Tag Archives: Tough Mudder

The Power of Fun and The Joy of Beginning Anew

Hope you enjoy the video – trying to mix up the content here at ol’ Fierce and Mighty.  I do a lot of public speaking for work and, honestly, I enjoy doing it.  If y’all like it, I will do some more.

And if you are interested in nominating me for the Hartford Courant’s Webster awards for best blogs in Connecticut, please do click here.  You don’t need to be from Connecticut to nominate, but you do to win.

For a quick overview of the training talked about in the video above, it may look a lil’ bit like this:

Sunday: OFF

Monday: Lifting

Tuesday: Conditioning

Wednesday: Lifting

Thursday:Conditioning

Friday:Conditioning

Saturday: Lifting

The lifting will obviously be 3 times per week, but the overall split is 4 days (hence I will not have Mondays set as “Bench Press” or the like).  The split will be using the 5/3/1 template and will look like this:

Day 1: Deadlifts

Day 2: Overhead Press

Day 3: Cleans and Squats

Day 4: Bench Press

come-at-me-broThe conditioning could be any of the following: Prowler, car push/pulls, hill sprints, sprints, biking, playing hoops, playing soccer, etc. – essentially, whatever I feel like.  This is getting back to the fun of it all – I mean, God forbid I enjoy this stuff.

Where I plan on changing things around the most will be what I do after the big lifts.  I’ve realized that I like my training best when it works towards me being quicker, more mobile and more athletic.  Hence, there will be some typical core lifts, but also more kettlebell work, turkish get-ups, tire flips and so on.  And clearly, A LOT more stretching and mobility work.

Bottom line: It’s time to get back to doing this to enjoy it again… enjoy the process, enjoy the work, enjoy the craft of lifting.  It’s been my rock and it’s been good to me – time to get back to that place again.

And in the words of the most confident anteater of all timer… COME AT ME BRO! (Seriously… that never gets old for me).

Welcome to the Suck

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The suck welcomes thee.

A book I read a few years back and enjoyed immensely was “Jarhead” by Anthony Swofford. It’s his personal story of being a Marine sniper during the first Gulf War and is both interesting and extremely well-written.

One line from the book that always stuck with me was the greeting new Marines would receive from their comrades when first getting to Iraq… “Welcome to the suck.”

470524_3298591025221_1281256846_3250509_233616841_oI must confess I get that notion a little bit of late.  As I begin to really hone my focus more for my May 6th Tough Mudder, I begin to switch up my training program from a primarily strength-focused regimen to one where I lift less and run more… a lot more.  Up until this point, most of my running was in the form of sprints (either on a football field or up a hill) or while playing a sport (usually soccer or basketball).  Running for the sake of just… well… running?  Sweet mother of God… why would anyone want to do that?  But here I am… a dude who is running in my super-jazzy new New Balance kicks (lovely, aren’t they?) and doing all I can to get myself into running shape for my race.

So where does the suck come in?  Simple:  My lifting (my pride and joy!) is taking a hit right now as I am spending more energy and recovery resources with running. However, my running is really not very good… at least not yet.  That puts me in the middle of a bunch of suck.  My good thing is becoming worse (although that should level out soon) and the thing I am spending a ton more time on… well… I’m still a bit awful at.  POWERFUL SWEET!

But this isn’t a post about wallowing in the suck, bemoaning my state of being to the uncaring Fates… ohh not at all, not at all.  This mucky middle I find myself in… this place where I am feeling all out of sorts… is actually a good place, even if it doesn’t feel that way.  This is a growth spot – a place where I am firmly out of my comfort zone and figuring out what I can do.

It hurts.  It’s frustrating.  It’s certainly not all that much fun.

It’s also supremely satisfying in a lot of ways (at least after the fact when I am done running, I feel good and I am popped on the couch watching Manchester United play soccer like I did today).

Tomorrow I will get up and run again.  It will (hopefully) hurt a less little and I will be a little quicker.

In short… I will embrace the suck until the suck it is no more.

Every Step, A Building Block

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My trusty new kicks.  May they make me fly like the mythical shoes of Hermes.

As I’ve written about before, I made the totally awesome (or epically stupid) decision to do a Tough Mudder in Vermont in May.  Now, in preparing for that little life adventure, there was one thing I assiduously avoided as much as humanly possible… long distance running.  “Dearest Kevin… why pray tell would you avoid running when preparing for a race that involves around 10 miles worth of that very activity???”

Because… I haaaaaate it.  Good Lord, do I hate me some running.  Not sprinting or flying around on a soccer field or a basketball court.  That’s all good.  Oh no, I’m talking about just running over long distances and nothing else.  Where each landing footfall causes me to wonder why on Earth I am putting myself through such drudgery.

Ya feel me, dawg?

But my competitive nature won’t quite allow me to just blow this off completely.  I signed up for this race and damn it, I am gonna punch that thing in its smug face… umm… you know, if an obstacle course can have a face upon which to even have a look.

So the beauties you see above represent a new step for me – my newest weapons in the battle for running dominance.  Before you assume “running dominance” is an utterly insane assertion on my part to go from running-hater to super-elite-marathoner… rest assured, it is not.  Rather, I am running to dominate myself a bit and break through the mental barrier I have to it.

That began today with 2 mile of running during lunch.  Like many things in life, there were positives and negatives.  The positive?  My endurance was actually pretty good.  The negative?  The muscles in the bottom of my feet and lower legs felt like they were hit with napalm.  The BURN!  My God… the BURN!  I chalk this up to having done sprints a day or two ago in my minimalist shoes.  I think, absent that, I would have done a lot better today.  Also on the positive side of the ledger was that the shoes were actually very comfortable (napalm burning aside).

And the true positive of it at all?  Today was a fair number of steps (both physical and mental) towards getting better at something that has always challenged me.  Each step, no matter how painful, was a necessary piece towards preparing for my May race… and also part of my own process to fight through a difficulty I would rather avoid all together.

It sounds horribly clichéd, but this is where character is built.  If I’m not ready to push myself through 2 miles now, how will I ever be ready to do it for 10 with slopes, obstacles, water, mud and freaking electrical wires?  Each step builds on the one just before it and the best path is just to put your head down, don’t think about each time your foot strikes the ground and before long… progress… and not long after that… the finish.

But no finish for me just yet.  68 days and 12 hours to go… and many, many steps.

Driven by Fear

logo_tough-mudderMotivation can come from a lot of different places, some internal and some external.  I hear people debate over which is really the most powerful, but I tend to find the debate odd in that I think it’s impossible to separate the two.  I think they effect each other in many ways.

My motivation right now is pretty powerful and it’s really not one that is a typical driving force for me to do good things… but it is at the moment.  What, pray tell, could this mysterious catalyst be?

Fear.  Pure and straight-up.  Not on the rocks.  No chaser.  Straight out the bottle and into my gut fear.

This isn’t some kind of fear borne of what I would call real world worry – losing a job, a loved one, serious medical issues, etc.  Nonetheless, it is a fear for me as sure as can be.

The fear in question?  The logo above will say it all.  I’m signed up to compete in the May 6, 2012 Tough Mudder race at Mt. Snow in Vermont.  Why?  Because despite my many years of education and belief that I am a productive, semi-respectable and contributing member of society, I am also a complete idiot.  Obviously.  Why else would anyone opt to do a race of a shade over 10 miles with 30 increasingly bizarre obstacles… especially when the farthest I’ve ever run was 5 miles for the last obstacle course race I did.

Now, the obstacles themselves actually don’t really worry me in the slightest.  Hell, they actually look kind of fun.  The thing that concerns is… well… IT’S 10 MILES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

Anyone who follows my adventures on this blog can see I’m a weightlifter.  We Kuzia’s are built a bit more for strength or explosive moments of fury over short distances… not quite so much for slogging along over reaaaaalllllly loooonnnnnng stretches.  I’m 5’7” and 192 lbs of twisted steel and sex appeal.  That’s not really Boston Marathon winning proportions, ya know?

But I’m signed up, on a team and committed. And I know how hard it was for me to do the 5 mile race (which I can see I was WOEFULLY prepared for from an endurance standpoint).  That knowledge has begotten fear… a fear of what I will feel like at mile 5 when I am only halfway done and with 15 obstacles and 5 more miles to go. A fear of feeling like I just want to drop to my knees, roll to the side of the course and just lay there, staring at the sky for… ohh… several hours.

And all of that, my friends, drives me and drives me hard.  My conditioning sessions are not skipped these days.  They are never shortened.  While I am not perfect with my eating (I believe in the rule of 90% on that kind of thing), I am eating better than I have in a while.  The countdown clock on my desktop which is ticking away the time I have left until this event (112 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 22 seconds as of this moment) is my reminder that the amount of time I have to work with is very finite.  Not being prepared is just not an option.

The fear is a simple one: I don’t want to let my teammates down and I don’t want to let myself down… especially when I have the time and ability to be completely prepared.

I wouldn’t ever recommend fear as a primary motivator for much of anything.  It can easily cloud your otherwise clear vision cause you to make some utterly horrible decisions.  But on something like this?  With a clear path and a clear end goal?  Fear can cut away all clutter… all extraneous nonsense… and be a completely beautiful thing.

Quick side note: The Tough Mudder races do some excellent work raising money for a great cause – The Wounded Warrior Project.  If you are interested in helping me with my fundraising, please click HERE to donate.  I can think of few things better than giving back to the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for us to enjoy our freedoms.