Starting-more like a continuum

Around the middle of July my journey back to running distance began anew with my fiancé in Palos Park Trail system in Illinois. Wolf Rd Woods’ Orange Trail.

It has been literally over a decade since I’ve run distances longer than two miles. A quick question for you out there. How many have gotten really hurt or injured while running? I’d wager to say over 50% of the population has experienced a big running injury since starting but have gotten back into it one way or another.

Well a bit of a flash back and history. I used to run pretty much every day, race, and have on occasion been a bandit runner on a marathon or 10k.

I enjoyed it very much, but it was cut short by an avid cyclist at the lakeshore running trail in Chicago’s famous lakefront trail. I coached many new, and advanced runners for short to long distance races.

This beauty of late summer season run happened to be a short (lol) nine miler. Well on our loop back I happened to be their rabbit since it was a fast finish run. The trail happened to be under construction at that time so there was a shared bike/pedestrian section by The Theater by the lake. Fullerton point is what most chicagoans refer to it as.

I see it like it was just yesterday when this happened. I was speeding up since my spidy senses were tingling in a slight incline. Why I felt like there was something wrong I didn’t know but I started to run much faster than expected. Hugging a fence blocking the far right side of the trail that was under construction. No sooner than I had started to speed up that I felt a jarring hot sensation on my right hip/leg that I was shot up and forward from the impact of the cyclist that was going so fast he slid another six feet from my landing position

The impact was hard, and I landed bent knees and bent over. I tried to stand upright. Well I did try to no avail. The cyclist and his buddy came by and began to yell at me accusing me of cutting in front of them. Well, what I didn’t mention was when I started to feel something was wrong around fifty feet from my location in front of me two ladies in bikinis walked across the trail and I began to have the hair in the back of my neck stand on end. Sixth sense kinda stuff.

My runners arrived at the same time the cyclists were yelling at me and accusing me of causing the accident. Well, my runners were quick to point out that they were goose necking at the ‘girls with bikinis’ that they didn’t see me at all when one impacted me going mighty fast. So fast the handlebars of the perp‘s bike was twisted to the other direction at the time of impact.

They fled the scene before I or my runners could take any of their information down. I ended up walking back to our starting location which was over 1.25 miles away. That same week on the same path just a mile away two more runners were hit by cyclists, both incurring head injuries. Never a good thing trying to dodge bikes, pedestrians, roller blades and other runners while people really have no care for others and just do what they want as if they owned he path(s) they’re on. Selfish.

The injury didn’t seem that big of a deal since I had run a 5k race with it but the pain kept getting more and more excruciating. After a Dr. appointment, and subsequent MRI it showed that I incurred a fracture and spent almost a year in PT, and chiro care for quite some time learning to squat, and walk properly. On an MRI it didn’t look to be that big but the crush injury caused nerve problems also. Happy me for sure.

Since that time I’ve not run on that path ever again, and have only returned there to ruck it but not run it.

Getting my running legs back has been a mental game to say the least, but having been a habitual runner to not running more than a mile for any time at all with pain on and off has made it a big mental game.

So I’ve spent plenty of years getting my body stronger, with shorter runs not longer than two miles, and biting at the bit wanting more but pulling back when this nerve pain kicks in. It comes and goes when it does show up uninvited.

Roll forward to the present day, and my new running adventure. I’ve started training runners once more, and loving it. Imparting knowledge and the love I have for it. In doing so I’ve started running longer and feeling my legs take me to distances I had forgotten I used to run. It feels so good.

So, if you’re out there contemplating coming back after an injury, do yourself a favor and learn a technique to run, and strength train! It is a life saver. If it wasn’t for my strength training while I was in my running prime I’d have been screwed for sure. Although it took this long to get back to distance running I can tell you it is well worth it.

Hope to see you out on the trails people.

Yours,

G

Chicago Veterans Ruck March 5/24/19

There are times where you feel anxious, or butterflies prior to an event that you’re participating in that will make your preparation for such an event either fruitful or regrettable. I’m happy to state that my butterflies were there, but not so much as a nervousness due me questioning whether or not I have trained properly, and am I wearing the right equipment for this event.

The morning started at Chicago’s Union Station for our ride to the start line which was at Henry Kalk Park, Glenco, IL. Just getting off the train and the registration/ check in tables are 100 yds away. Well, one good thing deserves another right? Well, the morning of the event it had been forecasted to be gloomy, rainy, and cool. What we did get was very rainy, lighting, and thunder.

