Thursday, February 28, 2013

Warrior Dash 2013 Race Report

The Warrior Dash returned to Hawaii last weekend, and with it came thousands of muddy crazies ready to run, climb, crawl, and jump through a 5k obstacle course. And I was right there with them, alongside friends Diesel and the Grey (but not really the Grey). We participated in the "craziest fricken' day of (our) lives" last year and had a great time, so as soon as registration opened for the 2013 iteration of the Dash we were in like Flynn. The price is right for early registration at these events, and along with the actual race the swag is great. A fuzzy horn hat, a shirt, a medal, and a beer? The only event I've ever done with better swag is the Honu.

Better shirt than last year

Couldn't find facepaint this far from Halloween. This is lipstick. Grrrr
Traffic to and from the event last year was a bear because the course is down a two-lane road. So, like last year, rather than drive and pay to park we stopped a mile away from the entrance and rode our bikes in. So very much better. Along with Diesel and the Grey was Fore, a friend of Diesel's who is not really about the fitness but was down for the fun. And the Warrior Dash is all about fun. Yeah, they give you a chip and you can find your time, but anyone who puts a lot of stock in their Warrior Dash time is probably a douche. The Grey was registered to run but didn't, because the day before he'd gone for a bike ride in the wet and slipped. Fresh road rash should not be submerged in duck ponds and mud pits. He came for moral support and to take pictures. We rode in, picked up our numbers, chips, and fuzzy hats, checked our bags, and got ready to rock.
The Grey the Clean

Seems safe
I went with the kilt and old VFFs like last year. Unlike last year I also decided to add some face paint. The pattern I choose is a nerd joke. You win 15 Dirtbag Points* for naming why I chose the paint I did in the comments. (*Dirtbag Points not redeemable for actual goods or services, onlu bragging rights.) There are a ton of great costumes at the race. We saw guys in short shorts and suspenders with afro wigs, pirates, ninjas, and whatever other manner of silliness you can think of. I know I wouldn't want to run 5k with a Darth Vader mask on, but someone did and more power to them.
Lipstick lasts surprisingly well

Who am I? (Scowl is part of the cosplay)
We signed up for the first start, 9am. The first start is the best start. You get in early, before heavy traffoc. You get out on the course before thousands of feet have trampled it. The mud pit isn't too full of other people's whatever when you go crawling through it. Early is better.
The course location was different than last year, and I don't think any part of the 3.1 miles covered the same ground. They did start similarly though, with about a mile of single track running. Correction- They started exactly the same- with FIRE. Every race should start with FIRE. But there were no obstacles for the first mile or so. Only narrow, muddy, slippery trail. Like I said, if you super duper care about your Warrior Dash time you're probably a douche, and you probably went out of your way to pass those of us out for a fun jog. There was lots of walking in that first bit. Why not? Passing was a pain. And some of those mud slicks were awfully slippery. That wasn't even the plan of the Warrior Dash designers. It had been raining days before. I expected to do the whole run in the rain, but day of the skies cleared and we had beautiful weather.
The list of obstacles to follow is probably out of order, and I'm sure I forget a few, but you get the idea.
On the War path
We bear crawled under barbed wire strung on cross-beams. We went up and down dug-out dirt (mud) hills which got progressively bigger. There was balance beams over water hazards, with chest-high walls in the middle you have to carefully climb over. Over-under barriers where you vault over one then duck under a string of barbed wire. Plenty of climbing up wooden walls with uneven, irregular handholds. Down and into a trench I went, having to crawl infantry-style to avoid even more barbed wire. And the duck pond, where you stop, look at it, try not to think about what tiny, molecular organisms might be living there, and then wade into the water, which has an blockage of floating barrels to climb over (don't put my head under don't put my head under mouth closed mouth closed). After that is the shower climb, where water is piped into a Hollywood-style rain which falls down on you as you climb another wooden wall, rappelling down the other side. And into the final three obstacles- the Big Giant Cargo Net climb, making you (me) feel all the more like a pirate. I may have sung. Then the fire jump, perhaps the most famous of Warrior Dash obstacles. I swear the flames were higher and hotter than last year. And the final Mud Crawl. If you're a badass then you get down and get into it, staying low under the barbed wire and getting nice and covered in mud. If you're not (and why wouldn't you be) then you bend and dip and try not to get your precious self too dirty. Wuss.

Balance beams over water hazard

Dude in the speedo pre-partied too hard
Through the water and over the barrels
Climb in the rain
Cargo net climb! (Higher than it looks)

Yo ho yo ho...


Wooo, seemed higher than last year
Mud crawl!


 And across the line.
Kilt was red...

Diesel, Fore, Beer

Right after the finish
The obstacles are only part of the awesome that is a Warrior Dash. The people are great too. I spent much of the run chatting with the warriors around me. You call out encouragement. You compliment costumes. If you're a kilt-wearing warrior then as you climb you say things like, "I'm not saying I'm not wearing anything under my kilt, I'm just saying you might want to give me a little head start up this and not follow too close." You say the same thing crawling on your hands and knees. You stand at the finish and cheer as people throw themselves with abandon into the mud pit, and boo when thy delicately tip-toe through. And afterwards you grab a beer (or grab a beer and hand it to your friend), hang out for a bit, watch the band play a Black Key's cover halfway decently, and enjoy the day. There is a shower area that takes way too long to use because people stand there with the hose trying to get all the mud off, even though hey the rest of us are slowly hardening into human statues could you move it along please you're fine!
After we were done and ready to go we rode, not back to the cars, but across the street to the beach. My kilt was caked with mud because I didn't wait for the hose and I dove straight into the ocean. FOOSH, mud cloud. Ruined my little area of Hawaii's famous clear blue water. Sure does make laundry easier later though.
I never try to sell people on races. What you want to do is your business. But I really think everyone should do a Warrior Dash. Fore has bad knees and isn't in the best shape so he walked the whole thing. Who cares? Seriously, find one near you, register, and have a great damn time. Of course you should train, but you don't have to train hard. The range of body-types and fitness levels at this event is wider than any other endurance event I've ever done. It's so so much fun.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Seuss' Excuses

Dr. Seuss' birthday is coming up this weekend and I thought it would be fun to write a silly little poem about all the reasons I don't want to workout to celebrate. I got a friend of mine, Kim Matsumoto, to draw a few illustrations, and send it off to to see if it is something that they'd like. Turned out they would.
So here's my little homage to Dr. Seuss.

(I'm posting it here, but please click on the link too! Hits are important)

Seuss' Excuses

Training is out of the question today
There is nothing you can do or say
To make me gear up, put on my shoes
I’ve got those so tired training blues
Besides, my knee doesn’t feel quite right
I think my goggles are much too tight
My tubes are flat, I have no spare
I lost the pump I use for air
My cleats won’t clip, they slip and slide
There’s just no way that I can ride
The roads are wet, it looks like rain
I may fall and hurt my brain 
My hammy’s strained, it kinda hurts
To get off the couch might make it worse
I’d go swim, but the pool is cold
I think my cap is growing mold
The sun is setting, I don’t run at night
I really have given up the fight
The smell of my shorts sure packs a clout
Just a whiff would knock you out
My tummy felt kind of weird all day
Running GI distress is not ok
Yesterday I tripped and stubbed my toe
It’s swollen, blue, it has laid me low
My chain is dry, it says groan and squeak
Oh darn, the bike shop’s closed this week
When I washed my jersey, I washed my Gu’s
My Roctane, Shot Blocks, and my Chews
My ankle’s sore, my back’s messed up
My running dog is just a pup
My training partner goes yak yak yak
He talks and talks and talks some smack
The sun is out, it’s blazing hot
Such delicate skin can burn a lot
My Garmin’s charge is nearly spent
I won’t know how far I went
I’ve never seen this TV show
Just one more YouTube video
Macca says getting rest is a must
Joe Friel too, in him I Trust
Oh no, my race is only days away
Better get on those shoes and get on my way!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How a New Active Parent Survives

