Monday, November 28, 2011

I love making my Christmas List

I love Christmas. I am very vocal about disliking most holidays but Christmas is special in my heart, my soul and my mind. Aside from the connection it has to my religion, I truly do very much enjoy giving to others. All year long I enjoy doing and giving things with nothing expected in return. But at Christmas everyone seems to be in this frame of mind which makes it fun to share this sentiment with a group consensus.

And let’s face it, who doesn’t like getting presents, especially when you’re giving out a list  for things that you want. It’s like annually registering for wedding gifts that you don’t have to share with a spouse. Christmas lists are full of possibilities. Yes there are going to be those Big Ticket items that you know most likely you’re never going to get, but it may give the Gifter inspiration for a gift you did not expect.
Its depressing to think that for most people, creating a Christmas list is a chore. The person creating the list doesn’t really remember all the things they wanted through the year and suddenly feel pressured to create a list that is both humble and cost effective, but satisfying and usable in their life. They are afraid that what they receive will not specifically be what they wanted and therefore incompatible with your intended purpose.

Conversely, there is pressure on the Gifter to comply with the list as best they can. Hastily created lists are made more difficult to fulfill when there are generational considerations, novice internet family members, Gifters who in another state and mailing packages. 

As a serial research shopper I have developed a few key tactics to building a bomb proof Christmas List all year long. While geared more towards your benefit for next year, if you are a dedicated web surfer and can delay presenting your list for a few more weeks, this will certainly help this go around.   

First, in this digital age you would be a fool to not have a folder on your web browser titled ‘Wants’, ‘Possible Buy’, ‘Wish List’, ‘Christmas List’ or some such term.  All year long as you come across something online that you want, bookmark it to this folder. It might include several URL’s leading to the same item offered at different online stores. Later on it might be that one of those URL’s has broken, sold out or the price changed. It is also pleasantly surprising to review bookmarks and see where your mind was at earlier in the year; as the things we like, fads, ideas always seem to slip our consciousness so quickly. 

In this photo: item, price & store. 
Second, if you have a mobile phone with a camera, take pictures of actual items you see in the store, such as a new book, DVD or tool, A video game for a specific player, an exercise accessory or article of clothing.  Take a photo of the item on the shelf with all the pertinent information that shows the brand, model, size and price. Sometimes another photo is required to get this information from a price tag. Then email these to yourself and place in a folder listed similarly to the one you have on your web browser.  This is also a really good way to shop with children when you are out with them.

When it comes time to create your Christmas list, head straight to your two folders and start cutting, pasting and hyperlinking your wish list to an email or word document. Part of each written summary should include a make and model, size, color and cost of the product,  name of the website the provided link leads too and if the item is also available locally. This last note helps members of the family living abroad coordinate buying and giving gifts without shipping charges. I will also sometimes include photos of the item so there is no confusion.

Make creating your Christmas list something that is as enjoyable as opening gifts Christmas Day.   

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Race Report: Mesa Turkey Trot 10k

The Mesa Turkey Trot 10k is one of the oldest races in the state of Arizona. There is also a 1 mile and 2 mile event, so lots of families, kids and strollers come out. It is not far from my house and it seems every Thanksgiving I am somewhere that morning seeing event shirts and bibs on people after they have finished. I’m told it is largest 10k race in the state, but that’s not confirmed. This year, well more specifically two days ago, I decided to sign up and finally see what all the fuss is about.

always cool to see the kids race
I’ve been racing pretty steady the last two weekends and thought a 10k would be good to work on lactate threshold and high heart rate pacing. Then I decided that I have been racing that way already, time to change things up. Instead of a road race pace, I would run there and back and run the 10k race wearing a 30lb backpack.  This would actually benefit me in some of the obstacle course racing that I do.

My goal was to just not stop running with the ruck on my back. Otherwise I thought a good pace would be around 11 minute miles, at least to start. I figured after the run there and into the later miles I would start to fill some tweaks and I would slow to shuffle step.  As I waited the last couple minutes for the run to start I did 50 body weight squats and 50 pushups with the pack on. I got some funny looks.

damn iPhone camera. I am not THAT wide
The course itself revealed nothing new to me.  As a local runner, I have put sole to pavement all over the route many times.  I realized a mile in that other than a cup of coffee, I forgot to eat breakfast and got concerned I might bonk. I had a bunch of beef jerky and energy bars in my pack, but I didn’t want to stop and pull them out. I did have a full 3L of water and sipped the tube as often as I could. I just kept going and finally ate at the finish line.

