100 Burpees Will Be the Death of Me

Let me tell you, nothing throws off your training schedule like half a week in Vegas. Between the casino smoke and the two foot daiquiris, my mornings weren’t exactly primed for burpees (although decimating a cornish game hen at Tournament of Kings is killer protein).

Now that I’m back in town and back to work, I’m feeling the pressure to close-in on my goal of 100 burpees in one set…ideally by December 1st.

Once again, I ask myself WHY DID I SET THIS GOAL?! It’s really, really hard. Not exactly fun. Not very motivating.


My thinking was that if you can do 100 burpees without stopping, you’re basically a badass. Am I right?

Tonight I gave myself a burpee midterm and made it to 50 without stopping, my arms straining around 37. I also did not feel a distinct need to barf, so that was a win right there. Once I caught my breath, I did two more sets of 25.

At this point in the process, it’s more than physical. It’s straight mental, meaning I might need a partner to push me to the very end of my training. But then again, if I’m going to throw up I might want to do it in secret.


Run #10 -Apple Valley, California

My running the last few months has really been on and off, due to my nagging knee issues, so it’s crunch time for my goal of running twelve different cities by the end of the year. Luckily, I’ve started my first prolotherapy injections (blog post to come soon on that) and have been able to get back out on the road pretty successfully.

Though I traveled to both Dallas and Vegas last month, running wasn’t really possible, but these last couple days I was working with the Apple Valley School District in California and was able to sneak in a run. Although my rental car reservation didn’t go through, the assistant superintendent insisted that I borrow his truck and drew me a very specific map where I could go running. Although I was hesitant to borrow the keys and drive around a strange town, he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

His map took me up through a relatively suburban (and safe) neighborhood, that went straight up so that I could get a view of Apple Valley. While not exactly the most picturesque town, it was nice to get out and see something different.


The roads were super wide, but apparently the town doesn’t do sidewalks. The locals told me this had something to do with equestrians and that a lot of people ride horses around town…and I did notice that two of the principals I met were wearing cowboy boots.


It was hardly like my more glamorous runs earlier this year (i.e. Barcelona), but it was a nice solid loop and if I’m in town again, I’ll probably do it again. Regardless of how “glamorous” or “non glamorous” my runs in each city have been, they are a way of getting to know a little bit more about the place I’m staying. You can drive around, but running really makes you notice where you are and how people are living.

This also means that I have just two more city runs to complete this goal! (I kind of have a plan for run #12, but I might need to take a day trip to the coast or something to get in the other one).


Also, anyone else get that urge to blow through this on their dirt bike as a Terminator chases them in a semi truck? Just me…?


#1 – Learn to dribble and shoot a basketball. Check.

Out of all the goals I had this year, shooting a basketball seemed the most intimidating. Coming in at five foot zero, that net is so far away. And let’s be real, my arm-sport game is pretty weak. Although I did learn to throw a ball better last year, it’s far from a bragging right.

The first time Thor took me to the basketball court was embarrassing to say the least. He started modeling how to shoot a basket and I was like, “No back it up – how do I even hold a basketball?” but with a few sessions of practice, I was getting the hang of it.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<PAUSE FOR A MOMENT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Question: Why do I even care about shooting a basketball?

After watching so much NBA with the men of my life, I repeatedly failed to understand how anyone could miss a free throw. Isn’t that what they are paid MILLION$ of dollars for? And everyone is lined up on the side, you can take your time – what is so hard about a free throw?!

For Example:

And people would explain to me that there is so much more to basketball, and blah blah blah. But seriously, isn’t a free throw basically FREE?! (My head is still exploding over this).

Answer: If I want to talk shit about free throws, I should be able to make them myself.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<RESUME PREVIOUS PROGRAMMING>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Now that Beaverton built a fancy new school in my backyard, I can practice free throws all I want. Thor has shown me the ropes, but I need to demonstrate mastery independently; in the teacher world, we call this gradual release of responsibility. I believe my learning target is, “I can dribble a basketball and shoot free throws at 80% accuracy.” Sound fair?

I’ve been practicing a lot on my own, and consistently I am able to sink (is that the right term?) eight out of ten baskets. AND I can demonstrate from multiple points of entry on the court (all the PE teachers around the world right now should be taking note that differentiating for proficiency isn’t hard at all!). I can even adjust for wind interference. Whaaaaaaaaat. I said it: wind.

Here we go, not exactly the most exciting video – but you get the idea:

And just in time for the new basketball season, here are some big fails. (Ugh – so many Blazers featured in here…)

Run #6 – Springdale, OR

This week I’m pulled from civilization to accompany 25 students from my school at Outdoor School. Five nights, six days of camp songs, camp food, and really peppy high schoolers. The weather is probably the best I’ve ever experienced in all my years at ODS so I’m trying to take advantage of being outdoors and away from the normal life within my office walls.

On Monday, I snuck out for a little while to jog around and find a running route. Unfortunately, the longest trail loop within the camp is less than half a mile (and littered with groups of students) so the road in and out of camp is about the only thing I could find.

