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.

Resolutions:

  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.

i-kSsGmWH-X3

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.

FINISH

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.

GRILLED CHEESE

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.

BRAND FINISH

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.

BABY

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.

SWIM

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.

BIKE

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.

RUN

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.

PODIUM

 

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.

Health

  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

Fitness

  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 (https://www.parkrun.us/jamaicapond/)
    -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
    https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/conquering-the-beer-mile-a-training-plan-20141111/

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

Business/Productivity

  1. $1M Revenue
    -TOP SECRET
    -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
    https://investor.vanguard.com/small-business-retirement-plans/simple-ira
  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 🙂

Learning

  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
    https://ecdivers.com/class/open-water-scuba-certification-course-new-diver-training/

Adventure

  1. See Falcon Heavy Launch
    -Done
  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
    https://www.strava.com/routes/9388935
    -7/22/19

Other

  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
    https://freediveuk.com/how-to-hold-your-breath-for-5-minutes-in-1month-freediving-training/
  4. 10 Escape Rooms
    -Whenever visiting friends / family
    -Make friends in Boston and go with them.

31 Before I Turn 31

Posted: July 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

This is my seventh year of making one of these goal lists. As in previous years, I’ve chosen goals without any real consideration of how I’ll accomplish them.

Health
1. Less Than 500 ‘Strikes’ (Junk Food = 1, Healthy Fast Food = 1/2)
2. 1500 Servings Vegetables
3. 1000 Servings Fruit
4. 200 Days Meditation (10 Minutes Minimum)

Fitness

5. Two Ultra-Endurance Events
6. Qualify For Ironman World Championships (70.3 or 140.6)
7. Wabash Trace Fastest Know Time
8. Qualify For Boston Marathon
9. 1,000 Hours of Exercise
10. Sub 6 Minute Beer Mile

Lethal Engineering / Lethal Tri

11. Join Artisan’s Asylum and Go 10 Times
12. 10 Lethal Engineering Videos
13. 10 Lethal Tri Videos (about my goals)
14. 25 Blog Posts

Business/Productivity

15. $1M Revenue
16. Setup SIMPLE IRA For Business
17. 10 Hours Productive Time for 200 Days
18. 100 Days No News/Social Media/YouTube/Netflix
19. 48 Weeks Commitment Contract
20. Develop A Plan For Each Goal

Learning

21. Complete Raspberry Pi (using Python) Book
22. Mountain Bike 100 Miles
23. Complete SCUBA Diving Course

Adventure

24. See Falcon Heavy Launch
25. Go To Two of Four Boston Sports (Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots, Celtics)
26. See an F1 Race
27. Bike To Walden Pond

Other

28. Donate 10% of Income (post tax)
29. Walk Zucc 1 Mile For 200 Days
30. Hold Breath For 2 Minutes
31. 10 Escape Rooms

30 Before 30 – Results

Posted: June 29, 2019 in Uncategorized

A year ago, I created 30 goals to complete before I turned 30. Last year, I completed 16 of 29 goals, and decided to make them more difficult this year.

All the completed goals have hyperlinks to full blog posts.

Completed

#5 One Ultra Endurance Event
I participated in the Washington Island Ultra in July, completing 4.25 miles of swimming, 170 miles of cycling, and 34 miles of running in 24 hours. Apparently I’ve quickly forgotten how painful and physically draining this race was because I’ve signed up for it again.

WASHINGTON ISLAND

#9 Build Buff Dudes DIY Power Rack
I completed this goal early on, but rarely used the power rack after building it. I really needed an accompanying lifting goal, as the purpose was to gain muscle mass, not just workout equipment.

#11 Join Milwaukee Makerspace
Another completed goal that missed the purpose. I joined, went twice to learn two pieces of equipment, but then stopped going. I wanted to meet new makers and utilize new tools, and the goal should have been more reflective of that purpose.

#19 Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
Thanks again to my friends Mike and Sarah for planning and inviting me along on this adventure. I felt like the final push to the summit was equivalent to running a marathon and provided that same exhilarating feeling of success. That said, I have no desire to do any more of the seven summits. One and done.

IMG_20190121_063957

#20 Build > 1,000 Piece LEGO Set
This was more enjoyable than anticipated. It was very relaxing to follow the set of instructions for a couple of hours and end up with such an intricate model.

mvimg_20190316_142727

#23 Go To Packer’s Game at Lambeau Field
I went to two games this year, one with my Little Brother and one with Alexis. It’s such a cool stadium, especially at night. Great history and architecture.

img_20180809_192430

PACKER GAME.jpg

#25 Donate $5,000 to Charity
I didn’t get that warm fuzzy feeling that you usually associate with helping others, I just felt $5k poorer. It felt like eating vegetables. I know I should be doing this, but I don’t want to do it.

#27 Wake Up Before 4:30 A.M. For a Month Straight
This was a struggle. I implemented a one hour midday nap to ensure I was getting an adequate amount of sleep. Getting required tasks done early in the day felt great. A consistent sleep schedule would be a good goal for next year.

