Monday, September 24, 2012

Lumberjacks Restaurant

Yes, it is true, we are in California for the Tough Mudder Lake Tahoe event. But the other highlight of our trip is our stop at Lumberjacks Restaurant in Sacramento. Just like the last two times I’ve eaten here, our group was floored.

Picture this: a family style restaurant with a perfect lumberjack theme. The walls are adorned with photos of turn of the century logging in the Pacific Northwest. Several flat screen televisions are mounted on the walls playing, no… not football, constant lumberjack sporting events. It doesn’t stop with the décor. All of the food is made fresh (including the sauces) amazingly tasty, and in HUGE quantities. But even for this dieting fitness competitor there are actually healthy lumberjack choices as well!

As you can tell, this place is my dream come true.

I was introduced to owner Scott Bailey 4 years ago when the restaurant chain was still young. Now, 10 restaurants strong, Lumberjacks Restaurants are not slowing down.

During our chat with Scott today (between breaks of me pointing out all of my friends on TV and shoving the outstanding food into my mouth) we discussed showcasing the newer generations of Lumberjack sports on the walls of these restaurants. Alongside of the historic logging photos will soon be autographed shots of Taylor Duffy, Dave Jewett, Brad Delosa, Jenny Atkinson, and all of your favorite competitors. Scott is also hoping to acquire old competition saws and chainsaws from athletes to feature in various restaurants.

In a time when lumberjack sports are struggling for recognition and growth the best way to America’s hearts is through their stomachs!

So lumberjack athletes… let’s help Scott with the growth of these restaurants!

Scott is looking for the following:
• Professional competition photos.
• Older competition equipment (saws, chainsaws, and axes)
• Folks interested in opening up a franchise (let’s get these in Wisconsin!)

If you have any of the above and are interested in being featured in his restaurants, please contact me for his information.

It’s not often we can go out to dinner with friends and see ourselves compete EVERY time!

We can’t wait to return for another great meal on Sunday!

Tough Mudder Lake Tahoe: GO TRX!

Tough Mudder Lake Tahoe: Mission Complete.

My dear friend and TRX coworker Hayley Hollander wrote a fantastic blog about the event and conquering fear. Following her theme I wanted to summarize some of the great lessons I learned through this amazing event.

• Things never go as expected
• Elevation changes the game
• Many muddy men in speedos and underpants is not always a good thing
• Gravity isn’t always helpful
• Electricity will always be scary
• Not EVERYTHING in life is a competition
• Peter is one special person

Things never go as expected:
We left Kim’s beautiful house in Tahoe City for the race about 2.5 hours early. With event traffic, parking lot closures, and rerouting we FINALLY arrived at the race 1.5 hours after our wave had already begun the race. Many of us (okay, mostly me) started to stress out and worry, but as a team we decided to take a deep breath, get to the venue, regroup, and start the race. We quickly found out missing our starting wave was no big deal at all and life (and the race) went on just fine.

Elevation changes the game:
“Have fun at 6,000 feet elevation!” said Wisconsin Mudder and fellow TRX instructor Kari Woodall. “Bah, I’ll be fine” I thought. WRONG. My goal was to run the entire race with no walking. HA. Not when the first four miles of the race went up about three thousand feet in elevation. But despite the burning in our lunges, we did jog most of the time, thanks to the guidance of multi time Ironman Kortney.

Many muddy men in speedos and underpants is not always a good thing:
No explanation needed.

Gravity isn’t always helpful:
During the last few miles of the race, we were blessed with some downhill terrain. I made the mistake of thinking to myself how wonderful it was that nobody on our team had any injuries. Moments after that though process my right foot hit a rock, which launched me head first down the trail. Thanks to the steep incline, I didn’t stop sliding until my shoulder, arm, hand, stomach, and knee were nice and bloody. The obstacles were fine, apparently it’s the jogging I need to work on. :)

Electricity will always be scary:
As a small child my parents found it funny to give me static shocks in my Great Aunt’s house during the dry winter. From those scarring moments on (okay, they really weren’t that horrible) I’ve been scared of any sort of electric shock. During this race I had to face and accept those fears and go head on (literally) with the electricity. In my recent blog post about race day prep for Tough Mudder I remind everybody to remove all metal piercings from their bodies to prevent electricity from entering and exiting those points. The morning before the race I took my own advice and removed my earrings. Shortly after doing that I then thoughtlessly added metal hair clips in my hair. Not brilliant. During the electric eel (crawling through water under electric wires) an enormous shock jumped right into my head via my hair clip. I don’t think I was 100% knocked out, but it was close. For a moment I had no idea where I was or what I was doing and actually thought a bee had stung my head. Shortly after the big head shock painful waves of electricity zapped in 2 second intervals through the water until we were able to make it out. Still not sure how this is legal or safe, but I was happy to say I made it through. Maybe I will notice some amazing new talent or odd tick sometime this week…

