Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Holy Fuck. This race was something else. It exceeded expectations, as in it was more difficult than expected. Two weeks prior,I completed the Cascade Express Marathon, setting a PR at the distance, and was hopeful that I’d have similar success at this race.

The Barkley Fall Classic (BFC) is the baby brother to the Barkley Marathons, a race popularized by this documentary and also showcased in this one:

Where the Barkley Marathons is 140 miles, mostly off trail, with a 60 hour cutoff; the BFC is 32 miles, mostly on trails, with a 13 hour cutoff.  Both races take place in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, TN, and share some similar climbs. It was like going to space camp. You get to do some of the things an astronaut does, but you’re nowhere close to going to space.


I drove down to Tennessee the night before the race, attending the spaghetti dinner and obtaining my race packet and cloth course map. There was a short line to meet Lazarus Lake, the sadistic old man who envisioned and directs this race, and who has become a celebrity in the ultra running community.


I decided to camp for the night at the American Legion, sleeping in the back of my Subaru Outback. This seemed like a convenient, low cost option, and would have been great, if not for the adjacent church bell tower. It rang nine times at 9 o’clock, ten at 10 o’clock, eleven at 11 o’clock– all through the night. I was woken up every hour on the hour. At 4 a.m., I gave up on sleeping and got ready, wandering into the Legion for a fantastic hot breakfast.

The Race

There is no starting gun. Instead, the race starts with Laz lighting his cigarette, just like the Big Barkley.

The first two miles are a road leading to the iconic yellow gate and first trail. The pace was quick, as no one wanted to get caught in the inevitable conga line up the first long climb.



(I avoided this)

I fell into line matching the pace of those in front of me as we hiked up Bird Mountain, followed by running down the opposite side of Bird Mountain, and then power hiking up something else, and run down something else. People kept referring to different parts of the course, but I had no idea what they were talking about. Luckily, I would never be in the lead and could just follow those in front of me.


I eventually ended up back in the main park area, only to head right back out up Chimney Top(?).

Ranger Station

This was a never ending climb, and I paused for breathers numerous times before making it to the top.

The next section, Tub Springs(?), was less steep, but still hilly, leading to three parts of the course that I had heard of: Testicle Spectacle, Meth Lab Hill, and Rat Jaw.

I started at the top of Testicle Spectacle, worked my way half way down the hill, got my bib punched and came back up. It was steep and long, but the briars weren’t bad at all. Zero cuts. I assumed people must have been over-exaggerating how vicious the briars were. I’d learn my lesson soon.




I could’ve used a breather after cresting Testicle Spectacle, but we instead immediately descended down Meth Lab Hill. I almost lost a shoe in one muddy part. It was a steep down hill, requiring sliding on my butt for multiple sections. I encountered my first briar, which snagged my arm leaving a trail of blood.


The coolest part of the race was next. We ran along a road to the prison, climbed a ladder over the prison wall, and then ran through the drainage tunnel under the prison.





Next up was Rat Jaw. I knew I was in trouble when I climbed up the first 15 feet only to slide back down 15 feet into the people behind me.


It was steep — 1,700′ of elevation gain in 1.2 miles. Halfway up was a flat, shaded section where some EMTs had camped out. It looked like some genocide of endurance athletes had just taken place. Bodies of runners resting were strewn about, soaking in the shade and accepting a tiny reprieve from the endless vertical gain.

The real kicker with Rat Jaw is that you can’t see the whole thing from the bottom. There’s a half dozen false summits — a half dozen times my spirit was crushed. This is compounded by being the hottest part of the day, on a fully exposed hill. I tried to take breaks where the briars were really overgrown and the air slightly cooler.

Did I mention the briars? It felt like I couldn’t take a step without getting snagged. I was bleeding so much, and the hill was so long, that some cuts had dried by the time I got to the top. My pack was continually snagged in the briars and I ended up losing my spare pair of shorts:

shorts 1shorts 2


top of rat jaw

This photo ended up on the Facebook group page for this race. My favorite comment was ‘Drama Queen’.

