There's nothing like watching 47,000 people run by you as they push to complete the insane challenge of running 26.2 miles to motivate you to do something active! This past weekend Lindsey and I took the train up to NYC to support my big bro as he ran the New York City Marathon. Now me, my marathoning days are more or less over, I have ruin 12 in total, 10 of those over the course of a year, along with a 50-miler mixed in for good measure. While it was an incredible year and beyond for me, my activity goals have shifted from running for countless hours. The feeling of crossing the finish line on one of these things in indescribable, and I applaud with cheerful passion anyone and everyone who prepares properly and achieves the impressive goal of crossing the finish line, 26.2 painful miles under their feet! It's one of those things I think everyone should take 6-12 months out of their life and do!
Watching all these runners, and especially my brother run this race, lit a little fire beneath me to get back out and train like there's no tomorrow. Knowing the challenge of setting your sights on an end goal, preparing you training schedule, "putting in the miles", changing your life so that it fits with your end goals, and in the end, getting out there and doing everything you trained for, well, there's something wonderfully motivating about that whole process. I have spent too long just "winging" different events. Signing up for something, heading out the day of, and hoping for the best. I respect the process of training for something too much to insult it by not doing it myself. So, my message to all those things out there in the next year that i want to achieve:
Watch out, I'm training seriously, and I'm coming for you!
Thanks for the motivation Hermano!
To all those people out there wanting to take a new step in your fit life, to all those of you who want new and exciting challenges: Find an event or two you really think looks cool and exciting, register for it/them, and respect the hell out of it by taking your training seriously. I have seen way too many times people sign up for things and then arrogantly expect that they will probably be fine to just go and do the thing. This leads to all sorts of excuses for either not doing well or not finishing, like me in last years Regionals for the CrossFit Games. I didn't take my training seriously, I used moving back East as an excuse to skip training days and let my nutrition slide. And in the end, I finished 24th out of 30. yes, this is respectable from an objective standpoint, but I insulted all those athletes who trained their butts off by not taking my training more seriously I did not deserve to me there and I will NOT make that mistake again. Others may look up to you or respect you for just showing up, but myself, and all those people out there who worked their asses off to compete have zero sympathy for your inability to perform well becuase you didn't respect the challenge.
Good job to all the runners who trained and finished yesterdays race, I hope it changed your life for the better and motivated you to do even more crazy fitness challenges in your life. And good luck to all you people in the midst of training for some crazy fitness challenge. I hope your training is changing your life and that you enjoy the struggle of pushing your psychical and mental self to new levels!!
Never Stop GET FIT.
I was "The Creepy Spartan"!!
This weekend ended up being a pretty fun one all around. Late Friday morning my dad and I packed up some things and we began what would end up being the drive from hell, up to New York City. On a good day, driving from MD to NYC takes about 4.5 hours. But this time around it took us a wonderfully pleasant 9 hours! Brutal! And to top things off, we were planning on meeting up with my brother and heading out to the Red Sox/Yankees game, but, the damn thing got rained out!
Oh well. We had a tasty dinner and chatted each other up while hanging out in Times Square (not something we generally do in NYC, but my did got a hotel there…crazy, and also highly entertaining). I ended up headed off to sleep around 1am, just to get up again at 3am to pack up a bag and head out to Staten Island for the Spartan Race. I was initially scheduled to run the race at 1pm, but opted to try out a special heat they were offering called the “Hurricane Heat”. It was something they did for their last race because of Hurricane Irene, and had such a fun time they thought it would be cool to offer it as a regular event for their races. It had plenty of kinks, but I think the whole plan was really to just get a ton of people together to run through the course before the actual race started, just to make sure everything was in order. I personally chose to do this so that I’d have the rest of the day to spend with my dad and bro, and also be able to meet the founders of the race and network a little.
Well, my honest opinion was that it was both good and bad. The bad part was my own fault because I could feel my competitive side kept creeping in. This heat really had nothing to do with racing, more to do with just getting though the thing as a huge group. Bright and early at 5:30am we all split into groups of around 20 people and get our warm up in. We quickly got to the understanding the creator of this race was a little nutso. Our warm up included a couple rounds of 30 burpees, 30 push ups, 30 jumping jacks, 30 hops, 30 squat jumps and on, and on, and on. We then limped over to the start, and with happy, excited shrieks and yells we all took off! About 20 feet later we were met with our first surprise: about 25 yards of knee-deep, icy cold water! If that warm up didn’t wake everyone up, this sure as hell did!
We made our way to the beach, over a few walls/hurdles, had ourselves another 60+ burpees and jumping jacks…ugh…then back around through the woods to our first REAL obstacle: 50 meters or so of a mud crawl, under legit barbed wire. I found the trick to get through this was to stiffen up the whole body and just slide through the crazy deep mud and water. I totally got sliced up a couple times from the wire, but that’s the fun of it all! After people got through the mud, we all hung to re-group, and, did a crap-load more burpees!
Just to make the post a little easier, I would guesstimate that I got in well over 200 burpees on the day…
Things went slowly but smoothly through the woods and over a few more obstacles for the next hour or so until we got to the three high walls, the water and fire, and the super high cargo net. A few of our group blasted through them all, then waited at the end for the group. This was when I younger guy and myself saw a girl who was in our group but was waaay behind beginning to approach the first wall. We decide to head back and help her through the mess. It was fun to get through the obstacles again, and also fun to be able to hang back and help out a good collection of people get over those walls! Then it was off to the woods for a long stretch of trail running. The younger guy and myself hung back with this girl through the trials until we got to our creek/river portion and to the one portion of the course that actually got my heart racing a little. A 30-meter tunnel under a road that we all had to crawl through. It was dark, tiny, insanely muddy and the fact that we heard there were tons of rats in there the day before made it a little gross…
After we got through that fun, the younger guy and I decided it was high time to see if we could catch up with the group. So, we sprinted! About 10 minutes later we got to the front of the whole ordeal and I took off with about 4 other dudes to just keep on moving through the rest of the course. While it was an absolute blast to get rolling at a faster pace, being up in the front forced us to wait for the rest of the group at each obstacle. Generally not a problem at all, expect that we had to do burpees and jumping jacks until the whole group got together! Yeah, maybe it was more along the lines of 300+…
Anyways, there was plenty of mud, water, sand, and trails. I would say that if you are a good trail runner, you’d probably tear these things up. I personally feel as though I’d do somewhat well competing in one of these things, and if they made the challenges longer lasting (like running a long portion of the race with cinder blocks rather than just a little sprint with them) I would fair even better. But, in my honest opinion, I think the obstacles were a little too quick and easy enough to really hinder a good runner from winning these things on a regular basis. But, then again, I didn’t actually do the race, and it could be set up a little differently for them! In the end, I had a blast, met a few really awesome people, got nasty muddy and scraped up in the great outdoors, and was back in the city with the fam by 10:30am. Not too bad! I will totally be doing a few more of these races at some point over the next few years as they are right up my alley! And, I hope to go ahead and get that Death Race under my belt at some point!
So, the rest of the day was spent wandering the city with my dad and brother and doing our thing! It was fun, except fro when we thought it would be a good idea to get Captain America to watch at our hotel room…bad movie…
If you’ve never gone out to do one of these crazy races, I highly recommend checking one of them out. There’s the Warrior Dash, there’s the Tough Mudder, the Spartan Race series, the Urbanathalon, the Muddy Buddy and so on! There are so many of these things out there that it’s super easy to sign up and have some fun. In fact, there’s a really cool one coming up in a few weeks out in Northern California called Into The Wild! Yeah, you should totally go check that awesome thing out stat!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Lot's of stuff to touch on here so let me just get right into it all. I arrived in the afternoon to JFK airport, jumped on the subway and got myself into Manhattan. I immediately looked up the different places I could grab a workout at and was excited to see the famous CrossFit NYC, The Black Box was only about three blocks form my hotel! Sweetness. So, I rushed over for the 6:30pm class. Now this place is a crazy combo of classic CrossFit mixed with city grunge. It's small, has low ceilings, is on the third floor of a multi-floored building, is smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, and, it freaking works. The pace was filled to the brim with eager athletes, the coaching was top of the line, and that community feel was truly there. I am always curious to see if a city affiliate can keep that family feel despite the inherent closed-offness of city dwellers. Well, based on the fact that I had about 4 people approach me just to say hi and talk shop, and the fact that I felt very well-coached, and the fact that I wanted to stay for another hour just to hang out with everyone, this place had the family thing down pretty well.We hit behind the head jerks; I focused a LOT on form and ended up doing about 15 total reps of the move, quite a bit of volume. With that volume, I was able to pull of a final set at 255# with a massive amont of struggle. I would have liked to get 265# at least, but I was happy with the technique work, real happy. After that I snuck into a corner to hit a little metcon: 400, 300, 200, 100 meter row with40, 30, 20, 10 KB swings 2 pood (70#)This one crushed me! I finished in a sore-back