One Year of CrossFit

One Year of CrossFit

Just over a year ago, I came to the realization that I needed a change. I needed something to release stress, provide both mental and physical challenges, and most importantly something to help me feel better and happier.

My first instinct was to try running… again. So I began sporadically running (aka jogging). It didn’t take long until, I realized that I really, really dislike running. In that first month, I ran up to 3 miles at a time about 4-5 times. Then I started losing the motivation to run.

So I started looking into local gyms, thinking that maybe I’d have better luck there (but I wasn’t hopeful). And to be honest, I disliked “lifting weights” even more than running. Other than chest/bench presses and using the Universal Gym Equipment (that machine with pulleys and dozens of things), I had no experience on how to properly lift weights. So after a fleeting thought about signing up for a gym membership, I remembered CrossFit and looked to see if there was a CrossFit gym nearby. (Back in 2009, I looked into CrossFit when I lived in San Diego, so I was somewhat familiar with the overall concept.)
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2016 St. Albans Raid Half-Marathon

2016 St. Albans Raid Half-Marathon

I signed up for the St. Albans Raid Half-Marathon event a few weeks prior to the race. At the time, I hadn’t ran much (any) since my last half-marathon in April. So the weekend prior to the race, I ran 10 miles and I felt pretty sore afterwards. I was able to hit my target pace of 9 minutes/mile on my practice run, so I was pretty excited and hopeful to get a new personal best at the race.

I had hoped for a finish time of 1:50 which would be 10 minutes faster than my last half-marathon. Having only ran one previous race at that distance, I felt like I had a better grasp for the distance and effort. In my first half-marathon, I did a fast jog for the first several miles and then sped up for the last few miles once I realized that I still had a lot of energy remaining at that point. For this race, I started out strong (actually faster than I expected or wanted to) and even though my pace slipped a few seconds every mile, I was able to get a new personal best of 1:45.
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2016 Montreal Spartan Race Super

2016 Montreal Spartan Super

The 2016 Montreal Spartan Race Super was held on July 30. I signed up for the 10am heat (2nd Open heat, after the elite and competitor class heats). After a very short 1.5 hour drive through some absolutely beautiful Vermont and Canadian scenery, I arrived at the event located at the Owl’s Head Ski & Golf Resort in Mansonville, Quebec.

I arrive a bit earlier than expected, I thought it would take closer to 2 hours than 1.5 hours and it was very, very easy to find parking (which based on other races usually took an additional 30+ minutes). The village/vendors/check-in area was very small compared to other races. Additionally, there wasn’t as many spectators or crowds as other races. It was also really nice to bump into a handful of friends from my local CrossFit gym.
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Midland Clubtail dragonfly – rare dragonfly discovery

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A few days ago, I took a photograph of a dragonfly while walking my dog, Raven. Like most of the photographs, I didn’t think much about it until a few days later when I uploaded it to iNaturalist. A day or so later, I was contacted by a couple of biologists and dragonfly experts who thought the dragonfly might be a rare/newly introduced species. You can read about the discovery on the Vermont Center for Ecostudies blog.

As a novice photographer, James Welch enjoys documenting the biodiversity he sees around his home turf. With his camera in hand while walking his dog last week, Welch stumbled upon a rare find in Vermont near the Winooski River, a Midland Clubtail.

Read more at http://vtecostudies.org/blog/vermont-inaturalist-discovers-a-new-population-of-a-rare-dragonfly/

2016 Boston Spartan Race Sprint

2015 Boston Spartan Sprint

The 2016 Boston Spartan Race Sprint was held on June 4 and 5. I originally signed up for the elite/competitor’s grouping early in the morning, but soon realized that I couldn’t make the start time, so I changed my heat until the afternoon. After a nearly 4 hour drive, I arrived at the event located at the Carter & Stevens Farm in Barre, Massachusetts.

I arrived two hours early as noted in the instructions, but maybe next time I’ll just arrive an hour or so early. One thing that I quickly realized was that there was not enough shade or tents. Being a red-head, fair skinned guy, I was lucky that I brought my sunscreen and I applied generously hoping that the application wouldn’t grease my hands too much. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be sunburned by the time this blog entry is posted.
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