After what felt like an eternity on Rat Jaw, I reached the top, and hiked up the Fire Tower for another punch. It was then a two mile jog to the decision point. You had two options: take the easy three mile path downhill for a marathon finish, or continue on for a couple hours for the 50k finish. I had decided the previous day that I would do the 50k no matter what excuse I could come up with in the moment. After all, I needed to redeem myself for my pitiful showing a couple months prior.

I felt good at this point, as the Ibuprofen I had taken started to kick in. I thought we only had to go up and down two hills to get back to the yellow gate. I got to the bottom of the 2nd hill only to realize that we had another one to go up and over. This was my lowest point of the race. I was devastated to realize there was another large hill (bird mountain) and that the finish was still 90 minutes away. Just keep moving, it will all be over soon.



I was trashed when I finally got to the bottom of Bird Mountain, but reaching the yellow gate shot the remaining adrenaline into my system. I ran what was my fastest two miles of the day to the finish, crossing the line in 12:37:49. I was a ‘WINNER’ rather than a ‘WEINER’



I’ve done a couple of these long endurance events, and this was the worst I ever looked. It was if I got mauled by a house cat. I was caked in dirt and dried blood.



Other Thoughts and Training Tips

-There was no navigation required. I didn’t peak at the map or use the compass once.

-The aid stations were fantastic. There were six of them, some of which you hit multiple times, stocked with food and tailwind. I only ran out of water once.

-I should have worn longer socks and longer gloves. The cuts from the briars didn’t bother me much, except along my wrists and ankles. Wear at least crew length socks and gloves that go higher on the wrist.

-Get a better pack. I lost my spare pair of shorts and headlamp that were sitting in the bungee pocket on the outside. I think they got snagged on some briars.

-Practice bear crawling with pack on. It’s the best technique on the steep ascents up Rat Jaw through the tunnels of briars

-Don’t camp at the Legion. Unless you want to be woken up every hour.

-Training: more climbing, more descending. Need stronger legs. Stair climber + technical descending.

Wrap It Up

I felt like I got retribution from quitting the 24 hour triathlon a couple months prior. This is one of the most difficult races I’ve done, which makes finishing that much more gratifying. I got into the lottery and will be competing in this event again next year.

I can’t comprehend how someone finishes the Big Barkley. I was trashed at the end of this race. How does someone do it four more times? With limited aid? And extra navigational challenges?

I’m currently training for the Frozen Otter, a 64 mile trail runner in Wisconsin which takes place next weekend.

31 Before 31 Mid Year Review

Posted: January 4, 2020 in Uncategorized

Christmas marks my half-birthday and the midpoint of my yearly goal list. At the end of this post, I’ve written about the habits I plan to implement in order to accomplish these goals. Here’s the progress half-way through:

1. Less Than 500 ‘Strikes’ (Junk Food = 1, Healthy Fast Food = 1/2)
757 out of 500. I will change this goal for the New Year., giving up junk food completely. Healthy fast food will no longer count as a strike. The revised goal will be < 20 junk food items before my 31st birthday. Junk food during > 1 hour exercise is fine, assuming no healthy options are available.
2. 1500 Servings Vegetables
472.5/1500, Need 5.9 servings per day
3. 1000 Servings Fruit
396.5/1000, Need 3.5 servings per day
4. 200 Days Meditation (10 Minutes Minimum)
26/200. Can accomplish with daily meditation

5. Two Ultra-Endurance Events
Completed Barkley Fall Classic 50k, will run Frozen Otter 64 on January 18th
6. Qualify For Ironman World Championships (70.3 or 140.6)
No where close to good enough bike and swim shape. With 15 hours/week of training I could target a June 70.3. Eagleman or Wisconsin on June 14th?
7. Wabash Trace Fastest Know Time
Fitness is close. Attempt after 5/2/2020 marathon when in peak shape.
8. Qualify For Boston Marathon
Need to build up to 60 miles/week of training. Currently at 35 miles/week. Running Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha on 5/2/2020.
9. 1,000 Hours of Exercise
147:34/1,000. Revise goal to be 500 hours of exercise. 2 hours exercise / day.
10. Sub 6 Minute Beer Mile
Revise to be Sub 7 minute beer mile. Sub 6 is to ambitious. This is a low priority goal

