52 Cards : Core Workout Card Game

I wanted to do focus on Cross Training this month as one of my resolutions.  Which was very successful.  I rode my bike 3 times a week as opposed to running.  Giving me knees a much-needed break.  Fall is just around the corner and there is nothing better than a jog in the autumn air.

However, I also wanted to refocus on the core.  I will admit that during the summer months, I don’t go to the gym.  Too many outdoor activities to take in before Central New York turns back into a frozen tundra.

Late in July, I stumbled across a TedEX Talk by Ray Lewis..

He spoke passionately about how, when he was growing up, he would have to watch his mother be physically abused by his step father.  “Her face would be so battered at bruised, that she would wear sunglasses in the house for days.”

Ray didn’t have the muscle to defend her so he took a deck of cards.  He flipped the first one and it read “7”.  He went down and did 7 push ups.  Flipped the next card “6” , six push ups.  Then so on and so forth.

When he would reach the end of the deck the would shuffle them up and start again.  But this time he would do sit ups.

Now I don’t have an as compelling  and heartwarming story as he does.  But what I do have is a busy mind and a busier body.

So in August, in between my so to-do list each day,   I played the card game.  I would do them until I couldn’t do them anymore. or I run out of time.  Some days my arms would not have the strength to push my body up one more time.

Day 1 push – ups :  I started with 62 push ups.   By 8/24  I had reached 164 in a day

Day  1 crunches:  Started with 116 crunches.  By 8/25 I had  reached 420 in a day.  (drawing 3 cards at a time)

At the end of the month I can differently feel it in my chest and abdominal muscles.

But the most important thing I am learning from the year all together is…I’m not 18 anymore and I will never look like that again.  The “Dad Bod” is here to stay.  But that doesn’t mean I need to let me conditioning and strength slide.  Just the work that I do won’t have as many noticeable effects and I can live with that

Here’s a link to Ray’s TexEx Talk here.  Truly a motivational story.




Breaking Bad Habits : Eating a proper breakfast

Being a natural morning person, you would think that I would take the time to eat a nutritional breakfast.  

The reality is that the time between rolling out of bed and the time I disarm the codes at work is only about thirty minutes which includes a ten minute commute.  

I only have enough time to get dressed and get out the door.  Then I’m thrown into my morning ritual and it doesn’t hit me until about two hours later that I’m starving.  

By then the grill is going and well as the ovens.  Breakfast usually consists of pizza, pasta, or sandwich…I know, gross.  

So to break this habit that surely keeps me from dropping a couple pant sizes, I stopped by the local store and grabbed a dozen eggs and a bunch of bananas.

As soon as I got to work at 6AM I would crack a few open, grab a saute pan and scramble.  Then throw in whatever left -overs there were at the restaurant.  Maybe some spinach or broccoli.  Or if I was lucky there would be some ham.  

I love scrambled eggs and because they are so cheap, I can cut down my food cost while cutting down my weight at the same time.  I also found that I stay full longer when i’m not eating garbage.  

Web MD had the following to say about eating a healthy breakfast

“Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast (as opposed to the kind containing doughnuts) can help give you:

  • A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  • Improved concentration and performance in the classroom or the boardroom.
  • More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity.”

Pallets, Charcoal, and Smores.

I mind is fried after a non-stop day.  So I don’t have much to say. 

Spent a relaxing evening as home. Playing with the kids outside and then grilling on my rescued, roadside charcoal grill.  

Showed Maddex how to use his archery set and made Smores over the dying flames.  

Slow Down In August

Once the weather turned in early April, I was eager to come out of hibernation and spend the warm months out of my house and exploring as much as could. 

By Mid July it was too much of a good thing and I found myself burnt out by the constant rounding around and pressure to find a new place to go.  

So this month I’m focusing on balancing out my life even more.   I will focus on only traveling two or three days a week as opposed to  five to six days.  

Instead I’m focusing on working on the house, slowing it down, and relaxing.  

Tonight…I’m hanging out by the new Lakeview Amphitheatre with a cold ūüćļ.  

Return To Road Work

It’s been two weeks since the Boilermaker road race and I needed to give my legs a long rest. 

Running is arguably the best cardiovascular exercise.  However, it’s so high impact that it tears your body up.  And the bigger you are the higher the impact.  

So in the meantime, I indulged in a modest splurge, and bought a bike.   I haven’t rode a bike in almost 15 years so I was a little rusty but it was a great way to stay active.   Cycling is such a low impact sport that injury rarely occurred.