Active has put up another of my articles. This is part of my Active Parent Series, and they called it How a New Active Parent Survives. It's about that first month after the little cannonball was born and how I was feeling during that time about working out. Sometimes my articles take a bit to go up and you can tell when I wrote this because I name check Santa at one point. My first Active Parent article was called Confessions of an Active Parent-To-Be. This is a fun series I'll write every few months as I have new experiences being an active parent. I expect the next one will be about running with him in our B.O.B., which I haven't done yet because he's still a little bobblehead.
Thanks for reading!
By the way, I also show some love to Moby Wrap in there, so you should let them know.

How a New Active Parent Survives

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cramps and the Weather

Saturday morning I went out for a run. That lasted about a mile and a half. Then the small maybe knot in my calf I had been feeling became a full-blown giant ball bearing ruining my ability to run at all. I stopped and stretched and walked and stretched and nothing worked. I had to walk all the way back home, cutting my run distance as short as I could. I was out for just over forty minutes so that's something. But still.
To recap-

And yesterday The Grey, Diesel, and I planned a ride that Mother Nature ruined. Crazy high winds made the thought of being out there scary. Basically, if you went out on a bike you were asking to become a kite. We even had Forrest Gump's sideways rain. Same thing this morning.
**EDIT** I made it our for a 22 mile ride this afternoon! Yay! Baby boy was having a good day, Super Awesome Wife was up, and the weather was clear. Woohoo! It was brutal windy, not dangerous but not fun. There were a few points on the way up where a gust would kick up and I barely moved an inch for a moment. It was slow, it wasn't great, but it was a ride. That's important.
Was not a good workout weekend for the Dirtbag. I did get a swim in Thursday morning that was pretty good, and a ride Wednesday that wasn't awful.
Looking ahead to my race schedule, I am not confident in my training. These are going to be slow ass races. Warrior Dash is Saturday, and that should be fun. The boys and I are relaying the Haleiwa Tri and even out of shape I can nail down a decent 500m open water swim. And I want to register for Lanikai Sprint as a tune up for the Honolulu Olympic, since I haven't put together an entire tri since the Honu. Trying hard not to be too frustrated about my workout attitude and my ability to get out there. I'm getting better.

ALSO- Ultrarunner, friend, and former editor Vanessa Runs just wrote a book called The Summit Seeker. It's on amazon right now as a Kindle download and will soon be out as a physical book. You should pick it up. I'll write a review as soon as I get a hardcopy since Kindle I do not have. Support runners who write!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Playground Fitness (Plus Bonus Feature)

I was inspired to write a new article after watching my students play at recess. I present Playground Fitness: 6 Cross Training Games. Please check it out. And then get out there and have some fun.

Normally, my work gets edited when I send it in. I understand, that's their job, they need to make my words fit their website. But I think, especially for this one, it would be fun to see the differences between what I turn in and what goes up. Again, I want to stress I'm not complaining about the edit. What went up is fine and I appreciate running my stuff. But I think the original draft was a little funnier, a little looser. I think you'll agree that what my editor cut out should have been cut for mass consumption, especially if you're familiar with the rest of the site's content.  So read active's, then the original.
So here is my original version of Recess Cross Training.
Recess Cross-Training
By: Doug Robertson

Doing the same workouts over and over again is a quick path to burning out and losing interest in your sport. When you feel that heat on your toes it is time to switch it up. But how? By recapturing the essence of sport in it’s most simple form.
As a child.
Children exercise all the time without knowing it. Children at play don’t know about sets or reps or lactic acid thresholds or heart rate zones. They know they have twenty minutes before the recess bell rings and they need to get as much playing done as possible before the teacher makes them learn more math. Visit a school, watch a recess (Disclaimer Steps- Have a child at the school. Check in at the office. Don’t be the creepy guy/gal at the fence. will not bail you out.), and notice the joy and energy with which most children play. Realize that the stereotype of “this generation just sits and plays video games” is as true as any other stereotype. Then get some friends and steal those kids’ ideas.

