out of the swim and was into transition, on the way from the beach I found my friend Jon cheering from the sidelines and we happened to spot each other. Seeing Jon was such an awesome boost of encouragement. Plus, the volunteers and crowd were simply INSANE. My appreciation for the town, and people/community, of Coeur d’Alene grew throughout the event. The people were amazing. Huge gratitude to all of them.

What I learned about the swim is that it’s way easier than I expected (of course, the wetsuit helps), and it’s mostly a mind game–especially if you’re a lousy swimmer or not accustomed to open water swims–especially on days with rough waves and lots of wind. The most mind-bothersome thing about the swim is the realization that when you get out there if you get in trouble–then you’re in trouble. Meaning, while there are buoys every 100 yards and people on Kayaks, if you really get in trouble and start to panic you’d better be able to pull yourself out–because it’s unlikely anyone else is going to do so for you. On the run, or bike, if you keel over and collapse you’re probably going to make it. On the swim, not so much.

At T1, I have never been more excited to get on a bike. The swim was done, and I was so relieved. My transition time was a pretty long 15-minutes, again I’d never done a tri before–or transition for that matter–so it took me a few minutes longer just to figure everything out. But I poured nutrition down my throat, threw my tri-suit and shoes on, took a bathroom break, grabbed my bike and was on my way.

Last 30 miles on the bike! Home stretch.

My bike training had been limited, and largely consisted of two spin classes a week and one long ride on the weekend–a function of limited time, and I really didn’t do enough long rides. The longest I’d ever done up to this point was about 90-miles, and midway through that one I found a Starbucks and fell asleep for 30-minutes. 🙂 What an amazing athlete I am, huh? In retrospect, I should’ve skipped Saturday morning swims for a much longer ride, and I would’ve been well served to do a half dozen 100+ milers along with some interval and hill work at least once during the week. Next time. (again, hypothetically).

Headwinds on the course were brutal, partly because they were on the two stretches with some seriously long, long hills. My average speed was about 15MPH, pretty slow and it took me about 7:40 to finish the bike session.

Finally, the run…

people ask “what’s it like to have to be STARTING your marathon in the afternoon after all of that?” And really the answer is that I was so ready to be done with the bike that I was totally PSYCHED to be running. It wasn’t until mile 15 that I started to really crash, and that’s also where I killed my run time. In fact, this was where I had my best epiphany.

I remember someone telling me that during their IM they got to the point where they just started telling their body what to do. My pace up to mile 14 was about a 10-minute mile (and I started out running 8’s unknowingly–way too fast for me). At 14 I was just in screaming pain. My tendonitis was flaring, and every muscle in my leg was on fire. I did a lot of walk/running from miles 14-22.

Then, three things happened:

1. A guy was walking with me, and we’d talked before ten miles back. He looked me dead in the eye and yelled out to me in the booming voice of a football coach “Raz, you are kicking some fucking ass for your first Ironman!!! Go get it in gear and get your ass over the fucking finish line while it’s still light out!!!” I wasn’t kicking ass for my first Ironman, but I didn’t know that at the time.

But sometimes you need someone just to push you. And apparently, at times, it can help when they drop an F-bomb in the process.

2. Right then, another guy ran by as I walked, and he tapped me on the shoulder. “Let’s go” he said “I’m running five minutes and walking three minutes–let’s get going.” I started running, then told him thanks for the boost and that I was going to run the rest in.

Sometimes you need someone to give you a tap on the shoulder and pull you along.

3. Then, I remembered an article I’d read the night before on top performing athletes, and how much of endurance work is a mind game (side note: it’s also about fueling, when you’re out of gas then you’re done–so you have to be smart about nutrition on an Ironman, and that part I did right). One of the guys in the article said he talked to himself, and essentially told his body what to do. I thought it sounded silly the night before. But I was in so much pain, I decided to give it a shot. So I kept telling myself “Body, you’re going to run these last four in 8:00/mile–and I don’t care how shitty you feel, this is happening.”

I didn’t have a GPS on me so I couldn’t track my speed, but later in looking at the splits it looked like I kept a 7:57 pace those last four miles. There’s a point when you’re out of gas and you’re just out–but there’s also a point where you’re just in pain, and you have to keep going and you can do more than you thought. Miles 14-22 I let my body win (plus the finish line is a long ways away). Miles 22-26, I made my mind win.

It was a really great reminder about how much the mind controls, or can, the body. And how weak the body is. I remember I used to go running with my dad when I was young, and you used to tell me that for the first few miles “your body lies to you–it’s lying to you and says it doesn’t want to go, and don’t believe it, get past the first few miles.”

Erica, Raz, Zoe, and Royce

At mile 13 I saw my friend Jon again, and also Erica and the girls–another super fun boost, and first time I’d seen my family. At mile 26 we were in the city of Coeur d’Alene and the crowd lined the streets. One more pass by Jon, then 20 yards later Erica, Royce, and Zoe. I could see the tunnel, and hear Mike Reilly belting out names as they crossed the finish line “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

For a year I’ve been thinking about crossing that finish line.

The energy of the thousands of people was really something else–and at 150 yards out I saw the tunnel…50 yards in and I’m fiving people as I’m closing in and feeling so excited–and happy–to get to this magical experience. All the while, incidentally, I’m having a blast. I really did through the entire race, there is no event I’ve ever done where I genuinely smiled more, and had more fun.

So as I’m coming to the finish line I’m waiting for this magical moment of catharsis.

I crossed the finish line…

…and nothing happened.

Entering the tunnel, 50 yards out…

I can’t explain it. For sure I was thrilled,  and it felt great. But it was almost the opposite of my first marathon–where I was really emotional and had a moment of “I can’t believe I did this!”
If I had to put into words what I felt it would probably be as simple as this:

“You know, you can let go of your inner fat kid now. You’re not that guy anymore.”

A few things I really learned or benefitted from during this process:

1. I pretty much quit drinking altogether. I didn’t miss it–at all. (Mom, I know you are doing cartwheels right now! :))

I did resume drinking beer the night of the event (cartwheels have stopped).

And the following week.

But now I’m back on the wagon. Pretty much no more drinking (cartwheels resume).

2. I learned more about the discipline of three functional sports;

3. I dialed in my sleep, and while I never felt like I got enough–and I still had to pull some really late nights, and a few pretty much all nighters for work during training, but I made a conscious effort to sleep–up until the week of the race, ironically enough;

4. I became more disciplined; I had little free time so I scheduled almost everything–and I mean almost EVERYTHING. From exactly when I would wake up, to when and what I would eat, to the timing of my nighttime protein, to my swim/bike/run/crossfit sessions. Of  course I got off schedule, but having it scheduled helped ensure I was more on than off;

5. I learned I am way more capable of things than I previously realized; two years ago I was quite fat and couldn’t run more than a few miles at a time. Four months ago I couldn’t swim more than 50-yards in a stretch without resting. So much of our life is dictated not by our talents or G0d-given attributes, but our drive, tenacity, and confidence.

5. Finally, I was inspired.

Inspired by a few people who told me that I couldn’t do it, and even more people that told me I could do it.

Inspired by people who shared with me how to do it, or offered me a boost of confidence and encouragement along the way.

Inspired by the energy of the event itself, the attendees, and all the amazing volunteers (I must’ve said “thank you” 300 times during my bike ride and run, but a thousand more thanks to all the volunteers–you guys were AMAZING!).

Finally, I was inspired by watching 3,000 other people–each with their own story and struggle–go out and do something pretty unusual on any given Sunday.

A thousand thanks to everyone who helped encourage and support me along the way. Whatever “win” in this there was for me, I genuinely hope you take a piece of it as your own.

Grateful. Eternally grateful.



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My First (and Last) Ironman Attempt

Ironman Raz

June of 2012 was a super magical month for me, it was when I finally decided to get my fat self in shape. I’d always wanted to run a marathon, and for years it evaded me due to lots of things that turned out just to be mostly excuses. But I was set on giving it another go; that month a friend sent me a marathon training plan, and I took my nearly 250 pounds of Lithuanian awesome and started running. Initially, just a few V-E-R-Y  S-L-O-W  miles at a time, gradually working my way up. Months later I got involved in CrossFit and started eating strict Paleo. That December I finished the Sacramento International Marathon (and missed a sub 4-hour by 33 seconds, ahhh that last bathroom stop!).

That night I remember thinking to myself “could it even be possible to complete an Ironman someday?” Two years later I’m making my first–and last–Ironman attempt at the Coeur d’Alene Ironman on June 29th.

My goal is really simple: to finish in 17-hours.

A close friend asked me “So what’s the deal–why are you doing this?” The answer is pretty simple: because I have to prove something to myself.

Some of it I can’t fully explain, but part of it has to do with having been out of shape for so many years and proving to myself that I can stay in shape, and part of it has to do with setting a goal that for years I never dreamed doable and accomplishing it.

Two weeks out and here’s how I feel:

1. Nervous about the swim. Four months ago I really just started my swimming, and in retrospect that was way too late–I just procrastinated on this one because I was so bad. Really bad. I hadn’t swam laps since I was probably 10 years old. The best advice I got from others was to join a Master’s Swim class and also do a Total Immersion program, both of which I’ve done along with regular swimming and some open water swims. I’m still terrible. Like, imagine Charles Barkley and how he says “Turrible” That’s how bad I am. However, I have gotten better and have done some decent mileage and think I’m ready to finish this portion–and I’m eager for my feet to hit the sand after completing the 1st leg of the event and get to the bike. Because I’m nervous about that, too. Oh, and the run.

