Ward Willis

Ward Willis

Kenzai Member
Head Trainer
It's Been a Minute

Hello blog. I've been over banging around in the new app post vacation. Sorry for the lack of communication in this channel.

Here are a few photos from holiday. And....

I've heard from a few folks that want to know how the big run went. The adventure run was awesome-ful. Great friends. Too hot (88 degree F). We went out too fast. That is the trouble with inviting a seasoned ultra runner. The course was incredible - totally DIY designed to include the most hills possible. Shiiit. Much too difficult for my first marathon...especially training at sea level. Alas, I banked 18 of the 26 miles. No pain. I tapped out due to a bad case of the dizzies and nausea. As you might imagine, I came in first place at the post run party.

Long distance running is rewarding. I trained for 112 straight days. No regrets. Lessons learned. Now....so happy to be back on my bike, or in my hiking boots, in the woods, or grinding in the gym....where I belong!

Song of the Day: Life of Leisure by Washed Out (Full Album) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LbOIG_8GNg


I'm ghost Kenzai. See you on Oct. 6th.

Song of the Day: Going up the Country by Canned Heat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBhpiUFSYWI


I owe myself an accountability update. Let me see how memory serves.

Last Week

Saturday was a treat. Kiddos were in town for a wedding from Boston and New York City respectfully. We hit the coast and it was a decadent and fun end to a great week of clean eating and training hard.

Monday - Brisk Walk, Yoga, 10 minute abs
Tuesday - 5 mile hike
Wednesday - Mountain Bike Ride
Thursday - Brisk Walk, Yoga, 10 minute abs
Friday - 11 mile run
Saturday - Brisk Walk, Yoga, 10 minute abs
Sunday - Hoops

This Week

Shaun S. (https://kenzai.me/shauns/blog) has been hanging in Portland, Maine. He is up on Bells II, so I jumped into those workouts for what should have been my marathon taper week. My left knee feels like monkey shit following my most recent bike crash. And while I'm busy getting my ducks in a row to go on Holiday (computer free), I'll need to carve out some extra time for foam rolling and a hot bath. Alas. Workouts are on track and the marathon is in two days!

Monday - Bells II Day 1 Workout
Tuesday - Bells II Day 2 Workout
Wednesday - Bells II Day 3 Workout
Thursday - 5 mile Run
Friday - Active Recovery Day
Saturday - 26. 2 miles
Sunday - Holiday

Question of the Day: Is jumping through all the hoops to prepare to go on holiday worth the fun of holiday? I am now remembering why I haven't been on holiday in like five years!

Song of the Day: Island in the Sun by Weezer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erG5rgNYSdk


Not everyone is crazy enough to run a marathon. Fewer still are crazy enough to create their own marathon course. And even fewer still would create a course where the final 13 miles are mostly uphill, featuring a host of rocky scrambles and scree. Alas, this is a Boy's Hike production, and common sense isn't typically a priority. See the link for some context:


So what is going to happen on this run? Truth be told, I have no idea. I've banked 100+ straight days of exercise and run more miles during that time than I ever have before. It'll be fine. Probably. Could there be costumes? Sure. Could there be beer? Maybe. Could there be streaking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20g3QIUnOgY ? Probably.

This is gonna be hard...and weird.

Song of the Day: Just What I Needed by The Cars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvy2yqUHLLg&list=RDEMrjuJw8utHM4zQArCPCxOHQ&index=2

RIP Ric Ocasek


On Thursday, I snapped my handle bars into pieces during a road ride. The worst part was I was holding onto said handle bars during their impact with the pavement. Sigh. More blood. More bandages. But the workouts remained on point despite some lingering neck pain.

Here is the Week that was in terms of training:

Monday - Brisk Walk, Yoga, 8 minutes abs
Tuesday - 5 mile hike
Wednesday - Brisk Walk, Yoga, 8 minute abs
Thursday - 6.5 mile run
Friday - Mountain bike ride
Saturday - Brisk Walk, Yoga, 8 minute abs
Sunday - 6.2 mile road race

Whoa. Shit is getting real. I'm less than two weeks away from running 26.2 miles. I am also less than two weeks away from my first proper no computer/no Kenzai vacation in...shiiiiit...like four years.

Not sure which makes me more nervous! Yeah...it's the run.

Song of the Day: On Graveyard Hill by The Pixies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2o-65chdoc


Training for 112 straight days to run 26.2 miles is bat shit crazy. If the wings fit though....