Tag is the easiest childrens game to adapt for grown-up purposes. You need a group of friends and a field. That’s all. Tag takes less gear than soccer. The rules are as simple as you remember. Someone is It. It is not a desirable thing to be. Tag someone else, and make them It. Run away! Repeat.
The possible variations on this game are as endless as your creativity. Multiple Its are a nice change so that no one, you know who you are, can hang out on the perimeter of the play zone where it’s safe. Freeze Tag defeats the purpose of constant movement but does allow for a nice rest. Partner Tag, where everyone must hold hands with one other person, adds difficulty and teamwork. Line Tag is played on a basketball court, where all players must stay on the lines painted on the ground, so it turns into a live action Pac Man game. A personal favorite, and a great way to close out the game, is Kamakazi Tag. Kamakazi Tag is simple- Everyone is It. The logic loop this throws children into is beautiful to behold for a good two or three minutes.

Three Flys Up
Three Flys Up requires at least one ball and enough people for two teams of however many people you want. The teams stand on either side of the field, and the person(s) with the ball kick it at high as they can towards the other team. The goal is to catch the ball three times. The first person with three catches wins. As you can imagine, this easily can lead to full contact bloodsport. Adults will have no one equipped with yellow vest and whistle to hand out time-outs for rough play, so everyone will need to reach an agreement about the level and intensity of bump and run.
The more balls in the air, the more active and chaotic the game becomes. Kicking, sprinting short distances, catching, possibly tackling, and shouting the whole time use muscles in different ways sure to have you waking up the next day wondering what exactly you did to yourself.

Tetherball needs more specialized gear than the previous two, but it balances out by only taking two people to play. The joy in smacking a tetherball as hard as you can found only in wildly wailling on a speed bag in a boxing gym. It takes hand-eye coordination, fast twitch reactions, and core strength to show you’re the King or Queen of the circle. Making the choice between stopping the ball with your face or getting out of the way and being that much closer to the final wrap will raise anyone’s heart rate
From ducking to dodging to twisting up for an explosive effort, your obliques, thighs and lower back will be firing on all cylinders to keep up with demands. Reaching for high or low shots and blocks will have those shoulders burning before you can say, “Nuh uh, you grabbed it and threw it! Cheater!” Watch out for the metal ring at the top of the ball, nothing hurts worse than connecting with a knuckle at full speed.

Red Rover
Kidding! Don’t do this. You’re going to rip your arms clean off your body.

Sharks and Minnows
Two variations to this. The first is the original game, the one played in a pool. Everyone, the minnows, lines up on the wall. The shark stalks the center of the deep end. The minnows must get from one wall to the other without being tagged on the head above water by the shark. Like Three Flys Up, this can be as physical as your group of friends want. Strong swimmers beware of drowning your weaker swimmer friends. In direct dismissal of the food chain, tagged minnows become sharks until it’s everyone against one little last lonely minnow.
The Land-Based variant involves a court or field of some type with the same set up. Everyone on one border save for one person in the middle. It is basically tag but you have to run from Side A to Side B. Fun modifications are changing the gate of the players. For example- Zombie Sharks and Minnows means everyone must move like a zombie (agree if you’re talking Romero classic zombie or Fast zombie). Robot Sharks and Minnows, Skipping Sharks and Minnows, Dancing Sharks and Minnows, Crab Walking Sharks and Minnows, Backwards Sharks and Minnows. Creativity abounds, limited only by what you really don’t want your friends to see you do. With different modes and levels of movement, different muscle groups are engaged. Not to mention the diaphragm workout you’re going to get watching the guy who drops you on hill climbs struggle to do the Worm across the field.

Lava Monkey Bars
You have monkey bars. The ground is lava. You will burn and die if you fall. Who can complete the most back and forth treks before falling to their doom? Good natured mocking, taunting, and otherwise from those waiting encouraged.

