Today I got an email with an attachment about a little Q and A with my brother as he trains for the New York City Marathon! Add this to the the excitement I have for the last weekend of the month when I'll be up in NYC for the Spartan Race and spending a dude's weekend with my bro and my dad! So, I figured I'd share a little about this guy who I've looked up to my entire life.
Growing up I always felt like I lived in my brother's shadow. The guy was insane at pretty much every sport (I may be remembering this wrong but I think he dunked a damn basketball in 9th grade!). He dressed in a way I thought I'd never be able to pull off (the dude wore a leather jacket in High School, god that was cool!), and he had such a comfortable personality with everyone. To add to the versatility that inspired me so much, he headed off to a great school where he excelled at diving, and, for fun, played on the baseball team. Why not right? Then graduated and just like that began a damn impressive post-school life. Started his own web-design company, worked online marketing for some HUGE names in publishing and magazines, even started a now-pretty successful film festival!
Over the years we have have had our basic brotherly ups and downs, but every time we get together it seems like we just sort of feed off of each others pretty distinct energy. We have gone in very different directions with our lives; he is what I would call a stereotypical New Yorker: works online marketing, rides a "fixie" to work across the Brooklyn Bridge every morning, works out at totally ghetto YMCA, walks his albino pit pull around his relatively sketchy neighborhood while chain smoking some form of "hipster" cigarette. I of course am a fitness junkie who would go WAY out of his way to avoid being in a major city, I practically gag at the smell of cigarette smoke and have never sat at a desk for work besides a couple internships between baseball games in college. And despite our differences I still look up to this guy with never-ending respect for what he has achieved in his life.
He has basically taken control of his life from the second he had the freedom to do so. He has fallen over so many times, and yet he seems to have no problem finding his way back up to an even higher level (a Courage Family trait I am finding out...). And now he's done it again! I would easily say that about 6 months ago I could probably be seen picking fun at him in a back-handed way for being so damn unhealthy and out of shape. But now the guy is cooking all sorts of incredible foods (he has given me some AWESOME ideas for how to keep my fueling fun and exciting whole staying simple) whole training for a marathon. And to top it off, he is committed to raising at least $3,000 for a YMCA kids program (helping kids into health and fitness programs that they can't afford).
So, while I continue to look up to the guy, and aspire to to be as cool as I see him, I ask you all to give him your well wishes with his training, and perhaps donate a buck or two (or more...?). And while your at it, take a moment to think about someone in your family and the positive things they have inspired in you. No matter how you've grown, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll be able to remember something positive (hopefully lots of things!) in each and every one of your family members. Feel free to share if you'd like!
Good luck brother! Looking forward to seeing you in a couple weeks!
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Never Stop, GET FIT.
The title for today's workout has two meanings, one for the workout itself and one for the workout location. I wanted to get out to the hills to get some running in and I decoded to head back to a trail I have been on once before. With only about an hour to spare before Powerlifting class got started I had to get after it, no messing around. So, I zipped up to Skyline College in the hills, parked by the trail-head and took off.
The trail starts off as a wide gravel path that winds gradually up for about a quarter mile, once you get to an abandoned shed f sorts, it turns into a super narrow, rock, root and mud filled path that heads straight down into a deep canyon only to head straight back up again. Because it's actually a kind of popular trail, the super steep down and up have a massive collection of wooden stairs to navigate, this added a totally different element to the run as I had no choice but to stay light on my feet and keep my knees up. The added fatigue from this hit so hard when the stairs ended and I had a good 3/4 mile path that averaged out at around a 10% grade all the way to a bike trail that circles the peak.
Killer dude, killer. BUT, the views were insane! I expected it to be super foggy because the weather today just was not good, but the gray skies and chillings winds were deceiving and when I reached the separate peaks I was welcomed with views of the Peninsula, the southern part of San Francisco, and the Ocean. Each time I was able to soak in a couple seconds of these views I was instantly flooded with new energy and it just kept me going. Not sure why, perhaps it's because I wasn't expecting to have them, but they totally inspired me. My energy levels, even while gasping desperately for air, were through the roof and I felt so good. I have said it many times before, but I feel like it can not be said enough: finding inspiring scenery for your workouts takes them to a whole new level. Sure you can get great results doing all your workouts in a gym, but what's the fun in that? Different settings add entirely new dynamics and challenges to workouts; and for anyone wanting to truly make fitness a part of their lives, these extra motivators are what ultimately make the suffering fun. Like I just said, I was so out of breath climbing these hills I doubled over a few times, grabbing at something to support me, but somehow I just did not want to stop. I felt alive, part of nature, like i was experiencing something extraordinary. It was beautiful.