Monday - 11 mile run
Tuesday - Brisk walk, yoga, 8 minute abs
Wednesday - Brisk Walk, yoga, 8 minute abs
Thursday - Brisk walk, yoga, 8 minute abs, 5 mile hike
Friday - 6.5 mile run
Saturday - Brisk walk, Yoga, 8 minute abs
Sunday - 16.5 mile run

Song of the Day: Rat Bat Blue by Deep Purple https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=20&v=6poRsrl_574


Last Week I nailed it. Tight diet. Fluff mobilized. Runs on point with no pain. So as you can imagine I did what any sensible Kenzai pro would do, totally pivot and do whatever the hell I wanted. Maybe it was the stress of getting a kiddo off to college. More likely it was all my pals hitting me up for some final summer fun before the weather changes and back to school hell is unleashed like the fiery demon it is. It is a serious affliction, Last Week of Summer-itis. Shiiiiit.

Here is how the week in Marathon prep stacked up:

Monday - Brisk Walk, Yoga, 8 minute abs, MTB
Tuesday - Hoops
Wednesday - MTB
Thursday - Brisk Walk, Yoga, 8 minute abs
Friday - MTB
Saturday - 6 mile hike
Sunday - Brisk Walk, Yoga, 8 minute abs

This was the first week in 14 weeks where I haven't run. Upside. I stay busy. My time on the bike was epic. Fast ride on Monday. Long ride on Wednesday. And long and fast ride on Friday. I spent loads of time with other humans, something 16 mile runs don't tend to foster.

Alas, yesterday I crushed an 11 mile jaunt with pace. So maybe this little break was a net gain.

This week I'll be back to lacing up my running shoes and tightening up the diet. 4 weeks until the big day.

Thanks for listening and rooting me on. This is the longest time I've spent not in a structured Kenzai program. While I am following the basic outline of the marathon plan Malia, Patrick, and I have created, it isn't the same as running with the wolves. But a cool experience nonetheless.

Truthfully, I am a pretty motivated person. But getting the finer points right daily seems to require a bit more social accountability. So it goes.

Song of the Day: Nobody Beats the Biz (Marley Marl Remix): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hbxvsrFLaw


Another week done and dusted. That's 12 weeks, people. Only 4 to go! This marathon training is a bit like washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner. Rinse and repeat.

Here is the Week that was:

Monday - Brisk Walk, Yoga
Tuesday - 6 mile run, Kettlebell workout
Wednesday - Brisk Walk, Yoga
Thursday - 4.5 mile run
Friday - Brisk Walk, Yoga
Saturday - Brisk Walk
Sunday - 16.5 mile run

Yoga was a prime force of strength and stability training this week. Hip issues be gone! This week's L.A.R went off without a hitch, so holstering the bike was a pretty good (if altogether boring) move.

This week I'll feather in some biking and hiking. Because you gotta live a little!

Nailed the diet too...with one notable exception (see photo). Had to rip it up to celebrate the end of summer! Bringing the diet to the fore was always the plan for the final push up the mountain. After all, lighter is faster. I expect a diet wobble this Saturday. But otherwise, the plug is in the jug!

Hope all are well and thanks for the continued support and well wishes.

Song of the Day: Summer Girl by HAIM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjuA_o6Jzyo


It is Monday. That means I'm back again with the weekly accountability check-in. Here goes.

Monday - Brisk walk, yoga, 8 minute abs
Tuesday - Brisk walk, yoga, 8 minute abs
Wednesday - Mountain bike ride
Thursday - 6 mile run
Friday - Sea cycle excursion, 4 mile hike, Bloody Mountain Bike ride
Saturday - Mountain bike ride
Sunday - 10.5 mile run

I was all over the place this week. And I feel it. Last week I hit the strength notes. This week, I didn't. Just need to be a bit more consistent to bring all the variables - mobility, strength, runs, diet, flexibility - together for the final push. Marathon date looms. Sept. 27th will be here in a blink. Alas, I know being more ready probably means mountain biking less. BUT WHAT KIND OF FUN IS THAT!?!

Song of the Day: Binz by Solange https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=42&v=83LeK-t-kTw


Portland, Maine is on the map. The word has long since got out (thanks New York Times, Bon Appetite, Outside Magazine). Great beer, food, coffee, and people has them coming in from near and far. This week I had pals and fam hit town from places including Asia, Texas, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. Happy to say my training remained largely on track. Sometimes the busiest weeks, are the best weeks.

Monday - 60 minute walk, yoga
Tuesday - 6.5 mile run, full body bells workout
Wednesday - 60 minute walk, yoga
Thursday - Hoops
Friday - Mountain Bike Ride
Saturday - 6.5 mile run, full body bells workout
Sunday - 16.5 mile run

I am currently dealing with both runner's knee and IT band syndrome on the right side. This showed up on the first ten steps of my 16.5 mile run on Sunday. To run with pain the entire freaking time was empowering and horrifying. I'll do my part this week to address these niggles proactively.

This week, my long run is only 13 miles. Only. Shiiiiit. When did 13 miles start sounds like not so many miles?

Pro tip: Running longer distances makes your feet really swell. The jedi down at the running store told me that it isn't uncommon for people's feet to increase in size - one whole shoe size - when they distance train. So I got a half size larger. Then today, when I put my dogs in another pair of shoes, they would hardly fit. So weird.

