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EricMN's Jedi Training - Finding the Jedi Master


EricMN

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This winter has been pretty rough. I don't remember having seasonal depression like this in a good 7-8 years. Cold, darkness, pain (arthritis) and work-related anxiety have all been pretty hard to handle. 

 

Now, slowly but surely, I'm rising from my winter-long withdrawal. It's a bad place for me to be; I am an introvert, and I like my quiet time, but my mental health suffers when I isolate myself. I'm not staying here. I'm not Luke Skywalker and I didn't come here to die. It's time to find myself again.

 

I'm still trying to find my consistency from a training standpoint, but I can't just force-project myself back into goal shape; it takes consistent work, and I need to continue to put in that work, consistently.

Main Goal

I'll be competing in the 2018 OCR World Championships for the second year in a row. In 2017, I qualified as an age group competitor twice during the season and raced in a group of similarly grey-bearded men. I'll be traveling to the United Kingdom this year to race again, regardless of whether I qualify, and will run as a journeyman if necessary. However, it's my goal to qualify to race against other 50-and-over men again this year, and this time, I don't want to just show up and be happy I'm there, I want to finish closer to the middle of the pack than the back, and I'd like to leave with something more than just a finisher medal and a tee shirt: I want to keep my band.

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I lost mine on Stairway to Heaven. It was humbling.

 

Most obstacle race series (With the exception of my first OCR love, Spartan Race) expect pro and competitive racers to COMPLETE ALL THE OBSTACLES in order be podium-eligible. Everyone else is an official finisher, but those of me in the other category are not eligible for podiums - overall or age group.

 

To make sure officials can tell who falls into which category, racers get a band, which is removed when one cannot complete an obstacle, usually after multiple attempts.

Image result for ocr world championships la gaffe

Some race directors take pride in the bands they capture. Freaking Canadians. For the record, I completed this thing at OCRWC after 4-5 attempts.

 

I'm pretty obstacle proficient, and have been for some time, but this year, I'm aiming for 100% completion at the World Championships, and that goal will take consistent work to achieve. Anyone who's been around an EricMN challenge over the last three years knows what they're about to see below:

 

Goal: Speed

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I have gone from "I'm not a runner" to "I enjoy trail running." The problem is, our trails have been frozen for almost five months and the cold aggravates my psoriatic arthritis. Also I just plain hate the cold. We're having a good thaw right now, but I'm still running on the Dreadmill until I know I won't kill myself on the trails.

 

Last year I hired a running coach to give me a running improvement plan. It works. I'm working back into this plan; right now I'm still building up my mileage from a winter of slacking. "Long" runs are relative. I know this works. Consistency will get me there.

Plan:  Run a minimum of 3x per week, including 3-mile VO2 max interval training, 3-4 mile lactate threshold training, and weekend long run.

 

Goal: Strength

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Without consistent strength training, I turn into a limp dishrag. Besides, I enjoy weight training. I need to supplement this with training that includes pull-ups and other raise-my-bodyweight exercises. The group classes I attend don't incorporate pull-ups basically because the instructors and most of the other attendees can't do them and are intimidated by them. I need them because arms, shoulders and back will help with obstacle proficiency and efficiency.

Plan: Strength training 3x per week: Weight training Tuesday, Boot Camp Thursday/Saturday, Grease the Groove pull-up work every day.

 

Goal: Skill

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I've learned over the last four years of competing in Obstacle Course races that while one could probably power their way through many obstacles with sheer strength, there is a certain degree of skill necessary for things like rope climbing and rigs and Devil Steps and zip lines and whatnot. I bought a membership to Obstacle Academy, and they just finished a remodel. It's time to get on this.

Plan: Weekly obstacle workout at Obstacle Academy. Have a specific training plan every time instead of just going in and goofing around on the toys.

 

Goal: Sustenance

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I lost a bunch of weight five years ago by tracking my nutritional macros and I've kept it off by doing the same. I've occasionally dropped five to ten pounds in between that has not stayed off because when I'm not tracking macros, I eat junk. Right now I look more like Kung Fu Panda in my race jerseys than I want to admit.

Plan: Log my food daily. Stick to my macros.

