Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Going Through the Motions... Rise and Grind

It happens to all of us.  Sometimes we're aware of it and sometimes we're not (suppress).  At some point, we all fell victim to Athletic Atrophy and begin just going through the motions.

If we're honest, sometimes it rears its ugly head in unlikely places.
For instance, right now I'm getting up at 4:55am, just enough time to throw on clothes, grab my shoes, and be at the gym by 5:30am.  So... I'm working out at 5:30am.  AND being lazy.

5:30am anything, let alone a workout, doesn't usually coincide with laziness, BUT IT CAN.

See, I've been getting up, pushing myself to not "accidentally" turn the alarm off, getting up, and getting my butt to the gym, even with a spouse, 2 kids, and a full-time job that sometimes keeps late hours... but once I would get there, I was just... there.
I did my reps, sure, but this form of laziness wasn't about reps, no,

This form of laziness was about pacing instead of pushing

I was focused on doing what was required, at best, and doing what "I could" (at worst) in order to complete the day.  I didn't want to burn out so I'd pace myself, I didn't want to not be able to finish my reps so I'd drop weight, I didn't want to have to break sets so I'd walk between stations, I didn't want to "be caught" off my game so I'd start a second or 2 late and   

This morning was the breaking point.

We had a workout outside in the gorgeous East Tennessee weather and it was a dozen station circuit, 60 seconds on the station, 12 seconds to get to the next station and be ready to go.  I didn't know how many circuits we were going to do, I didn't know how I'd fatigue at each different movement, and my legs were already destroyed from 2 heavy leg days in a row, so I paced myself.  Understand, if you haven't figured this out already, that when I say "pace" I just mean "went stupid slow at 50% exertion like a punk".  

As we lined back up at our first stations to hit the circuit again it hit me.  

My own voice.  

But Not the voice of "Levi" that I'd been using in my self-talk, not me in a class, me having someone be my trainer for the first time since my last coach 15 years ago, not me who was doing someone else's workout that I didn't have to program.... but I (finally) heard the voice of "Coach Dodd"

I heard me, my coach voice, my trainer voice, my "hell week" voice, yelling at dozens and dozens and dozens of athletes over the last 10 years.  
I saw my Coach self looking at me on those previous circuit stations I had just completed with disgust and pity.  
I could hear my coach self yelling at this shell I had allowed myself to become this morning:

"Make it worth it!"  

"You got up this morning and showed up and this is what you're going to give me?!" 

"You aren't cheating me, you're only cheating yourself, and if you're just going to cheat yourself quit now and go take up something more your speed, like checkers"

"Suck it up buttercup!"

"Why are you hear?  You better have a reason other than me - you better have a reason for YOU or you're just wasting out time"

"Dig deep!"

"Don't quit!"

"Use Every second, work Every rep, run Through every line"

"Last 5!"

"Who are you going to be Today?"

"Come on, let's go, grind!"

"One.  More.  Rep."

Take back your workouts, take back your runs, take back that squat rack, take back your time.  Let us all stop wasting away while we're lying to ourselves about putting in work.  Just because we get up earlier, or do more work, and sweat more than the other person, or even if we workout more than 80% of the "friends" on all our social media lists - hear me now - Who Cares.  
That's not a question.  

It's a statement that you know the answer to.  Being better than that guy/girl, doing more than your coworkers, putting in more effort than your instagram followers who don't workout... So what.  Your competing against yourself.  You're racing yourself.  You're fighting yourself.

So even if I outpace someone next to me, even if someone else caught a glimpse of something that they thought was impressive, if it's not my best effort, if it's not my max ability, if it doesn't bring about failure from exhaustion, than... 
what did I get up for?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spartan Cruise!

So, as blogged about a few months back 
The 1st ever Spartan Cruise has happened!

Take the world's fittest, most adventure seeking people, put them on a gorgeous all inclusive cruise ship, and send them to  a private Spartan course in the Bahamas... It's bound to be unbelievable!

So if you missed out on it this year, head on over to scroll through all the amazing pictures (Spartan athletes on an enormous cruise ship in international waters quickly turns into a Spider-Man stunt show!) and vote for your favorite ones!  

Not only do the top 3 photos with the most votes win a free race entry, if you're #1 favorite pic is the same one that I chose then YOU win a free 2015 Spartan Race entry to any race in the continental USA!  Simply click on your favorite picture, copy the tinyURL, and email it to me (or post to comments)!

