Friday, February 16, 2018

GORUCK Light : V-day Massacre

This year is going to be a year of many GORUCK events.  Collecting the patches is so enticing!  I want to go on all the adventures, too.

They were hosting 2 Vday Massacre light events in Charlotte.  I was originally signed up for the morning session, but I moved it to the afternoon session when I thought I might be doing a race in the morning.  I ended up not getting to do the race, but that meant that I got to sleep in.

I watched videos of the events going on in different cities, for Vday Massacre, on facebook live.  I started regretting my decision to sign up... the funishment didn't seem so appealing, carrying heavy stuff in the wet and cold in the mud, with misting rain outside, while I was warm inside.

Once I got there, though, I was excited.  Time to turn on my competitive juices and hunger for adventure.  It was my first light.  In the GORUCK arena, I did a Tough (12 hr beat-down overnight) in 2016 and a Constellation (12 hr gentleman's event overnight).  This would be 5 hours, with 10lb instead of 20lb in the ruck, and less heavy stuff to carry. 

The mood from the beginning was different.  You get the fun version of the Cadre, who doesn't even require you to call them Cadre - he goes by Garrett, at Lights.  It's about having a good time, at Lights.  I liked it.  The Vday Massacre event was a mix of history and the usual themed event.  It's related to the Moran and Capone rivalry that grew in Chicago after Prohibition, and why Prohibition is bad because it impinges on freedoms, and what happened to Capone.

The welcome party was some sprinting, crab walking... a light and quick say-hello party.

I liked how Garrett sprinkled in some random Special Forces lessons learned along the way... first, Building Rapport.  Get to know people, to build their trust, and maintain it.

We carried one log as a team, and we called it a "still", since we were about bootlegging.  We went through the town, and went along a greenway sidewalk.  We split up into 6 teams of 4, taking turns on log duty, and on flag and team weight duty, and on road guard duty.  I liked being road guard, because you got to sprint ahead, then protect the road from cars as the team went through.  The "still" was better than usual, because there were others my height or shorter, but it's still hard. 


Our point of no return was another park, where we heard more of the story, and completed a task where we dragged our rucks up a hill, low-crawling to the flag.  We learned about Astronomical, Nautical, and Civil twilight, and how twilight plays tricks on your eyes because of the refraction of light.  That's why enemies like to attack then... it's harder for you to shoot back at them then.

On our way back, we learned another lesson.  We weren't sure of how to get back (we had to go back a different way from how we came), and a scouting pair was sent out... but we didn't have a GOTWA plan.  While they were out, Garrett told us about how we should know where they're going, others being taken with them, time planned to be away, what to do if they don't return, actions to take if either group gets hit while we're apart.  They came back, and we found a different way onwards.  

It was a light mood.  I enjoyed just being out, rucking, surrounded by people, meeting people, getting to decompress from usual life.  I like the mood of Lights.

We finished with the end of the history lesson, and then did an obligatory Tunnel of Love for Vday to earn our patches.  Fun times.  About 9.5 miles covered.  It made me want to do more events, even more than I'm already signed up for!

Alone in the Woods - Real-life Adventure, Bday, Snow, Visitors

Tue, Jan 2:
5.0 in who knows - forgot to start timer.  The run was harder than it should've been, cardiovascularly.  Been feeling cold symptoms since NYC.

Thur, Jan 4:
4.0 in 30:53, 7:43 ave, 2 degrees of incline - Interval Session.  Despite congestion, glad with how it went.  I hadn't planned on doing intervals, but after 1.5 mi, I realized that my legs were in the mood for intervals.
  • 2 mi warmup (8:35, 8:17). 
  • 2 x [0.75 @ 9mph (5:00), 0.25 @ 7.5mph (1:59)]
Not a full interval workout, but glad for even this.  Glad I still have at least some cardio and speed, even after the Iceland 24 hour.

6 strict pullups and 7 toes to bars, then 4 strict pullups and 3 toes to bars.

Sat, Jan 6:
11.1 mi in 2:09:02, 11:35 ave, on the trails.

