A Discussion on CrossFit

A Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

I was a guest on Elevation Trail again today. I am going for the record number of guest appearances. Last time, we touched on CrossFit. This time I got the whole show dedicated to it. I am a force to be reckoned with.


Joining me was my coach and co-owner of my gym, Shawn Wentz. His 10 year experience with this fitness phenomenon was exactly what we wanted to delve into the sport. Enjoy this show.

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Always Something New

A Day in the Life2 Comments


I never really took my health or my fitness serious until the late 2000s. Until then, I just existed in that dimension. But since then I feel like I am always on the search for the next thing. The next bump. Sometimes they are small and hard to find. It might be changing to a different style of shoe. It might be running a different type of training program. But lately, it seems like I am after a bigger impact.

I walked off the Leadville Trail 100 course at a record high race weight of 153. I had been in the 140s prior years. I really curtailed my running in the fall because I felt burnt out physically and wanted some extended rest. Running itself burns a lot of calories but when I am not running, it is hard to shutdown the engine in my mind. The appetite. So last fall, I gained a good amount of weight. I didn’t really care at the time. I felt like my body was reacting to the rest. Was that such a bad thing? Ended the year in the mid-170s.

Then I read an article for which I have since lost the link to. But the gist of the article was that runners “mask health issues” through this large and constant calorie cycle burn. So while you are running, it does feel like you can eat anything and usually do. However, just below the surface many dangerous things were lurking. One study talked about how people who quit running found themselves with type 2 diabetes in record time over their non-running counterparts. As if the running masked all these bad things and you were laying the blueprint all along underneath. That sounded like a really shitty end result to a running career.

I started thinking about my diet more seriously at the start of the year. I kept coming to the realization that if you take the fun out of eating, then life sort of sucks. But I kept making strides at it. I kept trying to see if I could pick off the easy things that seemed like bad ideas. Ice cream at night? OK, limit that down to weekends, then one day, then no days. Kill me now. With a blunt object. Slowly. But then I started thinking about soda. I stopped buying soda at home when I went off diet soda a few years back. Diet Mountain Dew, I miss you. Call me. But now I consume vast amounts at any eating establishment with a fountain drink selection. I purposely would steer my family to eat at places where Cherry Coke was on tap. Screw the food, I would freely download as many cups as possible.

I was only cheating myself. I started doing various regimes with soda. Weekends only. Then it went to 1 meal a week. Then I went to none. All that broke down when we went to Mexico. It was vacation and I chose not to give a shit for ten days. But when I returned, I decided it was time to do something more serious.

I had been following a bunch of friends on Facebook who were Whole30 dieting. Another diet craze but out of interest I read the book in an evening after randomly watching a YouTube video on the topic. I enjoyed their description of how your body gets all messed up because of sugar and other non-natural ingredients in food. It goes on from there but the gist of the diet is sort of a 30 day cleanse to rest the signalling in your body that controls the related feelings, hormones, and your appetite. So I dove in.

Now, I didn’t follow their diet to strict plan but I made a pretty good stab at it. I removed all sugar that I reasonably could. So I drank no soda. I ate no candy or cookies or such things. No ice cream. If something contained sugar, like a salad dressing, I just made sure it was pretty minimal. I still ate fruit so I was getting more natural sources but not the mega-doses of it that I was accustomed to.

The next big target were carb-based things. I stopped with any thing bread related. No pasta. No pizza. Nothing crunchy. That was sort of hard. The only real “cheat” on the diet was that I continued to eat black beans. They say no beans. But beans are the first thing you are allowed to bring back at the end of the 30 days so I kept eating this vegetable because it seemed like an OK choice.

I ended up moving in a very tight circle eating a lot of salads either made at home or from restaurants like Chipotle or Mad Greens. Each meal just became more of a focused effort to just eat calories as designed and move on. Cheating wasn’t really an option. That would just be lazy.

The 30 days of this are up. The big question is probably “how much weight did you lose?” Answer is really a negligible amount. With all the running and weight lifting, maybe I am just converting mass rather than losing it right now. It is a bit depressing because I would be amazing just to be able to make a sacrifice, like no soda, and drop 20 pounds. But that doesn’t seem to be where my body is. But to be fair, they don’t promise weight loss with the diet yet most people do obtain some level of it.

I do think I am still in the process of resetting my sensitivities to foods so I am not ready to quit/stop this just yet. I read the other day that habits take on average 66 days to cure. So maybe that is my new number. Whole66? Why not. But once you have a solid streak going, it makes it harder to break. This might be the end of soda forever. Except on my birthday. But it will probably make me puke anyway.