Not everything in life is a competition:
Did those words just come out of my mouth? In my world everything is a competition, from eating to exercise to belching. Throughout the event I had moments in which I wanted to sprint ahead, push through pain, yell at those blocking my way to move and finish fast as possible. Thank goodness I had Peter there to remind me this was about all of us finishing as a TEAM. The world would not stop if we waited at obstacles, walked with sore friends, or stopped to help out another team. And let me tell you, the event was much more enjoyable because of that.

Peter is pretty amazing:
I was already well aware of this one. As written above, there were many times I wanted to speed ahead, get the best time possible, and not wait around. But the common theme of the race was, “Where is Peter?” He was always behind, helping people through obstacles, going back for teammates who had to walk, checking on others and cheering on those struggling. Everyday I learn from him and Tough Mudder was no exception. I will always continue to strive to be the person Peter is.

Finally, THANK YOU to Meagen Schumacher for, despite being injured, joining us on this adventure, cheering us on like crazy, scrambling up the mountain and capturing all of these amazing photos.  I am so lucky to be surrounded with wonderful people.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ironman Wisconsin 2012

Another Ironman in the books! And no, I didn’t complete one myself (not sure that will ever happen) but I was once again honored to be part of the outstanding volunteer crew that puts this event together. It was my 11th year stationed at the Kohl Center side by side with my dad providing food, fluids, and most importantly, entertainment for the athletes.

Along with the aid of my awesome dad, I was also happy to have Peter (who for once was NOT competing in the event) and dear friend Travis Wells helping through the entire day.

Even better, we had our best group of over 100 volunteers YET! This year the challenge was to show up in the brightest neon outfit possible and just about everybody delivered! Not only did everybody deliver on outfits; energy, noise and work ethic were there as well! And thanks to the great group of folks who were the coveted “garbage pickers” we had by far the cleanest aid station (even if we didn’t win that award!).  And once again, a special thanks to the Edgewood Basketball Team for helping out into the midnight hour with the third shift.  You guys are wonderful!

On a side note, other than for the experience of the wonderfully fun and inspiring day I also run the aid station to raise money for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, a charity near and dear to my heart. Every year Ironman Wisconsin donates to this charity for our hard work at the Kohl Center. For more information about the charity, what Huntington’s Disease is, and what we do, please take a moment to visit our website at: or watch one of my YouTube clips at:

If you are local, our charity is hosting our annual 5K run/2K walk at Vilas Park on Sunday October 14th. We have a wonderful (and of course crazy!) time with food, music, a great silent auction, and most importantly… a bouncy house! For more info on this event please visit: 

I do hope everybody had a wonderful and inspirational experience at the race and I’m looking forward to seeing all of you (some of you on the course!) again next year!


The "Dream Team" 
L to R: Peter, Shana, Travis, Daddy (George)

This bright family used their belly dance lessons for some great bell ringing!

Tiny neon shorts?  Why not!?
The costume winners of our team.  
Not only that, they returned to help with another shift!

More athletes are making their way through!

The crazy Verstegen clan during the night shift.
Edgewood College crew was a bit afraid of our slick dance moves!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Tough Mudder Race Day Tips, Tricks, and Packing List!

Below are some great race day tips and a packing list.  But before getting to that I want to share the amazing training experience our Supreme Health and Fitness Tough Mudder Training Camp had the six weeks leading up to the big event.

We met three times per week with crazy fun and unpredictable workouts including: log rolling (of course), Elver hills with logs on our backs, obstacle distance runs, playground adventures, animal games, log pushing, heavy weight lifting, TRX Rip and Suspension training, and the grand finale of playing in ice water and being chased by fireworks (yes this really happened).
As goofy and fun as this all was, Peter and I learned a lot from this 6-week training experience.

Choose an event as a goal.  If you have a goal in mind (doesn’t have to be an 11 mile death run… even a 5K or a bike ride will work!) training then has a purpose and is much more fun!

Exercise can be fun.  Fitness does not have to be 20 minutes on the treadmill followed by boring circuit training equipment.  Fitness can (and should) be fun and adventurous!

Train with friends.  The accountability and laughs make it worthwhile!