Then head on over to and start finding a race! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

5 weeks into those New Year's Resolutions... 4 steps to keep yourself on track!

This is where the rubber meets the road, both figuratively and literally in this case.  It's 5 weeks past that day where everyone decides, with 20 minutes left before the ball drops, that they are going to eat better, spend less time on social media, stop drinking sodas, workout 4 days a week, read the entire Bible in a year, and run 1,000 miles in 2015.
Statistically speaking, if you've made it this far, you have decent chances at continuing.
Statistically speaking if you make it to April 1st you have a better than decent chance at continuing.
Statistically speaking, you've already quit.  4 weeks ago.
So, what do we do?  How do we avoid this:

First:  You Have to have a support system.  If you're trying to eat right and your spouse is eating a box of Hot Light KrispyKreme donuts, you're going to fail (seriously - just ask my wife ;)
My brother likes to work out.  I like to workout.  At the box gym at my church I would go "fairly regular".  At the gym that he went to on his own, he would go "fairly regular".  I recently moved about 20 minutes closer to him and for the first time in our lives we are able to workout together.  So now, guess what?  We don't miss.  Okay, "hardly ever miss".  We both have 2 kids and we meet at the gym at 5:30am so occasionally we do still have 
But it's considerably less often than if we were trying to do this on our own.

Second:  Set goals.  And "yeah, you're right, I should totally increase my squat some this year" doesn't work.  Pretty much ever.  write your goals down.  Than make your goals measurable ("To increase my backsquat 15% by December 31"), and if you can, share your goals with someone else.  Or, a lot of someone else's.  

Third:  Make your goals difficult while still being attainable.  If your current squat is 110# (bruh) than setting a goal of 450 isn't "difficult but attainable".  Everyone is different.  Everyone will experience gains differently.  Gains will come at different paces based on how long you've been lifting and how good your form already is (ie if you're brand new to lifting and your form sucks, than working out 4 days a week while getting good form down will yield huge increases where as someone who has been lifting steadily for 3 years and already has optimal form will experience much more incremental gains).  Think 15%-33% to start off.  "Know thyself"

Fourth:  Make yourself accountable to your goals.  Back when I turned 30 (I have an early year birthday) I wrote down 30 goals.  Called them my "30 for 30" goals and then I shared them, at the beginning of the year, on facebook.  

So, at that point I had written goals, I had measurable goals, I had attainable goals, and I had broadcast them so people would expect to hear how I did (good or bad).

If you've already quit, start again today!  Put these 4 steps in motion and let's do this!  AROO!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spartan Up 2015!

Alright folks, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and an excellent New Year!
Unlike a lot of people, I recommend people take some time off at the holidays (or another time you choose) to relax, spend time with family and friends, enjoy food and drink and late nights that you might not normally, and take a refresher.  Then, when you come back after the break, you're reinvigorated, your love for the sport is rekindled, and you're ready to go!  Well, now is that time - so, let's start it off right:  Spartan Up!

Spartan race has been my favorite series and one that I want to continue.  I usually go through what I call the typical Rule of 3's after completing a Spartan Beast:
3 Seconds after finishing:     OMG!  I did it!  Yeah!  I'm a BEAST!  AROO!

3 Minutes after finishing:     That's the worst thing Ive ever done, why don't I have better friends who would have told me what a stupid idea this was!

3 Hours after finishing:         I am NEVER doing this again.  Ever.

3 Days after finishing:           Zomg... DOMS!

3 Weeks after Finishing:        meh, that wasn't so bad... Matter of fact, I'd say that was the Best. Race. Ever.  I just signed up for the next race - who's with me!?"

Now, what's exciting about this next year about Spartan is that they're doing All new medals (don't lie... you know you're a medal whore), Lots of new locations, and (FINALLY) doing new race distance specific t-shirts!  I'm sorry, but the jerk side of me was always bothered by the fact that the guy who did the 3 1/2 mile sprint in the nice 80 degree weather had the exact same finisher shirt as the guys who did a 15 mile Beast in 32 degrees!  Oh, new medals, new locations, new T-Shirts, AND over half a million bucks in prize money.  You know... if you're into that sort of thing... ;)

Additionally, they've added some really cool new things recently that you should check out:
1.  Spartan Race has rolled out their Annual Pass which allows you to attend Unlimited Spartan Races in the USA (all 50 states), VIP access to all races, annual Global Rescue Membership, Free bag checks for your flights, and lots of travel discounts (including Enterprise, Uber,, Wyndom Hotel Group)