My Garmin 310 didn’t charge overnight so I ran with my Timex ironman and would figure pace splits off the mile markers along the course. As I started way back in the chute, I wasn’t sure exactly how the clock would read as hit those markers and sure enough when I saw the first mile marker with a race clock on it, they were way off. The race clock read 10:50, which felt closer to my pace so stopped looking at my watch.

I just kept plugging along feeling good. I passed a few people but people passed me too, so I started to think my pace was slipping away from me. I was able to see a mile marker and clock up ahead but couldn’t read it yet. I looked at my watch and figured based on the time and my notion that my pace was slipping back I would be coming up on mile 3. As I got closer the sign read MILE 4, and the clock read 38:08.  Whoa. I was running 9:30 miles. I was way ahead of my estimation and I felt really good. It was at that point that I realized I could break an hour with the heavy ass ruck on my back.

As I crossed the finish line, the clock read 57-something. There is an official chip time coming later, so we will see where that ultimately puts me time wise.  But I was sub 1 hour for sure and several minutes ahead of my project finish time.

I called the family to celebrate another race done and one of the kids asked, as they always do, “Did you win, daddy?”  I told them, “I did win. I was first in division, the heavy backpack division.” There was lots of cheering and laughing over that.

It’s not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

1 weekend in Texas, 3 epic races

Loving the mud
I decided over the last weekend, at almost the last minute it seems, to fly to Texas on the weekend of December 3, for the chance to obstacle race at the Super Spartan event in Glen Rose. Spartan Racing puts on premier obstacle course events all over the world but mostly in America. They have a range of distances that are comparative in basic terms to considering a triathlon distance like, Sprint, Olympic, 70.3 mile and 140.6 miles. Spartan racing uses the following to describe their events; Sprint, Super, Beast and a very select few are allowed to do what is called Death Race, an event where participants are only told what to bring, not what they will be doing or how long it will take. Lasting from 24-40 hours without stopping, the finish rate is less than 25%. The Super I will be doing is their version of the Olympic triathlon, an 8 mile obstacle course with around 16 obstacles. Terrain is certainly an obstacle to consider. 

What made my last minute decision to fly to Texas so special is Spartan has made Glen Rose, their last race of the year, a real festival or celebration to obstacle course racing. Instead of the usual amount of obstacles over the 8+ miles, they doubled it to almost 40 obstacles. Plus they have added some interesting bonus events that are pure adrenaline and possibly one of a kind, certainly first of its kind.  

 Saturday is when all the normal heats (or waves) of runners attack the course every thirty minutes with the usual excitement and hoopla expected of people having fun, getting muddy and challenging themselves. Obstacle racing is becoming so popular that for some people this will be the first race they have ever done, most running it with a group of friends. Most obstacles are physical like climbing over, under or threw structures, but also mud, water, strength and endurance challenges are included. There is also some form of mental challenge to throw you off. At the Arizona event earlier this year, racers had to complete one side of a rubic cube or suffer a penalty of push ups or burpees. In fact for every obstacle if you can not complete it or wish to bypass it, you are given the option of completing some form of calisthenic. I will be participating in the morning waves like everyone else. I will be doing it as part of a team, and while this will be the first and only time most people will go through this course, it will be mine and this teams second run through and it will be the easiest opportunity we will have to do it all weekend.  

The first time I run the course will take place between the time that the course is completed on Friday and the first wave on Saturday. It is called the Hurricane Heat.  The Hurricane Heat is a commemoration of Hurricane Irene that destroyed much of New England and Spartan Headquarters located in Killington, Vermont earlier this year and in the process interrupted a Spartan Race due to safety concerns by the city. Undeterred, one of the owners and a couple intrepid racers did the course during the hurricane, by themselves, no volunteers, no aid stations, just because the hurricane added another level of hardship to the already tough course. Now the Hurricane Heat is offered as a special event at most Spartan races where the founders and athletes tackle the course with no thought to competition or a clock. Its about camaraderie and taking the course to a whole other level of extremism with constant opportunities to make everything more challenging. Now that this specific course has twice as many obstacles as normally offered its a maybe once in a lifetime opportunity for someone like myself. 

