Week 3 of the Traveling Row Show

Well week 3 of the traveling road show had me in lovely El Paso Texas where I directed the Lone Star 100. As noted in my previous week 2 blog my goals this week were to try and get in some 5k rows since I knew I would be hiking a bunch in the mountains. As fate would have it my other partner to help me course mark got injured in our first day of marking on Sunday.

So that means that I would be marking 3 days with no help just me. So we are talking mountains, altitude, highly technical terrain and having the normal bag weight of 4 bags in 2. That means each day im starting with 15-20lbs of gear per arm.

As you can see I thought i did really well despite being pretty worn the days that I had to mark the course. I rowed 4 out of the 5 days that I could have in the week and was doing a 100 pushups challenge as well from a friend of mine. Saturday the 10th was the race which spanded 36 hours and i got around 6 hours of sleep from friday until sunday night after dinner. So the body had plenty of sleep training which is good for the 51 hour goal, I got a shit ton of time on my feet marking and the 5ks felt good.

5-Feb 105 course marking solo 3.63 miles
5-Feb 182 course marking solo 5.75 miles
5-Feb 22.24.5 2.14.2 5000
5-Feb 100 pushups
6-Feb course marking solo 6.8 miles
6-Feb 24.01 2.23.8 5000
6-Feb 100 pushups
7-Feb 270 course marking solo 8.4
7-Feb 100 pushups
8-Feb 22.16 2.13.3 5000
9-Feb 21.55 2.11.4 5000
624.75

Next up is another traveling row show. Im writing this on wednesday a few days later than id like but i had to fight a bout of food poisoning monday and  had to recover just to move on tuesday although i did get a decent 5k in. I have driven 12 hours today from El Paso back all the way to Houston. So im at 0 meters for the week and i have 4 days to get some done. But its gonna be a strugglefest as I am headed to Austin tomorrow am for the Austin Marathon.. So that only means one thing.. Sacrifice..

And in the back of my mind is getting my crew ready for Jackalope Jam. I think i might want to row all weekend outside with the runners for some long hours. Im stupid enough to think how fun would a 72 hour be and could i beat all the runners on the rower.. Well see how this week works out and we might go for at least 100 miles on the rower next weekend.

Lactate tests, hard Rowing and the traveling row show.

Well week 2 kicked off with getting my lactate tested via Memorial hermann over at Shepard Square in Houston. I love getting my LT done before a big training block for me almost 4 months to really pinpoint zones, gains and overall I love the data. So here is the watts v heartrate half of the lactate test that I did recently. The written numbers on the bottom are from last year around I think march when I did this before I did the 24 hour row. So i was really happy to see that my HR has gone down over the last year especially for me in the 115-170 watts range as this has been a lot of my endurance work from last year. Really happy to see that at LT my heart rate has dropped over 7 points as well. So what does all this mean well the complete test show you targeted zones, actually lactate portions and the HR portion. So im fitter than I was last year and I havent even gotten into the meat and potatoes of the training.

So weeks 2-4 for me I know are going to be hard, fast workouts on the rower as I am traveling for the this whole month. I think I am home maybe 5 days so there is no gym to find, there is no time to waste so you know what that means.. The Traveling row show is where it will be at. The rower has to be at myside at all times and Im going to have to balance rowing hard as fuck with my responsibilities of setting up races, attending expos and also crossfit as well.

So I was able this week to start to put speed in place of long distance rowing. So goals were to get off to a fast start this week with 3 solid hard workouts knowing that I was leaving out of town friday and my weekend would be wrecked. So monday we hit the lacate test, tuesday i did a good temp workout with good pacing in and wednesday I pulled a hard 5k workout with a 2:10 split. Wednesday we loaded trucks all day and my legs were pure garbage so I took the day off. Thursday was my last day in town so I went to crossfit and then did a terrible workout with Jeremy my coach.. If you want to know what workout i HATE its this one. 2k warmup and then you try and accumulate 10 min at 1:50 pace or faster.. So the game i made up is that if I see 1:51 or higher I have to stop the clock and you can only have a 30 second break.. Its basically a sufferfest after you get to about 5 minutes. So friday I drove 12 hours all day to el paso along with the rower. Saturday I woke up feeling like garbage with my knee super inflammed from the driving.. I did a small 5k row in the am but my knee was really giving me the shits.. So i took a bath later in the day and though fuck this knee and this altitude. I figured I would just hammer a 5k really hard and just realized that i would be sucking air the whole time and go for it.. Well i felt really good actually and my knee finally felt normal afterwards. Sunday i spent my morning about 3 hours hiking and marking trails which of course has the great effect of irritating the knee massively.

