My Mid-Life Crisis

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

So my team of maniacs has now signed up for the Iron Warrior Dash on September 21 in Walker, MI.  Ity is the same day as the Warrior Dash, with a couple key differences:

  1. The Warrior Dash is a 5k; the Iron Warrior Dash is 15.6 miles.
  2. The Warrior Dash has 12 obstacles; the Iron Warrior Dash has 24.
  3. The entire Warrior Dash if, again, a 5k; the Iron Warrior Dash has a 5k smack in the middle of it just for fun.
The Tough Mudder was a really good time, and weighed-in at 12.4 miles.  Not too shabby.  But it also wasn't a timed event; rather, it was a "can you finish" event.  Yes, apparently, these 40-year-olds can indeed, thank you very much.  The Iron Warrior, however, is a timed event, so not only is it about finishing, it's about racing as well, so we're all training a little harder to get our run times a tad faster.

I took a look at the obstacles for this event, and they look a good deal more physically demanding than the Mudder, which varied in terms of difficulty and relative misery.  Really, the obstacles along the Mudder were more designed to make you dirtier, wetter, and more miserable as you went along.  These look to do the same, but involve much more climbing, hanging, and relative strength/endurance.  Lucky for us, at least 2 of us on our team have years of experience being wet, dirty, miserable, and tired.

Bob asked how one trains for this.

First, I have gone over to the insane asylum and do Crossfit.  Here's my gym.  Regular gym guys who like to scream through 8 bench presses and then sit on the bench for 5 minutes between sets flexing or watching Sports Center like to disparage Crossfit because it involves a lot of leaping, Olympic-style lifts, and bad decisions; they think it looks silly or that they get better results.  But I submit:  the Marine Corps was the first branch to switch their entire fitness regimen to Crossfit, and now all the branches use it to keep the troops in top shape.  I've never been in such good shape (down to 184 lbs now!!).  And the guys who crushed the Tough Mudder?  Every one of them wore a Crossfit gym's shirt.  Every guy who was walking by mile 4 and skipped obstacles?  Muscley-looking dudes in Fitness World shirts.  But I digress:  a typical Crossfit "WOD" (WorkOut of the Day) might look like:

2 times:

  • 200 M run
  • 30 jumping jacks
  • 20 air squats
  • 10 lunges

  • 5 x 1 push press (think: standing military press), increase weight every set to achieve 1-rep maximum (mine is 180#)
15 minutes, As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP); each round consists of:

  • 12 push press (50% of max)
  • 12 pull-ups
  • 24 air squats
Done.  In and out of the gym in 40 minutes.  And it's all I can take.  Check out my gym's site for more examples of just how well Crossfit conditions your entire body.

Then, I mix-in running.  I kinda-sorta use this site as a rough week-by-week guide of how far and how many times a week I need to be running to get myself to the half-marathon mark.  But as aggressively as Crossfit works me, I break-down my Crossfit and Running schedule: odd weeks - Crossfit 3 days, run 4 days; even weeks - Crossfit 4 days, run 3.  2/3 of my runs in a week are 5k, some at a slower pace to "feel" the pace I need to survive a half marathon, and some at a blistering pace to push myself and my limits, which ultimately makes the "slower" pace faster and faster.  Then the remaining runs I have in a week are longer distance, starting at 6, then 8, then 10 miles.

Then the week before the race?  1 or 2 light jogs, some nice brisk walks around the neighborhood to keep the hips and ankles mobile, some light, basic, "open gym" work at the gym just doing some light basics, a solid deep tissue massage and hot tub soak about 3 days before.  The day before?  Nothing much at all, and eat only meals I am really familiar with and have eaten many times before.  Hydrate like MAD to the point where I have to piss on the hour every hour.

Now, with diabetes, I have to watch my sugar.  Hours and hours of physical exertion can threaten to leave me hypoglycemic.  So I load up on good, diabetes-friendly carbs (whole grains) and protein bars and shakes to further slow the absorption of the carbs.  For instance, the night before the Mudder:

  • Dinner:  grilled salmon over a double-helping of mixed greens, Sesame dressing, whole-grain roll
  • Snack: Popcorn (it's a whole grain!)

  • Race time: 11:40 am
  • Breakfast (6:30 am): 1/2 C Egg Beaters mixed with 2 T hummus, 1 C low-fat Greek yogurt topped with 1/2 C granola
  • 8:30 - Protein bar, with dark chocolate
  • 10:30 - Another protein bar with dark chocolate
  • 11:20 - Gu packet
Every 45 approximate minutes of race time: Gu packet

"Hypoglycemic" is a blood-sugar level of less than 70.  45 minutes after the race, after I was finally hosed-off enough to do so (but my body was still, after all that, burning energy like crazy), my reading was 83.  The race company offered Cliff protein bars just past the finish line; in the future, I'll take advantage of that just to get my levels to a comfy 100 or so.

And that is how I prepare for these "adventure races."


Bob 6:04 AM  

Dig it. Now how do you find the time for that? I really need to get in shape, but am having guilt feelings when I go workout after work and dont see the kids all day. I'd like to do a short triathlon, but working out 2 times a week wont get me there.

Smitty 7:56 AM  

My runs tend to be 6 am or 8pm. My WODs...I hit them when I can. The 6am class, the 4pm class, the 5pm class...whatever works. 4 and 5 are cool because I'm still done in enough time to go pick up the kids.

steves 11:22 AM  

Look like fun. Nothing local for me, though.

Hugh 10:41 PM  

This is fantastic!

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