Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Final Challenge

The Final Challenge

Not long ago, my wife and I ran in Warrior Dash and I posted about that here.

I remember when we started the race.  We were toward the back of the crowd of hundreds.  Everybody started moving forward slowly, walking, then speeding up to a light jog.  Thoughts ran through my mind of "this is 3 miles", "you've NEVER ran that far", and "you've never even TRAVELED that far on foot in your adult life".

So I wondered if I'd make it.  Would I end up walking the entire way? Or most of it?

See I didn't know what lay ahead of me as far as that challenge went.  I'd never done it before and there was doubt.  Sure I'd had success up to that point with improving my health.  Losing 70lbs while maintaining my muscle isn't anything to sneeze at.

However with that race being so new, I wondered if my previous successes added up to enough punch with which knock this new challenger out.

But as you know we did finish. 

We had a blast and if I had it to do over again, I'd sign up in a heartbeat (in fact we're already planning to go again in MO next year and perhaps also in KC).

Fast forward to yesterday.  I began a new challenge. 

It's one of my 90-Day Challenges, the ones I promote.  I promote that because its been a tool to keep myself on track with improving my health and fitness.   Having said that, I'm very excited to say that I'm nearing my ultimate goal (of weight-loss anyway) that will put me in line with the BMI charts, standardized weight-charts, etc

These last 90 days, this challenge, this time in my life is the time, the moment to wrestle this old enemy of mine to the ground and make him submit.  It's been a long fight .. years .. and there are many deep feeling tied up in this.  Heck, things that have haunted me since grade-school.

Well I'm 90-day aways from putting it all behind me, instead of it always walking beside me.

Now up until recently I wasn't a fan of things like those government charts and BMI guidelines.  In the back of my mind though I knew I was a fat person, telling myself that those charts were skewed, in order to justify my continued bad lifestyle and poor health choices.

After a lot of research in how to calculate my lean-body-mass, etc though I found my goal weight and body fat.

Danged if those freakin' charts weren't right in my case.  Sigh.

So the goal over this last 90-days is 28.8 lbs to go.  I'm on the backside of losing the last of my larger-than-should-be backside.

Another excuse I used to use is .. "well I should just love ME like I am and live my life, fat or not".

Let me share how I was lying to myself there.

Listen up.

I was right in thinking it shouldn't be about me "looking good" and that I should accept myself where how I am.

However I realized that it can't end there or one of these two things would happen:
1)  I would have a lesser quality of life than I deserve.
2)  I would not not live as long as I could otherwise.

See how easy and straightforward that is?

For a LONG time I convinced myself I couldn't afford to eat healthier


See I realized that I had the choice of either paying more for healthy food now or I could continue to eat garbage and then pay for high medical bills later in life.

More easy, straightforward logic there.

The thing is, if you're in a boat similar to the one I was in, I encourage you to climb out of it.  Get HONEST with yourself about the two issues above that I numbered.  Be honest with yourself about how you feel each day in your own skin.  

  • If you have kids, can you keep up with them?  If not, why not?  Don't give me that bull about being old.  That's hooey and an internal script we read to ourselves to give us an excuse to sit on the couch.
  • When was the last time you tried to "play", really play in the yard .. .like tag?  Or just sprint around a little bit?
  • When was the last time you looked at exercise as fun (like you did when you were a kid) instead of a chore?  I challenge you to NOT go to a gym, stay away from those silly gym machines and start to master exercising with your bodyweight .. learn to MOVE again.
Over these next 90 days, I'm going to be writing often and be VERY upfront about health.  I've found there is a whole new world out there (queue the Alladdin theme music) and I want to share my experience with it.

That's another thing that has happened to me is that I want to help others that felt the way I did ... that there was no more hope.  There IS hope.  Chances are that your body is not so broken-down and fat that you can't get your health back.  Your body was designed to fix itself; you just have to give it an environment in which to thrive.

So as I keep writing new posts, feel free to comment, email, whatever you like.  Or if you just want to read my story as I open up and share more, then stay tuned.

It's gonna be a brutally honest share-a-thon :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Go Vibrams

Some folks make fun of my "toe shoes".  They tell me that they have "bad feet" so they need "special shoes".  I personally think that's mostly malarkey.  Read the book Born to Run, then get back to me.  I read it. It changed my approach to, not only whether or not I should be a runner, but how I should run in regards to what I should put on my feet.

So you say .. "You have special shoes because you have plantar fasciitis."

I say, "You have plantar fasciitis because you have special shoes."

Go minimalist.   Go Vibrams.

Warrior Dash 2011!

Warrior Dash 2011

Just finished Warrior Dash, first one ever for me and my wife, and boy it was great!  Here is a little back-story on *why* I did this and also the breakdown of our day (complete with pics).

First, a little back-story.

If you're reading this and if you know me at all, you're at least a bit familiar with my personal weight-loss journey.  The following is the short version, for those of you who may not know.  About a year or so ago, I started taking my health seriously.  Weight-loss was a good start, I figured.  And so I started.  As of right now, I've lost 70lbs but I still have more to go.

So there is that.

Also if you know me, you know that I promote the Body By Vi 90-Day Challenge.  I've used the convenient protein shakes for breakfast that have went along with, and helped me stay on track with, my primal nutrition.  Changing my mindset about food and it's roll in my life has led to the weight-loss success that I've had.  Primal nutrition and lifestyle has been my focus and the Body By Vi Challenge has provided the convenience for me to stay on track. 

So there is that too :)

Where does Warrior Dash fit into all this you may ask?  Well you may not be asking, but I'm assuming you did otherwise I couldn't continue this post and since I am, it must mean I'm guessing you asked :)

After losing much weight I just wanted to do "something" that kinda puts an exclamation mark in things.  My friend Fred, talked to me about Warrior Dash and I was immediately hooked.

Now Warrior Dash isn't really for the timid.  Its a 3-mile obstacle course with barriers that include cargo-net climbs, fire, mud-crawls and barbed-wire.  GREAT fun!  I highly recommend it.

So Rob, did you train for this?  Cause it sounds pretty tough.

Er, um ... ah .. yes and no.  I started training for it and then shiny things in life happened.  Before you know it, the day of the dash was here with me wondering if I was going to even survive this thing or not. 

THREE miles?  I'd never ran farther than a mile in my life.

But this isn't grade-school gym class I realized.  I didn't HAVE to run the entire way and my goal was completing the course, doing every obstacle .. sort of a scouting mission to see how much I liked this type of run.  I wasn't worried about winning it because a *win* in my mind was just getting through it.  And I have my friend Fred to thank for keeping me on track with that kind of thinking (thanks man).

Plus I got to go with my wife who surprised me by wanting to do this with me.

With my wife joining up, it DID cause us to do some training as a family.  Which led to games in our yard, more family and fun.  That's always a good thing!

All in all Warrior Dash was amazing-ubr-cool-super-fun with a generous dollup of mud!

For those of you still reading here is a breakdown of the barriers along with what pics we have of before and after shots :)

Barricade Breakdown
What this was:
This was a fairly simple barrier.  Four-foot walls that you jump/fall over, followed immediately by barbed wire that you crawl under.  Repeat about 5 times.

How we fared:
Pretty good.  We'd ran a bit over a mile at this point at had some water.  Running through the woods/fields over our first mile was fun and I think we were pretty jazzed up about our first obstacle.  I found that a jump-butt-down-spin-move on the wall was effective followed by much grunting as I lumbered under the barb wire trying to keep my butt out of it.

Chaotic Crossover
What this was:
The tension mounts a bit higher as we come up to a horizontal cargo net.  Climb up to the net's level, then crawl, roll and somehow get across.

How we fared:
Again really well.  Still fairly fresh (though I'm certain our armpits were a testament to the contrary) this wasn't bad.  Both my wife and I wear "those toe shoes" .. otherwise known as the coolest shoes on the planet.  I felt those gave us a significant advantage in mobility.  You could really feel the cargo neat beneath your feet and even hold on with your toes as needed.

Assassin's Escape
What this was:
This was basically run/climb up a set of stairs then slide down the fireman's pole at the other side.

How we fared:
Nailed it.  Heather and I both wondered why some folks seemed to struggle with this one.  Basically though we just stepped on their bodies and ran to the next obstacle (I'm only kidding, we didn't step on anybody, we just kicked them to the ditch).

Teetering Traverse
What this was:
Narrow ramps, up high.  Think ramps to a chicken-coupe but 5 feet off the ground.

How we fared:
Again we nailed this one.  I'd seen videos of this on YouTube and clearly too many city-folks have never climbed around on the farm.  This was easy and we simply jogged across it.

Great Warrior Wall
What this was:
A vertical rope climb wall with some footholds.  We were concerned about this one.

How we fared:
This took some strength out of us but was still doable.  The knots on the rope weren't very close together so you had to have some grip strength to get up that wall.  The footholds made it much easier.  Not being a *huge fan* of heights though, flipping over the wall at the top to grab the ladder rungs on the way down was a tad unnerving.

Storming Normandy
What this was:
Military styled "X" barricades with barbed-wire.   Basically barb n' weave is the ticket here.

How we fared:
Starting to feel the course at this point.  Basically bear-crawled most of the way through this one.  Picture guy at the end, so make that exit from the barbed-wire count!

Giant Cliffhanger
What this was:
Big wall.  Climb hard or go home.

How we fared:
We climbed hard. This was a big wall .. just big.  Probably 25 feet or so.  Again our Vibrams gave us fantastic feel/traction on the ascent.  Other regular-shoe-wearing folks were slipping back down.  We ambled right up it though, gingerly flipped over the top, and climbed down.  Tall obstacle, not for those with serious height-issues.

Satan's Steps
What this was:
Sheets of plywood, centered over 4x4 posts which were loosely set in the ground.  You had to jump from post to post, landing as close to center as possible, so you could stay stable.  Jumping near the edge of the plywood might make you fall 5 to 6 feet to the ground while being scraped up by the plywood as you pass it.

How we fared:
Not bad. This was a mental thing really.  Though if you have short legs like my lovely wife, it can be a challenge to leap that far. The guy who nearly ran her over though (jerk) didn't seem to have a problem with the obstacle.

Deadman's Drop
What this is:
Big ladder on one side, splinter-laden plywood to slide down on the other side.

How we fared:
Not too shabby.  The climb up was easy enough.  The slide down the other side, well you just had to be careful.  I held on with my hands, facing the plywood wall, for as long as I could, bunching my feet up under me.  Once I got low enough I just kicked away from the wall, spun in mid-air, and landed.  My coolest move of the day so I had to outline it here :)

Cargo Climb
What this was:
Big, big cargo net climb.  Up one side and down the other.

How we fared:
This is the first of the last three obstacles.  Finish line is in site at this point.  So the energy comes rushing back.  Once again, the ability to feel things with your feet is awesome with Vibrams.  Someone ran past me saluting the Vibrams even and he was wearing some too.

Warrior Roast
What this was:
Fire.  Jump high or chestnuts roasting comes early this year.

How we fared:
You're breathing hard and there is a good deal of smoke.  Other than that, this was easy to do.

Muddy Mayhem
What this was:
Very large, deep, mud pit.  Crawl through it because the barbed-wire over your head give you no other choice.

How we fared:
Not bad really.  The mud was deeper than you'd expect.  Just kinda crawled/swam through it all.  Was COLD though :)  Also this is a capped off by a small mud-hill where, for the spectators amusement I'm sure, you can attempt to (unsuccessfully for most) climb the hill without falling on your tookus. :)

Bonus pics of the aftermath!

Warrior Dash is a MUST do.  You don't have to be in ubr-shape for this.  And if you, like me, want to either kick off the last leg of your weight loss or just start a challenge, then Warrior Dash is a great way to go about it!