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Warrior Dash New England

On June 10th, some members of the team we assembled for Tough Mudder (named Beer Wings, but we’ll get to that in another post) got together to tackle the Warrior Dash.  The 2012 New England event was held at the Thompson International Speedway in Thompson, CT.

Beer Wings: Before.  So, clean.  So shiny.

It was a hot day in New England, and we were ready for anything. We had decided to run the Dash as a team, and after the rally cry from the MC, and the flames exploded above the starting line, we were off! Or rather, we were walking along as the group of 400 of us hit the first challenge about .1 miles into the course. The first challenge wasn’t so much an obstacle as it was a muddy embankment into a cool creek. It was met with many screams as the cold water filled everyone’s shoes, but our little group was attempting to run at every moment to create some room for ourselves. We held our own really well, and slogged through the various mud puddles, patches, and creek beds that came up thigh high. The first obstacle was a muddy embankment which had a cargo net draped over it for some traction. However, the five of us skipped the cargo net section and just charged up the muddy slope using our hands for extra leverage. In no time, we were though that section and onto a slightly wider trail where we could begin to find our groove.

Scott & I running along

We settled into a nice easy pace, and came upon our next obstacle. Up and down some pitched balance beams, but not too difficult. I could see it being a bit more of a pain if it were later in the race, and your legs were tired. Next up, we had to hop over some barricades, and duck under barbed wire fences. Scott & I had gotten into a rhythm of scaling the wall, taking a couple of paces to the barbed wire, dropping and rolling through, hopping up and repeating the process. I don’t remember how many sections there were, but I remember being glad to finally get to the end of that one. Not long after, we were making our way through a tire field, up and over wrecked cars, up vertical walls, and down 20 foot poles. We held together pretty well through them all. Jack was falling back a bit towards the end, and waved us on.

Barb’s husband, Ryan, her children, and Drea were all on hand to spectate and snap some photos of us. Unfortunately, they weren’t allowed too far onto the course, so all their photos came at the end. However, some great obstacles were at the end, and they were able to grab some great shots of us!

As we neared the end, we passed some firemen who were cheering us on letting us know that there was 3/4 of a mile to go.  But, in the last half mile there were four obstacles to take on.  The first was the 20 foot tall “Warrior Wall” which you had to scale up and over.

Scaling the Warrior Wall

I hit it really well, and was up and over in no time.  And, like we had been doing, I turned to back and was rooting on my teammates and waiting for them to join me.  Scott & Barb came over next, and as I was standing there waiting for Mike, I noticed that they kept running!  I had heard that Barb had a competitive streak in her, and it seemed like she was smelling the finish line.  So, I began giving chase.

Next up, he had to jump through fire hurdles.  Scott had cracked me up by jumping up and clicking his heels over the fire, or so I thought.  When I questioned him later, he wasn’t actually trying to do that.  He was legitimately unnerved and was just trying to get his body as far from the flames as he could!  That made it even funnier.

I’m on F I R E !

Once past the flames, we had the last vertical challenge of the day, the “Cargo Climb.”  You had to go up a few steps of a wooden ladder, and then scale across about 30 feet of horizontal cargo netting, up another 10 feet, and then down via more cargo net.  Well, as I came upon the obstacle, I found the spot where the center beam was, and decided to try to walk across the beam, tight rope style.  My legs weren’t nearly as fresh, and it got dicey at least once, where I almost crashed down into the net.  But, alas, I made it across with no issues.

Walking across the Cargo Climb

Once again, I was first off the obstacle and turned to wait for my teammates. And, once again, Barb just kept on running by!  So, I turned to jump run with her into the final obstacle of the day… a mud pit that you had to crawl through.

Underneath the barbed wire, you go!

There was some relief experienced being in the mud bath. Did I mention it was really freaking hot that day?

Barb & I are crawling out at the same time. (There is someone in between us, trust me, Barb is there).

Barb & I crossed the finish line just about together. To be fair, she beat me by 0.15 seconds. Not 15 seconds, mind you. But zero point fifteen seconds! But, on this day, it wasn’t about time. It was about team building and having fun. And, we certainly accomplished both!

Beer Wings! Not so clean. Not so shiny.

Mike, Scott, & I

Scott & I

For completing the Warrior Dash, we received medals, a t-shirt, and warrior helmets which we would wear on the summit of Lafayette a couple of days later. All in all, it was an awesome experience. It’s got me all amped up to do the Tough Mudder, and perhaps a Spartan Race or two. Additionally, I definitely want to go back and see how I do for time.  So, I’ll probably see you in 2013, Warrior Dash.  Only then, I will be running it much faster.

