One Month Fitness Challenge: Day 22

Sorry to those of you who are hoping for anything different than last week’s progress report (progrep for short….not really I just made that up). Let’s just get into it, shall we?

It’s been three weeks and to recap, these were my goals for September:

  1. Run 75 miles in month of September
  2. Do 30 burpees each day (or do 900 in month in case of missed day or two)
  3. Attend no less than 2 Crossfit classes each week (exception Ireland week)
  4. Lose 5-7 pounds (though, I’d be OK if I didn’t reach this goal until race day 10/15)

So, progress check.

Running:

So I’m not exactly jumping over the moon about my progress, but I’m not super down on myself either. I’ve logged 15.5 miles since last Thursday. I’m finding it’s difficult to get in two days of crossfit and really get a lot of miles in without exercising every day of the week. I did run a 9.5 mile this past Sunday (pace around 8:00 or 8:15 per mile, which is about where I want to be for longer runs). My biggest challenge is getting up in the mornings to run. I wish I had better will power to just force myself to get up and get out there, but I am really good about waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and deciding THEN that I am going to sleep in, so I change my alarm to my normal wake up time. Wuddaya gonna do, ya’know?

I’ll say this: I don’t think I will achieve 75 by the end of this month, but I think it’s possible to get 75 miles before Canada on 10/15.

Burpees

Hey look over there! See that thing? Focus on that and let’s move on to the next section!

Crossfit

Crossfit going well.Have been solid about going twice per week and I’ve noticed some gains in my overall strength. I’m nowhere near where I want to be strength-wise, but I believe I’m getting there. There are little things thought that excite me for my two races next month.

My grip strength has improved. I’ve probably mentioned my biggest takeaway from my first Spartan Race was that I needed to work on my grip strength. I feel much more confident now than I did a month ago thanks to crossfit and some at home exercises Kelly and I do that my grip strength is close to where I’d like it to be.

I also like to play around and climb on the rig after we do crossfit. I feel when my energy is low, I like to get a sense of how well I am pull myself up and around, and I feel very confident that I’ll be able to pass the monkey bar obstacles that I might face. It’s kind of funny, but when Kelly and I were in Cork, Ireland a few weeks ago, we were sitting outside of this bar, and I was looking at this wall and thinking how, if I needed to (b/c you know, sooner or later I might need to), I could scale the wall by hanging from and pulling myself up and over by using pipes, AC units, signage, and whatever else was between me and the roof. Just saying, might need to do that one day…

Lose 5-7 lbs.

So, I am down 2.5 pounds as of this morning from where I was three weeks ago. I’ll make a bigger push the week before the OCRWC to really cut weight, so I think I am on a good path. My focus as far as losing weight has been upping my cardio and just eating a little cleaner (little less drinking, little more discipline when it comes to diet). No major changes planned until race week, where I’ll probably cut way back on bread and cut out alcohol and focus 75% of my diet on vegetables, fruit, and protein.

Current Weight: 170.0 lbs.

Self-Assessed Fitness Level: 8/10

Days run this month: 8 (out of 21)

Miles run this month: 36

Crossfit classes attended past week: 2

Biggest Challenge Past Week: Motivation to get my ass out of bed and run!

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One Month Fitness Challenge: Day Fifteen

So I didn’t update the blog last week because I was in Ireland and I decided that the blog wasn’t the most important thing to do that week (I did write most of a blog for Sweat Local, though, so kudos to me…kidding, my wife worked way more than I did on SL and deserves way more kudos for getting our first Sweat Sesh going last this month…) ANYWAY…

It’s been two weeks and to recap, these were my goals for September:

  1. Run 75 miles in month of September
  2. Do 30 burpees each day (or do 900 in month in case of missed day or two)
  3. Attend no less than 2 Crossfit classes each week (exception Ireland week)
  4. Lose 5-7 pounds (though, I’d be OK if I didn’t reach this goal until race day 10/15)

So, progress check.

Running:

I’ve logged just over 20 miles, so obviously I’m not hitting my goal (should be at 37.5 by now). I made a excel sheet that allows me to track where I am at and what my daily average needs to be in order to complete the 75 miles by 9/30. Basically, I need to run 3.4 miles every day in order to get there. Not saying won’t happen, but I’m worried. I do plan to run a lot this weekend (10-15 miles) so hopefully I can start chipping away at that 75.

I did have a nice 5 mile run in Ireland, which is something I always like to do once when I travel. Great way to explore a city and get a feel for the culture.