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Goal: Sanity

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This is even more important right now than it was last time around. Work is a hot mess and I'm along for the ride. This is not a quantifyable, SMART goal, but it's on the list to remind me to be mindful and spend some time in self-care daily. 

 

Starting Line

I Race. I do it because I enjoy it. A bad day on an obstacle course is still the happiest day of my week. I've got two race weekends bookending this challenge cycle:

 

Savage Race Florida, March 17

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Wheel World, my nemesis. We meet again.

I really like Savage Race. It's obstacle-dense at around 30 obstacles over 6-7 miles. Any course in Florida is by definition going be pretty flat. These are things that work in my favor in the Open Waves. Based on both Spring and Fall results from 2017, I have a legit shot at an OCRWC Age Group qualifying finish.

 

Seattle Spartan Super and Sprint, April 14-15

seattle_2015.jpg

Jesus, that jersey was too small for me. Also, I miss that bandana.

I loved this venue when I did it back in 2015. The course is fairly flat and runs out along the Snohomish River, which is gorgeous. Also, I will be visiting my middle daughter, who moved to Seattle a year ago. Best of all, she and one of her friends will be on-course, volunteering during the weekend. I'm glad the jerseys stand out so she can see me as I shuffle on through. The Sprint race on Sunday is another legit shot at a qualifying time.

 

It's been a long winter of self-imposed semi-isolation. I'm ready for it to be over.

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12 hours ago, EricMN said:

I have gone from "I'm not a runner" to "I enjoy trail running." The problem is, our trails have been frozen for almost five months and the cold aggravates my psoriatic arthritis. Also I just plain hate the cold. We're having a good thaw right now, but I'm still running on the Dreadmill until I know I won't kill myself on the trails.

Running the trails is so much more fun than working out on the dreadmill. I hope you can get back out there in short order. Following along mud brother! 

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Love the goals and, of course, the theme!! Following and wishing you best of luck at the Savage Race tomorrow!

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Thanks for the support, y'all. It is always appreciated, and never taken for granted.

 

Mixed results at Savage Race today. Ran Open Waves. Top 33% overall, top 33% age group, top 40% of all males. Not horrible, but I had a massive brain fart with about half a mile to go, took a wrong turn, and wound up running half a mile in the wrong direction. I finally figured it out when I came around a corner and saw four obstacles I'd already completed. Backtracked until I found my error and finished out.

 

It was hot, I am out of race shape, and obviously my head was not in the right place. All things to work on. I'll post pics when I'm home.

 

On 3/16/2018 at 4:30 PM, Sloth the Enduring said:

The mountain bike trails will be closed for the challenge until they dry out. Are the hiking trails just as fragile/ uptight?

In a lot of places they're the same trails. I'm going to do reconnaissance at Lebanon Hills across the street from your bike trails this week.

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Weekend Recap

I'm back home in the not-quite-melted North. It's quite a letdown after the sunshine and warm weather from Florida. I'm not in any hurry to make that drive again.

 

During that drive - almost 24 hours driving over nearly two full days - I had entirely too much time to think about my results from Savage Race on Saturday. I'm going to talk about it here and move on.

 

Spoiler

I'm disappointed at my finish - if I had not gone off-course, I would certainly have wound up with a top-15 finish in my age group and possibly a top-10 finish and an OCRWC qualifying time. I dropped around 600 places overall.

 

Course map:

savage_course_map-1024x626.jpg

 

I still cannot understand how I made a left turn instead of continuing straight and finishing. Here's where things went badly:

 

 inset.jpg

 

#22 is a bunch of culverts. Between 21 and 23, you climb OVER the culverts and continue on the course. Between 26 and 27, you climb THROUGH the culverts and continue on the course. It's straight through a gate in the field. It's also where the course meets up with the spectator path. When I got through the culvert, there were no racers straight ahead, just spectators. There were plenty of people heading to the left. I thought, "Oh, we go slightly left, then on ahead to the end" and took off to the left. I didn't figure it out until I was almost at #23, Pole Cat, and thought "Oh no... I've already DONE all of these." I backtracked in utter disappointment, and finished out the course.

