Tag Archives: Pete Williams

Speed + Power = Future of Racing? (Nov. 10, 2013)

By Pete Williams

The Battle Dash men's winner navigates the final rungs of the course. (Photo courtesy Rock on Adventures)

The Mile of Pain men’s winner navigates the final rungs of the course. (Photo courtesy Rock on Adventures)

The world of endurance sports is an ever changing place. These days, it’s even difficult to pinpoint the definition. It wasn’t that long ago that endurance sports was running, cycling, and triathlon. In recent years, the category has added obstacle course racing and stand-up paddleboarding.

CrossFit, though mostly an anaerobic endeavor, seemed to belong in there somewhere. After all, obstacle course events such as Spartan Race and Tough Mudder aligned themselves closely with CrossFit, though it often seemed like more of a marketing ploy than common ground. CrossFit, after all, usually involves little running.

Everyone, it seems, is looking to create the best test of speed and power. Some point to American Ninja Warrior, though even that seems more like a contest of power and gymnastics ability. CrossFit WODs have inspired all manner of related competitions. And while such events are grueling, they lack any sort of running/aerobic component.

Which brings us to two events that took place under the radar in Central Florida over the weekend – the Mile of Pain/Battle Dash and the Tampa Bay Pump N Run 5K.

The Mile of Pain/Battle Dash is the creation of Jonny Simpkins, who in 2011 launched Rock On Adventures after watching the Warrior Dash debut in Florida. Simpkins, who owns an irrigation company, figured he could create something better.

Athletes got creative tackling the Battle Dash. (Courtesy Rock On Adventures).

Athletes got creative tackling the Battle Dash. (Courtesy Rock On Adventures).

His Highlander Adventure Run has proven to be just that, and he’s also come up with other unique events at his permanent home at the YMCA Roper Ranch near Orlando such as the “Yak-a-Thon” a run-kayak-mountain bike-run competition.

The Mile of Pain/Battle Dash, which debuted earlier this year and returned on Saturday, blends the best of American Ninja Warrior and obstacle course racing. The Mile of Pain consists of a whopping 32 obstacles. Athletes leave in 10-minute waves, 10 people at a time, and tackle roughly 3/4 of a mile of walls, climbs, crawls, and obstacles before arriving at the “Battle Dash,” sort of an outdoors version of American Ninja Warrior. There athletes must complete a U-shaped course of climbs, tire flips, rope climbs, and balance beams before staggering to the finish.

The top time Saturday for the Mile of Pain was 12:30, though most competitors took around 20 minutes. Many did not finish officially since failure to complete an obstacle, as on American Ninja Warrior, removed the athlete from the competition. (Simpkins offered $1,700 in prize money, split among the male and female winners of the Mile of Pain and Battle Dash.)

For the Battle Dash, competitors lined up nine at a time and tackled the event together. The obstacles were wide enough to allow such maneuvering and the U-shaped course allowed spectators to walk the course as the athletes progressed, with most taking between 2 and 5 minutes. Simpkins, who has a background in Supercross racing, envisions a stadium set-up complete with bleachers and lights, perhaps even television coverage. He seems well on his way at Rock On Adventures.

Eric Hall, owner of AWOL Sports Performance, benches Sunday. (Courtesy Tampa Bay Pump N Run 5K).

Eric Hall, owner of AWOL Sports Performance, benches at the Tampa Bay Pump N Run (Courtesy Racehawk).

In Tampa on Sunday, trainer Whit Lasseter debuted the Tampa Bay Pump N Run 5K, a version of similar events that have sprung up recently in the Northeast. For the Tampa Bay event, athletes bench pressed some portion of their weight depending on age and gender. Men benched between 70 percent and 100 percent of their weight depending on age and women between 40 and 70 percent. For each rep, athletes subtracted 30 seconds off their 5K, which took place a half hour later.