But all is well at the end of the week I got in really good work all the way around and over 12 hours of work and im down 5 lbs over last week so Im stoked. As noted I cut all diet sodas and all sugar(sweets) from my diet for the year. This week after thursday I am cutting all processed cards as well until surgery etc.. For me personally I know that being super strict on what I eat means I can get every drop out of this body on the rower. So we are on the commitment train and kicking ass. Below is the weeks schedule.

MIN
Time split meters avg hr max hr under 2:00 activity Weekly Row
29-Jan 30 8000 12 LT test
29-Jan 60 crossfit. oHS 3-rm, deadlift-waballs wod
30-Jan 40 2:15 8000 3 10min-/4-3-2-1 on/off-10min 16000
30-Jan 60 crossfit, KBs, SU, abs, lunges
30-Jan 21 2:10 5000 21000
31-Jan 180 loading truck for race
1-Feb 60 walked 3 miles active recovery
1-Feb 60 crossfit wod. 20 min amwrap partner
1-Feb 25 6000 10 2k warm-10 min1:50-1k cool down 27000
2-Feb OFF TRAVEL altitude
3-Feb 27 2:31 5330 easy row-knee sucked altitude
3-Feb 21 2:10 5000 hard 5k 37330 altitude
4-Feb 165 4 mile marking course altitude
4-Feb 50 pushups day 1 altitude
749 min

So this week will be hella crazy. Marking course the next 3 days and then a 36 hour mountain race from sat am through sunday pm is on deck. So the rower is on the back porch and Im gonna have to carve time on that thing as much as possible this week to keep the groove. So lets get it.

Week 1 is always fun.

So with wanting to go for some big goals its honestly important for me to have perspective on what I can and cant do at times. With myself Race Directing full time there are days when i spend 4 hours loading trucks and days like the weekend where i work 24 hours straight. Both of those will leave some rowing gaps but also build on other values.

My goals for the first week is just be consistent daily which for me is going to be 1-2 rows a day and a strength workout. That can be crossfit, could be actualy gym time or could be hauling shit in a truck. But rowing is essentially legs, abs and very little arms so the more I can stress my legs/abs the better i will be.

I had a really good week at Crossfit Fulshear and my coach made some awesome tweaks to some of my movements which really helped me to feel strong in the workouts. I will look towards being as consistent with those workouts the days that I can be there and get it in vs going to 24 hour fitness.

 

Here is my rowing setup as I took old rosie the rower on the road show at the la quinta. My brother in law had the fucking heat at like 75 so it felt like sauna rowing which is why i cut it short. I felt like complete garbage after an hour. Well it could of also been the 5 hours in a uhaul etc etc. But as always i got on the rower and sent it for the ride. Some days thats all we can do.

 

 

 

So week 1 work week is below.

Time split meters avg hr max hr under 2:00 activity Weekly Row
22-Jan 23:46 02:22.8 5000 122 135 5000
22-Jan 1:00:00 02:28.1 12152 129 139 17152
22-Jan 45 crossfit thrusters, Fran WOD
23-Jan 45 01:58.1 3500 x x 14 row, stepups, stiups WOD 20652
23-Jan 180 loading trucks up
24-Jan 1:18 2:27:01 15822 x x rowed in laquinta- horrible 36474
25-Jan 3:08 5.50 miles

So i ended my week with a little less than 40k in meters, around 6miles in hiking for course marking and 2 cross fit workouts. Total work out time was about 10 hours. The column for minutes under 2 was only 14 this is a number that I need to increase every week so that I can get my speed up and ultimately get to where I can row a 2:20 easily where as now i am around a 2:25-2:27. The pace i need to hold for 14 hours is right at 2:30 so ultimately i want to be hugging that 2:20-2:23 mark on race day.