Lethal Engineering / Lethal Tri
11. Join Artisan’s Asylum and Go 10 Times
Joined nearby MakerSpace. Have gone twice. Construct 3D printer and bring to MakerSpace for use.
12. 10 Lethal Engineering Videos
0/10. This is a high priority goal, but you wouldn’t know it based on results.
13. 10 Lethal Tri Videos (about my goals)
0/10. Lots of footage from past trips that I should edit together.
14. 25 Blog Posts


15. $1M Revenue
$210k/$1M. Obtained direct contract. Need to increase productivity
16. Setup SIMPLE IRA For Business
Discuss with Nick, contact Vanguard
17. 10 Hours Productive Time for 200 Days
18. 100 Days No News/Social Media/YouTube/Netflix
80/100. Will give up completely for New Year.
19. 48 Weeks Commitment Contract
23/48. Missed 5 weeks already, but could still get 47/48.
20. Develop A Plan For Each Goal


21. Complete Raspberry Pi (using Python) Book
Implement one hour daily learning habit
22. Mountain Bike 100 Miles
0/100. Low priority goal
23. Complete SCUBA Diving Course
Need to register for class. Difficult with frequent traveling.


24. See Falcon Heavy Launch
Completed! Need to write blog post
25. Go To Two of Four Boston Sports (Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots, Celtics)
0/2. Alexis is interested in going to Basketball. Uncle may visit in February to go see hockey
26. See an F1 Race
Australia March 15th? Would cross off 6 of 7 continents.
27. Bike To Walden Pond
Plan for April, when warmer outside


28. Donate 10% of Income (post tax)
Currently at 2%. Need to reduce frivolous spending to increase donations
29. Walk Zucc 1 Mile For 200 Days
150/200. Zucc has been left with my parents in Omaha and gets daily exercise.
30. Hold Breath For 2 Minutes
Zero progress, this is probably the least important of my goals.
31. 10 Escape Rooms
9/10! Should have no problem finishing this one

The Plan
I need to develop consistency. I never seem to be able to do well in multiple facets of goals. To fix this, I’ll do general weekly planning with goals for exercise, work, Lethal Engineering, and Lethal Tri. At the beginning of everyday, I’ll make a time-blocked daily plan that includes when I’ll exercise, work, meditate, blog, and work on Lethal Engineering, as well as the meals I’ll eat and how I’ll get servings of fruits and vegetables. I’ll wake up before 7 a.m. everyday and be in bed by 10 p.m. When I need a distraction from work, I’ll write blog posts or edit videos rather than perusing social media. For the entirety of 2020, I’ll give up added sugar, junk food, alcohol, and News/TV/YouTube/Social media. These are significant changes, but are required if I want to accomplish a bulk of my goals.

2020 New Year’s Resolutions

Posted: January 1, 2020 in Uncategorized

I don’t normally have New Year’s resolutions, but the beginning of the year serves as a nice half-way point for my 31 before 31 list. I’m way behind on my goals for this year, so I’m going to implement some resolutions in order to accomplish them.


  1. No Added Sugar
  2. No Alcohol
  3. No News/YouTube/TV/Social Media

Daily Activities:

  1. Time-Blocked Daily Schedule
  2. 1 Hour Exercise (one rest day per week)
  3. 1 Hour Lethal Engineering / Lethal Tri
  4. 4 Servings Fruit
  5. 6 Serving Vegetables
  6. Message Little Brother
  7. 10 Minutes Meditating
  8. Wake Up By 7 A.M.
  9. In Bed By 10 P.M.

A complete mid-year review will follow in the next post. These resolutions probably should have been combined with the mid-year review, but splitting them up will help with my goal of 25 blog posts.

The 2019 Cascade Express Marathon

Posted: December 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

I’ve met some great people through the world of endurance sports. Take my buddy Matt Brand, for example. We met half naked at an Omaha Master’s swimming practice and have been friends ever since. I’d say we’re good friends, but I recently found out that he prefers to be called ‘Matthew’ rather than ‘Matt’. That seems like a pretentious waste of a syllable, so I’ll keep calling him ‘Matt’.

Anywho, Matt moved to Denver a couple of years ago, but we’ve stayed in touch and meet up ever once in a while to run a marathon. Or rather, Matt has run the marathon, and I’ve settled for the half.