After athletes weighed in, they proceeded to one of six benches, where referees/spotters judged their repetitions. Of the 150 or so athletes competing, seven completed 30 reps, the maximum allowed. The event seemed to favor wiry little guys in their 40s, who were required to bench 90 percent of their weight. A 150-pounder for instance, could bench 135 – a bar with a pair of 45-pound disks, a familiar set-up for anyone who has spent time in the gym. (Though I fit the profile, I had to sit out with a pec tear suffered while training.)

PumpRunWith about 15 runners finishing the 5K under 19 minutes, there were adjusted “times” as low as 2:30. Perhaps not coincidentally, some of the same athletes finished high on the leader boards at both the Mile of Pain/Battle Dash and Tampa Bay Pump N Run 5K.

It was an impressive showing all around. Consider that at the NFL combine, young football players bench press 225 pounds. Very few can bench 225 for 30 reps, even though most players weigh more than 225. Some of the Pump N Run crowd has more relative power.

In the end, isn’t that what all athletes are trying to obtain – the most speed and strength relative to body weight? If so, don’t be surprised if events such as the Mile of Pain/Battle Dash and the Tampa Bay Pump N Run 5K become one of the popular fitness trends of 2014.

 

 

My Chipotle Diet II – Small Size Me

By Pete Williams

Chipotle Diet for Halloween

Chipotle Diet for Halloween

In 2003, Morgan Spurlock ate every meal for a month at McDonald’s. He consumed nothing else and did not work out or train. He gained 25 pounds and by the end of the month suffered from liver dysfunction and depression.

Spurlock’s journey, chronicled in the documentary Supersize Me, demonstrated what happens when you consume nothing but high-fat, processed food for a month.

For the last few years, I’ve eaten at Chipotle Mexican Grill roughly 15 to 20 times a month. Chipotle should never be compared to McDonald’s. Yes, the food is served fast and McDonald’s once invested a ton of money in Chipotle. But the Golden Arches did not create Chipotle. Steve Ells did in 1993 and though the Colorado chef took money from McDonald’s, he never took direction from the company. When Chipotle went public in 2006, McDonald’s cashed out and walked away.

Unlike the processed McDonald’s food, Chipotle operates under a “Food with Integrity” philosophy, using whenever possible meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones, dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones, and sourcing organic and local produce when practical.

I’ve dropped 20 pounds since starting to eat regularly at Chipotle in 2005, going from 175 to 155, a large shirt to a small, a 33-inch waist to a 30, and while there are multiple reasons (obstacle racing, triathlon, stand-up paddleboarding, green smoothies, and writing Core Performance fitness books with Mark Verstegen), the common thread has been eating roughly four times a week at Chipotle.

ChipotleCvilleIn July, I wrote about my experience eating at Chipotle, which began in 2002 when Verstegen introduced me to the chain in Phoenix. (Chipotle did not arrive in the Tampa Bay area where I live until 2005). Mark and I have eaten at Chipotle frequently when working on books, including our sixth (Every Day is Game Day), which comes out in January.

I wondered what might happen if I pulled a semi-Spurlock and ate at Chipotle at least once every day for a month. Would I gain weight? Lose more weight? Get sick of the food?

Last night, Halloween, I completed my 31-day, everyday Chipotle Diet. I lost four pounds, going from 155 to 151. I ate at Chipotle at least once a day and on four occasions consumed both lunch and dinner there. (Rumor has it Chipotle is considering offering breakfast and hopefully it will expand its Asian-themed Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen concept to Florida soon.)

I picked October to add to the degree of difficulty. It’s 31 days and includes Halloween, which now consists of two party weekends before the actual event itself. The month also includes my birthday and that of my nephew, who celebrated with a chocolate mousse-filled cake from Costco. October also includes two triathlons on my calendar with incredible post-race spreads. (I only worked the events this year, instead of racing them, adding to the challenge.)

ShopHouse2You can’t order just anything at Chipotle and lose weight. My typical burrito, according to ChipotleCalorieCalculator.com, weighs in at 650 calories, with 46 grams of protein and 66 grams of carbs. That’s relatively modest, certainly right for a 155-pound – make that 151-pound – endurance athlete.