Finally, after the last heat has been run Saturday and all the participants have enjoyed the course, I will run the course one last time. A special heat will be taken though the course by a company called GORUCK.  They put a unique twist on obstacle event management by not creating a challenge out of wood, rope and tubes but utilizing the unique nature of the landmarks, terrain and layout of whatever urban city they are in that weekend.  Their events always start in the middle of the night and last 15-20 miles and 8-10+ hours. Each participant must wear a weighted GORUCK manufactured pack in their ultimate definition of product testing. As the company was created by and run by former and current Special Forces personnel, the way in which each class traveses the city is a unique team building experience. Who knows how long this last run will last. Who knows how these men of unconventional warfare will instruct us to go through it.

My attempt at javelin toss obstacle
In a nutshell, I see the opportunity and will be doing one eight mile supercharged course, three completely different and unique ways over a 24-hr period. .Something like this may not happen again in a way in which I can attend.  The added benefit is that I will be attending this weekend as part of a unique group of people called Storm Chasers. This group is comprised of people who travel around the country to participate in the Hurricane Heats at each Spartan event. It is a unique group of fellow athletes who love obstacle course racing  and I can not wait to spend an entire weekend, a Spartan marathon if you will, with them. 

As part of a shameless plug, if you are interested in participating in the Arizona Spartan race in February 2012, as part of a team and getting a discount on your entry fee, contact me here or on Facebook. 

It is not enough to exist. I am going to live. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Stuffing Muffins

Stuffing is always one of those turkey day side dishes that never seems to please everyone, even after going back for seconds and thirds. Most people like it moist, but everyone enjoys the crunchy sides of the baking dish and fight over those crispy baked on tidbits long after they have said, "I'm so full." My wife, frustrated at the lack of crispy, crunchy stuffing on the table has created her own type of stuffing presentation that guarantees everyone will be happy. Stuffing Muffins. 

Rather than baking the stuffing in a large deep dish in the oven where only the top gets the coveted crunch, use a muffin tin. Using a muffin tin, guarantees that everyone will get some moist stuffing and a crunchy top. Furthermore, for those looking for a bit of portion control eating one stuffing muffin (at a time) will keep you honest with your nutrition and still keep the host pleased.  

It also saves space in the frig for leftovers. Just put them in gallon zip lock bag and over the next couple of days, you can pop it in the microwave without having to waste spoons and bowls moving from one bowl to another. Less clean up of dishes is always good on this weekend. 

While I don't have her recipe handy to provide you, I found a similar recipe off the food network website. If your interested. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spectating IMAZ

Spectating an iron distance race doesn't come without its own challenges. One must consider weather, nutrition, locations for viewing and basic comforts. While you are there to support a loved one or friend who is constantly moving forward, sometimes you stand in the same place for an hour, just to see them for 5 seconds. I have friends out there today who plan to finish in a range of time from under 9 hours to 16 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds. Care is needed to endure your own personal iron day. 

That doesn't mean I can slack on my own training today and there is no better motivation than watching 2,000 people in an ironman. I expect at some point I will be walking or running for several miles giving moral support to those that need it. I will have my mountain bike to move around the course to take pictures. Add to that volunteering at aid stations and meeting up with friends. What I try to do today for my personal fitness has to intergrate seamlessly in some else's much bigger occasion   

Let start with some added weight, 28lbs according to my hanging weight scale. That is the ruck weight I will be starting with for the day. The pack will not leave my back much during the day. This will make every thing I do physically that much more difficult which will help in obstacle course racing for when I do and do not need to carry a similar sized pack. As some of this is food, beer and water, The weight will drop as the day progresses. Which is fine because later in the day I will probably be running some miles with it. 

The mountain bike will certainly get several miles on it today. Riding the course between aid stations and potential friend meet ups will demand speed that driving around the course will not provide and walking will be too slow. 

A jacket and running pants for the chill after sunset, sunblock and lipbalm, advil, baby wipes, throat lozenges for long hours of yelling, pepto, bandaids, sharps, headlamp, some duct tape, plus several other items are stored inside. Along with my camera, portable iPhone charger and assorted other items I personally think are required daily carry. 

The day is all about the athlete, but don't forget about yourself. 

Its not enough to exist. I am going to live. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Race Report: Mad Mud Run

I woke up the morning of the race feeling pretty crappy. I was officially ten days into a sinus, throat issue that leaves me with a hoarse voice and feeling about 75% as long as I am taking cold medicine. Even after the ritualistic snorts, hacks and gags and clearings I still felt like making it through the Mad Mud Run 4 mile race was going to be a greater effort than I wanted to deal with. But I went, because ya know what, we can’t always race or train in the world of unicorns and glitter. Often times you have to dig deeper than perfect world.

I will admit once the race was over I drove straight to the Minute Clinic next to my house and then waited 3x longer than it took to finish the race to see the doctor. After my co-pay, probing and questioning, I was told I probably had allergies and try over the counter Sudafed.

After all is run & wet
A face in the crowd. When I got to the race, I kept looking for a familiar face but none were to be seen. As this is mostly a team event, there were lots of people in happy little gaggles able to dissipate their nerves among their friends. When the time came for my heat,  the solo’s, not many males or females were lined up, comparative to teams, which meant that these people were here to get it on.  I was hoping for mud early and often, as I train with heavy muddy shoes on purpose. I know when thick mud is stuck to your shoes and socks, it’s much harder physically to hold a normal pace if you haven’t trained for it and that starts to affect you mentally. Alas not to be, not much mud in the Mad Mud Run.

It always feels good to pass a CrossFitter. These people are pretty cocky before endurance and obstacle races but when it comes down to the running of the clock, they gasp and flop around like fish out of water between ¾ -1 mile into the lightening pace they set for the group off the line. Totally gassed and wondering why all the double under jump roping they did over the last month wasn’t enough to handle a 7 minute mile pace in dirt and sand for 4 miles.   It wasn't even the end of the first mile about 20 people dropped suddenly from the pack like planes shot out of the sky, nose diving into the scrub to cough, dry heave and put hands to their hips.

Training and genetics, the age old story. I never stopped running as fast as I could, mouth breathing all the way with my nose congested, but I won’t pretend that I kept my sight on the front pack for longer than about half way. There were some genuinely fast guys in the front, yes a few wearing CrossFit shirts (they are not all slow, ya know).  The trail was some desert hard pack but mostly very soft dirt and sand which put desert runners on an equal footing. I may train for trails but I don’t have the natural fast running pace some people are born with and those guys at the front were easily running low 6 minute pace.  So my goal was to just not let anyone that looked within about 5 years of my age passing me and try to take down a couple of guys along the way.
Obstacles are an equalizer. I was able to see each obstacle about 50 yards before I reached it and got to see the three guys in front of me tackle them. This is where I was really happy about the training I have been doing because at every obstacle I easily gained ground on the competition. On climbing walls it would take guys 8-10 seconds with lots of wasted foot and hand placements, I would vault them in 2-3 seconds. One man in front of me was half way through the low crawl obstacles when I entered and I passed him and completed it before he got back up. But he was just a bit faster than me and would catch up between obstacles staying 20 yards ahead until the next challenge.

Overall the obstacles were good, not as many as I would have liked but this was designed as a fun team building event with friends. The final obstacle and only mud bath on the course in front of the finish line. And I made sure to give it my all to show the crowd, along with some competitors waiting for their wave to start, a good high speed base stealing slide into the goop.  After finishing, I overheard a mother telling her son that he was about the 20th person to finish. I came in right behind him. So I think I made the top 25-30 overall for solos. The results will get posted later with the photos.  Based on my watch I ran 3.89 miles in 30 minutes or a roughly 7:40 pace through a lot of sand and dirt and of course overcoming several obstacles including the long mud pit along the way. I don’t think anyone in front of me was in my age or older.

Any chance to get muddy and push the pace on a run is a plus in my book, sinus issue notwithstanding.

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Stomach Flu

The house was full of excitement Saturday and Sunday, why I am stating that on the following Friday I will get to in less than a minute. Saturday morning I finished first overall in a race for the first time in my life. Later that day Mighty Mo's flag football team went 12-0 for the entire season and won their divisions championship. By the time we collapsed in the house we were jubilant and exhausted. 