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Time to get in shape

Now that all of the holidays are done, the family trip to Colorado is but a haze of great memories, and all of the other assortment of excuses to eat & drink in excess are gone. (Oh who the fuck am I kidding?  There are always reasons to drink in excess.) I weighed myself when I got back from Colorado and I matched the highest I have ever been.  That’s right, “matched.” I’ve been here before.  Sloppy.  All of my clothes not fitting.  It’s time to end the see saw of weight loss and weight gain.

Immediately, after returning from Colorado, I started eating healthier.  Over the course of those two weeks, I had lost seven pounds.  A good start for sure.  But, certainly, not enough.

It’s time to get in shape.  No.  It’s time to get in shape, and stay in shape.

So, I have taken a couple of steps to make sure that I am successful.  First off, I’ve signed up for the “Body Transformation Challenge” at Gold’s. It’s a 12 week nationwide contest with a cash prize incentive.  But, that is not what I am interested in at all.  The name of the game, is transforming the entrants body from a soft mushy lump into a harder physically fit one.  The name of the game for the 12 weeks for me; drop 30 pounds.  So, couldn’t I do that without the contest aspect of this?  Sure, I probably could.  But, this contest gives me a 12 week period where I can focus on that one goal.  And, provide the extra incentive to keep on it.  Most beneficially, for a severely discounted rate, it gives me access to the trainers and keeps me accountable for the results.  And keeps me going to the gym.  I’ve been paying for it.  I might as well get the benefits out of the membership.

I started on Monday with my official weigh in, measurements, and photos.  I don’t have copies of those… yet.  Nor would I want them posted anywhere right now.  Blech.  But, after the 12 weeks, I will consider posting the before and after pics.  I am certain there will be a big difference, hopefully a drastic one.  After meeting with my assigned trainer, I hit a bike for a while and committed to coming back on Tuesday AM to hit a “Body Pump” class.  It’s essentially like a P90X video.  Except it is a full body workout rather than targeting a specific muscle group.

I felt like this. But, worse. (I looked much worse, as well!)

Thursday, I had my first personal training session.  And, it was going great.  Again, staying with the full body workout method, I was doing a circuit that had very little rest between exercises.  It was going great.  It was tough.  But, I was enjoying it.  (I always have enjoyed the feeling while working out.  Since college, I’ve just allowed life to interfere.)

We were about half way through.  As expected, I was breathing & sweating hard.  But, then I felt it.  I started feeling a bit woozy.  A bit weaker.  And suddenly, I had the thought rush to the forefront; “Fuck.  I’m crashing.”

And, crash I did.  I sat down and drank all of the water I had.  Mike, the trainer, went and grabbed me a gatorade.  I had to move to the couches and sit down for a bit and recover.  I managed to make light of it, saying “Shit.  Being fat and out of shape is not all that it’s cracked up to be.”  I was certainly embarrassed that it happened.  And, I aim to make sure that I am never so out of shape that I have to go through that again.  I immediately re-booked for next week.  And, damnit, I will make it through the entire work out.

So, that’s the short term plan to drop 30 pounds by April 30th.

But, three months of fitness is only a good start.  It’s only a beginning.  By the end of the program, I will be in much better shape.  But, then the goal will be to get into competition shape.


So, I found another hard date that I could put onto my calendar.  July 14th.  On that date, I will be competing in the Tough Mudder at Mount Snow in Vermont.  I will need to be in good enough running shape to handle 10-13 miles.  But, in reality, I will need to be ready to handle more than a half marathon as those 13 miles are on the slopes of a mountain, and littered with military-style obstacles.  It is not an event that I will be focused on time.  It will be an event that I am focused on enjoying and making each one of those obstacles my bitch.

If you don’t know what Tough Mudder is, I have found two videos that will give you a sense of what I am planning on tackling in July.  This one is a video created by NESN, but they don’t allow for embedding on other sites, so you will have to visit their page.  This was taken at last year’s New England Tough Mudder.  The one which I can embed here is a well produced video (and features Dropkick Murphys tracks), but it took place in sunny California.  Therefor it is missing some of the New England grit.

If you followed either of those links, you will see that it is a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project, whose goal is  “To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.”  Read up on it, and if you are compelled to donate at all, please donate through my own fundraising page.

Stay tuned, the next few months could be interesting.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Fitness, Outdoor Adventures, Running

 

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