Here’s my usual order: burrito bowl with one scoop of brown rice, fajita peppers, black beans, half chicken and half carnitas, mild and medium salsas, guacamole and lettuce. Sometimes I substitute hot salsa for medium. Sometimes I’ll go with no meat. Sometimes I just order a bowl of chicken.

Here’s what I don’t order: tortilla (290 calories and 44 grams of empty carbs), white rice, pinto beans, steak, barbacoa, corn salsa, or dairy products (cheese, sour cream).

Were I to put the same burrito on a tortilla with cheese and sour cream, however, I would end up with an 1,160-calorie, foil-wrapped, 112-carb bomb with a whopping 2,710 mg of sodium – more than the 2,300 mg daily allowance recommended by the U.S. Health and Human Services.

My burrito has 1,920 mg of sodium, still a concern but at least lower.

ChipotleMealLast night, in between rounds of trick-or-treating with the kids, we ate dinner at Chipotle, which offered $3 burritos to those in costume as part of an annual Halloween charity fundraiser. I ordered my usual. The place was so jammed with teenagers in costume that the server behind the glass knocked out my burrito – as well as those of our sons – before I got to the counter.

You know you eat at Chipotle a lot when you can order without pointing or speaking. (My wife, who eats there occasionally, had to order conventionally.)

So my 31 days at Chipotle is over. Unlike Spurlock, I don’t need medical attention. I feel great, ready to tackle work challenges and the next races on the calendar.

And I still love the food. Heck, I’ll probably have lunch there today.

Mud Endeavor: Saturday Night Lights (July 20, 2013)

By Pete Williams

MudEndeavorlogoDADE CITY, Fla. – By now it’s nearly impossible to come up with a different wrinkle for an obstacle mud run. Every angle and obstacle has been done, to the point where races start to blend together, a mix of mud, wall climbs, tires, and BYOB refreshments.

The latest edition of Mud Endeavor didn’t reinvent the OCR wheel, but by holding the event in the evening under the lights at the Pasco County Fairgrounds on Saturday, it provided a remarkably different experience.

We were skeptical of whether Randy Yoho and his crew could produce a memorable run at a venue best known in the OCR world for hosting the modest 2.3-mile “5K” Mud Crusade in April 2012. Yoho, who has a background in motocross promotions, has staged two well-received races in Brooksville – and will host a third there in October – but the smaller Pasco property presents some layout challenges.

Yoho said in the days leading up to the race that some of his larger obstacles would not work at the Fairgrounds and he relied mostly on wooden walls, tires, cargo nets, and an up-and-down opening mile of motocross mud churned up by the last month of heavy rains. Like Mud Crusade, he built a waterslide in the same spot and took runners through the grassy fields not used for parking.

But unlike Mud Crusade, he put the Fairgrounds’ barns to use, using pulsing music and fog machines to create a surprisingly authentic run-through-the-nightclub vibe, certainly a first in OCR. At one point, runners entered a crawl space in the fog only to find themselves in four inches of ice water, a clever variation on other icy obstacles.

Yoho issued perhaps the best T-shirts we’ve seen, orange Gildan Softstyle numbers with nothing on the back. We’re big fans of Tultex, the soft fitted shirts that grew popular late in 2011, but the preshrunk Gildan (65 percent poly, 35 percent cotton) seem more fitted and substantive, yet just as soft. Yoho also sprung for chip timing for all waves, which is becoming increasingly unusual. Between the chips and shirts, we can forgive water-trickle showers and no post-race bottled water, though there were at least three water stops on the 5K course.

For what the Fairgrounds lacks in acreage, it makes up for in other areas. With permanent speakers atop permanent light towers – Yoho brought in additional lighting for the outlying areas – Mud Endeavor had the best sound system in an industry known for ear-ringing audio.

