Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Five Years

This past weekend, my blog ticked over the 5 year mark.  In many ways that's very hard to believe.  I've certainly had a lot happen both personally, athletically, and professionally in that time.  So here's a look back at my top 5 posts of all time (Note: these are ranked for no particular reason other than my own preference.  Click on the link if you want to read an entire post). 

I kind of have to start here don't I?  This was my first entry back in 2012.  I seem to recall having the house to myself that night, and having some new home brew to drink.  Truth is, I've made very little beer since that first year or two.  But this was the post that started it all. 

A little over a year later, I'd just completed my first ultra trail run, a 50 miler in Buena Vista, Colorado.  Just a few weeks later, I leveraged my physical conditioning into an epic Memorial Day Weekend.  Couple that with the end of the school year, and this was just a great time. The post covers it all!

Any post that involves family and friends is going to be a favorite.  This was actually the second time I recorded the Bolder Boulder in pictures, but it marked the first time that the whole family did the race together.  This year will be the third!

I haven't done a beer retrospective of this level for a couple of years.  Maybe 2017 will be time for a return of this post.  Already in 2017, I've had some great beers.

Okay, probably not a surprise that this one rounds out my top 5 favorite posts.  It was one of the most fun to write because I got to really savor the experience all over again.  Since I first wrote it, there have been a number of views.  It was fun to see the spike in "views" in late July/ August last year as expectant 2016 IM Boulder athletes visited the page.  

With a number of events planned for 2017, I'll continue to enjoy reading and sharing my experiences with endurance and beer on this blog.  Whether you've been here since the beginning or you just started today, thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Rewards of Ultra Training

Tonight I'm sitting on the couch, my legs stretched out in front of me, each foot ensconced in a slightly worn Hotel Catalonia slipper, a souvenir from a trip to Mexico a couple of years ago.  Whenever I shift in my seat, a dull soreness traces up and down my legs, and if I try to stand, I'm met with a reluctant protest from my lower half.  To watch me rise to my feet, you'd think I was double my age.  The pain however, is a good pain, not born of injury, but rather the "reward" for a day's training.

Earlier this afternoon, I pushed through my weekly long run with the help of i-Tunes, my hydra pack, and late January weather that was downright balmy compared to my long runs the previous two weeks.  The run was a mere 23 miles, which is well short of ultra status, but still long enough.  I felt pretty damn good through the first 20 miles.  The last three, completed primarily on sidewalk, were the roughest, as my drop in pace would attest.

It actually doesn't matter how far I ran, so much as how long.  My training in this first part of the year is in preparation for a 24 hour race, so today's run only accounted for about a sixth, of what I'll try to accomplish in April.  I've got some time between now and then to stretch the hours, and the mileage.

With any luck,  a few weeks from now, my long runs will extend to 6 hours, and the ground covered today will seem like small stuff.  For now, I'll just sit back and enjoy the soreness.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Namaste: 5 reasons to consider adding Yoga to your life

Last summer I decided to join my wife for a yoga class on the rooftop deck of a local brewery in town.  I'll be honest that the real enticement for going was that it was a package deal, an hour of yoga with a pint of beer to follow, all for less than $10.

Other than a bit of practice with some videos several years ago, I really didn't have any experience with yoga.  But by the end of that class, I was hooked, and not just because of the beer (that didn't hurt!).  Since that afternoon, I've gone to  yoga class at least once a week, and on a few occasions when my schedule has allowed for it, even hit two or three classes in the same week.  Six months later,  though I'm far from being a yogi master, I do have a few takeaways from what I've experienced so far.

Yoga is cheap.  Apart from the cost of a class ($5 to $20 for a "drop in" class), yoga is inexpensive.  Most studios have mats that you can use (usually the high quality mats), and you really don't need anything more than regular workout clothes, a hand towel, and a water bottle.  If you already have a membership to a YMCA or other health club, there's a good chance that they offer yoga classes either as part of your membership or at a discounted rate.

Yoga is not easy.  It might appear that standing, sitting, and bending on a mat for an hour is a low intensity experience.  I assure you it is not.  When you truly engage in a class, yoga provides a solid "fitness" experience even for a well-trained athlete.  I was surprised at how challenging it was.  Who would have thought that holding a pose for ten, fifteen, or even twenty seconds would be so exhausting? Try repeating that or "flowing" more quickly through a series of poses with one breath for each movement.  Now try Hot Yoga, where you do all of these things in a room set to 85-100 degree temperatures.  Yes, you will be sweating!  There are all kinds of yoga classes available, each having a somewhat altered focus.  The most common, and a good starting place are the "vinyasa" or "flow" classes.  There are also classes that combine yoga with spinning, and even yoga done on a paddleboard.

Yoga is NOT a "chick" thing. While the majority of participants in a yoga class tend to be women, I've yet to take a class where I was the only male participant, and I've even been in a few where there have been as many, or more men.  If yoga is a "chick" sport, then so is running.  A 2015 report shows that 57% of finishers in U.S. running events were women, compared to 43% men.

Regular yoga practice improves flexibility, core strength, and balance.  These three aspects of yoga are extremely valuable for the endurance athlete.  As a forty-something aged guy, I've long struggled with flexibility to the point of not being able to touch my toes.  Six months in, I can definitely see an improvement in my flexibility and range of motion.  My balance has also drastically improved. Several of the poses in yoga strengthen your balance and increase your "body awareness" in space.  There is also quite a bit of core work in yoga.

Yoga exercises the body, mind and soul.  I don't want this to come off sounding like some hipster, new-age type of thing.  My point is that just like a good run, or long bike ride, you feel really good after a yoga class.  In fact, the feeling is probably most similar to the way I feel after a swim workout;  A bit tired, maybe a little sore, but also refreshed and relaxed.  Each yoga class concludes with about 5-10 minutes of "Shavasana."  Basically, you lie on your back with your eyes closed and you relax, focusing only on your steady breathing.  I've found that since starting yoga, my stress levels have been reduced, and my patience has increased.  This seems to extend into the rest of my life and that, in and of itself, makes it worth it.

While I doubt that Yoga will replace other athletic endeavors (I will always love racing and other endurance challenges), I am certain that yoga has become a permanent part of my fitness routine.