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.
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.
Today I got an email with an attachment about a little Q and A with my brother as he trains for the New York City Marathon! Add this to the the excitement I have for the last weekend of the month when I'll be up in NYC for the Spartan Race and spending a dude's weekend with my bro and my dad! So, I figured I'd share a little about this guy who I've looked up to my entire life.
Growing up I always felt like I lived in my brother's shadow. The guy was insane at pretty much every sport (I may be remembering this wrong but I think he dunked a damn basketball in 9th grade!). He dressed in a way I thought I'd never be able to pull off (the dude wore a leather jacket in High School, god that was cool!), and he had such a comfortable personality with everyone. To add to the versatility that inspired me so much, he headed off to a great school where he excelled at diving, and, for fun, played on the baseball team. Why not right? Then graduated and just like that began a damn impressive post-school life. Started his own web-design company, worked online marketing for some HUGE names in publishing and magazines, even started a now-pretty successful film festival!
Over the years we have have had our basic brotherly ups and downs, but every time we get together it seems like we just sort of feed off of each others pretty distinct energy. We have gone in very different directions with our lives; he is what I would call a stereotypical New Yorker: works online marketing, rides a "fixie" to work across the Brooklyn Bridge every morning, works out at totally ghetto YMCA, walks his albino pit pull around his relatively sketchy neighborhood while chain smoking some form of "hipster" cigarette. I of course am a fitness junkie who would go WAY out of his way to avoid being in a major city, I practically gag at the smell of cigarette smoke and have never sat at a desk for work besides a couple internships between baseball games in college. And despite our differences I still look up to this guy with never-ending respect for what he has achieved in his life.
He has basically taken control of his life from the second he had the freedom to do so. He has fallen over so many times, and yet he seems to have no problem finding his way back up to an even higher level (a Courage Family trait I am finding out...). And now he's done it again! I would easily say that about 6 months ago I could probably be seen picking fun at him in a back-handed way for being so damn unhealthy and out of shape. But now the guy is cooking all sorts of incredible foods (he has given me some AWESOME ideas for how to keep my fueling fun and exciting whole staying simple) whole training for a marathon. And to top it off, he is committed to raising at least $3,000 for a YMCA kids program (helping kids into health and fitness programs that they can't afford).
So, while I continue to look up to the guy, and aspire to to be as cool as I see him, I ask you all to give him your well wishes with his training, and perhaps donate a buck or two (or more...?). And while your at it, take a moment to think about someone in your family and the positive things they have inspired in you. No matter how you've grown, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll be able to remember something positive (hopefully lots of things!) in each and every one of your family members. Feel free to share if you'd like!
Good luck brother! Looking forward to seeing you in a couple weeks!
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Never Stop, GET FIT.
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