Sunday, November 15, 2015

Best Summer Ever!

As many of you are already aware, I started a new career with the Kaukauna Police Department this past May.  The change has brought many changes to our family.  We have had to make adaptations to a temporary cut in pay.  I have had to make personally sacrifices in my career, such as giving up being a SWAT officer, suddenly going to the bottom of the totem pole in seniority, and have missed out on a lot of advanced training opportunities.  With all that being said, the benefits has truly outweighed the negatives.  First, I have been able to bike to work on about 90% of my work days, which oddly enough, has always been important to me (don't ask me why).  Secondly, I am now working for a city, which brings different challenges, tactics, and generally is just a different beast.  I felt that working for a city over a county was a better fit for me, personally, and I was correct.  In addition to both of those, I am so close to home, that I am able to quickly stop home during lunch breaks when time allows.  But, by far, the best change has been the schedule.  During my work week I work longer hours, but that affords me more time off to spend with my family.

With all the extra time off, Sarah and I truly took advantage of it by several family trips.  Some of them were just simple day trips, while others were 4-5 days "excursions" around the great state of Wisconsin.  Some of the trips included our annual trip to the Manawa Rodeo and a Brewers' game, where we saw a great game between the Brewers and White Sox (the Brewers won 7-10).  In addition to the Brewers', we went camping three times to three different state parks; Point Beach, Devil's Lake, and Governor Thompson.  We also took a couple weekend trips to La Crosse to visit our best friends in Minnesota and another to Wisconsin Dells.

Without question, this past summer was the best summer we have had as a family.  We really set the bar high for future summers!  Below is a video I put together from all our memories from these trips.  The video does not contain any pictures from simple events that took place over the summer that also made this past summer one of the best ever, but only pictures from our FAMILY adventures.  There are no pictures from the numerous trips to The Mulberry Lane Farm in Hilbert, WI.  Nor does it contain pictures to splash pads, local pools/swim lakes, or other short adventures done as a single parent family.  So I hope you enjoy the video!

As always, thanks for reading and following!

Friday, November 13, 2015

YMCA Freaky 5k - Race Report

This will now be my 3rd race report of the YMCA Freaky 5k and the 6th time I have ran this race. So, when I say that is one of my favorite races, I think it goes without saying. I enjoy this race for many reasons. First, the YMCA of the Fox Cities was my full time post college employer. Secondly, it always seems to fall perfectly into my race schedule. Thirdly, it's close to home, a great course, and a family friendly event. This year would be no different. I had Halloween weekend off from work and no other races scheduled in the vicinity of the Freaky 5k, so it was a natural decision. Plus, this was the first time for myself that this race actually fell on Halloween. This year, we registered our entire family, Sarah, Maya, Delaney, and myself were all registered for one of the two events offered. We signed Delaney up for the Mini Monster Dash, which was a quarter mile kids run. We also registered Maya as an individual for the 5k. This was going to be her first ever 5k as an official participant. She was so excited and nervous going into the was I. We also signed up Sarah, who was going to push Harper in the stroller. My parents were also registered for the 5k in addition to our family. Going into the race, the weather outlook was not good. It was supposed to be cold, windy, and wet/rainy. Sarah and I both made the decision Friday night, that if it was actually raining Saturday morning, we would not bring the kids to the race and she would stay home with the kids and I would race with my dad, as my mom would also opt out of the race.

Well, as my alarm went off Saturday morning, I woke up to the sound of wind strongly blowing against our bedroom window. I looked at a current radar image and it was an easy decision, although a disappointing one. We opted to leave the kids at home due to poor weather. The entire state of Wisconsin along with Minnesota were covered in green on the radar signifying that there was no hope for a dry Halloween, let alone a dry Freaky 5k.

Training for This Race

I'll (again) keep this short and simple. I have not been following any specific training plan for this race or any race this year, for that matter. Although, I will note that October saw one of my highest running mileage totals of 2015...for whatever that's worth....