Today, I took a nice jog and it felt amazing.  I’m looking forward to cross training on the bike while I recover between runs. 

A Race Like No Other : Utica Boilermaker 


“I don’t want your time. ¬†I want your best. ” 2014 Tough Mudder

For the 6th consecutive year I head to Utica for the greatest 15K race in America.

Every year, on the second Sunday of July local Uticans and running enthusiasts are joined by the most elite distance runners in the world for the annual Boilermaker

If you have been following my blog you know that I have been working very hard to get in shape for this event.  Not focusing so much on time but completing it without walking.

I may have finished this race 5 times before but I have only ran start to finish one time back in 2012.

I will touch on the pro and cons of straight running and using the run/walk method some other day.

Starting Line and Mile 1:

15,000 runners file into their starting areas  based on their running speed. as the national anthem is played.  8am on the dot, the gun fires while the Rocky Theme plays in an endless loop

As I reach the starting line on Culver Ave, I pass the street corner where I took my driving test to get my license all those years ago.  All East Utica Residents are out to cheer on their local runners.  I see one of my first managers from the grocery store on the side lines.


9,2 mile guy

Mile 2 The International Mile:

As you past the one mile mark to enter what is known as the International Mile.  Here you are met by volunteer organizations singing and dancing in support of the runners.

Irish Dancers, Egyptian Belly Dances, Etc all make appearances and it’s always a great site to see.

Mile 3 The Parkway:

After we pass the local Community College, MVCC we turn unto the historic Utica Parkway.

This is where the √ľber rich of Utica live, but they all come out to show their support by handing out $100s of dollars in popicles¬†¬†to the runners.

I’m still holding up well. ¬†I’m going slow and steady because I know the worst part is coming

Mile 4 Valley View Hill

Hardest Part right here.  We hang a left and start heading up a steep hill towards the Valley View Golf Course.

Once you make the right onto the course you have to clime the most brutal switch back in the entire course.  I know that if I can make it up this hill without stopping,  I can do the entire race.

This is where I put my head down and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

When you hit the top you are on top of the world as you are met with the picturesque view of the Mohawk Valley, guess that’s where the golf course got its name.

Mile 5 – Return to the park way and South Utica

Down the hill and out the back exit of Valley View. ¬† ¬†Make the left back unto the Parkway and don’t forget to pet the snake that’s waiting on the outside of the Utica Zoo entrance.

Now, we head into South Utica where I spent a lot of time growing up.  Just down the street is my grandmas house as well as my old school and church.

Mile 6 -Burrstone Road

Face a little bit of a hill here as we turn on Burrstone Road.  Just down the road is where I had my first job bagging groceries and played all my years of baseball.


Mile 7 Utica college

Make a right and there is St. Luke’s Hospital on the left where my brother Cameron was born and on the right is Utica College when I attended college. ¬†Seems like forever ago.

And there it is “Michael Haddad’s Water Station”. ¬†Dedicated to my cousin who went to Utica College and died of cancer at a very young age.


Mile 8 Yorkville

Here is where the fan support really picks up.

The entire race I make it a point to give “5” to anyone offering it and say hello to everyone I know. (Something I used to avoid)

The firefighters have the sprinkles out for a little cool down

Mile 9 Homestretch 

As we come to West Utica, my abdominal cramps start getting out of hand. ¬†I need to take a 10 second breather to get it to stop. ¬†But then I sprint for a good 15 second to make up the lost time and because I continued to run afterwards without stopping I don’t consider that a failure.

Now, I can see the finish line right outside the Saranac Brewery as I pick up the pace.

The announcer calls out my name as I finish my 6th Boilermaker and 2nd without stopping.

My wife and son are there to meet me as I bask in my own glory.

All my hard work has paid off.   Until next year Utica.


Strawberry Picking with Liam

“Right now I just want to chill for a while. Take a hiatus from all the craziness. To clean my house, see my family. Just see some movies and pick some strawberries.” Lauren Ambrose

One thing I always wanted to do was go berry picking.  Strawberries and blueberries are my favorite.  

I’ve been so busy lately that I almost completely missed ūüćď picking season.    I still was able to catch the last batch at Navarino Orchard, south of Syracuse on RT 20.  

I had a great time.   Feeling like a kid again, picking 2 and eating 1 before placing the other in my basket.  

Liam might not have shared my enjoyment but he was more than content roaming through the fields and playing with the ūüźē at the barn.  

Mark this one off the bucket list.  Be back for blueberries near the end of the summer.

Introduced him to rock candy.