Burpees

For the most part, I (and Kelly who is doing 30 a day with me) am doing pretty good with this. I’ll admit, there were a few days in Ireland that we missed, then tried to make up on the back end, but if I’m honest, I’m probably short of my (15 x 30) burpee target arc.

Crossfit

This is something I’ve kept up on. Kelly and I went to Crossfit Perpetua in Dublin twice on our vacation (mixed review btw — people were great, but front desk girl (accent unknown) couldn’t make left or right of us dropping in AND wanting to buy a t-shirt…I mean how many curve balls can you throw at someone at one time?!?). I’ve already gone once this week and plan to go again on Saturday.

I do feel like my strength has greatly improved, which is what I needed after my last OCRs. My worry is that my endurance won’t be as good as it was when I was doing Orange Theory, but it’s kind of a “pick your poison” kind of scenario, right? I do think that, between endurance and strength, I’d rather be strong enough for the obstacles and fight through fatigue than have energy at each obstacle, but not enough upper body and grip strength to complete obstacles.

Lose 5-7 lbs.

Not too concerned with this one. I was up a bit of weight after Ireland, but am back down (as of this morning) to 171.8, which is just a fraction less than what I was when this month began. I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble dropping another 5 pounds or so to get to around 165 by race day.

Current Weight: 171.8 lbs.

Self-Assessed Fitness Level: 7/10

Days run this month: 4

Miles run this month: 20.5

Crossfit classes attended past week: 2

Biggest Challenge Past Week: logging miles!

Most of what we learn, we learn indirectly

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The title of this post is a quote from Randy Pausch’s final lecture titled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams at Carnegie Mellon University. In August 2007, he was given 3-6 months to live (pancreatic cancer) and he gave his final lecture in September 2007.

After the lecture, he received such a positive response that he uploaded the 140 page slide and allowed anyone to use it (so long as they don’t stand to profit monetarily from it) however they want. I also think there is a video of the 76 minute lecture online, but I haven’t listened to it (yet).

Randy died in January 2008.

I’m not going to get too deep into what I took away from looking through the slides, but there were a few things that choked me up and a few things I found to be really insightful (yadda yadda yadda, blogworthy).

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The first thing that really spoke to me was the line”most of what we learn, we learn indirectly.” I think today, people try to absorb as much information as they can by watching videos, reading blogs, and pouring over discussion boards on a certain topic.

Last year, I wrote a weekly column for a fantasy football site. The way I got my information wasn’t organic; I mostly tried to force information into my column (square peg, round hole style). I know it wasn’t as good as a lot of the other writers who would watch the games, discuss football with their peers, and have a solid understanding of what might be in store for a particular player the next week.

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The “head fake” is Pausch’s analogy to learning indirectly. In football, the head fake is a way to beat your opponent, but the only way to truly master this move isn’t by studying it, but rather by having played so much football that the move becomes natural.

So when chasing your dreams, the best way to go about it isn’t by reading a thousand books on how to become an entrepreneur, but by putting yourself out in the world and doing it (ie- trial and error ie- thrown into the fire).

If you want to do something, go do it. Fail at it. Get laughed at. Make a mistake, it’s OK. The point is, you have to take a chance. No one that’s ever chased their dream ever regretted fumbling over something along the way. They might regret a choice they made somewhere between there and here, but I bet you 100% of those people are glad they gave themselves the opportunity to make that choice instead of playing it safe and letting someone else take whatever it is they want.

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Another slide that spoke to me had a few bullets, but the first two really stood out. “Be good at something: it makes you valuable” and “Work hard… ‘what’s your secret?'”

“Valuable” is a term that is rarely applied to a person, unless in the sense of one’s place in a company (which I guess applies, but I digress). I really like the idea of being valuable, not to a business, but to your friends, to society, and to your place in terms of reaching your goals. There is an expression that says (paraphrasing), “figure out what you want to do and go do it.” That might be an Avett Brothers lyric….not sure. I would take this a step further and say, “Figure out what you want to do and go do it…and be good at it.” (I’ll streamline that before I make T-shirts, I promise).

The second bullet, “Work hard… ‘what’s your secret?’,” to me speaks to perseverance. (Grammar people, was that secret?’,” the right way to do that. I can’t imagine it is, but to me, it logically makes sense…)

Get back on topic.

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So finding your secret is kind of that magic thing that keeps you going. I think it means working hard…at the right thing.

