Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year – new challenges

I’ve decided to try and challenge myself in new and different ways this year. 6 marathons in 2 years was a good start to my healthier life, but I’m getting bored with looking for fun new marathons to run. I need to keep myself motivated and keep my body constantly thinking “WTF?” So far that means I’ve signed up for a stair climb race in February and the Tough Mudder New England race in May. I’m also considering a half ironman this summer and maybe an ultra marathon in the fall.

First up - the Race Up Boston Place. It’s a stair climb event for American Lung Association (you can sponsor me at click on the Boston event page and then sponsor a climber). 41 flights, 789 stairs, run up them as fast as you can. Sounds easy right? Hey, if I can run 26.2 miles I should be able to climb 40+ flights of stairs. Well, the thing is, it’s not so much your leg muscles that fail, it’s your lungs. For some reason, climbing stairs taxes your cardio vascular system more than running long distance. If you’ve used the step machines at the gym and you think it’s not that bad, it’s not the same as climbing actual stairs. I have volunteered at the event for the past two years and this year I decided to take on the challenge myself and give it a go.

I started my training yesterday. I found a stairwell that goes up 5 flights and after work I climbed. My workout was as follows: 5 flights up, 5 burpees at the top, 5 flights down, 15 squats at the bottom, 5 flights up, 5 burpees at the top, 5 flights down, 20 lunges at the bottom – repeat 3 more times. I alternated single step climbing and every other step climbing each time up. It took me about 20 minutes total (about 45 seconds each time up 5 flights). I was dripping sweat by the time I finished. It was AWESOME! I can’t wait to do it again. My calves are a little tight today, but other than that I feel pretty good.

After the stair climb my main focus is going to be training for Boston again, but I’ll be keeping in mind that only 2 weeks after Boston I’ll be heading up to Vermont to do the Tough Mudder race. It’s an obstacle course race over 8-10 miles of mountain terrain. So, as I train for Boston I’m going to also try to work in lots of upper body strength training too so that I can make it up and over the obstacles along the tough mudder course. I did two similar races in 2010, but both were shorter and not nearly as (excuse my language) badass. Tough Mudder promises to a grueling battle of determination and endurance and tolerance of mud in places mud shouldn’t be. I can’t wait.

So, stay tuned for all the new challenges that 2011 will bring and maybe even some funny training stories along the way.

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