Playground Madness
This is what happens when no teachers are around and the children have free reign of the playset. Who needs a Warrior Dash obstacle course when you have two slides, a fireman’s pole, a pull-up bar, stairs, a captain’s wheel, a spinning tic-tac-toe board, and monkey bars all in one place? Come up with the most complicated course possible, which of course must include going up at least one of the slides, preferably the one that’s a closed, twisting tube and the fireman’s pole. But don’t forget to slide back down the pole because how often can you be Batman, old chum? Time it, or not. Children wouldn’t time it, they would either all go at once or use their highly developed internal clocks to decide that they themselves were definitely the fastest because nuh uh, I was, duh, you’re mean, I’m telling mom.
Playgrounds allow for infinite variety of course and options, making you use different muscles in different ways all the time. You’ll also remember just how hot those plastic slides get on your bottom. How was that ever ok?

None of these things will get you ready for any real race. Even a 5k takes more training than daily Tag. But when the routine begins to grind you down and your energy is flagging, make training fun. Like a nanny I once had told me, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun and snap, the job’s a game.”
Play hard. Watch out for lava.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dirtbag For Pope

I've decided to throw my giant folded napkin hat into the ring.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Bi-Biathlon Race Report (Get it?)

You get a double race report because by the time I rememebered  hadn't written a report for the first race the second was nearly upon me and I thought a bi-biathlon race report sounded funny.
Magic Island Biathlon
On January 13th I did the Magic Island Biathlon. This was the second of three Biathlons the Waikiki Swim Club puts on. The first was the one I did the day Dirtbag Baby was born. Between that Christmas race and the Magic Island Biathlon I had worked out exactly not very much at all. Been busy doing other things like learning about the brand new tiny human living in my house. As I expected, working out got very difficult. Emotionally, I was in a completely different place, mentally I had no urge to work out, and physically I didn't have it. The Fat Dad Triumvirate. Emotionally I was beginning to fray, and I think a lot of that had to do with being as sedentary as I was. I need to move to stay mentally sharp. But, leading up to this race I hadn't been.
We are talking HUGE New Dad Adjusted Expectations.  I don't think I'd run very many times coming into the race and I'd swum even less. So on the drive to the race all I could think was, "Go out, have fun, don't stress." My mom and step-dad were on island to see their new grandson, so they came to the race. Back when I was a swimmer they might have missed one meet ever. So that I've been racing and they haven't been able to be there has always bothered the both of them, especially mom. You know how moms are. It was cool that they were going to come watch me race, even if "race" was a term used loosely. Baby and Super Awesome Wife were still getting into a sleeping groove and we decided it was better not to wake him and move him so early this time.
One of the best parts about racing in Hawaii is that it is a small community. I've made a bunch of friends based solely on, "Hey, I see you at every single event I do. We should speak to each other." So it was cool to see Team Bloody Mary, Barefoot Wendy, and a few other people. All of them were disappointed I didn't bring the baby. Oh yeah, I'm not interesting anymore.
Funny thing about this biathlon- I forgot to get completely undressed before the start. You see, dear reader, in a run/swim biathlon I choose to run in my VFFs, swim suit, visor, and glasses. Who needs anything else? I tuck my goggles and cap into my suit and off I go. But right before the race I was talking to my mom and Ann, Team Bloody Mary's runner, and forgot to divest myself of my cut-off t-shirt. So I had to run in a shirt. Not a big deal, when I train I run in a shirt (but I feel bad for all the people who missed out on me running bare chested through the park *Dirtbag Ego In Full Effect*), but it bothered me that I had forgotten. Didn't slow me down, I'm slow enough already. Just added a step when I was heading into transition. There isn't much else to say about the run. I started out a little too quick, faded hard by halfway through mile two, and trotted into transition.
The swim actually didn't feel awful, but it was by no means fast. My body position was rubbish and my triceps were killing me. Plus, it had been overcast so the water was much colder than I expected. Hard to get the blood from your legs into your arms and shoulders when the vessels are so constricted. At least the sun wasn't right in my eyes on the way back, made sighting easier.
Run- 30:04
Swim- 20:42
Total- 50:46
Age Group- 12/14
Overall- 76/144
Achievement Unlocked: Affix cap while running