Matt found the Cascade Express Marathon in Seattle when looking for his next race. One of his friends would be getting married in the area two days prior and the race would take place on the last day you could run a qualifying time for the 2020 Boston Marathon. Oh yeah, this race also had 1500′ of elevation drop and was still a BQ course! I’m not sure how that’s legal, but was looking forward to any advantage I could get. This would be my first marathon since Ironman Brazil in 2016.

We did an escape room the day before the race and got out, a good sign for the race ahead.

escape room

2019 Cascade Express Marathon: September 8th, 2019

I started off with the 3:40 pace group, hoping the consistent training of the previous month’s would yield a PR over my previous best of 3:43.  The first part of the race is a flat out and back for 6 miles, before entering a 1.5 mile long tunnel which marks the beginning of 20 miles of downhill running. I entered the tunnel and was immediately disoriented by the shift from daylight to pitch black. Flashlights were handed out, but the output was comparable to that of a candle. I stuck with the runners ahead of me, hoping the combined output of our lights would keep me upright until my eyes adjusted.

I felt great exiting the tunnel. The downhill grade combined with beautiful Pacific Northwest scenery led to a running euphoria, and I pulled away from the 3:40 group

At the half-marathon point, I caught the 3:30 pace group. I decided to settle into the back of this group until mile 20 and then I’d kick it in the last 10k for a monster PR. That plan was going great until mile 18, where I felt the wheels start to wobble and then fall off completely. I had been banking on picking up energy gels at the mile 10 aid station, but there were none to be found. A rookie mistake, I know, and I was paying for it dearly with a nice bonk. I got dropped off the back of the 3:30 group and struggled to maintain nine minute miles to the finish.


The finish line was poorly planned. It had started to rain, and the mud combined with really tight turns led to to a hair raising finishing sprint. I was happy to come across the line in 3:36:02, a new PR, but a little disappointed as a sub-3:30 seemed to be in the cards.


This was a fantastic race. It lived up to the hype of being fast and beautiful. My one complaint, though, would be the finish line cuisine. I had received three pre-race emails advertising gigantic grilled cheese sandwiches. It seemed like that was what this race was known for. Imagine my confusion, though, as I saw them utilizing regular sized bread and cheese. Don’t get me wrong, the sandwich was delicious, but I had planned on telling my children about these inordinately sized grain and dairy confections and felt swindled with what I was given.


Oh, Matt Brand ran a 2:57, achieving a BQ time. I was really excited for him. He’d run 4 marathons in the past 3 years, lowering his time from 3:37, to 3:25, to 3:14, to 3:06, in order to finally punch his ticket to Boston at this race.


If You’re Running This Race…

I’d recommend trail shoes, or at least something with some cushion. Leave the race flats at home. There’s enough un-crushed gravel that you’ll want a thicker sole.

Don’t bank on gels on the course. I found some at mile 18, but it was too late by then.

Maybe bring your own light for the tunnel, preferable a cheap one that you can ditch after exiting the tunnel.

Last tip, train with some downhill running. My quads and butt were hurting during the last miles..

My final race report of this series will be the Barkley Fall Classic 50k, coming next week.

I traveled back to Omaha in August after my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. My sister works for me, and I was going to fill in for her for a couple weeks doing the face to face work.


During the first week, my Mom told me that the Black Squirrel Triathlon was happening that weekend. I had brought my bike and running shoes, and decided to sign up three days before the race.

Black Squirrel Triathlon – August 18th, 2019

SWIM – 750 Yards –  14:28 – 1:55/100 Yards –  24th of 198

The swim was an out and back in Lake Manawa. It’d been 3 years since I’d done a mass swim start, but I found the physicality of it to be refreshing. One guy kept trying to swim over the top of me, so I gave him a nice kick to put an end to that.


T1 – 2:06 – 87th of 198

My transitions could use some practice…

BIKE – 12.7 Miles – 36:56 – 20.1 MPH –  20th of 198

The bike course was two loops around the lake. Pancake flat. I tried to put down some power, but nothing happened. This course reminded me of the bike workouts that the Team Nebraska Triathlon did around Lake Manawa. I remember being able to complete these loops a lot faster back then.


