Saturday, December 29, 2012

It is Time To Get Into Ski Shape

With us finally getting some snow in Colorado it is time to get ready top hit the slopes.  While some have probably already done that, I have never been much for December skiing due to the cold and usually poor snow.  Generally ski season starts for me in January.

Which means if you have not already started to figure out how you are going to get rid of those holiday pounds before taking on the mountains, you should get going.  I was lucky enough to jumpstart my ski conditioning with one of my favorite trainers Jamie Atlas at Bonza Bodies (  Like other ski conditioning classes I had taken before, I expected a lot of squats and lunges and other typical exercises to work your legs.  What I was pleasantly surprised with is that Jamie didn’t have us just do the typical exercises and we didn’t just jump into exercises as soon as we arrived.
Instead Jamie spent some time talking about the concept of “specific” exercises for the activity you are training for.  For example if you want to be a better cyclist then spinning or time on an exercise bike makes sense, but while it helps some of the same muscles that are used in skiing the movement is not “skiing-specific.”

In fact it was really interesting to compare Jamie’s ideas, which really resonated with me, with an article I had just read in the December 2012 ski magazine entitled “The Machine Age.”  In that article author Kellee Katagi talked about the gym machines that work best for skiers.  Now anyone who has read what I have written before know that I am pretty anti-gym machine and prefer body weight exercises because rather than isolating muscles they integrate them so you can imagine my bias against this article.  That being said it was interesting to see Ski magazine stating this was a good way to get ready for the ski season when almost everything they said contrasted with what Jamie had to say.

So that you can get the same experience that I did, Jamie was nice enough to make two videos embedded below that cover some of these concepts as well as show some of the skier specific exercises he had us perform.  Bottom line I think if you are going to get ready for ski season you should do exercises that will actually help YOUR skiing.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thanks for November

One thing my wife and I have discussed that we want to get better about as a family is gratitude.  So with the holiday of thanks, Thanksgiving, just a few weeks away this seems like a great time to stop just talking about it.  I have also noticed many friends on Facebook trying to post one item of gratitude a day.  One might be OK for some, but I feel so blessed I am going to try to express five things I am thankful for every day.

It is already November 4th so I have some catching up to do.  Fortunately, November 1st gave me a great opportunity to show gratitude as I gave an acceptance speech for the University of Colorado Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award (  That was an amazing honor that days later I am still humbled to have received.  It also gave me an opportunity to show gratitude to my family, my mentors and recommenders, the University of Colorado and the Alumni Association, the Sierra Nevada Corporation, where I work, and the Dream Chaser team.  That also means I started the month with 5 broad statements of gratitude so I am on my way.  If you would like to read the speech I have added it to the bottom of this post.

That leaves me 15 more items I am thankful for to get caught up to today:

  1. I am thankful to live in Colorado where I have the opportunity to ski.  That was clear after going to Fridays Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo.
  2. I am thankful for all of the folks who donated ( to our Friday Howl at the Moon event for Team in Training.
  3. I am thankful for the good times we had at the Howl at the Moon Friday night (  It turned out to be a lot of fun!
  4. I am thankful for Two Fisted Mario’s Pizza ( being open late on Friday night.
  5. I am thankful to get home Friday night because driving home late can always be hazardous.
  6. Even when they get beat badly, like they did Saturday, I am thankful for the opportunity to see a Buffalos football game at Folsom Field, one of the most scenic stadiums in the country.
  7. I am thankful that I went to college at CU with the coolest mascot in the country Ralphie running out before every game.  We almost lost some cheerleaders to a charging buffalo this week, but then the handlers got her turned.
  8. I am thankful that my wife is such a big football fan and likes going to live sporting events as much as I do.
  9. I am thankful that my youngest daughter attended her friends Bat Mitzvah.  It is good for your children to be exposed to a range of religious traditions other than their own.
  10. I am thankful to be married 22 years.  Saturday was our anniversary and it still feels like we are on our honeymoon.
  11. I am thankful for the beautiful Autumn weather.  What an amazing season we are having this year.  If you can be thinking about what you are going to BBQ on a Saturday afternoon in November, then life is good.
  12. I am thankful for the opportunity to watch another Bronco victory with my son.  He adds his own play by play almost the whole game, but that is a part of why I treasure the moment.
  13. I am thankful that my youngest daughter has the opportunity to try out for the Olympic Development program in soccer.  It is the last day and no matter what happens I think it has been a good experience.
  14. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to write this blog.  I am not sure if anyone reads it (thus putting this near the end is a test to see if that is true), but I enjoy writing it.
  15. I am thankful for a lazy Sunday.  It started with donuts and the Sunday paper, involved a little cleaning up for winter in the backyard, watching the Broncos game, and then writing this blog before thinking about another session of relaxing.
Whew I am all caught up!  Now I just have to post this thing and head back to that lazy Sunday to see what Eli can do against our family’s other favorite team, the Steelers.

