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Right. Here we are firmly in 2018 yet I haven’t checked in, in quite some time. A bit has happened, I started in a new position at work which is quite exciting. I’ve gotten into a healthy rhythm of daily training and taking care of myself. Swimming volume has gone up, running volume has backed off. Sparkling water intake has gone up, booze intake has been drastically reduced. Good decisions being made.

Let’s start with knees. Back in October-November I decided that if running once a day in the morning was good, running twice a day was better. I started heading over to the rec room near my office during lunch to pound out 3-4 extra 5k’s a week with minimal stretching and virtually no cool down. As anyone can imagine, that eventually messed me up and at some point in December after a 7 mile run I found myself limping for several days due to some pretty rough knee pain.

After chatting with my athletic trainer we decided it was due to a few factors but primarily tight hips and an imbalance in my quadraceps (vastus medialis pulling my patella off-track). I took a few weeks off of running and started a regimen of stretching and foam rolling…not my favorite things but here I am in February right as rain. Swimming distance per week has been bumped to offset some of the running and that’s certainly working out as well. I began taking some private lessons and we’ve made some tweaks to my form which I’m super excited about, but I’ll touch on that next week.

Last month I had another physical check-in and progress is still going well. My last VO2 score was 47 and now I’m up to 51.57, so that’s pretty significant. Fat mass is still at 20% which is not good at all…but some changes in diet and aerobic volume should keep working on that.

One milestone I’ve hit, is the age of 38. Man. Where did the time go? There’s a Buddhist belief that “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” I have found this to be very important in life. If you live to be the best you can be in the moment, living right for the day you’re currently in, you will by happenstance be better prepared for tomorrow and will look back fondly on this day from the future.

One for the weekend.

Back in the day, when I spent my work week tromping around the Arizona desert measuring plants and counting creatures, I was introduced to Edward Abbey. Upon reading his classics Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang, he quickly became my favorite author whose writing shaped how I lived and viewed the West. Right now as I sit here in front of my computer device thinking about my upcoming weekend of riding and running miles outside, I get excited. Excited to feel a little more free, a little uncomfortable, and a little vulnerable. That is until I get an air quality alert that winds from the East will be blowing in smoke from the complex of Montana wildfires.

I love my job, but I love being outdoors more.

Essay by Edward Abbey "I Loved it…I Loved it All" from Ned Judge on Vimeo.

Rolling resistence.

It’s September 11th and nothing that I post here really matters.

That being said, one take away that can be made…is that life can change quickly so you need to live for today and do the best you can. Yeah it’s cliche, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

So here we are in September. The weather is getting noticeably cooler and the unfortunate realization of winter running & riding is still a ways out, but seemingly right around the corner. Having spent the vast majority of my running years in the Arizona desert, I’ve struggled to enjoy snow running but this season I’m hoping to make the best of it but starting to acquire cold weather gear now. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears.

“Dumb training” continues. No watch, no real plan besides doing whatever training I want to do for however long I want to do it. And while (as previously mentioned) that’s no way to train for a race, it’s doing a great job of keeping me motivated to just do it…as some might say. This past Saturday I ran my greatest distance in probably 5+ years. I attempted the same distance last weekend but bonked 3/4 of the way through, mostly due to heat & hydration issues. Yesterday I rode our Albion Loop and, again not basing this on anything but my perception, kept a greater speed and on some climbs in a bigger chainring than my previous go’s. Progress continues.

Looking forward to 2018, I’ve set my A-race for the year to be Ironman 70.3 Couer d’Alene (June 24). It’s a little early in the season, I’ll only really have about 2 to 2.5 months of weather-appropriate outdoor training time but hopefully that won’t be too big of an influence. My biggest hurdle will be maintaining run mileage over the winter (the treadmill sucks) and getting my swimming ability up to an appropriate level. And this is where a legitimate training plan will need to be introduced. Or not.

The mechanical challenge for this winter is going to be a couple of bike build projects, primarily a new road frame. Several years ago I purchased a frame from a local manufacturer with a geometry somehwere between a TT and road bike. It happened to be big (like 61cm) which I need, and the price was right. I’ve toted this frame around for a long-ass time and have never done anything with it but this winter, when road riding is out of the question, I’m going to finally slap it onto the workstand and build it up. Something I’ve never done before.

It’ll be fun to document here and with any luck, it’ll be ready to roll once the ground thaws. The general plan, at this moment, is to build up the road/tri bike by cannibalizing the carbon fork and wheels from my the current road rig. Then using the remaining components from the current road bike to build on a cross/touring frame (not yet in my possession). First B-race for the spring is the Gran Fondo Ephrata which is 80 miles, 30 of which will be grinding gravel.

Lots of riding in the future and that’s a good thing.

That’s it for now. Peace and beers.

Current training track:

Early.

Everyone’s got a morning routine. Even a non-routine, is usually still some basic set of actions. I like to get up early, which can be super beneficial when setting for the AM. There seems to be some across-the-board interest in the early morning flow of successful people these days, and not that I’m anything special, I was reflecting on my own ability to “get it going” and thought it was worth putting it down.

My alarm typically goes off between 5 and 5:30am…though many times I naturally wake up before it goes off. My workouts switch between an outdoor run (3-5 miles) 2 or 3 times a week and a HIIT session at the gym 2-3 times a week. I like to do what I call “sober” workouts, where I don’t eat anything before hand. For no other reason than eating before working out makes me want to hurl. So I’ll drink a little water, warm up, do my thing, and then get ready for work. Any “daily reflections” or “mediation” is done while working out, typically during my run. That’s my church.