For all of you coming out to the Courage Games this coming Saturday, even if the weather is not ideal, I am sure you will experience something similar. Your workout stage will literally be feet from the beach. Your view will be the northern Peninsula coast and the San Francisco skyline off in the distance. You will be surrounded by 100-plus people challenging themselves and cheering you on. I envy you all so much!
Oh, and this video is a bit different than normal...got a little excited with my mini-adventure, you'll see. Um, hope you enjoy!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
It seems like forever but we arrived, with plenty of drama, back to California, welcomed by even more rain! I woke up this morning with all sorts of energy geared towards getting back on track with the workouts and the writing and I started with a bang:
Run up Sweeny Ridge trail for time
5 x 5 floor press w/ 2x max strict pull ups between each round
KB swings 62#
The run was great. It's 1.8 miles pretty much straight up and within 5 minutes there is no way to catch your breath. The best part is that it is a narrow, paved, switchback road and you never really know when the end will come. Took me 19 minutes flat (with a quick phone call from Lindsey that I totally needed to take, she rocks my world, what can I say). I soaked in the view from the top, through the rain/hail that was crashing down on me, then headed back down in a blazing 13:21.
Back at The Gym, I had a couple guys in to workout and I hit my own. The floor presses felt great! As much as I talk trash about bench pressing, there totally is an invigorating feeling about heaving a weight off your chest. Floor presses are interesting because of the added challenge of pressing without momentum. I was able to get 240# for a smooth set of 5 and was pretty happy with how strong I felt. The pull ups between sets were brutal but such an interesting challenge. I banged out 12 and 11 on the first round, then 9 and it was 7 and 8 for the remainder of the work block. I'm pretty happy with being able to endure such a tough exercise under a TON of fatigue at that rep range. I would love to be in the 10 range, but this was better than I expected.
The metcon was short and sweet. Finished it in a muscle-fatiguing 3:02 and was very happy with that time. The combo of jumping lunges to KB sings was killer, and this led to the push ups feeling kind of like a recovery. My arms are going to be shot tomorrow! I'll have the video up soon.
Catching up on work now, I have officially set up the Courage Games 2011 - Winter Edition website and registration and am so excited to host another sweet event. I have also had a lot on my mind over the holidays which have inspired lots of topics I want to write about, especially with the New Year approaching. I'll have one up tomorrow!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Even though it's the groggy day after Thanksgiving, I hope everyone had a great day, and continue on the greatness through the weekend and on. My Thanksgiving was a good one, spending it with Lindsey;s family in Norwich, NY, we feasted, watched football and had a relaxing, fun time. I allowed myself to consume a bit of food I generally don't like to have (mostly because of its usual negative side effects to how I feel) and I think because of my conscious decision to take in those foods, my body was forgiving. While I felt a bit over-full, and feel a little stuffed today, I never felt bad, and that's a great thing coming out of a holiday known for indulgence.
We had a huge turkey, sausage stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, salad, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, corn, squash, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots, and a couple other odds and ends, and it was glorious. And of course, we all saved room for the birthday cake. You see, while everyone else was feasting for the well-known holiday, we were feasting for Lindsey's 28th birthday (and a little of the holiday). It was a great day all around.
Earlier in the day I took it upon myself to run my own little turkey trot. This ended up being a whole lot tougher than planned because of the freezing cold, windy weather. I charted off a 1.58-mile course out, giving me almost exactly a 5k in total (out and back), and took off. Right off the bat I knew it would be hard, I was so cold from head to toe! A massive hill around the half-mile mark helped warm me up a little. but the wind coming off the mountains did not help at all. I ended up finished in just under 24 minutes which would have put me at just under a 8-minute mile. No where near as fast as I would like to be running. The part that made this crappy was the couple hours post run. I could net get a full breath of air, it was like my lunges were frozen a bit, crazy. I was happy to be able to get that work in tough, and I have a lot of work to do to get where I want to be with my fitness!
My trip back to CA today will see a ton of program designing, and some more planning to get this business up and running like mad! Also, I have Courageous meals installment 7 almost completed, and an article on a topic that I think is so important to talk about, especially around this time of the year.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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