Category: Fun Events


What’s next?

I often ask myself this question, usually when I make a stupid move. I recently did that when I signed up for a 5 Mile run and then decided to go all out and enter a Tough Mudder event. I got one answer just today when I completed the 5 Miler at the Marathon by the Sea, I will be doing it again and I will have a better time than today.

Yes, my time was not that great or anything but I did it and felt pretty good doing it. I also know that if I spent some time practicing before the event I would be much better. As it was, the only training I did were the usual workouts at our Box. The longest run was 800 Meters however we usually did 3 rounds of that mixed in with other movements, like olympics lifts or box jumps or burpees or something else that makes the running of that 800 Meters not very nice.

So what’s next I ask? The Tough Mudder will probably be the last event of the year and then what? I found that I like these weekend events of obstacle course racing and running and have decided to enter a few next year. I am looking at something once a month for next year from June to September, these could be expanded if the weather is not so bad.

Looks like I am getting the competition bug again and this time I am only competing against the clock and not eveyone else.

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It’s been a while since I last posted (no shit!!).
The space in between has een filled with many new things and challenges, some good some not so good. But that’s life! Suck it up and move on.
I have come to conclusion that the only way to the Crossfit Games is as a spectator, that’s reality. Not that I wont try to get better but to do so requires more that I do not have or can find at this time. That means I need to take a different approach to do so. There are many items I lack now however I need to find fun ways to achieve them because if you can’t have fun it is work and no one likes work.
Last month I entered a Mud Hero race, a simple 6km obstacle course, it was nothing as drastic as a Tough Mudder or a Spartan Race, but it had a ski hill to climb, some mud to run through and a few challenging obstacles. In other words a good beginner course and somewhere to start. I figured if I could do this without getting hurt and come in around a time I figured on, I would be happy. In reality I did better than figured and had fun.
I have now found something that is a blast to do. I have entered a Tough Mudder in September and have a realistic time goal in mind. Let’s just say it will be in the 3.5 hour range.
I am taking this seriously and have gone to see some professional people to help me in my running. I am doing this to help get more endurance which should help improve my Crossfit workouts. The next step I am taking is due to the price of gas rising, there is no health kick involved in this decision, I am getting a bike (pedal power type) so I bike to work. Fuel is getting out of hand and money is money, I like it in my pocket not someone else’s.
Have i gone fitness crazy? Not really, I just want to enjoy things more and it is better this way. Do I hurt more? Hell yeah!! I have shoulder issues, knees are creaking(sort of), different parts of my body are bruised, cut, scraped, and battered from doing this but I love it. They are like battle scars of me not sitting down and letting Father Time catch up. He will eventually but not unless he gets in shape and besides there are a lot of easier prey for him in my tracks.
I don’t need to be the fastest I only have to be ahead of you.

Even though it has been around a week since the last post it certainly feels a lot longer. This week has brought a myriad of, for no other word, stuff. Saturday I made a new soup, a coconut based soup with shrimp and noodles, that my wife loved so much she told me to make this one all the time, plus a shrimp cooked in coconut milk dish that works very well with rice. After that was done it was time to get ready for the Halloween party at the gym. I decided to go as a person of darkness and looked closer to The Joker portrayed by the late Heath Ledger, even my cat backed away from me when I walked anywhere near her so it must have looked good. I did get some strange stares when I went in to a couple of stores before getting to the gym.

The beginning of the week was interesting as Hurricane Sandy started to get more attention as it’s direction had where we were in its crosshairs, luckily for us it changed direction just a bit and by Tuesday and Wednesday brought us gusty winds, warm air, and not as much rain as predicted. If you lived 8 hours or more south of me you got blasted pretty good and I hope that most people only had minor problems.

Tuesday brought my next challenge a couple of days earlier than planned but that’s okay. Doing pullups for the first time since the shoulder issue. It would be close to 5 months since the last time I was allowed to even touch the pull-up rig as the coaches and trainers made sure I stayed clear until they felt it would be good to “test” the shoulder. It felt damn good to actually do a pull-up even though I used a band for assistance and then managed to complete the workout with no pain or soreness. The slow measured steps leading up to this point had paid off and we will see how we progress. Next step will be when I have to hang from the pull-up bar to do knees to elbows or toes to bar.

The week also brought out some nasty little bodyweight workouts that, while they do not necessarily use weights, my body at 210 lbs, can do enough damage when I use it against myself. Squats, push ups, pullups, wall balls, running, situps all take their toll when you are a heavy as me, thus the need to lose 20 more pounds. My knees need to find some WD-40 soon, today they have a sound that should only be heard when your crush a paper bag. Yes, they are that bad! A bad transmission probably sounds better, which is why I need to have someone find a way to make WD-40 usable for humans in their joints, even duralube would be good. I had trouble going downstairs these last three days, luckily I was at home, and must find a way to alleviate that grinding as one day the knees will lock up and I will need assistance just to stand.