T2 – 1:53 – 161st of 198 

161st out of 198…geesh…my tea party must have taken a long time

RUN –  21:45 – 7:00 min/mile – 10th of 198

The lack of power on the bike translated to fresh legs on the run. I had no idea what pace I could run, so I went out at a decent clip and tried to hold on, resulting in a negative split for the 5k.


OVERALL – 1:17:06 – 15th of 198

I was surprised to find out I won my age group. Apparently all the fast 30-35-year-olds stayed home. You must be present to win. I qualified for Age Group Nationals which is being held in Milwaukee in 2020.

This race was a blast! I’ll definitely do more ‘shorter’ triathlons in the future.



The 2019 Washington Island Ultra

Posted: December 7, 2019 in Uncategorized

I’m a little behind on race reports, so I’m going to knock out four posts in the next four weeks. This first one is depressing.

Washington Island Ultra Relay: July 26th, 2019

This race takes place on Washington Island, the first island off the ‘thumb’ of Wisconsin. The course is made up of a 0.25 mile swim in Lake Michigan, 10 mile bike course around the island, and a 2 mile out and back run from the campsite. Teams or individuals do as many loops of each ‘sport’ in either 8, 12, 24, or 36 hour competitions. It’s a really relaxed vibe, with racers camping out at the transition area.

I did this race last year, completing 208 miles between swimming, cycling, and running, in 24 hours. I thought I could eclipse that total this year by minimizing down time and consuming more calories. Unfortunately, that’s not how things played out.

In the end, I swam 2.5 miles, biked 110 miles, and ran 18 miles, calling it quits about 13 hours into the event. I wasn’t hurt, and certainly could have kept moving, I just didn’t want to be miserable any longer and knew the harder half of the race was ahead, so I gave up.


It’s easy to look at my training for this event and say I was in no physical shape to endure 24 hours of exercise, but neither was I last year, and persevered for all 24 hours. There are levels to suffering in these dumb little events and I was just scratching the surface.

This race was a sober realization that who I think I am doesn’t line up with the objective results. I was a pretty sorry sack of shit when I quit. I hate quitting. I hate viewing myself as a quitter. So I’ll be back next year for retribution.

This was a depressing post to write, but I figure I’m not painting a complete picture if I don’t complement the achievements with the failures.

(SPOILER ALERT: Don’t worry, the next three race reports turn out better)


Goal #20 on my 31 Before 31 list was to develop a plan for each goal. You may say that’s an obvious step to goal achievement, but it’s a step that was missing in the previous six iterations of my lists. I copied this from a Word document, and don’t want to mess with the HTML to get the numbers to match up correctly for each goal, so every goal from ‘Fitness’ on is misnumbered. This probably only bothers me.


  1. Less Than 500 ‘Strikes’ (Junk Food = 1, Healthy Fast Food = 1/2)
    -9 per week
    -Start at 10 per week, subtract 1 serving every 3 weeks down to 5 per week
    -Strikes don’t count during exercise > 1 hour
    -Will need to plan ahead when traveling to avoid excessive strikes.
  2. 1500 Servings Vegetables
    -Appx 28 servings/week = apx. 4/day
    -Large Bowl of Salad = 4, Lunch
    -Roasted Cauliflower, broccoli, or kale = 5, Dinner
    -Morning Vegetables?
  3. 1000 Servings Fruit
    -One fruit smoothie = 5 (3 blueberries, 1 strawberry, 1 pineapple), lunch or dinner, or both!
    -Use fruit to quell sugar cravings
  4. 200 Days Meditation (10 Minutes Minimum)
    -Daily after lunch


