January 24, 2011

Shaking the Winter Blues


So one other small detail I forgot to mention the other day. I also registered for a full marathon (26.2 miles) in June. I chose the Utah Valley Marathon in June mainly because it has a fast course (lots of downhill) and beautiful scenery. The race starts in Wallsburg comes down and around Deer Creek Reservoir, through Provo canyon, and south on University Avenue to finish at the Provo Towne Center.

Here's a map of the course courtesy of www.utahvalleymarathon.com
Utah Valley Marathon course map

Elevation map of the course courtesy of www.utahvalleymarathon.com
Utah Valley Marathon elevation map

In all reality I'm shocked that I'm doing this race. A year ago I would not have imagined running a full blown marathon. I'm pretty nervous as I look over my training schedule but also excited to attempt and hopefully accomplish such a tremendous feat. I think back to my doubts and fears I had in myself as I approached the day of my first half marathon last August. All the way to the day of the race I was flip-flopping back and forth as to whether I was actually going to do the race. I had this thought in the back of mind that I might have to finish the race in an ambulance or something similar! Nevertheless I crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 45 minutes (not a fast time but somewhat respectable) I couldn't believe how incredible I felt at having reached a major accomplishment.

Strange how I'm beginning to experience the same types of feelings as I did last summer as the half marathon approached. I'm excited but realizing quickly how difficult it is to train in the winter. The extreme cold sucks to run in and is almost as bad as running in the extreme heat of summer. Not sure which is better, but right now I beginning to think the heat is. Winter brings slippery ice, wet snow that makes your feet freeze, cold air that freezes your nostrils, windpipe, lungs, and makes your nose runs like crazy. I won't even mention about someone like me who is 6'3" and 250+ pounds wearing spandex to keep warm.

Despite everything that freaks me out about the enormity of completing a full marathon I go back to remember the extreme rush of crossing the finish line with the two half marathons and several other 10K races I've done this past year. It's an awesome feeling. Hence the reason I've posted some of the pictures from my previous races this last year. Hopefully you can get a glimpse of what it's like to cross the finish line. Notice the look on my face in some of the pictures! So here's to shaking off the winter blues, windburned faces and frozen toes!! Come rain or snow February 11 marks the start of 16 weeks of the most grueling and physically demanding training I've ever attempted. Lets ROCK and ROLL baby!!! My future dream of full Ironman glory is one step closer!!

January 23, 2011

Moab Half Marathon


Well in order to get back in shape and get running again I took the plunge and entered the lottery for the Moab half in March. This race is pretty popular and requires runners to enter a lottery and only a portion of those who entered the lottery actually get selected to run the race. Fortunately for me and my neighbor we were both selected.

A few weeks ago I was sitting on the couch late one night thinking I had better make reservations for a hotel room. After about 3 hours on the web and phone I think I finally reserved the last room in all of Moab. Nevertheless Karina and the kids will be able to accompany me and cheer me on! For awhile I had thought we may be sleeping in the car on the side of the road.

Hoping to get sub 2:30:00 which would shave about 8 minutes of my current PR.

Wish me luck!

May 24, 2010

Bay Area Run

Preparations for the Red Rock Relay are well under way. I've now dropped 21 pounds and still going! I decided I'm at a point now where it's time for the rubber to hit the road. Until now I've mainly been focused on spinning classes that provide an amazing cardio workout and is also good cross training for running. In addition I've spent a lot of time in the weight room trying to build up strength in the core, legs and upper body.

Last week while in the Bay Area for work I was blessed with a break in the bad weather and decided to hit the pavement for a run. I took the rental car around the neighbourhood where I was staying clocked out a route for running with the odometer. The next morning I took to the streets and was amazed to do 4.7 miles. My feet, calves, and upper legs hurt like crazy a day later but now I'm recovering quicker and my body is getting used to the running. Below is a jpg from Google earth that I created of my run.

Last Thursday as soon as I was back in town I ran down to Runner's Corner in Orem and purchase a pair of Saucony Progrid Rider2s. Nice shoes that I'm extremely happy with. After contemplating for a day I took them to the shoe shop and had them zero the souls. This is where they level the shoe so the heal is perfectly level with the front of your foot. The idea is that doing this to your shoes forces you to run on the mid-foot which is supposed to prevent injuries and keep you healthy. Below is a picture of the shoes:

Got the shoes back on Friday night and did a 6 mile run on Saturday. This was my longest run to date. Working hard on getting the mileage up. Not too worried about speed at this point, I figure I can always get faster and will as I continue to drop the gut and keep watching what I eat. In addition I plan to continue spinning classes a couple times a week and will hopefully add in Mtn. Biking a time or two every week. Now if only the weather will hold and the trails start to dry out!!

May 1, 2010

An apple a day...really does keep the Dr. away.

Many may or may not know that two months ago I turned over a new leaf and made a choice to start slimming down, getting in shape and eating better. Diving into the world of wacko diet fads I've found that true healthy living comes from eating good old fashion fruits and veggies, with the right kinds of meat thrown in, and exercise. No magic bullets, potions, pills, or easy solutions, just sheer determination.

I've started educating myself in nutrition and studying healthier types of foods out there I was quite surprised by what I discovered about apples. In case you didn't know here are some interesting facts about apples:

Apples originated in Asia and are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits with over 7500 known varieties. China is the world's largest producer of apples followed by the United States, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Italy, India.

