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After qualifying for OCRWC in June, I used the rest of the races this season to get me ready to survive the future weekend in Blue Mountain, Ontario.

July

FINALLY! An OCR/Ninja gym has come to Wisconsin! Legendary Fitness brought to Milwaukee by Trevor and Sara Paull is exactly what so many of us OCR addicts in the area have been waiting for. We finally have a place to train for specific obstacles like Conquer the Gauntlet’s stairway to heaven obstacle, tarzan swings, salmon ladders, pegboard and rigs. Aside from now training at Legendary Fitness, I started July off with a trip to Denver and got some sweet hikes in with great views.

Then we made a trip as a team to support Lisa and LeEarl at Tough Mudder X. TMX is a beast of a course where 100 handpicked athletes were selected for the 1 mile race with 10 obstacles and 10 workouts. The race definitely catered towards OCR folks with CrossFit experience. I even did a practice run with Lisa and absolutely died.

July was a great month of training with the new mix of the ninja gym and doing CrossFit with Lisa to help her prep for TMX. To cap the month off, I ran Savage Race Chicago which I’d considered my first real race of the season, because of mandatory obstacle completion and the number of elite athletes.

Since I already accomplished my #1 goal of qualifying for OCRWC, I treated Savage Race as just another training day. Although the course was flat and I knew OCRWC was going to be on a mountain, they did emulate the grip strength exhaustion by placing most of their rigs near the end. They had the Savage Rig, monkey bars with pipe traverse, twirly bird, and mad ladders to finish the course. I breezed through the rig and monkey bar/pipe combo, but spent way too much time on twirly bird. My grip wasn’t exhausted, but I just kept letting go whenever I didn’t get a good grip on a hold. Only when I said to myself to stop overthinking it and treat it like I’m playing around at a ninja gym did I actually get through it.

The lesson there is to just trust in my training and that I’m just monkeying around and having fun.

August

August was a month of new experiences, new friends, and big wins! In the first weekend of August, the CrossFit Games took place. For the next three years, Madison, WI will be home to the CrossFit Games, so I’m super pumped about that. I have never seen so many fans of a sport that actually participate in it; and I can’t forget to mention how totally ripped everyone was. Usually at sporting events, it’s big beer bellies and spectators that are used to watching from their couches. Until this year, I had never really understood what CrossFit was until I tried it myself and now have seen it from a competitive perspective. I thought OCR was nuts, but these guys and gals are just as crazy!

In the same weekend on Saturday, the squad and I went to Conquer The Gauntlet Iowa! Last year, I was taken out by 3 obstacles: slackline, Stairway to Heaven, and Pegatron. My goal for CTG this year was to be able to just finish with my belt. CTG, in my opinion, has the hardest obstacles in all of the races I’ve been to. Fortunately, I’ve been putting in a lot of upper body work at Legendary Fitness.

The first tough obstacle of the race I encountered was their rig, and unlike other race series, CTG’s rig is one of the tougher ones. The rig has about a 6 foot gap between their holds instead of the usual 4 to 5 feet. CTG also uses more difficult holds like an upside down bowling pin, a banana grip, and tiny grenades. When I got to the rig, there was a pretty big line already, especially behind a lane that looked easier than the rest. And because it looked easier, I decided to hop in that line too, but I quickly found out that it was not easy at all!

Since I didn’t want to waste anymore time waiting in line, I decided to go for a harder lane – one with a bowling pin, banana, AND a grenade. The upside down bowling pin seemed impossible, but then I saw someone grab it in a way that I didn’t even think about! After seeing that, I was able to crush the obstacle and move on to the next obstacle: the dreaded slackline.

I’ve been working on my slackline balance in the few weeks before CTG, but it’s a whole different ball game with OCR shoes and mud. I spent a whole twenty minutes at the slackline before finally getting across! The next tough obstacle after slackline was Pegatron! I haven’t touched a pegboard for a full year up until that point. My first attempt failed, because I chose a lane that had a slight tilt that worked against me. My second attempt failed, because I tried using brute strength to get across. My third attempt was a success when I decided to implement Lisa’s technique of treating it more like monkey bars, so I swung underneath for each peg instead of traversing sideways. I can’t believe I got across Pegatron faster than I got across the slackline.