RIP Yoshi

Animals2 Comments


Today, our orange cat, Yoshi, was sitting in Kim’s lap. Suddenly, he kind of fell off of her like he lost consciousness. I heard Kim scream from the other room. When I went in Kim was picking him up and he was gasping for air. Then suddenly his mouth opened wide and his eyes got fully dilated. He was dead.

It was shocking to say the least. No warning. He was not sick. He was just 4 years old.

Kim took him to the vet and they believed it was a stroke or a heart attack. The whiteness of his mouth indicated some blood loss consistent with those types of events.

We told the kids and they cried. It only took Kayla about 15 minutes to suggest we get a new kitten to cope with the loss. I think the kids will be fine. I feel for my wife though. This wasn’t suppose to happen today.

Sorry, little buddy. That one shocked us.


A Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

When I heard we would be headed to a conference in Nashville this year, I wasn’t sure that was going to be a good thing. You know. Country music? Not quite my thing. A town dedicated to it. How could that even be fun? But I am up for an adventure and my buddy JP told me the place is legit so I was optimistic. We arrived to warm temperatures after leaving a weird cold spell in Colorado so that was nice. This conference always is hosted at the swankiest hotel in town so the Omni it was. A rooftop pool? Yes, please.


The steak house in the hotel had a valet line of cars that had me wishing I knew how to steal one. This gun metal V12 Bentley was all the rage when it pulled up. But that wasn’t the highlight. We needed to go find the local night life to do that.


We would walk a few blocks up from the hotel in the direction of music. After turning onto Broadway, we were greeted to six blocks of bars. Every 2 of 3 stores was a bar front. The rest were food or merchandise. They were selling boots as “buy 1 pair, get 2 pair free”. What kind of math is that? But I was intrigued by the live entertainment. Every single bar had a stage. Or multiple! With some band getting after it. Not just solo guys but 4 or 5 piece bands cranking everything from country to rock songs that I recognized. So I might venture to guess there were 50 bands playing music simultaneously within a one mile radius in Nashville. Wow. That doesn’t happen anywhere else. There are “Nashvegas” slogans here and there. Don’t sell yourself short Nashville, Vegas don’t have that magic.


So we did what the locals do. You drink and get weird. We took a carriage ride. Great way to get views of all the folks making their way from bar to bar. We rubbed elbows with the locals. Actually, these ladies caught me with a Coors light to which I tore the label off of and asked for forgiveness by showing my Colorado driver’s license.


My favorite local beer was this Yazoo Pale Ale. Very tasty. There were a few different local beers we selected from time to time. Definitely not the selection like in Colorado but it was decent.


I met people too. This guy was from Sudan and he and I had a discussion while I was flossing my teeth on the street. I decided to talk to him about health so we chatted about the Whole30 and the benefits of high intensity exercise. I think I set him straight.


For our conference finale, we had a live show with the Ryan Weaver band in Music City Center. Pretty cool. He played Freebird. He had me there.


Man, by this point, you have to start trying to really fit in. So we went into a boot store and tried stuff on. These were just my style. Black with music notes? But I couldn’t pull the trigger. To much vertical drop in the heel for this runner boy.


This art that we saw will forever remind me of Nashville. An oasis in a place you wouldn’t think you might find one. Cheers, Nashville. I hope to return someday.


Thanks to my buds, Tim and Marie. We did it well.


Volbeat @ Broomfield

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I saw the last Volbeat show they did in the US back in Las Vegas last year. Since then, then have been on hiatus. Tonight, they returned to the US for their headlining tour and the first stop was Denver. Do I have rock karma or what?


They played in Broomfield which means it is an all ages show unlike those venues downtown. So my concert buddy joined me. This is actually her 2nd time seeing the band and she was pumped to go and watch them once again. However, I knew it would be a bit different. I usually get her seats but for this show it was GA. She had to go on the floor with me. So we started up front after finding a spot. Stayed there for several songs before I had to move. At her height (hell, at mine!) it is hard to see sometimes down low. So I figured that was enough of the bumping up front, so we retreated to higher ground.


As always, Volbeat called kids up on the stage. We hustled back down but the kid in line before Sydney to go up got cut and so she was too. Bummer. Too far away. The kids get to rock out on one song on stage with the band. Would have been cool. I messed that up. The good news was that instead of staying on the floor, I noticed some 2nd row vacant seats. So we popped in those and finished out the show just a couple heads higher than the floor on stage left.


Sydney had a great time and added to her concert t-shirt collection. Oh, the opener was Anthrax. Yes, Sydney has now seen Anthrax. The list is getting longer by the year. I am so proud as a father.

They even played a new song for us that they were working on for a future album. It went for about 60 seconds then they killed it. Sounds like they hadn’t finished it. Might I say we were the first ever to hear this given they just came off break? I had my camera rolling. It is the 3rd song in the video.


  • Hallelujah Goat
  • A New Day
  • Dead but Rising
  • Lola Montez
  • Danny & Lucy
  • Sad Man’s Tongue
  • Mary Ann’s Place
  • Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
  • The Lonesome Rider
  • The Human Instrument
  • The Garden’s Tale
  • Heaven nor Hell / A Warrior’s Call
  • Doc Holliday
  • The Mirror and the Ripper
  • The Hangman’s Body Count
  • 16 Dollars
  • Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza
  • Fallen
  • Still Counting

The Chipotle Assembly Line Nightmare

Rants3 Comments


Dear Chipotle,

I am increasingly frustrated when I visit your establishment. I am a 15 year veteran of the place. I know exactly what to say and how to get through the line using the minimal number of phrases required to efficiently order my meal. However, sometimes your side seems like some Three Stooges skit taking place. Take tonight for example. I wish I would have just recorded the whole thing so you could see it from our side of the glass.

The mother in front of me was ordering for her and two teen boys. I think the boys probably have been there before but she seemed like a rookie. Now, this is fine. We need new blood to continue to grow the franchise. But I always get a kick out of the process. The lady was trying to order three burritos at once. Actually, one was a bowl but she kept calling it a burrito. Then she would tell them which different type of rice goes in each. Then which type of beans. The Chipotle worker behind the counter was in utter confusion. Turns out he was new on the job too. Finally someone told the lady nicely, “Ma’am, it is easier if you just order them one at a time”.

They were then trying to wrap their burritos and ripping the shells. This is another Chipotle classic screw up. Burritos are supposed to be shaped like tennis ball cans. You can eat those. Chipotle seems to have developed the football shaped burrito that nobody can eat. It is a spectacle. I haven’t eaten a true burrito there since day 1. Nobody wants their food to fall apart.

Chipotle seems to have pioneered this type of fast food assembly line. I mean it sort of happens at McDonald’s but you don’t see the magic happening. Here it happens right in front of you on display. Like a thing you participate in. However, when it breaks down, it almost turns comical.

Now, that lady had the end of the queue in a tizzy because something was going on with the salsa choice. I was now at the front of the queue where I told Mr. Newbie that I wanted a salad. He gave me a blank stare. Almost as if to say, “Sir, this is a burrito place and you want a salad?”. Now, any veteran knows this is on the menu. It even got put on the big board years ago. But he was dumbfounded. He asked the guy to his right in the queue what he should do. The guy pointed at the secret lettuce bin they keep behind them and the kid started filling the bowl. Then he just stared at me. The kid helping the newbie prods him along by saying “Ask him what he wants on it”. Then the newbie turns to me and asks “what do you want on it?”. Are you kidding me? Don’t you know the script here, kid.

I haven’t worked at Chipotle but I am pretty sure you could put an apron on me and I could fill orders. Bowl? Yes. Here or to-go. White or brown? Black or pinto? Was that double meat or half and half? I know the lingo. I think they got this kid off the street and put him behind the counter. He didn’t know what to ask. I know you can mathematically build 4,123,456 combinations of things off their menu but the questions are easy. Worse yet, each person helping you in the queue only asks you a subset of questions. Usually limited to about 3 things. Could it be simpler?

Now, as I am going through this comedy in slow motion, a problem occurs. One of those wicked faster workers appears at the front of the queue with a web order due at 8PM. However, it is 7:45 on my watch. But the order guy is standing there waiting. Oops, he came early. So the staff starts leapfrogging between me and the lady with the teens to hurry out this order. She starts enlisting the help of the other folks in the queue and this totally messes them up. The system is such that the worker asks the person standing on the glass directly in front of them what they want on the item in front of them. So they start asking me what I want on these tacos. The ones that are not mine. So you start pointing and learning what everybody in front and in back of you ordered because you have some fear of not getting your food right.

I start directing them about who’s food is who’s and they seem even more confused. There are like 8 tacos being made and 3 humans here. Total chaos. The system is broken. Each worker passing the item down requires them to sort of relearn everything about your order at times. I feel like I am repeating myself. With the salad, they slapped the foil cover on it but the marker guy wasn’t on task. So then it becomes the guessing game. Who’s is this and what is in it?

The manager was standing there and I felt annoyed. This isn’t the first time. I almost expect it every time now. So I decided to make a stink. Yep, I was that guy. In my older age, I do save these outbursts for when I actually give a shit. And it was tonight. It went something like asking her if she was the manager and if she manages. Telling her their line is a disaster and nobody knows what they are doing. The staff just looked at me strangely. Not in a way that showed that they had any empathy for the customer.

