Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Fitness Events

In "Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap", I teach that the two central tenants needed to make progress are 1) planning and 2) maintaining a "No Excuses" mindset.

As we look towards the upcoming Holidays there are plenty of opportunities to become a "victim" when it comes to our diet and exercise and there are plenty of opportunities for excuses to become "king of the day".

With that in mind, here are a couple of great opportunities that you can craft into your Thanksgiving celebration. Both events are conducive to minimizing any "damage" you may inflict on your self from heavy food choices, both events assist charitable organizations, and both events should be loads of fun.

6th Annual Drumstick Dash -- Broadripple -- Thanksgiving Morning
Supports the Wheeler Mission Ministries

While I have not done this event, I've talked to some folks who ran it last year and it sounds like lots of fun and lots of people. I've preached for years that the best thing you can do the morning of a Holiday celebration is to get in a workout, especially cardio. So, here you go! I'm considering joining in the fun, though I have yet to sign up...

Thanks, Project Grad Carrie, for the suggestion.

4th Annual After The Turkey Yoga with Chris -- Cityoga -- 9am-11am -- Day after Thanksgiving. Cost = $20.

I am currently working out the final details on the charity that will benefit from this event and will keep you posted.

No better way to get back into the flow of your fitness than to join me for two hours of Power Yoga the day after Thanksgiving; sure is better for you than lying around on the couch all day.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eagle Creek Adventure


Where: Eagle Creek Park/Peace Through Yoga

When: November 9, 2008. 8:30am - 11:30'ish. If you do not want to participate in the hike/run, you are welcome to arrive around 10:00am to attend the 90 minute yoga session. Just be sure to let me know that is your intention; the fee will be the same either way.

Activities: Trail hike or trail run, yoga, some challenging surprises, and refreshments/social time.

Cost: $20 - note that there is a $5 park entry fee

Intensity Level: This event is for ALL LEVELS. As with all my classes and events, there will be plenty of options and modifications which will allow you to challenge your edges without forcing anything.

LOW CARBON FOOT-PRINT SPECIAL -- ride your bike to the event, arrive by alternative fuel or hybrid vehicle, or car pool with at least two other person and you save $5 each! Come on all you North-siders, hook up and ride together. You can do your thing for the environment and save a few bucks (both in gas and the event fee!)

What to Bring: You, workout attire appropriate for activities and weather conditions, yoga mat (if you have one, if not there are a limited number of mats at Peace Through Yoga), shoes that you don't mind getting dirty and/or muddy, No Excuses mindset

Refreshments: I will provide bottled water, hot beverages, and a few other refreshments. Please bring some sort of healthy post-event refreshment or snack to share with the group. This is a great opportunity to share your healthful snack ideas and maybe pick up a new recipe or two!

Sign Up: Please let me know if you plan to attend as this will assist me in planning and coordinating various aspects of the Adventure. Space is limited at Peace Through Yoga, so I will have to cap the event at 20 participants.

Please email me early to secure your spot -

This is a rain or shine event!

Not sure what one of my Adventures is all about? Click "HERE" to read the report from our last outing.

In Peace,

Monday, October 27, 2008

Running and Meditation

While I've been a consistent practitioner of meditation for several years and I've found a multitude of areas where meditation shows up in my other activities, such as on the yoga mat or during a strength and toning workout, today was an opportunity to experience meditation during an endurance run. You see, I've been away from endurance sports for a long time, so I haven't had the opportunity to apply the lessons and experiences of meditation in that particular realm.

Don't get me wrong, I know that my meditation practice has served me well during my runs. And I know that my meditation served me well at the recent half marathon, but that was different and I was running with nearly 6000 other people. At the half marathon, I used my mental training to remain calm, though I was late to the start line. I was also able to avoid getting caught up in the rush or desire to go out too fast with the mass of runners. When the thought to "pick up the pace" (ego) would poke it's head out, I'd quickly recognize it and get back to my rhythm.

Today, I ran my first 15 mile run (just over 15, in fact). That is farther than I've ever ran at one time. Heck, this time last year that was more than my weekly mileage! For the sake of keeping this post shorter, I'll skip some of the details. What I do want to share is my meditation observation. If you've never applied yourself to seated meditation, this won't make much sense; those of you who do sit will totally get it. At various points in my run I would notice a part of my body begin to squawk at me, such as a tightness in my shin. I would notice it and then just get back to my focal points. A short time later something else would beg for attention, such as a discomfort in my hip. Again, I would get back to my focal point and carry on. In the final 5 miles, I caught myself thinking about how I couldn't wait to get home and get in a warm shower, or thinking about what I might eat, or just thinking about being done. Once again, I would pull my concentration back to my focal points. It was a testimony to my practice and by remaining focused, I truly enjoyed the run, challenging as it was.

Again, those of you who sit can totally relate to what I'm talking about, it's exactly the experience of doing a seated meditation; the body complains, the mind wanders, the ego offers it's "play-by-play", you think about being done, and on the game goes.

I honestly don't know how people engage in endurance sports without a meditation practice (maybe they are mentally/physically tougher than I am?). But then again, I don't wear an iPod or similar distraction device when I run; I chose to run alone and I chose to run in more remote areas, such as out in the country or through the woods. I absolutely love the solitude that I find once I get outside of town and I love the meditative qualities that I find when I'm out there. Heck, once I got out of town today, I only saw a handful of cars; it was great!

