GORUCK Training…132 Days to Go

To get ready for the GORUCK Heavy in May, I need to start acclimating to long stretches with a weighted pack on my back. The 24 hour plus race requires you to wear 35lbs of weight plus food and water on your back the whole time while doing a variety of physical challenges, including running. I want to make sure that on race day I am as comfortable as possible moving with a lot of weight on my back.

This afternoon, I filled my travel backpack with an assortment of dense, heavy items add weight (bags of rice and flour, cans of beans and tuna). The bag probably weighed 40-50 lbs. Read more of this post


My First Steps Towards GORUCK

To prepare for the GORUCK Heavy in May, I recently completed the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) to get a baseline of my current fitness level. I welcomed 2015 by doing this test at a local high school track in Seattle, alongside Jie’s brother Lex.

The APFT consists of: 1) as many pushups as you can do in 2 minutes 2) as many situps as you can in 2 minutes and 3) a timed 2 mile run. Between each event there is a 2 minute rest.

I must confess that when I first saw this, I thought to myself, this can’t be too hard. Sure that’s a long time to be doing pushups and situps but I frequently run much longer than 2 miles. At most, this would take less than 25 minutes and be a good warmup.

Boy, was I wrong! Read more of this post

GORUCK in May – I Hope I Make It

I know that it has been a few months since my last post. But I hope that a new fitness challenge will get me back to regular updates.

This week, my brother Dan and I signed up for the GORUCK Heavy, a 24 hour, 40+ mile team adventure race that is several notches above the Tough Mudder intensity.

As if the time and distance weren’t difficult enough, you need to carry a 35lb rucksack for the entire race, not too mention enough food, water and extra sets of dry clothing to keep you going. Check out the recommended packing list. Read more of this post

Tough Mudder: NorCal

Jie and I just completed our first Tough Mudder in Diablo Grande, about 90 minutes east of where we live. This completed one of my six goals from this blog's re-launch back in November. So, to commemorate our achievement, I want to give a blow-by-blow on the event, good and bad. Unfortunately, we did not bring a camera and haven't been able to track down pictures that Tough Mudder took.

Tough Mudder is a company that hosts 10-12 mile adventure course events in the US, Europe and Australia/New Zealand. The company bills its events as hard core endurance challenges with innovative obstacles designed by British Special Forces. They are also known for being a marketing powerhouse, intent on bringing these type of adventure races to a broad audience base, who find them more appealing than other endurance events like marathons.

Their events are also promoted as an exercise in teamwork and camaraderie. They are not races because nobody wins and your time isn't tracked. They encourage you to form groups to participate with. In that vein, Jie and I did Tough Mudder with my colleague, Laura, who jumped at the chance to join our Turtle Power team (slow and steady wins the race). On race day, most people were in teams and solo participants were easily able to join up with teams at every obstacle.

Read more of this post

A Pre-Dawn Jog Through Downtown Phoenix

Last week, a short business trip took me to Phoenix. My hotel was located downtown, an area of the city I had never visited before.

With limited free time, I was determined to see downtown through an early morning run. What better way to both see a city and get some exercise?

Despite being the 6th most populous city in the US, Phoenix’s downtown is surprisingly small. I was able to cover its entire perimeter in about 20 minutes. At night, the city impresses with lots of purple and neon colors.

Orpheum Theater Phoenix

Orpheum Theater


Majerle's Sports Grill downtown Phoenix

Sports restaurant and bar named after former Suns great “Thunder” Dan Majerle

Read more of this post

Running the Xi’An City Wall

After visiting the city wall that encircles the old town of Xi’An back in April, I resolved to run it the next time I visited. Last week I finally got the chance.

The city’s first wall was constructed in the 2nd Century BC and the current version has been standing since the 14th Century. At 13.7km (about 8.5 miles), the wall is enormous and is a major city landmark along with its 98 ramparts.

After Jie and I biked the wall one night (on a tandem bike no less), I was ready to attack the wall on foot.

Given Xi’An’s sweltering heat, I opted to start the run as early as possible, which was close to the wall’s 8am opening time. Luckily, I ran it on a cloudy day with the temperatures in the mid 70s so, if anything, I found it to be an optimal climate.

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Fashion Trends in Chinese Gyms

Yesterday, at the gym, I couldn’t help notice the outfits that some of my fellow gym goers were wearing. So I thought I would snap a few discreet photos and share them. While the resolution on my iPhone camera isn’t great, I still think you can get the idea.

don’t you live the color combo – and his headphones are actually pink

Read more of this post

My 5 Favorite Places I Had Never Heard Of Before My Trip

When you start planning, or even thinking about, a long-term trip like the one I set out on last July, there are usually a long list of places that you want to visit: new countries, big cities, national parks, historical sites. The list goes on.

We all have this list whether its on paper or in our heads. I may not have known my exact itinerary before I departed but generally I have gone to places I was aware of before leaving the US.

However, despite my pre-trip research, some of my best experiences have come in places I never heard of before arriving in a particular country. And that is the great thing about traveling, discovering something you never knew existed.

So after much thought and deliberation (ok not that much) here are my 5 favorite places (in chronological order) that I had never even heard about before hitting the road. The one constant here is that I discovered all of these places because I was with a local or based on a local’s recommendation.

1. Zingaro Reserve, Sicily Read more of this post

3 Things I Have Learned About On the Road

After six months on the road, there are a few big things that I have realized about myself. There is nothing too profound here but these were the ones that quickly jumped to mind.

1. I’m still intense – I always chalked up my intensity to living in New York or working in high pressure jobs. But really its just a part of who I am. And that’s not necessarily such a bad thing. Read more of this post

Five+ Months of Fantastic Food Highlights

The idea of chronicling my favorite foods on the road has been germinating for awhile. I have referenced food at various points in the blog but I figured why not dedicate an entire post to it?

So here goes. My five favorites so far (listed chronologically, not in order of my favorite, which is too tough to decide) plus some highlights from all the countries I have visited in the trip.

1. Busiata with seafood and tomatoes capped off with espresso and gelato in San Vito Lo Capo, Italy – what’s not to like about local Sicilian pasta cooked al dente with fresh tomatoes and tasty seafood? My first meal in Sicily, courtesy of my Couchsurfing host Peppe, was also my best. It was simple yet delicious and cooked to perfection. Followed by a strong cup of espresso and a gigantic gelato cone in the beach town of San Vito Lo Capo, this meal was an excellent introduction to Sicilian cuisine. Deliciousness in moderation.

who can argue with fresh pasta in Italy?

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