So … last Thanksgiving I ran a 10k (still stands as my 10k PR, ahem) with my sister-in-law and very good friends who’s house we were crashing in the DC area. Great morning, great race, really had a good time. During the drive, somebody mentioned a Ragnar, and it turned out that none of the runners in the van had ever run a Ragnar … except me. A sister had, but other than that no direct experience. And everybody just casually said what a great idea it would be to do one of those things one day, and wouldn’t that be fun?
Yeah – I tend to be the type that actively tries to move things from talking to doing. Especially at that time, I was reading a book that really had me thinking hard about the choices I was making and what I wanted to do with my time and energy. So the week after Thanksgiving, after stewing on the idea for a few days, I realized that it wasn’t going to happen if somebody didn’t take the ball and run with it … so I sent an email out and volunteered to be captain. By the second week of December, we were signed up for Ragnar Washington DC, to be run in late September, from Cumberland, Maryland, to Washington, DC. Continue reading “RR #26: Ragnar Washington DC – Part 1”
When you were born, I kind of knew that there were going to be feelings and experiences and levels of exhaustion coming that I could not expect. I expected to be surprised by the unexpected, if that makes any sense. And that was all true, but there was one thing that stuck out to me the most as something I truly and really did not see coming.
It turns out, when you are holding a little baby in your arms, and when you are watching that little baby start to turn into a small person, you get an overwhelming feeling of wanting to protect that little creature. In every way possible. You obviously want to physically protect it – but you also want to protect it emotionally and psychologically. Childhood innocence is real, and it is beautiful. I dread the process by which you will, slowly but surely, lose that innocence. Kids are cruel – they make you feel self-conscious about nearly anything, they laugh at you and hurt your feelings, they are cruel in a way that only kids can be. Continue reading “A Letter to My Son on His First Day of Kindergarten”
Last week, after a work trip up to North Carolina, I wound up attending an afternoon class at Celebration Crossfit, which is rare. Normally it is either 6am or it doesn’t happen. But, I was there, and the CCF social media guy – and fantastic photographer – Guillermo was also there, but waiting for the class after mine to start. Guillermo takes great photos everyday at CCF, but they tend to be of the same-ish group of folks because of his timing for being in the box. Since I was different, I was a target for him – we were doing push presses, which I suck at, and he got this shot, which was posted to the CCF social media sites with some very kind words:
It is always fun to have my picture featured on the sites – I still find it to be a bit surreal – but then this one had a little follow-up. My wife showed it to my kids, and the 5-year old apparently studied it for a minute, got all wide-eyed, and gave a big thumbs-up. And then moved on. Like a 5-year old. When she told me this, I initially smiled and also moved on … but over the last few days, this little moment – one I didn’t even see – has stuck with me. Maybe it is that we’re having a challenging few weeks at home – summertime means the boys are out of their routine, which means they can be little disasters – or maybe it is because Father’s Day just passed, or maybe it is because a couple of close friends and colleagues recently lost their dads … whatever is driving it, fatherhood is on my mind. Continue reading “My Favorite Thing I’ve Ever Done”
This is part 2 of my Dark Side Challenge at the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon weekend. If you want to read my review of the 10k, you can find that here.
Okay! When last we met, I was finishing up the Star Wars Dark Side 10K and then going to run another mile and a half chasing my kid around an inflatable obstacle course with a camera. That was fun! Really! Enough that it requires multiple exclamation points! But, it did leave me with a couple of challenges going into the second half of the Dark Side Challenge – the half marathon.
I was not, when I was chasing him, wearing running or technical equipment. I didn’t have my compression shorts on. And (and there is no way to do this but just to spit it out and get it over with) – I hadn’t prepared my nipples. And though I didn’t leave that event actively hurting (other than my throbbing feet) … I did feel a sensitivity in the force, if you know what I mean. Some gingerness in the upper thigh region. A little scratchiness on the man nipples.
This is part 1 of my Dark Side Challenge race report – you can see the half marathon review here.
Hi. My name is Matthew – and I’m a Star Wars nerd.