For example: I have been writing for Sports Monte (other blog) for about a year and a half with the intention of becoming a big time fantasy sports writer and influences. I worked hard writing and researching every week, but I spent very little time learning what things make the great writers in that industry stand out. I was headstrong and believed that as long as I work hard, good things would follow.

While this works in some cases, it doesn’t work in most cases. You need direction when you work hard and a support system of people who aren’t afraid to critique what it is you’re doing. Working hard without direction is like digging a hole without having the foresight to know you need a rope in the hole with you to climb out.

Pausch died and left an unbelievable legacy. I would encourage anyone who is feeling in a rut to at least look up his slides (easy enough to find online). Maybe I’ll follow up with this once I listen to the lecture, and hopefully I’m not too far off base with how I interpreted his presentation. The long and short of it all, boys and girls, is that if you are going to catch a dream, whether you’re six or sixty, start making the right moves that will get you on the right path to achieving that dream.

 

 

How to overcome lacking creativity

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Yesterday, I was supposed to write a little doo-dad about Sweat Local Columbus, my wife and I’s (<– grammatically correct BTW) fitness journey, and a little more about ourselves for the blog, Columbus Families. The day before, my wife asked me to write it because, well, writing is kind of my thing. This was supposed to be a short piece (not exactly my forte, but not something I should struggled with) and something that would hit home with some of the readers.

So I wrote the piece.

I wrote the piece and it read like a high school essay.

“My name is Ryan Rauch and today I would like to tell you about why I think health is important. Health is important because it gives me the energy I need to accomplish my goals. I also like nutrition. Nutrition, according to wikopedia.com, is the….”

That wasn’t really what I wrote, but it may as well have been. I talked to Kelly on the way home and she told me it was boring and that she’d have to edit it and rewrite it.

It felt like she was spotting me at the gym.

“Here, babe, let me help you pick up that big heavy weight. You just got get a towel and a big drink of water…”

I couldn’t argue with her; I knew it was bad and I know I could do better.

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So I started working through my head as to why I couldn’t come up with anything better than some generic B-copy version of something that, of all things, I really do like and care about. I think it all starts with lacking creativity.

I think most writers probably deal with this on a regular basis. I think that overcoming a lack of creativity has to start with self critiquing oneself (call it soul searching if you want, but don’t allow yourself to excuse anything). It’s basically problem solving, right? The big difference is that I’m not really looking for a solution. Creativity isn’t like math, it’s like science: the solution can always be improved upon and can always be made better.

If I’m honest with myself as a writer, my strength isn’t writing straight forward content. I think the things I like most and I believe that people enjoy about my writing is my ability to write like I think, and to allow my personality to come through in my work. When I try to do something that doesn’t sound like me, it won’t read well to anyone that sees it.

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So here’s my plan.

Step one: write this blog. (Check)

Step two: rewrite the piece for Columbus Families, even if it’s already published (who cares if it doesn’t get published, I am going to write it the way I should have written it the first time)

Step three: celebrate because it’s Friday and I am pouring beer for my favorite brewery at Powell Fest tonight. (because if all else fails, I’ll find a little creativity at the bottom of a double IPA or two)

 

Things I’m Liking Lately – May 2016 Edition

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I’ll admit it from the jump: I’m stealing this idea from my wife who wrote a piece a few months back about the things she’s loving right now. Whatever, it was a good idea and now I want to do it. For legal reasons, I’ll title mine “Things I’m Liking Lately” and not “Things I’m Loving Lately” (you never know, she might sue me if we get into a fight later…).

Anyway, this is all about the things I’m into and passionate about at the moment. A lot of these are summer things I have coming up, and others are longer-arcing projects that excite me.

I should also say that these things aren’t in any order.

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Sweat Local Columbus

This began as something my wife started as a “wouldn’t it be great if…” and has turned into a pretty big deal. We pretty much laughed at the kiddy-pool idea of starting small, and created an event that will feature a 5k (complete with a police-patrolled route, timing chips, sponsored finish line banner..the works) and an expo that will feature many of Columbus’ local boutique gyms and restaurants. The event is really too big to describe in this blog post, but you should definitely check out the website and come if you’re in town (July 30, 2016). We’ve already received a ton of support from businesses and are excited to put on this event. #SweatLocalCbus

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Obstacle Course Races

So I have this tendency to fall in love with something then go all out for whatever that thing happens to be. My current obsession is Obstacle Course Races (though I’ve only competed in one race). Still, I am looking up every different race that involves mud and a wall, and I’m trying to find ways to justify driving to North Carolina for a race with my wife (Ashville is only 3 hours further south, and it would ONLY be a 12 hour drive home!).