Mon, Jan 8:
55 min strength session
  • Crunches: 400/side
  • Plank: 3 + 2 min
  • Lunges: 100
  • Abductor/adductor Leg Lifts: 85/90 + 60/125
  • Burpees: 50
  • Lower Leg Extensions: 100
  • Assorted Dumbells

Tue, Jan 12:
5.0 in 43:15, 8:39 ave.  Harder than expected.

Birthday weekend, saw Paddington Bear, which came out on my birthday.

 Sun, Jan 14:    ALONE IN THE WOODS

The trail system where I run is continuously expanding its facilities, and new sections of trail will appear suddenly, sometimes.  I started off in the late afternoon, and I saw a new part that I thought would be a small detour, but it ended up taking me 5 miles through the woods, as the sun set and disappeared completely.  My heart was pounding, going on an unfamiliar and newly cut trail, so new it wasn't even on the map yet.  Not knowing how long it was, or where it would lead.  Not even moonlight to show the way.  Nobody around.  I could get some sense of where I was from Google Maps, but that didn't help, with the dense and wild forest between me and roads or neighborhoods.  My battery was draining.  I had to keep a quick pace, using my iPhone light, to make the most of the light while it still had power.  Finally, I connected to a trail I've run before, but it's long, and who knows how far until I can get to the end of the trail.  33%.  A podcast on The Last Jedi keeps me company, keeps me calm despite my pounding heart.  Stopped periodically, to check what kind of progress I was making with the geolocator on Google Maps.  Finally, I hit a service road, and although it was still pitch black, it was solid ground and led me back to my car.  A wild adventure.  A real-life version of some of the adventure stuff that I like to "play" sometimes.  It was below freezing, and I had been in a short sleeve t-shirt.  It was comfortable while I was moving, but if I had run out of light and had to stay in place all night, it would've gotten really cold.  My worry had been how quickly I could get into work the next morning, if I got stuck out in the forest overnight, haha.  Hermione.

14.2 in 2:57:56, 12:31 ave... somehow kept that pace, even with the iPhone light running in the dark.

Made it out alive!

Tue, Jan 16:
6.0 in 48:59, 8:10 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  Expected snow the next day, so wanted to work out while I could.  Excited for the gym today, while at work.  Originally planned to bike or row, but my legs, despite being slightly sore from the adventure on Sunday, were ok to run on.

Sat, Jan 20:
55 min strength session

  • Crunches; 450/side
  • Plank: 3.5 min
  • Single Leg Squats: 80 + 95
  • Lower Leg Extensions: 105
  • Dumbell Row Pushups: 20
  • Abductor/adductor Leg Lifts: 95/100 + 85/95
  • Pushups: 20 + 20
  • Squats: 50
  • 6 in: 75s
  • Star Side Plank: 60s
  • Assorted dumbells, left shoulder a bit off
Sun, Jan 21:
5.0 in 42:25, 8:29 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  After gelato, so still digesting.  Harder than it shoudl've been.  Tough week this week, emotionally.

Zipline and  rock climbing today.  Have been oddly pass-out tired feeling suddenly, a few times this week.

Tue, Jan 23:
13.3 mi stationary biking.  Not possible to run, partly because too full from apple, carrot, cheez-its, all-natural version of Thin Mints, chocolate, cheese... yeah, I can see why.  Knees were a bit complaining.  Ride mentally lasted a long time, since I hadn't done a bike session in a while.  No water necessary.  4 + 4 pullups after.

Thur, Jan 25:
7.0 in 56:13, 8:02 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  Gym was warm today.  Treads on my shoes look worn.  The run felt pretty good, maybe because it has been a while since my last run.

Sun, Jan 28:
6.0 in 49:55, 8:19 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  Didn't do the run earlier in the weekend, because my ankle integrity was lacking - plantarflexing wasn't too strong, oddly.  Decided to get out anyways, after feeling like I was dragging all weekend, eating, tv, sleeping, repeat, bleh.  Did go to church today... need it to survive right now.  Was waiting for laundry anyways, so might as well try the gym.