2. Partly wishing I’d done at least one other triathlon prior to this. Just to get a sense of what I’m doing, how hard the accumulative effort is, how to transition, fueling throughout the race, etc. But I’m partly psyched this is my first one as well. Also, I’ve watched a few YouTube videos. That’s pretty much like having done a few tri’s, right?

3. Feeling undertrained–yet ready. I read one persons blog post after her Ironman race report saying “if you can’t dedicate 20-25 hours a week to training, then you shouldn’t be doing this.” Ummmm, I run a start-up company and work pretty brutal hours–so that’s not happening. But I talked to others who worked Ironman training into their calendar with a very disciplined training and intensive workouts. That’s what I’ve tried to do, and I made a commitment going into this not to cut into work priorities–so I’ve either missed workouts or simply taken the time from sleep or personal time to get training done. And for most of my life, the busier I have been (within reason) the better I’ve performed. It forces me to be hyper-disciplined and eliminate distractions. All that being said, I have worked out a lot–this isn’t something I’m just trying on a whim and hoping for the best, but I definitely had limitations on my time.

4. Lusting after some epic bike gear. Like an Aero helmet, and a full carbon tri bike. However, here’s the reality: when you have stuff like that, it’s better to be good at riding. There are few things more humbling than doing one of your practice rides in your full tri gear on your decent-enough road bike and there you are pedaling away at a good clip–and then a guy 20-years older than passes by wearing parachute pants and birkentstocks whilst riding a beach cruiser and whistling “Sunshine on my Shoulders” by John Denver. Yes, there’s some hyperbole in there–but I’ve had a few things happen like that not too far off. 🙂

5. Grateful. Regardless the outcome, I’m deeply grateful. I am thankful to a God who has given me the physical ability to get in shape and enjoy the privilege of working out–it really is a gift, and I wish I hadn’t squandered it for so long. I am thankful to my family who has tolerated not seeing me much during this training period (in addition to start-up life), and also a lot of friends who I owe an overdue catch-up. Finally, I’m thankful for the many people who have provided advice and encouragement along the way. If (when) I finish, I hope those people realize that they had a significant hand in helping me with this accomplishment, and for that I am genuinely grateful.

Finally, if you’re interested there will be a live race report the day of the event starting at 7am PT on the Ironman website that you can watch by clicking here:

Bottom of page there’s a “Live Race Report” that will be active on Sunday, June 29th with a link you follow and enter in my IM number which is 1973, coincidentally also the year of my birth. Yes, I’m 40. And yes, perhaps that also had something to do with this. 🙂

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Are the Gains All Gone?

photo 3-2

In the past couple of years I’ve finally started to get in better shape. On a body fat basis, I went from ~30% to ~10%, and of course the changes eclipsed the scale and extended to CrossFit workouts, running, and have included more recently some biking and swimming.

And for this entire time, it’s been easy NOT to see the ceiling. Because I was in such bad shape at my starting point two years ago, it just felt like making gains would be easily attainable for an indefinite period of time. I mean, I KNEW in my mind that my physical potential at 22 was still beyond what it would be at 42 (though, my goal is still to be in better shape at 42 than I was at peak at 22, though if I can that won’t say much for how well I tapped out my physical potential when I was younger).

When you’re SO FAR away from your ceiling it’s both kind of discouraging (“I’m THIS out of shape?!?!?!?”) and also really motivating (“If I can keep making gains like this I can become Superman!!!”).

But this week I saw and felt the ceiling after a few workouts this weekend (which happened to be some of my best workouts of the year over the past two days).

And I hated seeing the ceiling.

Particularly frustrating because I am still so far away from being in really good shape, but this afternoon after I was driving home from my swim/run (pictures of the most epic day ever to workout in the Bay are below from today’s excursion) I realized that I was staring the ceiling right in my face–and it happened way earlier than expected, and I still feel like I’m so far away from where I wanted to be at this point. It’s the ceiling that said things like “You’ll never be able to do >insert your dream of choice here<.”

So I’m going to change it.

I haven’t figured it out yet, and I know I can’t cheat human physiology–but there must be a pretty good way of bending it.

What I’ve learned in the last few years is that so much of fitness and wellness is pretty specific to the individual. So I don’t listen to any one particular scribe, however, I’ve not tried to recreate too much either. I’ve taken a few solid perspectives without trying to recreate the wheel, applied it relentlessly, and it got me to a certain point at the end of year one.

Then, for year two, I made modifications, did more reading, metric’d more stuff with my body, and made adjustments. But mostly oriented around a few common theories from a few particular individuals in the fitness space–and I did this with limited reading, research, and study; I just worked on applying, applying, and applying.

Now I have to break it.

(though not until August)

For someone that doesn’t know a whole heck of a lot about fitness, nutrition, CrossFit, human anatomy and physiology, it’s probably a bit risky for me to be willing to walk away the very stuff that’s gotten me to where I am, which isn’t amazing but it’s a huge improvement. But if I want to really make bigger gains, then I think it’s riskier for me to stay where I am and just keep trudging along–though trudging is precisely what got me to where I am today, and I knew that would be the case which is why I subscribed to it: a few simple philosophies and relentless execution.

But continual trudging is why, in the business world, so many CEO’s (and Exec’s and employees for that matter) fail to be successful in different business cycles. Meaning, even some of the most successful CEO’s can only run through one or two parts of the business cycles (pre-start up, or 0-10M or 50-100M or 500M+, etc). Sometimes I think that’s a limitation of breadth of skills (and there’s something totally legit to be said for very deep skills in one of those particular cycles), but I think that also in many cases the stuff that gets you to where you are is the very stuff that keeps you from where you want to go next, and it’s really hard to break free of that thinking.

My strategy is to comb through as much stuff as I possibly can, measure as much as is reasonable, trial/error with how I feel and perform, and try to really figure this out at the next level, and to do this with as little time applied possible. I’ve got a pretty busy life outside fitness, but this is an important part of my life and I have some serious progress I’d like to make over the next few years.

The best part? It’s on me and nobody else to do it. 

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No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

“Be the Ball, Danny. Be the Ball…”


I really suck at swimming, though I didn’t fully realize it until I started trying to swim laps about 4-5 months ago. At the urging of some fitness friends, who knew I had a specific goal in mind, I decided to sign up for a Master’s Swim class about ten weeks ago. Master’s Swim is a group of people who regularly train together with a coach. In the last few years, I can think of no other thing that I have been absolutely worse at for which I’ve tried to improve, and I’ve actually loved the experience of this. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

1. If you’re lousy at something and you really care most about improving, you might as well get that out in the open…

During the last ten weeks I’ve had four different coaches. The way I’ve introduced myself to them was nearly identical: “Hey, my name is Raz. This is my goal of XYZ. I absolutely suck at swimming, I’m fully aware of it. I need your help, so whatever you tell me to do, I’ll do. And I don’t want you to go easy on me or hold anything back.” I found this to be so freeing, I could bypass everything and get right to the baseline. The result was that I generally receive a disproportionate share of coaching, a) because I needed it, and b) because I practically begged for it from the get go.

2. You might have drunk people (okay, fine–person, singular) in your swim class…

I hardly think this is normative, but it’s so bizarre to me I can hardly not mention it. And it’s not really a learning, more of an amusing anecdote. I usually swim very early in the morning before work, but about once a week I’ll go to the class that starts in the evening. Last week, two minutes into jumping in the pool, I basically smelled a beer hall. I look over and a guy a lane over, whom I’ll call Oktoberfest, had consumed more than a beer or two. It was confirmed midway through the class when Oktoberfest yelled out “Hey guys, don’t worry about me over here–just burning off some alcohol!”

Incidentally, he pretty much kicked my ass during the entire class. Drinking and swimming is a bad idea, obviously. But it’ll go down as one of my more memorable classes.

3. Uncoachable people with a bitter edge are an absolute drag to the group and set their own rate limiter…

A woman jumped into our class one week and she was a prior swimmer who had taken time off and for some reason lost her swimming mojo. I don’t even really know what that means, and also didn’t  understand whatever dynamics she was dealing with (I was dealing with my own hot mess), but net net what happened is that she destroyed the dynamics of the class in about seven minutes. She said she wanted coaching, she became irritated with instruction, she kevetched and moaned about how frustrated she was, and towards the end of the class each time she spoke it was nails on a chalkboard. And the coach quit giving her instruction. She left before the session even ended in a huff. People like that are vibe killers. And they often top out very prematurely, regardless their natural talent.

4. There’s this thing called the two-beat kick…

And I’m not even going to try to explain it, but when you learn it then it’s magic. By “magic” I don’t mean I’m even a marginal swimmer at this point. But it’ll change how you swim, your breathing, the stroke rate, comfort. The net net on this is that fundamentals matter. Hugely. The first six weeks I felt like I kept going backwards, but what I was doing was unlearning how I’d always swam, and was trying to apply proper technique and fundamentals. Which is more important when there’s more friction. Water is 1,000 times more resistant than air. I’ve never taken a running lesson, and perhaps I should. But I knew the fundamentals in swimming play a more important role (for me) than running. Friction is one of the underlying reasons. For me I think there’s a lot of life application here. You can’t get better at everything. So when isolating and prioritizing, often it helps to take those items you want to improve in that also carry the greatest amount of friction. It’s not the only variable to evaluate, but it’s a big one.