Product Suggestion:
As I've stated on this blog, during my training I am using the exact dietary guidelines that I use in "Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap". The only exception has been the inclusion of carb gels which I use only on my runs which go 90+ minutes. And, on my long runs I'm also using Camelbak's "Elixir", or a similar product called "Nuun"; both these products are electrolyte replacement drink mixes. They are pretty cool, you plop one of the discs in your water bottle and it fizzes like an alka-seltzer. In a couple minutes you have a great drink that provides you all the electrolytes you need with zero calories. You can also put several of them in your hydration pack (follow the product instructions) and you are all set for a long run. I use these drinks and gels instead of Gatorade or similar products. Plus, bye-bye salt tablets! Yuck...

Product "Rejection" -- Yesterday, I couldn't find Power Gel or Gu at any of the local shops, so settled on "Hammer Gel", the only thing I could find locally. I hated it. Didn't like the taste, which I can usually get past poor taste, but this stuff was hard for me to stomach. It also made me feel like crap for the last few miles. After my last one (around mile 12), I thought I was gonna hurl the rest of the run and didn't feel better until about an hour after my run. Rookie mistake, lesson learned. Not saying it's a "bad" product; just saying it ain't for me.

Run Stats:
Distance - 15.12 miles
Time - Don't know. I stopped my watch at 1:45 when I refilled my water bottle and forgot to start it again. I'm guessing it was around 2:50.
Weather -- cold (around 35'ish), overcast, windy
Calories Burned - nearly 2300! Gotta love that
Number of other runners/cyclists I saw today - zero
Number of weird looks I got from people in cars - too many to count. I must look like a space man running so far out in the country, dressed the way I do; people look at me like "what the heck are you doin', boy?"

Lessons Learned: (just a couple to share)
  • I hate "Hammer Gel". Sorry to those of you who like this stuff. I'm sticking with "Power Gel" and "Gu". By the end of the run, the "Hammer Gel" made me feel like hurling.
  • I'm grateful to my meditation and all my meditation teachers
Thanks for reading.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Suggested Web Site

Being the rookie runner that I am, I just learned of a web site that has some pretty cool tools. It's called:

As I'm extending my training runs into the 15 mile+ range, I've been looking for new/different routes to check out. allows you to map out a run and see how far it is, or when you get home from a run, you can click on the route and see how far you went.

As any regular reader of this blog knows, I'm generally not interested in "how far" I run and I'm more focused on "how long" I run. Training for next months trail marathon has made "how far" a little more of a factor for my long runs and I've found to be a helpful tool. This web site eliminates the need to jump in your car and drive a route to see how far it might be; for me it's a "green" option that works for me.

At you can create an account and there are tons of other tools available, which I have yet to check out. Personally, I don't want to get too technical or too techno-weenie about my running. I'll continue to strike a balance between being a minimalist and an extremist in all facets of running... though those GPS/Heart Rate Monitor/Stopwatch seems pretty fetching...

If you are interested in running the Indy Mini in May, remember to get signed up soon, it always fills quickly; don't wait! According to their web site, they are already 50% full as of October, 24th. Thanks for the tip, Pam!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Month 2 Stand-Outs

While the Test Pilots completed their 12 week Project a few weeks ago, I wanted to begin sharing some of the feedback, testimonials, and much more, so that all of you can help celebrate the amazing progress and accomplishments that took place.

First up? Rob and Jen Johansen. I selected them as the "Month 2 Stand-Out Test Pilots". I intended to post this several weeks ago, yet just now found the image to go along with it: -)

During the second month of the Project, Rob and Jen were living in Scotland while Rob was performing in a show. I don't recall exactly how long they were gone, but it was in the neighborhood of 3 weeks.

While living in Scotland, Rob and Jen held true to the "No Excuses" motto of the Project: They took their workout bands, their yoga mats and Project Yoga CD, and they took their running shoes; everything they would need to stick to their workouts. In addition, once they arrived, they grocery shopped so they could stock up on what they would need for their diets. Perfect! I was so proud of Rob and Jen and how well they tested the Project "on the road".

Rob and Jen with their autographed copy of Dave Ramsey's, "Total Money Makeover", which they earned by being the "Month 2 Stand-Out Test Pilots". The book was donated by fellow Test Pilot Shawna.

At the final fitness test, both did exceptional in all areas that were tested and I think they were both pleased with their 12 week Project experience.

Here are a few highlights:
Jen -
reduced her systolic blood pressure by 14 points
lost 7 pounds
increased her hamstring flexibility by 1.5 inches (which is amazing since she was already practicing yoga on a consistent basis!)
lost a total of 11 inches, including 3 inches from her hips!
improved her push up test by 25%, performing 20 standard push ups in strict form!
completed 9 more sit ups
lowered her 1-mile run time by 6 seconds

lost 5.6 pounds from an already very lean body
improved his hamstring flexibility by 1 inch (he too, was already practicing yoga on a consistent basis!)
lost 7.75 inches, including 2.25 inches from his waist
cranked out an astounding 75 push ups, which was 15 more than he did at the initial test
completed 6 more sit ups
lowered his 1-mile run time by 8 seconds (he ran a 6:14 mile!)

Here are a few words from them:
"The Project was the greatest gift I could have given myself... I was fortunate to have my best friend, my husband Rob, right along side me as a fellow participant. I drew immeasurable strength from him throughout the 12 weeks, particularly when we were in Scotland!! But ultimately, I drew strength from myself. Strength I wasn’t sure I had (though I had my suspicions!!). I also drew strength from other Test Pilots, knowing they were out there fighting through the tough spots, just like me...

What I wanted from this experience was a sense of empowerment and to bring more mindfulness to my life and my health. Awareness, planning, commitment to Self, compassion for Self; I have a strong sense of these things now and they are the vital ingredients for making change in my life...

...the workouts were AMAZING and I’m already looking forward to cycling through them again!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for a tremendous experience… and for helping me take 3 inches off my hips!!" -- Jen

"I entered the Project in decent physical shape. I make my living as an actor and feel it is very important to keep my body at a high level of fitness so I am ready for any physical challenge I might have on stage...

... I needed to shake up my workout routine, which had become stagnant. I needed to increase my awareness of nutritional values in food and my specific nutritional needs. I desired to lose three pounds which had "crept" around my body (I am in my early forties and have recognized the age shift in my body...albeit subtle).

Chris shook up my workouts like never before. I have lifted weights, run, done aerobic workouts on every machine created. I have run half marathons in under 90 minutes, but the combination of strength and endurance that Chris has created in his workouts has been the most intense physical test I have known, along with the most rewarding.

On Chris' program, my strength increased, my need for recovery time decreased and my running time got much faster. Normally before running a half marathon, I would need to take a few days off before the race, and then at least three days off after. During this program I ran four half marathons and never needed to skip a workout to recover. The biggest gain from this program is amazing endurance and recovery.

Nutritionally I have tried to be mindful and make smart choices with each meal and snack. But with Chris' help, paying attention to my true caloric intake really opened my eyes to where I was eating to much and where I needed to boost my intake. The best thing about the nutritional aspect of the Project is educating yourself about true hunger and emotional hunger. I have a much better understanding of when my body truly needs fuel and when I am desiring food because of an emotional state I am in.

Lastly, I lost seven pounds doing this project! Pretty good, considering my goal was to lose three.

This Project is wonderful because you don't go it alone. Chris is a wonderful guide and provides you with many tools for your body, mind and heart. And doing it in a group (and in my case, with my wife) made it easier to stick to it." -- Rob
"Just wanted to send a shout out to Rob and Jen Johansen, and to you, for your completion of The Indianapolis Half Marathon!

Rob spotted me being a supportive spectator on the course. Unfortunately, I didn't see you or Jen, but I was sending god thoughts your way. Congratulations on a job well done!!

Pam Liston"

Pam also sent me a touching email with the subject line - "Half Marathon/Full Effort". She also shared - "When I used to run half marathons, I would dedicate a mile to someone special in my I found it helped me pass the time as well as give me motivation to continue to the next mile!" How awesome is that?

Thanks, Pam "the Blam"!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hey Gang, I know I just put up a "teaser" a couple days ago, but I'm gonna do it again tonight. There are some pretty cool things I have in the works:
  • Eagle Creek Adventure -- November 9th
  • Some Changes to my teaching and training schedule
  • Next round of the Project application process begins soon
  • Costa Rica Yoga/Project Retreat November 2009 (I know, I was gonna do that this year. Yet, it looks like 2009 is a "go")
  • And oh-so-much more...
Check back tomorrow and again over the weekend for more details.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tonight, after yoga, I had a chance to chat with Rob and Jen Johansen about the half marathon we all did last Saturday. Rob is so cool, since he knew he couldn't attend class tonight, he did my yoga CD this morning and then stopped by the studio after rehearsal so we could talk about last weekends run. Talk about living the "No Excuses" motto of the Project! Jen was able to attend class and it was great to help her workout some of the kinks from the run.

I really enjoyed sharing stories with them and to hear of our similar experiences and kind of re-live the vibe/energy from the day. Though it really struck me, and I commented to Jen, that while I enjoyed the run, I have some even longer runs ahead of me. I've already turned an eye towards the upcoming weeks. I have a 15 mile run planned, an 18 miler and a 20 miler slated in the upcoming weeks. Plus I have several hours of trail running, my weekly strength and toning workout and my personal yoga and meditation practice to attend to. So, while I've enjoyed every aspect of the half marathon and reflecting on the training and the race, I'm on to the marathon training and just being present with what that brings.

Much like we learn in the Project, it's great to reflect on our past challenges and progress, it's great to have a plan in place, yet is grand to enjoy the moment by moment experiences in between.

Thanks for joining us tonight, Rob! And thanks for Project Grads Shawna and Kari for coming to class tonight. It was awesome to have you in the mix!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Next Adventure... Mark your calendar


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 84 -- The Finish Line

Edit Note: If you read this prior to Sunday evening, I've made an edit to this post, regarding my finishing time. Thanks!
First, I gotta take a moment to once again thank all of you for your kind thoughts and words of encouragement and support. There have been too many for me to thank individually, but I wanted to take a moment to say "thanks"; it means a lot!

Second, I want to offer a huuuuge thanks to Jody and Christian -- without the two of you and your support and understanding there is no way I could have completed the run. Jody has encouraged me to follow this running thing as far as I want to go. Christian has been a great training partner on all the runs we did together. Thanks, Crew!

Finally, I wanna thank my Dad for showing up at the race. What a surprise! Mom wanted to be there, but was feeling under the weather and stayed home to recover. I think my Dad was at every bike race I did back in the day, he came to just about every game through school, and come to most of our high school golf matches. He's always been there and it was great to have him there yesterday. You are never to old to feel proud to have your Dad come and watch to participate.

As for the event:

Getting out the door on time didn't happen, we left about 15 minutes later than I would have liked. Yet, considering the situation, we didn't do too bad. While I left a cushion of time to arrive early, the traffic was crazy. We rolled into the parking lot about 15 minutes before the race was to begin. I wasn't stressing about it, I just figured that my race started when I crossed the start line, even if everyone else was already gone. Big deal. So, "no excuses" and "no worries" were the motto of the day.

Of course, I had to hit the porta-john before the start and the line was huge, even though the race was starting in a matter of minutes. So, obviously I wasn't the only one late to the start. The National Anthem was played and the starters pistol was fired before I finally finished up business. No worries...