I asked the manager what meal I had and she didn’t know. I had to identify it. And by identify it I mean I had to pick it out of the bag they were packing for Mr. To-Go behind me. Now it was unmarked so I asked her what was in it and she didn’t know. She went to the cash register and started to ring it up. Thought this might be interesting given you don’t know what to charge me. I see zero dollars as amount due. She hands me my meal and wishes me on my way. A decent move, but not what I wanted.

I told her I wanted to pay but I was more after an acknowledgement that they are clueless. She said there is a new guy on the line tonight. He was that first dude, who never has eaten here I swear. I don’t get the training cycle. Can’t he just be on beans? All night your job is to ask “Black or pinto?” and you are done. Tomorrow you might step up to meats. Then salsas. Your career could be huge.

That was a lot of words to describe what was probably a five minute visit standing in line. I wish it was on video. We could play by-play commentate on it like a football team watching game tapes. But it is lost.

I will be back soon. It is a staple for me based on location. But I swear that if some of the other local smaller places (Big City Burrito) would open up next door, I would switch. Qdoba pulls the same crap from time to time but frankly not as much.

Have your team get it together. Sometimes the system works. But mostly, it seems to fall on its face. When you ask me what I ordered, I feel like you didn’t care. I already told ten people on your side of the glass.


Closing Day

A Day in the LifeLeave a Comment

While our usual Ski Cooper closed weeks ago, other Colorado resorts stay open longer. Usually post-Spring Break, I have no interest in skiing. I am waiting on warm weather! But this year, I had a desire for one last run. So with a large snowstorm dropping a lot of powder, we headed up to Cooper Mountain for their Closing Day! Never been to one of those.

Closing day

We had a good time even though many lifts were already down for the season. But a 60″ base with fresh powder was nice. You can ski other spots in Colorado until June if you are really in the mood.

Closing day

I think the kids might need a change next year. So we might trade in our Cooper passes for Cooper. See how that treats us!

South Of The Border

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Mexico 2015

After an 8 year hiatus, it was finally time to return to Mexico. My Mom, sister, and her boyfriend were joining us so we felt like revisiting a past trip to the Riveria Maya was a solid choice. Staying at Iberostar, we had a great time there with the little kids because there is a lot to do. The weather didn’t disappoint at all. Plenty warm with a nice tropical breeze all the time. We spent many days at combinations of the beach and the pool. My kids could live the rest of their lives doing that every day. However, we did get off the property a couple of days and visit some of our favorite local attractions/parks. They have some neat adventure park/swimming/zoo like things down there. You go spend the day and for once price they feed you, give you equipment, and shuttle you back and forth. It is all inclusive, just like the hotel. Feels nicer than a US-based experience to me as you are constantly take care of and you aren’t faced with signs and rules all day.

Mexico 2015

The all-inclusive nature of these resorts is a nice change. No cash or credit cards on you. Just a bracelet and you are off. You can eat and drink 24×7. The food is great — and it isn’t all Mexican. They have a healthy selection of different flavors at each meal. You could go the entire week without ever eating a burrito. Actually, Mexican food is almost hard to come by sometimes!

Mexico 2015

Nothing better than a beach vacation where you live in your bathing suit and get to lay on the beach. Or in it.

Mexico 2015

Being animal people, my family always is attracted to the wildlife. These guys in this next video are called Coatis. Kind of like a racoon. The locals might not love them but the tourists sure do. They are real cute. But you don’t feed them as they have a strict diet of bugs and stuff. Watch them climb and dig!

Xel-Ha remains our favorite attraction in the region. It is probably the only bay on the coast and the wildlife know that. The bay is full of fish, stingrays, and more. They have a great “ride” where you get in tube way back inland in a mangrove forest and swim through it until you reach the bay and sea. There are activities along the way like cliff diving, rope courses, and zip lines that all start or end in the water. You are wet all day!

Mexico 2015

Mexico 2015

Reagan wanted to do a manatee encounter so I did it with her. Pretty neat. Not like those pesky dolphins swimming fast and jumping. These guys are gentle giants.

The manatee and I getting some lunch. He took a full stalk of lettuce out of my hand.

Mexico 2015

She doesn’t ever pose for photos but Sydney must have gotten this one on her. Thanks to Kim for organizing the trip. She is our built-in travel agent!

Mexico 2015

Some day this will be a permanent view…not necessarily here but you get the idea!

Mexico 2015

I could probably find a job. This guy has it figured out.

Mexico 2015

View all photos from this event.

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