Monday, April 3, 2017

A little late for a first race report but anyway

Started my base mileage early on in December and so far logged over 600 miles leading up to my first race of the year.  The Lakeland Union High school in Minocqua Wisconsin has hosted the April Fools Run 5k for over 10 years and always starts at around midnight.  This race is always a large draw with costume contests to Zumba warmup class to unique awards.  I've been a winner of this race for 3 years and hoped to make it 4 on Saturday night but a younger athlete from Minneapolis had other plans and a pr of 15:45 to put this old guy away early.

I typically don't taper for this race and I definitely don't shy away from mileage in the week leading up to it.  In fact I had over 40 miles and a hard day of strength training and I chose to lift legs so I really did it to myself.

I felt heavy in the legs prior to the start but not as bad as I had anticipated and got off the start line at a fast and controlled pace and as rabbits faded and things settled down I found myself in 2nd overall with the leader slowly but visibly pulling away, not to much after the first kilometer of the race Andrew Schilling, a former Lakeland distance star and UW-Madison Track Club racer pulls alongside of me and begins to pull hard and I respond accordingly for about another mile until I maxed out and fell off his increasing pace.  He was out for a training run and it was nice to have him there to chase for the last bit of the run.

I was pleased with being a few seconds slower to be honest and running in the pitch black dark night is always a challenge both in regard to pacing and footing, but the season always has a first race and I'm glad it was a good one even though I didn't.

Got on the podium with a second place overall and a time of 19:54 over 3.44 miles pacing at around 5:45.  Pretty solid 5k time is around 18:00 based on my gps tracked 5k.  Did a very easy 4 mile trail run on Sunday to end the week with over 47 miles and capped off my first build block with 97 miles and heading into a deload week.  

2016 Season Wrap Up

As soon as I typed this title I had to immediately open up strava and look at what races I actually did vs what I wanted to do and was pretty happy with how things went despite a couple of setbacks. 

I had a decent year with mileage closing in on 1,700 big increase from last year but not the most I've ever done.  The weight training has really improved but the majority of that improvement has come mainly after the Minnesota Spartan Sprint starting with my shoulder rehab and carried over into a lot of dedicated lifting and lots gains. 

January and February- Started my training no intervals just some fartlek running and weights.  Traveled down to Milwaukee for a Midwest masters regional indoor meet and ran a 3k taking 2nd and running a solid early season time of 9:54.  I also made a trip to UW-Stevens Point for a college indoor meet and ran a 4:53 mile catching some students on the closing laps giving me a sense of "you're only as old as you feel"  I felt like I was 19 again so that's a plus HA!

Early Spring brought the first real test at the Point Bock Run.  The field is always strong here with many former NCAA / WIAC runners that just blow the door off on a fast 8K.  I would PR with a time of 28:29 and take 11th overall....just shy of a top 10 that I wanted and will be a goal for 2017.  I would notch my first win a month later at the Minocqua Fools Run 5k.  The race starts at midnight and usually there is still some snow and ice on the trail and this year was no exception 19:50 felt fast and sketchy at times but hey that's racing.  Even though Journeys Half Marathon was in May the weather was more like March, wind, rain, sleet, snow and a really good place and time 2nd overall and a 1:19:07 time.

The summer training and racing started pretty well with another 5k win at the Rockin Tomahawk 5K with a time of 17:33 after a great move on the trail just before the 2 mile mark and somehow made it stick.  The Minnesota Sprint was setup as my peak race and I had my best legs of the year.  What I didn't count on was the 2 dislocated shoulder incidents that took me from being a podium contender to 44th in the elite field...all considering it was a great race and didn't completely fall apart and gutted it out.  My legs were still feeling it a week later at the local 10K on the 4th of July but would still manage a sub 36 10k and 3rd overall I guess my shoulder doesn't need to be perfect to run a good race and with a little luck I did heal up enough to get my first OCR win at the Crandon Big House Mud Challenge which rewarded agility more than strength and grip as I would find out would be needed at the Chicago Terrain Race 10K.  Prior to the Terrain Race I would go back to Milwaukee and run the Hank Aaron 5k and not run very well in the heat but still a 17:30's 5k and 15th overall in a good field.  The Terrain Race in Chicago was wet and rainy but I got the job done on a shoulder that's about 80%.  4th overall and qualifier for the elite wave at OCR Worlds was probably the highlight of the year but the decision was made to rest up and gear up again for 2017. 

