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Category Archives: Obstacle Races and Mud Runs

TEAMWORK: THE GREEN BERET CHALLENGE AND A LESSON IN LIFE

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Being a part of a team will definitely increase motivation and drive.  The problem is that if you are no longer participating in team sports, it is not so easy to find others to join you in your fitness or competitive endeavors.  It may give you a different perspective.  Certain challenges may be easier or harder for you than your teammates.  Maybe their input will be the difference in completing your challenge in a more effective manner.  There are some things that take a team.

Today I just competed in The Green Beret Challenge, in Farmington, MO.  I’ve done plenty of Obstacle Course Races and have done a number of them with friends.  Than again, I have done most of them by myself.  The Green Beret Challenge is a team event.  In order to compete you need 4 people, including yourself.  If you decide to do this challenge, take my word for it.  You will need 3 other people who will NEVER GIVE UP.   I picked my team several months prior to doing the event.  I never had a question that any of them would bail on me.  If one guy bailed that would have screwed all of us.

It’s not so easy to rely on others.  How many times have you heard someone say that they stopped going to the gym because their training partner stopped going?  I’ve had lots of training partners during my life and I’ve been motivated by all of them while we worked out.  However, things change.  You probably aren’t going to train with the same individual for your entire life.  No matter what, I have no intention of putting an end to training.  I do make changes to how I train and where I train, but I don’t rely on someone else to get me in the gym.

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At the end of the day, what is more important to you?  Not letting yourself down or not letting your teammates down.  This is a true life lesson.  I know 3 guys,  (Paul Rozek, Joe Larsen and Nick Martin) who will not let me down.  That’s the reason these guys are a part of my team.  They all showed up and they did their part.  The 4 of us maneuvered over 8 miles of rough terrain, dragging tires and sandbags.  Carrying sandbags, ammo crates.  Engineering an improvised device to carry a 55 gallon drum of water a mile.  The 4 of us lifted each other through out the course.  Times do get tough and having a team that works well together will get you through it.

When it comes to life think about the people that will do what they say.  Think about the people that will be there for you if you need them.  Think about the people that do what it takes to get the job done.  I know who my guys are.  I know who I can rely on.  I have been disappointed before, because of people who don’t follow through.  It’s one thing to try and fail and it’s another to not even try.  The guys I picked for The Green Beret Challenge not only showed up  but worked and finished as a team.

Mark Ballas the founder of The Green Beret Challenge (And a Green Beret) and all of the guys (also Special Forces) who work with him did an awesome job at putting together a challenging course.  Everything that they do is based on some of the things that they went through during their military training.  Obviously, the military is the ultimate example of teamwork.  I’m just happy that they are putting these kinds of events together, in order to give others the opportunity to challenge themselves and be a part of a team, even if it is only for a day.

This honestly was the greatest and toughest event that I have participated in when it comes to challenges.  

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Racing With My Pet Turtle

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Nothing could be more humbling than losing your pet turtle while competing in an athletic competition.  Why would you run with your pet turtle in the first place?  You ask.  Why risk it’s escape?  Well I didn’t plan on bringing it.  I actually avoid having any vegetables the day before for fear of tempting my turtle with them.  I wonder how often a turtle escapes from it’s shell when someone happens to be racing with theirs.  An exploding turtle might not be as rare as you think.  The embarrassment of one losing their beloved pet turtle might prevent someone from talking about it.

I entered an MUD RUN (ironic, turtles like mud don’t they?)  last year and after I started the race, I realized that I had unknowingly brought my pet turtle with me.  I had it under my shirt and every time I took a step it would kick me in the stomach.  The race was only a 5k, so I figured that it wouldn’t be a big deal if I just ran with it for the rest of the race.  I had about a half mile left when he started to stick his head out.  I felt like it might get a little bit too dangerous if I kept running, so I considered walking which I really didn’t want to do.  I had been keeping pace with this girl and I really wanted to finish the race.  Well my pet turtle was getting way to excited and kept sticking its head out.  I was worried that it might just jump right out of it’s shell.

I made my decision.  I broke off from the girl that I was keeping pace with and left the course and ran down a hill that had a lake at the bottom of it.  The only humane thing to do was release the turtle, which I did.  As I let it go, it fled down the hill without looking back.  I really have to say it was quite a relief.  I still finished my race and left my turtle to fend for itself

Spartan Race Fenway Park – Follow Your Own Path, Others May Join You

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I use to wait around on other people so that I could do things that I wanted to do.  If I still did that instead of running in 8 obstacle races/mud runs, I probably would have run in NONE.  Are people really herd animals or pack animals?  It is nice to have other people around, but I realized that I was much happier just doing the things that I wanted to do whether or not I had other people with me.  If you can’t break off on your own it can be difficult to do some of the things that you may really want to do.  Besides I usually end up meeting other people at these races, that also have the same type of motivation and challenge in themselves that I have found in me.  These races are addictive for people who are looking for a challenge.

On November 17th, I ran in the Fenway Spartan Race.  I entered the race a few months earlier and told some friends that I was running in it and asked if any of them wanted to run.  3 of them took me up on it and 2 others came out to support us.  None of them really knew what to expect until after they signed up, so it got kind of funny when they started asking me about some of the obstacles.  Sue was already very active but hadn’t run in this type of race yet.  Chris and Sheila decided to start working out so that they could get ready for the race.  Sheila even started to make changes to her diet.