Here I am in line for the porta-john. Only reason I wanted to share this pic is because fellow "ProMotion" employee, Jess Leeman is also standing in line. She's in the grey sweatshirt, just to my right. Small world that we saw each other.

I made my way to the start corral and made my way to the rear of the group. As I made my way into the back 1/4 of the field, the mass began to move nearer the start line. Off we went. My game plan was to run just below my edge, at my endurance pace, which is normally around an 11:00-12:00 per mile pace. The first 3 miles were all around 10:00 per mile, but I felt great. Man, there were people running around me that were gasping and breathing hard, as if the finish line were within sight. I'm not sure if they did the whole race like that or what. Or, did they even finish?

Christian and I just before the start. Yup, still in line for the porta-john...

The way the route was laid out, I got to see Jody, Christian and Dad at the 1.5 mile mark and the 5 mile mark, which was really cool and I got to have a couple laughs along the way as well.

The first 7 miles were pretty uneventful, in many ways. I just ran my race, ran within myself, yet took in all that was around me as I really wanted to take in the wholeness of the experience. Around mile 8, I saw Rob Johansen. He was nearing the mile 12 marker and had just left the hilly section of the course. He looked great, relaxed and in rhythm, so I knew he was doing well. By my watch, I guessed he was going to finish in just over 90 minutes. Turns out, he came in under 95 minutes! Awesome.

At different points in the run, I observed all types of people running for all types of reasons. They were running with all types of form and all types of mindsets. Personally, I am more introspective; I don't like to talk while I run or carry on a conversation. I don't mind running with others, I just don't want to talk while doing it. There were people running with their iPods, rocking out and singing. One woman was running with another lady and she was rambling on like she had ADD, carrying on a monologue for the entire 1/2 mile that I ran near them. I ran near another couple for a mile or so, they were obviously married. They were having a conversation that a couple might have while driving down the road or around the kitchen table. "So, did you ever get the bill from your doctors visit?" She asked. "Yeah, it came a couple weeks ago", he said. No kidding, this is what they were talking about! She says, "oh, okay, well, have you started paying on it yet?" His response was "nah, not yet..." After that I tuned them out.
At one point a runner next to me popped out an ear bud and asked if I was doing the "whole" or the "half", which was a redundant question because you could tell by the color of your number which race you were doing. She was just looking to start a conversation. I was polite and spoke to her for a while and asked her some questions. Long story short, after a 1/4 mile or so, I slowed my pace more and more and she popped her ear bud back in and moved up ahead of me. As we entered the aid station, I ran past her and kept going : -) Not being rude, I just didn't want to chit chat.

While I was out running, Jody, Dad, and Christian found plenty to do. Here Dad is hanging out with Christian, wearing both their hats...

Probably the most challenging part of the course was through Ft. Ben Park, it was also the most beautiful and scenic. The couple-mile loop went down a couple rolling hills, around a small lake, and then climbed back up out of the park. Things really didn't level off again until the 12 mile mark. It wasn't too bad, as I had prepared by running hills the last couple months and my training route was actually more hilly than the race.

Through most of the run I was around a a 10:00 - 10:30 per mile pace. And while I felt great, as though I could pick it up, I thought I should conserve as I had not ran beyond 10 miles in my training. My intention was to finish around 2:30 - 2:40. The rookie thing would have been to run hard early and then bonk with 3 miles to go. So, I ran just below my edge into the unknown (anything beyond 10 miles was unknown for me).

I stopped to take a picture with my phone, which I then texted to Jody and Dad. I thought they would get a kick out of it. Turns out, they did. Ha!

Once I reached mile 12, the excitement finally kicked in, as I knew the finish was near. I reflected on the training leading up to the event. I reflected on the Project and all the Graduates. I reflected on why I was even running. I reflected on everything and nothing.

The home stretch!
Coming across the finish line, I felt very emotional, a surge of joy, relief, love and more; it was a great release and I can only recall feeling like that on a couple other occasions, all of which occurred at the end of big fitness challenges. One occasion was in boot camp, when I crossed the finish line of the 1.5 mile run final fitness test and it was under the required time for graduation. Prior to the final test, I had never finished under the required time, so I was pretty stressed about getting held back from graduation. With enough practice, a full-on effort, and the support of my fellow recruits, I made it and was overjoyed and overcome with emotion. Hitting the finish line yesterday felt a lot like that.
My "official" finishing time was 2:20:08. Not bad for a first-timer, 40 year old, non-runner : -)
"Team Roche" after the run.

While I do not yet know the full extent of what's up with this whole running thing, I do know that I've gained some insight -- aside from the obvious aspects such as discipline, commitment, and balance; for me, endurance running is about personal discovery, self knowledge, and inner exploration. It's also a method to help move through self-sabotage, letting go of false self-held beliefs and other personal challenges. And it's about cultivating an ever deepening experience, understanding, and relationship with God. It's that simple. It's that complex. Oh, I also learned that it IS possible to blog every day for 84 consecutive days!

I'm very interested and excited to continue exploring the endurance aspect of "me" and discovering where "me" begins and "me" ends, and I know that this endeavor is one vehicle to help learn where that "edge" may lie.

All smiles after the run.

Today I feel great, only a minor amount of tenderness in a couple leg muscles. I feel content and I feel pleased to have accomplished my vision of doing a half marathon using only the Project Principles and Project Diet. This part of the Project test has come to a close.

So, what's next? The Tecumseh Trail Marathon on December 6th. For this event, I have no intention or "goal" other than to finish and I intend on doing it using only the Project Principles and Diet.