5. You will run into A-holes, but DO NOT let that throw you off…

There are hidden “cliques” (there are other words I could use) everywhere. In the last two years as I have gotten in better shape, I have noticed a strange phenomenon where in gyms (not CrossFit, but in my “regular” unnamed gym) people are much friendlier to me then when I was the fat kid trying to get in shape. Even outside of the gym, when I go on long runs to Woodside I’ll probably have 10-15 bikers or serious runners go by and give me the thumbs up as I’m running. That never happened when I was fat. For the most part, only fat people acknowledged me. So here’s I’m in somewhat the reverse in this Master’s Swim program. At one point a few weeks ago a woman yelled at me during training, because she felt I made some type of “illegal takeover maneuver” as she was gabbing at the wall during a set.

Long story short, she pretty much needlessly unloaded on me in front of a lot of people. It was unjustified since I had a basis to pass, but honestly I didn’t even care. Emotionally, as that happened, it torqued me for a moment. I can see in a different place in my life if I weren’t so committed to this goal I would’ve been tempted to say “forget this” and throw in the towel–literally. But, I refused to let it bother me for more than two seconds, because any energy spent towards that just diluted my efforts, and I wasn’t about to let her screw up my plan.

It was a powerful reminder to me: don’t let people who can’t control their actions and emotions deter you from your goal, and there will be A-holes along the way that do this. It’s also a reminder to those who are on the “inside” of the swimming club, runners group, marathon, gym, or whatever to be more than aware of the people around you who are trying to get better. Especially the beginners.

It’s why I always try to say hi to the fat person running by. Because I’m also that same person. And I respect their determination.

6.  “Be the ball, Danny. Be the ball.” 

My second class the coach yelled out to me in the middle of a 50 and said “Raz! What’s going on? Are you comfortable in the water? Do you like the water? Raz! Are you fighting the water? Do the fish fight the water? Raz! Do you need to make peace with the water?!?!?!” I was looking around thinking to myself “Ahhhh, yeah man, I dig the water. I’m good with it. What are we talking about? Where am I? Why did I sign up for this? And why did I move to California?”

It sounded hippy dippy, but I said from the get go I was going to listen to all the instruction and really absorb it. Even if I didn’t get it. Well, surprise surprise, there IS something to being one with the water.  I started floating in the water and really consciously thinking about swimming with the water, rather than, well, slapping it. And fighting it.

Be the ball, Danny. Be the ball.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Five Fitness Hacks to Lose 50 Pounds

Weight Loss

It’s the Super Bowl Sunday. Woooohoooo! So as a result nobody is going to read this, but it’s a-okay! I have to post when I have time, and right now I have thirty minutes before my scheduled run (more on the schedule thing later). *Also, I have no idea if these hacks will help you lose 50 pounds. I just needed a catchy headline. Also, there are six hacks listed, not five. But I wanted to have the first two words start with an ‘F’. #worstheadlineever

But, seriously, this is some of the stuff that helped me get in better shape over the past two years. And, well, I did lose about 50 pounds too. Though I’m still not brave enough to post before/after pictures yet.

Maybe someone will find this helpful after the nachos, Thin Mints (it’s Girl Scout cookie season!) and beer (not in that order, please! Thin Mints first, always the Thin Mints first people).

Over the last few years, I have become pretty fanatical about creating and living in a fitness regimen. It’s how I get my stuff to work for me; I’ve also fallen off the wagon more than a few times as well, so I’ve learned what helps keep me tracking and on-plan. Here are a few things that have helped me move closer towards my fitness goals, and perhaps there’s something in here that might help you as well.

1. Set quarterly goals, and tie it to metrics that you can use to evaluate your progress: I use body fat testing quarterly to monitor my progress to a targeted percentage, and then usually throw in some particular running event. I calendar it at least 90-days out for the BF testing. For my runs, I usually plan these out for the next year–so I’ve everything lined up for all of 2014.

Doubt it? My next body fat test is scheduled for Sunday, February 23d at 11:30am. I booked it two months ago, and I do this every 90-days. It’s the only way I can really track my progress. Though I use a pinch test and visual on vascularity (which I have little of, unfortunately, but enough to know how I’m doing) to track my progress week to week. I step on a scale daily, but more out of habit and care far less about the weight and much more about the percent of body fat.

2. Schedule your shit stuff: in my experience, you have to do this. Otherwise it will almost ALWAYS get bumped. And for optimal adherence, it’s  likely you have to do it in the morning. Two years ago I started by working out 3x/week, and that wasn’t easy–time, discipline, and fitness wise. Now, I probably workout 6-8x/week, and I schedule it pretty rigorously. Honor your fitness schedule, it’s not too much to give yourself. A one hour workout is 4% of your day. It will make you more effective, and generally speaking for every hour you workout you get two hours of your life back. I read that on google somewhere, so it must be true. And it just sounds about right.

Yes, there will always be something that seems to conflict with your workout–including your mood. Tough, gotta move past it (this is what I tell myself all the time). Every Sunday I sit down and plan my professional and personal week; on the fitness side, the CrossFit workouts are easy to schedule–every M/W/F early in the AM. But then I often schedule my running/biking/swimming in during the other four days, depending on whether I’m traveling or what my schedule is like. And if my schedule changes mid-week, then I revise to ensure I get the fitness stuff in.

I used to just try to let my fitness happen when time allowed. That didn’t work so well. So now I schedule it. Someone is invariably saying to themselves, “Man, I don’t have time…I just don’t have time.” I said that for years. Yeah, you do have time. Some weeks I easily cover 80+ hours a week (this is not every week, but never is there a 40-hour week either), and I could still use the time excuse to justify missing workouts. You have to make the time, and you have to give up something else to get the time. This is why I don’t watch TV. I didn’t even know the San Francisco 49’ers were in the playoffs until 48-hours before their last game. How is that possible? If I care about something I’m going to make it happen. If I don’t care about something, then I’m not even going to give it ten minutes of distraction. Staying up on football each week is a distraction from the things I care about getting done, professionally and personally.

Ultimately, controlling the schedule is the primary reason why I force myself to do the majority of my workouts in the AM–it’s easier to control your schedule before the day gets in full swing. Incidentally, I am not a morning person. I’d far rather crank my life out until 2 or 3am–I actually think I get into the zone between midnight and 3am. But, alas, I am not a screenwriter and so I have to adjust.

Here is what I have found about being an early riser: it often sucks waking up at 4:30-5:30am daily (but I usually sleep in until about 6:30am or 7am on the weekends). Especially if you just went to bed a few hours earlier.

However, it sucks far more to be fat and out of shape. So I finally chose the former. Plus, your body adjusts. After doing this for nearly a year I hardly need an alarm.

3. Meal Prep: meal prep is the Ford Model T equivalent to fitness. Trying to cook or prepare each meal when it’s time to do so is sooooo inefficient. So if you have the time to do this, great. And, I LOVE cooking. So while I’m totally stoked and find it mildly therapeutic to be in the kitchen cooking whilst listening to Johnny Cash, that time is taken from somewhere else. So I leave cooking to when I have time to enjoy it, and want something other than a pre-prepped meal.

Enter the Model T of preparing food efficiently. You have to automate it. Every Sunday I spend about 90-minutes in the kitchen, and I do all my meal prep for the week. I have 4-5 things that I cook each week, they’re total staples. I’ll crank it all out, put it away in individual containers, and that’s most of my food for the week. In the next week or two I’ll do a post on my 4-5 staple meals and my go-to fast meals or nutrition hacks that work for me. But this isn’t rocket science either. I found most of my meals from reading what other people do for their meal prep, and just picked what works best for me.

Meal prep isn’t only more efficient, but by having something healthy prepared and ready to go will help when you’re just spent and need kCals, and it’s easy to grab for something you shouldn’t which a prepared meal will help avoid. Plus, I try to keep anything unhealthy out of the kitchen–too tempting otherwise.

4. Alcohol: kill it. Why? It’s just inefficient and full of empty calories. Plus alcohol makes me sleepy. And quite hilarious. However, given that I’m already one of the funniest people I know, it’s better that I keep the competition even so the rest of you stand a fighting chance. 😉

Plus my body just runs cleaner when I’m off alcohol (right now, somewhere in Florida there is a woman named Carol who is doing backflips reading this #4 item…Yes mom, I knew you would be happy about this!). I took a month hiatus altogether from drinking recently and felt great. I love beer as much as the next truck driver (this is totally an inside family joke, but I can’t resist), and I’ve decided to pretty much stay off alcohol for the foreseeable future and leave it only for rare occurrences.

By the way, if someone told me to do this a year ago I would’ve never considered it. So all this stuff didn’t happen to me at once, like most things it takes time to dial in what works for you vs. others, and how far in you want to go.

5. HIIT training (or find your workout thing): Check it out, High Intensity Impact Training. Google it, basically short workout bursts. But the key is to find some form of serious physical activity that works for you. What I love might not be your thing, but the thing each of us have to do is figure out what our thing is.

So whether it’s running, CrossFitting, weight lifting, power walking, yoga, whatever, you’ve gotta find your thing. But one element that has really helped me is finding something with a class or group that has a schedule and offers me some accountability.

It’s one of the (many) great things about CrossFit and why I love it so much. While I want to go to my classes, I also feel somewhat obligated. Though that’s not the same mindset I have with my other workouts, especially running.

You know how some people like to get ready to go out for the night and they want the bathroom and bedroom to themselves, it’s like their “me” time? They don’t want any intrusions or fighting over the sink?

That’s like me with running.

If we run together, I must really really like you. Or feel highly obligated. 🙂

6. Cheat Meals: I try eat clean for nearly every meal (again, I fall off the wagon too), and some of you know that I’m a huge fan of the Paleo diet (meal plan, way of eating, lifestyle, however it’s supposed to be referred to). But I also let myself have two to three cheat meals a week. Some people think this is a lousy strategy and philosophically horrible, and that your eating style should be satisfying and healthful so that you shouldn’t have to eat a cheat meal. I have heard this from more than a few.