Vitamins and Minerals Contained In Apples:
  • Flavonoids (i.e. antioxidants)
  • Beta-carotene (an immune booster and also gets converted to vitamin A)
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C (the more tart the higher the vitamin C content)
  • Boron (thought to improve the body's absorption of calcium and magnesium)
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous ( for bone formation, digestion, excretion, protein formation, hormone balance, energy extraction, cell repair, chemical reactions, and nutrient utilization)
  • Potassium
  • Silicon (for strengthening connective tissues and bones as well as taking care of nails, skin, and hair)
  • Pectin (soluble fiber for improved digestion)
Health Benefits of Apples:
  • Promote good digestion, reduce colon inflammation thereby improving both diarrhea and constipation
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Stabilize blood sugar levels (good for both diabetes and hypoglycemia)
  • Reduce arthritis pain
  • Reduce morning sickness
  • Improve asthma
  • Prevent hardening of the arteries
  • Prevent skin diseases
  • Improve liver and gallbladder sluggishness
  • Stimulate salive flow
  • Clean your teeth
  • Stimulate gum tissues
  • Lubricate the lungs
  • Cleans the lymphatic system
  • Aid in weight loss
  • Neutralize the effects of smoking
  • Curb cravings for alcohol
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Prevention of dementia
  • Decrease the risk of many types of cancer
Pretty amazing piece of fruit. Little did you know that an apple a day really does keep doctor away!

September 2, 2009

11,749 feet above sea level.

I had the opportunity to do something I hadn't done in a long time in climbing to the summit of Mount Timpanogos at 11,749 feet above sea level. This is definitely one of my most favorite places on earth. The last time I did this I was 18 and several (we won't say exactly how many) pounds lighter, but nevertheless it was still an amazing experience. Earlier this spring I set a goal that I was going to get it done for sure this summer before the end of summer. I hadn't found anyone willing to go with me until Karina mentioned my brother-in-law was considering going with some colleagues from work. I immediately called him and invited myself first, and then convinced him that he wanted to go!

We chose the Timpanooke route (my personal favorite) and agreed to meet everyone at the trailhead at 5am sharp. When we arrived at the parking lot of the trail head I was astounded at the number of people who had also decided to hike at the same time. Not a single parking spot available! So assuming the forest rangers would be merciful due to the sheer volumes of people hiking the mountain we parked right smack in front of a "No Parking Sign", geared up and headed to the trailhead.

I prefer hiking at night without flashlights and can usually see better anyways. The only problem was the lack of any moonlight, and the heavy tree cover made the trail pretty dark. So after a 15-20 minute wait for the others we decided to stick close to another group who had much better lighting and were kind enough to let us tag-a-long.

After an hour or so there was enough light I could begin snapping photos. This was taken right at daylight about 2 miles up the trail. You can see the Twin Peaks in the left of the picture that overlook Snowbird ski resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

This was one of my favorite pictures of the hike.

So after a little more than 14 miles of hiking one of the most beautiful and inspiring places in the world our feet sore, faces sunburned (actually blistered) we returned back to the car and found a $125 parking ticket!

Needless to say it was worth it.

My nasty sunburn.

Hiking so early in the morning before the sun rises you forget you still are going to need sunscreen.

June 14, 2009

Back in Singapore

What a long couple of days. Traveling can certainly wear on you especially when you visit the other side of the world. I spent the day in Singapore and will shortly be on my way to arrive at my final destination. I left Salt Lake late Friday afternoon. It took two hours to Los Angeles and after a couple hours on the ground it was seventeen hours to Singapore. All I can say is thank goodness the company policy is to send us business class on international trips. When compared to my usual trips to the Bay Area on mini regional jets with extremely close quarters, having a seat that transforms in a bed long enough for a large 6'3" kind of guy is very welcoming. Food was great and Singapore Airlines really treats you like a king.

January 14, 2009

A Warm Thanks To All My Friends

I'm a self proclaimed "technology enthusiast" that has never taken the time to get involved with the more social aspects of the Internet. I've always assumed that things like Blogs, Twitter, My Space, Facebook, Flikr or anything of the sort was meant for people who have much more spare time than I do. Perhaps its has something to do with me sitting in front of a handful of computer monitors at the same time for 10-12 hours a day? I used to enjoy a game or two but but it seems my spare time on the computer (which is usually in the evening after kids go to bed) is usually consumed by leftovers of unfinished tasks from earlier in the day. In my line of work there is always research to do on the latest technology, a complex problem to solve, or a slide deck presentation to prepare.

Recently that has all started to change.
A month or so ago I decided to give Facebook a try, and so I created a profile and sent an invite to a colleague from work. He accepted and I thought that would be the end of Facebook. Much to my surprise a few days later various invitations from family and friends started showing up in my inbox, and still every day there's a new invite from either a family member or an old friend.

Along with the invitations have also come links to individual blogs, photo galleries, and the various web sites that tell the stories of the lives of so many of you whom I've lost contact with over the years. I generally don't consider myself to be of the sentimental type, but I've found myself drawn in and consumed with learning about the lives of so many of those individuals I've come to realize I dearly miss. As I read through the many stories and travelogues a long forgotten memory is often triggered and for a brief moment relived. Often I'm left with a smile on my face and warming of my soul.

Many of you have made impacts of various sorts on my life, and many of you will never know of positive influences you've had on me. As I've come to be reacquainted with so many of you I've come to realize how truly blessed I've been to know so many good people.

I'm not sure if any of you will even read any of this, but nevertheless I say thanks. Thanks for the warm memories you've helped create. I can honestly say I wouldn't be the same person without you. So I pledge to do better. I pledge to be a better friend and reach out to many more of you. I pledge to re-acquaint with you and your families, as I hope I can inspire and lift as you've done for me. Thank you for being who you are.