CU Award Speech
This past year one of my hero’s Neil Armstrong passed away.  One of the great things about the first man to walk on the Moon is that while he took the first step, he was always good to credit the many people who helped him get there.  That is why his famous quote; “this is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” is so timeless.

So while I stand here today receiving an individual award, I want to use my time to talk about the teams of people that have been responsible for me standing up here today.  I will start with my family, which includes my mom, Joyce, my brother, Jason, my wife, Sally and my wonderful children, Samantha, Jack and Hannah.  They are the rock upon which my house is built and they are what make my life worth living.  I love you!

Next I must thank my team of mentors who nominated and recommended me for this award: Jim Voss of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, Mike Coats of the NASA Johnson Space Center, Brian Argrow and David Klaus of the the University of Colorado, Paul Lucey of the University of Hawaii, and Bob Smith of Honeywell International.  I would not have received this recognition without your endorsement and your examples to follow.

I would like to thank the University of Colorado and the Alumni Association for giving me this award.  My education and time at the university taught me not only so much academically, but also about how to live my life.  As a Colorado native, it is one of my proudest achievements to hold two degrees from the state’s top university.

To the leadership of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, Fatih and Eren Ozmen and Mark Sirangelo, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to work at a company that embodies the importance of professional teamwork in every way.

Finally, I would like to recognize the amazing Dream Chaser team, many of which are here today.  I am fortunate to be your teammate on the greatest project I have ever worked on in my career.  Thanks to all of you for giving me the opportunity to learn from you every day.

So in closing, if I can offer a little advice.  Make it your mission to find and join teams at home, in your community, at school and at work. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines teamwork as “a joint action by a group of people, in which each person subordinates his or her individual interest and opinions to the unity and efficiency of the group.”  The most effective teamwork is produced when the individual team members harmonize their contributions towards a common goal.  If you make it a point to be a good teammate, individual success will come.  Thank You, God Bless, and I am proud to be a Colorado Buffalo.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Happiest I Have Run

One of the highlights of 2012 is representing the Boulder Running Company as a member of Team BRC (  When I was selected at the end of 2011, it was a bit of a surprise because I don’t spend a lot of time on podiums or winning a lot of race medals (although many of my teammates do).  In fact running has often been a struggle for me because as a shirt I bought for my daughter who runs cross-country says, “my sport is your sport’s punishment.”  Running was always something growing up you did after practice when the coach was angry about your performance.  Also since I generally played sprint sports like soccer, baseball, basketball and the like, running long distances was not something I generally did (unless I was really in trouble).  I wasn’t too slow getting up and down the field or court or running to first base, but I am not the fastest runner over long distances.

Despite the fact that it is not something that has come easy for me, this year I have learned to embrace the Team BRC sponsor’s slogan “Run Happy”.  Perhaps it is because as a member of Team BRC I get fully outfitted in Brooks gear from head to toe that the slogan has rubbed off on me, but this season of running has been my happiest yet.  Now I don’t run because of punishment after practice, but for the health benefits it gives my family and I.  In fact some of the best events of the year have been when the whole family has participated, even if some are just walking with the dog.

The Moshers Before Home Run for the Homeless
The other reason I am running happier is because I am now a part of a running community.  The Boulder Running Company is not just my favorite store to buy shoes, but through the various organized free runs (Saturday morning’s Tony’s Run is my favorite) and boot camp classes, as well as special in-store events, you see the same folks every week including my Team BRC teammates.

