Semi-Charmed Life


Vulcan’s Fury

 Two weeks ago (right on my birthday, actually) I took part in what was my first trail race ever.

Short description from the website:

Your friends at aR have designed one of the most technical and scenic courses possible in a location that was once brimming with fire...yes...'Pawtuck' was once a volcanic site.  We think the race’s namesake – the Roman God of Fire – would be proud of a course that will have you traversing a massive boulder field, tearing through dense forest, hammering down single-track switchbacks, jumping streams, crossing bridges and heading up a rocky slope appropriately named the Devil’s Staircase.  The lava making up the park has long cooled, but your legs will be burning.  This particular area of Pawtuckaway has gone unraced for too long so join us in what will be one of the most talked about trail races of the 2011 season.

This is a rugged trail race who's distance and elevation profile combine for a very challenging test even for the fittest endurance athlete. Make no mistake about it, the course travels along hiking trails with sections that must be negotiated very carefully. Run at the peak of NH foliage make sure to steal a peek or two at the highest'll be worth the effort.

It was an 11 mile run, which I figured would not be too bad. In typical fashion though, I underestimated the challenge and thought it would be "not too bad." This, coming from a person who up until that day had his longest run clocking in at 6 miles.

The first thing I noticed when we arrived was that nearly everyone there were serious runners. My friend's coworker was the one that drove us up, and he and his friends run marathons for vacation. Zero exaggeration. We had met a guy who had finished back to back marathons (Saturday and Sunday) the weekend prior.

And there we were, three schmucks who decided to tag along with the big boys because we fancied ourselves rugged weekend warriors.

The actual run itself was way harder than I imagined. My chief obstacle was the terrain because I had made the grave mistake of deciding to wear Vibram shoes, which meant I felt every rock and branch on the trail. It HURT. I slowed into a run-a-little-walk-a-lot rhythm towards the last 4 miles of the race because my feet could not take the pain of running any longer.

Out of 118 competitors, I finished 105th. Dismal, but at least I have this deceptively glorious photo to show for it:

Vulcan's Fury


Spartan Race

This weekend I did a 5k obstacle course race called Spartan Race with some friends. Some of us had done Warrior Dash before, which is another promotion that run similar events, and most of us thought it was going to be similar in nature. It was MUCH harder than we all expected.

We were "Team Late for Work" and were all dressed up in work attire (some more so than others).

You can read a recap on my friend's blog.

Missing from the picture is Ed's girlfriend, Hana, who bested all of us. Not only did she finish ahead of all of us, she came in third for all female competitors in our wave.


Here's a picture of us after the race:

By the time the picture was taken we had already removed our tops and thrown them out. Well most of us.

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Burnt Out

Two things . . .

First, I'm done with this project 365 business. I just can't manage to take one picture a day every single day. I will however still try to take as many pictures as possibly on what hopefully will be a daily (or close to daily) basis. I only lasted 38 days!

Second . . . why do I try to pack so many things into my weekends? My body feels sore and burnt out. On Saturday I trained for a total of 5 and a half hours. I did a no-gi class and followed it up with mma. Danny stopped by at the end of my class to help me work on my wrestling but by the time he got there, I had been training for 3 hours straight and was completely exhausted. We still managed to work on some things for 20 minutes or so.

I chilled for a few hours after class, until 6pm rolled around and I dropped in on my friend's fledgling boxing/muay thai class. My friend recently started doing a boxing class at his youth club and I thought it'd be a good opportunity to get some more stand-up training in. It was a grueling 2 hours that left me physically defeated by the end of the day.

I was still determined to hit the gym on Monday though, but I did not account for the toll swimming would take on me. I woke up this morning feeling like I was hit by a truck. Now I'm really feeling the combined effects of the activities from this weekend.

Aiming to be back in the gym by Wednesday. One day of rest is just not going to cut it this time. I think somewhere along the line I forgot that weekends were supposed to be relaxing.


Swim First Noodles Later

Took my first swimming lesson at the 3rd avenue NYSC on the upper east side.


I stayed for about half an hour after my lesson was over to practice some of the stuff we went over. I got out at about 1 in the afternoon. As I was walking down 3rd avenue, I happened upon Naruto Ramen.



I ordered the Naruto Ramen lunch special which included a small plate of curry chicken and rice. The noodles were nice and bouncy and the broth was flavorful, but I prefer a heartier type of pork broth. Not a bad spot overall, but definitely not a place to bring a large group. As you can tell from the picture, it's bar seating only. It's also far as hell on the upper east side.

For now though, this looks like my lunch spot after my swimming lessons.


Training Blues

I came across this article while doing my morning browsing earlier.

I don’t know anyone who has been training in the sport of grappling for an extensive period of time that hasn’t experienced a slump or been in some sort of rut. When you are in a training slump you may experience the following:

- You don’t feel like your improving and have the feeling that you no longer will.

- You’re starting to feel frustrated.

- You feel unmotivated.

- You feel like you want to quit training all together.

- You feel nothing is going right.

Being able to get through your slump in grappling could be the determining factor of whether you continue in your training or not. If you do continue and get through your first slump, then getting through other slumps will get easier. If you don’t get through your slump, then chances are that you probably won’t be grappling much longer. I’ve seen training slumps make and break many people. 

Continue to the rest of the article here.

While I did not personally find many of the tips useful, it's comforting to know that I'm not alone.

Everyone has their bad days I guess.

What matters more is what we do after those bad days. I really liked this quote at the beginning of the article

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached as by the obstacles that one has overcome while trying to succeed.” ~ Mark Twain