Archive for the ‘Warrior Dash’ Category

Gorgeous Fall Day! (and a run)

It is positively GORGEOUS out today!  The air is finally dry, but still warm and slightly breezy.  I went out for a jog this morning to get in my “conditioning” workout of the week.  I hadn’t jogged at all since the warrior dash (about 5 weeks ago), and I was shocked at how much I had lost in terms of my running ability.  I’ve still been working out consistently, and I know my cardio has been good, but my legs just aren’t used to pounding the pavement right now.  I pushed myself, but was smart about it – I don’t want to get injured.  I ran only 1.6 miles, but there were some good hills in there.  Plus, my muscles are really tired from all my other workouts this week – plus helping friends move on Sunday.  It was really nice to be outside enjoying the sunshine for (what may be) one of the last truly NICE days of the year.

 

I paused a couple times along my route to take some photos of some of the trees changing in my neighborhood.  I have a nice camera on my phone, but I’m not good at taking really good pictures with it, yet.  I should work on that! 🙂

I love the puffy clouds in the first picture.  The tree in the third picture is actually VERY pretty right now, but my lighting was off – bummer.  I’m hoping Jeb and I are able to take the dogs hiking this weekend – I want to enjoy this warmer weather as much as possible before it’s gone!  We might end up working on the house, though – which is also good to finish while the weather is nice.

I’m definitely going to have to continue jogging. I want to be competitive in the Warrior Dash next year, so I don’t want to have to start running “from scratch” again next year!

 

Warrior Dash 2010 Race Day!

It FINALLY arrived!  After almost 2 years of hard work (6 months dedicated specifically to this race), I competed in (and finished!) the Warrior Dash – Northeast!  We left home at 6:00 a.m. to travel 3.5 hours to Windham Mountain in New York.  Traveling through most of the morning definitely presented some obstacles as far as pre-workout nutrition (and bathroom stops), but we managed and arrived on time to grab our race packets (which included T-shirts, race bib, timing chip, and a fuzzy warrior helmet).  Yes, you read that right – this is THAT kind of race.  We warmed up and made our way to the starting area (with 500 of our closest friends), and waited for our wave to start.  It was around this time that I REALLY looked at the course – and noticed that the hill at the beginning appeared to have no end!  The nerves really started kicking in!  The race began with much fanfare and fire!

Here I am, partway up the course!

The first 1.5 miles was consistently uphill with occasional obstacles (tires, climbing walls, “tunnels of terror”), but the remainder was a nice mix of uphill/downhill/obstacles.  The first real “Warrior” obstacle was the “Slithering Swamp.”  It looked like a really big puddle, but actually was a small pond – over my head in some areas – that was full of mud and probably 50 degrees!  It was cold enough that the air seemed to shoot out of my lungs when I first submerged.   Things got real at this point (halfway through – haha), and I definitely got into the spirit of the race.  The rest of the race was a variety of climbing, crawling through mud, and maneuvering over bridges and difficult terrain.

Just before the "Cargo Climb"

When I reached the end of the course, I was immediately impressed by the genius of the race coordinators.  Three of the most fun, most hyped obstacles were at the very end of the race – the “Catskill Slide” (a slip and slide for adults!), the “Warrior Roast” (jumping over fire), and the “Muddy Mayhem” (a giant mud pit with barbed wire running over it).  As we neared this last phase of the race, every person’s energy level picked up again as we heard the live music and crowd cheering as everyone completed these obstacles.

The “Catskill Slide” was easily the most fun obstacle of the day, since it was fast, easy, and something that just can’t be duplicated in any other situation.  I could hear Jeb’s enthusiastic, “Whoooo hoooo” as he flew down one of the other slides.  It involved tarps, fire hoses, and diving headfirst into a little chute/slide.

Next, we tackled the “Warrior Roast.”  This one scared me.  After looking at photos online, I expected a 6-inch high pile of smoldering charcoal – NOT the case!  These fires (two of them) were about knee-high, and my legs already felt like they were full of lead (and mud and water, but that’s another story).  I silently hoped my survival instinct would take over, and went for it!  It wasn’t as hard as I expected, and I definitely felt pretty excited!

Finally, it was time for “Muddy Mayhem,” the most hyped obstacle of them all.  It was a large mud pit with barbed wire running over the top of it – so racers had to crawl under the wire in cold, wet mud.  After this, it was a sprint to the finish – complete with a medal, bananas, and water for all!  Also, post-race festivities included a free beer for those of us in the 21+ group!