Tue, Jan 30:
50 min Strength Session
  • Crunches: 400/side
  • Plank: 2.5 + 2.5 min
  • Pushups: 25 + 20
  • Abductor/adductor Leg Lifts: 105/115
  • Lower leg extensions: 110
  • Single Leg Squats: 2 x 75
  • Squats: 100
  • 6 in: 90s
  • Russian twists: 35, with 8lb med ball
  • Assorted dumbells
Thur, Feb 1:
6.0 in 49:06, 8:11 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  Surprised that mile 6 wasn't that bad, since I had been wanting to stop after mile 5, at first.  Felt decent.  Feared that I might be getting out of shape, and not race fit and ready for my OCRWC qualification attempts that were coming up.

I returned to the new trail where I had gotten stuck out in the dark, this time, in the daytime, to see what the foe looked like, in the daytime.  Get to know it.  Strangely, I ended up going around some other way, because the way I took today took me in a full circle, so I don't even know how I got where I got the previous time.

Sun, Feb 4:
4.0 in 31:39, 7:55 ave, 2 degrees of incline, with the Super Bowl on TV.  I had planned on doing intervals to try to get my speed fitness back, but my legs didn't have it, so I made it into a tempo effort.  Harder than it should've been, maybe because I was still digesting tofu curry and other foods.  Even used preworkout, for the first time, trying to get an extra boost, but it didn't help.  Oh well, some kind of run is better than nothing.  Left outer knee still a bit tweaked.  Right back tightened in the last mile.

During the workweek, family friends visited from Taiwan, with my mom.  I took them to my favorite spots, plus work.

 Fri, Feb 9:
3.5 in 25:05, 7:10 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  A decent interval session.  
  • 0.5 mi warmup in 4:09
  • 3 x [0.75 mi @ 9mph (4:57), 0.25 mi @ 7.5mph (1:59)]
After a week where I was especially tired, between hosting visitors and work... baggy eyes.  Thankfully, the meetings turned out ok.  Probably couldn't have done another rep.  Not a record-setting session, but very solid.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

2017 Year in Review

It's fun to crack open a new training journal at the start of each year.  Each one has a different way of organizing days, and focuses on certain aspects of training days to different extents.  I like ones with year-long visualizations, too.  A previous journal had a world map where you could mark the cool places you've run while traveling.  This one gives you a nice visualization of your year across four pages.  It can be hard to discern or remember trends just with memory, so it's helpful. 


So... here's a recap of the year...

1) Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge (Jan 5-8)

Goofy was fun in 2016, so Dopey was the logical next step.  5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, on consecutive days.  It was a unique year for Dopey, because the HM was cancelled due to threats of lightning, but it made it more memorable, I suppose.  After doing my own "half marathon" that day then walking around the parks all day, I had no idea how I'd survive the marathon, but it went well.  I love Disney.  I was sad to not be there for the 2018 race.

Race recap here.

2) Indiana Dunes B-day (Jan)

I like National Parks a lot, so it was awesome to get to visit one on my b-day.  I had been to Indiana Dunes many, many years before, so it was cool to go back.  I got to enjoy one of the most beautiful runs I've been on, while there.

3) Good Friends (Jan-Feb)

I also got to see a number of good friends... a Milwaukee colleague who's thoughtful and throws a great game party, my HS running buddy... the original running buddy, and a college roomie!  Back at home, I got to hang out with my NC buddy, too.

4) 10,000 Burpee Challenge (Jan 20-Apr 29)

A facebook friend came up with a challenge to do 100 burpees for 100 days, posting the video proof in a dedicated facebook group.   I have no idea now what I was thinking when signing up, but I did.  As you can see, from Jan 20 to 100 days after that, I did a ton of workouts.  After you've already gotten yourself sweaty from 100 burpees (or more, if I had to make up for missed burpees), you might as well do a workout.  That was a good side-effect.  I surprisingly didn't get any better at push-ups.  Doing a bunch of burpees became not a big deal after about 10 days, though.  I also learned more self-discipline in getting it done, making time for it.

A full write-up can be found here.