This week is not over and while I have some minor problems, it has been a great week. I almost forgot that Friday my wife and I will doing the usual volunteering for the Poppy Drive for the Legion at the Regional Hospital. This worth while cause is for remembering all the military people who have lost their lives and to raise money for the local chapter in each city culminating on November 11th, Armistice/Remembrance Day at 11am with ceremonies all over the country. While I may complain and wonder about my aches and pains, on this day in particular my pain is minor when compared to these fine people.

Today was Dragon Boat Racing. The yearly Hospital Foundation charity drive to raise funds for different equipment. This year it was for Men’s Health and they exceeded their goal of $235,000 and raised $253,000. Another great year and the excess money goes to purchasing smaller things like new Blood Pressure cuffs, equipment/supplies for long-term care patients or various other things that hospitals require.

My team from Xerox named Xerox Gung Ho did not expect to do much this year, namely due to poor participation and lack of a full team for the two practices. The team Xerox entered last year did not perform well and ended up in 2nd last place. My wife and I needed a team as we were left hanging this year. Insert us into the work team and you will surely get the expectations up from lets participate to we can do better than what they did last year.

My last post was on commitment and this group does not have the same zeal for winning that my wife has. A few wish to do well but others just want to be in the boat for the day. Next year a new commitment to this race will be required as I think I can get them to focus on doing well if they want to. I don’t think anyone wants to just compete. Always doing poor breeds the same results and changing the team’s personnel all the time like this year does not help improve that performance. When you have poor performance no one wants to participate. That is why when diets, gyms and fitness regiments don’t work or fail to get the results you expect most people will stop doing them.

Next year I am going to change that for the team at work. I am going to be the lead for this Team. They will be in for a shock as I want to separate the fundraising from the race team. We can help out the fundraising team but we will not get that involved that it takes the focus off the race.

Dragon Boats take only one thing to do right, have everyone in unison and you can make the boat go fast. Once someone is out of sync you lose momentum and that is hard to get back in a short race. Practice is the key and having everyone understand that all you need is go all out for one minute. I already have a bunch of people from today wanting the defeatist attitude to move somewhere else. The group will also be expected to practice the technique of paddling and drumming, yes drumming is very important, as todays big winner won the race because their drummer helped with the momentum of the boat the other team’s drummer was only a passenger and dead weight.

Here are some pics of the race:

Teams racing at the Saint John Dragon Boat Festival

More teams racing – this is at the finish line

The winning team for 2012 – Dragon Boat East Beasts

And to paraphrase the words of Bette Davis “fasten your seat belts, we’re in for a bumpy ride”.

Till next year Dragon Boats Race.

January is coming to a close in a couple of days and I have not written too much for a couple of weeks. Lately I have been getting caught up with stuff at work and other things that have taken up more time than I wanted them to. This is not an excuse just a simple fact that days only have 24 hours and you still need to eat, sleep, work and it takes time to go from one place to another.

I have made a self challenge for February that my wife has taken me up on and that is doing 75 squats per day for the month. This came about when I felt I did not do a WOD particularly well that had 300 air squats. I needed to improve that movement as they are an integral part of Crossfit. Now on top of the monday to friday WOD I will be doing these babies for the month.

The next decision I made was based on some discussions at work with some people about an event called the Tough Mudder. This little darling is an endurance and fitness test of 10-12 miles of 20 or so obstacles that usually include electric shocks, fire, water, cargo nets, ropes and of mud and lots of it. I have been trying to see what my schedule was in July as their would be one close to us in New England however I have limited availability that month. August is good and there is one in Toronto where I can visit family at the same time, so that looks more promising.

It looks like I now have a purpose for the year. I need to improve dramatically or Games 2013 will not happen, that is not an option as the Games are goal #1. The Atlantic Hopper will be in July and I do not want to be last and the Tough Mudder in August will take a lot of training just to do 10 miles of running/walking while completing the obstacles.

With this set of fun things to do, I need to start somewhere and it looks like the legs will be the first place to start and if this weather keeps getting warmer I may be able to get outside to start running sooner than I expected. I am not sure that is a good thing.

I think I have gotten over the depression that sets in after coming back from a great vacation and knowing that eventually you will be sitting back in that cubicle at work wondering how to escape for the next one. Unfortunately that wont happen for at least a another year. North American work values are more Orwellian in nature. Big Brother wants you to work even while you are on vacation. It’s like the world will end if you don’t show up for work for more than 2-3 days. Maybe they need to take a vacation, in Europe, some countries have laws that say you must have 6 weeks PAID vacation minimum.

What are we missing here? Why can’t we have a global company wide vacation policy. My company is a global company that sponsors a FIA World Championship Motorcycle Team, and has employees in more countries than I care to think about. So why could we not have a standard vacation based on, if the minimum vacation is 6 weeks in some countries then why cannot I have 6 weeks. Do they not do the same thing I do?

Any way I am getting off topic. I was thinking about Thailand – the land of smiles and they are not kidding, even the Airport says it is the Airport of Smiles. The Thai people are some of the friendliest people I have met, always willing to answer questions, apologize if they cannot help you, and always with a smile. It is like I was in a Star Trek scene where Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty had to find out who Landrew was as everyone smiled and continued on.

Well, enough of that. Here are some more pictures that should make you smile or want to kill me if you are experiencing anything less than 25C temperatures.

Surf at Karon Beach

 

The surf rolling in on our first visit to the beach. It was such a nice site to see and the temperature (big sigh) never changed daytime 32C  – nighttime it was 25C and about once a week it would rain somewhere in Phuket and if you were lucky it was not where you were.

 

 

 

 

Me getting toasted by an 8 foot swell

 

Here I am about to be crushed by an 8 foot swell that just broke in front of me. You learn real fast to dive into them. I got caught with one that just about knocked the wind out of me. Felt like someone just decided to punch me in the stomach. Today would have been a great day for bodyboarding if I knew how to do it.

 

 

 

Fresh Daily Seafood - Prawn as big as Lobster

You just got to love going to eat fresh seafood every day cooked Thai Style. Yes, eat off the Thai menu as it is less expensive than American/European Style. Don’t ask me why, as it’s the same food, you just pay more.

Don’t you just love the size of those shrimp/prawn – same size as a lobster tail for less.

 

 

 

 

Long Tailed Boats at Kata Beach

These are the famous long-tailed boats. They were at Kata Beach which is the next beach over from Karon Beach. They are here as the surf is more gentle which was great for MP as Karon Beach would have taken her hips apart with their action.

These boats are here to take tourists away for 3-5 hours on tours around the Island of Phuket and there are many locations to visit and all are distinctive and unique.

 

 

 

The Elephant Man or Mahout

This is the Mahout or the elephant handler. As you can see – they smile and who wouldn’t if your work involved riding elephants all day. This was the start of the elephant trek through the forest we took. It is roughly around 3000 feet up the side of the mountain in a rubber plantation. We had some spectacular views looking out to Phuket Harbour (see below) and saw a neat tree spider. I believe his name was Tuuk and the elephant was around 30 years old, just hitting mid-life as they do live up to 50 years.

 

 

 

View to Phuket Harbour from atop an elephant

The view to Phuket Harbour. Trying to take pictures from the back of a moving elephant is quite the challenge as they have quite to sway. Now I know why the Mahoot sits where he does, he has less movement sitting behind the neck.

 

 

 

 

 

Tree Spider

The neat tree spider. I have no idea how bad the venom would be as all spiders have some sort of venom but like most people I was not going to let it get on me and provide a sample.

It was probably just as scared of us on an elephant as it skittered away down the tree pretty fast.

 

 

 

 

A Sunset in Thailand

This is the final pic of the day and I thought it would be fitting to have a Sunset. This vista happened on a regular basis and I don’t think I could get tired of it.

Tomorrow will be a beach day.

The trip to Thailand was to say the least, fantastic, wonderful, amazing and of course much needed. The only thing I would change and that is a maybe, is the date. The February blues for people in the Northern climes would be a great time to do a trip to Thailand especially Phuket Island and I would pick the second week of February and take three weeks that way I would be coming back in March and then spring does not seem that far away. Good reasoning I think. I mean what do you prefer:

This

Or this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will not be writing much and just post some pics to make some people envious.

The Grand Palace

Roofs at the Grand Palace

Sunset on the first day

The postcard shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Beach Hotel amd Restaurant

 

After yesterday’s all day adventure on the Andaman Sea, traveling to 4 different islands around Phuket, MP and myself are completely bagged. The weather was great even though there was a lot of moisture in the air. Somewhere in Thailand someone was getting dumped on but it was not us. During the trip to Krabi we stopped at this one location and there was someone doing a TV Travel Show with the whole crew looking after this one person, the host. They had a remote control airborne camera that hovered and did its overhead shots of the location, it was quite cool, maybe I will be discovered as I am was walking up the beach when they were doing one shot. The island also had a monkey that was going through some beach bags that people left too close to where he could have easy and quick access. I thought we were going to have a nasty incident as one person came racing back to their bag, the monkey was not a happy camper and was baring his teeth and screaming at the person. Past experiences in India says you should not do that, they are very unpredictable, have nasty bites and generally are more agile than humans. The woman would have been missing a lot of hair after it got through with her.

