Archive - December 2012

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My Road to The Death Race Entry 3
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My Road to The Death Race Entry 2
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A Broken Spartan… Learning Patience and Fortitude by Force
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To Tame a Beast… Spartan Race Texas Beast 2012
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My Road to The Death Race Entry 1

My Road to The Death Race Entry 3

Day 23Sitting down and doing this after my run allows me to think about my day and what I have went through physically and mentally.  I had 6 miles to think about my day which took me 50:51 (still over my goal time of 45).  This was, by far, was the best Christmas I have ever have.  It started with us waking up and  having Lucas walk Ethan out to all the presents with him saying “wow” every 5 seconds!  It was a big joy to hear the boys so happy and eager to open their gifts.  Laura, who had to have makeup and be all prettied up for pictures (I have to admit, pretty beautiful), made us all open our gifts first with her waiting till the end.  We had a great morning and enjoyed the company of each other and had a lot of fun.

We knew that my mother was going to visit us for Christmas, which was quite a surprise because of the relationship I have with her.  A few weeks ago, she had a major heart attack (blew out her coronary artery) which had a 50% mortality rate.  Up until this point, she has really missed out on her grandson’s life ( he is almost 2) and maybe this has given her some perspective on what is important.  I was happy that she came over and actually got on the floor and visited with him, interacted with him, because he sat down right beside her and did so well with her.  Let’s hope for change….

Anyway, this was my day in my mind as I ran.  My life, much like the people reading this, has had a lot of downs, curves, disappointments, people telling me I can not do this or that, and the Death Race is my middle finger……go ahead and doubt me, call me crazy, ignore me, tell me I don’t matter…..but, just remember who you are because when I finish the Death Race, you can look in the mirror and STFU!!  I remember Joe DeSena, one of the founders of the Death Race say that this race was just like life in that is always threw you curve balls and you never know what to expect.  If that is the case, then the opposite should be true as well.  Life is just like the Death Race….and I have been preparing for this my whole life.

My Road to The Death Race Entry 2

After reading Jason Moss’s blog “But-baby-its-cold-outside,” I figured I would go outside for my 3 mile run.  Typically, I have been running the shorter distances (3 miles and under) inside with great success.  What I really wanted to know was whether or not that success was actual.  Remembering from last evening, my legs and lungs were on fire after mile 3 so I prepared to suffer through it.  Stepping outside reminded me that it had just rained/snowed and it was icey, something I haven’t come across since being an active runner…..until now.  I started off, feeling pretty good with my base layers and CFS jersey and hat.  I just started retracing my steps on my usual 5 mile route but knew where to cut off so I could make it back at 3.  Reason I retraced that particular route was because of the hills, and within the first mile, there was a great hill going up .25 mile or so, takes you almost all the way back down and brings you up hill for the next mile gradielly before the little roller coaster road.  Making the turn and coming back, I knew I was doing pretty well because everytime I looked down at my GPS, it kept saying I was running over 8MPH which I hadn’t seen for a prolong ed period of time.  Made it back home and beat my old time by more than 2 minutes!  I must be doing something right…

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The reason I have called this my road to the death race is because this is my road.  I have …been fortunate in my life to be able to push my body to the limits and it responds on queue.  Thankfully I have found a new love for running because that is the only kind of activity I am doing right now and I can feel my legs taking on a new shape and feel.  The feeling I have after every run is so calming that it takes the stress of the day and makes it vanish…wonder how much stress will be relieved after the Death Race is over….

 

