AeroShot Energy wanted LIAS to try some of their ‘breathable energy’ so bad they hooked up correspondent-at-large Mike Crenshaw with personal training sessions and entry into an endurance race labeled as “probably the toughest event on the planet.” Good God.
Perched at my laptop as I type this — an analgesic whiskey in hand, naturally — a burning sensation is traveling through all the major appendages of my body. Feet, legs, abs (well, a pitiful excuse for abs at the moment), arms that can barely lift a hand — let alone fingers — and head ache with a growing swell, all culminating because of a brutal, yet fulfilling, workout.
Working within an industry as varied as journalism, you get chances to do things most plebeians only dream of. Being an automotive journalist, I’ve driven some of the most exclusive cars in existence, traveled halfway around the world and met some of the most influential people in all spectrums of fame. Long story short, it also affords plenty of opportunities: travel, swag, epicurean delights and booze. Lots of the latter. However, recently an interesting query came my way: “Do you want to be sponsored to run with a group of people in an event that will break your will and crush any notion of being in shape?” Sure, why the hell not.
The idea was to take training classes at Aerospace gym housed in New York City conducted by celebrity trainer and ex-professional middleweight boxer Michael Olajide Jr. [Sidenote: at this very moment he’s personally training Adriana Lima. Sigh.] with the hopes that I’ll be ready for 10-12 miles of British Special Forces’ obstacles in what’s known as the Tough Mudder. I cringe at the thought. But after just four classes I feel my stamina increasing, my coordination improving and my strength growing. I’m also sore, tired, a sweaty mess and walking like I have a hip replacement after each class. I haven’t felt this good in awhile.
With a serious contest to look forward to, obstacles I really have no idea what to expect and an overall sensation that I’m scared to fail (yes, I’ll admit I’m nervous) it’s fun and exciting thinking about what lies ahead. As a journalist I mostly indulge in the low cardio exercises of bullshitting and drinking, and I’m somewhat of a pro. Driving fast cars is easy, I’d even say I’m good at it, but running, jumping, climbing, crawling, hurting, yelling, and complaining is something totally new. I was looking forward to it.
Continue reading “Hell To Pay: Training For & Running the Tough Mudder As a Sad Sack of Dog Shit” after the Jump…
“As a journalist I mostly indulge in the low cardio exercises of bullshitting and drinking — but running, climbing, crawling & hurting are totally new…”
The day of the race was perfect: sunny, warm and muddy. With lack of sleep due to nerves and an incessantly loud wall clock, an AeroShot wake-me-up was in order. After witnessing top finishers coming in under an hour and a half, the mixed emotions of “yes, I can do it!” and “how the hell did they do that?” started to flood my thoughts. I was psyching myself out and I still hadn’t stretched yet.
As someone who is in moderate shape — more or less, just a snowboard junkie as my main method of physical activity — it’s hard to describe what a 13-mile, seemingly endless fast-paced jog with obstacles feels like; ok, it feels like (what I would think) giving birth feels like. All right, definitely not the gross, bloody part and certainly not the inception aspect, but the endurance of it all. Having to endure something that seemingly won’t end for hours and hours. Every time a head was in sight, it was just a baby toe. Right ladies?
The first 4-5 miles actually weren’t too bad. And I say this honestly because with that little bit of rigorous training I was surprisingly prepared. Plus, with a good friend running the race alongside me I was mentally capable of pushing more, if not to seem like a loser to another alpha male who is in better shape. It’s shocking how much the mind pushes the body when capability isn’t measured in physical stamina during certain points in a race. Your body hums along like the thump of a simple mechanical device. I can only imagine what another 12 or so miles of a marathon would feel like (I’m guessing terrible). The biggest shock (this has a double meaning) was literally being shocked in a trench with car batteries supplying around 10,000 volts of juice. Luckily for me: A) I hate electricity with a passion and B) no one else was in the trench during my crawl, resulting in more voltage being directed towards a single escape point, aka my sinewy, bloody carcass.
I finished in just over three hours. It was tough as hell. Getting electrocuted while in muddy, slimy, cold, gross New Jersey water is not fun for me. Running 12 miles is also not my idea of a good time, but the experience overall was a tremendous accomplishment. Feeling like a sack of dog shit while also ecstatic about the experience is a hell of a roller coaster ride, both mentally and physically. As a side note, I do regret not wearing kneepads due to the fact that grated cheese for knees is not attractive and will ruin your blue jeans.
PS: Training with Michael Olajide Jr. and Aerospace in NYC was paramount to my success and I owe the team over there a great deal of applause, as they turned an out of shape journalist into a British Special Forces-obstacle-course-wrecking machine.