Depending on how Tecumseh goes, I'll let you know what's really up my sleeve...!

Thanks for reading, thanks for visiting my blog, and thanks for putting up with me focusing on "me" over the last 84 days, at least a little more than usual.

After today, it's back to the Project and all of you. Hard to believe that I kept up on the blog for 84 days. It's gonna seem weird not to post every day, though I do have plenty of blog material on standby, so I'm sure I'll still post several times each week.

In Peace,


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 83 -- The Finish Line... almost

Where to begin....

It was awesome. That pretty much sums it up. I will share a post-event field report tomorrow. Sorry to keep you hanging, if you were hoping for a report tonight. I have some pictures to post and a few things I wanted to pull together before sharing my report.

One of the highlights was seeing Rob Johansen out on the course. Oh, of course it was during one of the "out and back" sections and he was nearing mile 12, and I was somewhere around mile 8 : -) Though I didn't get to see Jen, his amazing wife and fellow Project Grad. I think she was somewhere up ahead of me and we never connected. Other than that, it was just fantastic; beautiful weather, family support, lots of support from all of you, felt great, finished strong (though not fast!), and lots more that I'll share tomorrow.

One thing that I realized this evening -- there are only 7 week til the Tecumseh Trail Marathon!!!! Holy Moly I've got some training to do!!!!

Check back tomorrow.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 82

Today was not exactly the pre-race day recovery that I had intended. Most of the day was spent in the car, on the go, and then off to the East side for race packet pickup; ran a couple errands and landed home around 7. Whew. Oh well, that's how it goes some times. I'm just rolling with it and looking forward to tomorrow.

Over the past few days I've been reflecting on what this running thing is really all about. One the one hand it's putting the Project Principles and Diet to the test of helping an average Joe runner like myself, complete a half marathon. On the other hand, it has personal meaning and has served as a discipline. Last weekend, I also decided it was "The race for the brownies!" My mom had made brownies during our visit and they were oh-so-good, but I didn't want to blow my diet, so I only had a couple small bites. I commented, "now that's what I want after next weeks run!" Thus it became "The race for the brownies!" Tonight, Jody baked a big 'ol pan of fresh brownies to bring to the run. The truth is, I know that as of tonight, I don't fully know what this running thing is all about. It may be reveled tomorrow, maybe it won't. But I do know that by following it long enough, and being patient, open and receptive, eventually I will know.

Thanks for reading -- some of you reading the past 82 posts! I'll let you know how things go. Best of luck to everyone running tomorrow, and to those of you running your own personal race. Oh, and best of luck to everyone doing the Hilly Hundred this weekend.

p.s. -- thanks for the additional emails and text messages today! It's been a huge motivation for me. You guys rock!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 81

Hey Gang,

Just over 24 hours until the start of the half marathon. While I will miss all of you that normally attend my Saturday morning Power Yoga class, I'll be thinking of you. On that note, I want to thank those of you who have offered your support over the past weeks and those that have offered their encouragement this past week. Here are a few samples of the emails I've received and comments on the Project blog:

"Dear Coach Chris - BEST OF LUCK this weekend - may the wind be always at your back, and the feet fleet and fast. Attack those hills!


Enjoy the visit with the family! I will be thinking of you and sending thoughts of encouragement your way on Saturday from the first rest stop of the Hilly where I will be working.



Enjoy the family time. Mother Nature will be waiting patiently for you on your next run! May she be kind to you Saturday.

In Peace,


Have fun on Saturday!
When I used to run half marathons, I would dedicate a mile to someone special in my I found it helped me pass the time as well as give me motivation to continue to the next mile!



Hi Chris,

I wanted to give you some encouragement for your race this Saturday. In 1979, I decided I was going to run the mini marathon. I had been jogging a little over a year by the time the race was rolling around. My longest run prior to the race was 10.5 miles, which I would do once a week around eagle Creek, otherwise I ran 5-6 days/week. Well, the gist is, if I could do that, you will surely do just fine this saturday.oh....I also weighed about 25 pounds more then, and I smoked 2 packs of cigs a day (give or take a few)! As a matter of fact as soon as I finished the race, I enjoyed a smoke.HA! I never had a desire to run it again, mind you, but I did it, as you will too! Have fun.
ps...I averaged a little over 8 minute miles.


Hi Chris!

First off I wanted to wish you the best of luck in your Marathon this weekend. I will be sending positive thoughts your way! I will look forward to hearing /reading about your experience.



Thanks guys! It sure mean a lot. Those of you who have been reading the Project blog from the beginning, know that I am doing the half marathon both for personal reasons and as a test of the Project Principles and diet. While I'm testing it more for the "middle of the pack" runner, Project Graduate Rob Johansen will be testing it from up front. While Rob has stated that he has no time goal or expectations on his race, and that he is doing it purely for fun, I know that he will be putting himself and the Project to the test as well.

I'll have a little more to post tomorrow and then a post-race report for Saturday. Oh, and I'll have some pics to share as well. After that, no more blogging for a year!!! Okay, maybe I'll just cut back a little.

In Peace,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 80

Eighty Days! Keeping up with the blog every day for eighty straight days has been amazing. I know some of you can understand the point of blogging every day, and you can also relate to the effort that goes into it; you know how challenging it can be just to post once per week! I mean, it's not like I don't have plenty of other irons in the fire : -) But I gotta tell you, this effort, this discipline has been transformational for me. I'll share more on that once I've finished the half marathon on Saturday and I've crossed blogging finish line as well. To offer my insights at this point would be akin to throwing my arms up in triumph at mile 10 rather than at the 13.1 mile finish line.