JOHN WAKE UP

#29 No News/Social Media/YouTube/Netflix For A Month
It was strange being disconnected for a month, as if the mute button had been pressed. The world seemed far less frantic. This goal was really good for focus.

#30 Track Time by the Minute and Happiness Every Couple of Hours for a Month
By tracking my time, I realized exactly how much of it I waste in a day — an amount I’m embarrassed to even post. I’ve continued to track my time by the minute and use it as a measure of productivity. By tracking happiness, I realized that exercise, being productive, and spending time with friends and family all bring me joy.

TRACK MY TIME

Partial Completion

#1 200 Days No Added Sugar: 26/200 = 13%
#2 500 Home Cooked Meals: 320/500 = 64%
#3 No Fast Food for 200 Days: 46/200 = 23%
#4 Eat Four Servings of Vegetable for 200 Days: 84/200 = 42%

I regressed on the healthy eating goals from the previous year. Eating junk food is a tough habit for me to break. This is an area where I really need penalties in order to force compliance.

#12 20 Lethal Engineering Videos: 7/20 = 35%
#13 10 Lethal Tri Videos (about my goals): 2/10 = 20%
#14 25 Blog Posts: 18/25 = 72%

My YouTube channel is now officially monetized again, after crossing the 240,000 watch minutes barrier (within the past year). The 18 blog posts is the most I’ve ever posted in a year. The proposal video on my Lethal Tri channel made my wife very happy.

YOUTUBE

#16 Daily Planning for 200 Days: 147/200 = 74%
#18 Increase Net Worth to $250k: $127k (from $121k)/$250k) = 5%

I really shit the bed on the savings goal. We spent A LOT of money on travel and didn’t increase income to balance it out.

#26 Volunteer 100 Hours: 94/100 = 94%
#28 Clean House (Vacuum/Organize/Wipe Surfaces 50 Times): 30/50 = 60%

All of my volunteering was through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Fortunately, my Little Brother has similar interests to me. First picture below is from a WWE event. Second is hiking in the woods.

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mvimg_20190618_170545

I’m not sure where my exercise totals should be, but I like tracking it year over year:

Bike: 948 Miles (29B29: 5,000 Miles, 28B28: 1941 Miles, 27B27: 1935 Miles, 26B26: 2042 Miles)
Run: 595 Miles (29B29: 437 Miles 28B28: 732.71 Miles, 27B27: 589.57 Miles, 26B26: 654.60 Miles)
Swim: 210,930 Yards (29B29: 209,663 Yards, 28B28: 162,913 Yards, 27B27: 69,311 Yards, 26B26: 154,868 yards

Zero Completion

#6 Qualify for Ironman World Championships (70.3 or 140.6)
#7 Wabash Trace Fastest Known Time
#8 Qualify for Boston Marathon
#10 Build Ultimate Trainer Setup
#15 Obtain Direct Contract With A Class I Railroad
#17 Setup Simple IRA For Business
#21 See Falcon Heavy Launch
#22 Bike Katy Trail
#24 SCUBA (PADI) Certified

The incompletion is not due to lack of interest, but rather lack of discipline. I’m still interested in most of these goals, and will probably role them over to next year.

I almost accomplished #21 minutes before turning 30, but the launch got pushed back three hours. It’ll just have to be put on the 31 Before 31 list, and be the quickest I’ve ever accomplished a goal.

img_20190625_023025

What About Alexis?

She recently completed her third year of surgery residency. It really is an all consuming career. 80-100 hours a week, almost every week, combined with the stress of keeping people alive, doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

Alexis recently got accepted as a fellow for the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change. It’s the same group she worked with when she spent a year in Haiti. She will be doing two years of research with them in Boston, MA (we move next week!). Alexis will also be coming back to Milwaukee one week every month to take call in the Pediatric Surgery Department at the Children’s Hospital. Oh, she’s also going back to school for a Master’s in Public Health through Harvard University. Yeah, I know, buh-nan-uhs.

img_20190622_184534

Alexis visited Ecuador for a conference, went to Haiti for research, and did a month long away rotation in Nepal. We accomplished one of her life long dreams of going to the Women’s World Cup on our vacation to France.

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mvimg_20190615_230056

mvimg_20190611_223534

Conclusion

10 full goals completed this year plus 5.02 partial goals equals 15.02 for the year. It’s a strange scoring system, but I knew it would help develop good habits on large goals that I no longer could complete mid-year.

The purpose of these lists is growth, but not a whole lot of growth happened this year. It’s frustrating because I know with a year-round consistent effort I could have accomplished all of these goals. Do I need better discipline? Or should I accept my lack of consistency and just have less goals to focus on?

Three takeaways as I prepare next year’s list:
-Goals should line up with my motivation and true desire
-I need a long term plan, broken up into shorter weekly and daily goals
-Need a weekly commitment contract with penalties for non-compliance.

31 Before 31 List coming next week.