heap at 9:15 and felt like I had just flown across the country to be met with a crazy workout! Oh, yeah, that's exactly what happened! I then met up with the 2XU crew for dinner and few drinks before hitting the bed for some deep, deep sleep.Today I had a massive breakfast, then headed back up to the room for a while. My brother Dave met me up there and we had a small early lunch nearby and caught up. That was really nice, real good to hang with him and I hope I get to see hm again before I leave. I then headed out to one of the coolest spots in NYC, DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) to meet up my old friend Brent for a bite and to catch up. Yet another awesome time just talking about this and that, I really liked every second of it!Not too long after that I met up with some of the 2XU crew and we hit a great 5+ mile run along the Hudson. Man, what an invigorating time that was. The three I was with were all pretty good endurance athletes, so they set into a comfortably quick pace, and I realized i am de-conditioned for too much longer than 3 miles at that pace! But it felt great all the same. I broke off from them a few blocks from the hotel to join a small group of local dudes in a park for some body weight training. I hit all sorts of pull ups with them, worked on the handstands, and got a few dips in while listening to their crazy stories. it was a good tie all around.Finally, all of us met up for a hearty Italian dinner, a couple drinks, and then to top it all off, some ping pong at a sweet place in the City. All around awesome day!Tomorrow is the big event, again, I will write about this either tomorrow or Thursday as I am not totally sure what to expect with it all. But, no matter what happens, I am sure it'll be a blast, and I will meet a good deal of people I will benefit from meeting! So, until then, I have to let all you CrossFitters out there know that despite how brutal HQ shit the bed with the "glitch in their system thing", just go get some good sleep! It'll all be out soon and we will have tear it up!Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
This weekend ended up being a damn good one. Lot's and lot's of quality time with my awesome girlfriend and plenty of exploring around our not-for-long home town area. Saturday we went out and searched through the Presidio, an area of the city that instantly takes you OUT of the city. I had a bit of a challenging workout that ended up not really being a workout at all. The sweat and elevated heart rate were a result of panicking attempting to find a workout spot in time. Let me break this down a bit...
I basically had a 30 minute AFAP (as fast as possible): find a workout location, come up with a workout, perform the workout, get back to the car. This turned out to be way harder than expected as there were no good branches in the wooded area we were in to hang the rings! I ran around about four different trails and found nothing. I had one possibility a bit off the trail on some very thick brush, but the branch ended up being way too angled and just like that, 10 minutes gone. As I headed back towards the car I spotted a hidden clearing just off the path and went to check it out. Perfect, there was a fallen tree about 8 feet from the ground. I strung the rings up and put together this:
3 rounds of:
20 log jump overs (13" log)
1 hill sprint (50 meters, about a 4% grade)
5 muscle ups
This was going very well until I hit the 5th muscle up on the damn first round. I just got stuck. And when I finally got it, I noticed I was about 2 minutes from my 30 minute limit. Damn! I packed up the rings and high-tailed it back to the car. Total fail. But, to make the evening totally worth it, Lindsey and I shared an awesome dinner down at Crissy Field (a huge park area on the Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge). Then we hit up an awesome comedy show. What a day!
Today, after a huge breakfast, we drove north of the city to explore Tamalpais Mountain. Well, our timing was just a tad off and literally the second we got out of the car, down came the rain. We toughed through it for a while and lucked out with a good 5 minutes of open view way out over the city. Absolutely breathtaking. But then the wind, rain and crazy fog blew in and, after hanging out in a incredibly comfortable alcove made up of moss-covered rocks, trees and bushes, we trudged back to the car. We then spent a couple hours hanging out on Union Street, drinking coffee, people watching and trying on sunglasses before heading down to the Mission District to grab dinner at an absolutely impressive vegan/raw foods restaurant. Cafe Gratitude, besides being so stereotypically fru-fru, had a massive menu of totally vegan, organic, local and mostly raw dishes that would satisfy even the most Paleo of eaters. Lindsey and I both walked away filled to the brim, and smiling widely, it is a great place for a good, healthy meal. And now we are home, chilling out before bed time and a super early wake up call for me as I am shipping out to NYC for the week. I'll be taking part in a media event with the compression clothing company 2XU and am so excited to represent their brand. I'll share more about this at the end of the week, so look for that. Besides that, the first CrossFit Games Open workout will be announced on Tuesday, so I am super excited to see what this weeks workouts will look like. Depending on the workout, I will either hold off and do it with the crew at CrossFit San Mateo, or I will do it somewhere in NYC. Either way, I will be hitting up a gym or two while in the City That Never Sleeps and doing a couple cool workouts. Should be an adventure all around!Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage