CrossFit Challenge

AdventuresLeave a Comment

This past weekend my gym hosted a CrossFit challenge. Coming from the running world, I compared it to a race. But more of a test of how my fitness and strength were coming along. Folks from other gyms came as well and competed alongside us. It was a healthy sized group of folks.

SPD Challenge

The exact workout isn’t announced until the hour before. So you can’t cheat and be all practicing the week before. You have to come well-rounded and see what gets thrown at you. There were to be 4 different workouts that day. It ultimately took about 6 hours to get all those folks through all these workouts. We went in heats. CrossFitters will know what that all means below. For those not familiar, you can probably figure a few things out and google the rest.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

The first 3 workouts took good effort so by the time the longest and last round came along, I was a bit more tired that I expected. Trying to keep yourself fueled and rested through the breaks is a new one for me. In running, you just start and finish. Here it is more like a swim meet where you compete, wait, compete, wait. Memories of years ago. There is me doing my kettle bell swings in the last round. Those followed the run. They were brutal.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

I expected the run to be my best part but it isn’t that long where you can really make up a lot of time. So I used it by running steady so I was ready to go upon re-entering the gym for the next set of weight.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

There are 2 divisions: Scaled and Prescribed/Rx. Rx is the prescribed workout — the standard. Scaled is a lesser workout that is tailored towards beginners. It takes time to master all the different skills and movements required to do Rx. I am not there yet. For example, I can’t do a handstand push-up yet. Can you? So if I was in Rx and that would have been on the list, I basically would DNF or get no points in that round. So scaled for me for now.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

Done! This was after 18 minutes of work. I was exhausted. You go for time so you can push as hard as you can through these sets. Found myself really pausing to breathe much more than I wanted to. My family was on hand and they were having fun watching my struggle through the final minutes. Doing these jumps over a bar and some burpees where I was totally moving slow. From a spectator’s perspective, you are like “man, I could go way faster than that”. But when you have been moving through the set, it isn’t that easy.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

It was fun having the family on hand. Unlike a running race, they don’t have to follow you by car around the mountains in the dark of night. Just hang out in a gym! Here is my surrogate daughter/neighbor, Maggie, and I doing a pull-up challenge. She won.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

At the end of the day and after a little scoring snafu, I ended up in 2nd place in the scaled men’s division. I will take that! Only 3 months on the job so far. I am gaining weight, which I hope is muscle. Learning new skills. Meeting new people. Basically training a lot differently. We will see if it translates back to my roots in ultramarathons when the time comes. But for now, I enjoy being more of an athlete and less of a runner.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

Your Monthly Dose

A Day in the Life7 Comments

Some people continue to mock my new CrossFit hobby. But we know he is just afraid. However, the meme seems to state that CrossFitters love to tell everyone about CrossFit. So I have tried to keep to myself. Ultimately, I hope the fitness I gain and the run race results to come will be the best story. But maybe, I should indulge you now and then into some chatter so you can either learn or just continue to poke fun. Your choice.

Today’s “Workout of the Day” (WOD, in our lingo) was a pretty cool one. And it really is the sort of thing that I like doing because it utilizes some endurance and brings in that burning sensation in your muscles when you just want to quit but know you can’t. Feels very familiar to what happens in a short race — the battle. And maybe the little victory helps you prepare for a 100 miler — the war.

This workout was devised for MMA figther, BJ Penn. When I watched MMA for a few years, I saw this guy fight. So it hit home. I have always loved watching MMA fighters workout. It is not all weight lifting. And it is not running. It is a combination of disciplines or functional movements. Requiring strength, coordination, endurance, aerobic ability and more. These are exactly the things I got into this for. So let’s see what this workout is all about that we did today.

Titled “Fight Gone Bad” the workout simulates a 3 round MMA fight — without getting punched in the face or being choked out. The physical demands if you will. Five exercises done for one minute each. 1 minute of rest. Repeat for 3 rounds. Keeping score along the way of the number of reps you get for points coming up with a total score at the end. The nice thing is that about anybody can do the workout giving its composition. It is more about how fast you can do it. But it takes pacing. Start too fast and you blow out during your minute and end up wasting valuable time. So slow and steady is key. You also don’t get rest between activities so you need to plan your transitions because they are on the clock too.

Watch the video for the live action (not my gym) and a nice explanation from the CrossFit creator. Here is the routine:

  • Wallball Shots: 20 pound ball, 10 ft target. (Reps)
  • Sumo Deadlift High-Pull: 75 pounds (Reps)
  • Box Jump: 20″ box (Reps)
  • Push Press: 75 pounds (Reps)
  • Row: calories (Cal)

Depending on your skill, people rack up different points in different places. This was my first time through it today and pretty much had the same scores in all rounds. Basically hitting 30 wallballs, 15 sumos, 20 box jumps, 15 push presses, and about 15 calories on the row. My score, 265, seemed pretty good for a first time through this. A few places I could improve. But everybody was gassed at the end of the workout. Never seen so many people laying on the floor when the clock stopped.

And that is another reason why CrossFit is fun for me. It is group suffering. You can’t hit that intensity by yourself without some serious conviction. If you run, it is like being in a race. Sure you can go do that tempo training run but there is nothing like actually jumping in a race for that training run to really push yourself. Something about the race atmosphere in the moment charging with other competitors. With CrossFit, we simulate that daily in group workouts. I run a lot but it is all by myself. Enough alone time. It is fun to suffer with others at the gym….I mean Box.

Until next month.

Snowmobiling Vail Pass

A Day in the Life1 Comment


Eric was in town so we headed up to Leadville and skied all day at Ski Cooper. The place wasn’t too busy because everyone was there for the 10th Mountain Division day. All these army dudes skiing around. Some were dressed in the original 50s(?) outfits and skis and rifles. They had a parade down the mountain on skies as well.

10th Mountain Division

The next day, Eric wanted to relive a past adventure of snowmobiling in the Rockies. So he booked us at Nova Guides for a 4 hour self-guided tour. I grew up snowmobiling in Indiana with trips to Michigan for real snow. But I have never ridden a sled in my now home state of Colorado. So it was a new adventure for me! We got a few touring sleds and headed out.

Snowmobile Map

This trail system is pretty standard for ATVs so I felt right at home on this type of terrain. Need to go back in the summer and see exactly what the road looked like. We cruised all the way up to the top of Ptarmigan Pass. No views as we were whited out. We went all the way north out to I-70 at the Vail Pass exit. Then turned and came back around. Found lots of people out there skiing the powder. They were basically “water skiing” behind the snowmobiles uphill. Getting dropped off at the top then rendezvousing again at the end of the run below. Eric was convinced we should never buy a ski pass again — but we gotta buy a snowmobile first. Lots of people in snowcats too taking the scenes in or being dropped to ski. How about some video?

Good times! See Eric get stuck? He missed the trail and buried the sled in deep powder. I wasn’t without fault though. I was getting braver as the day went on and found myself playing in some fresh powder on a summit area. Slowed down too much and the bottom dropped out. It is not fun trying to breathe and pull a sled out of that much snow.

Great weekend of mountain activities. Added another option to my Leadville entertainment menu for future visitors!

Bush / Theory of a Deadman @ Ogden Theater

MusicLeave a Comment

When any band that I love gets booked at the Ogden, it is better than Christmas. This place is the best indoor small venue in Denver by my tastes. And of course, Bush is a lifelong favorite of mine. When the disbanded a decade ago, I was sad. But the reformation has new music that embraces the old sound yet continues the journey. And Gavin remains one of my few man-crushes in life.


I saw Bush for the first time while in college. They played at Purdue University with No Doubt. He married that ghost of a lead singer of that band of course. But we know who the true musician in the household is there.


The set started newer and went to old. I was kind of starting to wonder if we were gonna get to the classics or not. Had me worried for a second. You could just play Sixteen Stone from start to finish for me. That is what I did in my dorm room. Play. Repeat.



Gavin did his usual run around the crowd move.


Check out my video to see how close I came.

I heard an interview with Gavin recently and he was talking about the process of becoming a song writer. He didn’t know where to start. Funny. He is pretty damn good at it.





  • The Sound of Winter
  • Loneliness Is a Killer
  • Everything Zen
  • Swim
  • Greedy Fly
  • This House Is On Fire
  • The Chemicals Between Us
  • The Gift
  • The Only Way Out
  • Just Like My Other Sins
  • Mouth
  • Swallowed
  • Eye of the Storm
  • Letting the Cables Sleep
  • Little Things
  • Machinehead
  • Once in a Lifetime
  • Glycerine
  • Comedown

Oddly I had never seen Theory of a Deadman before. But finally they were touring with somebody I loved so it was a great match up. So many funny catchy songs. It was a stellar set. Although, they don’t quite reproduce the gruff vocals from the album like I thought they would.



Scored a pick too!



  • So Happy
  • Lowlife
  • Not Meant to Be
  • Blow
  • Santa Monica
  • Drown
  • Angel
  • Hate My Life
  • Bad Girlfriend

Thanks for a great show! I will be back when you are.

Bodies In Motion

A Day in the Life1 Comment

Another winter week of training down. Nothing spectacular mileage wise but I feel consistent. 6 runs in 7 days. Combined with 5 CrossFit sessions. Those double days are tough both physically and time-wise. But I am getting through it. I do feel like there should be some more rest in there somewhere. But I always feel guilty taking it.

Green Mountain

Ran a little faster around my half-marathon loop on Saturday. Legs were a little soft though from the week. We did some weighted lunges early in the week at CrossFit and those set me back for days. However, I was able to “win” one of my WODs this week where we got to carry weights for 500m. 3 different ways: carry kettlebells, carry a weighted barbell, then carry a plate. I fast walked the first 2 pretty quickly. Then I was running with the plate on the last one. Finally something I am good at.

Green Mountain

Dogs and I enjoyed our weekend outing in the fresh snowfall. But we had to hurry and get home for the big event. No, not the Super Bowl. Reagan had a birthday party for her boys.


Nothing Comes Easy

A Day in the Life2 Comments

Colorado Winters are pretty bi-polar. You get some cold spells but in between you get days like today where it was in the 70s in January. That’s pretty impossible not to love. Yesterday, was pretty nice too. The weekly dog outing up Green Mountain occurred. Here is the usual shot.

Green Mountain

I enjoy having the dogs on the run. There is a certain amount of wrangling required but it is worth it. They get home and are super tired. Then bug me to do it again the next day. If you struggle to be active, get an active dog and succumb to their needs.


At the summit, I bumped into JV. Well, there was minor coordination. We headed back down the back. You can tell it was warm out. JV had his jacket around his waist.


The melting snow had the meadow all muddy. But we were talking and I wasn’t paying attention and bam. I did a GZ. A bunch of blood and mud. Nothing major. But it looked good as I went into Best Buy and Jimmy John’s on the way home. “What the hell happened to you?”, said everybody. “Bear”, I shrugged.


Pretty much ran every day this week. It got interestingly easier every day. Doesn’t take long to get this firing. Hit CrossFit 5 days this week too. Kind of becoming a 2-fer thing — gym in the AM, run in the PM. I pretty much smell all day that way. I haven’t lost a pound yet though. I feel like I am adding weight. Muscle? Maybe. I definitely am sore by the end of the week and feel better on Monday after the break from the gym over the weekend. Recovery.


This plan better work. I feel like I am putting a lot into it. Feeling tired and sore in all the right places. But better yet, I think I am having fun. I can’t wait to hunt.