While I do have loads of great stuff coming up in the next few days and weeks, such as announcing the Project's "biggest loser" and some stats from all the Project Grads, tonight, I'm going to once again direct you to Matt's blog ( It's a longer post and he shares an article of great interest and relevance to the Project, so I would really encourage you to check it out. By the way, Matt was able to do his final fitness assessment today and put up some fantastic numbers that I can't wait to share. Keep the great posts coming, Project Grads!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 79

Today kicked off with a little black coffee to clear the cobwebs from my head and get the mojo flowin'. In short order, I was out the door of my parents home and running down the road. As much as I wanted to stay home and enjoy breakfast and visit with everyone as they were waking up, it would have ended up being an excuse for skipping my workout. Instead, I went for a run, and it was great. I felt great during the run, I felt great after the run, and I still feel great. I've never regretted doing a workout, but I sure have regretted bailing on workouts; today was no exception.

Keeping it short tonight, and I should have some fun blog stuff coming later this week. Until then, check out Project Grad Loretta's post from today! Great stuff Loretta, you have come so far. I don't think many can appreciate how far you have come, but after working with you over the last year or so, I truly know what you have accomplished and how much you have grown. You are living the Project Principles and it shows. Proud of you!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 78

Great day of visiting with family. Quick observation -- Dad broke out the old slide show tonight. I was amazed at how slim and trim everyone was back in those days; not just my family, but even the people in the background. Rarely was there a picture of someone overweight. No one was much into fitness back in those days, so to me it was all about diet, diet, diet, and lifestyle.

I've said for years that when it comes to maintaining one's ideal body weight/body fat, at least 80% of it comes back to one's diet and daily activities. Exercise is only 20% or less of the equation.

At any rate, I couldn't get over how thin everyone was back in the 60's and 70's; I must have commented on it a dozen time.

Looking forward to tomorrow morning's early run and more time with the family.


p.s. -- check out Project Graduate, Matt Fallin's blog. Awesome testimony and some great pics. Way to go Matt! You actually made me a little misty eyed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 77

Today was my last long run before next Saturday's Indy Half Marathon. I was able to fit in all my long runs over the past 12 weeks with the exception of 2 (83%, not as high as my ego would have liked, but it'll have to do). While I wish I could report that today's run went great, that wasn't the case. It was actually the second hardest run that I've done, the hardest came several weeks ago when the temps hit the 90's as I ran in the heat of the day. Today, the heat got the best of me once again. I departed for my run as the temps began to climb into the upper 70's, and peaked in the low 80's. The route I chose has several rolling hills along with a 2-3 mile stretch of false-flat, so it wasn't an easy run by any means.

My pace to the half way point felt pretty solid, though I could feel the heat beginning to take it's toll. Within a couple miles I was forced to incorporate a couple walking segments to avoid hurling. Playing it as smart as I could, I power walked a couple of the hills and ran in the shade when I could find it. I also continued to pour water into my hat, and then douse it on my head, in an attempt to dissipate some heat. While I was all helpful, I just couldn't stay cool enough to allow a running effort the whole way. No excuses! Believe me, walking was not an excuse, it was either that or suffer from heat exhaustion. The early signs were there: chills, stomach cramps, slight dizziness, etc., so I decided that today was no time to be a hero; check the ego at the door and walk as needed.

So, today's run was my longest thus far - 1 hour 59 minutes. I'm praying for cooler weather on race day!

I'll be blogging over the next couple days, don't want to break my streak, though we are leaving tonight for Vincennes. Going home to visit family and to spend some quality time with our new Grand-Daughter, Karis.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 76

Hey Gang,

Rather than another post this evening, I'd invite you to check out the post from yesterday. It was a longer one, which you may have skipped over; please check it out.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 75

Often among yoga practitioners here in the West, there is an erroneous belief that becoming extraordinarily flexible in yoga postures is an objective or goal of the practice. First off, I have to point out that there are very few yogis in the West, strictly speaking. A true yogi is one who has forsaken the comforts of home, job, family, and all which brings attachment, comfort, and security. A true yogi is a renunciate who has dedicated their life to the spiritual path, meditation, devotions, and the like. Sound like anyone you know? Me neither. If anything, we are "householders" who integrate some of the best of what yoga has to offer, such as the postures and how they lend towards ones overall health, fitness, and well being. Second, I would also point out that we should hold no expectations on our yoga practice and certainly should not have particular "goals" we are striving towards. That is counter to the whole notion of yoga.

Now, back to my point. Extraordinary flexibility is not and should not be a goal or intention in ones practice. In my view, it's better to work towards ones ideal level of flexibility. In other words, it depends on your lifestyle, the kind of work you perform, the activities in which you engage, and how much flexibility you really need in order to live a healthy, pain-free life.

Let me give you an example, in fact, it's what got me thinking deeper about this topic in the first place. Recently, I was doing a trail run. If you have never done a trail run, and I mean an actual trail, not a nicely groomed path through the woods, then you should know that the terrain is constantly undulating. The footing is often uneven and you find that you have to negotiate tree roots, rocks, holes, and occasionally these obstacles are hidden by leaves or similar debris.

While on my trail run, there were a couple of instances where my footing was rather uneven and a time or two where my foot landed on a small, hidden root. As a result, my ankles would roll, at least slightly. This is where the insight appeared. If I were hyper-flexible, my ankle would have potentially rolled too much causing injury, a fall, and who knows what else. Essentially, a hyper-mobile joint is an unstable joint. An unstable joint is not something you want during a trail run. On the other hand, were my ankle structure too rigid, this could have resulted in serious damage to ligaments, tendon, or other connective tissue; commonly known as a "sprained", or "strained" ankle. So, a joint that lacks appropriate range of motion is not conducive to trail running either. As it were, my ankle rolled just enough, allowing me to navigate the root and continue on my way.

