Lazy Man’s Ironman

According to the person at the front desk, that’s what the YMCA used to call their “Healthy Living Challenge.” Apparently, insinuating that participants are lazy doesn’t encourage people to sign up, so they changed the name. Still, that’s essentially what the challenge is: an Ironman that you have to complete over the course of about six weeks.

I’m planning on going the traditional route: swim 2.5 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles. (I’ll probably be leaning toward walking instead of running, but you get the idea.)

However, they have… alternative miles. Instead of swimming, you can row for 12.5 miles or take a water exercise class for three hours. Trying a new fitness class or volunteering at the Y is the equivalent of 10 running miles. Eating together as a family? 25 miles. So if you’re single, no major shortcuts for you! Unless you give yourself 25 miles for every meal since you’re a family of one, take your pick.

Criticism aside, I decided to register. For one thing, I’m woefully out of shape. I haven’t played soccer in ages because I’d probably run onto the field, then just run all the way across and call for a substitute because I’m about to collapse already. For another, it doesn’t cost me anything extra and I’ll be getting a free t-shirt. Yay for free t-shirts!

I finally started the challenge today—the event itself began last week, but I had a nasty cold that was clogging up my lungs—and IT BURNS!!! My leg muscles are reminding me how long they’ve been neglected. But I’ll probably head back to the Y tomorrow and grind out some more miles, if for no other reason than if I put things off for too long, I’ll have to work really hard to finish and then it won’t be a lazy man’s Ironman anymore.

Crazy sweeps the competition!

If you go back and look at “Crazy” posts in the last few years, you’ll see a handful of entries about how my little brother Justin and Team WEDALI have kicked some major adventure racing ass. Well, they can’t accomplish much more than they have in the last two weeks:

In 2012, WEDALI became the first team to win both the USARA National and the Checkpoint Tracker Championships.

(Admittedly, this is only Checkpoint Tracker’s third championship race, but given that WEDALI won it last year and this year, that’s pretty damn impressive.)

So pretty much all I can say at this point is… wow. And congratulations to Justin, his wife Molly and all of Team WEDALI!

Just for fun, here’s a video of the team crossing the finish line this morning (and I’m proud to say that yes, that’s my little brother dropping his bike and cackling wildly… I can’t imagine why people might think we’re related).

Get a room to bowl, you two!

I went bowling with a group of friends this weekend and they had a deal: $11.99 for three games and shoe rental. Actually, getting to the bowling alley is a story in itself. I’d driven there twice before (once from home and once from another bowling alley that was packed) and I was starting from my friend’s house this time, so I’ve driven there from three different starting locations. Consequently, I had no idea where I was going.

That wouldn’t have been a big deal if my friend realized I was following him to get there, but he didn’t and thus didn’t think twice about ditching me at a stoplight. I pulled onto the highway all alone and thus completely missed an exit onto an interstate, which would have taken me there a lot sooner. By missing that exit, I ended up on a highway where there was nowhere to turn around for close to five miles. Seriously. Nowhere to turn around. And if I hadn’t had the bowling alley’s address in my phone’s GPS, I would’ve had to go home.

So there I was, driving and driving and driving, noting that every time my phone told me to take a U-turn, it was one of those police car turnarounds that probably shouldn’t exist on a GPS system. I was torn between being ticked off and pissy when I got to the bowling alley and knowing that my detour wasn’t a big deal and I’d get there eventually anyway. I ended up choosing the latter, although it didn’t help that when I was finally about three minutes away, I got a text from my friend asking, “Are you coming?”

The reason that the big ol’ detour is worth mentioning is that because everyone else paid as soon as they got to the bowling alley. I didn’t. I just got my shoes and started bowling with everyone else. I thought I was supposed to pay when I left, but since the guy at the counter didn’t say anything, I figured someone was generous enough to pay for the group. I sent a message to my friend after I got home asking about that last option, but nope! I ended up bowling three games for free! So my unfortunate detour ended up being very anti-expensive.

So to jump way back to the beginning, the deal was three games plus shoes. I’m assuming that the bowling alley also has a “bowl by the hour” option because of what happened in the lane next to ours. (Well, technically, we had two lanes, so I was only forced to watch the event, not have it happen directly behind me.)

I’m surprised my spider-sense didn’t start buzzing as soon as I saw them slow-dancing to music in the background and looking directly into each other’s eyes. You’d think that would be difficult since he was about eight inches taller than her. Well, it’s a lot less difficult when he’s got her ass cupped in his hands and she’s got her legs wrapped around his waist.

Thankfully, it wasn’t a constant make-out session. During the hour or so that they spent in the lane next to ours, they finished an entire 4 1/2 frames. I just… ew. That’s all I have to say. Ew.

Actually, no, I would like to say something else. We played a round of gold for our third game—put up the bumpers and try to get as low a score as possible. Last time, I got my ass kicked when I cleared 150. This time, I won with the low score of 66. And if the couple in the lane next to ours had been there, I still would have won because they were scoring more than me, too.