 5) Trying to Explore Charlotte

One draw of moving to Charlotte was having more things to do.  I often found myself just hanging out at home or at the Whitewater Center, so I wanted to try to get out more.  I went to some concerts at the Fillmore, and a Fat Tire-sponsored concert/circus at the music pavillion.

6) Boston Marathon (Apr)

Second time there.  Since it was the second time, everything's not brand new and unknown anymore, but it's still an incredible experience to be there.  The whole city is so into it, and I didn't re-quality, but being there makes me want so much to make it there again.

Race recap here.

7) Geocaching

I haven't done as much geocaching this year.  It seems like less of a thing here than in South Carolina.  Geowoodstock was held in NC this year, though, so my dad and I got to go for a second year in a row.  It's still nice to have something to do when I'm out somewhere and have a little time to kill, though, and you still run into some clever and fun ones.

8) Hikes

Not a lot of hiking this year.  With the Whitewater center so close, it's harder to justify driving a couple of hours to go hiking in the real mountains.  I did go to Purchase Knob, Crowder's Mountain, McDowell Nature Preserve, and Latta Plantation.

9) OCR United

This was a year for branching out to more OCR companies, to get more variety.  I did a GORUCK Constellation, Tough Mudder, Savage, Bonefrog, Green Beret Challenge operators, GBC Behind Enemy Lines, Rugged Maniac, and OCRWC in Blue Mountain, ON, in addition to Spartan HH, HH12HR (DNF), 3x Trifecta, and Ultra WC in Iceland.

I enjoyed getting to experience the unique flavors of each one.  OCRWC and the Spartan Ultra WC were really cool to be a part of.  GBC BEL was epic, too.

10) Work

Work's fitness room opened in Jan 2017.  I love it.  I can look forward to going to the gym all day while I'm at work.  I can get a nice, stress-relieving workout after work.  I can shower, then go home and just worry about eating and relaxing with some TV.

I also switched into a new role creating digital products.

11) OCRWC in Canada

I don't really get much opportunity to travel with work anymore, but I did go to some races with vacations built around them.  The first was with my mom and sister.  We had a great time in Canada, getting to see Niagara Falls, Blue Mountain resort, Tobermory, and Toronto.  It was fun exploring.

12) Iceland 

It's a beautiful and wild country with so many cool things to discover... basalt columns, black sand beaches, northern lights, vivid green mountains, gigantic waves, geothermal springs, waterfalls.  My sister is an awesome travel buddy.

 Stated that way, I guess 2017 was an eventful year!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

NYE in NYC (and Xmas)

After Iceland, I spent some time in NYC with my sister.  The first day was a good day to rest, do laundry, and stock up on groceries at WholeFoods.  The next few days, I worked remotely.

Saturday, Dec 23:
An evening run in Central Park, my first run back.  9.3 in 1:32:46, 9:56 average.  As you may know, I like to run on soft surfaces like grass or trail whenever possible, so the Reservoir is definitely my preferred spot there.  It had really pretty views, with the lights in the skyline.  The path right around the reservoir is super flat but is just wide enough for maybe 3 people and has more tourists because of the good views.  Circling that path is a much wider, and slightly hilly dirt road with fewer people and like 3 car lanes worth of space to weave through, but you don't get those same views.  I mixed it up between the two.

At night, we went out to Saks near Rockefeller Plaza for the Christmas window displays.  They were Snow White themed.  I like Dopey.

They also had a dancing light display accompanied by music, on the building, also produced by Disney.  Our family often goes to Disney during December or January, so it was nice to get a taste of Disney this year, even though we weren't in Florida.

There are lots of Pokemon in that area, too, so my sister and I ended up spending about an hour catching them, much longer than planned, haha... just so many to get, especially since they had just released a bunch of new kinds.

For Christmas, we went to my sister's boyfriend's parents' house in Long Island (which is really super long, like much longer than even Cape Cod!).  We enjoyed tons of great Italian food, midnight mass, white elephant, and family time.

Tuesday, Dec 26:
My sister was working, but I went out for another run at the Reservoir.  When I first went out onto the street, it seemed like it would be bearable in just a long sleeve tech tee, shorts, and my usual compression socks.  But when I got to Central Park, the wind made the 28 degrees feel quite cold.  I stuck it out through 5.3 in 52:13, 9:52, but it was tough.  3 laps around the Reservoir.