I’m not going to spend more time on this one because I feel like I’ve driven this one into the ground with Facebook pictures, Twitter updates, and two blog posts on here dedicated to my Spartan Race. Long story short — I’m now following just about every OCR account on Twitter and have worn out the Google machine as far as “top ten races” are concerned.

Fun stuff!

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Writing

Kind of an odd thing looking at “writing,” but I’m kind of getting excited about writing again. I recently joined a site called “ClearVoice” and they basically allow you to upload some writing samples you’ve done in the past and set a $/word amount for any potential assignments. They then email you opportunities and if you want to do it and the company wants you to do it, you have an assignment.

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Anyway, it’s fun to be writing again. I still enjoy writing these posts and Sports Monte posts, but sometimes getting real life assignments about things you have to research and learn a thing or two about is fun.

I did get an “opportunity” to write a blog post about “why polyamory isn’t cheating.” I was considering it until my wife steered me clear. I guess after a certain age, the “I’ll write anything for money” mindset has to wear off. Thanks, babe, for saving me from that one!

Style

I’m notorious for “shopping” online, but never making it past putting things in carts. I probably have expired items in so many digital carts. But recently, I had a look I wanted to pull off for a wedding that’s coming up in two weeks. It’s a navy suit with a Kelly green knit silk tie and some kind of a pale blue, minimal-print shirt underneath. I’ll also have the obvious cognac shoes-belt combo working.

I’m also keeping an eye on some other sites like Gustin and JackThreads. I like the idea of stepping my jeans-game up. I’ve gotten away from the Express and American Eagle jeans phase and am currently in a Levis-from-the-department-store phase. I like these jeans, but I’m intrigued by a really quality pair of denim. Haven’t pulled the trigger on the jeans, yet, but I did make the plunge on a Navy suit!

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Travel

2016 is still the #YearofTravel, and I am still really excited about Ireland and the on-again, off-again Vegas vacation in August that is currently a full-go! (We have our plane tickets now so I feel confident). We’re Vegasing to help out my in-laws (Hi, Jim and Kathy!) at a PGA show. So, while I still plan to have plenty of fun this trip, it is a business trip and I think Kelly and I are going to have to keep a young, upstart putter maker in check and make sure he doesn’t get lost in the lights (he’s 26ish, will be going to Vegas for the first time, and kind of has that frat-mentality from having met him just the once).

Of course, the headliner for 2016: The #YearofTravel is Ireland and, again, I’ve written about that enough on this page. If you want to know more about that, check out that article. I think those two trips might be all we can handle, but if a weekend adventure, wedding, or some other opportunity presents itself, I might be hard pressed to say no. Because aside from it being 2016: The #YearofTravel, it’s also 2016: The #YearofYes, so I’m trying to say yes to as many things as I can and see what kind of year it was when I look back at it from 2017.

Anyway, those are the things I’m liking at the moment. If you think there is something I’m missing out on, please comment and I will see if it’s something I might add to my list of likes!

 

 

Spartan Race Week

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Every year I try to do at least one “fitness-competition” type of activity. This year, I’ve had a growing fascination with obstacle course racing, so I signed up for a Spartan Race last year and began mentally and physically preparing.

The Spartan Race embraces the idea of the Spartan warrior, and the obstacles are meant to signify the struggles Spartans faced back in the day. We will honor the way Spartans fought lions and dueled to the death by jumping into muddy pools of water, climbing rope walls, and carrying really heavy buckets of rocks up and down some hills.

Joking aside, I am really excited about this race. There really isn’t any way to simulate what challenges I’ll face on Sunday, but I’ve prepared by running a trail race, and going out with my garden brick and throwing it around a field for an hour or so (true story). I’ve also been trying to add some strength elements to my runs. When I’m feeling ambitious, I will hit up some playgrounds and do some pull ups, box jumps, pushups and whatever other things I can think up on the spot to train my body.

Oh, and burpees.

I’ll do burpees on my runs, but also always do them when I do my basement workouts. For those of you lucky enough not to know, a burpee is where you jump with your hands above your head, land, immediately drop into a squaty pushup position, do a pushup (optional, but encouraged), hop back into a squat position, then stand (or go right into another jump). It was probably designed by the Gestapo circa 1943 and is about as fun as a chemical burn. Anyway, when I was researching how best to prepare for a Spartan Race, they said do a lot of burpees.