To which I offer this reply: please shut your pie hole while I finish my cupcake.

When I have a cheat meal I don’t all out binge until I’m nearly throwing up (okay, so that happened ONCE), but I’ll eat pizza…or possibly consume Dr. Pepper…or have a cupcake. Or cupcakes. Plural. Look, I get the perspective that one should have satisfying food that doesn’t necessitate a binge. Fundamentally, I agree. But on occasion, if one really digs it, then one should also have pizza and fried food, too. And the last time I tried incorporating those into my regular eating regimen I got really fat.

So I’m a fan of the cheat meal. Huge fan. On occasion, just not regularly. Total deprivation with food you crave isn’t good. But regular discipline with moments of deviating is fine, in my opinion. Of course, for others a momentary lapse causes the wheels to come off. You just have to figure out where you are in the spectrum.

There it is, some of the basics of what has helped me lose weight and get more fit over the past few years. There’s a few other things that have helped me along the way, particularly on the nutrition piece so I’m going to post some of those over the next few days–or week.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Go Broncos.

Go Seahawks.

(clearly, I’m agnostic on the outcome of this game–but at least I know who is playing)



No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

The Fitness Resolutions…


So I don’t have New Years Resolutions. But for sure I will cheer on those who do.

My personal philosophy is that if you want to do something you’ll start it now, whether that’s August 27th or Jan 13th. But, I totally get the allure of turning the page and a clean slate. Cheers to that.

So in the spirit of resolutions, many of which are getting fit/losing weight/completing XYZ event, I thought I’d do a quick post on a few things that are good reminders for me this year–if not helpful for anyone else. As you are probably well aware, I know little about fitness and nutrition–so most of the stuff that I’m outlining are based on either simple solutions that have worked to keep me on track, or insights I’ve found to be helpful that I’ve learned from experts. You know, experts are anyone that has published anything that can be found on google and subsequently third-party referenced. 🙂

Lastly–the best thing to do is follow a few blogs and newsletters from people that are real experts. I think Mark Sisson is among the best, most rational, and grounded fitness/nutrition resources out there. Here’s a link to his website called The Daily Apple. And here’s a good, albeit lengthy, video segment on some of Mark Sisson’s basic philosophies. The only part where I eye rolled was the whole Malibu thing. 🙂 Plus, he’s anti-marathons. I don’t like that either. But I’m also an 80% solution guy, and I like his approach, demeanor, and subscribe to the majority of what he says. Plus, what he thinks about marathons is probably true.

1. Do something to build muscle mass–which has a compounding effect on weight loss. I think CrossFit is awesome for overall fitness AND building muscle, but it might not be for you. And if not, it’s worth researching HIIT training (high intensity impact, usually short interval) along with some strength training.

2. Eat breakfast. Specifically, eggs. If I’m not drinking bulletproof coffee, I eat 3-4 scrambled eggs each morning. The benefits are numerous, and warnings about cholesterol be damned.

3. Stash a half dozen packets of Justin’s almond butter in your bag (or, in my case, man purse), car, suitcase, office–and you always have an easy snack or small meal when coupled with a banana, which are almost always accessible. Paleo-ists will say careful with eating too much banana. To that I say: “leave me alone while I eat my banana.” I have almond butter with banana nearly every afternoon as my snack.

4. Sweet potatoes are a great dose of daily (good) carbs. Especially if you’re doing some endurance stuff. Bake them on a Sunday, throw into some Pyrex, and for the week you have an easy vegetable for dinner each week. I eat one daily. BTW, when I say I do something “daily” here, it’s not without fail periodically.

5. Try some Intermittent Fasting. IF can increase HGH, especially if fasted post-workout periodically, and helps get your body into a ketogenic state–though reducing carb intake is what really gets you ketogenic. I’m a fan of using keto for weight loss (though not Atkins-style).

6. Make your food a week in advance. On Sunday’s, I try (but only am successful periodically) to prepare and store a weeks worth of dinners. So when I get home, it’s easy, already portioned, and reduces the risk that in a tired fit of hunger I’ll reach for something not-so-good that causes me to fall off the wagon.

7. 80/20 or 85/15 rule. Majority of meals should be really healthy of course, and I subscribe pretty fanatically to Paleo (though there are days–and even weeks–when I totally fall off). But I allow myself at least two cheat meals a week, three max, where I pretty much eat whatever I want.

Unless I am in Florida. Near a Dunkin Donuts. Then, all bets are off.

There we go–advice for me, if not helpful for anyone else.

By the way, for all my encouragement of marathon running to those who have the desire, I read a really solid article here about why NOT to run a marathon–especially if one hasn’t adequately trained: what happens to your body when you haven’t adequately trained for a marathon. The takeaway for me and anyone who wants to run one: train, train, train. So you can enjoy it. And also reduce any risk or damage that could occur. If you’ve wanted to, you should still go and do it. The emotional, psychological, and soulful benefits still far outweigh any of the negative physical ones. And, yes, that is my “expert” opinion.


No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

My Fifth and Final Marathon (at least for a while)


A week ago was the one-year anniversary of my first ever marathon, and my fifth completed in the past year. The Sacramento marathon will always be a bit of a turning point for me, I felt like if I could run it last year–then run a few more during the year–and then run Sac again one year later, then I’d have hit some significant milestone. Though, now that it’s done, I’m not sure I feel that way. You’d think your 5th marathon would be your easiest, but last Sunday’s race was really tough for me–and nearly an hour slower than I’d run the Chicago marathon just six weeks before. Super humbling, though I had a few physical issues going on that contributed to making this one a bit more difficult. But, here goes.

Following are a few things I learned about myself over the past five marathons, more general tips than practical ones I’ve written about before, or other running stories about how I never thought I could do it, then I said screw it I’m doing it, and a few in between and one more here:

1. I hate the cold. I’m now a California weather wimp, and I now know I can get very Wangry. Do know the definition of angry ? Perfect. Now, know the term “hangry”? That’s anger induced by hunger. Therefore, “wangry”, is anger induced by cold weather. After this last weeks run (was 20’s during most of it) I never want to run long distances in cold weather again.

20's in the 2013 Sacramento CIM Marathon. Way. Too. Cold.
20’s in the 2013 Sacramento CIM Marathon. Way. Too. Cold.

2. If you want to run a marathon…Just put some steps forward and make it happen. Pick a race (like, literally this week–pick a race for sometime late Spring or early Summer). Sign up. Develop a training plan. Start running. Just. Get. Going.

3. Training is part of the gift. It’s also a pain because it’s so time consuming. If you don’t train, and this is pretty straightforward,  you will be in a lot of pain during your marathon. Like you might find yourself in a port-a-pottie at mile 23 crying from the pain. Hypothetically. And you run the risk of not finishing. Plus, while you learn a lot about yourself from the run itself, you also learn a lot throughout training.

4. Pick a marathon song. A soulful one. I have a song for every marathon. And it’s not a “power song” like in a Nike-sense where you need something to amp  you up. It’s more significant than that. It’s, well, soulful…and I can’t really explain it further. Every marathon of mine has a different one, which is usually scattered several times throughout my marathon playlist. Of course it gets plenty of use during my training runs as well. And whilst blogging. This past race’s song was “Pieces” by Andrew Belle. It’s pretty amazing.

5. Stretch your ass off. Especially if you’re over 30. If you don’t stretch pre and post running,you’re a ticking time bomb. Especially if you have accumulated injuries from previous sports or, maybe, you’re just getting old(er). An Ortho once told me those with greatest risk of ligament and tendon tears are guys in mid 30’s who forego stretching and still do the weekend warrior thing and then…Stretching stinks. I hate it. But you have to do it.

6. Only listen to half of what your doctors tell you. Years back a doc told me I shouldn’t run. So I quit. Then I started running anyways. I’ve kept doc advice about running to pretty much zero ever since. But seven days before this past marathon I had to ask my doc about a little medical thing going on (fixed now, and I do not mean that literally) and I asked her whether I could run the marathon to which she basically said “Ummmm, no. This is probably a bad idea.” Days later I decided to ignore her advice, because I realized  she translated my question as “do you think this is a good idea?” rather than “could something really really bad happen?” Don’t let other people talk you out of something you really want. If I had, I wouldn’t have started running, nor completed last weeks race.

7. Keep your head up. The most epic line I heard from a spectator this past race will forever be burned in my memory. As I’m at mile 24 there were still stretches with very few spectators. At this point I’d taken my headphones off and I’m just trying to run one step at a time while looking right in front of me.

Suddenly, I hear a lady standing around the 2 o’clock position on the sidelines yell out to me in a booming voice “GET YOUR HEAD UP HONEY! AIN’T NO DOLLAR BILLS DOWN THERE! NOW GET YOUR HEAD UP AND LOOK TO THE FINISH LINE!” I kept my head up the final 2.2. miles.

8. And keep your eyes open.

Joyce's First Marathon! Great job!
Joyce’s First Marathon! Great job!

Because you’ll be inspired. And this is what I love most about marathon running.

Watching my friend Joyce finish Chicago–her first marathon–was inspiring to me. So was the guy I saw at the same marathon running WITH brain cancer, who was having serious brain surgery the following day. That story is here,. And then there was the guy with muscular dystrophy, in the same race, who 17 hours later crossed the finish line. Or, simply, during this last Sacramento marathon, when I saw this guy cross the finish line completing his first marathon–and when his eyes met his girlfriend they were both crying. That stuff’s inspiring to me.

I LOVE watching people finish things they thought might be out of their reach. It’s a milestone towards their destiny. And it’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve received from running five marathons this past year, though completing them have also given me a bit of confidence moving forward.