Yoho might be onto something with the night format race. It’s cooler – literally and figuratively – especially with light rains that produced some breathtaking rainbows as runners competed in the twilight under the lights. OCR demographics trend younger than triathlon and road racing; this isn’t a crowd that wants to start at 7 a.m. By moving the first wave to 7 p.m., and releasing runners roughly every half hour until 10 p.m., Mud Endeavor created both a party atmosphere and a more temperature-friendly event.

We took off in the 7:40 wave and though the light towers were on, they weren’t necessary by the time we finished the 5K course at 8:15. Kudos to the winner who slogged through all that ankle-deep muck in 22 minutes.

Athletes in Florida already have evening race options such as the Picnic Island Adventure Run in Tampa and next weekend’s Twilight Triathlon in Crystal River. Here’s hoping Mud Endeavor will return to the Pasco County Fairgrounds.

After Saturday, it appears obstacle racing is ready for prime time.

 

 

Tough Mudder “Jacksonville” – Florida Fatigue (May 19, 2013)

By Pete Williams

TMJVilleEverestPALATKA, Fla. – If a Tough Mudder is held in the forest and only 3,500 runners show up, does it still make an impact?

We’ll let the local economists figure that one out. This much we know: After drawing more than 15,000 to its inaugural Florida event in December of 2011, Tough Mudder has seen its numbers cut in half twice – to 7,500 at Homestead Miami Speedway in March and now 3,500 this weekend, including what couldn’t have been more than 1,200 runners today at the Hog Waller Mud Bog.

The market for obstacle mud runs is saturated, especially in Florida, but Tough Mudder hasn’t helped its cause in the Sunshine State. The Brooklyn-based company should have stuck with its original Florida site, Dade City’s Little Everglades Ranch, which might be the best venue in the state. Instead Tough Mudder toyed with Dirty Foot Adventures in Polk County last year before moving to Sarasota’s Hi Hat Ranch for last December’s event, a modest 10-mile course marred by traffic delays of up to three hours.

TMJvillePineWe liked today’s venue, a 750-acre pine plantation with a clearing in the middle used for off-road 4×4 racing. Runners spent more time in mud and muddy water than in any of the five Tough Mudders I’ve done. There was one half-mile stretch in thick calf-deep mud that got a bit scary. As part of the first of just three waves, I found myself alone in the muck, wondering what might happen if an alligator or one of the property’s namesake wild hogs sprung from the palmetto.

The problem with the Hog Waller location – and this is a typical mud run organizing mistake – is that it’s not far from everywhere but not close to anything. Though billed as Tough Mudder “Jacksonville,” Palatka is about 90 minutes from most of J’ville and more than two hours from Tampa. It’s not far from Gainesville but, alas, the student Gators are home for the summer.

Tough Mudder trotted out all of its signature obstacles among the 20 it staged, including the Arctic Enema, Funky Monkey, Mount Everest half pipe, and race-ending Electroshock Therapy. The “Cage Crawl,” the on-your-back, claustrophobia-inducing challenge through water under chainlink fence that we saw for the first time in Phoenix in February, returned, though we were disappointed not to see “Just the Tip,” a clever horizontal wall obstacle that appeared in March in Homestead.

Walk the Plank, the 12-foot leap into water that during a race in West Virginia last month accounted for the first fatality in Tough Mudder history, also returned. There was “Strong Swimmers Only” signage leading up to the obstacle and noticeably absent were the “You Signed a Death Waiver” signs usually posted along the course.

After doing Tough Mudder in February at a former General Motors proving ground near Phoenix and at the Homestead Miami Speedway in March, we’ve found Tough Mudder puts forth more effort on its obstacles when its not working out in the woods. The diversity of obstacles was far better on the racetracks. Admittedly, it’s tough staging in the forest. Then again, Hog Waller is a major timber operation with plenty of interior roads.

