LGN 43: One Week until Tough Mudder

Inside: Brutal training for a brutal event; Emotional eating and spending; No can swim; If I die before I wake…


My legs are friggin’ killing me. I thought I was pretty strong. Justin had a new cycle for me that can only be described as an assault on the legs.  I haven’t been this sore since I first started training.

He had me cursin’ up in that b**** on Tuesday.  It’s intentional, of course.  Part of the plan.  His mad genius.

Yoke carries, yoke pushes, front squats (highest reps ever), one legged TRX body rows (high reps).  Repeat 4x.  Then on to the Bs for upper body work.

It humbled me again, though.  I haven’t gotten through half the workout of the new cycle.  Part of that is set up time and all that and having to be instructed or reminded of form, but much of it was — it was haaaaard.  I was nauseous, too.  Didn’t eat right that day.  Avocado and bacon for lunch is very rich and didn’t get digested before the workout.

It frustrates me sometimes how easily I get that muscle burn, but I’m doing a LOT more work than I was ever able to do before.  And I’m kind of tired from months of tough training.  Not making excuses.  Just rationalizing.  Trying to figure why I was slayed so easily.

The good news.  The other day I was at work, trying to move a little bit to get the blood flowing a few hours before training.  I went down to the lowest level of the garage where my car was and pumped up the two front tires with a bike pump.  That let me know how tired my arms were but got the juices flowing.  Then I took the stairs up, which is 9 flights total.  I didn’t feel them.  I mean, my heart rate increased of course and I had to breathe intentionally, but 9 flights of stairs were nothing.  Wow.

Endurance Training

Training for an endurance event is W-O-R-K!

After a punishing workout on Thursday night (that had my lower back singing with tightness as it’s prone to do — I need to figure out some targeted stretches and warm ups for that area), the Finisher was:

  • 15 burpees – No problem
  • 60 sec. plank – Breathe, just breathe, easy peezy
  • 15 burpees – Oh man my quads are burning
  • 60 sec. plank – $#@! I can’t hold it man my legs come on get back up Gary GET UP!
  • 15 burpees – Oh, this sucks.  Damn it!!

“Come on, Gary.  One week until Tough Mudder!”

And then a surprise.  Oh, we’re not done?  Wait, where are we going?

  • To the great outdoors for an Indian run down to Rt. 50 and then a sprint back.  All out.

Legs worn out already.  Still burning.  Catching breath.  Lower back still humming a little.  Time to run.  Okay, I didn’t sprint back.  I jogged, walked a little, jogged and then sprinted the last bit with some encouragement.

I was surprised how much energy I actually had left.  I like running, though.  Sprinting.  But Justin is right.  I pace myself even when I don’t realize it.

I’m not as mentally tough as I like to think I am.  That bothers me.  Pain (normal workout pain, mind you — atomic nuclear fireball intense muscle burn) stops me before my muscles physically fail.  I can be strong and endure but I need that rest.  That 30 second break or whatever.  Then I’m back in the game.  I’m learning how to get micro-rests, though.  Transferring some of that cross country mountain biking experience to training.

That is unacceptable, though.

Because this is life.  There will be situations when you won’t get 30 seconds or even 5 seconds to catch your breath.  If someone attacks you.  If you’re clinging to something for dear life in a tornado.  If you find yourself in a body of freezing water having to swim to survive.  If you’re being chased by something or someone faster and stronger than you.

I have to be able to red-line my body and maintain.  Get the job done.  Suffer later.

The Tough Mudder Mentality

So I’ve accepted the fact that I’m doing this thing.  I’m not even going to bother complaining about it or call it stupid.  Not going to mention again that I can’t swim.  Not sure what to do about my glasses/vision.  Hm.  Anyway, it’s going to be fun.  Kind of a self hazing with a bunch of my training homeys and a few hundred others.

But some people are doing it multiple times.  I think I know one person who already did it (maybe twice) and plans to do it next Saturday, too.  I heard of one guy who’s going to do it back to back.  Some people who are doing it on May 12th signed up for the one in September, too.

I don’t get it.  For one thing, it’s like $180 a pop.  Plus transportation.  Plus lodging maybe, depending on the situation.  And gas to get to the Poconos.

I don’t quite get the mentality.  I don’t get off on pain or physical suffering.  That’s not to say I don’t have mad respect.  I do.  And the idea of a physical challenge — I’m down with that.  I want my loved ones to get into that mindset, too.  To have goals and prepare and keep improving.  But these extreme events trying to out-do each other?