But, despite all the fun I had, I’m not doing five again next year. Most people suggest two is the optimal number, so that’s what I’m sticking with.


No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Part Two: A S*&$@Y Way to Lose $1,000 (the follow-up)

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A few months ago I wrote a post about how I lost a grand. And didn’t follow my intuition.

You can read about that one here.

Shortly after writing the post a friend of mine encouraged me to reach out to him and let him know I’d forgiven the debt. It was the right thing to do, after all, I’d just written about what I KNEW I was supposed to do all along. A few months went by, and finally I wrote the overdue email.

Early in the morning I sent the email off relieving him of his burden, never expecting to hear back a response or acknowledgment. And to my total surprise, later that afternoon, I received an apology email with the promise to pay me back.

I’ve carried the chain of messages (omitting names and anything remotely descriptive) because I feel it’s given me two different learnings:

The first is that when your intuition says to do one thing and you do something else, well often we’re given another chance to get it right. I didn’t get it right the first time…but I think I did the second time when I sent the email relieving the debt. Note: this isn’t anything noble or generous that I did, it’s what I was supposed to do–so please don’t interpret me as posting this as anything remotely self promoting–to the contrary, it took me a while to figure out what I was supposed to do all along.

The second is that even if you’ve screwed up (and man, I know I have…) you often get a chance to get that right too. And my trainer did, he offered to pay me back in full. While I’m not accepting it–you can’t pay back a debt that was relieved–he did his part to make things right. And that’s enough.

Tonight I’m looking at this situation which bothered me for a while and finally feel a sense of accomplishment in such an unexpected way. Not just for me, but for him as well. It wasn’t easy to respond to my message, acknowledge it, apologize, and own it. But to his full credit, that’s exactly what he did.

Sometimes you do get a few shots to get things right.

Thank God…


On Nov 9, 2013, at 1:11 AM, Rich Razgaitis <> wrote:


Thanks for your email response, I appreciate it.
But, also, I meant it. I am relieving you of it. There’s no more debt to pay off.
I hope you’re doing well.
On Nov 7, 2013, at 4:16 PM, XYZ wrote:

Hey Raz I thank you for the email. I am well and truly apologize for my behavior. I considered you guys to be really good friends. Although you have forgiven my debt I would like to pay you back starting at the beginning of the year. I was in a bad place and felt like I was drowning so I made some bad decisions. I’m back in the Bay and would love to maybe hook up with you and talk.



On Nov 7, 2013, at 6:19 AM, Rich Razgaitis <> wrote:


I am not sure what’s going on in your life, but I wanted to drop you a quick line and give you an update.

The short version is that I am forgiving your debt that you owe to me of the nearly $1,000 outstanding.

I do want to mention that I felt how you handled this by ignoring me and not following through was disrespectful, especially when I believed in you and went out on a limb to help you out. This also hurts yourself and your reputation. There are a lot of courses of action that I could have taken on this, including having my personal attorney file claims against you, which would have landed you in court and tied you up in legal trouble/expenses.

However, I have decided to take a different tact and forgive your debt instead. I believe you are a good person, who could do really well, but have gotten into a difficult situation and simply made a really bad decision about how you handled this with me.

Hopefully life is turning around for you, and that you are making inroads with your business.

Best of luck to you,


No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

24 Ice Cream Sandwiches: Killing the Binge

Bulletproof Coffee
Breakfast: coffee, kerrygold butter, and MCT oil

In high school I remember our neighborhood grocery having a sale on ice cream sandwiches. $1 per box. Deal of the century. So I bought something like ten boxes. I remember eating two of those boxes in one day (meh, that’s 24 ice cream sandwiches). What made me think of that was when I ate one box (and only one, people) of ice cream sandwiches in a single day last week (I was famished and skipped two meals). To be really transparent, I think I did it in an evening–not even a full day. And, I kinda recall that I might have had a box of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies that evening as well. And I say might because if I stated it definitively I’m afraid you’d start judging me.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yes, I can be compulsive. But it can work to my favor as well, like when I am eating really clean. Which has been most of the past year but not without some binges. Ironically, in the last year I’ve received many articles from friends about the downside of following a Paleo-style eating plan, or the cautions of being too strict with diet, or losing too much weight. When I wasn’t eating well, guess how many articles I received about the downsides of eating poorly, or being fat? Zero. If I’m going to an extreme, I’d rather be on this side than the other one.

I’m still chasing my final bodyfat goal and hope to hit it by mid-October. My final target is to have less than 8% body fat, which I revised from my previous goals of 15% and then 12%. Right now I’m probably still a few points away and hovering around 10%, and the last few percentage points have been tough to shed but it’s because I’m having food breakdowns. So I’m revisiting the things that I know worked for me over the last year that have helped me drop over 40lbs of fat and need to keep dialed in so I can hit my goal.

Here are a few tips on how to kill the binge so you can kill it with your fitness goals:

1. Have three cheat meals a week. And figure out what days these will be in advance, OR pick two in advance and then use a third wildcard during the week. For the rest of the week pick your eating regimen/philosophy. I am pretty strict Paleo, but if it’s my cheat meal I’ll practically snort wheat (okay fine so I’ll have two pieces of toast, but snorting wheat sounds so much more ruckus) and guzzle dairy–both of which aren’t Paleo–so I use Paleo as a means to an end, not because my body can’t tolerate gluten and dairy or because I think either are inherently bad.

2. Do not have a “partial” cheat meal. Meaning, don’t “kinda graze” and then not count it as your cheat meal, because then it turns into five, seven, then ten meals…Before you know it, you’re getting fat. And just because it’s a cheat meal doesn’t mean you should binge. I (generally) don’t. But I will have a cheeseburger, extra crispy fries with aioli, and a milkshake–or maybe a Dr. Pepper. I really want to eat that right now. At Shake Shake. And I haven’t even been to Shake Shack yet, I have been resisting for years–but the stories are glorious.

3. Bring your own food. Yeah, it’s a little ridiculous to go to a dinner party at someones house and bring your own eats, but I’ll do it. Or, I’ll eat a healthy meal right before and then not eat (people love inviting me over –or out–for dinner :)).

Almond Butter and Banana

4. Meal prep. Prep your meals for the following week over the weekend. Super critical for me, and when I don’t do this my chances of falling off the wagon go up 2-3x.

Breakfast is easy–each morning I drink two cups of coffee with one to two tablespoons of Kerrygold butter, one tablespoon of MCT oil and sometimes a little vanilla (ground beans or flavoring) all blended together. If I CrossFit or lift in the morning then immediately post-workout I’ll consume BCAA’s for muscle recovery, followed by this coffee concoction.

Lunch and Dinners: The more you prep your lunches and dinners the less likely it is you’ll skip a meal or delay grabbing food. Which I think is the killer to healthy eating. Or at least it’s the road to binging. When I am famished I binge eat. 24 ice cream sandwiches in a day? I could do that all week long, especially if I skip a meal.

For my afternoon snack between 3-4pm, almost religiously I will have a small organic banana (~70 calories) and a packet of almond butter (210 calories, so total of 280 cals).

Evening is where things totally unravel for me. So what’s critical is that I don’t skip lunch, and definitely not my banana and almond butter snack. If I come home from a long day, with still more work to do, and I’m hungry AND I don’t have food prepared? I’m totally hosed. Which is why the weekend investment of prepping for meals is so invaluable during the week.

There it is. Nothing too magical. As I’ve looked at my last few weeks these are the areas where I’m breaking down–it’s pretty simple, really.

If you have any tips on what’s worked for you I’d love to hear about them too.







No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant data you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

My Most Epic Bike Ride Ever

Purely a re-enactment, on my Plan C bike after the evening festivities

Sometimes I write stories with an intentional point. Other times I just write. Today falls into the latter category.

41 out of my last 50 days were spent traveling. When I got home two days ago, I PROMISED the kiddos I’d watch the fireworks with them last night. And I’ve missed a lot of events in my years of being a dad. So I wasn’t going to miss this one.

Last night we arrive at a neighborhood cookout at 6pm, where we were to view the fireworks later that evening. At 8pm I drove home to jump on a conference call with China (yes, I had a call with whole country). It was supposed to end at 8:45pm, plenty of time for me to get back for the 9:30pm fireworks display. Of course, the call went long and at 9:10 I’m hustling out the door to make it as promised.

As I got closer my destination, all the roads to my final venue are blocked off and street parking was non-existant. I circled around to head back towards our house, and by the time I found roadside parking I was about a mile away from my destination. So I headed back home for plan B.

And here begins the story of my most epic bike ride ever.

Since it was then past 9:15, my best option was to run inside and jump on my road bike–dress shoes and all. But it had two time-flattened tires so after a minute of energetic use of the air pump I was back to 115 PSI and at 9:20 ran out the door, threw my bike on the ground and hit the road. My last thought to myself as I ran out the door was “Should I grab a helmet?” But I didn’t, rationalizing that I’ve never laid down a road bike or a motorcycle, it’ was only a mile away, nobody was on the road, oh and up to six weeks ago I’d been training for a half-Ironman so clearly I was an expert biker (insert sarcasm).

What could go wrong?