Food during the trip was great. We stopped at Railay Island which is a resort that you can only get to by water taxi. They served us a great buffet under trees with the jutting peaks of the island in the background. The only let down was that the snorkelling was just okay, the coral have taken a beating from the tsunami of 2004 and it has not had the time to recover. Yes, I saw the usual fish of Sargent Majors, Large Angel fish, some Parrot fish, Red Snappers and only one large Clown Fish (Nemo) and there should have been more species. I guess I would have to go on a dive trip to see more varieties, I will leave that til next time.

For now, we are content to sit at the pool and watch the birds, as going to beach and the walking around in sand would bother MP too much as her legs are tired and her hips are a bit tender.

We have only tomorrow in Phuket and then one day in Bangkok before leaving to come home and start the regimen of working out and going to work (so sad).

Karon Beach Phuket Thailand

We reached our destination in pretty good shape all things considered. The hotel is clean, the staff friendly, and we are not far from the beach (3 minutes walk). It was a good thing we pre-booked the taxi from the airport as we were inundated with the usual Taxi, Taxi hawkers until we saw my name with on the board that the driver was holding.

The drive to the hotel was a treat for anyone who knows the roads in Saint John, not a single pothole and smooth as baby bottom, If only they could make roads like that back home I might have enough money saved from not going to the repair shop to come back to Phuket.

As soon as we landed in Bangkok I knew I was overdressed and all I had on was a golf shirt with T-shirt underneath, long slacks, socks and shoes. The weather has been perfect with temps hovering around 32C – 35C and only small amounts of cloud. I will be a very different colour when I return.

We have been to two beaches so far, Karon Beach and Kata Beach and even though they are only separated by a point they are completely different in nature. Karon Beach in great for the surf with 6 foot breakers constantly coming in, one hit me and I felt like someone just punched me in the stomach. I will be doing some bodyboarding on this one. Kata Beach does not have the breakers and is one that you can walk out and just swim. I think I will do some parasailing at some point. I was also able to do some bench presses on the beach with some make shift bar bell. Maybe I can do some thrusters, squats and runs on the beach in the next few days.

What a nice start to the weekend as a group of us had a work related event that a bunch of top earners for the quarter were taken out for an overnight stay, dinner, movie, live show and drinks. My day started fantastically as I get on unexpected email from a customer for a new opportunity worth some change. Then after leaving watched a good movie “Moneyball” it has some good points that everyone should take a close look at, especially in todays poor economic times.

After that it was off to the hotel and what do I see when I pull in to the parking lot in the back, but the Crossfit box for the city actually attached to the hotel. How convenient, I thought I would have to just use the facilities of the hotel which in most cases do not have the space or the tools needed to get a good workout. I did bring my skipping rope just in case. Did a nice little workout.

Now for the challenging part. Dinner was at a pub and this worried me as I figured I may have to cheat to eat. Luckily they had a nice steak dinner with asparagus with a blue cheese sauce that I asked them to not put on and add some extra tomatoes instead of potatoes or fries plus some black coffee, water and I was okay for this part.

I managed to make it through the night with some groans from the fellow workers about who would know if no one was around and explained that is what the honour system is about. If you cheat on this, then what else would you cheat on? One could always come up with an excuse but again cheating on this is like cheating on a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend or anything else. If no one else knows is it cheating. Someone said it is like the saying “If a tree falls in the forest” and the answer is, yes, I would know. To verify what I ate I took pics of my food and posted it on Facebook so they would know I did not cheat.

I did get a compliment though as in the morning when we went to eat breakfast I ordered steak and eggs, same price as the regular breakfast, with a side of tomatoes and three others ordered the same thing, saying maybe they should start eating better and said I make them feel bad that they do not take better care of themselves, in a good way. They may think the workouts are crazy but admire that I have stuck with it and have become healthier and better looking.

After breakfast we went to the farmers market and wandered around and I took some pictures of the wonderful fresh produce and goods that some of the vendors have. Now if I only was not on this diet…

Fresh Veggies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More From the same Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Cooked Lobsters - they were alive 15 minutes ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Various Locally Made Cheeses