In the back of my mind I kept waiting for pain and swelling to set in or something like that. As it were, I realized that my training has delivered me just the right amount of joint mobility and stability to engage in the activities I love, and to do them at the level I enjoy. To me this was exciting insight. If you have been reading this blog from the onset, you know that a big point of what I'm doing here is testing the Project principles and how they translate into my running endeavors. So, you be the judge.

In my view, it's about finding the right degree of mobility for you, your life, the activities you engage in, and the life you live. If your lack of joint mobility restricts you in some fashion, then you have work to do on your yoga mat. Or, if you have joints that are too slack, you have some work to do in the gym to enhance your stability.

Finally, I'd like you to consider the fact that along with the health benefits of doing yoga postures, yoga poses are also oriented towards getting you to feel something. They are designed to create sensation within your body, to create an experience in which you are learning to relate. How you respond to these sensations and experiences is a major aspect of yoga posture training, and it reflects the conditioning of your mind. Thus, it isn't about becoming super-flexible, it's about feeling.

Thank you for reading. Here's to you finding just the right amount of tightness for yourself.

In Peace,

Yoga Announcements

Just a couple "heads up" regarding my Saturday yoga sessions at Cityoga and the Brian Kest class coming to Cityoga.

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 11:
The current group of Cityoga Teacher Training Students will be joining us. They are expecting 20 students to attend. Over the past several weeks, I have already had between 25-30 of my regular students in attendance. So, there is a potential for a really big class tomorrow. I love big classes, so I envision tomorrow to be a sweaty-good-time. Just letting you know so you can arrive a little earlier than usual to find a parking spot and a spot for your mat.

Saturday, October 18:
My yoga buddy Patrick Kinsman will be subbing for me as I will be running the Indianapolis Half Marathon out at Ft. Ben. Please join Patrick for a great session and keep your practice strong. I'll be back to my regular schedule on Tuesday, October 21.

Brian Kest at Cityoga:
Thursday, October 23, Brian Kest is presenting a class at Cityoga. I attended last year and enjoyed his lecture and asana practice. There is a chance I may attend, depending on some logistics. Either way, I recommend hitting his class. Go to the Cityoga web site for details: To learn more about Brian, you can check out his web site:

If you are

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 74

Happy 21st Birthday, Chelsy Elizabeth!
Every year you make me feel older : -)
I'm proud of you.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 73

I haven't written much on the subject of Yoga Asana (posture) as of late. As mentioned in a previous blog post, part of that is because my primary focus is currently training for the upcoming runs that I will be doing and the Project as a whole. And part of it is because for me, there is really no separation or distinction between "running" and "yoga". When you bring the same level of mindfulness and intention to either art/discipline, they are the same.

Rather than listening to me wax on about this subject, how about hopping over to Project Graduate Shawna's blog for her first hand account and insight? It's spot on and inspiring. Good job Shawna!



By the way, have you looked at the count down ticker for the Indy Half Marathon lately? That blue line is getting mighty loooooong. Yikes!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 72

"If you wanna make God laugh, show Him your plan."

The above quote has been around for years, and oooooh how true it is. I planned to do a long run today. I planned to share some Project news with you today. I planned to.... So what's wrong with the previous 2 1/2 sentences (aside from any grammar flubs)? Clearly it's the "I". When "I" plans, there is only a small fraction of potential that whatever it is that "I" planned will actually happen. In the human perception, "small" is still pretty "large" yet in Cosmic, God-sized perception it's smaller than the head of a pin small. Following me?

When "I" planned the run and "I" planned to share the Project news, "I" did it without prayer, without consulting God (as much as I understand how to do this, it's not like I have a fancy red phone to call Him), and "I" did it purly out of "I-ness" or ego. As a result, none of what "I" planned came to fruition today. Though some amazing things did occur in their place.

Sometimes "I" remember to pray about these sorts of things and listen/feel for guidance, sometimes "I" forget. "I" know when "I" remember, and "I" know when "I" forget, it is unmistakable in how different things turn out and how things flow when "I" do. The key is to be proactive, to be engaged in your life and to create a plan for your day, your week, your month, your year, your life, yet be sure to include God in the process, be prayerful in the process and be mindful. At least "I" find that to be the optimal approach. But then again, what do "I" know?

Peace Out,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 71

One thing I can promise you about the Project Diet -- the longer you follow the plan, consistently rating at 90% or better (one of the Project Dietary Principles is rating your daily food intake based on a 0%-100% scale) not only will you feel better, perform better, discover your ideal body weight, you will also become much more sensitive to proper food choices versus poor food choices. Case in point: Over the past 71 Days of my current Project endeavor, I have only had two alcoholic beverages, a beer a few weeks ago, and one Saturday night. Both times, I felt like total crap afterwards.

On Saturday, I also indulged a little with some pasta (which I normally avoid white flour pasta), some corn chips, and two cup cakes (more white flour). Saturday night I had a horrible nights sleep, with a stomach that was not happy and a head that was spinning (from one beer!). I awoke on Sunday with a food and single-beer hangover. My head hurt, my stomach was still out of whack, my face felt puffy and my eyes felt like marshmallows.

This evening I finally feel "back to normal", and I can assure you, it will be a looooong time before I indulge like that again, I'm thinking maybe Thanksgiving. Though by then, I may change my mind and just stick with what I know works for me without the horrible side effects.