Wednesday, my sister, her boyfriend, and I first went out for squid ink Paella at Socarrat:

And then we went to Output.  It might've been my first time at a club.  Bouncers, coat checks, no pictures allowed... interesting.  The DJ was Australian Thomas Jack, who does "deep house" music.  

Thursday, we were going to go to the 9/11 memorial, but the lines to get in looked super long, and the waits were outside, so we stuck with looking around the Occulus (a shopping mall), and Eataly.  

I first learned about Eataly through a series about Dogfishhead brews, telling the story of different collaborations and experimental beers that they did.  One was a collaboration with Mario Batali when he was first starting Eataly, which is a combo Italian-oriented fine grocery store, kitchen goods store, and food court.  

I happened upon one of their stores during a visit to Chicago.  It was a cold night, and it happened to be on the way to the Mag Mile.  When I saw that there was an Eataly right next to the 9/11 memorial, I knew I couldn't miss the chance to go again.

It's truly an experience going there, because there are so many unique items there.  You really feel like you've been transported to Italy.  We bought some cheeses, bread, and beer, and went home for an Italian feast.

That evening, we did an escape room.  I had done a few apps before, but my sister has gotten into the physical escape rooms.  We did a space-themed one, the one my sister says has been the best out of all the ones she has done, because of a second room we got to go into during the game, and cool mechanized things and clever things.  It only goes downhill from here if I ever do more, supposedly.  It was a lot of fun, and I'd certainly be interested in doing more with friends some day.  Our group maxed out with 8 people.  Strangers who came together and saved the world.  There were enough puzzles to work out concurrently, so that everyone had something to do.  Everyone got to participate, which was good.  I think we did use all 3 clues, but we made it with 9:36 out of 60:00 to spare.

On Friday, while my sister worked, I went back out to the 9/11 memorial to try to go again, since it seemed like something you couldn't miss going to, if you were in NY.  I ended up waiting an hour to get tickets (even Will Call people had to wait that long on this day, since the machines weren't working), I waited another hour for my timed ticket to become valid, during which I got a letterbox geocache and a virtual geocache:

It was a multi-step geocache, and the container was a book!  Pretty awesome.  The stamp was NYC-themed, too, which made it a great addition to my stamp book.  Fortunately, the hunting and stamping was in a library, so it was indoors.  It was sub-freezing outside, so this was very welcome.

Back at 9/11, there was another 45 minute wait to get through security.  Finally, I made it in, and ended up spending like 4 hours there.  There is 9/11-inspired memorial art, sections that feature original elements of the buildings in the Towers' footprints, and rooms to honor those lost.  The main exhibit tells the a timeline-based story of the events of the day, which made you feel like you were experiencing it as it happened.  They have artifacts, they give perspectives from first responders, government response, victims, survivors, and witnesses.  They had recordings from those people, too, and it was really moving.  They have tissues in the rooms, if that's an indication of how much it impacts you.  It's definitely something that everyone who goes to NYC should experience, because the event, and overcoming it, and remembering it and honoring the heroes and victims, is such a big part of the city.

On my way home, I swung by Wholefoods and Times Square.  It would be my only taste of Times Square during the trip. I had really wanted to spend NYE there, but it was super cold, people address the lack of restrooms with bottles and diapers (so even if I can hold it for 9 hours, it may not be pleasant being around people who can't), and my sister wouldn't be able to make it because of not getting out of work until the evening.  So... this was my only taste of Times Square this time.

Sunday, Dec 31:
My last workout of the year was a body weight strength session in my sister's apartment.
  • Crunches: 400/side
  • Plank: 2.5 + 2.5 min
  • Single Leg Squats: 80 + 85 per side
  • Pushups: 25 + 25
  • Adductor/Abductor Leg Lifts: 85/140
  • 6 inches: 90s
  • Squats: 100
We had a party in the apartment, with her roommates and some friends.  We played telephone dictionary, had pomegranate orange cake, and an African chicken peanut veggie stew.  Lots of fun!