While getting off the train, it opened up on us. Yes, it just kept on coming, and not a shelter in sight except for the volunteers, and food areas. With standing water, mud, and a bit of a wind we just had to come to terms that we were going to be uncomfortable sooner than later.

Everyone involved had a great attitude towards the situation fully knowing that being uncomfortable was par for the course so we all took it in stride. Heck, once the colors were presented, our national anthem sung, and a speech given it was time to ruck and roll. A 20 mile ruck with weights of your choosing is what makes this event all encompassing. We’ve had children, and adults with their school bags and gym shoes , and the elderly with nothing on their backs. You get this done the best possible way you can in the time you can.

Our team of five had a two females, and three males. Each wearing a ruck or backpack that suited their ability to accomplish the goal of 20miles. We had no illusions of trying to keep up with the ROTC HS / College kids. Nope, my ego was checked when I registered. With that being said we did pass many people on the route who were much younger than us and finished much sooner also.

Typically due to improper footwear I’d lost nails the last two years, and no I’m not posting pics of them although I did take pics of my feet. This year I wore the shoes I’ve been training in for over six months I’ve broken them in, so they’re so comfy and wide. I’ve worn many brands of shoes for training, and have found them to be very solid, zero drop, wide toed, and look odd. I dig them. They’re the Altra Superiors 3.0, but the link will give you the 4.0’s. I’m gonna grab them next for my trail half marathon in October.

Selene, she wore the Altra Lone Peak 3.5. Solid shoes, and man do they make a difference. Not having any foot issues is a big deal in such an event as this, and we’re two happy people because of it. They did not break down with 50lb on my back, and that’s not including water, food, or extra gear.

We rucked through beautiful neighborhoods, and walking past the Baha’i House of Worship It’s a beautiful building outside, but you’re gonna drop your jaw when you go inside.

Our lunch stop area (designated) in Evanston, IL we had a chance to do foot care. Change socks, check for blisters and such items to be taken care of. Someone decided to get a little warmer by using a garbage bag to get warm.

Well fed by our volunteers, we donned our gear and headed out. Warm? Not really, still a lake breeze keeping the temperature at 55F/13C all the time. The wind at times was nasty, until we were on Sheridan Rd, by Rogers Park until way past Loyola University. Once we got to Hollywood beach, game on for windy, cooler, and a little sunny. By that I mean that it was brighter and no rain. Rucking on the lakefront path is always a treat except when the idiot bike riders think their higher level of riding a bike fast is greater importance than the pedestrians they barely miss hitting. Dickweeds!

Once we passed the uptown area, past Montrose harbor, and cricket hill the Rucker’s were very spread out, and you could tell everyone was determined to make it. No matter what. Blisters, and body aches be damned! Supporting each other whether or not we knew each other is of more importance than being a lone wolf in this event. Words of affirmation is one thing, but get words of encouragement from strangers really lights their, and my fire. That’s why I keep coming back, to give back.

Once passed the Nearing The totem pole we were stopped and greeted by a bud of of Weber’s whom he had served with and started to give us beer. Heck, I was thrilled and thirsty so I of course enjoyed a can, and carried another just in case I felt thirsty sooner than later. Actually I felt good after that, I had just taken my CrankSport eGel. So, my carb load went up and I felt goooood!

Once we made it to our last obstacle, which happened to be a bridge to cross over Lake Shore Drive at North Avenue Beach, we were feeling it for sure! My legs ached pretty bad, but we were determined to either hobble or crawl to the finish!

Selene took a video of struggle but we were laughing at our level of discomfort. Old geezers doing work! 😂

One the funniest things that happened was when we were resting waiting for others to finish and hydrating with my beer of course I started to get cold. So I said I’m going to put on another shirt to warm up. While trying to put in over my head I couldn’t lift my arms and got stuck. As if on cue Weber, and Selene began to laugh hard at my demise but wouldn’t help. My inability to don a shirt was due to the crush line injury on my traps by the ruck. So, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

They laughed so hard they couldn’t reach their cameras to take a pic. Good thing.

As far as equipment this year as last events went here is the load out.

My faithful ruck from GoRuck in the GR1 has been such a sturdy piece of well made equipment that has been dragged, thrown, swung, smashed, soaked, and in all weather conditions to boot. It’s tough I tell you. Very much so, that hauling this ruck for prolonged period of time (7+ hours) it does not lose its shape. Shoulder pads are very well padded, and my suck factor was well reduced as I lugged 50lb for 20 miles that day.

It may sound like a product review, but not my intent. It’s a statement of fact to instill in anyone starting out in any endeavor such as this to go out and try out many rucks, and read plenty of reviews. One purchase, no regrets, and plenty of time had working out with or using it as a EDC bag.

I hope to have more participants next year to join us, maybe it’s you?

See you then,

Magister Nosce

Planning and executing

I’ve spent the past two weeks prepping, doodling, writing, and finalizing a 12 week running program. Of course it’s nothing too detailed since it’s going to be presented as an outline for the participants at the gym for those that want a goal race after the 12 wk program runs its course

The focus of the program is really how to teach/instruct clients on the basics of running technique. I teach clients to improve their hip strength, hamstring pull, and make less noise while running. This is not a Big deal for veteran runners unless they themselves have some chronic pain, or need to improve their running technique where I am asked to assess/evaluate then proceed to have them work on re-learning how to move with one skill at a time.

Getting outside and running is a great release for many involved, and stress relief if you’re not training for a coming race is something they look forward to. There are times when a direct correlation of following a plan reduces the stress involved as to what distance, or focus points one should cover is not something they have to worry about. They just follow the plan, execute the drill and are non to displeased to find themselves running better and finding that there is enjoyment to be had.

What do you look forward to when you train, whether it be in the gym, or outdoors? Is it the physical aspect of doing something, or a mental release that you actually look forward to when you participate in such endeavours?

Go out, find what makes you happy while being in the moment to find release in the physical realm, or a mental check. Emotionally, I believe both the psyche and physical exertion work on releasing such toxicity at times that I look forward to the iron game and really let out my anger, or sadness during and intess bout of lifting/CF.

While running, I entertain my past running career. Racing both in road/trail races and how they both are similar in a small way and differ greatly depending on distance and location of course. Who can beat a trail race with great scenery? While running along the Chicago lakefront really is a fantastic treat as long as you’re not being run down by the idiot bike riders!

Go out, train, have fun both in the box or outdoors.

My Prio shoes.  Excellent zero drop shoes I've run with, and have even grabbed for my HIIT/CF WOD's

See you soon,

G

The nap must go on

Upon waking every morning I find it so hard to go back to bed once I’m up and out of the warmth of the ever pulling comfort of a warm mattress. Tell me again how staying in bed longer once you’re awake make one more relaxed?

I really can’t find a way to really nap at all during the day even when I feel drained. However I did find out the hard way when after a very long, hot and difficult workout one early frosty morning (I did say HOT) that we sweat so much running up a hill, dragging a rucksack bear crawling up the same hill and other pretty cool and nauseating exercises for 45 min that I can safely say that I sat down, and stripped my clothes off then proceeded to shower to get the cold mud off my body that I felt my body unwind and it actually felt very relaxed.

Recalling how once out of the shower knowing I had nothing scheduled for the remainder of the day that I sat on the couch and turned on the tube. Used it for white noise while working to program a clients workout for the month/cycle to make sure they get what they pay for. I began opening the spreadsheet, opened my Notes app and began to plan, scribble, and talk to myself (don’t judge). Talking out loud the program I began to yawn, and in that tune I actually went to heat up water for my coffee press.

My java in hand, hot and smelling so good I turned off my tv and turned on Spotify. Began to listen to Andrea Bocelli. Yes! I can finish my planning, and finalize this cycle and begin to outline a new cycle for others. Placed my java on the floor after finishing one cup that I felt so warm, calm, and yet focused that I was startled that an hour had gone by and was alarmed to find I had napped for such a long time An actual hour! The reason I know it was an hour was the time stamp on my spreadsheet when I had saved it.

It felt good. Heck, I felt very energized and more alert than with just the java. I have taken naps before, but I do believe that just grinding and not recuperating is not really a healthy thing to do either. Take small breaks, close your eyes, meditate, pray, hum, listen to yourself breathing and begin to familiarize yourself just being still if you are not able to sleep/nap.

It will help, and who knows. A coffee press, and a laptop do come in handy with Andrea in the background. Just sayin’.

Til next time

G

Park WOD & Vet Ruck March

We began a Friday morning Ruck March for 800m headed to Rehm park located in Oak Park, IL. Weights on the rucks are going up per week to increase the training effect for us while getting the body ready for our annual Ruck March.