The main obligations of serving on the team are racing 8 events in Team BRC Brooks apparel, volunteering at five events, coming to two run clubs a month, and actively documenting while representing BRC and Brooks in a positive way.  I have fulfilled most of these obligations already with my eight races being the Runnin of the Green 7K (March), Cherry Creek Sneak 5K (April), Run for Remembrance 5K (May), Home Run for the Homeless 5K (May), Bolder Boulder 10K (May), Naked Foot 5K (July), Fans on the Field 10K (September) and Das Hustlehoff 5K (September).  Since I am winding down on races, I will be a regular at the Tony’s Run on Saturday mornings the rest of the year.

Running happier also appears to result in running better.  This year I have run my fastest 5K and 10K times in the past 7 years since I started actively running.  I still am a long way from visiting the podium, especially in running and fitness crazy Colorado, but in the battle for the “PR”, or personal record, I am winning.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It Only Takes a Deck of Cards to Stay Fit While Travelling

My blog has never really been about product endorsements or product reviews, although I may start doing more of that going forward.  So let me start by talking about one of my favorite products I have used for a while, FitDeck.  As folks that have read my blog know, I try to exercise 3-5 times a week as my busy schedule allows.  However, I also travel a lot for work and pleasure, so getting my exercise can be a challenge.  Frequent readers should also know I am not a big fan of gyms and I prefer bodyweight exercises in the great outdoors.

Fortunately my two favorite trainers, Ann Batelle, who is a four time Olympian in the moguls, and Jamie Atlas, who has received numerous awards for being one of Denver’s best trainers, also subscribe to my same philosophy of emphasizing body weight exercises outside over a bunch of gym equipment in a fluorescent lighted sweatshop.  But often travel doesn’t allow me to workout with them as much as I would like, so what do I do then?

This is when I turn to the FitDeck for my virtual Ann or Jamie workout experience.  FitDeck is a unique set of 56 playing cards containing illustrations and instructions describing over 50 different exercises, stretches and movements.  The “Bodyweight” deck is their flagship product, but they have several other “no equipment” and “equipment” decks as well as sports specific exercises.  My favorite decks are the Bodyweight, Plyometrics, and Combat Sports (the last set an alternative to when I can’t go to a kickboxing class, one of the few workouts I don’t mind doing in a gym).  They are also easier to carry with you on the road than P90X DVDs for folks that like to do that popular program, but they offer a similar workout.  So if you are interested, tap on the link I put on to my blog site at the right.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This Time is Different Because it is About the Team

I can tell that I am geared up for the Lavaman Triathlon although it is not until the end of March 2013.  First, I paid closer attention to the Ironman World Championships in Kona thanks to knowing a few folks who were three and competing and because a small portion of their bike course overlaps with the Lavaman bike course.  Two, when I went to 7-Eleven today with my kids I was compelled to have a “Lava Flow” Slurpee comprised of Pina Colada flavor with Cherry lava running through it.

But what will make Lavaman different from when I did it in 2011 is rather than just enjoying it with my Team in Training teammates, I talked 14 of my co-workers to join me as a Team in Training Corporate Team.  So rather than just raising $5,000 myself we are working to raise nearly $70,000 as a team.  So far we have a pretty good start at over 10% raised at $7,112, but we are going to need a lot of help to get all the way to our goal.

One way you can help is to attend our next big fundraising event.  We are going to be at the Howl at the Moon SNC TNT Triathlon Team Fundraiser Howl at the Moon Denver at 1735 19th Street, Denver, Colorado 80202 Friday, November 2, 2012 from 5:00pm until 10:00pm.  Donate $21 to the SNC TNT Triathlon Team web site ( per person and get free entry, first drink free, and a free buffet (until 8 PM) for a Howl at the Moon Happy Hour.  Friday: Happy Hour 5-10pm. You must check in by 8:00 for Free Admission, Free Drink & discounted drinks! There will be discounted drinks until 10 PM.  This is limited to the first 100 people to donate. A code will be provided once your donation is confirmed.

So please sign up to attend or just donate if you can’t come.  Exceeding my personal fundraising goal will not be enough if we can’t get the whole team to Hawaii.  As always, Mahalo for your incredible support.