Shock, shock and more shock

Shock, shock and more shock

Our biggest beef with Tough Mudder is that it’s now all about the electroshock. In 2011, there was only the race-ending Electroshock Therapy, where most athletes felt little. By the end of last year, a second electric obstacle was added but the jolts still modest. But the three events I’ve done in 2013 have gotten progressively more intense. During today’s Electric Eel, the 40-foot crawl through water underneath electrically-charged wires, I took at least a dozen major tasings, including one to the back of the head that left me loopy for the next half mile.

I’m all for a little Fear Factor in my obstacle race, but it’s getting ridiculous. At least today’s Tough Mudder didn’t throw in “Dark Lightning,” where athletes crawl through pitch-black underground tunnels with wires hanging from the ceiling. This, of course, is the signature feature of the British Tough Guy event, the race that Will Dean studied as a Harvard Business School project and pretty much copied for Tough Mudder.

Speaking of copying, since Tough Mudder didn’t introduce anything new this weekend, we’re wondering what the Savage Race will do for new material. Savage, of course, is the Winghouse to Tough Mudder’s Hooters, compressing the 12-mile Tough Mudder into a six-mile course – or 4.5 miles at Savage’s most recent affair near Atlanta.

Savage has succeeded with its more-obstacles-per-mile strategy since many athletes have no interest in tackling a 12-mile course. Actually, today’s Tough Mudder was only about 11 miles and even that was a stretch. Athletes exited the woods at the 10-mile mark and then were looped around the main festival area to go through the Funky Monkey, Mount Everest and Electroshock Therapy, all lumped together.

TMJVilleBarsPerhaps the oddest part of today’s event was the lack of people, including spectators. Because of the woods, sandy terrain, and long stretches of running, I went periods of up to 10 minutes without seeing anyone. As part of the lead pack in the first wave, I not only never encounter a line, I was the only person at an obstacle on several occasions, including Mount Everest. (Good thing I was able to make it without assistance.) The guy in front of me at the Wounded Warrior alternating-piggyback carry had to wait a minute for me to show up. (As usual, I got the worse end of that deal, carrying a 185-pound dude who only had to sling my 155 pounds around.)

Such isolation is not unusual at smaller, local mud races but not at Tough Mudder. We’re wondering if Tough Mudder will scale back its Florida events for 2014 or even go to one-day affairs like some Spartan Race events. It’s also worth asking if Tough Mudder is having its Muddy Buddy moment in the Sunshine State. Muddy Buddy thrived for years in Florida until other local events sprung up and national competitors like Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash arrived. After Muddy Buddy drew modest crowds in Orlando and Miami in 2011, it pulled out of Florida and scaled down from 18 to eight events nationally.

Of course, Florida is like no other state when it comes to obstacle racing, with several dozen local races. Tough Mudder still draws legions globally and in most of North America, parts of which it’s only now hitting for the first time.

toughmudderlogoLocal race organizers must not worry too much about Tough Mudder anymore. There were no planes flying banners overhead on Sunday. And I can’t remember the last endurance race of any sort I went to and didn’t find a single race flyer on my windshield afterward.

Unlike Spartan Race, Tough Mudder has not revealed specific dates for 2014 events. It will return to Florida on Nov. 2-3 for Tough Mudder “Tampa” in River Ranch, Fla., another no-man’s part of the state that’s not especially close to anything – and 90 minutes from Tampa.

River Ranch could be another Palatka. Or perhaps because Tough Mudder has staged three Florida events in five and a half months, what it really needs is the six-month break.

 

 

 

 

 

The TRI-OCR-SUP Challenge

By Pete Williams

Channeling Mel Gibson at the Savage Race

Channeling William Wallace at the Savage Race

DUNEDIN, Fla. – I completed 25.2 miles this weekend, just one mile shy of a marathon. But as I paddled onto the beach here at Honeymoon Island at the end of the Shark Bite Challenge this morning, it dawned on me that it might have been the most creative almost-marathon in endurance sports.

It certainly was the most fun.

