Monday, February 20, 2012

My last post

Hello everyone! I have been missing for some time from the blogosphere. I have had some changes at work and have also been focusing vast amount of time getting my martial arts school up and running. For that reason, I decided to create a new blog about balancing working multiple jobs and wanting to race. My new blog can be found at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Real World Application of Triathlon Training

High volume with the addition of speed work, tempo work, and bricks are the core of most triathlon program. Personally, I also spend a good deal of time, especially during my first season setting up transition and running through the costume changes I need to make. Once I had the hang of it I integrated it into every brick workout that I do.

Yesterday I was able to use these skills in a less than typical manner for the average triathlete. As a member SWAT I maintain proficiency with pistol, shotgun, and the M4 assault rifle. Yesterday was my monthly training day and the afternoon portion of the training was with the M4. We did a standard qualification course shooting 50 rounds into a silhouette from a variety of distances and positions. I scored 100% as did over 3/4ths of my team mates.  

After this was completed we went on to another drill. For this drill we would be firing at a paper plate from fifty meters. A paper plate is usually used to practice keeping tight grouping or to simulate taking head shots. The distance adds even more difficulty to it. To add to the difficultly we were told that we would not be allowed to shoot until we returned from a 1/2 mile run, up a hilly gravel road and back. This is called a stress course. The purpose was to change our breathing and fatigue level similar to having to shoot when you are involved in a building entry or other line of duty incident. As some one who tracks escapees, it not improbable to have to take a shot after running through the woods after someone.

Everyone on the team became nervously anxious. This changes things. I drank the cool aid at first and was nervous too. I made a comment about I would be happy if I hit one. Then, just before the whistle sounded I thought about it. I need to run and then shoot; how is this any different from running my bike in and then sliding on shoes, visor, Garmin, and race number belt? With the exception of one involving a high power lethal weapon with a high capacity magazine they are basically the same. They both employee the use of fine motor skills while exhausted. With that realization I decided to just think of it like transition, focus and control my breathing.

I was in the last group to go. Prior to my group 48 others had shot and the high score was 12 out of 15. using my triathlon focus I shot a new high score of 14 out of 15. Making me happy to out shoot the hunters and the military vets in the group (who weren't as happy about it). These group have more experience than I, yet fundamental shooting and knowing how to manage stress turned out to be more valuable. Making it even better was the mocking the ensued. I never said a word about my score, the cadre pointed out to some of the more loud mouthed members of the team (you know those guys in every group) that they were out shot by the team medic!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Weeks 2, 3, 4, and 5 of fitness revisions.

I know I fell off a few months ago and its been worse over the month, with one post. It's been tough for the last few weeks but the lack of availability to blog is for the best (so it seems).

A month ago my job changed a little and I it has reduced my stress. New boss, less paperwork. With this change came a change of hours. I know work second shift two days a week- getting home so late has been annoying but I have time to swim in the mornings without having to get up extra early. On top of these work changes I now have been running my own martial arts studio. I have class two days a week in the afternoons, making two more late nights a week.

I am now on the go formally from 8 am until after 9 pm everyday. I am still spending Saturday mornings teaching karate for the non-profit. I spend Sundays, and the hour between bed and when I get home on Tuesdays and Thursdays doing freelance web design. I started with traditional html and css but have learned to do some very cool things in CSS. I have even now officially made money doing it. I got my first check in the mail. I also go duped out of a $500 job I did for someone else.

Staying so busy has led to mixed results with my diet, but I have hit EVERY workout- two per day with Sundays Off (and Thursdays soon)

Week 2 was a fail. I had the new boss, new work schedule and new stress that led me to living on fast food.

Week 3- Success. Good food choices all around.

Week 4 was another fail. This week was busy with PERT (SWAT) and we never pick anywhere healthy to eat when working,

Week 5 was by best success to date. Sunday morning I spent a few hour cooking and boxed lunches and snacks for the week. Eggbeaters for breakfast, boiled egg whites for am snack, grilled chicken and asparagus for lunch, and kale and steak for a pm snack.

In terms of fitness I have been following crossfit endurance strength and running training. In order to get my swim time improved I was advised to work on only 25m intervals. I have seen some improvement getting my 25m time to 24s now to hold that speed over 50m and then to hold it over 100m and so on. I have also increased my core strength, my bench press to 225, and my dead lift to 250.