The last “difficult” obstacle of the race was going to be Stairway to Heaven which was a piece of cake! Because of how so much harder the Legendary Fitness version of Stairway to Heaven was, CTG’s didn’t even seem like a stopping point at all. With all of the tough obstacles conquered, I succeeded in keeping my belt! Goal accomplished!

The only other race I had in August was Rugged Maniac. It was a fun race and good time hanging out with everyone from Wisconsin OCR.

September

The month of September was focused on getting ready for OCRWC, so that meant doing a lot of things that I normally don’t do. I spent a bit more time training on the ski slopes with the squad. Since the race is on a mountain, getting a lot of laps on hills was going to be necessary. It was death, especially when we added wreck bag carries to the laps.

Running longer distances was going to be another challenge for me. All of my races since I started running OCRs were under 7 miles, and OCRWC was a 15K which is approximately 9.3 miles. I signed up to run Tough Mudder last minute, because it would force me to run 10 to 11 miles, since I knew I wouldn’t want to do it by myself. I couldn’t imagine running that far without friends and obstacles — it would be so boring.

I capped off September with a final race before OCRWC at Terrain Race Chicago. That was another fun race with just about EVERYONE in the OCR midwest community. It was a great time before we saw each other in two weeks in Canada.

 

And with that, concludes the training and qualification journey to OCR World Championships in Blue Mountain, Canada! It’s time to try and not die, but also to create new memories and experiences with amazing teammates!

It’s time for the long overdue update on my journey to qualify for OCWRC!! So long in fact that I’ll summarize the highlights by months.

March

The offseason training continued. Nothing out of the ordinary.

April

We started the month off with a road trip to Minnesota after a butt-kicking boot camp in Milwaukee. Yes! Since the weather has warmed up, weekend boot camps are back! In Minnesota, we went to Obstacle Academy to play on the ninja obstacles, and the day after, we went to the Spartan Workout plus another round of ninja training at Conquer Ninja. In April, Jay added some speed training on a track to the schedule. I ended the month in Salt Lake City for a conference, but kept up with the training: an awesome boot camp, runs around the city, and a hike to a great view point of the city.

May

It’s interesting how I’m able to keep up with my training when I travel, but as soon as I came back home, my routine was messed up and I slacked on working out. One thing I learned about myself is that when a deadline is approaching or pressure hits, I move into action. With my first race coming up this month, I started getting back into routine the week of the Warrior Dash in Wisconsin. Let the OCR season begin!

The Warrior Dash date happened to be the same day as my sister’s graduation, so I had extra motivation to run fast to gauge how my training in the offseason went. It was my fastest race time yet for an OCR, and the first time I kept an elevated heart rate throughout an entire race. I had never run competitively prior to this year, so this was definitely a new experience for me. Approaching obstacles with a higher heart rate was challenging, but Warrior Dash’s obstacles were on the beginner side of difficulty, so it wasn’t too bad.

The next race was a spontaneous registration for Midwest Mayhem hosted by Dirt Runner in Illinois. I wasn’t planning on going to this one, but that’s what having a good influence will do for you. Good friends will challenge you to step it up to the next level. This race really revealed my weaknesses to me. It’s a locally run race on a permanent course, so it was filled with heavy carries which I’ve found is my weakness. Being small is no excuse either, since Jay who’s even smaller than me, still crushed the carries. Another weakness that I discovered was my lack of ability to run downhill on technical terrain. The course was filled with steep hills which wrecked my calves. Overall it was a great race, but it was my worst performance yet for a race that was only 5 miles.

June

The month of June opened up with the Spartan Super in Chicago. This was going to be my first attempt at qualifying for OCRWC. Long story short, I died. Whether it was poor hydration or lack of healthy eating the week before, my calves cramped up really badly during the race. Obstacles were easy, including the new twister obstacle, besides the mandatory 30 burpees for missing the spear throw. Safe to say that I did not qualify that day.