Friday i spent the day setting up all the finish line area, running gear etc and ended the night at 8:00pm. We were up at 3:34am Sat and worked till Sunday at 3:45 in the morning. We kicked out of the park around 10am and of course I felt like complete garbage.

So i took a long nap in an elementary parking lot for an hour or about halfway through the drive. So after arriving back home on Sunday it was everything I could do to take a hot bath and pass out on on the couch.

But i challenged myself starting Jan 1 for no diet sodas and also no sweets for the year. So I am happy to say that Ive stuck to that commitment through the 1st month.

Next week I have a Lactate Test on the Rower and my first official weigh in from post week 1 working out so well see how we are stacking up going into week 2. Lots of loading trucks and travel next week so Ill have to come out swinging mon-thursday and really carry the weekend eventhough I have to be on the mountain as well. But im looking forward to 10 days of rowing at some altitude as well and putting it where i can see the mountains all day!

Row Row Row my boat.

Well I don’t know if I have ever been so nervous to share the next adventure(s) I am partaking in but there is a method to the madness.

First and foremost my 2 main goals before the end of may ( for full knee surgery) is to get as light as I can and be as strong leg wise as I can. Both of these will greatly help my recovery from the knee surgery and put me in optimal health for it.

So with the thought of rowing being my way to accomplish both these goals my mind started to focus on the let down I had last year while going to the 24-hour row for Wings For Life. I had an awful day on the rower and I felt like I trained pretty hard to have a decent one.

Over the past few months, I have been towing with what it would take to go sub 17 hours which i feel like I am capable of and also what it might take to go sub 14 hours for 100 miles on the rower. As I started to swallow the realization of the sub 2:30/500m pace for 14 hours I started to backlog my training to around 12 weeks out which is this week. I have been rowing around 60k a week for the past few months anyway but the training to get ready for a sub 14 hour is going to be around 100k-120k a week with weeks of 200k in the middle.

So as I was getting ready 2 weeks ago to set sail for the training I was scouring the world records for the 30-39 age groups and stumbled upon a record that I thought was interesting. The 30-39-year-old world record for the continous row is 50 hrs and 14 minutes which is defined as rowing 50 minutes out of 60 minutes for every hour in a row. I started to think of what I thought it might take sleep wise and started to wonder.

Well with anything I chatted with folks and had a deep conversation with John Sharp (my old coach) about what it would take to get to the sub 14hr 100 miler and break the 30-39 age group world record on the rower. As we laid out the plan for both rowing and sleep schedule I knew I had found the biggest goals of my life in front of me.

So I’m happy to announce that on 3/31st I will attempt to go Sub 14 hours 100 miler (161k) on the rower and on May 10th I will attempt to break the 30-39-year-old age group world record with a 51-hour continuous row.

So whats next you might ask for something like this well first and foremost I am going to finally (i hope) document this in proper form starting this week. I feel like this is something that I would love to share on dropping weight, the workouts, the misery that will come and all in between. I am committed to a weekly blog and for the next 4 months as I give these goals 100% of my self and effort.

So here is my plan of attack on rowing fast and also what i need to do for the efforts.

Below is the weeks and to the right is the kilometers needed to row. More importantly than the volume is that I need to try and do 30% of the work around 1:50/500m splits. Right now I can do that in short increments but as fitness improves I should be able to improve that greatly. I am also headed to the Memorial Hermann Ironman Institute on Shepard Square on 1/29 to do a lactate test and will do another 2 weeks out from the 100 mile attempt.

1/15-1/21 60
1/22-1/28 90
1/29-2/4 120
2/5-2/11 140
2/12-2/18 200
2/19-2/25 200
2/26-3/4 200
3/5-3/11 140
3/12-3/19 120
3/19-3/25 80
3/26-4/1 191
4/2-4/8 50
4/9-4/15 75
4/16-4/22 60
4/23-4/29 75
4/30-5/6 60
5/10 race 181

So in addition to the above rowing work and test i will start on some very specific training for this like I did before. 60% of rowing in legs, 30% abs and 10% is arms so I will start to focus heavily on these items. I will document weekly the volume and intensity of the work i am putting in to show where I am at and also the lbs dropping off me hopefully like melted butter..