Do a job you love.  I will never become rich working in the fitness industry, but I cannot think of any other job that provides so many laughs, accomplishments, and good times.

Have adventures with the one you love.  What really made this class a blast was working as a team with Peter.  We had more fun programing and plotting than we did teaching!  The experience brought us even closer and we can’t wait to teach more team classes.


Tough Mudder Race Day Tips and Tricks

Your big day is just about here!  You’ve done hours of running, crawling, lifting, swimming, trudging, climbing, pulling, and balancing in all different conditions.  Now it’s time to have fun and enjoy your race!
The below tips were stolen from several reputable sources.

What to Wear

• Most obstacle course races feature mud, water, and off-road conditions. You might want to choose clothing, shoes, and gear that you wouldn’t mind discarding after the race.  
• Choose comfortable athletic clothing and fabrics that wick moisture and dry quickly. Consider compression shorts, tops, and/or socks.  Avoid cotton
“You’re gonna be wet, you’re going to be fully submerged at some point, and it’s going to be cold.” Stay away from cotton, which will soak up the water and mud, dragging you down and keeping you chilled. Instead, opt for materials that wick away moisture, like Dri-FIT or COOLMAX, and fit closely to the body to reduce chafing. That said, there is no dress code, and costumes are encouraged, so if you want to go shirtless or wear a tutu, do it. Just remember to bring a change of clothes so you can enjoy the post-event party dry and warm.
• No Capes.  

Shana is Wearing:  Lululemon (total brand plug) Capri spandex pants, dri-fit tank top, under armour long sleeve top, coolmax socks, and under armour cap.

• Race in something you have trained in. Do not try a new pair of shoes or compression shorts on the day of the race.
• Opt for trail running or off-road shoes.  Wear old, grippy shoes
“Wear an old pair of sneakers, especially a pair that has trail treads,” Patterson says. Pick a pair that isn’t completely beat, but that you don’t mind getting permanently stained.
• No Capes. 

Shana is wearing: Old pair of asics running shoes with shoe laces tucked in and triple knotted.  

• Consider athletic or weight lifting gloves to help with grip and protect your hands.  
“A good pair of gloves with open tips so the water drains out of them will help you grab onto things when you’re wet and doing the obstacles.”  Weight lifting or cycling gloves will protect your hands and improve your grip on obstacles like monkey bars or rope climbs. Several competitors swear by Mad Grip gloves with the fingertips cut off.
• No Capes

Shana is wearing: Mad Grip Gloves with fingertips cut off.

What to Bring
Hydration Pack
Athletic Tape (if needed)
Watch and/or Heart Rate Monitor
Elbow/Knee Pads (if needed)
Extra Change of Clothes
Cash for food and merchandise
Energy Bars or Gu
Antibiotic ointment and Band-Aids for after race

Other Race Day Tips:
Take out earrings and other piercings- the electricity will go right to these objects.
Shocks on the Rocks/Electric Eel: Don't be a douchbag. If you get shocked, EVERYBODY gets
shocked. Stay low and go slow.
Twinkle Toes: These beams will be wet and muddy. Even the Gabby Douglas would fall walking
straight-on. Stand sideways and shuffle to avoid taking a dip in the drink.
Everest: Just keep running. Even if you feel as though you will fall backward. Run longer than you
think you need before you leap.
Electroshock Therapy: If there are hay bales stay low and crawl over these. If you go airborne and
get shocked (which is highly likely) you will wake up on the ground asking for your mom with a potential serious injury.

Arriving at Registration…
Arrive early to avoid any stress of being late–getting lost, traffic jams, finding parking, missing your start time, etc
Make sure to bring your Photo I.D. and your confirmation e-mail from Tough Mudder HQ
Be sure to drop any valuables at the baggage drop facility available at each event

Find your team! If you signed up with a team, make sure you start and do your best to stick together. If not, there’ll be plenty of people around you cheering and helping you along.

Take at least 15-20 minutes before your heat to warm-up and stretch. It doesn’t matter how seasoned of an athlete you are, Tough Mudder is designed to test every ounce of your physical ability. Be sure to take the time to warm up your body properly in order to avoid injury and an early exit from the race.

Ideal Warm-Up:

5 minute slow jog
20 feet of high knees, butt kicks, side shuffle, walking lunges
10 leg swings in each direction
1 minute arm circles in various directions
30 seconds trunk rotations

20 seconds each stretch:
Standing Quad
Standing Calf
Standing Toe Touch
Standing Chest Stretch