Saturday 7:08 a.m. (Escape from Fort De Soto Triathlon: half-mile swim, 10-mile bike, 4-mile total run)

Saturday 11:20 a.m. (Savage Race: 6.7 mile obstacle run)

Sunday 10 a.m. (Shark Bite Challenge: 4-mile stand-up paddleboard race)

Total time for the “TRI-OCR-SUP?” Just under 28 hours. Total race time? Around 3 hours, 30 minutes.

Admittedly, there’s probably literally nobody else who would attempt this since there’s little crossover between the genres. I saw a guy wearing a Tough Mudder T-shirt at the Shark Bite Challenge. My friend Jerry Napp, a longtime triathlete, kicked butt in the stock paddleboard division of the 4-mile paddle race.

Because there’s so little overlap, it’s hard to tell if 3 hours 30 minutes is an impressive combined time or not. My triathlon time was slower than usual when measured up against friends I usually race against. I’ve never done a 6.7-mile obstacle race, just longer and shorter distances My paddleboard time seemed fast, but who knows? I rode a stock board, not a race board, though Jerry finished so far ahead of me, I couldn’t see him. I always gauge a paddleboard race a success when I stay upright for the duration, especially in choppy water.

EnduranceChallengeOnly in Central Florida could this trifecta even be attempted in one weekend, at least in April. We lead the nation when it comes to endurance sports, staging the most running events, triathlons, obstacle races, and stand-up paddleboard races. We also have the most gorgeous venues.

Consider that the site of the triathlon (Fort De Soto Park) and the Shark Bite Challenge (Honeymoon Island) each have been rated America’s No.1 beach by Dr. Beach, the college professor who compiles an annual ranking. Savage Race took place at Little Everglades Ranch in Pasco County, just north of Tampa, a 2,050-acre venue that might be the best obstacle race site anywhere.

The biggest challenge of the weekend was not the distance of the events, though that was significant. (I’ve never done a single event longer than a half marathon or Olympic-distance triathlon). Instead it was the stop-and-go nature of the weekend.

There was a 90-minute drive between the Escape from Fort De Soto Triathlon and Savage Race and just 20 minutes between parking and racing. I crashed at 9:30 on Saturday night, woke at 7 on Sunday and got a late start to the Shark Bite Challenge, a terrific 10th annual paddling event that has evolved into mostly a SUP competition.

The other challenge was hauling around a ton of gear, including bike, paddleboard, paddle, leash, personal flotation device, wetsuit (should have used on triathlon swim), goggles, sunscreen (did not use enough), four pairs of shoes, tri shorts, swim trunks, running shorts, kilt (for Running Commando obstacle race team), white socks, black socks, hat, sunglasses, tons of water, recovery drinks, energy bars, gels, towels, and just one energy shot.

So maybe it wasn’t the most impressive endurance sports accomplishment.

But it was a helluva fun weekend.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie

By Pete Williams

greensmoothieSt. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time for a green smoothie. They’re packed with energy-producing nutrients and also a great cure for a hangover on the off chance you overindulged last night.

Five months ago I replaced my traditional fruit-heavy smoothie with one dominated by greens: spinach, avocado, kale, broccoli, and cucumber. I typically drink one in the morning or post-workout and sometimes a second one mid-afternoon. The results have been dramatic, both in terms of body composition and energy levels. The smoothies also guarantee that I’ll be getting more than enough green veggies every day.

The most encouraging thing is that one of our two sons will drink what he calls “green juice” and I’m working on the other one. There’s no way I’d get them to eat a plate full of those foods (lucky if they’d try just one), but when it goes into the blender and comes out as a smoothie, the oldest actually enjoys it.

I’m forever tinkering with the formula, but here’s what’s working right now:

greensmoothie212 oz of water

6 ice cubes

1/2 avocado

4-5 broccoli crowns

1/2 cup kale

1/2 cup spinach

3 inches of cucumber (sliced)

I eat asparagus several times a week for dinner, but don’t throw it into the smoothie. It probably would work very well.

For taste, I add half a frozen banana and half a scoop of chocolate whey protein powder, which also provides 14 grams of protein. Today I threw in three strawberries, having picked some up yesterday at Parkesdale Farms on the way home from the Highlander Adventure Run.

Transitioning to green smoothies can be a challenge at first, which I why the sweeter ingredients are important. But like anything else, it’s possible to train yourself to like anything and gradually scale back on the sweeter stuff.

That’s why I also throw in a cap-full of apple cider vinegar. When I had a kidney stone two years ago (before reforming my nutrition program), I was told apple cider vinegar can help prevent stones. Maybe it’s an old wives tale, but when you’ve had a kidney stone, you’ll do anything to avoid another. I couldn’t stomach ACV at first, but now I throw one cap-full of it into the smoothie and do another shot straight up. Good stuff.

For the smoothie, consider ACV optional.

greensmoothie3Avocado is a key ingredient as it gives the drink more of a smoothie texture. Otherwise it’s more of a juice. You could go with a whole avocado, though that’s a lot of calories. I save half and use this handy avocado storage contraption my wife found at T.J. Maxx.

I use a BlendTec Home Total Blender, which admittedly is a pricey item (starting at $399, though occasionally less at Costco). Then again, it has a 3 horsepower motor and is quite durable. I’ve put mine to the test. According to its digital counter, I used it for the 2,224th time this morning since getting it late in 2006. That’s less than 2 cents a use.

There’s no shortage of green smoothie recipes online. Sophia Zayfman, my friend and occasional TV fitness segment colleague, introduced me to the power of liquid greens.

Enjoy and please let me know what green smoothie ingredients work well for you.

 

Obstacle Race Recovery

By Pete Williams

PeteHighlanderRunning an obstacle race, especially a longer one such as a Tough Mudder, Super Spartan, or Spartan Beast, can leave you aching for a day or two – or even longer.

It’s possible to expedite recovery, however, by taking a few proactive measures.

AT THE RACE VENUE:

You’ve pushed for 90 minutes to three hours. Your fuel is depleted, your cells screaming for nutrients. Now is the time to pump a good recovery mix into your system, even if you don’t necessarily feel like eating. A ready-to-drink recovery drink like EAS Myoplex, Muscle Milk, or Mix1 is a great option and occasionally available as part of free post-race refreshment. Don’t rely on the race, however. Bring your own instead. Feel free to enjoy the one complimentary post-race beer. Plus, you’ve earned it. Not only that, aside from the alcohol, beer actually isn’t a bad post-race recovery drink. Nor is chocolate milk, which is not that much different content-wise from the ready to drinks.

AT HOME OR THE HOTEL:

The “showers” and hoses at an obstacle race are meant only to get you clean enough not to trash your vehicle. You’ll enjoy a long, thorough shower at home or back at the hotel. Use this time to take inventory of aches and pains and clean up any scrapes and abrasions. Though you probably experienced enough chilly water during the race, take a few minutes and alternate between hot and warm contrasts. Crank the water temperature to cold for 30 seconds or a minute and then go hot. This will expedite the recovery process.

After the shower, spend some time on a hard foam roller, giving yourself the equivalent of a poor man’s massage. Hold on any sore, tight areas until the knots begin to dissipate.

HeroScaffoldLATER THAT NIGHT:

Groups that compete in a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race always want to celebrate later that evening. A full-blown party/outing rarely works as many people start fading early. If it’s a shorter local race and you’re able to take a nap, perhaps. But with a longer ace, no matter how studly an athlete you are, you’re not going to be up for much. Having a few friends over for dinner is fine, but save the big celebration for another time.

THE DAY AFTER:

Today is a recovery day and it’s tempting to do nothing. But some active recovery can go a long way to preventing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). DOMS is that frustrating phenomenon where the athlete often feels more sore the second day after a hard workout/race than the following day.

We’ve found swimming to be the most effective means of active recovery. Unlike light running or even cycling, swimming allows you to move without pain and work out the lactic acid and soreness. Chlorinated water also seems to jump-start the healing of any scrapes or abrasions. (Any serious cuts should be covered prior to entering the water.)