As I mentioned in my open, I woke up and had to make a sad decision with Sarah and opted to leave the girls at home to avoid any possible (and highly likely) sour attitudes at the race due to them being wet and cold. But after waking up and getting dressed, I headed over to my parents house to pick up my dad. The race was scheduled to start at 8:30am, a half hour after the Mini Monster Dash kid's run. I was hoping to get there around 7am just to get a decent parking spot and hopefully some time to warm up. Unfortunately, after we got there, the weather was just miserable. It was cold (40's), windy, and rainy. I honestly just wanted to sit in my car with the heat on where it was nice and comfy. Eventually I had to get out and get ready to run, which I did around 7:30ish. I really wanted to stay as dry as possible before the start of the race, so I opted to forgo my traditional warmup and just did some dynamic stretching under the pavillion. This seemed to actually work pretty well, all things considered. Once 8:20ish rolled around, we started making our way to the start line. With the sun now fully risen, it was starting to warm up slightly, but the rain and the wind didn't really stop. It was a light drizzle, but enough to be uncomfortable. We planned it out damn near perfectly and got to the start line just before the National Anthem.

Nutrition Plan

K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid. Its what I did. I didn't eat anything before the race and just drank my morning coffee on the way to the race. I did take two capsules of Hammer Nutrition's Anti-Fatigue Caps one hour before the start of the race. I chose not to take any Hammer Nutrition Energy Surge, just due to the wet and rainy race conditions.



Road ID Elite

3.1 Mile Run (18:18)


This was the third year of the "new" race course (I guess that would mean that it's really no longer "new") and the second time I will have run it. Knowing that I really didn't get any true warmup in before the start of the race, along with the the hilly start to the race, I really wanted to take it relatively "easy" during the first 800-1200 meters. The race starts nearly immediately with a short and steep hill down to the river. The course then follows the river for about a half mile, or so, then goes up another short and steep hill. The majority of the course is a loop, which returns back down the same pair of hills back to the start line of the race. So, imagine a lollipop shape race course, where the stick has two steep hills that you need to climb twice for a total of 4 hills.

At the start of the race, I coasted down the first hill, allowing all the typical sprinters at the start of the race to over-exert themselves, and allowed myself to gradually warmup. After climbing back up the second hill at about the 0.75 mile mark, I tried to find my "sweet-spot" in reference to my pace. I wasn't ever truly able to find my comfort zone. I just never really felt "good." I felt like my breathing was out of synch with my cadence and my heart rate. It's a difficult thing to explain in writing and probably just as hard to explain in person. But, I guess if you are a runner, you probably know exactly what I am talking about.

By about mile 1, I was able to pass everyone who went out as fast as humanly possible and found myself in 3rd place. Shortly before mile 2, I passed the second place runner and was doing my best to stay within reach of the race leader. But, honestly, I had a pretty good feeling I wasn't going to be able to catch the leader by about mile 1....he was just that far ahead. I ended up finishing in 18:18, 2nd overall, with the winner finishing in 17:12, about a minute ahead of me. He was a 24 year old out of La Crosse, WI and he ran a hell of a race.

Post Race

About a week after I registered our family for this race, we were invited to my God Son's birthday party in Milton, WI, which was scheduled to start at noon on the 31st. Milton is about a 2 hour drive from our house, which meant that we needed to leave no later than 10am in order to hopefully make it on time. This basically meant that there was no sitting around after the race and waiting for the awards ceremony. After crossing the finish line, I congratulated the winner on a great run and then waited for my dad to come across. He ended up finishing in 22:09, first in his age group. After crossing the finish line, we quickly stopped in under the pavilion and grabbed some water and a snack and headed out. I honestly felt a little awkward leaving the race, while a lot of runners and walkers were still on the course but, I honestly had no other choice, shy of skipping out on the event.

What's on Tap

I now only have 2 more months to go in order to successfully participate in a race in each month throughout 2015. It's been an interesting goal to say the least, but as it comes closer to successfully accomplishing my goal, I get more and more proud of doing it. As of today, I am actually scheduled to run in 4 more races, 3 in November and 1 in December. Oddly enough, the 3 races in November are all within a span of 6 days and fall during the week of Thanksgiving. On the 24th, I will be running a 1 mile race with Maya, Delaney, and my dad before the Appleton Christmas Parade, called the Santa Scamper. It will be a fun and easy run with my kids and nothing more. Then on the 26th (Thanksgiving), I will be running in the Festival Foods Turkey Trot, in Appleton, which is a 5 mile very competitive race. Finally, on the 29th, I am running in the Noodleini 5k in De Pere to finish the month of November. My final race of 2015 falls on New Years Eve, with the Chilly Chili Run in Fond Du Lac, WI. It's been a long year with a lot of racing and not a lot of structured training. As I sit here writing this up, I have a lot of high hopes for 2016 and 2017 and some potentially very exicting news. But that will come out soon....

As always, thanks for reading!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Maya Turns 6


This post has easily become one of my new favorite traditions to do with my girls.  This will be Maya's second birthday interview.  You can read last years interview HERE.  Sarah and I find ourselves taken back nearly every day just amazed at what our lives have become.  It an amazing feeling, watching a child grow up before your very own eyes.  Maya is no exception to that.  She has been turning into such a responsible girl who truly cares about others.  She is always trying to do her best and aims to please.  We can't wait to see what this next year of her life brings us!

  1. FAVORITE COLOR?  Purple
  2. FAVORITE TOY?  New guitar & microphone 
  5. FAVORITE FRUIT?  Apples 
  8. FAVORITE CEREAL?  Lucky Charms
  9. FAVORITE LUNCH?  Pizza 
  10. FAVORITE DINNER?  Noodles
  11. FAVORITE DRINK?  Apple Juice
  12. FAVORITE SNACK?  Oranges
  13. FAVORITE DESSERT?  Ice Cream
  14. FAVORITE RESTAURANT?  Chuck E Cheese
  15. FAVORITE TV SHOW?  My Little Ponies
  16. FAVORITE MOVIE?  Aladdin 
  17. FAVORITE ACTOR/ACTRESS?  Princess Celestia
  18. FAVORITE SONG?  Bad Blood - Taylor Swift
  19. FAVORITE SINGER/BAND?  Taylor Swift
  20. FAVORITE BOOKS?  My Hello Kitty chapter book
  21. FAVORITE BOOK SERIES?  Little Reader books
  22. FAVORITE OUTFIT?  Purple polka-dot dress
  23. FAVORITE GAME?  Monopoly Jr.
  24. FAVORITE SPORT?  Soccer
  25. FAVORITE ANIMAL?  Horses
  26. FAVORITE PLACE TO GO?  The Fire Art Studio
  28. FAVORITE SUBJECT?  Animals
  29. FAVORITE STUFFED ANIMAL?  Hip and Hop (blanket rabbits)
  31. FAVORITE MONTH?  October
  32. FAVORITE SEASON?  Summer
  33. FAVORITE HOLIDAY?  Christmas
  34. FAVORITE THING MOMMY DOES?  Gives me nice birthday parties
  35. FAVORITE THING DADDY DOES?  Comes home every night to say good night us
  36. FAVORITE VACATION?  Going to the cottage
  37. FAVORITE MEMORY? My birthday party at the water park with my cousin Bradyn
  38. WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND?  I don't have one, so I can't answer
  39. WHO DO YOU LIKE TO PLAY WITH?  Kortni and Gracyn
  40. WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?  You (daddy) :)
  41. WHAT SCARES YOU?  Haunted hay rides
  42. WHAT MAKES YOU SAD?  When Kortni and Gracyn didn't want to play with me
  43. WHAT DO YOU WISH FOR?  For Santa to get me what I want
  48. DISLIKES?  When mommy throws something away that I want to keep and I just got it
  49. WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOU DO THIS YEAR?  Have play dates with Kortni and Gracyn

Monday, September 14, 2015

reTH!NK Addiction 5k - Race Report

As I continue down the road of completing a race event in each month of 2015, I registered for the reTH!NK Addiction 5k in Oshkosh, WI on September 12th.  Initially it fell perfectly into my schedule with that Saturday being my first night back at work, meaning I would have slept at home the night before the race.  After some shift trades at work, I ended up agreeing to work for a coworker on the Friday night before the race.  Now instead of going into the race all rested, I got to work from 8:00pm-6:30am and then drive down to Oshkosh for an 8:00am race....lucky me!!  I've definitely done this before with little complaints, so I won't really start now.  But, since changing departments, I have not worked an overnight shift since the first week of May...4 months ago.

