Friday, September 8, 2017

It's My Birthday....Tomorrow

13 days ago I was in Breckenridge, CO to tackle the Spartan Race Beast.  It was an awesome time and I still need to post my pictures and about my weekend trip.  Upon returning my wife asked me a question. "Now that you finished the Beast, what is your next goal?"  I didn't really have an answer for her.  I still have the want to finish a marathon.  I've attempted the Lincoln Marathon twice and had to revert to just finishing the half marathon.  The 1st time I was way under prepared. It was seriously my own fault that I wasn't ready.  The 2nd time I was more prepared, but didn't account enough for hydration, nutrition, and the temps and cramped out to walk the last 4 miles of the 13.1.  After both of those "mistakes" I wasn't sure that I'd ever get the want or confidence to attempt another.  You'd think I'd be okay since I have ran 21+ miles for a trail run, but in hindsight I was probably under prepared for that and didn't give it my all as well.

Leading up to the Beast I was listening to the Spartan Up Podcast and I listened to almost 150 episodes in the 3 weeks prior to listen all of them before I went.  I was also listening to the Obstacle Dominator Podcast and just finished the last few of those.  I also listened to all of the Orange Mud Adventure Channel Podcast from beginning to end...and more now.  And I have also started listening to the Ultrarunner Podcast as of yesterday.  I've had that one on my subscription list, but hadn't pulled the trigger yet.

Where am I going with all of this?  Well, I finally found the answer to my wife's question.  I should have trained and ran The Hawk Hundred tomorrow as the race falls LITERALLY on my birthday this year.  Okay, I probably wouldn't have been ready for the 100 miler, but with enough grit I could have possibly been ready for the 50 miler.  I certainly could have been ready for the trail marathon.  Next year I intend to work so that I can sign up for at least The Hawk trail marathon if not jump straight to the 50 miles.  I have been pushing the past couple of months on my speed and speeds that were hard for me before are a more natural speed now.  So, I need to work on this more along with my endurance.  I need to go for longer runs to increase my overall mileage.  This includes hitting up more trails to work on my trail running experience to help me get ready.  If I do the trail marathon next year, then the following I want to be ready for the 50 miler.  And then the next year do the 100 miler.  Now, if I can find enough time and energy to work for the 50 next year that obviously puts more pressure on me to move my timeline for the 100 up a year as well.

July 3rd this year I started meal prepping for all of my snacks and meals prior to leaving work every day.  I also have been drinking up to a gallon of water before I leave work to make sure I am well hydrated.  Aiding in the hydration I have naturally been using Nuun Hydration as I am a 2nd year Nuunbassador (Nuun Ambassador).  A couple of days after I started my meal prep I won the entry into any Spartan Race and talked with my buddy Pedro and signed up for Breckenridge after planning some quick logistics with him.  In honing my nutrition and all of my work at training I have lost over 10% of my body weight in just 2 months.  I started at 261 lbs. and am now down to 234 lbs as of yesterday morning!  I couldn't have done any of this without my wife's support.  She has helped me in gathering my foods each week and is behind me in my goals.  We are now working together and I am doing some meal prep for her as well to help her achieve some of her goals.

So, please wish me luck as I am making some long term fitness goals and what I hope to achieve before I turn 40.  Yeah, I said that.  I'm now creeping towards that number.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Down to the Wire

I only have a few days prior to running the Spartan Race Beast in Breckenridge, CO.  I'm UBER excited, but also UBER scared.  I have questions running through my head: Did I train right? Did I run enough? Have I done enough upper body or core strengthening? Will I get altitude sickness and not be able to perform? Will I get hurt? Will I DNF for any reason? Can I handle the 13+ miles at elevation?

Even though these questions keep running through my head I keep shaking them out and telling myself that no matter what, I will endure.  I'll call on the Spartan grit to make it through.  Sure, given some of my weaknesses I will probably end up doing about 300 burpees for failed obstacle penalties, but it will be water under the bridge when I jump that fire and cross the finish line to earn my Beast medal.  I think that last time I ran that I looked pretty good, but it has been a while so the fears keep creeping in.

I mean, I was able to complete the Wall Traverse at my first Spartan event.  Granted, it was "only" a Spartan Sprint.  I have specifically been working lately on grip strength to help with this type of obstacle this time.  I don't think I'm much stronger upper body-wise and in my core though.  In fact, I am afraid that I am weaker.  No matter, I will do my best on every obstacle and I will do the burpees if needed.

Until next time, keep those beats coming!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Conquer the Gauntlet Iowa Race Recap

Image result for conquer the gauntlet

If anyone has been reading my blog recently, not that I've been actually writing that much, you would have read in my post "The Next Challenge" that I am going to be tackling a Spartan Race Beast in Breckenridge, Colorado.  In preparation for this challenge I have changed my eating habits, started working out more and in different ways, and even resurrected Spartan Race's #Spartan30 squat challenge.   I'll write a separate post on some of those changes.  Since I'm doing all of this, and my buddy that I'm doing it with figured we could use some real life training and he talked with his buddy William about the Conquer the Gauntlet series.  We got an opportunity to volunteer and run the race in Iowa on a short notice.  Like REALLY short notice.  The race was this past Saturday August 5th, 2017 and we talked about it (and signed up) just a few days before the race.