And lastly the sleep cyling. I will start a training regiment of every hour once the hour hits the 50 min mark putting on a sleep mask and resting lying down for 10 minutes of that hour. The first month will be tough since I am really busy but I need for my body to start to adapt to this form of resting as I will be asking my body to do this for 51 hours in 4 months. So ill start easing into it in jan/february and really hammering this march and april working up to 36-48 hour stretches.

So there it is.. As with anything worthwhile I am deeply committed, I am insanely nervous and honestly I cant wait for today to begin so that I can start working the plan laid out. I am very grateful for the peoples time who have listened to my ideas and given my clear guidance while making the decisions.

So for me the next few months are 4 things. Family, business, weights and rowing. Going back in the cave for a few months will be well worth it to go for some big prizes and to feel great going into knee surgery. Im hopefully that post replacement I can get back to the trails I truly love but in the meantime its time to work.

So here is to week 1. May my body hold up to the torture its about to endure.

Prepared to play checkers, but the game was chess.

I hesitate to even write a blog post Snowdrop as if my inner struggle to not hit a goal should in any way outshine others who fought their asses off to finish their goals.

The truth is that I do expect myself to hit my goals everytime and when I dont it isnt something I take lightly. For me it isnt a well i didnt feel good or a it wasnt my day type of approach. Its never going to be “your” day when you do endurance events and nothing will ever be perfect when you are in the fight. The reason most of us do them is so that we get challenged and we get to play the game.

So before I start my blog on getting beat let me congratulate every person out there that started, ran, hit their goals, volunteered, supported and was part of the Snowdrop Ultra 55. It was my pleasure to see so many amazing folks killing it while I was out there and I was stoked all weekend to see yall getting buckles and finishing what you started.

Despite what people say when the dont finish something. I quit. That sucks.. Its one part anger, 2 parts heartbreaking and a few parts of shaking my head trying to figure out the dismantling.

For me frustration lies in the fact that my knee which has plagued me so bad wasnt the culprit of my demise. It was an odd day from the start for me as a person as I was really uncomfortable from the start. I didnt feel great but I was essentially having chafing issues from the get go and couldnt figure them out. By mile 10 i was having some pain despite pre lubing and lubing every hour there until mile 10. By mile 20 I had switched shorts and shirts with another lube job.

For me in these first 20 miles I felt lost completely emotionally. Its hard to explain but I know in my mind that I have to keep walking because Im not going to magically going to make up time. Its the comments from people saying that I should smile or arent you having fun Rob? But im not having fun.. I am trying to figure out this incredible discomfort while thinking of what to do next. As much as I was trying to feel there I was not.

Mile 25 i was switching to longer compression with a different creme to try to maintain it all util 45 which was my day 1 goal. From mile 25-30 i felt like my nether regions were on fire and as i decided to take another break at 30 all i could feel was the trickle of blood coming down legs.. I decided for me trying to go home quickly and figure this out was my only option as i was 10 hours into it. I went home, bathed, wrapped both things in gauze and other regions took a quick nap to try and get my thighs some dry time. I was back out of the house at 10:30 and restarted just before 11:30.. A few miles in and i could feel the blood start to roll… I remember sitting in the chair thinking that I had to try something else. There has to be something i can do other than this because honestly, my legs burned like fire.. So i decided to try and run the cement portions of the loop and walk the trail. I wanted to just to do something other than walk in the hopes that it would change my stride or something.. I havent run in probably 2 years on concrete but I was smiling as the 11 min mile pace felt like home and my legs seemed to be okay.. The running felt okay and the walking felt like hot pokers in every region of my crotch.. And after the 5th mile of this, I knew that either the chafing might get me or my knee would start swelling from trying to run. An hour later both were knocking at the door. My right knee started swelling from running and my legs were now being lubed with my own blood/sweat. I sat down and chatted I even did a couple loops with a friend just to keep trying to figure the puzzle out. But in the end i felt as lost as I did from mile 5. Even writing this blog makes me thing what the fuck happened to me? How did this all go so wrong so fast and I cant really believe that It was all over so fast.

I couldnt have imagined this would be the end of my day. It really sucked to see all my friends still grinding, know I wouldnt see my kids pictures on that course again and realize that those amazing 6 folks in our pack I wouldnt be part of next year. But at the end of the day I ran out of mental ways to keep going in the battle. So I quit.  I told Kevin and Trish that i loved them, i hugged Santiago on one of his loops and I excused myself from the race course.

As with anything you quit at least for me I have to stay quiet as I can and dive deep into trying to learn the game better. Quitting things that you care about hurts and if it dosent than you probably didnt really care. The fun part of endurance is that I felt like coming in I was ready for the 1-2 punch all day and got hit with shots I never saw coming. But For each person like myself who quit there were hundreds who found a way to manage their days and get to the 100 mile mark or longer. I have been really fortunate the past 4 years to find those ways but this year I failed in that attempt.

But the silver lining for me is this. I got to run a few small sections with Vic 200. While we didnt run fast and we didnt run far it made me smile. It made that pain go away for maybe 2 min at a time and I remember how much fun Snowdrop was the first 2 years when I could run the whole time and play the game. I have been resigned the past 2 years to just walking it and being at the mercy of the day. Those few minutes of running made me very hungry to come back post knee surgery and get to jog it with my friends rather than hike it all.

I prepared for checkers and the day dealt me the game of chess.

10 days to snowdrop

10 days to snowdrop..

The last few weeks for me have been quite productive in regards to mental stature, my emotional well being and physically as well. I am a goal orientated person so for me constantly putting carrots out in front of myself always make me happy.

With that being said in the last 2 weeks I was making my last pushes towards getting as fit as possible to ride the Xebex Air Bike for 100 miles which is about 161k on 12/16. The week of Brazos Bend obviously I wasnt able to get tons of work in the weekend but I was on the grind the first few days of the week leading up to the race. Last week post race I unloaded trucks and went right back to the daily 2-3 hour grind making sure I felt good leading up to the attempt. I took off friday and kind of started to plan out some other items in my mind. I had decided that I was going to do 2 major things after the assault bike challenge.

  1. I would try and attempt to do the Snowdrop 100 miler and then Bandera 100k challenge again. I have failed at this 2x before and with the races being like 6 days away from each other there is really a very very slim chance that I can do it with one leg but.. as Jim Carrey would say.. So your saying I have a chance!!!!
  2. I have decided that starting this week 12/18 even though we were celebrating our anniversary that I would take that 100% plunge into dedicating the next 5 months to heavy weight lifting and rowing. I really want to do another 100 mile row and I really want to do it in under 17 hours. That honestly will take about 8-12 weeks of solid training but Its something I want a lot. I also realize that I will lose some power but I need to drop some of the mass I have before knee surgery in may. The past almost year has been about moving big weight, pulling as hard as a mule on the rower and really enjoying power lifting everything in sight. But that season has come and gone. When i get the new knee I want to get back to running and that will be easier even if I lose a bit of power.

So with those thoughts in my mind headed off to sleep friday I went to bed around midnight. The plan was to get up at 6:30 and get on the bike by 7am. Funny thing happened is that I couldnt get in the gym till at least 8:30am to even start.. But the truth is that I didnt want to do it at all that morning. The second I got up I was like fuck this I can do it at another time. I started looking on my calendar when else I could do it or I was telling myself I just dont care.. But I remembered saying just get in the car and go to the gym it was about 8am at the time..

Once at the gym parking lot I waited.. I was tired, irritated and head made up my mind to just turn around and go home. Fuck the attempt, screw the work and it wouldnt matter. I even made a post on instagram as I got coffee that morning about going after the attempt and then deleted it when I was about to leave…

As i sat in the car I did what I know to do.. I just fought my mind for a few more minutes. I saw a post from jocko a guy i follow on instagram and the title of his Saturday 4:30am was something like “Sometimes you just have to get it done.”…. As i read the quote our coach showed up just after 8:30am.. And like that my mind clicked into place. I chugged a redbull to get the juices flowing and sipped on some of that Starbucks Christmas Blonde Blend (aka NITRO BOOST0).. Within 10 minutes i was set up and rocking the air bike.