I own that. Really own it. And so it was a natural fit to make my first runDisney race … the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon. But, in a fit of optimism brought about by a 10K PR on Thanksgiving, I did something that may seem foolish. I signed up for the Dark Side Challenge. This means I signed up for a 10K on Saturday AND a half marathon on Sunday.
I’m going to break this up into two posts – I’ll talk about the expo and the 10K in this one, and then the half marathon in the next one.
Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), runDisney races are a big deal. People come from all over the world for a chance to run through the different parks and take pictures with the themed characters. Several characters come out especially for these races – you don’t see them at other times. They estimated 14,000 people started the 10K – looks like just under 11,000 finished – and then 20,000 for the half marathon. Even though many of those are the same people that ran both races (like me) – that’s still a ton of folks. And, in typical Disney fashion, they’ve got it very well organized. Continue reading “Race Report #24: 2017 Star Wars Dark Side 10K”
On April 18, 2016, one year ago today, I attended my first Couch-to-Crossfit class – and it began. Three weeks later, on May 9, I walked into my first regular Crossfit class. 6am, Monday morning, Celebration Crossfit. I didn’t know anybody. I couldn’t do most of the movements. I weighed about 315 pounds – I was enormous. And I was scared to death.
Friend, fellow Crossfitter, and super-talented photographer Guillermo Cummings took a picture of me doing 17.3 on Friday that I still don’t quite have a handle on. He posted it across his social media last night, and shortly thereafter:
A couple of days ago the owner and head coach at my Crossfit box emailed and asked if they could use my before and now pictures for a post in their social media. I agreed – I don’t like my fat picture, but, as I told him, if I didn’t want it out there I shouldn’t have put it out there. I offered to take a current “now” picture, so I did that this morning and sent the pictures over. The post below is the one they made on Instagram – they also posted this on Facebook.
I never dreamed I’d be the guy getting air time on a Crossfit gym’s social media, but it is happening. I kind of don’t even know what to think – it feels surreal. The best part has been the comments, both from my peers at the box as well as complete strangers. The universal positivity and happy-for-me-ness is very gratifying. Crossfit is a group effort, and I feel that more now than ever. It makes a difference knowing all of those people are really rooting for me. Continue reading “So … this happened:”
Back in August, relatively early in my current path to fitness, I wrote this post, in which I articulated some secondary goals related to my fitness. These are not goals about the fitness itself – they are goals that address a theme I’d call “How I Want to Live My Life”. For the record, though I couldn’t have done so when I wrote that post, I can sum the answer to that up in one word now – Adventure.
One of those goals is worth quoting in its entirety:
Start keeping track of bag nights. I love to hike and camp, and I don’t do it enough because it can be hard. I don’t have the energy, and the physical work is just exhausting. It has been on the order of years since I’ve done even minor camping. That has to change, if for no other reason than that I’m committed to introducing my kids to the outdoors.
When I registered for the Celebration Half Marathon, I actually viewed it as more of a training run than a goal race. I’m registered for the Gasparilla Half Marathon in late February, and I had registered so early that I believed I could get in a “practice” half marathon and still have time to recover for a real push at Gasparilla. Also – I live in Celebration. It felt like if I were going to be doing a 12 or 13 mile training run in town, I might as well get a medal for it. All indications are that the race is very well run and very runner friendly … so I signed up.
Training went well. I’ve clearly gotten faster, which I attribute largely to endurance gained with Crossfit. My taper was very non-traditional – two weeks before the race I ran most of the actual course, about 12.25 miles by the time I was done. And then I didn’t go for another formal run for those two weeks. I went to Crossfit 6 days a week, and that often included running, but at no time did I go out for a run. For dinner on Saturday night I made a chicken barley soup and homemade bread to carb up, and called it a taper. My prior half marathon PR was 2:36 flat – my stated goal going into this was a PR, my secondary but really no-brainer goal was under 2:30, my stretch goal was under 2:25, and in my wildest dreams I hoped to get under 2:20. Continue reading “Race Report #23: Celebration Half Marathon”