Song of the Day: Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=21&v=HyHNuVaZJ-k

Ghost and Street Hoops

Ghost? What are you going on about Ward?

Well I'm not taking about this:


Nor am I talking about this:


Nor this:


I'm taking about these:


I'm flying on my runs with my fresh new kicks.

I've also included a little shot of me and the crew hitting the courts. Summer in Maine is a dream.

Song of the Day: Summertime in the LBC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUHBpkzdHbU


Another week of Marathon training in the books. Here is how it went.

Monday - Beach Ready workout, Brisk walk
Tuesday - Beach Ready workout, MTB ride
Wednesday - Beach Ready workout, Brisk Walk
Thursday - Beach Ready workout, 5 mile run
Friday - Brisk walk, Yoga
Saturday - MTB ride
Sunday - 15 mile run

Last week I resolved to hit more strength work. Nailed it. But...that resulted in running a few less miles. I was also feeling the effects of the longer run last Sunday, so I tried to dial down some of the impact by running a bit less and walking more.

The tricky bit is more strength training shows up fantastically on the MTB, but can leave my legs cashed out on the longer runs. I think I've figured out the perfect balance: two strength days, two yoga days, two bike days, three run days.

I've been flirting with a tighter diet. Flirting no more! This week things get serious on the diet front. I have set my maintenance diet to strict, and the kitchen scale has been dusted off. 8 weeks to race Day. I need to lose just a wee bit of fluff as the miles creep up. My knees demand it!

Song of the Day: Father Mountain by Calexico and Iron & Wine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lonTMlvxhQA


Hello. I've been using my blog to keep myself accountable as I prep for a monster run at the end of September. Here is how things shaped up on the fitness side:

Monday - 5 mile run
Tuesday - MTN Bike Ride
Wednesday - 30 minute walk, yoga
Thursday - 5 Mile Run
Friday - MTN Bike Ride
Saturday - MTN Bike Ride
Sunday - 13 Mile Run

This week was a banner week. I revisited the furthest distance I have ever run in a single go. And I did it in style, tackling the Blues Hills Preservation in Boston with my pal Dan. We rallied early, after staying up far too late, to mash some miles and take in the incredible views of the city at dawn. Temps were meant to be over 90 F so an early start proved to be a sage move.

I've done 13 miles probably 6 or so other times. As my marathon training evolves in the weeks ahead, I will be running the furthest I have ever run before. Whoa. New terrain ahead.

Today, I am recommitting to strength training. I've had my first niggle show up and I know it is in part due to my slack approach to strength training. I'm firm in my resolve to get back to it. And while a few weeks ago I wondered if 26.2 would be doable, I can totally see the path forward. That is energizing!

Hope all in the Kenzai-verse are happy and well.

Song of the Day: Sky Blue Sky by Wilco https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2Hfs8J6pHo


Week In Review

Monday - Big Lift, Mountain Bike Ride
Tuesday - 3 mile walk
Wednesday - 5 mile run
Thursday - Mountain Bike Ride
Friday - 10 mile Hike
Saturday - Trail Work (3 hours, 90 F)
Sunday - 5 mile run

Well. Make no mistake. T-Shirt sizzles. But I fizzled. Training (and doing R & D for Kenzai Marathon Program dropping in August) for my first marathon, requires me to really bring my A game to the cardio training. That and having winter in Maine end in about May, the last place I've found myself is in the gym moving metal.

I took the course to have a look at the goods and support the Beta trainees. I'm forgoing graduation. While I've trained every day for the past 28 days, I've only done 8 or so dedicated T-shirt workouts. I'll come back in the November session and earn the badge.

Cheers. Best to all always.

Song of the Day: Standing in the Shower...Thinking by Jane's Addiction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_3oOUfpdVY

The Week In Review

The beat goes on.

Monday - Mountain Bike Ride
Tuesday - Hoops, T-Shirt Ready Workout
Wednesday - 3 mile Run
Thursday - 5 mile Run
Friday - T-Shirt Ready Workout
Saturday - 12 mile Run
Sunday - 2 mile Walk, Yoga

I won't be collecting a badge come the culmination of this T-Shirt journey. But I will continue to read the lessons, support my teammates, and hit two workouts per week as part of my marathon training.

I will be back though. This course is rugged and will fit into my life better as I roll toward the holidays and put the marathon in the books. I G¥gotta have big arms to hoist the Christmas ale!

*At the time of this post...there was not a T-Shirt Ready course dialed in for November. But now there is. And what I am thinking is a serious group effort to lock in big arms, dope facial hair, and ridiculous xmas sweaters. Or CHANAKHA sweaters. Is that how you spell it, Fish?

Song of the Day: Patience by Tame Impala https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUmV-MorIKc

End of Week 7



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