A Broken Spartan… Learning Patience and Fortitude by Force

There comes a time when finally you don’t have a choice but to slow down.  Most driven people ignore certain signs.  Aches, pains, time restraints… you get it.  Unfortunately, more often than not, the universe will interfere and said person will have to succumb.  And it sucks!  I injured my shoulder back in March doing snatches (giggle) during a workout.  I pushed through it, finished the workout, figured it was a pulled muscle.  Months go by and during those months, sometimes it would hurt, and I would have to modify, sometimes it wouldn’t hurt and I was fine with whatever.  Always trying to go faster, harder, heavier… which would lead to more pain, which would lead to ice and my beloved tiger balm, which would then make it ok.  Sort of.  Throw in an OCR or 20 and finally your body just says, “Screw you! I’m done!”  Back track a little.  I knew it was getting bad, I could always judge it based on how hard it was to change after a workout, and the fact that the bad arm would get longer.  Truth.  I had started getting adjusted by a Chiro and it was awesome!  I would feel amazing for a few days and slowly would start to lose range of motion as the week went on.  I always knew the adjustment was coming so I would push as hard as I could, always having to hold back a little mid-week, but then awesome again after my Friday adjustment.  Just know, that if you don’t stop, your body will make you.  This past Wednesday a few hours after the workout, it got so bad I could not even lift my arm.  Sleeping was next to impossible.  I frantically messaged my Chiro in the morning and pleaded to get in to see her.  I was quite literally lopsided.  Possibly only 20% mobility out of my right arm.  I had to use my left hand to move my right hand where I needed it.  The worst part?  It hurt.  I have a high tolerance for pain, and this freaking hurt.  Like tears in my eyes kind of pain.  My Chiro said she could fix me, but it was going to take awhile, and I was not allowed to workout for at least 1 week.  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????  Ok, so I guess she could tell by the look on my face that I was practically destroyed, so she reminded me that I want to get better and right now rest would be the best thing for me.  Honestly though, I could barely even pick up a pen, let alone try to lift anything heavy.  So, I’m sure you knew what happened next right?  I wanted a cookie.  Badly.  I did resist that time, but man did I want to eat a shit ton of cookies.  Being an emotional eater, and since I’m mostly always happy, it’s easy for me to keep my diet in check.  This was disastrous though!  I’ve tried being good, really I have.  A part of me is like, “Fuck it! Eat up Fatty.. Enjoy!”  Soooo… I’ve been going back and forth.  I enjoyed pasta and a few beers Saturday night.  I had orange juice and hash browns on Sunday.  I think I ate a year’s worth of cookies yesterday.  I feel bloated, I feel lazy, I feel like I’ve failed. I’m not angry or depressed though.  It’s a weird feeling actually.  The Holiday has kept me mostly busy which is good to keep my mind off it, but it hasn’t really afforded me the luxury of rest.  I’m sure this is what a bird with a broken wing feels like.  I’m going to kind of wallow in my misery for a bit.  Enjoy some “bad” food.  Complain.  Complain some more.  Look in the mirror at my dropped shoulder.  Mostly, I am going to look forward to being healed.  I have procrastinated long enough and my body has forced me to learn patience and fortitude.  I don’t have to like it, but I have to live it right now.  I have entirely too much to do in 2013 and I need to be at 100%.  So if I have to take a week (actually longer) off, then so be it.  Deep down inside, I know it’s necessary.  I also know it’s a minor obstacle that I need to interpret and overcome.  Which I will.  Anyone who knows me, knows I won’t quit, I won’t give up.  Learn from my ignorance though… don’t push yourself to this point.  Realize your pain is there for a reason and determine a path to heal it before you are forced to.  Moving forward though, I can only believe this will make me better than before.darkphoenix