I was even able to get Caden (12) registered to run it.  He ran Mud Factor about a month prior which was short of 2 miles and he has ran 5k before.  So, I figured this was going to be a pretty good challenge for him as well.  I confirmed with my buddy and the rest of the crew that would be running with us that they would be okay with him joining.  They were more than enthusiastic to have him join.  Checking out the potential obstacle list I knew there would be some that I would not be comfortable with Caden doing as you need to know how to swim.  Caden is learning, but knowing that the water would not be see through in order to be able to see if he was struggling I was not comfortable with him even attempting some.  Other than these obstacles he at least attempted all of them.  I was so proud as he was able to attempt and basically complete them all.

I'm not going to lie, this course was kind of brutal!  The course was just over 4 miles by my Garmin, but a couple of other competitors mapped just below 4 miles.  So, we'll call it "roughly 4 miles." There was some ups and downs as you go in and out of a creek that runs through the property several times.  Those climbs were muddy at the bottom and loose soil with nothing to grab above there.  None of us (or any other competitor that we saw) was able to complete the pegboard.  There were balance obstacles that we did some pairing on to complete.  Most OC Racers don't train for balance necessarily, so I was the one that was able to fare better in these.  The biggest guy with the "best" balance....HA!  The Cliffhanger is their monkey bar section. They threw a surprise in when you got halfway up the 1st side and the rungs spin! Yeah, that was a shock to my forearms.  My buddy bested the Stairway to Heaven with ease.  The Belly of the Beast was a cargo net that you start atop a platform and climb down the inverted underside of the net to ring a bell.  Once we hit More Cowbell (the rope climb) I was surprisingly able to climb the 1st half of this soaking wet rope.  I tried several times, but don't have the skills yet to climb it.  When we got to the end the Torpedo was a fun water slide to take right before the finish line to get you soaked.  The negative to this, needed to go volunteer a few minutes after racing.  All in all it took Caden 2:27:05 to complete and he did awesome!
Caden posing with Deadpool, Spiderman, and She-Thor. They ran in those costumes!
Afterwards Caden rocked in helping to volunteer.  He walked the entire kids course a few times in order to clean up while we tore down the obstacles.  He helped to tear down and carry things to be loaded.  It was a great experience to share with him and a group of race friends.  I recommend checking out the race series if you want to run, volunteer, or both!  It's a "small business", but the owner is there doing everything himself.  He doesn't just own it.  He was there setting up, running it, tearing down, and loading things up.  You can check out the pics that we got for FREE from the event and photos that we took during the event below.  I still have to download the GoPro footage that I captured.

There are still 2 more weeks in the Resurrected Spartan Race #Spartan30 squat challenge.  Be sure to join and you can post your fun with the challenge!

Until next time, keep those beats coming!

The sun on the rise on our way.
We are sardines!!!
Slack line
Atop the A-frame Cargo Net

Caden tackling the Pegatron!
I swear this is my motto, so it is fitting we found this sign mid-course.
Log carry
Caden starting under the Belly of the Beast.
I actually had enough strength to conquer the Belly of the Beast.
My buddy finishing the Stairway to Heaven.
Conquering the Cliffhanger.
Looking like I was doing good, but I failed.
At the finish!
Caden's Race Results

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#Spartan30 Squat Challenge (Resurrected)

Does anyone remember the Spartan 30 challenges that Spartan Race used to do?  I certainly do!!  And as I am training to run my 1st Spartan Beast next month in Breckenridge I figured I could use some more "help" and motivation.  I mean, we ALL need motivation from somewhere.  So, why can't I help motivate myself by helping to motivate others!?  So, I re-present to you the #Spartan30 Squat Challenge (Resurrected)!!

The goal of this challenge is to do 30 squats a day for 30 days.  This is significant for me because I have 30 days starting today before I leave to go run the Colorado Rockies Spartan Beast.  So, I will be doing 30 squats IN ADDITION to any other training that I have scheduled for today.  Even rest days will be included.  We'll consider them to be the "favorite" term of "active rest."  You can read about how I wrangled myself into tackling the Spartan Beast HERE.


If you don't know how to do a proper squat, or want to make sure that you are doing a squat correctly I even dug up the original #Spartan30 Squat Tutorial that Spartan Race shared on YouTube back in 2014 when they 1st ran this challenge!  Now that I've resurrected this challenge, check it out below for your viewing pleasure!

Now that you know how to do a proper squat, you can read a little more about my preparations.

I have been looking for a good trail shoe that would also work well during an OCR (Obstacle Course Race) like a Spartan.  Back in 2013 when I ran the Nebraska Spartan Sprint I was selected to be inov-8's Masked Mudder!  (You can read about that experience HERE! Unfortunately, I think they discontinued the persona in 2015 as I haven't seen any activity suggesting that this is still alive.)  As part of this I wore some inov-8 trail running shoes, the inov-8 Trailroc 255.  I was lucky to find some shoes that I think will help me out.  I introduce my newest (not here yet) addition to my footwear lineup. The inov-8 X-Talon 225!!! Oooh! Aaaah!!! Aren't they pretty!?  Don't forget to look at the picture below to actually see them instead of just reading what I have typed.

And for nostalgia sake, lets take a look at my previous Spartan Race pictures as the inov-8 Masked Mudder!!!


Until next time, keep those beats coming!