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So, you think you want to do a mud race??? Part 1

30 Sep

Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Original Mud Run, and so on and so on and so on. These races are popular! If you haven’t done one, chances are that your friends will sign you up for one. They happen year-round. Michigan and Indiana in November? Bundle up and prepare to possibly race in the snow. Arizona or Texas in July? Hope they let you race naked (where will you pin your number??? Ouch!) I have 4 of these under my belt this year and I get a lot of questions about preparing for these races. Here’s a comprehensive guide:

1) “I need to get in better shape before I try one.” No, you don’t. MOST of the people doing these races are weekend warriors at best. You’ll have your serious athletes sprinkled in too (caution, they may take the race seriously). Any race offering free beer and firemen to hose you off post-race is meant to be a fun race. Hint, they usually let you by-pass obstacles too.

2) However, if you want to perform better in the race and do every obstacle, join a bootcamp or, better yet, a CrossFit class. Box jumps, rope climbs, speed intervals (running, rowing, etc.), pull-ups, push-ups, sled pulls, weighted vest runs, and hurdles are all moves that will help you in the races.  If you can’t get to a bootcamp or CrossFit gym, any general physical fitness will do. Most races post the course in advance, so you can get a good idea of the specific obstacles to train for.
By the way, being able to swim a short distance will help you by-pass a lot of people. There’s usually some kind of water crossing in which people wade or pull themselves on a rope. Swimming is far more efficient (and faster) in getting from shoreline A to shoreline B.

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Are all humans "born to run"?

10 Sep

I was thinking about this as I was completing a long tempo swim yesterday. I wasn’t born to swim, but with only 3 weeks available, I jumped in a pool and started training to complete a triathlon. The first time, I couldn’t swim more than a lap and I would be so exhausted that I had to catch a breather on the edge of the pool while thinking “What have I gotten myself into?!?” Yesterday I swam a full mile, no stopping. So was I born to swim? Hardly. I invested hard work and lots of positive thinking to go from 1 lap to a full mile in 3 months.

The same has been true for everything I’ve done in my life. I may have been born with some talents or tendencies towards some of the things I’ve done (for example, I have perfect pitch, which made music come easier to me than most kids). Even in the areas of some God-given talent, I had to learn a skill, practice the skill and work hard to become really good at the skill. I wasn’t a born swimmer or runner or weight lifter or chef or musician or wife – I have to continue investing practice and hard work into these areas. I have to keep telling myself that I can do this or that, so as not to get discouraged and take the easier route that requires little or no hard work.

Learn a skill, practice the skill and put a little hard work and positive thinking into the skill. It’s the secret to success. No more living behind the crutch of “I wasn’t born to do that…”. We were not “born to run”, but a little hard work will make it appear and feel like we were born runners!