  1. Two Ultra-Endurance Events
    -Washington Island Ultra 7/26/19
    -Barkley Fall Classic 9/21/19
  2. Qualify For Ironman World Championships (70.3 or 140.6)
    -Potential Target Races (IM Texas 4/25/20, IM Tulsa 5/31/20, 70.3  Texas 4/5/20, 70.3 Des Moines 6/21/20)
    -Goal performance benchmarks: Swim: 500 Yards @ 6:00, Bike: 20 Min @ 400 W, Run: 5k @ 17:00
    -Swim: Build up to 4x / week. Video tape some sessions to analyze form
    -Bike: 200 miles / week. 2×20 @ FTP once per week. FTP test once per month
    -Run: 40 miles / week. Track workouts combined with running group. Monthly 5K test (
    -Diet: See goals 1-3
    -Sleep: 9+ hour per night, sleepmask, ear plugs, limit caffeine before bed.
    -Weightlifting: 2x per week. Focus on legs, core.
  3. Wabash Trace Fastest Know Time
    -Post marathon (9/8/19) and post Barkley (9/21/19) should be in great running shape.
    -October 27tH? Will be in Omaha for wedding. Maybe earlier in October?
    -Need to find support crew
  4. Qualify For Boston Marathon
    -Cascade Express Marathon 9/8/19, low chance of qualifying
    -Find another (fast/flat/cool) marathon for January
    -Build up to 60 mile run weeks, 3 weeks build, 1 easy, repeat.
  5. 1,000 Hours of Exercise
    -20 Hours Per Week (will need to build up to)
    -Weekly Goal: Swim 10k yards, Bike 200 miles, Run 40 miles
    -Weighted 1 mile rucks every morning with dog.
  6. Sub 6 Minute Beer Mile
    -Need to be able to run a 5 minute mile, which should be achievable with IM training.
    -Practice chugging, water and non-alcoholic beer. Goal < 10 seconds per beer

Lethal Engineering / Lethal Tri

  1. Join Artisan’s Asylum and Go 10 Times
    -Already joined different, closer Makerspace (Boston Makers)
    -This goal shouldn’t be too difficult, based on proximity
  2. 10 Lethal Engineering Videos
    -One per month, 5 hours / week
    -Ship 3D printer to Boston
    -5 Videos R2/D2, 3D Printed Nerf Gun, Drawing Robot, Boring Company Flamethrower, Cardboard Stormtrooper Bust, 3D Printed Rocket
  3. 10 Lethal Tri Videos (about my goals)
    -One per month, 2 hours / week
    -Film goal progress, write blog post, blog post can be script for video
  4. 25 Blog Posts
    -One post every two weeks, alternate with Lethal Engineering / Lethal Tri video


  1. $1M Revenue
    -Not really, but I’m embarrassed to share what I consider million business dollar ideas.
  2. Setup SIMPLE IRA For Business
    -Pursue after obtaining direct contract
  3. 10 Hours Productive Time for 200 Days
    -10 hours is easy to get assuming no News/YouTube/Social Media, and limited social engagements
  4. 100 Days No News/Social Media/YouTube/Netflix
    -Delete apps and block social media / news sites
    -Fill ‘anxious’ / bored time with reading or podcasts
    -YouTube allowed for learning, social media for sharing (like, blog posts)
  5. 48 Weeks Commitment Contract
    -Submit contract to LIFE COACH on Mondays before midnight
  6. Develop A Plan For Each Goal
    -That’s what this is 🙂


  1. Complete Raspberry Pi (using Python) Book
    -1 Hour, 4 days / week starting now.
    -I’ll start with Python Crash Course, then do Raspberry Pi with Python book
  2. Mountain Bike 100 Miles
    -Take up in April
    -Read book or attend workshop. Might have to do in WI since that’s where the bike is
  3. Complete SCUBA Diving Course
    -Take up in May


  1. See Falcon Heavy Launch
  2. Go To Two of Four Boston Sports (Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots, Celtics)
    -Red Sox, when it gets cooler, Sept 17-19?
    -See Celtics in November
  3. See an F1 Race
    -11/1/19-11/3/19 in Austin, TX
    -Buy tickets in September
  4. Bike To Walden Pond


  1. Donate 10% of Income (post tax)
    -Track income weekly
    -Increased income would certainly help! See goal #15
  2.  Zucc 1 Mile For 200 Days
    -1 Mile in morning upon waking
    -Use weighted rucksack to count towards exercise totals
  3. Hold Breath For 2 Minutes
    -Follow the following protocol in February
  4. 10 Escape Rooms
    -Whenever visiting friends / family
    -Make friends in Boston and go with them.