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Hikapalooza Hike Number Three!!!!!

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Today we headed to west and were joined by Grandma Teresa and Auntie Sara which the boys were thrilled about. The trails we tackled today were located in the Thunderbird Conservation Park and let my sister take the lead since this was her hood and she had trekked this area before. Again the weather was perfect and the volume of traffic in the parking lots reflected that and I knew today was going to have a lot more people interaction than yesterday.  Today was Drew’s day to carry the backpack and he immediately took out his North American insect guide that he didn’t get to use yesterday.  And we were off..
 T-Bird Map for Trails Brochure1
We started off on the desert iguana trail heading east for about 1/4 of a mile on a fairly groomed and flat trail until we reached a paved road. Drew was quite the chatter box today with his new audience to spew endless knowledge and facts for there enjoyment, Luc on the other hand was getting uptight about the separation between the 2 groups that had formed within our hiking party.  Munch meantime just enjoyed the time that someone was going to hold his hand the whole time, as we made our ascent of the drive way, Luc had had enough and broke free to stop my sister and I’s progress until everyone else could catch up and proceed together. We hopped onto the sunrise trail and right away had traffic to deal with not only passing but also descending some walking some running and this created a small bit of anxiety that, as I write this, seems silly since everyone one was completely patient and courteous. However the terrain plus grade may have been a bit much for Luc’s little legs, but he would have non of it when I attempted to put him on my shoulders, he won that round. As we moved onward we came to a fork in the road, either continue up steep switch backs to the summit or follow the loop back around to where we started I choose the latter. We were still considered to be on sunrise trail but soon merged into the ridge line trail and I would say had put in at roughly a mile at this point and everyone was in good spirits expect maybe Drew who was grumpy but he was with out reason when questioned about it.  The trail had enough loose footing I didn’t give Luc the choice and put him on my back and we quickly descended the just under half a mile of trail until we came to the coach whip loop trail and hung a right.  The insect trail guide had been put away so I really knew Drew was grumpy so I made the call to get some snacks in the blood stream and hope for a better attitude to return. This trail had flattened out and was hard packed so Luc had some freedom which led to a couple of off trail exploration that was quickly squashed. We finished the loop and returned to our starting point where now 2 horses were being saddled up and prepped for the trail themselves, all and all it was good day. I estimate right about 2 miles covered over an hour. But the horse made me wonder something, why don’t riders half to pick up their animals droppings….?
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Until Tomorrow.





take a hike



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Dude are those clown shoes?


When it comes to story of how I got to my current love affair with my Altra ZeroDrops, I need to start at the beginning of my running journey…

As most new runners I slowly built up my distance and ran local 5ks then decided to make the leap to a marathon, specifically the Rock and Roll AZ, this decision gave me a goal and plan to continue towards my weight loss goals. During the lead up to the marathon I ran 2 half marathons and a handful of 5k. I was still in the beginning of my running journey so the results were nothing spectacular mostly just finish being the goal, but the excitement of the crowd and spectacle of it all made the pain worth it. I trained and finished my first marathon and within the next year I would run 2 more including one that was up Mount Lemonn in Tucson. This is where Altra comes into my life, I like many new runners, did some research online but ultimately turned to a shoe store “experts” for guidance. As expected they saw a big runner and automatically go straight for a pair of Brooks Beasts motion control, but once I tried them on I could immediately tell they were way to much shoe they felt like bricks. Since I have arches and a forefoot striker I was able to practically beg him for a pair of Nike structures which are a stability shoe, so I got them and went on my way. They got me through the marathons, but my feet always felt terrible after any run over 6 miles and it pushed me to a point where I wasn’t showing any improvement and I decided not to run anything longer then 5ks. A few months pass and I’m still weighing about 265lbs but I want to start really training again but knew I needed a new shoe, so long story short I found Altra’s online and saw a YouTube video or two and went for it. Best decision ever, I went totally against the recommendation on the box and ran 5 miles. It was a slow run, but my feet felt great! I started running with a purpose again and along with my new plant based diet within six months I dropped 75lbs, my body had changed into something I had only dreamed of because of running. This is when I knew I wanted to run some races with a real purpose not just to finish. I ran a 5k this past May and finished 10/246 overall and 2/15 in my division all without any focused training. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I decided to take it to the next level and signed up for a half marathon for the next month. This race was in Worland, WY so I was concerned with elevation. I started out easy but by the half way point I had worked my way to 4th over all and held it to the finish where I finished 1st in my division and had set a PR of all most 25 minutes faster than my last half marathon. The deal with Altras is that they are flat and have a HUGE toe box, which means your foot can do what it was designed to do. The key to being successful in them is to have a transition period to get your feet adjusted to using new muscles. I think we become to comfortable and content with where we are and get scared to try anything new, the leap I took with these shoes was totally worth the risk in my opinion.



