Posted in Mental Health, Musings, Racing, Training, TWLOHA

Is racing for 12 hours a good idea?

As we were driving a couple of days ago my son asked me a question:

“Dad, do you think that (racing for 12 hours) is a good idea?”

I collected my thoughts and said:

“I have no idea.”

For the first time in decades I am embarking on a voyage that I have no idea how it is going to end. It is equal parts, exciting and scary. 12 hours is a ridiculously long time and I have no idea how my body is going to react and respond. I have never raced much more than 6 hours and that will only be bringing me to “half-time” of Toughest Mudder East. But as much as the physical part of the event is daunting, it is not what frightens me the most.

What I think is going to be even harder to predict is the mental aspect of the race. I am pretty sure that there will be a least one point in this race where I will be in a “dark place”. That place where I begin to question everything in front of me. Asking:

  • Why am I out here?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • Why does finishing this matter?
  • If I quit, who cares?

It is that final question that scares me the most and is one of the reasons wht I need to be mentally prepared for the race. Right now, I have all of my answers ready and I hope they stand up to the darkness of 3am knowing that the sun won’t rise for another 2 ½ hours and that I still have 2 ½ more hours to race. Standing up to aching legs,, sore feet and myriad other physical problems that might pop up along the way.

It is at that point or those points along the way where I will need to dig deep and remember all of those who don’t get the option of stopping their suffering any time they want. I will need to use that as a part of my motivation to get this done and to press on to the finish.

I you want to help me in this endeavor click on the photo at the bottom.

Until next time when I begin to dig deeper into my motivation and my questions.

Toughest - TWLOHA-Small

Visit To Write Love on Her Arms at TWLOHA.COM

Posted in Racing, Training, TWLOHA

Training and Fundraising Update

I know it has been a while since I have posted here, but most of my “free time” is spent over on Instagram chronicling my journey. So far, even though my training has been very high volume, I have been able to manage the load quite well.

Running Miles

My biggest setback was in February when I caught a serious cold and lost a week of training.

My main takeaway from that illness was:

“If this was just a cold, I NEVER want to get the flu!”

I have also managed to keep up with mostly aerobic Zone 2 and Zone 3 training. 65% of my miles have a HR at or below 150 bpm, which is 80% of my maximum heart rate.

HR Zones.JPG

This I believe is one of the main reasons I have been able to maintain a high volume. I am not pushing my body into the “Red Zone” on a day-to-day basis. This is especially important since Toughest Mudder East will not be about top end speed, but will be 12 hours of grinding out the miles. I hope to get 45 of them. Time will tell how realistic my goals are.

My training plan for the next two months are to continue to put in the miles and ramp up my strength work at the same time. I would like to get 200 miles in for March and 210 to 220 for April. I am still debating if I want to run the Delaware Marathon on April 28th as my last big workout before Toughest Mudder. If I do it will give me three weeks to recover and taper between the two races, which should be plenty of time. Especially, if I only do it as a medium intensity training run and not as a race.

On a fundraising note, I have managed to raise $300 so far for To Write Love on Her Arms. That could be going better, but in the end, every dollar counts so I will be thankful for any amount that I raise. To learn more click on the photo

Toughest - TWLOHA-Small

or click the link below.


Thanks for visiting!


Posted in Racing

Bonefrog Endurance

BonefrogAs the days lead up to any race my favorite thing to do is to check the weather forecast for the race and to fret about the worst possible conditions. For this race, the forecast kept wavering back and forth between 50° and raining, and 50° and overcast. Since the race was 5 hours long and I don’t deal with cold and wet very well I was hoping for the overcast option. Fortunately, when race morning rolled around the overcast option prevailed.

Since I hadn’t been doing a lot of LONG ENDURANCE training and this was going to be my first five-hour+  race since the Killington Beast in 2016, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but was hoping for the best. For races Bonefrog sets up two courses, a Sprint (3+ miles) and a Challenge (6+ miles) and the Endurance makes use of both of them. It starts with one loop of the Challenge course and then you run as many laps of the Sprint course as you can until you hit the 5-hour time limit. My goal for the race was to earn my Gold Frog pin for a total of 5 laps.

After registering, I took my bag and made my way to the pit area to get set up. I took once last look to make sure everything was set and I knew exactly where everything was so I wouldn’t need to fumble around during the race. The most important items were my:

  • Electrolytes
  • Pop-tarts (frosted cherry)
  • Strawberry newtons

I also had spare shoes and clothes just in case I needed to switch them in the middle of the race. Plus, I had both my hydration vest and hydration belt since I intended to switch from the vest to the belt after the first lap. I wasn’t sure about how long the first lap would take or how well they had water stations spaced out so I figured it was better to have too much water rather than too little. I know from experience that I can’t play catch up with my hydration once it starts going wrong.

After setting up my pit area, I take off my hat and jacket and head over to the start line. While I am standing there, I am thinking, this seems kind of cold so I put on my gloves just to keep my hands warm. Just as they start to warm up, the announcer says 3, 2, 1, GO! And we are off and running.