The race itself is run from the Solutions Recovery Center in Oshkosh.  All proceeds of the event go towards several not for profit organizations that help recovering addicts or agencies which work to deter drug and alcohol use.  Being a law enforcement officer, I found it compelling to chose this race over some other races in the month of September, as I deal with many of these problems every day.

Training for This Race

Let's keep this simple....I have not been training at all this year.  I have been doing random "stuff" most days.  I have not run longer than 8 miles in a few months, and often just take a rest day if life is particularly busy.  I have not followed any sort of formal plan and usually find myself planning my exercising around my life, opposed to planning my life around my exercise.


As I mentioned above, I had to work the night before from 8:00pm-6:30am.  I was lucky enough to get a decent nap on Friday afternoon knowing it was going to be a long night and an even longer morning on Saturday.  After work, I rushed to get ready and get on the road as quickly as I could, knowing my time would be limited.  I still needed to get my race packet and I wanted to get in some sort of warm up before the race.  I made decent time and arrived at the race site around 7:15am.  There was no line to get my race packet and bib, which was nice.  After pinning my bib to my shirt, I was out to start my traditional warm up.  I did all my usual drills, including, pick ups, lunges, high leg kicks, and leg swings.  After I felt good to go, I made my way back to the start area and just hung out.  The weather that morning was damn near perfect, with temperatures around 50F, clear skies, and maybe a slight wind, if any.

Nutrition Plan

I had no plan for my race day nutrition, other than to not eat for the 3-4 hours before the race.  I last ate a hot dog and brat around 4:00am and that was it.  I took a few sips of water on the drive down to Oshkosh, but felt pretty good, so I wasn't too concerned about taking in calories or liquids.  I took 2 Hammer Anti-Fatigue Caps at 7:00am and that was it.  I wanted to bring along some Hammer Energy Surge tablets for during the race, but honestly completely forgot and left them in the car.  :(


Road ID Elite

3.1 Mile Run (18:06)

As I do at the start line of any other race, I scoped out the competition while I waited for the race to start.  First off, I kind of knew going in that this would be a smaller race (based on participation) and figured there probably wouldn't be too many competitive runners.  My estimation was correct - there were not many other runners who would be running around my projected pace.  Most of the people I recognized or chatted with before the race started would be running with a goal time of around 20:00.  Knowing this, I figured I would start the race easy and really focus on getting faster as the race progressed.  So after the race started, as about 98% of the runners do, many of the guys around me took off like a bat out of hell.  I just let them go and started pretty relaxed and allowed my body to find a comfortable pace for the first half of the 5k.  After the first quarter of a mile or so, all of the runners who sprinted out of the chute were now behind me and I was in the lead.  By the first mile, I had built up a significant lead.  I started thinking to myself that there was no need to really push hard for the second mile and opted to ease up during the second mile and save a little bit for the final mile.  The majority of the race was run through Menominee Park in Oshkosh, along Lake Winnebago.  As I said before, the weather was perfect, which made the scenery just that much better.  It was rather easy to focus on the lake and the views instead of how I was feeling.  After the second mile marker, I decided to push just a little harder and then cruised the rest of the way to the finish line.  I came across in just over 18:00, over a minute and half ahead of second place.  I was kind of upset, but I forgot to change the settings on my Garmin watch to "run mode" and discovered I had left it in "bike mode" during the race.  Because of this, I have no mile split data to look at to see if I indeed ran negative splits throughout the whole race.

Post Race

Immediately after finishing the race, I hung around the finish line to congratulate the next few runners to come across the line.  After that, all I wanted to do was go home and go to bed.  I felt obligated to stay for the awards ceremony as the overall winner, so that is what I did.  I tried to kill time by talking to random people about the race and running and the weather and frankly, whatever came to mind.  After about an hour and a half of killing time, I received my award as the overall winner of the race.  I really hope I do not come across conceited or arrogant during the award ceremony, but honestly I just wish they would hand out the awards and we would get on with the day.  Personally I do not like getting in front of others to accept the award.  I feel like I am no different from anyone else and I would rather not be "shown off" or highlighted.  I do understand that many other people see the awards ceremony as an opportunity to celebrate their achievements, but I guess, I just like to celebrate achievements with friends and family instead of individually.  Nearly right after getting my award I split to get to bed!

What's on Tap

The rest of the month will continue to be much like the past 8 months, doing what I feel like doing, when I feel like doing it.  My next race will most likely be the Freaky 5k in Appleton on Halloween, October 31st.  After that, I currently have 2 November races on the schedule with the Turkey Trot in Appleton, on Thanksgiving and the Noodleini in De Pere a few days afterward.  I currently do not have a December race yet, but you would be fooling yourself if I would screw over this stupid goal of mine in the final month of the year.  So I promise you, that I will find a damn race!

On another note, yesterday (September 13th) was Ironman Wisconsin down in Madison, WI.  It was two years ago that I was lucky enough to cross the finish line and forever be called an Ironman.  It seems like every year since then, I have followed the race from home.  While tracking friends and acquaintances, I'd be lying if I said I don't get motivated and excited about doing the race again.  The way things are going with my life, career, and family, it is looking like I will get that opportunity to again take a crack at an Ironman race in 2017, just two more years!  What that means for me, is that after I finish this stupid goal in December, I will take some time to regroup and recharge, then start focusing on building a strong base in 2016 to be in my best shape yet for 2017!

Thanks, as always, for reading!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Packers 5k - Race Report

I you happened to read my race report that I posted on Sunday, you know I had planned on running the Packers 5k on the Saturday following the Ripon Medical Center Triathlon. I chose to run this race for a few reasons. First and foremost, with the race happening on Saturday night, I was simply able to with my work schedule. Secondly, we participated in the Packers 1K Kid's Fun Run last year and had a lot of fun. Lastly, I knew that this race drew a large crowd for a hometown 5k and wanted to put my abilities to the test against some of the best runners in the state. Plus, the final quarter mile of the race are run on Lambeau Field and any opportunity to a lap around Lambeau Field is one you can't turn down!

Training for This Race

I am not going to keep writing the same thing section, so to keep this short and simple, I haven't been specifically training for any race this year at all. But, coming off of the RMC Triathlon and heading straight to the Dells after the race for a few days, all I did this week were a few 5 mile runs. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, to be exact. Friday was a rest/recovery day and then Saturday was race day. Pretty simple.


I have been working day shift this weeks rotation, which was been great for my personal life. It also allowed me to race in this race. I worked from 6:30-4:00pm on Saturday and I soon as I got home, I changed into my race clothes, and we loaded up the kids and hit the road. We honestly left too early, but personally, that's alright with me. I had no idea what to expect with parking for this event, but we were able to get a decent spot right in the stadium lot. We had tons of time to lounge around the stadium atrium for while before the start of the race. After sitting around the stadium for about an 45 minutes, I started my warm up. I got a great warm up in with dynamic stretches and strides. By the end of my 15 minute warm up I had a good sweat going and was feeling actually pretty good. The race start was extremely organized with 7 separate start corrals. I was in the first wave, which went off at 6:30. Sarah and the girls were in the "walkers with strollers" wave...wave 7. It turns out, I actually finished the race before she ever started. I found a good position on the start line and waited patiently for the race to start. It turns out they had three Green Bay Packers alumnus running the race as well. One of them was UW-La Crosse alumni, Bill Schroeder.

Nutrition Plan

Much like the "Training for This Race" section, I don't want to keep repeating myself from previous race reports. But, due to this being a short race, I have found that less is more.  I last ate at work around 1:00pm and it wasn't anything too complex, just some yogurt, veggies, and a salad with salmon.  On the way to the race, I sipped on a water bottle with one serving of Hammer Nutrition HEED (100 cal).  After that was gone I really didn't drink much of anything until the race.  I did take a few sips of water after my warm up just due to the heat.  It was going to be a hot race with temperatures right around 80*.  An hour before the start, I took my dose of 2 Hammer Anti-Fatigue Caps and then Hammer Energy Surge tablets as needed during the race.