Make or Break

Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.
-Mike Tyson

As I sit here having some new found weekly reflection time, I look back on how incredibly off track this week was and the discovery that my training program and my race date are off by about 3 weeks in a bad way. It’s tough enough to maintain clean eating and focus on training when it’s your birthday it’s a whole other thing when your wife’s birthday is 5 days later with the weekend perfectly placed between the two. I made it through my day pretty unscathed but once the weekend hit things started getting cray, as the kids say. I was able to get my big runs in on Saturday and Sunday totaling 35 miles for the weekend. Then came Sunday night and the big birthday dinner at my parents house. The menu, mexican food, and it was awesome and almost all plantbased. From an amazing quinoa salad to a black bean sweet potato chilli plus all the chips and homemade guacamole and salsas, as expected from my dad. Though vegetarian it was much more calorie dense and sodium rich then I would eat normally, but non the less top notch cuisine. We ate like kings and I was good with that, but then came the literally 4 gallon sized ziplock bags and a Pyrex dish worth of left overs. The next morning I made the decision to rest except to ride my bike to the store for groceries. One of the great things about eating mostly fruit and vegetables is that I can eat all I want all day with no ill affect. The unfortunate thing is that my mind set didn’t stray from the habit of grazing with my fridge full of goodness, I slowly found my way eating bowl after bowl through out the course of the day until I had cleared just over half of my haul. Tuesday was my wife’s birthday and already knowing that we weren’t going to have the “cleanest” of meals that evening I still felt it was my mission to reach the finish line and make sure the rest of the left overs were finished, go big or go home I guess. This is where things really start to unravel. I did the unthinkable, I skipped a scheduled run, oh the shame, but I was quick to rationalize it with the birthday thing and I was going to hit up a spin class in the morning and run that night, no big deal I thought. It ’twas a new day I was ready to get back to it. I head to the gym, ironically on my bike to go ride on a bike that doesn’t go anywhere, with my 2 year old in tow. My enthusiasm was quickly killed by a large group of toddlers that filled the kids club to maximum capacity. “No worries I have tonight to run” I tell this to myself a few times. Once home I begin looking at my training schedule and realize I have eight weeks left of training but my race is under six weeks away. “No worries I have tonight to run,” well guess who forgot about “girls night” for my wife’s birthday? At about 10:15 that night I knew I wasn’t running. I couldn’t remember the last time I hadn’t worked out for three days in a row, and eaten so terribly to boot. Now I could be a total mess and be angry and disappointed with myself, but for what? I’m not getting those days back, I can only move forward! Today I awoke knowing I need to have better back up plans, during my giant green shake (extra green today) this morning I made the plan. First I’m going to fill the house with an extra amount of fresh fruit and vegetable to “clean” my system and second I went old school circa 2005 with P90 and banged out a workout, the bleeding has been at least slowed now. Tonight after trick or treating and candypolluza starts, I will run, my legs should be fresh from the break so I plan to ad an extra 2 miles to what was already scheduled. Time with our loved ones is not guaranteed so how can I be angry about that, three days is nothing in the scope of life. I will be back on track by Monday and will figure out how to fix those two weeks of training I don’t have any more.

Don’t sweat the small stuff…..



Drop the EGO and Slow Down

Saturday night I was on a long 25 mile run and had roughly 5 miles left when I had the pleasure of meeting a new friend who was in a state of boozie bliss. I’ve learned from dealing with intoxicated people in the past that there are usually only two ways this could turn out, 1. he was going to want to fight or 2. he was going to be my new best friend. Turns out there was a third option that night, as I began closing in on him he must of been inspired by my late night dedication and took off running. His initial surge quickly subsided and he pace slowed, and all of a sudden I found myself picking up my pace and 20 feet before passing him, he returned to walking. As I quickly passed still not sure how this night would turn out I gave him the universal runners head nod and in return he took his shirt off and gave me a “you think your better then me?” glare. I made it about 15 yards down the road when I was again joined by my new friend, after a few minutes of a nonsensical chat about running I knew there would be no fighting. But then out of nowhere I was filled with an overwhelming urge to show this poor drunk guy that I was a runner and I’m going to take him to the limit, maybe if this would of been a run less then 5 miles it would have been no big deal, but I was 20 miles in. Did I do the rational smart thing and just keep at my scheduled pace? NOPE!! So for the next mile and a half I’m giving this guy the business and feeling pretty good when all of a sudden he has the realization that he missed his turn and stops running turns around and walks away without another word shared between us. This is when I also realize I’m absolutely dying and I’m out of water and I’m still 3 plus miles from home, I slowly shuffle my way home wondering what I had just proven other then I was a complete moron….

What’s the point of this story?

There is a time and a place for pushing the envelope, most of the time training is not that place. Training is the base of the end goal, there has never been a medal waiting for me when I walked in the door. I know many of times wanting to speed up and pass someone faster just to “show’em” and in reality we have no idea who they are are what they are doing for training that day. What will you have to show for it? I hate being passed, but I had to get over it because I wanted and continue to strive to get better, and racing drunk guys at 10 o’clock at night doesn’t accomplish that. This need to run to your max in training isn’t specific to a new runner or a not so new one, its across the board. For new runners its usually that thing that derails the plan of running faster then anything, we either get defeated by the “forget it I can’t do this!” or worse injury. When if we just would of slowed down and realized that we are probably not Kenyan and its a process of building up. As for the seasoned runner it’s almost a bigger problem because habits are hard to break, and if mile stones have been reached why fix something that’s working. Ironically it’s not working at well as it could be, we see runners who train a ton but never show any improvements year after year, the most likely reason is they are stuck in a “grey zone” and what that means is that on prescribed hard days of training the effort isn’t hard enough, and on easy days the effort is to much and that I think has to do with ego. These specific efforts are crucial for improvement of the total race day outcome from building base to learning how to finish strong. At the end of the day I think we all need to understand the big picture of why we are putting in these efforts in the first place, it’s losing weight and getting heathy for some or setting a new PR for others. But mostly don’t race drunk guys, because they have superpowers and probably won’t remember the next day….

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast