Make It Happen Monday – Alone We Fall

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This weekend I took part in the Tough Mountain Challenge at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, ME. That’s right, I ran UP a ski mountain in July! Seriously, this is one of those obstacle course races that have become pretty popular lately, and for good reason: It was awesome!

Let me tell you what, though:

For a variety of reasons, mostly involving my own distraction and lack of prioritizing myself lately (some BIG announcements coming from that soon, though), I was not conditioned for this type of thing. This race was no joke. It involved multiple water obstacles, getting blasted by snow-making guns, crawling through mud pits under barbed wire, several ridiculous climbs to the top of the ski mountain (and then back down!), dark and narrow tunnels (I got several good knocks in the head), and finally a water slide that was just plain fun.

It was no joke, and I’m not going to lie: I wasn’t really prepared for it. I’ve been doing mostly sprint work for so long that I didn’t have a good sense of pacing, and all you distance people out there know that once you elevate your heart rate too much, especially on a hill climb, it’s very hard to get it back down.

It took me until the beer station at the mid-way point to really calm down again. Did I mention that there was a beer station? Like I said: Awesome.

I didn’t do nearly as well as I should have, but I consider that a good thing. There’s something to be taken from this. First, don’t get comfortable with your style of training. I pretty much have been training entirely like a powerlifter and power athlete for years now. Now, that’s my main goal and will continue, but I’m not actively competing in powerlifting right now. Doing the occasional distance event would be good for me as it would keep me aware of that pacing and breathing.

Second, I could have told myself all of what I needed to be doing for training, and would have told any of my clients that, but I rationalized it away a bit when looking in the mirror. Beware of what you tell yourself and fact check it against your ego.

And that brings me to my third point:

Team Misfit!

No man is as strong by himself as he is with a team. Four of us ran as a team, and the other three guys were much more accomplished runners than I was (that was no secret going in, anyway). Even though I was the weakest link of the chain, one of the guys in particular stayed with me and kept me going the whole time. There’s no question that it made me stronger.

I’m all about self-reliance, and I think it’s a very vital ability of being the best and strongest man you can be. But part of being the best and strongest you can be is also being big enough to admit when getting some help will make you better.

All told it was a fantastic experience and I seriously had a lot of fun. As a matter of fact, I’ve signed up for another event in October. You can bet that I’ll be ready and loaded for bear on that one.

It’s Make It Happen Monday, and since I’ve missed a few, here’s a double-pronged charge for you:

1. How are you going to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself today?

2. What do you need help on and who are you going to ask? Those who take honest help when needed find success, and it’s taken me a long time to learn that.


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*Team Misfit photo courtesy of the FABULOUS Kathryn King

Comments on Make It Happen Monday – Alone We Fall Leave a Comment

July 23, 2012

Kathy Rice @ 5:20 pm #

It was an awesome event. After my shin connected at full force against one of the lily pads and I ended up swimming across the pond, I was hurting and pissed at myself for not making it. With the assistance of my awesome Mainely Running teammates on the descent of one of the final obstacles, my gimp leg and I crossed the finish line. Always nice knowing you’ve got friends who’ve got your back. Can’t wait il next year!

John @ 5:27 pm #

This was an interesting and provocative article Isaac. I seriously considered challenging myself by signing up for this event, but I allowed my common sense to override my ego. I knew mentally I could do this, but physically I need to heal the parts of my body that are not ready to hold up to the demands of these types of exercise. Once you have prepared, both mentally and physically, it is right to take the path up the mountain! Thanks for your insight as always Coach!

July 24, 2012

Isaac @ 2:26 pm #

Kathy: It was a great time, and the lily pads were a BITCH at the end! I’m already looking forward to next year and I’ll be back up there this October for the MountainRaid!

JP: Your mental toughness is without question. At this point in the game this would have been brutal on your knees. Excellent job showing wisdom on emphasizing recovery at this point. Get recovered, get mobile, and get healthy. You’ve got it in you, and when you’re 100% you’ll dominate!

Seth @ 2:49 pm #

To begin with: I am not much of a runner. In fact, I despise running. I have never been much of one having had asthma since a child. However, a bunch of my classmates signed up for a Rugged Maniac this past March and I decided to join them. Even though I had been working out and getting in better shape, I also neglected any type of distance training (Have I mentioned that I HATE running). I thought being in better overall shape would somehow make a distance run intermingled with various obstacles doable. I was able to keep up with the group for the first mile and 5-6 obstacles, but I also didn’t know how to pace myself and found myself dangerously out of breath and unable to get my HR down. I had only met one of the guys in our group one time before the day of the run and he is in incredible shape (in fact, once we finished the run, he ran it again – beast!). However, he saw me struggling a bit, hung back and encouraged me to walk until I regained control. After that, I pushed through to the end with him running the rest of the way with me. I know that he could have easily blown through the course and waited at the beer tents with the rest of our group, but he didn’t. It was because of him that I was able to complete the course and in the process, had a lot of fun. It was a hard lesson learned, but I’ve also started to incorporate some distance running into my interval training. Had it not been for John, I doubt I would have finished. Hopefully next year when I run the race for the second time, I can return the favor to somebody else.

Isaac @ 7:56 pm #

Seth, man, you’ve come so far and it’s awesome!

It’s a humbling experience to receive that help, but it’s also a great thing in the long run for exactly as you say: You can return the favor the next time. Stay strong, man.

July 25, 2012

A beer station? Are you kidding me? How sweet is that! I have a friend who was scheduled for a triathlon and never trained. He didn’t do so well…

July 26, 2012

Isaac @ 3:58 pm #

Patrick: Yeah, it was pretty sweet! As you got there a guy punched an ice cold Bud and handed it to you to shotgun. Granted, I’m kind of a beer snob so Bud isn’t my thing and it’s been a long time since I’d shotgunned a beer… but I can’t say it wasn’t one of the best beers I’ve ever had!

Not training for a triathlon? OUCH.

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