So the season would end about the same way it started with some running and even a....wait for it....mountain bike race.  I did return to the Nutty Trail Run as two time champ and left as the three time winner with a great time.   I would also enter the Thunderdown 3 hour mountain bike race on the singlespeed and yeah I got a flat but finished 2nd.  Definitely missed my time on the singletrack and would ride a lot here in the offseason while my ankle heals up.  It was a tough year, but very valuable learning experiences with the help of Team Strength and Speed.

As far as 2017 goes....lots of racing obviously, but I want to get my Spartan Trifecta and to also compete in the top 10 with a podium or two in Spartan races.  Prep will begin early for Spartan Worlds and OCR Worlds.  Nutrition and health will be greatly improved and will focus on doing what makes me happy.  I feel like riding my bike for 12 hours or more I am going to do it.  If I want to skate ski sure, snowshoe race...yup, play hockey...why not.  I will be 36 in January, but why should I just lay down and be the old guy when I guy be that fast old guy.....hahahaha!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

2016 Chicago Terrain Race

Daaaaayuummmm!  What a race this was.  I made the 5+ hour trip into the Southwest side of the Chicago area for the Terrain Race at the Chicagoland Speedway.  As luck would have it the rain came down immediately after I filled out my waiver and grabbed my timing chip, go figure, but I got warmed up, changed, and headed for the start of my 10K Competitive wave. 

Image result for Terrain race start pool
An example of a Terrain Race Start!

The start of this race was all new to me and actually kinda cool both in literal terms and its uniqueness.  Start line was ahead of two large pools maybe 3 feet deep you had to hop out of prior to crossing the start line....I snagged a great spot in the front and out the water quickly I went.  Rain wasn't issue here as it would come down extremely hard at times making things slow a bit.

The rest of course had some great obstacles and the best part of the whole damn thing was there was no penalties for non completion of an obstacle you just keep trying till either you get it or you give up your band and out of the running for any awards.  That all aside, I rolled into the first obstacle sitting inside the top 10 pretty easily as the pack separated shortly after the first crawl under some bungees inches of the surface of the water in which I did drink some and not at all impressed with the flavor, but after clearing out my lungs a bit things seemed to come back on track through some mud pits and a culvert crawl which proved to hold me up a bit as not all could squeeze through easily and I picked the wrong lane for sure, but oh well, that's racing.  The separation point of the race came pretty early on where a cargo net went into a wreck bag carry.  I climbed the cargo net to the top reached down the other side and managed the flip but held on and really wrenched the shoulder....didn't think that technique through in regard to the shoulder, but I got it done anyway and seemed like the wreck bag run went fine, but slow as I was more focused on the status of the shoulder and it took a bit to shake off what just happened.  Turned out to be sore, but completely fine to use.

2nd and clean attempt at the rig

From there it would be some 4', walls and then the breaking point of the race.....THE RIG.  So here's how this went down.  There were shapes of all sorts hanging from lanyards of some sort in which you could not use...had to use the ball or cone or skull shaped grip to get across without touching the ground.  I really worried about my shoulder and it showed the first time through and had to start over.  The second time I just really slowed it down and just focused on having a good grip and my swing to the next one and nailed it, but lost a spot....honestly with my one fail I actually made up more than I lost as many struggled here, but who still has their band?  Me!!!!  Onto the next one......

There's our section of bleachers, Sara Palin swears she can see Russia from the top..

I made up ground to another dude who I had been swapping spots with all morning and we charged through the rope climb, did some tire flips, and we talked a bit about who we are where we were from etc while heading into the Speedway for the entire bleachers full of running steps.  I would struggle with one 8' wall due to a poor technique and over analyzing the damn shoulder but this guy ahead waited for me which was pretty damn cool. 

When we left the stadium we grabbed sandbags and headed into the speedway again for some additional steps but this time with a complaints from me considering I've been hauling some weight around in my training so it should have been nothing and it was.  We were told we were in 3rd and 4th....I was stoked to say the least.

Tire drag was a drag

At this point we were on the last stretch and I just kept pace with him only increasing my tempo little by little but that would be a mistake as he was stronger on the obstacles like the tire drag as in pull a huge ass tire with a rope and return it back to it's home and sprint to the last two obstacles.  

This kicked my butt mostly cause of technique which is poorly documented in this picture....CAN'T USE THE STRUCTURE PEOPLE!

