Gearing up for Tough Mudder

I’m on the 1-month countdown to Tough Mudder. I have obviously been very focused on training, but now starting to shift my focus on getting there & gear!

Flights are booked.

Vacation condo is booked.

Now what do I wear? This is a very important question. Your gear of choice needs to: handle mud, dry easily, be comfortable, and be trashed. Those are some pretty interesting requirements. I’ve landed on a few things:

I still need a shirt and a pair of shorts that dry fast, are comfortable, and i don’t mind being trashed. Does that exist?

what the f*** have i been up to?

well friends, family, acquaintances, random searchers on the web… to sum it up: a lot.

i have not posted in 4 months. At first, this was due to work & the stress related to work; work has since calmed down. However, in the last couple months it has actually been a hesitation to tell anyone how my training is going. I was worried training “wasn’t going”!

I have struggled off and on with training over the past few years – the gist is that my performance has become progressively worse over time. It felt like no matter what I tried, I could not run faster; in fact, I was running slower. My first 10k in 2009 was 00:60:46; my 10k time in 2012 was ~00:70:00.

My newest training adventure at Stenia Health and High Performance to help me get to Tough Mudder feels a little bit like my last ditch effort to see if I can ever be a stronger, faster runner. I am now ready to come out of my cave – “kinda” – and share my journey. So, here goes – the quickest update of 2013 ever!

During the winter, Jamie and I ventured out snowshoeing a few times.

Jen @ Rawson Lake

In March, we went to Disneyland.

Jen & Goofy

And all throughout last fall, winter, and now this spring – I have been training. I have been following a very strict, personalized program with my Coaches, Katherine and Kelsey. I have been lifting heavy weights, working on my chin-ups, and, of course, I have been running. The running was tough – at the beginning; I didn’t know why it was so tough – so I reported my symptoms (low energy, inability to perform a decent run for the week following my long run) to my coach. I learned that apparently it isn’t normal to be so exhausted after an easy 10k run; I also learned it isn’t normal to not be able to do a decent run for the rest of the week. I’ve been running for almost 4 years – I figured this was how everyone felt. That’s right – after every single one of those long runs during my Honolulu training I could not get off the couch for the rest of the day. Each Tuesday or Thursday run, I felt myself lag behind my fellow runners just a little more each week – there was just nothing left in my muscles for me to push any harder. I kept feeling more and more tired; I just thought it was normal.

Long story short – we took out the long run, and “ta-da!” – I feel like a friggin machine! I’ve been conquering pace runs, intervals, hill sprints, and hills. The suspicion is that I’m lacking some vitamin, mineral, or some other important thing in the body… So blood tests are out and I await their results. In the meantime, I just feel awesome.  I am enjoying every minute of training.

These next few weeks of training leading up to the big day (June 22) are going to be intense. I will be attempting longer runs and much more intense workouts (with my coach AND self-directed). I am exceptionally stoked.

Things are movin’ along quite nicely!

So, I’ve been training at Stenia since lat summer. We spent a few months fixing all my imbalances and breaking all my bad habits. Now we’re into the exciting stuff – all the heavy weights, challenging exercises, and intense runs. This is the stuff I love. Progress is incredibly exciting, and I’ve seen some pretty sweet improvements.

I’m working my butt off to conquer chin-ups. My goal: to be able to do 1 chin-up by June.

This is a very hard challenge for me. chinupsDuring this phase of my program, I am doing 4×6 reps of band-assisted chin-ups. Band-assisted chin-ups use a super strong resistance band looped onto the chin-up bar, and you put 1 or both knees into the band to support your chin-up. Last night, my very last rep on the 4th set was pretty sad – my trainer counts down to 4 to guide me to slowly lower myself… I don’t know if anyone has counted 4-3-2-1 so fast in their entire life as I essentially just dropped – haha – no control whatsoever. I will claim that I worked my ass off, and I was tired.

I’m enjoying and hating the running, too. The weekend is a recovery run – 10k @ 136-146 bpm, monitoring my heart rate (for reals this time – reporting back to my trainer actually makes me follow her instructions) makes for the slowest run ever in my entire life… which, in turn, makes it the easiest run of my entire life! Note: To survive 10k at extremely slow pace, bring on the Audiobook or bring the husband. During the week, I have a 5k run @ 171-181bpm, with the winter cold and my asthma, this has been a killer – pretty sure I sound like an accordion with all my wheezing; and then an interval run of 10 sets – 30 sec sprint & 30 second walk, this one is tough but it’s over in 10min – what a treat!


Tough Mudder is in my grasp. Holy shit, I’m going to do this.