On Sunday I was physically wiped out, still feeling the effects of the previous days red zone 5k on my lungs, scrapes and burns on my forearms and knees from obstacles and 4 hours of photography in consecutively more adrenaline fueled football games. By mid day Sunday my lower torso was having stabbing pains and by the end of the day I decided I either had food poisoning or my head cold had turned into a stomach flu. Whatever it was I was pretty much banished to the bedroom through Wednesday. 

I was very disappointed in the sudden turn of health. Here I had been healthy all year long, nary an issue and then the week before my winter race season I get a head cold and then the week before I have a guest, another race this weekend and have several friends flying in for Ironman Arizona I get a stomach issue. My greatest fear was not that I would be sick during all the appointments I had made but that I would infect someone prior to their race effort on Sunday and they would not have the ironman they deserve. What really pissed me off is that my training partner, who is also my chiropractor, is also racing in ironman this weekend and if I went to see him for my rib, I might have got him sick. I couldn't risk that so I've been dealing with this probably popped out rib in my back for over a week now. Self adjustments using the foam roller have been somewhat successful. 

Man, this post sounds like a Debbie Downer. But hey, I am an optimist. I started feeling better Thursday. Anything is possible with the right combination of cold medicines. I do not believe that I will affect anyone's race and I shouldn't miss any of the festivities this weekend. In my circle of friends the ironman fun starts Thursday night with a team dinner and ends probably middle of next week when the first time finishers get their tattoo. And I have a mud run Saturday. I am not going to push it on this one, just enjoy the mud. I don't want to waste myself for the weekend again. 

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Race Report #4 2011: Toro Loco Challenge

Having a head cold is often times the worst way to enter a race. That was my thoughts driving south last Saturday to participate in the Toro Loco Challenge, a 5k obstacle race in the flat middle of nowhere between Phoenix and Tucson. 

I felt very rushed. The race was planned as my first winter race and it was a little over an hour away. Due to rain the weekend before my sons football playoffs were rescheduled to take place at the same time as the race. And they were the number ranked team. And I am the team photographer. I was also going to this race all by myself. I haven't been to a solo event in a long time, where I knew no one, I drove with no one. So I felt divided and alone. Once I got there I chatted with several wonderful volunteers and a few other racers and became more relaxed. Everyone was very nice. 

The race itself was not the best marked, nor the best volunteered for that first wave but I had a lot of fun. Enough fun that I never unjustified in the investment of time driving there and back, how much gas I went through or the time away from my son's first play off game of the day. It was fun enough that I did it with a head cold and sore rib after falling off a practice obstacle at the park the week before. 

In a slight change of my normal race recap, instead of discussing all the nuances and obstacles during the event, I want to just state that I was the first across the finish line.

Its not enough to exist. I am going to live.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My scale is a damn Greek Siren

I hate my scale, and I don't use the word Hate very often because its a really powerful and yet overused word. When discussing my scale, I can't help but utter the strongest terms possible to describe it. It does not matter if the scale gives me the number I want or the number I dread, it still ends up screwing with my day. 

First off, I wait till I feel at some point I am the lightest I have felt since the last time I stood on the scale. And then I look down as if my feet are planted over a sliver of chasm leading straight to hell and I am standing over it looking in. If the number is favorable, I feel that I need to celebrate the success and want to make it a cheat day. If the number is 'the Devil' then I feel like nothing I've done in the past few days/weeks has mattered and I want to make it a cheat day because, "...watching my portions and food choices ain't working."

I put standing on a scale up there with getting a shot. Complete misery. And don't get me started on how every scale reads just a bit differently than the one you want to trust and of course the average body fluctuates weight on the scale based on what is being worn, what has been consumed that day and all sorts of other real and  ephemeral possibilities. 

I know, I know, don't listen to the scale. Throw it out. Go on how you feel, not what you weigh. How your clothes fit, not the scale. But like the Greek seductress, I am compelled to listen to its words. 

I am not going to exist, I am going to live. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sometimes I need supervision

I have nothing against personal trainers. Hell, I've been one personally and professionally over 15 years of being in the fitness industry. Yet I rarely use them for my own results. I see all the benefits, yet call it hubris or experience but I don't see the reasoning of a long term training package for myself when I can still kick my own ass in a workout. 

Man did I kick my own ass last weekend. I am still paying for it a few days later, much to the pleasure and pocket of my licensed massage therapist. Her remark yesterday that my right side felt like it had been hit by a truck, don't ask how she knows how that feels, needed no response from me except for the grunts she produced loosening a the larger muscles of my back. 