Note Stupid Shirt

Swim until you can't then run through the shallow

The two behind me didn't know this was still a race

Valentines Biathlon

I trained much more for this one than for the Magic Island Bi. Baby routine has begun to set in and I've found time to get out on the road and in the pool. I'm still not training with the verve and energy I prefer, but at least I'm training. This race was exactly the same as the previous two biathlons, and that makes focus during training easier.
For this race Super Awesome Wife and Dirtbag Baby did make it out and he was a trooper. Such a good boy. No fussing in the morning getting him ready, or in the car on the way down to the race. Into the Ergo with mom while I got ready and registered and body marked and chipped. By the time I found them again my friends had also found them. I talked The Grey into coming out for this one, and Carrot signed up for this too. Plus Team Bloody Mary and Barefoot Wendy that made for a good-sized group of friends to race with.
Strategy for this race was simple- The Grey will put a bunch of minutes into me on the run. I need to be sure he doesn't get too far ahead and I should be able to reel him in on the swim. That's it. That's the whole plan.
To go over the race would be to rehash almost word for word what I wrote above so I'll just say I felt stronger but not strong on the run. Saw another friend I didn't know was doing it. Still ran out of gas, but later. Remembered to take my shirt off before I started. Had a good hat off/ cap and goggles on transition as I was running up to the beach.
My swim felt the best it had over the three races. It still isn't near where I want it to be, but body position wasn't as rubbish, I managed to keep a high elbow better, a good reach and glide, and I kicked more. Also, this race was much bigger than the Magic Island Biathlon and much much bigger than the Christmas Biathlon. That means that while more people beat me into the water, I got to swim past more people too. I love swimming past people. I really did spend this whole swim going from feet to feet, picking out a person and swimming to them.
It was a beautiful, clear morning so seeing was great on the way out. A run/swim biathlon swim like this is broken into four parts- Pain of Warm-up, Getting Solid, Kicking Into Gear, Being Blinded By Glare and Trying to Pump. We swam back directly into the rising sun, making it nearly impossible to sight the exit. I know I zigged and zagged more than I should have, probably adding a few minutes and meters. That makes it hard to think ahead about the race because I don't know how far I am from the finish. So should I really start kicking it in now or am I still too far from the beach? Can't tell.
On the way back I did start to think, "I wonder if I've caught The Grey yet?" Just them I poked my head up to sight and there he was,, silver hair glinting in the sun. So I shouted at him, sent a splash his way, then took off. Later he said (read: made the excuse that) his goggles broke before he got in the water so he had to do the whole thing breaststroke so as not to lose his contacts. Awfully convenient, I say.
Anyway, I had a better race, but not a great race. It was very cool to finish and kiss the wife and baby right away. He remained an excellent baby the whole time and got handed around to all the Dirtbag Friends who wanted to hold him for a few minutes.
Many much thanks to Dirtbag Sponsor Background Profiles. Check 'em out.  
Run- 28:33
Swim- 19:24
Total- 47:58
Age Group- 11/13
Overall- 70/153*

Charging hard in the green cap

The Grey, Dirtbag, and Carrots Finish Proud
But I must make a face!
Now we all must make a face (especially The Grey)

Pretty day

Look at all the people
Gennah was there too!
He won came in first in Most Adorable

Dad, you're all wet!

The Grey takes third place in his age group

Ann of Team Bloody Mary lovin' the baby

The Grey and The baby
Was supposed to get a shot glass for doing all three, but they ran out so I got a wine glass instead
*I know that number doesn't seem much bigger but it doesn't take relays into account, and there were a lot of relay teams. Trust me, it was bigger.**

**That's what he said