Today, I went out in search of something longer and more exciting. The road out of the camp is about a mile straight up, although I did stop several times to check out the baby cows. At a mile and a half, I made it to the highway but there was no shoulder and cars were ripping by so I turned around and headed back.

The road was well-paved and surrounded by farms so it was an enjoyable three miles, despite the near 400 ft elevation climb.



This run is not as exciting as Barcelona or as nostalgic as the KU campus, and it wasn’t for speed or distance (I stopped to ogle baby cows), but while all the other teachers are filling up on carbs and doing their grading, at least I’ve gotten out there.


This means I’m officially half-way through my goal of running in 12 different cities by the end of the year. Next week, I’m signed up for a 5k at the Oregon State Penitentiary and I’m headed to Greece in June so I’ve got a couple runs to look forward to in the immediate future.

2015 was the first year I didn’t really make any specific fitness goals (at least on my official “list”). I thought and thought and thought…and decided that maybe my unofficial goal would just be to enjoy exercising, and not push myself to a point where I might get injured again.

(Of course, that didn’t really work out when I totally tweaked my knee in May and took the advice of my surgeon to take a break from running. BUT WHATEVER – I’m better now.)

But you didn’t think I wasn’t still tracking, did you? My compulsive personality just won’t allow that. Maybe I didn’t blog about it, but I certainly knew in the back of my mind where I was going.

So this year, for the record, I still ran 162 miles (down from 280 miles in 2014) outside on the road.

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And I biked 181 miles (up from zero miles in 2014…..) inside at the gym on the Expresso bike.

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I also did something like 10,000 burpees all over the place. For real.

Sadly, I didn’t get to run the Oregon State Penitentiary Race because my knee was out of commission (although my friend, Courtney, did it all by herself!).

Some of my friends made the goal of running 1000 miles over the course of the year, and that astounds me. You would have to run sooooo much! Did any of you make the goal?! Do your feet still work?! Would you do it again??

I’ve got some ideas of what I want to do for 2016, but for now, I can look back and at least know that I did things in moderation. A little running here, a little biking there, and a lot of burpees everywhere.

My knee is messed up again. If you would have told me three years ago that I would still be having problems this far down the line, I might have thrown my crutches at you.

But the good news is that I’ve learned to be more patient (albeit incredibly frustrated) and I mostly accepted that when my knee doesn’t feel right, I need to scale things back. This means for right now, I need to change up my workouts…

Last weekend, I hopped on a spin bike over at the Nike gym, and right away noticed a couple fancy exercise bikes next to me that I had never seen before. They had big screens with animated terrains and moveable handlebars, and scrolling message that said, “Expresso Interactive.” When I got home, I looked it up and sure enough it looked like a video game attached to an exercise bike.


FOR YEARS, I have been saying that my treadmill runs would be so much more fun if I had a screen in front of me that worked like a video game. Maybe if I saw zombies running at me, I would run faster. Or if nothing else, looking at an animated beach would be way better than watching Fox News. I got on Expresso and created an account, and then yesterday returned to give it a try.

Here’s what I learned:

Yes, it’s basically a video game on an exercise bike. However, I am such a noob that I only have access to the “beginner” courses – like biking on a beach, a forest, etc. You definitely have to move the handlebars in order to stay on the road, but it won’t let you crash if you get too close to the edge or run into another biker. At the end of a ride, there is a leader board with your stats that compare you to other riders at your gym, and everywhere else.

Once you hit a certain amount of logged miles, you will unlock course that look a lot more exciting: stuff with pirates and dragons and, yes, zombies.


Also, you can set your personal best as a ghost rider to give you something to compete against, rather than all the random CGI riders who seem to be taking a Sunday stroll.

My takeaway? I’m not so bummed about my knee anymore because I can’t wait to get back and unlock some more levels.

Have any of you tried this at your gym?? Have any of you seen a treadmill version??

New Goal! #26 – Run an Oregon State Penitentiary Race

You might be saying, Did I read that right?? Run at the penitentiary?! And yes, you did. Just the other day, my friend, Renee, sent me a link to the sign up form for a 5 or 10k race AT THE STATE PRISON. She wrote something like, “I thought of you when I saw this…” Man, did she hit the nail on the head. As a generally law abiding citizen, I’m fascinated with jails and prisons – particularly the workouts of inmates. I fully admit that I once spent a good chunk of my free time at a local bookstore poring over a book called Felon Fitness….61eW1qbpKZL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_
I didn’t buy it, but I sure wanted to.

On a less ridiculous note, I have also been very interested in the programs that work to humanize and rehabilitate inmates since the process of being incarcerated is so absolutely dehumanizing (just today I read a news article about inmates and unwanted pets finding love – awwwwww).

What I have now gathered, with Renee’s help, is that our state prison holds several races a year, where community members come run races with inmates to give them something to work towards, as well as help them feel normal again. Apparently this program was spearheaded by Steve Prefontaine in the 70s, and after he died it continued. (Read more details here).

Running? Prison? A commemorative race bib? I’m sold!

At the beginning of the year I was racking my brain to come up with a creative fitness goal for myself (since the normal stuff never seems to appeal to me). I think a 10k through the state prison is about as creative as it gets.