Christian and I finally got together for some training, and it was glorious. We had wanted to organize what I called a "Mock Goruck run" which endeavors to approximate the conditions of the challenge - this based solely on deduction from the videos, pictures and blogs I've seen.
We agreed to meet at 8pm and to run from Union Square (42.358716,-71.146485) and run out to Castle Island (42.338213,-71.012793). Google Maps estimates it to be a bit less than 8 miles walking distance. We made it 12.
Note the Tough Mudder headband.
I was toting my four recently-acquired bricks, a hydration bladder full of delicious nuun-enhanced water, my camera, and an assortment of endurance foods. I'd put the weight at around 30lbs.
Here are the resultant data from the jaunt. I elected to display Speed instead of Pace, because it shows the impact of our sporadic sprints more distinctly:
The spike in my heart rate at the beginning was caused by an unplanned throwdown with an errant Pterodactyl.
The first dip is me waiting for Christian to show up, and the following generally represent stops for PT, jumping in the Charles and, finally, the brief break we took to soak in the glory of Castle Island on the water. Our average pace was about 12 minutes/mile, an estimate from averaging the paces from each individual run portion (1.53mi, 2.73mi, 2.02mi...).
Here is an overhead view of the run courtesy of Google Earth:
The overall distance of the run is impressive considering the fact that my previous unweighted distance record is just over 13 miles. I generally train alone, and the addition of a supportive buddy (who is just as - if not crazier - than me) was extremely helpful. The run was really enjoyable overall.
We stopped along the way to get our shoes soaked in the water of the Charles to make ourselves uncomfortable.
I am actually looking forward to being completely soaked before the run.
Our PT consisted of decline pushups, Spiderman pushups (declined as well), lunges, bear crawls through parks, flutter kicks, glute lifts, pullups on girders, handstands, cartwheels and juggling bowling pins in our teeth.
Exhibit A: Antics.
We made it out to the water and took a break of just under ten minutes to savor the achievement and snarf down some Clif Shot Bloks.
We were both feeling it in our knees, and had a similar tenderness in the right Sartorius, so we eased back into a shuffle for the run back into town.
The way back was dark and lovely. I experienced unadulterated hatred for one particular street which I hope never to see again. We made it through with few walking breaks until we were within bus range. Christian mentioned the possibility of taking a bus to one of the T stops. Silence. We shuffled past a bus stop, and then another. There was a beautiful, tacit agreement that we were not going to take a damn bus.
We made our way finally back to Park Street, our "finish line". We let out brutal war cries and loaded our spent bodies onto the trains home.
The ordeal was extremely motivating for me. I was strong, light, and had a great time punishing my lower body. Christian and I agreed that towards the end of the run we weren't winded, but our muscles were simply spent. My glutes were torched and my ankle began to gripe under the strain. I had no desire to stop, but I had to listen to my body to make sure I didn't get myself hurt.
I took away a great sense of accomplishment from this run; I feel ready. I felt the effect of having a buddy, and I can only venture a guess that this support is proportionately multiplied in a group. I am honored to have the opportunity to participate in the Challenge, and I am mentally prepared to give it my all.
I am still running almost every day, shorter runs (2-3 miles) with my Vibram TrekSports, longer runs (6-8 miles) with the New Balance 890s. My training will taper down soon, and I'll be stuffing myself with carbs as I did for Tough Mudder. Pete will be coming down to train on the 28th (high-intensity hill sprints), we'll be rucking off on Friday night at Cheers, and then it's on to the Challenge itself.
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