So…

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Anyway, this post isn’t about burpees. The race is this Sunday and I feel like I am as ready as I can be (that is, for someone who hasn’t built an obstacle course in their back yard). I’m also really excited to see the pictures before/during/after. I guess everyone gets scraped up a little during these races, so if I can come back with a sweet scar and a story to tell, I wouldn’t be upset. I just don’t want to sprain an ankle or anything like that.

I’m always excited to try new things like this, and hope that I’ll enjoy this race enough to do another one or two in the future. Not quite sure what my 2017 fitness event will be, but I’m hoping it will be hard to top this year’s Spartan Race.

WISH ME LUCK!

 

Five ways to create balance in your life

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In order to find balance, everybody should devote a certain amount of time to a certain number of things. If you work 80 hours every week, then come home and neglect your wife and children, you’re doing it wrong. Likewise, if you devote your weekends to sitting on the couch and watching football until the sun goes down, you aren’t filling your cup with anything of substance.

There are philosophies about finding happiness through anything from tiny homes to positive affirmation (I’ve even listened to some podcasts before big meetings that tell you to say things out loud like “people respect what you have to say; your words are meaningful.” All I could think of was that SNL skit where Stewart and Michael Jordan tell themselves, “gosh darn it, people like me!”).

I am the kind of person who understands something best if it is broken down in front of me. There are things in our lives that change week by week, but if we break it down, we find that our lives can be summed into six core areas: Sleep, Work, Family, Hobbies, Exercise and Religion/Meditation.

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Each area requires a different focus and a different amount of effort. Sleep, while requiring the least amount of effort, should be made a priority if you are devoting too much time to another area. If you put more effort into one area and forget another, you will suffer in all areas. For instance, if you are training for a marathon and neglecting sleep in order to keep up with work and maintaining something of a family life, you will suffer across the board. Below is a basic breakdown of how much time in a given week you should devote to each area.

  • 30% Sleep
  • 25% Work
  • 20% Family
  • 15% Hobby
  • 5% Exercise
  • 5% Religion/Meditation

Now, everybody works differently, and it’s up to you to determine how to adjust the above list in order to work for your life, but if you stray too far from one area for too long, you will not be performing at your best. Life balance requires a certain amount from each area, and maximizing each area will allow you to excel in all aspects of your life.

With that in mind, here are five ways to create balance in your life.

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Make Sleep a Priority

Force yourself to get seven hours of sleep every night. One of my best friends is one of those guys that stays up until 3:00 a.m. He is also someone who can’t get up in the morning, can’t find the drive to move up in his company because he’s exhausted all the time. (It also wouldn’t be a bad thing to leave the phone on the dresser when you go to bed).

Purge Unnecessary Things from your Life

It’s a natural tendency for humans to hoard things. Sometimes, we can’t control ourselves and end up on A&E. We assign value and meaning to meaningless things. We save birthday cards in drawers, or shove more hangers into closets that are full of clothes we barely wear. If you need an excuse, donate things to Good Will or the Salvation Army. Unneccasary things aren’t always physical things, either. Get rid of cable if you can’t make yourself get off the couch on Saturdays. Whatever it is that you don’t need, consider how important they really are to your overall well being and make a hard decision.

Eat Right

A healthy diet gives you more energy during the day, and allows your body to properly shut down at night. A healthy body allows you to operate at 100% at your job, with your family, and gives you better focus when it comes to meditating or exercising. If you don’t have the self control to cook food on a Wednesday instead of ordering a pizza (again!), then you are enabling yourself to short change yourself in all aspects of your life. Practice some discipline, make a game plan, and make it a priority to make the kitchen the most important room in the house.

Break your Routine

It seems counterintuitive to think that you can find balance by breaking your routine, but by doing things a little bit differently, you will find yourself paying more attention to those things you do over and over when you come back to them. Breaking your routine can be anything from trying a new recipe to going on a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been. Introduce “new” into your life and allow yourself to experience something in a different light.

Learn new Things

Learn new things to teach your kids. Learn new things in the bedroom. Learn new things at work to make yourself a bigger asset (hello, job security). Whatever the reason, learning new things is something you can do across the board to keep things fresh and interesting, and allow yourself to always be improving.

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Balance is something that allows us to always be at our best. If you find yourself to be overly stressed at work, unable to lose weight, fed up with whatever your family life is, or just in a rut and you aren’t sure how to make left from right, challenge yourself to adopt balance in your life. Remind yourself what it is you want and understand that the best way to get that isn’t to run a million miles per hour at it, but to focus on the end goals and make the necessary steps toward them.