Craaaaazy is the chaaaaampion, my frieeeeends…

Checkpoint Tracker has been an adventure race points-rated system for… well, I’m not sure how long it’s been around. For each race a team entered, they could win a certain number of points for their final position: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Lotus, Cat, the Intertwined Hibiscus, etc. (You’d be amazed at how many points you get for that last one.) At the end of the adventure racing season, each team that reaches 500 points gets covered with awesomesauce. (You’d be amazed at how much awesomesauce you get from that last one.)

Last year, though, Checkpoint Tracker added a twist: their own National Championship. Previously, there was USARA (United States Adventure Racing Association). Then there were two, which gave teams two chances to earn bragging rights as national adventure racing champions. Sure, it’s odd, but getting 500 points last year is what allowed WEDALI to compete in the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge, so why knock the system?

Another reason not to knock the system is because WEDALI only finished third in USARA nationals this year (the fact that I’m writing “only” seems really cool and really sad at the same time), but they redeemed themselves valiantly by kicking some major ass in the National Checkpoint Tracker Championship race over the weekend. I could have posted this right away, but I wanted to save the link to the website and the picture that reflects their bad-assery until the very end.

So congrats to my little brother Justin and all of his WEDALI teammates for smoking the competition and… no comments about the awesomesauce this time—it seems inappropriate since they came in first.

A good way to end the streak

Which isn’t saying much, seeing as how “the streak” is “playing a soccer game on Sunday for four straight weeks.” When I’ll be playing again, I dunno—I’ll be in Chicago next Sunday and going in for surgery the next day. How long that’ll keep me off the field… each injury has varied, so I’m not going to speculate. Suffice it to say that I’m glad that my last game for a while was this one.

It certainly helps that the final score was 4-0, but I felt like I was back to my old self. Sorta. I was panting and wheezing and my chest hurt when I would come off the field, but aside from the lack of endurance, it was good. I was back to playing sweeper—center defender—where I played for years before my knee made it hard to make sharp twists and turns. Today, no such concerns.

I felt comfortable, I felt confident, I enjoyed yelling at my teammates… it was usually about players from the other team who were standing wide open, so one time they were standing around on their own and I started yelling… it was our free kick, so it didn’t matter where they were standing. Oops. (In my defense, when the referee blew the whistle for a hand ball, he pointed toward our end of the field.)

I made some little mistakes here and there, but overall, I’m happy. And now soccer is going to be in the taillights for a little while, but if this was my send-off game or my birthday game or whatever you want to call it… if this was the last one for a few days/weeks/months, I’m okay with that. Which doesn’t change the fact that I’ll keep going to games (even if I’m on crutches) so I can yell at my teammates from the sidelines.

I’m bad at being bad

I went bowling with a group of 10 other people last night and we had fun. As most people should know, an essential element of having fun bowling is mocking and taunting the other players and there were plenty of opportunities. Unfortunately… well, I’ll get to that.

We went for four rounds (some people bowed out for a round or two when their hands and wrists started getting tired—the rest of us didn’t ask for any details). The first three were like normal bowling: try and get the highest score possible. We ended up doing a ranking system according to those scores so the people who did the best moved to the leftmost lane and the crappiest players ended up on the right.

The first round established the initial rankings, which was awesome. Not because I did exceptionally well, but because I had a massive comeback in the last few frames. One guy thought I’d be stuck in the middle until I pointed at the scoreboard and he realized that I had a pair of strikes in the 8th and 9th frames. I then picked up the turkey (three strikes in a row), got nine pins and cleaned up the spare in the 10th frame. Yeah, definitely a massive comeback.

So I moved over to the left lane for a game, then proceeded to do crappy enough to move back to the middle for the third (thankfully, not crappy enough to slide all the way down, but still…). That might not have been so bad considering it was the “Groundhog Day” lane—if the ball went into the gutter, it wouldn’t always register the roll. There was at least one time when someone got four rolls in a frame because he put two balls in the gutter and later got another chance to pick up a spare the same way.

But after those first three games were done, we opted to try something different: put up the bumpers and get the lowest score possible. I sucked at it. And by “sucked”, I mean I rolled a 133. If I remember right, that was my highest score of the night. But aside from that debacle, at least I had the consolation of screwing up someone else’s game.

Michael Amiri (and I’m using his name because he had it coming) was in reach of a sub-50 game in the last two frames, but I owed him. Two days earlier, we were both working on a shoot for The WaZoo! Show that involved Nerf guns with “lasers” for aiming. The lasers were part of the sketch; the Nerf darts inside the gun were not. Nor was the fact that while we were standing around between scenes, he shot me in the jaw. So I owed him.

Consequently, in the 9th frame, he was about to roll the ball down the lane when I made a comment about him being used to not scoring. I didn’t hear him laugh, but I saw seven pins fall down as well as his middle finger multiple times during the rest of the night. Remember what I said about mocking and taunting? Hell yeah…