 

I'm now going to get directly the hell over myself. This is the first time I've made a major mistake on a course, and it's probably not the last. I've heard in the past from several of the elite runners on my North Star Spartans team that they've made the mistake of going off-course. Today was my turn. And except for this crummy turn, it was a Good DayTM. The sun was shining, the air was warm, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and I got to run.

 

I'm going to kick ass in Seattle at the end of this challenge.

 

Race photos, courtesy of my own personal race photographer/GF:

 

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This poor girl must have thought I was going to kick her in the head.

 

On the way home, we stopped north of Nashville and had brunch with one of my brothers and his family. I haven't seen them in probably four years, since they moved back down south. It was good to reconnect with them. Made it home Monday before noon, I'm back to eating like someone who cares, and after a visit to the chiropractor to put my body back in place, I'm good to go today at the gym.

 

Time to get focused.

Image result for x wing pilot gif

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you're a great guy to read just after I've binged on ultramarathon pep talks. if there's any guy I know grinding through the winter and difficulties-- you and Jon definitely come to mind.

 

 I still boggle myself looking at what you OCR guys do.   as for a little minor mismatch on the course... surely positive thinking is in order.

your just training for the next race, right?

 

I'm kind of curious about it; what do you think about during the race?  is there a strategy to it!?  it seems to me the mind game is no less important in OCR / ultramarathon or the wierd duck I'm trying in June (a 100mile hike)

 

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the "NEW" normal is good with me! as Life was Never really Normal anyways....

 

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Here's some food for thought. If you hadn't made that wrong turn you might very well have qualified for OCRWC right then and there.

 

That's after a winter where you felt like you didn't train well.

 

Imagine what you're gonna do in Seattle.

 

Also

Image result for i knew i should have taken that left turn at albuquerque

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Tuesday

Related image

 

Back in the saddle; didn't get to run at lunch due to a couple back-to-back meetings, but it was otherwise a Good DayTM. I had a decent day at work, I got to lift, I got to see my not-so-small-anymore monsties, and for the first time in a few weeks, I feel like my head is more or less on straight. We might even be in a for-real thaw here.

 

Goal: Speed

Plan:  Run at least 3x per week.

Result: Nope.

 

Goal: Strength

Plan: Strength training 3x per week: Weight training Tuesday, Boot Camp Thursday/Saturday, Grease the Groove pull-up work every day.

Result:

Spoiler

10 minute super-sets, AMRAP.

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White Board Heaven.

 

Goal: Skill

Plan: Weekly obstacle workout at Obstacle Academy.

Result: Not until Friday.

 

Goal: Sustenance

macros.jpg

Result:

KCal: 1512

Protein: 104g

Fiber: 26g

Sodium: 2320mG

 

Way under, but I wasn't hungry for more.

 

Goal: Sanity

 

I don't think I mentioned it last week before I left for Florida. I had an impromptu sit-down meeting with my boss at work. We talked about my current role, my perceived worth to the team and the impact that the past year has had on my mental health. The Cliff's notes to this talk was that the work I do is recognized by others, my boss sees even the terrible projects I have worked on as huge successes and I need to give myself credit for the work I put in.

 

Also, I received a nice tag in my gym's FB Support Group page from a girl who wound up partnered with me on the same stations on Tuesday. She said lifting with me gave her "added motivation" even though all I did was just go about my work. It was nice to hear.

 

18 hours ago, TGP said:

I'm kind of curious about it; what do you think about during the race?  is there a strategy to it!?  it seems to me the mind game is no less important in OCR / ultramarathon or the wierd duck I'm trying in June (a 100mile hike)

I spend a LOT of time focusing on my breathing, and doing the trail-run scan: eight feet out, shorten to my next step, another eight feet out, back to where my feet are going to land, wash, rinse, repeat for miles. Last weekend, much of the trail was on gravel roads, which allow me to actually look UP and see what's around me, but otherwise it's a lot of looking eight feet in front of me.

 

On race day, when the courses are marked: "Look, that's already Mile 1. Three miles already! Holy crap, is that only mile six? No way that's only Mile 10... Ugh... Mile 12, I think I'm going to die"

 

Also a lot of, "This is just like this stretch on my home trail" or, when I'm running at home, "This is just like this stretch on (insert course here)."

 

Unless I'm out on a course with someone else. Then it's "When I'm done I'm getting dinner: A steak the size of my left thigh, and a slice of cheesecake the size of my head."

 

17 hours ago, Terra said:

Hi

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Hi!

Image result for star wars waving

I like yours better.

 

15 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Here's some food for thought. If you hadn't made that wrong turn you might very well have qualified for OCRWC right then and there.

 

That's after a winter where you felt like you didn't train well.

 

Imagine what you're gonna do in Seattle.

I was thinking about this yesterday. I had what was, for me, a pretty bad winter of lackluster training and missed workouts, but I'm still a significantly better athlete than I ever have been. I need to stop complaining about how fat and out of shape I am and think about where I am in relation to where I used to be. A little gratitude might get me a long way.

 

15 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Also

Image result for i knew i should have taken that left turn at albuquerque

Love this.

 

Yesterday was really a Good DayTM. I feel like I'm finding the Jedi Master.

Jedi_Master_or_just_an_old_man.jpg

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As far as I see it, you're rockin'! I admire you OCR guys. Don't think I could do such thing. Btw, nice mature Luke-Skywalkerey look, mesa like it!

giphy.gif

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ohboy

 

you asked for it.  :)

there's an unwritten rule when posting to a person who does the OCR

 

don't ever, ever EVER say you can't do it!  turns out the OCR ,hardcore, as it is - is very welcoming to new members.

 

Just like you don't know how far you can walk if you REALLY try ; you'd be amazed how many people Can do an OCR.  espacially some types of them.

 

their logic was SO persuasive, they Got me!  yep me!!  Mr Can't climb a rope if his life depended on it and is now completely signed up and commited to a "Tough Mudder"  which guess is about mid ways to hardcore.

 

so let me be the first to say-

 

if you want to explore the idea; you might surprise yourself.  

 

OTOH; now whether you would LIKE it?

a2b3b732849462f29012c58702a333f4.jpg

mmm

 

nothing to say about that.

 

In september I will let you know.

 

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the "NEW" normal is good with me! as Life was Never really Normal anyways....

 

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5 hours ago, TGP said:

ohboy

 

you asked for it.  :)

there's an unwritten rule when posting to a person who does the OCR

 

don't ever, ever EVER say you can't do it!  turns out the OCR ,hardcore, as it is - is very welcoming to new members.

 

Just like you don't know how far you can walk if you REALLY try ; you'd be amazed how many people Can do an OCR.  espacially some types of them.

 

their logic was SO persuasive, they Got me!  yep me!!  Mr Can't climb a rope if his life depended on it and is now completely signed up and commited to a "Tough Mudder"  which guess is about mid ways to hardcore.

 

so let me be the first to say-

 

if you want to explore the idea; you might surprise yourself.  

 

OTOH; now whether you would LIKE it?

a2b3b732849462f29012c58702a333f4.jpg

mmm

 

nothing to say about that.

 

In september I will let you know.

 

Now you got me thinking... :))

giphy.gif

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STR 4.75 | DEX 5 | STA 8.5 | CON 4.25 | WIS 4.25 | CHA 2.75

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! Join the Rebellion (NF Club) On Strava !

>>> On 8/11/2017 started Walking to Mordor, threw the Ring into Mount Doom on 26/5/2019 and now heading back to Hobbiton >>>

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8 hours ago, EricMN said:

Jedi_Master_or_just_an_old_man.jpg

Ok, I'm going to make a declaration. You aren't going to as many OCR's as you were a few years ago, which probably frees up some discretionary funds. Some of those funds need to start going to Jedi Cosplay.

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Mid-week Recap

heraldo-de-mexico-the-last-jedi-luke-skywalker-768x512.jpg

 

Wednesday

Not much going on. Planned to run, but I've had a lot of pain in my low back and hip this week and it was kind of excruciating. It feels more like a muscle thing caused by too many hours in the car and a couple of nights in crummy hotel beds, and not a roving arthritis flare-up. Instead I did a bunch of stretching and took it easy with my Youth Group kids. 

 

Things one doesn't expect to hear from a 14-year-old girl at a church Youth Group: "My hair is stuck in your zipper!"