Today I had my fourth fitness test and my results are definitely trending in the right direction.

Test 3 (June 2017)
22.56kg fat mass
79.6kg fat free mass
VO2: 41.4ml/kg/min

Test 4 (August 2017)
20.5kg fat mass
77.4kg fat free mass
VO2: 47.2ml/kg/min

Essentially, I’ve lost 10 pounds and bumped my VO2 conversion. Cutting back on the IPA and logging more miles has done it’s job.

Today I’m sick as hell. Working from home and watching the Stage 17 TT of the Vuelta, wishing I were out for a ride.

The other morning while enjoying my coffee and trying not to pay attention to the latest news about what Trump did or did not do, I spotted an email that I had forgotten I was waiting for…

The Enchantments is a range in the middle of the Cascades that I had heard of before, but never really investigated. I was chatting with a guy who had entered the lottery for an overnight permit and because he sounded geeked up about the area, I figured “might as well do it myself.” Well lucky for me, I got drawn. And after sending out an email to some friends I thought would be able to take off for random backpacking trip, we soon had ourselves a full 8-person group.

The Stuart Zone of the Enchantments isn’t necessarily the most sought-after section, but beggars can’t be choosers as they say. And I suppose we’ll be avoiding much of the crowding that can happen on the trails in the Core Zone. The hike into camp near Lake Stuart is just around 5 miles…which is far from gnar (that should be t-shirt). However there are plenty of other miles & elevation feet to be chewed up in the surrounding area, so if we can hike in and drop our heavier bags at base camp then take off for some light and speedy work, I’m all good with that tactic.

Permit is good for this June and I’ll be lugging along the camera, so some good content should follow. I also have a few other trips sprinkled on the calendar over the course of the next few months, a good sign.

In other slightly related news, my employer is offering new wellness program that provides athletic training, and exercise testing & programming that focuses heavily on injury assessment, prevention, treatment and rehab. Since I’ve recently become aware of my own mortality and injuries have plagued my ability to get into the backcountry, I’m stoked to get started with the trainers.

As one declines in age (inclines?) the bod starts to act a little more quirky. This past weekend, as I was prepping for a couple of upcoming backpacking trips, I set up all four of my tents in the front yard as an inventory of poles, stakes, rainflies, zipper health, etc. Everything checked out and after letting the shelters air out, a couple of which hadn’t been slept in for the greater part of a decade, I began to systematically roll each one up like a tight nylon doobie and place back into the Rubbermaid Tote o’ Tents. As I slightly bent over to drop in tent number two, a three-pound Sierra Designs Flashlight 2, a sharp ting hit me in the lower back. Recognizing this pain from before I instinctively paused, but I didn’t immediately collapse to the ground in pain so I eased myself upright and decided it was time for the sofa, a heating pad, a handful of Advil and a pale ale.

The girl and I had a couple of soirées to attend that night so like a tough guy I powered through several hours of standing, sitting, drinking and small talk. Sure my back hurt, but it didn’t seem to be nearly as bad as the previous two back spasms I’d suffered over the past several years. The next morning, however, was a much different story. The girl had to help me stand up out of bed. She did her best to get me situated with everything I might need for a day on the sofa: laptop, water bottle, phone, Kindle. She left early that morning to coach a rowing camp in Seattle for the next ten days.

All was good until I needed to piss.

After rolling off of the sofa and onto the floor, I slowly and painfully managed to get myself to stand up. The slow stumble towards the kitchen en route to the bathroom was sketchy and painful, and the danger of me actually pissing myself was code yellow. As I got into the kitchen I looked at the sink. I’m 6’3″ and then and there made the tactical design to utilize the drain in front of me. Not a proud moment, I assure you. On my way back to the main room I found myself stuck, leaning against a chair, unable to bring myself to get into the sofa. Twenty minutes I stood there, occasionally trying, swearing a storm, gritting my teeth, and subsequently trying to calm the dogs down.

The phone was about five feet away from me, well out of reach on the coffee table. “Hey Siri, call Keith on speaker phone” I yelled. And the miracle of technology swiftly went into action. Within ten minutes my boy Keith was over helping lower me into my leather home-hospital bed. Several hours later after another failed attempt to visit the bathroom (mind you, I wasn’t drinking or eating ANYTHING as to mitigate the inevitable need to relieve myself) I called upon another buddy to come get me and take me to the ER.

So now here I am, loaded up with prescribed amounts of Valium and Hydrocodone (I’m referring to such cocktail as The Limbaugh”) and I’m doing better. The pain is most definitely here but just enough of the edge has been taken off that I’m ambulatory within the main floor of my house.

Needless to say, this upcoming weekends’ backpacking trip through the Olympics has been scratched. This is not the gnar I was hoping to fill the blog with stories of, but it’s where I’m at and I’d might as well tell a story about something. Those of you who have suffered back pain can sympathize, and I with you. It’s incredible that no matter how tough of a guy you are, a injury like this can turn you into a crawling, whimpering baby.

With that, I’ll leave you with a few images from last weekend’s time spent at a cabin with friends off Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho.

 

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This will be like last year but more and better.

INWCXS 2017

MIMCdATC

Let there be cake

One for the weekend.

Rolling resistence.

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