So, eating proper is a love/hate thing, I suppose. You feel better, perform better, look better, yet even a little transgression on your diet has big reprocussions. To me, it's totally worth it!

Long run tomorrow, wish me luck.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day 70

There's something interesting, or perhaps seemingly special about hitting the 10 day marks with the blog; hitting Day 10, Day 20, Day 30... Today is Day 70. 70 straight days of blog posts. I've been thinking alot about the commitment I made to blog each day until the half marathon and what it might be like once the race gets here and I no longer post each day. The race, by the way is "13" days from today. Another 13! If you have been a long-time reader of my blog(s), you might remember this quote from my other blog, dated 7/19/08:

"I just finished my online registration for the 13th Annual Indianapolis Half-Marathon. There are several motivating factors for me to sign up, some of which are very personal. I would say the greatest motivator (aside from the Johansen's smack talkin') was that I felt it was the perfect opportunity to put my "Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap" to the test and to show that my Project is an excellent vehicle for all aspects of ones health, fitness, and well-being, including a half marathon. Plus, it's the "13" thing. While I'm not into "numerology", "13" has long been a special number for me -- Christian's birthday is June "13", I have a "13" tattoo, it's the "13th" annual race, the race is "13" weeks from today, and the distance is "13" miles.. you get the idea. How could I not sign up??? "

I hope you have enjoyed the posts thus far, though they have lacked some substance the past week or so (or all of them, depending on your opinion). My "stat counter" shows that I'm getting several hits per day (some days nearly 100!), in fact over the past 70 days I've had the highest daily average of visits since I began blogging a couple years ago. So, apparently some of you are visiting each day or at least weekly. I appreciate the interest and support. Feel free to be more than an observer and leave your comments and share your thoughts, insights, opinions, etc. You all are a quiet bunch.

Spent the day in Nashville, Indiana with several of my family members, a couple of whom I only see every few years. A great day, but I'm spent and ready for a good nights sleep.

Now that I've had a week to devote to household and personal responsibilities, this week it's "back to work". So, expect some Project Graduate stories and more!


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 69

Two weeks from today (Saturday) until the half marathon!

Not much to blog about today, been doing lots of household chores this past week, lots of stuff I put on hold over the last 3 months of the Project: painted the mini barn, prepping and staining the fence, putting up new shutters, all sorts of manual labor chores. I've made my best effort to bring my mindfulness and prayer to each task; sometimes doing well, sometimes not so well. Yet, that is the way the Game goes.

If you have not already done so, check out the video from last nights post and be sure to visit the Project Graduates blogs, offer them support and encouragement as well -- won't you?


Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 68

Amazing run today. Found a trail in a local park that I didn't know about; it's about 2 miles from my home. Though the actual trail is only around 1 mile in length, there are many off-shoots that people have made and it appears you could spend a fair amount of time back in the woods. So, I'm looking forward to exploring that as I prepare for the trail marathon.

I was going to offer some commentary on a blog post from recent Project Graduate, Matt Fallin. Here is the link to his post: Rather than comment today, I decided to share a video. Unfortunately, I cannot embed the video here, it was disabled on YouTube. So, please go here and check it out: It's 20 minutes long, but I think it's worth the time.

I think this video offers a great deal of insight and answers Matt's question of, "Where is everybody?" Plus, as I've delved deeper into endurance running, I find it to be a very spiritual experience. While my spiritual beliefs and religion is different from the monks portrayed in the video, I think there is much to be learned from anyone who is testing the limits of their endurance, and ultimately getting closer to the end of themselves.

I remember seeing a news report on the "Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei" around 10 years ago, when I was still into endurance cycling, and I was blown away. Watch the video and you will see why.

As I venture further to my own limits and nearer the end of "me", I feel closer to God. While I intend to explore my own running edge, I don't think I will start carrying a rope and dagger with me, as the monks do. Again, watch the video and you will see what I mean.

Hope this helps.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 67

Tomorrow is another run day and I'm really looking forward to it. With my primary goal of completing each event using only the Principles of the Project, and no time goal in mind, I'm able to run "fear-free". I have zero pressure, zero expectations, and zero concerns in my training. Why? Well, for one, with no time goal, I don't have to live up to some external measure of how "good" or how "bad" I performed. I wouldn't be racing for first place, so what would be the point of "racing"? More importantly, I am so confident in my Project Principles that I fully trust that by following these Principles and listening to the wisdom of my body, I know that these Principles will deliver me to the finish line of each event. I'm not worried. It's when you start putting expectations on your running that things quickly fall apart; it loses it's innocence and essence. Now, I've got nothing against competing, if that's your thing, it's just that I've been-there-done-that, and it's not my thing; I'm in it for the discipline, the training, the fun, the spiritual training, and the health, fitness and well-being that comes from running.

Check back tomorrow for a little commentary from me; it's sure to ruffle some feathers.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 66

The Results Are In.... Almost.

I have a couple folks who were not able to attend the final fitness testing on Sunday, once we get them tested, all the results will be in. In the meantime, I'll begin to share bits and pieces of the results from this amazing group of Project Graduates. Look for more pictures, stories, and testimonials coming soon.


Crankin' out the push ups! One of the before and after fitness tests was the dreaded push-up test (though I personally love this test). In the foreground is the ultra-fit Rob Johansen who set the bar super-high with an amazing 75 push ups! So, what's with the water bottles on everyones mat? I call it, "The Water Bottle of Truth" -- you place a water bottle, on it's side, in-line with your heart. In order for the push up to "count" you have to touch your sternum to the bottle. Talk about keeping you honest! Give it a try. Nice posture, Jeanie! (seated in the background)