To Tame a Beast… Spartan Race Texas Beast 2012

Ever have that thought of having to do something?  Needing to be somewhere?  Well, that was me with the Texas Beast.  I don’t know why, but I knew I had to go.  I signed up for the race months prior and up until just a few weeks before, I still wasn’t sure if I was actually going.  I knew I had to… but how?  Suddenly, all of the planets aligned and the universe sent me to Texas.  I was excited.  Not scared, not nervous.  After all, Texas is flat.  No biggie.  This was a true testament of mind control.  Once the plans were set, I just counted the days.  I did nothing different.  No extra training and no tapering.  Texas is flat so easy peasy.  I can go through all of the events leading up to Texas, but you don’t to want read about all that.  So we start at the start!  Here we are, my CornFed Family and I… some at the front, the rest of us at the back, of the first heat of the day.  The Elite Heat.  Crazy right???  Off we go and very quickly I learned how NOT flat Texas really is.  The ground was so uneven, there were berms and cactus, and poop and rocks… nothing like I set my mind up for.  We hit a few obstacles, nothing major, but then we came to quite possibly the only hill in Texas and we went up and down it about 50 million times.  The kicker?  It was all rock!  By mile 2 my IT bands were screaming and I could barely breathe, by mile 4 my hip flexors were on fire.  I really did not think I would be able to finish.  As the race went on, we hit other obstacles… walls, rope climbs, carry heavy shit, burpees, monkey bars which equalled more burpees, etc etc.  Someone thought it would be awesome to carry the men’s sandbag on the sandbag carry… up and down that hill.  Then a different someone filled her bucket higher than half way with rocks, so I had to follow her lead.  And again, we were up and down the hill.  At this point, my shoulder was ready to fall off and I couldn’t feel anything but burning in my hip flexors and rust bolts in my knees.  All I could do was smile… I knew what was coming up.  First we hit a 100+ yard swim, and yes the water was freezing.  Just keep your mouth shut, because 300 Spartans before you have probably peed in the water! Then the Herculean Hoist!  I got the female rock to the top in no time and then went to try the men’s.  I did get it higher than the one at Fenway, but still couldn’t get it all the way.  I tried and tried and just couldn’t get it!  Helped a teammate get his to the top and then we were off again.  The Tyrolean Traverse!  Yes!!!  Got on, got across, rang the bell and dropped.  Awesome!  Thank goodness most of the hard stuff was over.  I had Popeye arms and no grip left!  Thank goodness it was mostly running from that point on.  Wait… did I just say that?  Ran across a few people that were quite obviously hurting… cramping seem to be an epidemic.  I was at the ready passing out salt pills and sharing whatever else I had.  The weather was perfect, the sun was apparent, yet not demanding.  I somehow managed to make it through and we knew the finish was right around the corner!  Help on the traverse wall, more mud, slippery wall, fire and Gladiator pit! When they say, “You’ll know at the finish” this race truly proved that for me.  I got more beat up and hurt more in Texas than anything else I have done to date.  However, I also took so much more back with me.  My friends, more like family, would not leave me even though I know they could have smoked that course.  Along the route people yelled, “CornFed!” and “Hey CornFed!!  I love you guys!”  We were stopped a few times and were asked questions… even gear and training questions.  Are you for real???  We’re just like you, but hey… do you need some energy or a salt tab?  Oh, and like us on Facebook!
Every Spartan Race I do challenges me somehow… this one was purely mental.  I know I can run, I know I can climb.  However, when you psych yourself up for one thing, your body reacts to that.  If you can’t get out of your own mind, you will cause distress to your body.  I was cocky going into this race and that Beast sure tamed this Beast.  Confidence is one thing, but cockiness is another.  The reason why I had to go??  It was to ground me again.  To remind myself who I am and why I’m out there.  I am not out there for me, I’m out there for everyone else.  To pass along a kind word, a helping hand, a smile… and to offer encouragement.  I have experienced more this past year than I have quite possibly in my whole adult life.  I just hope to continue to motivate and lead.

Every time I think back to Texas I smile.  I smile at the joy I felt being with my teammates, I smile at the memory of all of those I helped along the way, I smile knowing I conquered another course.  Mostly, I smile because I continue to Live Each Day and I understand what it means to Know at the Finish.

My Road to The Death Race Entry 1

Journal Entry 1

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I am not a great writer but I know I could put down on paper what I’m feeling and that is really all that matters.  I have been doing Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training Guide – Advanced 1 which entails simply one thing, a lot of running.  Well, a lot of running mixed with speed and hills.  I have been doing it for the last few weeks and I have really felt the results already.  It has been an amazing experience up to this point and I’m really looking forward to completing it.  I have been running at night because of the quietness and serenity of it all.  I have been battling a bad cold/sinus/lung infection of some sort and finally took Saturday’s run of 6 miles off, my first unscheduled day I took off of my running program.  I hated doing it but had a feeling that I needed to in order to do the 8 miles this evening.  Starting the run off, it felt great out in the night air but by mile 3, my lungs and legs were killing me more than normal, most likely due to the cold air and my infection but I pushed through it.  With the Huff 50K coming up this Saturday, I need to make sure I am strong enough to complete the race in my goal time of 5 hours.  Last year it took right around 7 1/2 hours so this goal may be pushing it for me but this will be my race to go all out for.    If there is something I learned tonight was that no matter the conditions of the environment or my body, it can be done and it is up to me to determine what is accomplished.

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