 

Goal: Sustenance

macros.jpg

Result:

KCal: 1670

Protein: 122g

Fiber: 44g

Sodium: 2395mG

 

 

Goal: Sanity

We had a second interview for a DBA candidate at work. I recommended we hire her. There was some discussion, but I won out and we extended an offer that she accepted on Thursday afternoon. Now I just have to document our entire database ecosystem, along with all our monitoring tools, encryption devices, and maintenance schedules so that I can assist in her training. She starts the week I am leaving for Seattle to visit my daughter and run a Spartan weekend. I'm going to be able to get back to the job I prefer sooner than later.

 

Thursday

Best day of the week so far.

 

My hip was feeling a ton better after an evening of stretching. It may have been a pinched sacral nerve radiating through my hip. Stretching, rest, and a night on the heating pad seemed to solve my problem.

 

Goal: Speed

Plan:  Run at least 3x per week.

Result: Treadmill directly after boot camp. 3 miles VO2Max training.

 

Goal: Strength

Plan: Strength training 3x per week: Weight training Tuesday, Boot Camp Thursday/Saturday, Grease the Groove pull-up work every day.

Result:

Spoiler

Circuit training. 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest, move to the next exercise. Repeat 3x.

20180322_BootCamp001.jpg

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Added 70lb sandbags to the box step-ups.

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Goal: Skill

Plan: Weekly obstacle workout at Obstacle Academy.

Result: Not until Friday.

 

Goal: Sustenance

macros.jpg

Result:

KCal: 1651

Protein: 130g

Fiber: 30g

Sodium: 2272mG

 

Could not possibly eat more food.

 

Goal: Sanity

I used the water massage table at the Big Box gym. Amazing. It was dark, it was the correct amount of pressure, I was happy.

 

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On 3/21/2018 at 3:47 PM, MattSkywalker said:
On 3/21/2018 at 10:33 AM, TGP said:
On 3/21/2018 at 10:20 AM, MattSkywalker said:

As far as I see it, you're rockin'! I admire you OCR guys. Don't think I could do such thing.

ohboy

 

you asked for it.  :)

there's an unwritten rule when posting to a person who does the OCR

 

don't ever, ever EVER say you can't do it!  turns out the OCR ,hardcore, as it is - is very welcoming to new members.

 

Just like you don't know how far you can walk if you REALLY try ; you'd be amazed how many people Can do an OCR.  espacially some types of them.

 

their logic was SO persuasive, they Got me!  yep me!!  Mr Can't climb a rope if his life depended on it and is now completely signed up and commited to a "Tough Mudder"  which guess is about mid ways to hardcore.

 

so let me be the first to say-

 

if you want to explore the idea; you might surprise yourself.  

 

OTOH; now whether you would LIKE it?

a2b3b732849462f29012c58702a333f4.jpg

mmm

 

nothing to say about that.

 

In september I will let you know.

 

Now you got me thinking... :))

giphy.gif

Related image

 

On 3/21/2018 at 10:20 AM, MattSkywalker said:

Btw, nice mature Luke-Skywalkerey look, mesa like it!

giphy.gif

On 3/21/2018 at 4:45 PM, Sloth the Enduring said:

Normally I’m here for the obstacle pics, but this one is good too.

On 3/21/2018 at 6:07 PM, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Ok, I'm going to make a declaration. You aren't going to as many OCR's as you were a few years ago, which probably frees up some discretionary funds. Some of those funds need to start going to Jedi Cosplay.

Depending on whether or not I'm able to buy a house this year, there may or may not be a Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To kit in the works.

 

On 3/22/2018 at 3:07 AM, DarK_RaideR said:

Following because of course following!

Glad to have you along, Commander.

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someone said that to ME when I started to bend towards OCR!

is OCR like a disease you catch on the Internet??

 

or possibly Jedi-like;   Its a peculiar test when your exercise program has matured.  suddenly you start feel so strong and capable you want to scramble through Kiddie Jungle gymns for fun....

and realize that would be very creepy.

so you "turn" to the dark side.

 

yep. nailed it. ok.

not sure matt has caught the bug.  perhaps living in an area of extraordinary beauty (and chess history)  will make him peculiarly immune to you.  OCR master.

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Your challenges are always very inspiring and get me super excited, Brother! I can't wait to read the race-recap of Seattle!

 

Wolf

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