The Chicago Veterans Ruck March is a great event that runs from a northern suburb of Chicago – Glenco, IL. Following this route we have the Lake Michigan on or left during the March all the way south bound until we reach our destination in Chicago 20 miles away at North Ave beach.

Twenty miles rucking on beautiful tree lined streets, lakefront to our east, sunshine (*cough) most of the time, breezy (*cough – at times) cool air, and fantastic people all around the neighborhoods we travel through providing moral, and logistical support.

Veterans, and active members of the military participate along with ROTC students from both HS, and universities. Gold star families, families of military personnel, and civilians that support the cause. We’re united to stop Military suicide from 20 suicides a day to zero. Not a short term goal, but a long term goal and vision.

We’d love to have you join us as we take on the Ruck March for the third year participating on this wonderful, and emotional day. Veterans must seek the help of other veterans, and support staff to make looking or asking for help not a stigma or as seen weak in any matter, shape, or form.

If you know someone who needs help, or you’re the one reading this and truly need help please reach out! There are thousands of people that can help. Truly there are people that want to listen, and assist you.

Here is a page full of helpful links to assist you.

Chicago Vets Partners

Our Team page if you would like to support us

Team RuFF

#dol #sua #semperfi

Hope to see you guys soon!

Catching up

Man oh man. Update of events begin with having to deal with my dog having stress induced allergies. Yes, vet stated it however I believe it’s the breed. He’s a bully and a great dog to begin with.

They’re more prone to skin allergies than other breeds. That is what the vet stated also. He was stressed for a bit due to change in venues for his humans.

Along with the change comes along interior design updates for our new digs. Since we’re lacking in a pantry we’ve made adjustments to our interior also. Giving us options not readily thought of from having more closet / storage space before.

Having more to do means being busy indoors as well as outdoors since I’ve managed to pick up more classes to teach at the gym http://www.CrossfitSpero.com.

There were and will continue to be mornings that just brighten my heart so much and I must give God the glory for his beautiful gift. It’s such a spectacular view that is always inspiring regardless of the place I find myself in.

Frosty closed field

Well today the weather man had forecasted warmer temps. However it’s meant to be warmer later in the day more like close to 12 hours after we got up to do our workout.

So, we lugged our rucks and a sandbag(sb) to our destination 1/2 a mile away. Our warmup was mostly indoors and plain old mobility for what was to happen at the field.

We lugged our gear over to the field and began our WOD on a frosted field. One person decided to wear shorts this morning with temps at 34F/1.11C. I am not keen on putting my bare knee on icy ground and neither was he so lunges were hovered above ground for him but not for the rest.

Breathing began to be a tad labored and thereafter we cleaned and tossed sb for distance covering the area we just lunge walked with sb. Now it’s getting a little interesting since i couldn’t find my light sweater for the WOD, and began with my puffy since the temp was lower leaving the house I thought it’d be ok to do the WOD with it.

Ummm, Nope! I was overheating on the lunge walk, and good thing I wore my Icebreaker’s long sleeve wool shirt and it was just fine. The only draw back is that it didn’t help me breathe better. I’m fighting a small sinus infection and chest congestion, but the sinuses began to drain really good so I’m breathing better now as I write this.

Every once in a while when programming in my minds eye I see the workout(s) line of progression from beginning to end, and view the logistics and transitions. They look great on paper and I say to myself ‘this one is gonna be okay’. Not too bad unless your in the mix doing it.

After the clean and toss it’s time for the trusted bear crawl sb drag. Yes! Your flexors and shoulders will totally LOVE ❤️ you! Trust me. Then it’s off to the 8-count body builders and it shows that many people love just diving down and flopping all over the place to do the burpee. Well with the body builder you have to really slow it down to use proper form on the push up. Strength and endurance kids. It pays off.

Once you think it can not get slower (meaning your momentum) we do step ups with sb, and then lay down for leg levers.

All of the work is completed wearing the rucksack except the leg levers where you hold your ruck in front of you with arms fully extended in a supine position bringing both legs to touch ruck with feet or shins while keeping legs straight for the entire rep to count. As you can imagine – it HURTS! Feel da burrrnnn!

Add insult to it we then moved to hanging knee to chest while wearing ruck. 😂. Yes, it’s intentional. The suffering that is.

Then as a happy go lucky sweaty, out of breath group we tucked the half mile back to the box where we just plopped down and warmed down. More like laid on the floor and called it stretching.

Hope you’ll join us soon.

We meet and warm up at CF Spero

Insta- https://instagram.com/rucknfieldfitness?r=nametag