The last real difficult obstacle was the monkey balls (I think this is the name...well look at the pic above) which I believe is a series of climbing grips over a pool and you cant use the beams to advance and I didn't care much for the layout and that cost me big the first attempt as I couldn't see my next move and resorted to grabbing the top and so I dropped into the water and reset....second try I simply swung to wildly and lost it toward the end.  The last time I nailed it and the grip felt pretty solid, but the damage was done as there was one small obstacle left and after sliding down the pole I crossed the line in a hard fought 4th place just out of the cash money, but I would rather take 4th in a stacked field which this truly was vs 1st with nobody to compete against although don't get me wrong, I do like cash!!!  It was great to finally meet some of guys I've been running against at these Spartan Races and I definitely look forward to going after them very soon if I can. 

The last obstacle, I was relieved to say the least.  Unfortunately this structure would get it's armband taken away, but that OSB wasn't going to keep up with the rain and moisture anyway....I am sure they've already worked on this issue.

I don't know what happens regarding OCR Worlds, but even if I qualify I may back off a year and make sure my shoulder is truly 100% not just 100% functional.  I also need to work on a lot of skills to get me speed ready for the next one.  So for now just hammer out hard workouts and get ready for whatever happens next.

looking for the finishing obstacle and happy with the outcome

Takeaways from this race.  1. I need to get a lot of practice on rigs.  2. $20 is not enough money for tolls.  3. My running ability bailed me out today. 4. I love mandatory obstacle completion....I love doing the whole course.  5.  The OCR community is incredible....everybody is out there pushing each and we are each others cheerleaders out there on the course..  And finally 5+ plus hours in a car = some heavy legs at the beginning of a race...I felt horrible for most of that race till the speedway some 4 or 5 miles into it.....yikes.

I have lots to write about following this race and the demise of Battlefrog, but I'll fight off the carpel tunnel syndrome for now till after I get my workout in.  Mile repeats and some deadlifts and legs today should get the creative writing juices going for the time being.....

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Leggionaire "Big House" Mud Challenge

Video Evidence:

Pyramid o' Bales

Last Saturday the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway hosted it's first ever obstacle course race on the same track that legends like Ivan "Ironman" Stewart, Walker Evans, and many other Off-Road Champions walked away as World Off-Road royalty.  The course featured slimy, slippery, and tacky clay that claimed many trying to find grip once things began to get wet, some fun off road terrain made specifically for jeep rock climbing, deep water pits and some fun additions like a pyramid of hay bales, multiple mud crawls, log hurdles, and a wall of tires as well as a slip and slide.  The one obstacle that wasn't pleasing was the heat, but with the race starting on time early on in the morning, it was manageable to keep it together. 

Warmup went well with doing some upper body dips, pullups, and pushups along with top-down stretching and some jogging after downing some beetelite.  I was ready for battle and felt comfortable with the shoulder which would be very important.  Off to the start I go.

The starter fired a shot and we were off into a drag race into the first obstacle.  This was a large cylinder with 2x4s attached and chain link fence to grab onto and pull up to the top, I got there first and blasted as high as I could and let the Innov8s do the most of the work and flew off the other side to the next obstacle.

This would be a set of bleachers...yup, the first 4 feet were missing so it was basically the corral wall at your local Spartan race but then you keep running the bleachers up and down the other side which I thought was kind of unique yet I moved through with ease and even managed to lengthen my lead over the field of 5k and 10k runners at this point.  Moving on to the next obstacle was the first of a section of rock crawling obstacles you would see long travel jeeps attempt not us silly humans....but here we were running up and over these closely spaced boulders going up and down left and right through those rocks and even a series of concrete culverts laying every which way leading me to bound hop, balance, and leap through it all and down the backside into a steep wooden wall.  This wall was all of 40% and had a rope you could use to traverse the spaced pieces of 2x12s leading to the top and I just bounded up without the rope with a bit of speed and luck. 

The course would spin you right around and down into a long mud bog that would just suck your legs in the mud and water which claimed many a shoe that day, but I ran through as light as I could imagine in my brain in hopes to be out quickly.  I would like to think it worked and it must have cause I could no longer hear anyone behind me.

The next chunk of the course would be a series of rolling double track off road trails some were singletrack some were steep pitches of loose sand which would just zap the energy and speed straight out of your legs and into another section of boulders to navigate yourself up and through. 

The next part of the course would bring you into the grandstand area through some large timbers to hurdle, a set of tires to run through as well as wall to climb over in which there would be no dislocating of a shoulder this time around.

Also in this area of the course I would encounter a large wall of tires to climb up, over, and down heading to a series of crawls under wires, crawls in tubes, but the crawling would be broken up by a water slide, and a large pyramid of hay bales in which I actually enjoyed the most as it was more of an agility test for me and I really enjoyed it.  there would be another crawl under a snow fence before crossing the finish line after making another lap around the course.

The finish of the race was confusing but completed in a way that I was happy with the outcome, but left me wanting more.  So what would any self-respecting person on Team Strength and Speed do????? Simple, do another lap, so with permission I would lace up the muddy shoes and head back out to the start and just go do some obstacle training, but I would be surprised to see another team of 11 called "The Chix From the Stix" literally just starting and asked if I wanted to run with them and I did so I walked them through the course and would pick up my pace to get to the obstacle so I didn't hold them back from enjoying the course as a group without me in the way and they seemed to enjoy it so I kept going on with them till the end completing both my laps and theirs for a total of 20K of OCR for the day.  Waiting for me at the finish was a crisp $100 for my days effort and the title of the first ever champion. 

It was a fantastic race with unlimited venue opportunities.  I will be glad to help them out from a design stand point going forward and it benefits the American Cancer Society, which I am very much in support of.  What, no mention of the hot weather.....well it was that fun out there I kinda forgot about it, it was a solid 85 as I left the venue....ahhh well sometimes it's about the experience not the conditions.


No issues with shoulders and felt great going that far, but I still need to get my grip stronger, I think that is a never ending battle just watching how gassed even world class climbers get on Ninja Warrior lol.  We continue on though.....

Here's the next couple of adventures

8/6 - Hank Aaron 5K - Milwaukee
8/20 - Chicago Terrain Race
9/3 - Manitowish Bad Dash OCR
9/17 - Mississippi Mud Run OCR
10/16 - Either OCR Worlds or Whistlestop Half Marathon
Others I am eying up.
UW-EauClaire Blugold 8K Invite (College XC Race)
Nutty Trail Run 5K hilly as hell 5k
Buck Rut 5K Trail Run also hilly as hell
Cyclocross Bicycle Racing either in Minnesota or Northcentral Wisconsin
If I am feeling good before training starts up again I many do some snowshoe racing and/or the frostbite 8k, fatbiking....I don't know, we'll see how the season progresses.

Till then just keep "pushing so hard till your veins pump battery acid and then push some more" -

Friday, July 22, 2016

Here it comes another post about OCR.  (Obstacle Course Racing). Well the painful road of healing up this shoulder is getting closer to wrapping up as we keep working on building stability and strength back into it.  I managed to do a 1 hour long kayak jaunt up and down the river with very little  discomfort so I think we should be good to go if the doc agrees on Saturday.  I had a few options to choose from.  I could either go with the warrior dash near Mankato, the Alpine Adventure Challenge about an hour and a half from me, or go just a bit northeast to Crandon. The decision was more simplified and I chose not to chase a World Championship slot at least not this weekend and stay local on a course that on paper shouldn't create an issue with the shoulder.  Looks like the has another heat wave approaching us which really it's not the end of the world considering the Spartan race was no different not less than a month ago.  I'm ready though, I have my beetelite and Jet Fuel ready to go.  I think after this OCR I am waiting till the Chicago Terrain Race to see if I can avenge that awful placing at the Minnesota Sprint.

In the meantime I have been busy planning.  A fun opportunity to bring OCR to some high school athletes had me building some obstacles in the garage.  So there will be a short course race up at cross country camp in the next month.  A video will follow for sure.

Other than that the other thing setting up shop in my brain is maybe adding a cyclocross race or two to the schedule this year.  I've always been intrigued but these races tend to stay to the southern part of the state.

Until then I want to shoot some workout videos and such but that will have to wait till after this weekend's race.

Here's to some great racing this weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Profiles in Badassary

Being named "Badass of the Week" is far better than any trophy I've ever won - Justin Lund

A very fun interview by the guys at

"My first OCR race was the last real moment of accomplishment that my step dad and I shared before he passed away late last summer of esophageal cancer. He was so interested in how this OCR stuff worked and he being a baseball and football guy for him to really take to an endurance sport with such interest made it that much more special."

Introducing Justin Lund, our profiled badass of the week. Read more about him.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

First OCR of 2016

.....Better late than never, but it didn't come and go without incident unfortunately. 

Well I got my first taste of the Spartan Elite field at the Minnesota Sprint this past weekend and boy do I have a lot to say about this experience.
Apex Predator Attacking

First of all, I am not sure where people stand on this, but I do my best to plan out my nutritional needs so I don't bonk at the end and timing of ingestion is crucial and it's relation to start time so imagine my discomfort when the race was delayed some 45 minutes cause the EMS crew wasn't there yet......I can understand the importance of that crew and I would come to need their assistance after it was all said and done, but we'll get back to that later, but DUDE!!!!!! you're messing with my program here and I was restless to say the least.

Secondly, If you clicked the box that says "elite" you should certainly be expected to compete like one or start at the back of field. Now I learned my lesson as well as it is my fault that I didn't make my way around to start at the front or second row, but if your intent from the front is to get your picture on the local newspaper or walk the starting hill, get to the back there are people really looking to accomplish something out there.
No Double Sandbag :)

Once we finally got started I wasted a lot of energy passing the herds of walkers in the "elite" field, but I would come to find out that this would not matter, not in the least based upon my finish. My goal was to make that chase pack hoping to keep tabs on the leaders and pick up on their lines and techniques but the start fiasco ruined that so I grinded it through the mud pits, over/under/through, monkey bars, and the 6 and 7 foot walls blah blah blah a lot of obstacles between the first and 24th.

The first of my issues would begin at the z wall where I got much further this time but still did my burpees...all of them...and good form. Thought for sure I made a decent push towards the top 10 if not for sure the top 20, but lost a few spots there for sure as I kept hearing that bell as I did my penalty burpees. I would gain some of that back on the trail, but then the wheels came off starting with the 8' walls. Came down the hill doing my thing, minding my own business and take a run at the wall, grab the top and begin to pull up to get my leg over, but somewhere in that process I rotated my left shoulder funny and felt a pop and then numbness before I could swing the leg over and bailed off the wall. I reacted by popping it back to where it belonged but the damage was done. I did a 2nd attempt at the wall and actually made it without any issue as well as the 8 footer that came later on, soooooo I continued on and did some good work on the Herc Hoist, Sandbag carry, hurdles, some more walls of varying nature all up until the multi-rig where I had issue #3 for the day and the 2nd dislocation of the same shoulder (for those keeping track of this at home that's two of them on the same shoulder eeeeek) swinging from the baseball to the next device which I believe was a vertical short length of a wooden dowel or something. This time it took a little bit longer to get it back in but did so and went straight into more burpees in which I think I was up to 65 at this point including the atlas carry. The weakest portion of the day was definitely the bucket carry lots of stops on the way up and down, just favored the weak arm too much and at that point it was very much in my head what has just occurred not once but twice now on this 5 mile course I was definitely not strong here as I would see in the results the top 30 had now passed me by and even more would go by after a good but not good enough spear throw that gave me 30 more burpees to think about whether or not this rope climb was going to happen or not. So I have every expectation that I will be finishing up this race failing my last obstacle, but as luck would have it, this did not affect my shoulder and as a bonus I decide to no leg the rope climb up as a way to spite my misfortunes of the day. I would jump the fire, get my fitaid, medal, finisher shirt and some snacks and proceed to the medical tent in which I would teach them how I wanted my shoulder wrapped in Ice.

Results....Well not horrible considering, but a far cry from what I was trying to accomplish 44th overall in the Elite Field, but way too much time back from the leader and not easy to make up over a course that carried around 1400 feet of elevation gain in just over 5 miles.

Here's the key takeaways. ONE! If you really think you can race up front start there or you wont see the leaders until after they already rinsed off post race. TWO! (and this is a big one) Warmup for your event....if you plan on climbing, pulling, pushing, etc warmup by doing the same. I truly believe if I had done some pushups, pullups, and dips before the race this would not have happened. THREE! I can do this, I knew where I was in the field after the initial start log jam going up the hill, I know where I was strong and weak which were things I really didn't know from last years race.
I had a great time with some great friends and even met a couple of new friends and teammates Josh Rundquist and Kevin A. Hill. Congrats to Strength & Speed Dev Team on your results and resolve. Congrats to my roadtrip team of Dani Whiting for taking 2nd in competitive female overall with a time placing her 10 if she ran elite female and Talyn Jones for going competitive for a first time Spartan Racer placing 13th overall in competitive female....must be their coach lol.

I will be back this year just not sure what race, but this is far from over. I have a lot of business to take care of in OCR and I'm just getting started. Congrats to all the racers OCR and non. Rest up and get ready for the next one.

Always Fun To Race With Good Friends