There are times when I bite off more than I can chew writing up workouts. Instead of changing it from a physical workout to a mental workout to get through it half way through, I should have just pulled up on it. This is one of those situations when having a trainer would have come in handy. (See I can play both sides of this).

Another lesson learned, one I'll put in the same category as brain freezes from eating something too cold really fast. 

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Winter race season

Normally this time of year is devoted to marathon or Ironman training for events like the PF Chang Rock N' Roll marathon in January, Lost Dutchman Marathon in February or the former April Ironman Arizona date. This year however, I've been able to cobble together a decent and diverse Winter racing season that incorporates fun, speed, challenges and the distances balance my training time. Lets take a look. 

11/12 Toro Loco Challenge. A 5k obstacle course race in Eloy, Arizona. I think this is an inaugural event as far as I know. The date fit and I look forward to racing in an area of Arizona I have not spent much time. 

11/19 Mad Mud Run 4 mile course in Scottsdale, Arizona. These are always fun events. The trick with events that are 'mud' runs in Arizona is that they are usually running on desert trail, navigate a few obstacles and then a mud pit at the finish line. The event host, Sierra Adventure Sports, is a company that I have followed for a few years and they have impressed me with their risk taking in putting on events in sketchy desert areas. 

12/10 Sally Meyerhoff 5k road race in Tempe, Arizona. Sally was an amazingly gifted local athlete who was killed in March 2011 in a cycling accident. Just months before her death she had won a half ironman, became the Xterra world champion and won the PF Chang marathon, the first American female to do so. This race is supporting a foundation in her name and her friends from the endurance community, worldwide and locally, plan on making this race a true gem. 

12/10 12k of Christmas in Gilbert, Arizona. It has been a very long time since I have done a real 'Christmas' run with lots of costumes and season spirit. I look forward to just enjoying the scenery. It is not a typo that both Sally's 5k and 12k of Christmas are shown a 12/10.  Sally's run starts at 8am, I expect a rather fast 5k time, then hop in the car and drive to the 12k that starts at 10am. I have never done two different races in different locations on the same day so that will be good fun. 

1/14/12 Tough Mudder in Wickenburg, Arizona.  I drove 28 hours round trip to do the first Tough Mudder in Bear Valley, California in October 2010, thankfully this is much closer. I have been an obstacle course enthusiast for years, since my time in the Army and finding something similar in the civilian world was sorely lacking. TM let me see this new category of racing really start to be taken seriously. 

2/11/12 Super Spartan Race, Chandler, Arizona. This company absolutely rocks, it will be my second time doing this race at this location and I expect the obstacles and the course to be taken up a notch. While this may be only my only Spartan race for the winter, I expect to travel to a few of their other events throughout 2012.  The brilliance behind Spartan is that they have four levels of races and my goal is to complete all four, including the Death Race, a once a year race that the race directors only provide a mandatory gear list and do not tell the contestants what the events are or how long the race will last. 

2/18/12 GORUCK Challenge, Phoenix, Arizona. Hosting 'classes' around the world almost every weekend of the year, this company has brought the military conditioning mentality to the public. It is not a race, it is a team building event that is run by former and current members of the US Army Special Forces. Each city event has two classes that start in the middle or the night and last 15-20 miles and between 8-10 hours.  The mandatory equipment is a GORUCK pack, bought or borrowed from the company as these events are really designed to be product testing of the packs. And based on body weight each person carry's three or four paver bricks in the pack for weight. 

I have an open weekend on 12/3 that I may try to fill at the last minute. There is a half marathon I have given a soft commitment to running in Las Vegas. Its actually a Sunday night (12/4) run on the strip. I have a few team mates from AZTRICLUB that are already committed. However on 12/3, there is a 5-8 hour adventure race only a couple miles from my house at Saguaro Lake called Desert Rage Adventure Race. I would rather do that event for many reasons. 

I am pretty excited to pack the next few months with these races and be able to add to this schedule as peer pressure and personal satisfaction demand like turkey trots, New Years races, maybe the odd super sprint triathlon. I'd really like to open up my season in the Spring and Summer for destination events where friends live, combining good friends and healthy racing. 

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live.