My target HR for the race was 145-150, so even though we were off and “running” I wasn’t running fast and that was the plan. I was also hoping to stay dry for a while so I could generate some body heat before taking on any water obstacles. But of course, Bonefrog had a different idea, 200 yards into the race they run us through a big puddle and then ½ mile later they have us crawl under a tarp covered through a 75 foot long mud pit (Nightcrawler). So much for staying dry! This obstacle was gross on the first lap and only got worse as the race went on. There wasn’t much that was overly challenging through the first half of the lap and then they split us off onto extra 3 miles of the Endurance course. Was relatively easy until they swung us into an obstacle gauntlet just before we rejoined the sprint course. We hit:

Swingers Club – A rig with ropes and balls as handles

Medal of Honor – Stations of 31 burpees, 19 dips and 9 pull-ups

Get a Grip – A rig with PVC pipe set up as rings

These were taxing to say the least.

Then we were back on the sprint course. Where we were met by an 8-foot wall and another gauntlet of obstacles.

The two hardest were the Chopper

3-Off the Spinner_edited

and Strong Hold.


The Chopper I was able to figure out and make it through a couple of times and I could never get past the Strong Hold, the transition to the web straps got me every time. The rest of the lap was pretty uneventful until it was time for Black Ops. Once you crossed the bars it was time for the next lap.

What was really amazing was how over the course of several hours, even the things that were easy in the beginning became difficult. The rope swing was almost impossible at the end because my grip strength was gone and I just slid down the muddy rope. It was incredibly frustrating to say the least.

It was the same for the rope climb. Between the rope getting muddier and muddier and my grip fading, the last time was a lost cause with no chance for success.

And the 8-foot wall? Without the side support, there was no way I was getting up and over. By the 3rd lap my ability to jump and grab the top of the wall was gone.

The highlight of the day was finally figuring out and completing the Chopper and getting to kick the bell! (Boo to a certain other race that bans this.) And making it across Black Ops on all but two laps. I even made it across on my final lap! That was a great way to end my day.

6 (2)

In the end, I did 6 laps – 18.7 miles in 4:56.30.

I had the option of starting a 7th lap since I was in 4 minutes ahead of the cut-off; but, I was in no condition to “run” another lap. So I proudly accepted my medal along with 6 pins, one for each lap, including the Gold Pin for completing 5 laps. A very successful day!


I finished in 6th place and as I looked at the results, was glad to see that not starting the last lap didn’t affect my placing.

Posted in Life lessons, Racing, Rehabilitation, Training

Training Nov 26 – Dec 9

I know I that I intended to post weekly updates, but of course life got in the way and one week turned into two and before the it becomes three, I decided that it was time for me to sit down and pull a post together. So here goes.

As I look at my calendar from the past two weeks, one thing is crystal clear. I have been able to get in all of my workouts without fail. As I said in my last post, it is pretty easy to get these in since none of them are very long, averaging well under an hour. What is is also clear, is that I am recovering well day-to-day and don’t have a need to add rest days into my schedule at this point. I am sure that will change when I begin to build more intensity into my program once 2018 rolls around. For the foreseeable future, I intend to stick with a 3 day per week running program and begin to build in my OCR specific workouts around that base.  I intend to hit 2 or 3 of those per week depending on how well my recovery goes between workouts.

Nov 26 - Nov 9 Training

As I look at the past three weeks, one thing that I can see is that my volume is ramping up nicely. That is show in the chart below. The only thing that might be a problem is that I am probably ramping up a bit faster than I planned. But as long as I feel good and my foot stays pain free, I intend to keep raising the duration until I get up to about 10 hours per week. I don’t expect to be there until the end of January or early February at the soonest.


What I have also seen in the data is that I am doing well stick to the “Low Intensity Training Plan”. As can be seen below, the vast majority of my training is in Zone 2 followed closely by Zone 3. Those 2 zones accounted for nearly 85% of my training last week, just the way I want it to be. As I move forward into the new year, my plan is to slightly drop both the Zone 2 and Zone 3 percentages and add that time into Zones 4, 5 and 6. When that happens, I will be more or less training at two intensities, really hard and really easy. My goal will be for the intense portions to make up no more than 25% of my training volume.


In comparison, I pulled a selection of data from last year and it was far, far different. The vast majority of my training time was in Zone 4, the kind of hard, but not really too hard zone. The one that really wears me out when I grind through it day after day. This is what I am looking to avoid this season.

Data 2017

Finally, as I look at something that is completely new to me, I have my Heart Rate Variability chart below. Based on what I have gleaned from various sources, including EliteHRV and HRV4Training an increasing HRV and a decreasing CV is an indication that my body is responding well to my training load. If I see this heading in a different direction, then I will have to take steps to modify my training plan. But, until then I am just moving forward.

HRV Chart






Posted in Racing

Palmerton Spartan Super 2017

Going into Palmerton I had only one simple goal, to perform better than I did last year. If you aren’t familiar, last year’s race has a name unto itself Burpeefest. It was a horror show of epic proportions, including 240 burpees and major legs cramps. It finally ended after 3:39.54 of exquisite suffering.

So, to outperform last year all I needed to do was beat last year’s time and get there with less than 240 burpees. It seemed like a relatively “easy” task. Continue reading “Palmerton Spartan Super 2017”