About a quarter of a mile away from my house I was cycling around 20MPH and suddenly heard a pop–I get a flat–then suddenly caught the rim on the asphalt, fork the handlebars, and flew over the bike headfirst. As I was in the air, I actually think I laughed. Yes, right in the face of danger. And then, after I landed and rolled around a few times, my laughter changed to moderately expressive commentary. I moved my arms and legs to make sure it all still worked, felt my head to see if it was still in one piece, then picked up my bike with mangled handlebars and a seriously bent front rim and started running back to the house. I then noticed my right arm burning with thick liquid dripping down it. Yahoo! A battlescar! I reach for my iPhone to use the light to see how bad it was

No iPhone. I run back to the spot of my accident,and found it in the middle of the road. Shattered. Grabbed the iPhone in my left hand, with the bike still in my right, and at that point I’m pretty much in a dead on sprint back to the house because it was then 9:25. I had five minutes left to make it!

Debated between taking Erica’s bike (plan C) or throwing on running shoes (plan D), I opt for the former. As I leave I noticed her bike, too, had time-flattened tires. About 9:29pm I’m out the door with a minute to go. Since it was pitch dark and eerily quiet, I had assumed nobody was around–until I heard our neighbor yell across the street “Hey partner, looks like you really wanna see those fireworks!” He must’ve been pretty amused. Perhaps even frightened.

At 9:32 I made it back to our venue looking like a hot mess. But I arrived within the first few bursts of red, white, and blue explosions in the sky, in time to grab the kiddos, grab a seat on the asphalt (intentionally this time), and proceeded to watch an awesome show with RoZo. Once they knew everything was okay, the girls got a kick out of the story at the end of the night–though they kept asking me “Dad, are you SURE you’re okay?” 🙂 Though waking up this morning quite sore all over my body, and several Benjamin’s poorer, it was worth the excitement.

And that, my friends, is the story of my most Epic bike ride ever.


No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

“You Lose Your Face?” (my first before and after photo)

Raz before and after

If you stop by on occasion you know that I’ve been working on losing weight, after many years of going up and down. Mostly up. Usually staying up. Several things motivated me to finally make it happen; and a big one of them was seeing all these before and after pictures of different people who had lost weight. So I promised myself that when I hit my goal I’d do the same thing, in the event that it might motivate just one person to keep after it.

Yet I have bailed repeatedly on posting my before and after photos. Why? I guess because I’m embarrassed. Partly from the before pics themselves, and carrying the weight for so long. Partly from my goals evading me for so long. But two weeks ago I was traveling in Asia and as I was going through customs the agent looked at my passport picture, then at me, several times back and forth and finally asked “you lose your face?” Going through customs again this last week, I had another agent say, after looking at my passport picture and me back and forth several times, “this isn’t your passport, is it?”

And these are the two interactions that nudged me to post my first before and after picture—using my passport picture as the baseline—and also one I just took on this flight as the “after.” I’m still not feeling it right now, as I’ve been on the road most of the last month and my eating has been horrible. Ah yes, I also need a haircut. Plus my eyes look a little wigged out. And I think my nose looks bigger. No, no, my nose is definitely bigger. Which I didn’t think could be possible. Despite many imperfections that I can find in both pictures of me all too quickly, I do look skinnier in the pic on the right than I did a few years back in my passport pic on the left. And, THAT is the point.

The customs agent dialogue also prompted me to set a date of September 15th to post my before and after pictures, this way I’ve got enough time to work up to it mentally and I wrapped a goal around that date too. So, there it is. My first before and after picture. Nothing great but I finally made some progress on the lbs. I’m not shy about telling people that I failed at my goal of losing weight for a long time. I’m still very humbled by the whole experience.

I don’t have (usually) pithy little quotes that I rattle off. But, I do have one overarching theme I lean towards. Which generally translates into “keep on going.” Of course, this isn’t a universal truism. For example, if you’ve failed at being an entrepreneur 50-times, the data is showing that this is likely not your thing (though success could be right around the corner–who am I to tell you to stop going if that’s what’s in your heart?).

But there are some things that, no matter what, you shouldn’t quit pursuing. Starting something. Stopping something. Whatever your thing is, you shouldn’t quit the pursuit of your accomplishment of it. Instead, you should get after it. Hard.

Don’t ever give up on your goals. Even if everyone else has.


No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all season. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Why You Should Run a Marathon (seriously)

The San Francisco Marathon Start
The San Francisco Marathon Start

I have become one of those annoying “hey-I-ran-a-marathon-so-should-you” types.

If you’ve never had an inkling to run a marathon, if the thought of it bores you to no end, or makes you nauseous. then read no further. But if you’ve ever had even the slightest thought of it, let me give a quick rundown on why I think you should sign up. Now.

I signed up for the San Francisco Wipro marathon five months ago, when I was in better running shape. And, I’ve kinda lost that over the last three months: work–and particularly travel–crushed my running schedule. So going into the weekend I decided to step down to the half marathon…until I checked in where I decided to do the full. There were lots of mistakes with this last marathon, including going out way too strong, and the last 11 miles were a serious struggle–I have a lessons learned on this one coming soon.

Yet, one of the gifts of the last 11 miles was that it caused me to think about why I even love marathons–despite being so frustrated and “uncomfortable” on this last one.

Not an all inclusive list, here’s what went through my mind during those last 11 miles as to why I love marathons. And you will (might) too.

1. Check in is a blast.

Adrenaline. All these runners with the anticipation and energy of the next-day race. Check in is a great experience, it’s a blast because you’re still a day away from pain. This is the fun part, anticipation, carb loading, butterflies, all that stuff! Really great energy. Check in is totally underrated.

SF Marathon Check In
SF Marathon Check In

2. Training shapes you.

Years ago, I started playing the guitar. “Playing” is probably gracious. Strumming? Plucking? Screeching? I could play a few songs. And sing along. Horribly. Truly, I am horrible horrible singer. And the last time I touched that guitar was three start-ups ago…But when I was playing a lot I swear it changed my thought process–as if playing music started mapping my brain differently. Yes, there is probably data on this. No, I do not want to google it. I just want to write. Leave me alone. 🙂

I think running does something similar, though not through the same mechanism. Running will map you differently, perhaps less because of how sound and dexterity maps your brain and more because you’re going to have time to think. And if you’re doing the proper training, a lot of it. So get your miles in! It’s part of what shapes you, the discipline of training. And your mind will be open to thoughts and ideas that never have time to germinate in quite the same way otherwise.

3. You get to break limits. Your own limits. 

Especially if you don’t think you can run a marathon, but you kind of want to, you should do it. Because it’s a breakable limit. When you break it, your perspective will change. About yourself. You will be less boxed in, less risk averse, and less timid on the next challenge. Which might not have anything to do with running–that’s cool. But do it once and I think it’ll change your mindset on your limits.

It's You vs. You
It’s You vs. You

4. You’ll be inspired during the race.

Perhaps by watching someone that you never thought would run a marathon run alongside of you. Maybe by some guy carrying the American flag whilst playing country music out of his iPhone. Perhaps by a father and son combination, shirtless and running in front of you.

It might even be the playing of the National Anthem at the beginning of the race. Or magical scenery throughout the run.

I promise, you’ll be inspired. Somewhere along the way. In a big way. By someone. Something. Or even yourself.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge
Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge

5. You’ll fall in love with new music. 

Since you need to have tunes. A lot of them. Some swear by not listening to music in a marathon. I, on the other hand, have to listen to music. This latest playlist included Jeff Bridges (frequent favorite), Kaskade (newer all time favorite–especially after hearing him perform live in LA), The Civil Wars (hoping they stay together!), and a pretty eclectic smattering of other artists.

And, of course, every marathon has to have a “song” that’s basically your Power Song. And every marathon has a different one (these are just my rules, if you’re running then you get to create your own). I just learned of these guys from Pandora (have I told anybody how much I LOVE Pandora? Did you buy your ad-free version yet?), and here’s my SF Marathon power song.

6. You’ll get healthier in the process.

You’ll eat better, you’ll learn more about your body, you might even fall in love with the Nutribullet (does ANYBODY know how much I love this thing? Kale as the base…always Kale as the base then fruit after it’s half full). Your metabolism will increase, bodyfat will decrease. But, still, you have to watch what you eat–weight is 70% managed in the kitchen. You’ll feel better.

I LOVE the Nutribullet
I LOVE the Nutribullet

7. You might replace one affliction with another one.

Pretty self explanatory. Some people think runners are obsessive, or caution about the ills of finding a new addiction. Generally, this is probably a good thing and better than the alternative. I wish I were more obsessive about running, but I’m getting closer. For the most part, I don’t have much of a dial–it’s more of an on/off switch.

In the process of training, you might find yourself with a new affliction.

8. You’ll see some clothing that nobody should be wearing. And that will amuse you. 

And, if you do wear long pants that show every crevice of your booty body, especially if you are a guy, please make sure you’re running close to a three hour marathon rather than a four. I mean, really… 🙂 But, I guess, you know, if you’re running your marathon, each to their own…


 9. Nothing beats crossing the finish line.

And it doesn’t matter who is there, if anyone at all, to greet you. Or even your time, especially if it’s your first. Yes, for sure it’s awesome to get a personal record, or have friends or family there–two of the three marathons have had my wife and RoZo waiting for me, which was great. But one of them I was in Phoenix, by myself, and in some ways it was just as gratifying. Because there’s something internal about running one of these. If you don’t know whether you’ll have anyone at the finish line, sign up anyways. And tell me you’re running it. You can call me after the marathon and I’ll be someone that gives you a virtual hug and high five. But you won’t need it.


Finally finished...
Finally finished…


No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all season. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

A Quick Plug for Clean Eating (and not quitting!)

For those that read my blog, you know I’ve been working on getting in shape for, well, years. And most of those years were wildly unsuccessful! Some of my prior posts on this are here and here.

I had spurts where I would do better and even points where I got in decent shape, though I had a few real brutal era’s including the years right after college ball where I still ate like a horse without working out.

This is a post that I don’t want to be presumptuous because for me it’s more humbling than anything else. Sometimes people who have known me for years will ask “wow don’t you feel great about yourself now?” Yeah, I guess…kind of (that sounds lame but it’s the truth, and certainly I feel way better than before).

There’s a part of me that a) still feels a bit like the overweight dude–which I suppose dissipates over time, and b) remains frustrated that it took me so long–that for many years–I failed. I normally don’t have much of a rear view mirror, but with this I do. So writing about my ups and downs with my fitness, or lack of, is pretty humbling for me. Shouldn’t have been this hard for me. But it was.

About eight months ago I finally heard enough stories and saw enough before and after photos of people who lost weight where I finally said to myself two things:

1. If all these people can do it, dammit I can do it!

2. If I don’t do this NOW, then when am I really going to get after it and succeed?

I still don’t have the guts to show before and after pics. But I promised myself that someday I would because seeing those are one of the things that really inspired me. So, even if it just makes a difference for one person, I feel compelled to do it as well. But, ugh, the before ones are just brutally humbling.  One of these days…just not today. 🙂

So today, after my fourth hydrostatic body fat test since October, my bodyfat percentage is down to 10.87%. I’m still not at my final goal yet, which is <9%, or less if that’s what it takes until I see some darned abs (the vain portion of my goal)…Last summer I was over 20% BF, and highest BF in my life was a lot more than that…maybe 30%, maybe even a little more? Cringe, cringe, cringe…

What made the difference for me?

1. Frustration and inspiration both compelled me.

2. Other stories and photos encouraged me.

3. Paleo and good clean eating / nutrition drove 70% of my results. No joke. It’s what you do in the kitchen that drives weight loss. By the way, have I said recently how much I love my Nutribullet? 🙂

4. Crossfit and running helped keep me on track and increased muscle mass and metabolism, and general fitness (again I still have ways to go).

I’m actually still quite humbled (embarrassed is probably more accurate) that it took me this long to dial it in. And I tried and failed 100 times. But if I hadn’t kept going, I wouldn’t have made the progress needed. So if you’ve failed 100 times, here’s to trying (and perhaps failing) a 101st time. One of these times you’ll nail it. You will. But it requires that you have some grit to keep going, and it’s pretty humbling along the way. Finally, you have to reach a point where you’re just so sick of failing that you grind through what’s needed to accomplish what you want.

For those who have fitness goals that they’ve almost abandoned, I’d offer up some super simple advice.

Don’t quit.

Do. Not. Quit.





No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Tape ‘Em Up, and Nine Other Lessons from Two Marathons

Running a Marathon...10 Tips
Running a Marathon…10 Tips

Girls on the Run in Washington D.C.
Girls on the Run in Washington D.C.

A little over a year ago we took the kiddo’s to a “Girls on the Run” event. I ran a 5k with Royce, and remember how willing and able she was to do the jaunt faster than me. I kept thinking “why can’t we walk a little and enjoy the day?” and “I hope there are doughnuts at the finish line.”

She was 10 at the time, I was 38. Not a good indicator of my potential to run a marathon.

Last summer I decided to try to run a marathon again, I’ve written a few posts about it here, here, and here. A Friend of mine helped me pick a schedule and that was the catalyst. Two Sunday’s ago I just completed my second marathon, so by no means am I an expert. In fact, I know practically nothing. Which is why I feel qualified to give advice to only those who know absolutely nothing. 🙂

In the event this might help someone, I did learn some lessons along the way that I wish I had known in advance. So here goes…Starting with the most awkward one–and hilarious–first.

1 Men…Tape. Your. Nipples. 

Yes, I’m serious. While riding the bus to the start line for the California International Marathon in Sacramento I was sitting with an ultra-marathoner who peppered me with advice en route, including asking “Okay, tell me you taped your nipples–right? Because it’s pouring rain and you’re going to be in brutal pain at the finish line if not.” I immediately grabbed tape from a guy a few rows up. That was the one part of my body that wasn’t in pain that day.

Next to finishing the marathon, your second objective should really be to look halfway decent whilst you cross the finish line. 🙂 And I can assure you, if you’re a dude that has blood streaks coming down from your white running shirt as you’re at mile 25, the only thing going through the mind of bystanders is “Holy crap, are those dudes nipples BLEEDING?” In addition to the visual disturbance, it’s pretty painful too. I didn’t really believe this could happen until I saw it firsthand at the Phoenix Rock ‘n Roll marathon three weeks ago, at mile 25, to a guy in a white shirt…Of course.

While there remains some debate as to whether a persons body is really designed to run for 26.2 miles, there is no debate that a mans nipples were not.

2. Just start the training. 

You could spend hours and hours and hours picking plans, reading about what to do, how to do it, and never even get started. If you want to run a marathon, take 10-minutes, do a google search, pick a plan and just get started. Some prefer plans from Jeff Galloway and Hal Higdon. They’re both fine (I used neither). Just get a schedule and go, preferably running at least four days a week though I only did three. I’ll explain my rationale later. Stay consistent. You can miss a few workouts, but don’t let that become a pattern–the consistency is critical not only physiologically, but psychologically.

3. Use the NikePlus app or a NikePlus watch (preferred). 

NikePlus Watch
NikePlus Watch

For my first marathon I used the NikePlus app on my iPhone, which is solid but the distance calculations during the run are not accurate–usually under by about 10-15% for me, which means in all your training you THINK your pace is much faster than it actually is. Because that was my only real measurement for training, it was frustrating to figure this out on marathon day. I recently purchased a NikePlus running watch with the TomTom GPS built into it, it is wildly accurate and it’s all I use now.

4. Mimic marathon day on your long runs. 

Usually you’ll do your long runs on a Saturday or Sunday. Try to do these earlier in the day, because that’s when you’ll be running the marathon. And fuel your body the way you intend on marathon day. Prior to a long run I now drink a protein shake, eat a banana with almond butter, and then I’ll fuel every five miles (EVEN IF YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT!) with GU tri-berry flavored energy gels. I didn’t do this for my first marathon, learned the hard way and bonk’d pretty hard at mile 18 in the CIM.

5. Don’t do ANYTHING new on race day. 

Don’t try new weird yoga-pose-stretches, don’t wear new shoes, don’t try some new super jungle-berry drink, don’t eat a new type of food, don’t wear compression socks. If you ate big macs prior to all your long training, well, then onward with your habit. Don’t switch it up on marathon day (pray tell, you don’t eat Big Macs, do you?).

6. Buy great shoes that fit how you run. 

I used to buy my running shoes with a strong focus on how good they look. I had no idea that different running shoes had different structures to support a negative camber, heavy heel striking, etc. Go to a running store where they will watch you run and guide you into the right pair of shoes that fit how you run. Now, I buy shoes based purely on how they fit. If any of you have seen my running shoes, you can attest it’s no longer on looks.

7. Lose weight. 

I started running last summer close to 240lbs (EEEEEEEEKKKKK!). This morning I weighed 202. Every ten pounds reduces your per minute mile by 20-seconds. For me, that’s like 1:20 per mile with a 40lb difference, or 35 minutes different in a marathon. Not to mention the toll that it saves on the body, and how you look and feel. Running alone won’t cut it, losing weight is 70% diet. I like the Paleo diet, but find something that works for you.

8. Crosstrain. 

So the reason I ran about 3x/week was because I spent the other 3x/week doing CrossFit. Ideally, I should have run more. But I knew I needed to lose weight, and build muscle mass. I noticed some of my greatest gains in speed when I started doing CrossFit.

9. Stretch. Stretch. Stretch some more. 

I am extremely tight, and am a horrible stretcher. Not stretching pre, and particularly post, runs is killa. Killa. KILLA. You need to stretch, hard core. Throughout the day. Being too tight can lead to a host of injuries that will take you out of your marathon. I hate stretching and I’m still lousy at this, but it’s pretty critical.

10. Prevent or delay bonking. 

When you get to mile 20, you’re about halfway. Those last 6 miles are more difficult than than the first 20. To put this in start-up terms, the first 20 miles are a little like your brilliant sexy new start-up idea–it’s genius, wow that was easy! And now the next few years are the hard work of executing. That’s when mile 20 starts. Your muscles will have probably consumed all its glycogen at this point, and it’s going to be a big mental game to finish strong. A few things that will help reduce or potentially prevent hitting the wall:

a) Don’t go out too fast. The first mile or two is filled with adrenaline. Intentionally run slow out the first few miles.

b) Gatorade or water at every station, even if just a bit. Take a GU energy gel prior to the start of the race, then every 45-minutes thereafter. If you wait until you feel like you need it, at say mile 15, it’s too late and your glycogen stores are shot–or close to it–and you can’t replenish (note: I realize this conflicts with a lot of Paleo beliefs–and while I’m pretty strict on Paleo, this is one area where I deviate, at least for now).

c) Run the first half at or below your marathon pace. Speed it up second half. Also called “reverse splits.”

And an 11th bonus one, if you’re thinking of running multiples. 

Give enough time between marathons.

The night I got home from the Sac marathon, I was like “Cool, I got this. Let’s sign up for the Phoenix Rock ‘n Roll marathon in six weeks.” Not a great idea. Your body needs about two weeks to recover post-marathon, then two weeks before the race you should begin your tapering process. Basically, that leaves two weeks for training in a six week window. You can’t really make meaningful improvements during this time and there’s high risk of injury in this window. Most running experts have told me a good number of marathons to target is 2-3/year. I completed the Phoenix Rock ‘n Roll marathon, but wouldn’t time it that way again.

Yep, I know some people can run marathons within a week or two of each other. These people are called freaks of nature. It is unlikely you are lucky enough to be one of them.

This year, I hope to run two more marathons, and then several half marathons along the way (including the NYC half this March). My goal for the summer marathon is to get down in the 3:40’s, and then by fall to run a sub 3:30 though for me that would be pretty fast and will have to make more adjustments, including:

1. Using RunCoach, a website (about $20 a month) that designs a custom running plan based on algorithms and previous runs, incorporates tempos, drills, etc.

2. Dropping 12lbs. I don’t think there’s a good chance that I can run a sub 3:30 without dropping my weight down to 190.

3. Figuring out optimal fueling for my body, and a more strict regimen of the Paleo diet during the week–fewer bananas, more sweet potatoes.

4. Much more stretching. Like a banshee.

5. Moderately–if not radically–improved running form. Started this two weeks ago. I feel like I’m going backwards, but I know it’s the right thing to do.

There you have it. 10 tips plus a bonus from someone who knows very little about marathoning but has learned a few things along the way. My best advice to anyone thinking about it is just start. Create a simple plan. And make it happen. You’ll be glad you did, and in the process, you might even develop a healthy new addiction habit.

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Prepared to Fail

Tomorrow is the Sacramento marathon (also known as California Marathon, or CIM).

I am not really a runner. Yet, I love to run. The solidtude. Steps on the ground in a rhythmic pattern. Letting your mind wander. The runners rush after a good jaunt.  I just wasn’t built to be a long distance runner. But that hasn’t quelled my enthusiasm for it.

I have two prior (failed) Marathon attempts, both three years ago. Midway through my training I got some pretty harsh tendonitis that benched me. A little over a year ago I sought out a highly regarded Orthopedic surgeon who I was sure could get me back into running. After my evaluation, he told me his best advice was to lay low a year, possibly two, do light stretching and exercises—maybe aquatic!—but to do nothing running related. Was basically a lot of “you know, tendonitis is tricky…not great blood flow there, slow to repair, there’s just really not a lot you can do…” Upon my request he reluctantly made a physical therapist recommendation. I still remember how hopeless I felt leaving his office.

Instead (of basically doing nothing) I found a physical therapist who got me jump started. I remember on my first visit asking him if he could help me run again, with the end goal being a marathon. With some optimism he said yes. Part of what I needed was some physical help, and he used an amazing (and painful—like bring-you-to-tears-painful) technique called Graston Therapy that made a huge difference. But he also gave me some hope.

So fast forward 1+ years, I’ve now been training for the Sac Marathon for four months, supplemented with Crossfit a few days a week, and have been following the Paleo diet consistently and have dropped a few pounds. At worst, I am in decent shape. But even still, I’m lacking confidence for tomorrow.

So up until this moment, I have given myself an out for tomorrow’s race so that if I don’t finish I’m okay with it. And myself.

In other words, I’ve set myself up to be okay with failing. Which is not really like me at all, but this dang marathon has evaded me for years and I’m quite a bit humbled by it.

It manifests through a lot of ways, by how I share with others that I’m “trying” to run the Sacramento marathon and simply “hope” to finish, to my latest series of internal conversations this morning about how the cold I caught this morning and lousy running weather all make it more understandable if I “try” but don’t complete it.

Why have I done this? It’s protective. If I finish, then I still feel good. But if I don’t, well, then I won’t feel so bad because I’ve been hedging all the while. It’s pretty primitive, really. And I’m kind of a sissy for doing it. Because all I’ve really done is reduced some of my determination, and increased my risk of failure.

Hours ago before I boarded my flight from the East Coast to Sacramento, by way of my hometown Dallas, I realized what I’ve been doing psychologically over the past four months. And in an instant it totally changed my context and beliefs. Because, a) I’m not really a sissy, and b) I don’t quit stuff, and c) I should have enough mental mojo to fix this deficient thought pattern.

So here’s where I am now, and I’m not deviating from it for one minute.

Tomorrow, I’m going to run—and finish—the Sacramento marathon.

And, here’s the real stretch for me: I’m going to run it in under four hours.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all day. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Running Fast(er) vs. Running Slow(er)

This year I did my first Turkey Trot, I think ever but there’s a chance growing up we did one. In Columbus there was this run called “The Dam Run” (Hoover Dam) and we did it a few times as a family but don’t recall if it was on Thanksgiving. And, no, I don’t want to Google it to find out–I want it to remain a mystery. It was lots of fun and I loved the ability to pseudo-swear and say Dam in front of my parents as a kid.

In fact, I still do. Dam. Dam. Dam. Damdada, DamdeDa DamdadadaeedededDAM!

Moving on…

In the last month I’ve “run”  in two races in over 20-years. On Sunday December 2nd, I’m running the Sacramento Marathon. It’s my third attempt to finish a marathon, the other two I trained (and paid! :)) for, but a really nagging Achilles and Patellar tendonitis prevented me from even making it to race day on either. So these two runs in the last month were part of my training regimen for the Sac Marathon, and I wanted to shake out some of my nerves.

On on this Thanksgiving race, I had this really cool physical manifestation about how running with certain groups can be such a great comparison for teams of people.

Two weeks ago I ran a half marathon, and I paced myself moderately well and finished running the 13.2 miles @ an 8:50 pace per mile. This is probably an average-ish pace. As I’m running the last mile I’m probably at a 7:30 pace and passing tons of people. No big deal, and I wasn’t trying to pass tons of people, I just was trying to finish at a better clip. But I was in a crowd of decent runners who were really starting to stagger towards the end. And there were few group dynamics to push through to the end. Just my own dynamics. Which was/is fine.

So this Thursday, I’m running a 10k (6.2 miles) and I decided to try to pick it up a bit and run with more aggressive runners and try to finish at a sub 7:30 pace. I started at a 7:38 pace, and ended the race by averaging a 7:20 pace for the full 10k. And once again, if you’re a runner, this still isn’t fast. The last mile I felt pretty solid and picked it up to run about a 6:45 pace. But here’s the funny thing, though I’d really picked it up the last mile as I’d done in the prior race, in this one I could barely pass anyone…because I was now among better runners. And they’re all pushing hard, and each other, and it caused our entire pack to speed up. It sounds silly, but at a certain point there was this group energy that just carried our informal pod of runners that were clumped together. Which also made it more difficult to slow down.

And as I’m running, it really dawns on me that this is such a physical manifestation of the difference between teams of people in business. In the really good teams, the group dynamics make the individual performance better. And the irony is, that the individual performance also gets easier, because there’s this group-dyanmic-force-shield-of-sorts that helps each person out as well. Nothing profound here, but I wanted to capture it on a blog post for myself if nothing else. (as an aside: for anyone reading this who is a walker or runner, this isn’t about whether you should run faster or slower, or if you’re in XYZ pace or whatever. I think all fitness goals are personal–do what works. And keep doing it).

So in the last mile of the race, four things are going through my head: man, I’m tired, I love this Mos Def power song, this last mile is an interesting business metaphor let me dissect the ways, and I really hope I can finish the Sacramento marathon. Regarding that last one, one week from tomorrow I’ll know.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Exercising your inner ‘Rocky’

rocky balboa

Here you go, another way to get to your wellness. Go for it, and start exercising your inner Rocky!

“If someone says you can lose 20 pounds in the course of a year by punching a bag, then I’m signing up,” says Stephen Stoute, the 39-year-old chief executive of Carol’s Daughter beauty and skin-care line. “There’s a Rocky in all of us.”
Mr. Stoute did just that—except he dropped nearly 100 pounds over the course of nine years.
Mr. Stoute was in top shape in his teens and early 20s, playing football in both high school and college. “Once I got into the professional world, health was not at the forefront of things on my mind,” says Mr. Stoute, who was executive vice president of Interscope Geffen A&M Records. The pounds slowly started to creep on and by age 30 he weighed 315 pounds.

Click here to read the full story.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all season. What is the most significant data you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Dogged Pursuit


Can we agree on a few simple premises? 

1. There’s a huge need for secondary or replacement primary income right now? More than ever in the past three decades, perhaps longer? Everybody is faced with the prospect of layoffs, 401k matches missing, salary reductions, and on. Not to say that everyone is going through it–but everybody to some degree is faced with the prospect. Heck, I just read that even Sesame Street is laying off 20% of it’s workforce–including some of the letters of the alphabet, such as Q, K, Z, K, and the semicolon! (the latter is pulled from a funny piece of online satire, but the former is apparently true and not so funny). 

2. That there’s nothing wrong with pushing a hotdog cart (though I wouldn’t recommend eating one everyday). People do what they need to do. No judgment here. 

3. That an opportunity in Univera makes vastly more sense in terms of a) lower initial investment, b) time factor of money, c) income potential, d) capitalizing on a growing marketplace, e) feeling better physically, and f) intersecting what you do with what you love–or in other words, finding purpose in work? 

Check this recent article from the Wall Street Journal, and tell me it doesn’t motivate you to go and find that extra person to give them a shot at what they might never have known but for your contributions and enthusiasm…The best advice probably comes at the very end of the story, where Mr. Mottola says “I’m creating my own stimulus plan…I’m not waiting for the President.”

Dogged Pursuit: Professionals Find New Livelihood Selling Frankfurters
BANDERA, Texas — In hard times, some small-town Americans are turning to a new livelihood with relish.

Among them are Andrea and Ben Guajardo. They began selling hot dogs from a pushcart on Main Street in November.

Ms. Guajardo is a grant administrator for a health-care system. Her husband, Ben, is a pipeline operator. Theirs is the first hot-dog stand in Bandera, pop. 957, that anybody here can remember.

Click here to read the full story.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all season. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.