The next weekend’s race was Terrain Race in Milwaukee. This race was probably the most impactful this season, because we had over 50 people in our group. From people seeking the podium to first-timers including my sister! Another bonus was that I was going to be taking it easy for this race, because I was having some inflammation in my knee, similar to my injury last year. Thankfully this time around, it healed by the following week. You can check out Jay’s review of Terrain Race MKE at the end of the post.

Attempt #2 at OCRWC Qualifications: Spartan Sprint Lambeau – Competitive Wave. The qualifications for OCRWC in Spartan Competitive is top 20 in your age group. With my knee feeling better, I was super pumped to run this next race for a lot of reasons: 1) It’s a stadium race.  2) It’s at Lambeau Field and I’ve been a Packer fan my entire life. 3) Stairs are a strength of mine. 4) My first OCR was a stadium race. 5) No mud to slow me down. 6) My younger cousins (ages 5, 8 and 11) are running the Spartan Kids Race.

I ran in the competitive wave with a lot of familiar faces starting in the same heat, so I felt good. We were sent out in waves of 10 to avoid back ups at obstacles. This was one of my first races where I felt comfortable pushing and keeping my heart rate elevated, especially when I kept seeing fellow racers like Jeff Frank from Wisconsin OCR, who started in the wave 1 minute ahead of mine. This let me know that I was keeping a good pace. I finished the race with 0 burpees. Yep! 0 failed obstacles which means I nailed the spear throw! This no doubt helped me get my fastest time ever in an OCR and I finished 8th in my age group.

I DID IT! I DID IT! I finally qualified for OCR World Championships! It felt so good achieving this goal that was set in October of 2016 due to massive FOMO from watching everyone’s live videos during last year’s world championships. Safe to say that I won’t be missing out this time! Definitely wouldn’t have been able to improve so quickly without the help of Jay, Lisa, and everyone else that has pushed me along this journey — whether it’s from bootcamps or during races.

Now with the qualification out of the way, the pressure has been lifted and now it’s time to focus on the next goal: Surviving OCRWC.

 

Terrain Race Review by Coach Jay

 

Womp womp womp…

After a pretty solid 16 weeks of training came a period of necessary recalibration. Week 17 (Feb 27) and week 18 (March 6) were two weeks where not much was done. I got a workout or two here and there, but my consistency just went out of the window. I only ran a total of 13.55 miles for the two weeks put together!

There were a few causes to this which taught me some things about myself. On both weeks, it was an open schedule which meant that it was up to me to figure out what I wanted to do each day since there weren’t any workouts assigned.

That was the first mistake. When it comes to my fitness, apparently I need a strict schedule to keep me on track. It’s likely one of the reasons why I failed at living a healthy lifestyle before I met Jay, because there was no structure in the beginning. So the solution is to always have a predetermined workout regimen set for the week beforehand.

What gets scheduled, gets done.

The second learning experience is the power of expectations. When it warmed up outside and I was able to start running outdoors, I had begun expecting that weather to continue. So when it became freezing outside again, my motivation went out the window, because my excitement to run outside was shot down.

There’s a story that illustrates how detrimental certain expectations can be. On an 18-hour overseas flight filled with entrepreneurs and business people, the passengers knew that they would not have internet or Wi-Fi for the majority of the flight. Nearing the end of the flight, the pilot comes on the speakers and announces that internet and Wi-Fi is now available, so the passengers were excited. However, after ten minutes, the internet cuts out. The passengers start complaining in a frenzy and are furious over the loss of internet.

How is it that these passengers were able to fly for the majority of an 18-hour flight without internet in peace, but once they were given internet for ten minutes and lose it, they go crazy?? It’s because of expectations not being met. They first had certain expectations at the beginning of the flight, which changed when the announcement was given. So when that new expectation had failed to be met, people were upset.

My expectations of having warm weather to run in held me back from continuing when the cold weather hit. My solution for this is to maintain the right expectations for myself AND to remember why I was pursuing this difficult path in the first place.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve had poor training weeks and this won’t be the last, but at least I learned what needs to be done in order to set myself up for success.

As your competence increases, your confidence increases.

Day 1 (Monday, Feb. 20, 2017): Recovery Run (2 miles) + Chest & Shoulders

After that huge accomplishment last week with the 5K, I was feeling good! So I ran my recovery run at a 10 minute pace which is much faster than my usual easy run.

Day 2: Rest Day (Missed Day — Rest of the week offset by 1)

Day 3: Intervals [5 min WU, 2x(5 min @ TH +1 min recovery jog), 2 min recovery jog, 2x(5 min @ TH + 1 min recovery jog), 5 min CD]

I finished this tough run with a 10:00 pace with 3.72 miles!

Day 4: Easy Run (3 miles)

Finished with a 10:09 pace! The confidence just had me feeling good!

Day 5: 30 Minute Bike + Conquer Ninja

Road trip!! Jay, Lisa and I made our way to Minnesota to participate in the UNAA Qualifiers Ninja Competition. Well…they participated, I played around. From ninja-ing around, I noticed that I had a lot of technique I needed to progress on in terms of swinging and transitioning, which is going to be necessary for me to succeed on the upper body obstacles in races such as the rigs.

Day 6: Easy Run (3 miles) + Biceps & Triceps

Finished with another 10:00 minute pace for 3.07 miles. Wooh! My average pace for the entire week was around the 10:00 minute mark!

Day 7: Long Run (6 miles — Missed)

Noooo! The momentum came to a halt as I missed my last run of the week.

Overall, it was a great week! Because of the excitement from the previous week’s progression assessment, I wanted to challenge and push just a bit harder this week. The journey to OCR World Championship is trucking along!

You will never accomplish your goals if you can’t self-assess.

~Eric Thomas

Day 1 (Monday, Feb. 13, 2017): Rest & PiYo Upper Body

I hadn’t done some core work in a while, so I threw in a PiYo workout to spice it up! PiYo is a combination of pilates and yoga, so it was a perfect low-impact workout for this rest day.

Day 2: Easy Run (3 miles) & PiYo Lower Body

I found a trail! I found a trail! I finally found a trail near my house! I don’t know why it took me so long to find it, but I found a nice trail in my area for me to run on. I finished my 3 miles at a 9:58 pace and supplemented the run with a nice PiYo workout.

Day 3: Long Run (6 miles) & Leg Resistance Circuit

Woah dude! A long run in the middle of the week? Well…sort of. I got bored on the treadmill after the 5k mark (10:46), so I hopped off and took a leg day at the gym. It got cold outside, so I had to run indoors. Of course it gets cold right after I find a trail to run on.

Day 4: 30 Minute Bike

Day 5: Easy Run (3 miles)

A nice easy run at a 10:25 avg pace right before my…

Day 6: 5K Race!

Ohhh, so that’s why you “tried” to do a long run in the middle of the week. It’s time to measure my progress in my run training. Remember, my last 5K was 15 weeks ago with a 9:11 pace as my PR.

The race was held in a nice suburb of Madison, WI and the weather was perfect! The run overall was pretty challenging, because there were SO MANY hills! I finished the race with an average pace of…

8:25!!

Whaaaaaat! I ran the first mile under 8 minutes which is my fastest mile I’ve ever logged and to finish with an 8:25 pace blew my mind! The hard work is paying off especially with that kind of improvement in only 15 weeks!

Day 7: Rest Day

It’s hugely important to continue to measure progress. Not just measure the daily workouts, but also assess the changes based on milestones and PR’s. When you find things that are working, you stick to the process, but when you find that you aren’t getting the results you want, then it’s time to adjust. That’s why it’s imperative for you to track your results in anything you do.

 

It’s great to have a brand new car, but it’s useless without gas in the tank.

Day 1 (Monday, Feb. 6, 2017): Rest Day

After a slight misstep with the previous week’s Sunday workout, today was a “recollect myself” kind of rest day.

Day 2: Intervals [5 min WU, 4x(6 min @TH + 2 Min Recovery Jog), 5 min CD] & Shoulders + Triceps

I ran on an indoor track on this day — I get access to an athletic club on Tuesdays because I’m a volleyball sub (yes I’m totally taking advantage of the free access, even when I don’t play). I finished this hard run at a 10:25 pace with 4.03 miles. Finished it off with some free weight exercises to get me some boulder shoulders.

Day 3: Easy Run (3 miles)

I ran a 10:36 pace and then in the middle of it, I added a half mile 10 degree incline, because I was getting bored on the treadmill. Treadmill’s are the worst, but it’s necessary up here in the frozen tundras of Wisconsin.

Day 4: Rest Day

Day 5: Intervals [5 min WU, 5x(2 min @TH + 1 Min Recovery Jog), 5 min CD]

Second set of intervals this week! Fortunately, it was a very short run. I ran around my neighborhood which is a very hilly area. It also didn’t help that it was ridonkulously windy. I ran 2.44 miles with an average 10:23 pace. The big takeaway for me is that I need to practice running on more hilly areas, especially considering that Blue Mountain — where OCRWC 2017 will be held — is going to have a lot of climbing on the course.

Day 6: 30 Minute Bike

Day 7: Long Run (6 miles) & Adventure Rock Climbing

I went on a fun run in Milwaukee with Lisa and Jay for the 6 miles and finished with a 10:35 pace which is much faster than my usual long run pace. At Adventure Rock, we ran into a bunch of OCR friends including some elite racers, but things took a turn when one of the elite racers fell and injured herself. I always cringe and get woozy when I see injuries, so after seeing that AND the lack of food in my stomach, I ended up fainting…TWICE!

The last time I fainted was when I was giving blood and I had to fast beforehand. It was obviously caused by the lack of fuel that my body needed, especially after a 6 mile run! I was running on fumes and it caught up to me. Lesson of the week is to properly fuel yourself for the activities that you’re partaking in.

There is nothing as sweet as a comeback, when you are down and out, about to lose, and out of time.

~Anne Lamott

Day 1 (Monday, Jan. 23, 2017): Rest Day

Rest days aren’t just necessary to reset the body, but also to reset the mind.

Day 2: Intervals [5 min WU, 1 mile @TH, 2 min recovery jog, 1 miles @TH, 5 min CD] & Biceps/Shoulders

To get back on track, I had to push through a painfully difficult interval. I finished 2.96 miles at a 10:35 pace. I had trouble with what I thought was a cramp, but found out that it was a stitch. It’s pain in the upper right side of the abdomen which is caused by a strain on the diaphragm. I found that it happens to me when I either ate or drank too much before the run.

Day 3: 30 Minute Bike

Day 4: Easy Run (3 miles) & The Challenge

Ran the 3 miles with a 10:20 pace and then capped off the day with the push up & pull up challenge workout. I went for 8 push ups and 20 pull ups this round. Since I was pretty gassed out after the run, I died around the 4th round of exercises, but pushed through nonetheless.

Day 5: Rest & Yoga

This was much needed, because I was super stiff from the previous day!

Day 6: Intervals [5 min WU, 2 miles @ TH, 5 min recovery jog, 2 miles @TH, 5 min CD] & Play @ Abominable Snow Race

Abominable Snow Race was the first OCR of the year in Wisconsin. I didn’t race, but I decided to go with Lisa and my sister to hangout with the amazing OCR community. We got to hangout with Coach Pain and other elite OCR racers. We even went to play on the course (which was probably not allowed). We snow tubed, played on their version of a rig, and climbed the ski hills covered in snow!

I got home late, so I ended up doing the run at night and on a pretty full stomach. I ended up running 5.22 miles at an average of 10:07 pace. I had to walk some of the recovery portions of the interval runs, but overall it was a solid run.

Day 7: Long Run (6 miles) & Adventure Rock

This was the smoothest run of the entire week with a 10:42 pace. And to top it all off with some lovely rock climbing with lovely people!

 

There’s one thing to note about this week which I’ve labeled as a comeback week. I had to work harder and struggle more in the first few runs just to get back on track. By the end of the week, I was back to my normal state. The lesson: it is much easier to stay on track than to fall off and work twice as hard just to get back to where you were.

 

 

Oh boy! I’m running a bit behind on the recaps, so we’ve got a twofer this time!

New Year, Better You.

Day 1 (Monday, Jan. 2, 2017): Rest Day + Total Synergistics

The goal is to restart the P90X3 supplemental training to go along with the runs. I noticed that I could increase the weights for the Total Synergistics workout.

Day 2: Intervals [5 min WU, 4x(6 min @ 10:00 + 3 min @ TH + 2 min recovery jog), 5 min CD] & Agility X

Knocked this run out on a treadmill. I finished with 5.4 miles at an average pace of 10:00. I supplemented it with P90X3 Agility X which reminded me about how much I dislike plyometric workouts. Definitely a burner!

The gym was packed with people as expected for the beginning of the year. Unlike most people, I actually LOVE when the gym is packed with folks for two reasons.

  1. I love seeing people take control of their health (or at least try).
  2. I’m more motivated to push harder and longer, because of my competitive nature of running next to people.

Day 3: 30 Minute Bike

Day 4: Intervals [1 mile easy, 2 miles @TH, 1 mile easy] & X3 Yoga & The Challenge

This was definitely one of the toughest intervals I’ve done because of the longer threshold run, but I got it done with an average 10 minute pace. I also had to double up on the X3 workouts because I missed it the previous day.

Crushed the Challenge with a target of 7 pull ups and 18 push ups for the exercises.

Day 5: Rest Day & CVX

I was feeling a bit lethargic during this workout, but giving 50% effort at a workout is better than not showing up at all.

Day 6: Long Run (6 miles)

Knocked out the run with a 10:42 pace, but I had a hard time finishing because of a cramp above my right hip. Shout out to Les Brown’s motivational speech that I was listening to which helped me push through!

Day 7: Intervals [5 min WU, 8x(2 min @TH, 1 min recovery jog), 5 min CD] & Adventure Rock Climbing

I swapped day 6 and 7 because I was able to run on an indoor track which would be more fitting for this interval workout. Ran 3.65 at an average 9:47 pace and then capped it off with a session at Adventure Rock!

There’s a climbing route that I’ve been working on that I’ve been struggling to finish. Although I still haven’t completed it, I got one step further! All about the progression instead of perfection!


Week 10 Day 1 (Monday, Jan. 9, 2017): Rest Day

Sleep is bae.

Day 2: Intervals [1 mile easy, 1 mile @ TH, 1 mile easy, 1 mile @TH, 1 mile easy] & X3 Dynamix

I did X3 Dynamix before the run which was a great warm up and stretch. Knocked out a 5 mile run with a 10:10 pace. I watched Obama’s farewell speech during the run so I didn’t die of treadmill boredom.

Day 3: Easy Run (4 miles) & X3 The Warrior

I was running a 10:21 pace but had a right side cramp so I had to walk for a minute at the halfway point. Then finished with a 10 min pace for an average pace of 10:46. I added X3 Warrior to supplement the run where I was completely spent by the end of the workout.

Day 4: Long Run (6 miles) & X3 Eccentric Upper

First mile was awful. Then I put on the right music — more like Eric Thomas yelling at me in his motivational mixtape, and then the last 5 miles were smooth as butter.

Eccentric Upper is definitely a favorite in the X3 program. Love the pump!

Day 5: 30 Minute Bike

Day 6: Rest Day & Yoga w/ Tony Horton

Tony Horton will give you abs from laughing so much. He’s hilarious.

Day 7: First Ascent Climbing

Although I had a fun climbing day, I missed the run for the day. Tsk tsk!

 

It’s the beginning of the year and two types of people emerge: people that are attempting to change their lives with New Year’s resolutions/goals and people that bash them. Let’s be the different and support those that are trying to make a better life for themselves while we improve our own!

Success is not about always staying on track, but has everything to do with how quickly you get back on track once you fall off.

After an awesome week 4, this week was kind of derpy, so let’s get straight into the recap.

Day 1 (Monday, Dec. 5, 2016): Rest Day

Very necessary rest after an intense 20 mile week for the first time in my life!

Day 2: Easy Run (3 miles) + Legs

This week was focused on recovery and allowing my body to adjust to the beating that it’s going through, so all the runs were easy runs this week. I supplemented the run with a casual set of leg-focused exercises at the gym.

Day 3: 30 Minute Bike + Biceps & Shoulders

Accidentally did 45 minutes — there I go again with following directions to a T.

Day 4: Easy Run (3 miles) + X3 The Challenge

I’ve started to find that the first half of my runs have been pretty challenging to get into rhythm. Everything kind of aches and my mind just does not want to do it, but once I’m past the halfway mark, I just get in the zone — or more like zone out — and time flies.

I’m starting to see progress in my pull-up strength which is going to be super useful for rigs. I bumped the target numbers for the X3 Challenge workouts to 6 unassisted pull-ups and 16 push-ups. There’s 8 different exercises for both pull-ups and push-ups, so I did a total of 48 pull-ups and 128 push-ups in a short amount of time. I’ll definitely bump up the numbers for the next Challenge.

Day 5: Easy Run (3 miles) + X3 Yoga

This was my first run since this whole journey where I had zero problems with any part of my body during the run! I ran this one at a 10 minute pace which is a bit faster than most of my easy runs that I’ve done. Capped off the amazing day with a good yoga session!

Day 6: Rock Climbing + Hula Hooping?!

This was a rest day, but since Coach Jay was in town, we went to go play at Boulder’s Climbing Gym in Madison with Lisa and Logan. We found an awesome backroom filled with all kinds of toys like kettlebells, hangboards, balance boards, mini rig, rings, and hula hoops! Since we are in Wisconsin, we’ve been getting hit with a ton of snow, so what better way to enjoy the snow than spending 3 to 4 hours at a climbing gym!

On this day, I had another AHA moment. It was the same feeling I got when I ran my first Spartan Race. After running my first OCR, I realized that I could do so much more than what my mind initially thought. I had self-limiting beliefs about my physical abilities, but after finish the race, I had an epiphany that I am capable of so much more! So on this day at the climbing gym, I realized that I could hula hoop!!! I had doubts that I could do such a thing based on my previous experiences with hula hooping, but as time changed, I changed. Also, who knew that hula hooping was a great core exercise!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.

~Nido Qubein

Day 7: Rest Day (Oops) + Spear Practice

This day was supposed to be my longest run of 7 miles, but things did not go as planned. Lisa, Jay and I were planning to run at Blue Mounds State Park in 6+ inches of snow. Crazy?! Yes! This is what happens when you hang out with elite OCR racers that are absolutely nuts. However, we got stuck with car problems and the sun going down was also an issue, so we ended up spending the rest of the day making spears and practicing spear throws! The spear throw obstacle is one of the iconic Spartan Race obstacles that have been known to cause pro racers a headache and exhaustion.  The 30 burpee penalty es no bueno!

[easy-tweet tweet=”When you participate in purposeful suffering, your happiness level increases. ~Joe De Sena” via=”no”]

This week ended up being the lowest mileage weeks because of missing the 7-mile long run, but we all fall off track. Often we have to adapt to current circumstances and adjust to make the best of each situation in order to get back on track to our goals. Week 6 will be a huge butt-kicker of a week with a ton of miles, but I’m pumped to take on that challenge!

Fall in love with the process.

~Eric Thomas

Wooh! We’ve passed the 21 day mark by finishing week 3 which is a huge step towards establishing a habit. Some people believe it takes 21 days. Others believe that it’s 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days. I’m not 100% how many days it takes to solidify a habit, but I do know that all of those are huge milestones. Here’s a recap of day 22 to 28.

Day 1 (Monday, Nov. 28, 2016): Long Run (6 miles)

If you remember from Week 3, my legs were out of commission from the football game, and I figured I’d be good to go two days later. Nope. It was awful. I was only able to run 2 miles before I switched to power hiking the treadmill on an 11 degree incline for another mile.

Day 2: 45 Minute Bike + Back & Tricep Weight Lifting

My legs were feeling a little bit better at this point, but still very sore, so I’m glad it was a pretty chill day with the stationary bike (9.3 miles). Topped it off with some quick weight lifting in the gym. Even four days later, everyone from the football game was still talking about how sore we all were!

Day 3: Intervals [5 min WU, 3x(7 min @ 10:00 + 3 min @ 9:30 + 3 min recovery jog), 5 min CD]

Hallelujah! My legs work again! Just in time too. I landed in Las Vegas for a conference, so I was VERY excited to run outside in temperatures greater than 40 degrees! This was a pretty crazy intervals run, but running on the Vegas Strip made it go smoothly and a ton of fun! Running outside is definitely way more interesting than the treadmill. I ran 5.19 miles at a 9:51 pace! I think the reason I ran harder was because I was running near so many people! Knowing that they might be watching made me push forward, just like how public accountability can push us to do what we don’t feel like doing.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Public accountability can push us to do what we don’t feel like doing.” user=”AnousoneBounket”]

Day 4: X3 Yoga

This was much needed after a solid hard run. Although it was a rest day for my legs, I probably walked at least 3 miles taking in the sights in Vegas!

Day 5: Easy Run (3 miles)

You would think that Las Vegas would still be in the 50s or 60s, but this day was in the mid 40s. I didn’t escape Wisconsin just to run in this weather! Today was the first full day of the conference which would be a full 12 hours straight, so I ran in the morning. I wouldn’t have time to supplement the runs this weekend due to the conference, but on this day, I did a different kind of plyometric workout!

I had the privilege of seeing Tony Robbins speak! It was an unreal experience! The majority of his talk was focused on having and maintaining high energy so this meant we were on our feet for about 70% of the time. He had us jumping, screaming, dancing, hugging, chest bumping, and completely just go bananas! I think I jumped and danced around more in the 3 to 4 hours with Tony Robbins than I ever did at a concert!

If you plan on attending a Tony Robbins event, bring tennis shoes.

Day 6: Easy Run (3 miles)

I’ve realized that my pacing when running outside is much faster compared to running on a treadmill. I ran a 10:15 in Day 5 and a 10:23 on this day. Although my legs were a little tired from Tony Robbins the previous night, it was still a solid run.

Day 7: Long Run (5 miles)

On my last day in Vegas, I ended the trip with a long run that ended a bit further than 5 miles because I knew that my total mileage for the week was super close to breaking the 20 mile mark! During the run, all I could think about was hitting this milestone, so I “ran through the finish line” on this last day of the week. My 4-week mileage ended at 62.08 miles! This was so crazy! That’s more than I’ve run in my entire life!

 

These first four weeks have really set the pace for my training to qualify for OCRWC. A lot of people go on challenges and don’t even make it past week 2, so to be able to make it to week 4 is a huge accomplishment that I’m super pumped about.

However, there’s one thing that a lot of people feel during a challenge to improve. It’s the desire to see significant progress! Some people start a weight loss challenge and expect to lose 20 to 30 lbs in a few weeks. Some people start a new business and expect to be rich by the first month. I’ve been running for 4 weeks now! Shouldn’t I be able to run a 4 minute mile?! Of course not.

Too often we set these crazy high expectations for ourselves, and when we don’t see the results we desire, most of us quit. Even during these runs, I sometimes wish I was at least running under a 9 minute pace. But I understand the power of the compound effect. Although I may not see any progress now, it’s all about the daily decisions and actions every single day over time that will compound into huge results in the future.

So instead of focusing on the scoreboard, we must focus on the things we can track. We must focus on the daily activity. We must focus on the small wins. We must trust the process.