I have been tracking various metrics with my body and have had interesting results. My weight has come down a few pounds since I started but is close to what it was at the end of the my tri season. Still need to lose about 20 pounds to my goal. On the other hand, I have lost about 2+ inches on my waist and about 2 percent body fat, and have more visible abs. To me these are interesting results.

As a last note I have a question for parents. My martial arts studio started out slow and has gotten worse. I went from two students to one student. The only student in my children's class is an autistic adult. This has lead to me paying the rent mostly out of my own pocket. I have been stepping up my marketing but am trying to get very focused. Parents: If I want to get ads to you about the classes we offer what is the best way?

Secondly: to get the kids to class I have to get parent's interested. What is the best "goal" to advertise- fitness, self defense, bully proofing, fun, discipline, character, or something else?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week One of diet and fitness revisions

Paleo Eating: The first week was a week of questions. I now am unsure of the difference in paleo and primal. Avoiding grains did not seem too hard, but I have eaten my weight in almonds.  During the work week I cheated twice, one time I needed something to carry me through Karate class so I ate a handful of multi-grain cheerios and another time I ate some as a late-night snack. I tried to add more veggies in to the diet and  found a few I added may not be part of the Paleo scheme- green beans and snap peas. At the start of the week I was 3 pounds over my shame weight and by the end of the first day I dropped 7 pounds, presumably just shedding the junk in my system, the next day I dropped another two and then I dropped small increments the rest of the week. Due to things going on for the weekend, I took an 80-20 aproach to the diet and ate free for the weekend. By the end of the weekend I put 3 pounds back on.

Crossfit Endurance: This has been the most interesting. Tuesday I started with my first official CF strength workout. It was tough, but not too hard. I am weak, but not too weak. After the first workout (with a total of 45 dead lifts with 150lbs plus other stuff) I tried the endurance WOD- a run. FAIL. The program calls for putting 3 hours between workouts but I didn't have the time. I quickly understood the requirement. The next day I was so sore I could barely walk. I couldn't bear a swim so I just did the strength workout. The next morning I couldn't walk or lift my arms and doing pull ups as I normally do when I pass my closet was out of the question. I ended up doing the strength workout Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Friday I couldn't move. I invite the new pain, pain from strength training. Saturday I rested and Sunday I got in my first endurance workout. I did a ten mile tt on the bike. I completed it in 23:22- A NEW PR!! I am very proud.

Life- My Kayak is sold and I am one step closer to my independence. I plan to start round two in the attic this week and am slowly but surely learning about running my own business, despite a hiccup  (or possibly two) last week.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's been up

Knowing I have 30 minutes at work and knowing that I have hours of work in the que that needs to be done I have decided to write a post because I am feeling withdrawn lately.
Over the last four months or so my posts went from content back to status checks and then dropped off. I have had a lot going on but I miss the encouragement of my peers and well as reading about other's life. This is a great way to have relationships for an introvert and I value them highly, more than some of you inspire me more than you will ever realize.

In May I started my 31 day freelance experiment. It has had decent results and led me have some "real work" and became a third job on top of my job at the prison and my Saturday morning job teaching karate for the non-profit at a rec center.

My web design freelancing has led to me updating some skills, but I am not where I want to be yet. I figured I would advertise some online and if I got enough bites to cover my cost of living I would just do this. It has not worked out quite that way. I got no referrals from online advertisement, in order to build word of mouth I offered a doctor friend of mine to build a site for free (pretty much free). It was something he had been shopping for anyway and I did not know it. This turned in to a chore as he didn't really know what he wanted and once we got going going he kept making revision after revision. He would sign off on a version as being good and as soon as I would make the changes he would change his mind and want something different. I have a contract I did not use with him since he is a friend, but it only allows for two revisions for most projects. Once we finally got it live he got a letter from another company's lawyer and as he did not trademark on his name, we had to redo a good bit of the site. Now its live again. I did this for the price of 2 hosting contracts and domain names before I thought it was going to be as complicated.

I also got a referral from a friend, they wanted a very basic store front site and a rush over a weekend, I completed the site and then got stiffed for $500 after dedicating over 20 hours over two days to it including logos, image editing, two revisions, and a bite more. The good new is there is a supposed referral from a different friend for an interior designer who wants a site. She has a budget between $250 and $300 so I should be able to do a simple site for her. I also realized web marketing is not how to get things done in my area and have started a targeted direct mail campaign to a some local businesses. I have abandoned the idea of living off this for the time being and any profits it nets I will put toward savings.

If you couldn't tell from a previous posts I am going through internal turmoil in terms of figuring out what I want to do. I put days and days of thought into not just finding a career I might enjoy, but following my dream business instead. A dream I can track on paper since at least 2004 is opening up my own martial arts school. I drew a very grand layout with my drafting board back then. It was my original intention when I move west (in NC) to live with my wife, but my agreement with the location did not pan out. I tried another option and realized I knew nothing about business and went back to work for the man.

Over the summer I became a lot more active pursuing this goal. I have written my first business plan with the help of SCORE (Thanks P!) and sought rental space. Unfortunately, the resources are not together to get my own space and the people who for years said they would back me- backed out, despite pushing me for two years because how good the numbers look.

I still wanted to purse this goal so went on the prowl again for existing dance studios and gymnastic gym's to see if any would sublet. I found one that would. She was very interested in adding martial arts to create a mutually beneficial relationship, she already had children's dance, Zumba, and yoga. This seemed great despite some other things....

I attended her open house and had 10 kids sign up. I held the first class on 09/01/11 and had ONE of those kids show up, this gave me a total of three students including my little sister-in-law and developmentally disabled adult who showed up at the wrong time. I was running a promotion for August that if you signed up you got reduced tuition and no registration, I learned the benefit of a registration fee. My bet is if there was a registration fee, parents would either not sign up unless they were serious and would come if they paid.

I have ordered some cards, placed an ad in a school directory, and have done a few other marketing things. With my two paid students I have not yet to make enough for my rent but I am still hopeful for the remainder of the month.

In order to fund the dream, as well as raise enough money to devote myself to this full time, I started a fundraising effort. For the first phase I found everything in my attic I was willing to sell. I put books on Amazon and everything else on ebay. What didn't sell after two rounds on ebay went to a yard sale. The total gave me about $600, and once I get my kayak sold I will gross about $1,000 to $1,100. However, I have used some of that to pay for business overhead (marketing, Thesis theme, misc. office stuff). Now that I have some momentum I am going to go through the attic again next week and see if there is anything else I can part with. Once I am out of stuff I can sell (or that CB will let me sell, because if it were up to me i'd sell everything in the house) I have another fundraiser scheme. Also, anything I make from web design will go directly to my saving for this purpose.

Hopefully, if I will find the right marketing recipe for my budget and my numbers will take care of the rest. I have long felt that part of the inability to monetize in martial arts is to lack of advertisement and with an increase in budget I hope to take care of that.

Unfortunately with four jobs seven days a week, training and diet fell off. I had planned to take a free week after my last race but it turned to three weeks.

Over that time I have eaten more fast food than I can care to recall and put on 11 extra pounds. After reading a few article I decided to try 6 weeks on the paleo/primal kick and see if it renders any results. I have read about it several times over the past two years and always thought it was NUTS. However, I read a few articles in the past two weeks about the connection between those eating habit with heavy lifting for lean results. They intrigued me and I thought it to be worth a shot. I have been on it since Monday and realized that other than kicking out grains and trying to find non-processed meats, it isn't that different from the low carb diet I originally used to lose weight. Two days of clean eating left me feeling great and seven pounds of junk/water weight shed.

Feeling better got me back in the gym. I eluded a few weeks ago to trying a new training method for the off season. I started today what I meant to start three weeks ago- Crossfit Endurance. When they changed their format a few month back I started making a spreadsheet of all of the the workouts for the 12 week program. so that I could start it once I was ready. After putting hours and hours toward long rides and runs during my training season I am looking forward to using shorter, harder workouts. However, I do plan to work in periodic long workouts just to keep a base. If it makes me faster or have more power- great! If not, I will enjoy shorter workouts and it will keep me active.  SEEMS win-win.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Creative Help Needed

Again using this medium as a springboard for figuring out life-

I need help giving my newest clsss a names. At this time I am calling it RUN.JUMP.KICK.

The class is a children's fitness class with a karate base. Think boot camp meets Aerobic Kickboxing. Push ups, sit ups, and a lot of bag and pad work. No traditional lining up and punching from horse stance.

If someone supplies a name I like better there may be a prize.
Thank you everyone for the help.