2. I'm really excited about Joe's new Spartan Up Podcast.  While there are a ton of Podcasts out there, what's sets this one apart is not only do we get Joe, but the interviews are truly awesome (Richard Branson, Ran, Fiennes, and Mimi Anderson just to name a few)

3.   Food of the Day (in addition to workout of the day)

4.   Spartan Magazine

5.  And finally... Spartan has decided to really set themselves apart here....
     In March of this year they're rolling out the first ever Spartan Cruise.
     Yes.  You read that right.  Spartan.  Cruise.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Topo Athletic Sante Gym / Crossfit shoe Review

If you’ve never heard of Topo Athletic, don’t feel bad, I hadn’t either, but you probably know more about what they believe than you think!  See, Topo athletic’s founder and CEO is TonyPost (TOny POst = ToPo) and Tony was the president and CEO of Vibram USA for 11 years – specifically the 11 years of the FiveFingers. 
After Vibram, Tony set up his own dream company of Topo and continued his passion for healthy, minimalist shoes built for athletes. 

Today I have the opportunity to review the 2014/2015 ISPO Award God Winning shoe: 


The Sante is a Gym rat shoe specifically catered to the Crossfit style athlete.  The Sante, first and foremost is a Zero drop shoe (you all know how I feel about that!).  Bravo Topo.

The Sante is built low to the ground (14mm total stack height) to give you a nice solid feel through your lifts and they did a great job providing a flat surface for excellent stability in the bottom while giving it Excellent flexibility (and not just in the front third).

One of the first things you’ll notice about this shoe (it was the first thing I saw) was the crazy knob-looking-thingie (that’s the Latin name for it) on the side.  This is the BOA micro adjuster.  What this thing does is eliminates traditional shoe laces and allows you to turn the knob to tighten your shoes (or simply press it in to release the tension and loosen them).  My first reaction to hearing about this cool new idea was “yep… I’ll break that in a week”.  However, I was somewhat relieved when the box arrived with a Lifetime unconditional guarantee on the BOA system (still, a guarantee isn’t worth much if you have to use it over and over).  I’m pleased to say, after using these shoes for a few months, the BOA system not only held up perfectly, it’s probably my favorite part about this shoe. 

Let me explain:
Not having laces to come untied is pretty awesome and the ability to tighten it precisely in very tiny increments is a big bonus.  It doesn’t create tension spots and instead tightens up uniformly throughout.  My favorite thing about the system is how quickly and easily you can tighten and loosen – so I can leave them loose for the running portion of a WOD and then reach down and in ½ a second, with one hand, have cinch them down for deadlifts.

The second part of the securing system of this shoe that I Really like is the hook and loop midfoot strap (directly over the lateral stabilizers).  This strap is a staple in all weightlifting specific shoes but has never been effectively utilized in a WOD shoe – until now!  This thing is really nice and I Love it on OLY days.

Beyond the BOA system, I was really impressed with the shoes flexibility (more on this later); it truly bends and moves like a minimalist road running shoe.
I love the lateral stabilizers:  you don’t feel them at all while you’re running, jumping, etc. but when lifting heavy they give an excellent solid-wall feel while doing it subconsciously, not obtrusively.

The shoes look great, and while this doesn’t help you in a WOD, it IS a nice bonus (don’t lie)

They are fantastically comfortable (the only thing I didn’t care for was there is a bit of an arch – now, understand that I am ridiculously picky about arch shape and while I didn’t care for it, none of the other testers even noticed its existence).

They breathe really well while having the mesh made of excellent and resilient material (something New Balance could learn a thing or two from….)

So between the very low to the ground build, zero drop, unbelievably flexible sole, and the midfoot strap Topo has created a shoe that runs like a running shoe, jumps and allows lateral movement like a crosstrainer, and locks in and stabilizes like an OLY shoe.  It’s pretty awesome.

Now, Everything has to have its draw back and the Topo has 1 Achilles.  Now, let me preface this, when I had an issue Topo was quick to respond, did not make excuses, and handled the replacement quickly.  Topo also assured me that this was a fairly unique issue (more on that in a second), but nonetheless, here’s the issue I had:  For me, I can’t rope climb in them.   Well, not that I can’t, in fact they’re quite comfortable for it and the BOA knob doesn’t get in the way (which I was afraid of), it’s that I shred that nice sole on my descent.  Here are some things to consider with this:  There are a lot of shoes that you can’t climb a rope in.  Then there are shoes (like the Nano’s and a couple of the Inov-8 shoes) that are designed around rope climbing and are Beasts at the rope, but you sacrifice some ground feel and flexibility in the sole.  Topo attempted to go in the middle but decided to focus on that ground feel and flexibility and, therefore, the sole is softer (you just really can’t have both).  So, for me, I like the shoes for everything but rope climbing and on days when I know I’m climbing, I wear something else.
If you don’t climb the rope, climb it few and far between, or know when the rope will come into play and can wear another shoe on those days (like I do) then I think this is truly a fantastic Crossfit/gym/lifting shoe.  I believe it does a better job as a running shoe, jumping shoe, lifting shoe, and lateral movement shoe than most anyone else out there.  But, if you are a heavy climber and you integrate rope climbs into most of your WODs, this is probably not the shoe for you.

Below you'll see the damage to the Sante from the rope climbs.  I'm also including some pictures of the same spots on my (much much older) Nanos just for reference:


Friday, September 26, 2014

Healthy food for people who don't eat fruits or vegetables? Here's your sign (list)

Alright, so it's no secret that I eat like a 5 year old.  I tell everyone, I run and workout so I can eat like crap - which I do.  Problem is... getting old sucks lol

So, I set out to compile a short list of the healthiest version of foods that most of us (me) eat anyway and intentionally tried to eliminate fruits and veggies from the list (because... those are a no brainer, you don't need a list to tell you to eat those).  
I also included snacks

What's 'healthy' you ask?  Glad you did, because that word gets thrown around all the time and best I can tell, people think they can make it mean anything they want.  For this list, I was going for traditional health measures:  lower fat, lower calories, lower carbs, somewhat lower sodium, give preference to protein and fiber, and try for the absolute fewest ingredients as possible.
Fewest ingredients as possible AND ingredients that I can pronounce and/or have any freaking idea what they are or where they come from.

Or butter ingredients could be:  Ingredients: Sweet Cream, Salt.

Straight forward enough....

Alright, here we go:

  • Greek yogurt (take a look - I prefer Oikos)
  • Chester’s Puff Corn
  • Pop chips
  • Kettle Brand baked sea salt potato chips
  • Salmon
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 97% lean ground beef
  • Lean Sirloin
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Pork Chops
  • Smuckers Natural PB
  • Brown Rice (Brown Jasmine Rice? Sounds good-haven't found it)
  • Ezekiel 4:9 Bread (they make sandwich bread, cinnamon raisin bread, & buns)
  • Applegate Farms The Great uncured beef hotdogs
  • Emeril’s Home-style Marinara spaghetti sauce
  • Barilla Whole Grain (or Barilla Plus+) Pasta 
  • 100% Cranberry juice
  • Land O Lakes Butter with Olive Oil (tub)
  • Land O Lakes Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt (stick)
Got some favorites?  What are yours?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To achieve a Second Wind... you have to have a First wind!

No matter who you are, what level your fitness is, or what your goals are, starting a new workout regiment or trying to get started back Can really suck.

Running, working out, sports, any exercise, they are all beautifully evil.  It takes a considerable amount of time to get bigger, stronger, faster, leaner, (pick your flavor) and a painfully small amount of time to lose all those precious gains.

Take this summer:  I was swamped all summer and for the first time in years, I basically did next to nothing (in the way of running and/or Crossfit).  From June - today, here's the entire list of my movements:
June:  10, 11...13...17...18...23...24
July:  1 Run in Nicaragua and 4 days of making cement blocks in Nicaragua
          That's it.
August:  7, 8, .... 26.

Yep.  So from June 1st - August 26 I had 6 Crossfit workouts, 3 running days, and 2 pickup soccer games.

Ouch.  If I don't workout and/or run, I get grumpy, I get anxious, my patience goes down, and it doesn't take long before my wife grabs me and tells me to go workout so that maybe I'll be a nicer person!  But again, sometimes I get so busy that I do Not make time for it...

So, this morning was my kickoff date of back to my regular routine (6:00am workouts) and it was a breath of fresh air and a swift kick in the gut all at the same time!

So, here's to all of you wondering if you can start a regiment for the first time, those who are starting back "tomorrow", and those who have been out of bounds for too long... jump in!  Get in the game of life!  Understand that it sucks for elites, the nobodies, and everyone in between.... for a brief moment.

Soak up Life, you can do it, you do fell better, you will have more energy, you will feel Less stress (not more) by taking more time to do this.