This is not the time to do 100-yard intervals. Instead, do a leisurely swim of 500 to 1,000 yards, depending on your swim ability. If you’re an avid swimmer/triathlete type, go for 1,500 yards.

When you’re done, spend some more time on the foam roll or perform some active-isolated stretching.

TWO DAYS LATER:

If you’ve followed the post-race recovery strategy to this point, you should have been able to avoid DOMS and probably feel pretty good by the second morning after. If so, feel free to return to regular training for the next obstacle race on your schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Media Features ‘Obstacle Fit’

By Pete Williams

Bob Andelman, whose online “Mr. Media” show regularly features celebrities and other special guests from television, movies, and magazines, did a 30-minute Skype interview with us about our book Obstacle Fit that went live today.

You can see that interview here:

<iframe width=”400″ height=”400″ src=”http://www.mrmedia.com/?powerpress_embed=7564-video&amp;powerpress_player=html5video” frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”></iframe>

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar-free Lent

By Pete Williams

PeteClimbingGiving up sugar for Lent is difficult and not only because of the obvious reason. It’s tough to avoid sugar and its artificial substitutes, which appear in just about everything.

But I’m going to go sugar-free for the next 45 days. I had never kept a Lenten vow until 2010, when I went the distance without watching television, an experience I chronicled on my personal blog. I felt so good afterward that I did it again in 2011.

Last year I gave up meat for Lent, which made it a lot easier to remember not to consume meat on Fridays.

It’s easy to draw the lines with a no-meat or no-TV vow. Either you’re eating meat or watching television – or TV online – or you’re not. Sugar, however, is trickier.

Does fruit count? It’s full of nature’s sugar. Still, fruit is a terrific substitute for cake, cookies, ice cream, and other sweets. So we’ll make an exception for fruit.

What about protein drinks, post-workout recovery powders, and pre-workout supplements? This is where things get tricky. I consume a lot of “food” in this category, which contributed to a whopper of a kidney stone and two related surgeries in January of 2011. Since then, I’ve dialed down my consumption in this area, especially in regard to protein, but there’s still sugar and other artificial sweeteners in this stuff.

It’s probably a cop out, but I’m going to make an exception for this category. I don’t drink soda, juice, coffee, dairy or sports drinks. Chocolate-flavored pre- and post-workout recovery drinks are what keep my training program on track and, in theory, should keep me away from consuming more lethal chocolate products. If there is chocolate in the house, I am going to find it and consume all of it, often in one sitting.

Races like Tough Mudder and Muddy Buddy have been sponsored over the years by the likes of EAS and Muscle Milk, respectively. In 2011, Mix1 gave out a ton of free product at Savage Race and other events. Getting a ready-to-drink EAS, Muscle Milk, or Mix1 product at the end of an obstacle event is a terrific value-add, something we’d like to see more of at races.

Such drinks have sugar or a sugar substitute. But we’ll make a Lenten exception for them.

Otherwise, sugar and its imitators are out until Easter.

 

Today’s Workout – February 14, 2013

By Pete Williams

For Valentine’s Day, train with your significant other. That’s one way to get the heart rate moving especially fast and perhaps serve as a prelude to fun in the shower.

Start with a warmup of Cobras (10), Floor Bridges (10), Front Plank (30 seconds), Side Plank (set of 10 each side, hold for 2 seconds each), and Lateral Bound

Cobra

Cobra

Floor Bridges

Floor Bridges

OFfrontplank

 

 

 

 

 

Main set:

400 meter run

24s (Squats, Alternating Lunges, Jump Lunges – 12 of each per side)

400 meter run

Burpees (15)

400 meter run

Park Bench Routine (12-10-8-6-4-2)

Repeat until reaching 30 minutes total for the workout and enjoy the rest of Valentine’s Day. You’ve earned your chocolate and other treats.