Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tough Mudder

This Tuesday was my last day of work until the new year. I celebrated by doing something truly exciting: I registered for the Boston 2013 Tough Mudder taking place on May 11th.

For those of you not in the know, a Tough Mudder is an obstical race that takes place over a 10 to 12 mile course. It's very intense. Obsticals include (but are not limited to):

1. Jumping into a pool of ice cold water.

2. Swinging over a pit of cold water on monkey bars.

3. Crawling through tubes filled with mud.

4. Slidding on your belly through mud to avoid shocking wires above.

5. Climbing a half pipe.

6. Crawling underneath a giant cargo net.

7. Scaling 12' walls.

8. Transversing a bunch of stewn logs.

9. Hauling yourself through mud that goes up to your waist.

The races usually have around two dozen obsticals over the length of the course. Because the course is so challenging, you need to have a team to work with.

While you might think that no one would want to join me for the craziness listed above; I'm in luck. At my office there is one person, our newest arrival, Iryna, who is just as excited about this challenge as I am. We've created a team, which, due to lack of creativity on my part, is currently called Iryna and Nicole's Team. (We're working on a more creative name -- suggestions are welcome.)

Since we would definitely do better with more than two people, we're looking for additions to our team. My brother and his girlfriend are a maybe. (I hope very much that they are available because my brother, with his strength, could totally be the team MVP.) Seth's friend Patrick, who introduced me to the idea of doing this event, might take part as well. I also asked one of my friends from the gym at work. I'm hoping to get together at least a few more people. Seth is a no, as would be most reasonable people, and he plans to come and cheer me on. I know he'll be a huge help, as he always is!

The Tough Mudder website offers a training plan to get you ready for the race, but I've decided that I want to put together my own schedule. I'm planning to give myself two to three months to train with training starting in February. This will work perfectly because I want to devote the month of January to doing Insanity: The Asylum Volume 2. I just completed Insanity: The Asylum Volume 1 for the second time and am very much looking forward to Volume 2, which my mother is getting for me for Chanukah/Christmas.

I know that for the Tough Mudder I am going to need to have three things:

1. Endurance

2. Strength

3. Mental toughness

I'll need to be able to run basically half marathon distance and also have the upper body strength to pull myself through tunnels and the lower body strength to jump and grab onto walls. (Just to name a few.) In order to focus on endurance, I need to do running. In order to focus on strength, I need to continue doing a program like the original Insanity program or Asylum.

When I did my half marathon training, I ran three days a week. I did my "shorter" runs of 3 to 5 miles on Monday and Wednesday and my long runs (up to 11 miles) on Saturday. That left three days to cross train and a rest day. I purposefully did this schedule because I love to do a variety of cross training activities and didn't have any goal beyond completing the half marathon.

My plan for training for Tough Mudder is to do the Insanity and Asylum hybrid schedule and mix it with running. My plan would look like this:

Monday: Run

Tuesday: Insanity / Asylum

Wednesday: Run

Thursday: Insanity / Asylum

Friday: Insanity / Asylum

Saturday: Long Run

Sunday: Rest or stretch

The Insanity / Asylum hybrid schedule is 30 days, but with running every other day, it should take me the two months I am targeting. If I decide to do three month, then I can just repeat a few of the weeks. I also see that the hybrid schedule for Insanity / Asylum has some days with two workouts scheduled. Because I will be doing plenty of cardio (and in the interest of time), I will do the more strength focused workouts on days with two workouts listed. Of course, if I have extra time and am feel extremely motivated, I might do both workouts. I've been known to do that before.
I'm fairly confident that I can physically prepare myself for this challenge. I'm very dedicated to exercising and have prepared for a half marathon before, so I feel ready for this aspect of the Tough Mudder. What I am most concerned about is preparing for the mental aspects, specifically, the cold.
I admit it, I am terrified of the idea of plunging myself into cold water or of being cold. I dislike the cold with a passion! (So much so that I was willing to spend $5,500 to get a pellet stove for my cold house.) I cannot imagine how difficult it will be to force myself through cold water and to continue throughout the race wet. This is the part that really worries me.
Seth, a clever man, had a good idea because, after all, I don't want the day of the race to be the first time I jump into cold water. He suggested filling the bath tub with freezing water and submerging myself. I plan to do this as May gets closer. I also plan to try to go out running on some really wet and cold days. (I've done this before and think it will serve as good practice.) Acclimating myself will allow me to prepare myself for the challenge and also help me to be mentally tough in the area that will most be my weakness. Of course, this is always the option to avoid an obstacle on the day of the race, but I hope to avoid that.
I also know that having moisture wicking clothing will help and that having fewer items of clothing could be an asset. My skin will dry more quickly letting me get warmer (or less cold) more rapidly without wet clothing sticking to me. I have a good top for the event but was thinking I should really get some compression shorts. With this in mind, I picked up this pair.
I've resisted getting super tiny compression shorts in the past because my upper legs are my least favorite body part and I like to keep them covered. That being said, I think these shorts will be practical. I also have come to terms with my legs. They are my largest part, but they give me curves. They are also strong and were able to power me through 13.1 miles, some seriously tough kickboxing, and an extremely difficult fitness routine with almost 40 straight minutes of jumping. To sum it up, they are some pretty powerful legs and they do right by me, keeping up with all the crazy fitness I enjoy. They might not look perfect, but whose body does? I've got to love a body that can do all the stuff my body can do.
Overall, I'm super super excited for May and think that being registered for this event will keep me motivated to train throughout the winter. Seth and I also have a race planned for March, the Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon.
This race is put on by the Hartford Track Club, the people who did the Hogsback Half Marathon, which I took part in this fall. They did an amazing job with the half marthon, so when I saw this race, I wanted to sign up. Seth has been wanting to train for a 10K this year. A 1/4 marathon is 6.55 miles, versus the 6.2 mile 10K, so I figured this would work out well for him. Also, the race was only $25 and you get a finishers medal and a tech shirt. I know the race will be well organized and fun, since this group did such a great job with the half marathon. I think this will be a great first longer distance run for Seth.
I've got a busy spring planned, but this is great because it will keep me going during the winter. (I love the training just as much as the competing!) I'll be sure to keep you up to date with all the training details and post my finalized Tough Mudder Training schedule with the details worked out.


Melissa said...

I would love to be your team photographer and assist in the cheering section with Seth! <3 Can't wait to see the orange headband dangling from the rearview mirror of your beatle!

Melissa said...

I would love to be your team photographer and assist with Seth in the cheering section. So excited to see the bright orangle headband dangling from the rearview mirror of your beatle!

Please let me know if you register for any of the Color Me Rad Races. Those are more my speed. ;) Hope you can come out to Boston in July for the 3 Day. I'll be walking another 60 miles in 3 Days!

Nicole Sibley said...

Thanks so much, Missy! What Color Me Rad race would you be interested in doing? Seth and I might be game. :)Good luck in July. Keep us posted about the dates and fund-raising!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on! I figured I would stop by and offer a few tips to help you with your mudder prep:
1: Run Trails: Tough Mudder has A LOT of running-and NONE of it is easy running, The best way to prep for those trails is by running trails through the woods. try to veer off the trail at times and go over/under fallen trees and such.
2: Do a Shorter distance OCR/Mud Run: The demands of an obstacle race are much different from a road race...doing a shorter distance will give you an idea of what you need to workout
3:Shock Therapy HURTS...A LOT...but the pain is over before it begins...JUST KEEP RUNNING

Nicole Sibley said...

Thank you so much, @muddyj! I'm definitely going to try to do a lot of trail running and hill repeats.