Crossing the Finish Line

Overall, the race was well-organized and really fun.  It was a lot more extreme than I expected, but we loved every minute.  We were pretty banged-up for a couple days, but were able to recuperate with a nice protein/veggie dinner and a LOT of sleep and mobility work.  It also felt like it took forever to get the mud out of our hair!

Jeb and I post-race

The atmosphere was so positive and fun – people wore wacky costumes and congratulated each other on finishing.  There was live music, entertainment (hatchet throwing??), and the aforementioned free beers and fuzzy helmets!

Jeb's enjoying the post-race festivities

We can’t wait until next year – we’re hoping the Dash will come to New England.  If not, though, we will be PREPARED for that mountain!

Warrior Dash 2010 – Background and Training

Have you heard of the Warrior Dash?  It is a race that is marketed as the “Craziest Frickin’ Day of Your Life!”  On September 19, 2010, Jeb  and I completed it!

The Past

I should back up, though, since this race meant a TON to me emotionally.  I was an athlete in high school – not an all-star by any means, but I could hold my own and I really enjoyed physical activity.  When I started college, I immediately joined the crew team.  I was successful, but because of some negative influences and poor decision-making, I quit the team.  This was, perhaps, one of the biggest regrets of my life.  As time passed, I became increasingly sedentary and my food choices became atrocious.  I became an emotional eater, and struggled to make healthy choices for several year.  Strangely, though, I was unaware of how unhealthy I had become or of how poor my choices were.  Everything was fairly mindless during that time and, in retrospect, is such a blur.

In October 2008 (almost 2 years ago!), everything changed!  I stepped on the scale and saw a number that I NEVER wanted to see.  I was ashamed and frustrated, and started changing that day.  I was woefully out of shape, and while I knew that I needed to make a big change, I also knew that a major overhaul would lead to failure.  I made small changes, lost 55 pounds (and counting), and almost two years after I struggled to use the Wii Fit for 15 minutes, I completed the Warrior Dash (and I even had a cold!).

 

The Training

Training for the Warrior Dash was tricky – aside from a satellite image of the location and some pictures of potential obstacles, I didn’t really have a solid idea of the layout and intensity of the race.  This made structuring my training very difficult, so I opted to follow programs that would increase my running ability, mobility/flexibility, general fitness, and strength.  Such a narrow focus, huh?

Before training for the Dash, I had been working on general fat loss.  After completing Rachel Cosgrove’s “Female Body Breakthrough” program in February 2010, I needed a break from general barbell/dumbbell training.  I spent a couple months focusing exclusively on Kettlebell training, both by taking classes at my gym and by following the program in “Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Women” by Lorna Kleidman.

After registering for the Dash in April, I began training for the running portion by completing Couch to 5k.  I had a handy little app on my iPod which made all the timing really easy, and rewarded myself for milestones by downloading some new music to help motivate me!  On the days I wasn’t running, I completed Leigh Peele’s Lean Being program.  This program was a challenge for me, since it used the TRX suspension trainer and bodyweight exercises, rather than the iron I was used to!  I won’t lie – there were definitely days that I struggled to stay motivated on this program.  The TRX is really unique and useful, and I felt that my body moved better across multiple planes after a couple weeks – but it is NOT my favorite way to work out.  I still use the TRX occasionally, but I will never use it exclusively again.  I did find Leigh Peele’s programming to be very balanced and at an appropriate intensity that I didn’t feel like I needed to eat everything in sight after my workouts!

For the last 6 weeks before the race, I maintained my running (by this time, I was comfortable running a 5k – slowly, but I could do it!) and shifted my focus to strength.  I began following Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, a powerlifting program that focuses on 3-4 “main” lifts – in my case, squat, deadlift, and overhead press – with some flexibility for accessory work.  Since I LOVE kettlebells, I decided to create a kettlebell accessory program to support my barbell lifting.  It’s been working well, and I think the combination was really effective in helping me prepare for all the physical demands of the race.  The kettlebells had a dual benefit of providing a cardio effect in addition to the strength and mobility components.  Also, the barbell training definitely helped me increase the weights in my kettlebell work, which increased the intensity.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 – the Race Day recap!