The Spartan was challenging just like the last one that I did, but it was only 2.5 miles.  They did cram a lot of obstacles into those 2.5 miles and we ran all over the stadium steps.  On top of that we had to do burpees a number of times.  If you screwed up certain obstacles you rewarded with 30 more burpees.  Those things suck.  The only one that I screwed up on was the spear throw.  It kind of feels like throwing the piece of paper that a straw comes in.  Hard to balance and not real heavy.  The race was a blast.  At the end you get the opportunity to run over 3 or 4 Gladiators or get the opportunity to have them slam you into the wall.

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Sheila fell about half way through the race and banged up her elbow pretty bad.  She had been telling me how much she was looking forward to this race ever since she signed up.  I could tell that it was something that motivated her and helped her set a goal that put her on the right track of training and nutrition.  So falling down and jacking up your elbow really stinks when you are that close.  The first thing that probably went through her mind was this hurts like hell.  I think its broken.  Kind of funny how you focus on completing something and now your mindset becomes fight through the pain and finish.  That is exactly what she did.  She came that far and knew that she couldn’t walk away from it without crossing the finish line.  She worked to hard to get there.

All three of them have told me that not only did they love running in the Spartan but that they wanted to do more of them.  These are not just races they build character and can help you find what you are made of.  I am glad that I had the three of them run with me and the other two hang out with us.  They can all be proud of their accomplishments.  I know that I am.
You might have to Learn to S.W.I.M.™ on your own but there are always people who can support you and help you on your way.  

Midwest Spartan: What Would You Do for a Free Bottle of Body Wash?

                       

I’ve been doing obstacle races for less then a year.  My life has changed over the last year and much of it has to do the my Body Transformation.  The transformation has helped me live my life the way that I would like to live it.  I take opportunities that i would have let go in the past.  These races have become a challenge for me.  They have provided me with competition.  Something that was missing in my life.

The Spartan was an awesome race.  So far it has been the most challenging race that I have competed in.  It was also different running with a team (Team Dial for Men).  I met some great people at this race.  When I pulled in it was around 40 degrees, 

people were coming in from the earlier waves and  most of them looked pretty cold.  I met the rest of my team which included 5 other guys.  We had our “Before” picture taken as a group and were told that we had to run together as a team.  When we finished we would have our “After” picture taken.  

We ran for a couple of miles before we actually hit any water.  We ran through it to get around a group of people who were backed up on a hill.  Traffic jams can be frequent at some of these races, so you look for the way around them.  Usually the way around them is through water, mud or up a steeper part of the hill.  Anything to keep moving.  As cold as it was outside, I was hoping to stay dry a little longer but part of the challenge is to keep moving at a good pace.  Not long after that it wasn’t going to matter anyway.  We were running close to a creek and came upon our first barbed wire challenge.  The wire was low and we had to commando crawl to get through it.  I should mention that we were crawling across rock and mud.  The mud kept making me think of Bill Cosby.  “Whatcha gotta do, ya see is dip the spoon in the pudding”.  This stuff was thick and unlike pudding I had rocks digging into my elbows and knees.   Every once in a while I would smash my balls on a rock sticking up out of the mud.  We got through the 50 foot crawl and were a little bit colder than when we went in.  That’s ok we were still moving and the mud that dried on my skin became insulation

for me.  However, what was stuck to my clothing was still cold.  Not long after it dried we were hitting water again.  Some of my favorite obstacles are 7 and 8 foot walls..  Jump up and pull yourself over.  Before my transformation this might have been pretty difficult.  Not so bad anymore.  The only bad part is the crushed nuts as you flip over the wall.  Between the walls and the barbed wire I think I limped away about 4 times because of the torture my balls.  Maybe next time I will wear a cup.

Other challenges included running across logs, climbing towers, dragging cement blocks attached to chains, carrying sand bags, flipping tires.  One of the toughest obstacles was getting over these raised logs that were 6 feet to 10 feet high.  You could have someone help you get over them.  Unfortunately for us they were wet and as you grabbed onto the you would slide underneath and fall to your death.  I came down and hit hard.  I was already so freaking cold that none of my muscles reacted to my fall.  I came down with a hard thud.  Nice, only 6 more of these.  One of the other guys that was on my team (Brad) launched one of the other guys over a log and he came down head first.  Couldn’t help but laugh.  It was too funny.  I guess one of us on the other side was supposed to catch him.

As we approached the end of the race we came up to another barbed wire section.  This one was about 50 yards.  Being wet and cold was already causing involuntary muscle contractions.  It was so cold that I felt like George Costanza in the Seinfeld episode when Jerry’s girlfriend walks in on George changing.  “There was shrinkage”.   Crawling through the mud, more cold, more rocks in my arms and legs.  It’s getting closer, keep going.  I was basically numb from the cold.  The cold was the hardest part and only added to the challenge.  We got though the barbed wire and finished the race by slamming into the Gladiator at the end of the race.  We decided to dish something out on someone else.

Now for the hard part.  Get our “After” picture taken for Dial.  Fortunately, Curtis the Dial rep was  close to the finish line so we got the picture pretty quickly.  Next we had to wash off and get pictures taken again.  The cold became unbearable.  Standing around soaking ass wet holding a bottle of Dial Speed Body Wash (We did get to keep the Body Wash).  That’s not a smile on my face, I’m freezing and my damn teeth are chattering.

When my mom asked me about it and I told her about the race, she said, “that sounds horrible.  Why would you do that?”  I said, “Horrible? It was amazing, I had a blast.”  This is how I know that I am alive.  Why do I like pain?  I like the challenge. I like the accomplishment.  Your mind will quit before your body does.  How much further can you push your mind?  I’m not quitting and hopefully I will keep my balls intact.  Thanks for the soap.

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