I think I shared a quote from a guy who did the Spartan Death Race:

“When I saw the word ‘death’ in the name, I just knew I had to do it.”

What the hell damn guy!


I spent a lot of money on training clothes last night and didn’t get what I went to the store for.  I got shirts, shorts.  Just got back from Tysons Corner.  Bought some new barefoot trail running shoes — New Balance Minimus T10.  They have a minimal amount of cushion and a tiny bit more wiggle room than the Merrells.  But a little less protection on the toe.  The Merrells have a plate in the forefoot but you can feel every little rock in the rear part of the shoe if you’re walking in them.  It has caused me to have a mini-spaz on occasion.

I still need to get some full length tights and a shirt.  I want a base layer.  I’m thinking of ordering something with light hexpadding.  Definitely overkill, though.

One thing I realized from the compression shirt…

By the way, I don’t know how you ladies do it with your form fitting workout clothes.  I felt so self-conscious in that thing.  The good news is that I’m thinner than I look.  I have a lot of curve in my back so when I wear loose clothing it makes me look thicker than I am.

Still got a lot of work to do and a ways to go, but I’m getting there.  Believe it.


I get the butterflies a little when I think about next Saturday.  The stress is building.  When I get bored/lonely/depressed or stressed, I do one of two things.  I eat.  I spend money.  Maybe both.

Got a notice from the apartment manager that the entire apt. complex is being re-piped.  So in a few days there are going to be dudes in here cutting out dry wall, turning the water off, etc.  It’s going to be ugly.  This joint is a mess.  One of my 2012 projects is to call a junk removal service and have them grab most of the stuff in here.  The stressful part of that is that I’m supposed to move everything away from any area that’s near a wall where there’s a pipe.  The effort to do that is equivalent to packing for a move and I’ve only got a few days to do it.  Plus all kinds of other stuff going on next week.  Stresses me out thinking about it.

It’s no coincidence that I’ve spent an s-load of money this week.  New workout clothes, new shoes, and just tonight a ridiculously expensive and amazing camera lens.  70-400mm.  When it comes to good glass, you’ve gotta pay to play.  I feel guilty.  Post coital spending guilty.   But you’re going to see what a difference a quality lens makes over the next few days and weeks.

I think I need to start selling photos or prints.  I’ve got to recoup some of those funds somehow.


I’m not losing weight according to the scale BUT I’m back down to my tightest belt notch.  Here’s an analogy that popped into my head the other day about the simplicity and complexity of reaching goals. Fitness (losing weight for a lot of us) is easy the same way that walking across the country is easy.

I miss the Bay Area.

It’s just walking, right? I walk all the time. There’s nothing particularly hard about it, therefore walking across the continental Unites States is simple.

It’s just a matter of devoting the resources. Time, money, mental focus, planning, coordinating, etc.  And all of that is what’s daunting and draining and uncomfortable.  It takes a lot of energy.

We all get to our tipping point for taking action.  Then we tend to struggle to maintain momentum.  Sometimes we come to a grinding halt.  We get lost and wander in circles maybe too stubborn to ask for directions.

It’s all part of the process, though.  Keep moving.  And look around you.  There are a lot of people sharing your struggle and a lot of people who are making it happen and a good number who already have.

Can you believe we’re almost half way through 2012??  Let’s get to it, loved ones.

If I should die before I wake…

Oh!  One last thing.  If for any reason, I die next weekend (I’m not going to but I’m just saying) or in the future doing something fitness-y — good.  I’d rather burn out than wear out.

No wait.  That’s not how it goes.  I’d rather wear out than rust out.  Um.  You know what I mean.  That all made sense in my head when I was typing this half an hour ago.

I keep reading articles about young people — athletes — dropping dead because of underlying heart conditions.  Congenital heart conditions.

Take it as a challenge.  Get moving.  Get checked out, of course, and then get moving.  Whatever you can handle and then keep pushing.  You will build a better machine.  You will do more with your life because you’ll feel like doing more with your life.

You’ll have energy to pursue those one-off ideas.  You’ll start saying yes more than you say no.  (I’m working on it.)

We’re, all of us, in transition.  The question is, what are we transitioning to.

Click here to see all of my LGN (I want to Look Good Naked) and functional strength training posts.

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