3.1 Mile Run (18:04)

When the race started I did my best to try and run a conservative first mile.  I knew that with the level of competition in this race, the leaders would be out of my league.  So, I didn't want to get caught up with the adrenaline of a race start and try to keep up with them.  My first mile split was 5:25, one of the fastest miles, I have run to date, that I can recall anyway.  I tried to gauge exactly how the rest of the race was going to go for me and how I was going to pace the final two miles.  After making the second right hand turn (right around mile 1) onto Morris Av, I saw what no runner likes seeing...especially during a race...a long and steady hill.  The hill wasn't anything challenging, but just enough to make it just that much more taxing on your lungs.  In addition of the hill, there was a slight head wind heading west as well.  I found a small group of runners that I could hang with and just tucked in behind them to try and break the wind.  It seemed to work pretty well, but unfortunately it did absolutely nothing for the hill.  My second mile was a slow 6:03.  After crossing the mile 2 mark, I kept telling myself that there is only 1 mile left and tried to dig deep and put up a strong final mile.  Most of the 3rd mile was down hill, but the best part of the final mile was the lap around the inside of Lambeau Field.  We entered in through a back garage area and ended up coming through the same tunnel as Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.  Coming out that tunnel and seeing all the seats and hearing the loud music makes you forget all the struggles and pain you may be feeling at that point of the race.  They had the scoreboard screens on and set up to show the runners as they pasted by the north endzone.  It was neat to see yourself running on the screen.  They also opened up sections of the stadium for fans to come in and watch the runners complete their lap around the stadium.  I was surprised to see exactly how many people were in the stadium, it was a unique feeling.  After coming out of the stadium, you could see the finish line.  The finish line was also pretty cool as they had a large slab of artificial turf with a huge Packer's "G" on it.  The atmosphere of the race in general was so cool, from start to finish.  I was very impressed with the size of the crowds along the entire course.  I'm used to seeing no one along the course of 5k's, but this one was different.  There was an energy that came with this race.  It had the feeling of a Packer's home game mixed with a 5k....very cool.

Post Race

I finished the race in 18:04, not a PR, but definitely not a time I'm ashamed of.  I placed 4th out of 230 in my age group and 41st out of 5,159 runners overall.  After crossing the finish line, I was slightly disappointing they didn't have any post race memento...nothing.  How well...not like I don't have enough medals as it is.  I took a minute or two to try and catch my breath and then started walking the course backwards to try and find Sarah and the girls.  After walking the first half mile or so, I started to jog lightly as a cool down, of sorts.  I ended up finding them just after the 1 mile mark.  I walked the rest of the race with the girls.  I took the opportunity to teach Maya and Delaney about running.  We worked on running parts of the race which gave me a unique chance to run side by side with either Maya or Delaney.  As they approached Lambeau Field, I went to the finish line to watch them finish.  I was proud of both Maya and Delaney after the race.  Maya walk/ran the entire race by herself and Delaney walked at least 75% of the race by herself.  We decided that from now on, we are going to start registering Maya as a participant now that she can consistently finish a 5k by herself.  After the race it was straight home to get three little girls to bed as they were just exhausted.

What's on Tap

On the drive home from the race Sarah and I started talking about how disappointed I was that I didn't place in my age group.  We talked about where I was in my life, starting a new job, raising 3 kids, and trying to balance everything.  I mentioned how, my training has been non-existent this season, how I have been basically just "winging it."  She reminded me how that we talked about how this year was going to have to be a lax year with my training and racing.  She mentioned how we talked about this when I took a the new job and that after this season, I'll be able to get back into a more consistent training regime.  It made sense and in a way made me feel better about my finish.  I was only 20 seconds off of a PR and my times haven't really slipped much from when I was training consistently.  After my little reality check from Sarah, I was actually quite satisfied with my race.  An 18:04 5k for a working father of 3, really aint to shabby.

As far as my goal of finishing a race in every month in 2015, I have completed a total of 9 races so far in the 8 months of 2015.  Up next will either be the Waupaca Triathlon on August 15 or the Fox Cities Half Marathon on September 21st.  Either way, I will be doing the half marathon as my September race.  And yes, if you have been following along with my 2015 journey, that does mean that I am passing on racing for Team USA in the ITU World Championships in Chicago.  Fact is, I just can not justify the financial commitment to compete in that event.  It is just too much of a short notice on top of my lack of specific training.  I would not want to go into that big of an event just to cross the finish line.  I would have liked to commit a solid 3-6 months of dedicated training to the event to give it my all to see exactly how I stack up against the best in the world.  I am relatively young yet and feel I still have great things ahead for me and my racing career.  And, of course, I will never give up on my dream of qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

Thanks for reading!  Keep on keepin' on!!!