Needless to say once started like everything in life it all clicked in place. My HR stayed low avg was 138 for the attempt and i stayed right at the 31km/hr mark that I had spent time on the last 5 weeks. I spent probably 20-30 hours between 30-34km just traing the motions and my body to accept that pace for extended time. I cut the halfway 80km mark at 2:35 and was on my way.. The last 80km i cut in 20km quarters mentally just constantly focusing on the next 20km and so forth. The back half 80km was 2:51 so the total was a 5:16 total time on the bike for 161km. I had predicted before that I would finish in 5:15-5:18 based on the training I had done. I was really relieved to be done as the air bike takes a toll on your ass and is a ton of muscular endurance movements. More imporantly than doing it was that I didnt quit when my mental seemed to be so far off that morning. Had i quit that morning it would have been a huge mental let down going into snowdrop and bandera honestly. Sometimes you get everything to line up and sometimes you just have to fucking send it no matter how you feel.

 

 

So after the attempt we headed to the hill country to celebrate the our 6 year anniversary and get an little R&R.. As always I get my nails done once a year right before snowdrop. The sheer look of disgust on the pedicurist face when I order that deluxe pedicure i wish i had a picture of. My feet as of late have looked like a rag tag mix of missing layers, toe nails falling off and calus city.. When she went to use that cheese grater on my feet it looked like edward sissorhands cutting hedges. Skin was flying everywhere and I was like OMG i feel so bad for this lady right now.. So once she was done abusing my feet into baby soft ready to hike feet I got to get my nails painted. My nails are yellow and purple for both of my kiddos I run for at the Snowdrop foundation. Its my reminder when the shit gets deep out there why I am there. I am there to honor the lives of Kees Poole and Dezma Benitez who bravely fought pediatric cancer to the end. I am there to honor the Poole and Flores family. My role is to do my part to raise awareness for the Snowdrop Foundation and Pediatric Cancer. Every year you get a buckle for doing 100 miles and its a grand gesture. All of mine sit in my closet most of them in the box the gave them to me in.. So as I laid for a massage the other day the MT say my toes and chuckled she said nice toes.. I tried to hold back my tears as I told her how important both of those colors are in my life this week.

So here is to the last week to get ready. I will take the week off focusing on my family, my loved ones and the joy of Christmas. When we get home on Tuesday afternoon it will be all business until the race start. Recently I had a runner who didnt complete another chance at 100 miles and had to drop. We chatted afterwards and I told him this.. I learned a long time ago that you never step up to a 100 mile race unless you are truly willing to give it 100% of what you have mentally and physcially. If you cant step up with a clear heart and clear mind then something will make you quit at the first chance. You must have the WHY before you hit the line.. I have had the pleasure of finishing this race in great times and the last 2 years in the worst pain in my life. But the results remains the same.

So I start this 10 days grateful for the opportunity to serve the 2 amazing children. May our efforts on that track help to find a cure for pediatric cancer.

4 weeks to snowdrop.. time to drop the fun.

Well we are officially 4 weeks away from snowdrop in my calendar. its always a good time for me to cut the fun out of my life and really start to dial it in.

last week my goals were to try and remain as consistent as I could with the huge amount of travel and workload that I had. I was on the road tuesday morning and didnt get home to the wee hours of saturday night. Like most lots of planned work in the mix so getting training in would be a struggle and I got fucking sick which i am still trying to work through.

I had a solid day monday of riding the airdyne bike for 2 hours in the am weights in the pm.

Tuesday was another good day as I hit the weights/rower for a few hours in the am before i started driving.

Wednesday I was able to get in 2 hours on the rower/elipical and an hour on weights

Thursday I took off due to an all day expo and when is started feeling sick.

Friday i was able to get in 1.5 hours between lifting and rowing but I could feel the sickness building.

I took off Sat/sunday with work, travel and still trying to fight off this crap show.

So all in all It was a good mon-fri being that I was traveling and I did wed night, thursday, friday and saturday all day on my feet doing things. So in turn my knee has been super swollen and really giving me some issues with the over use.

This week is Brazos Bend 100 week which means its another week of do whatever it takes, loading trucks and really putting a bunch of stress on the knee. I have been slacking with my IM fasting and low carb days so my plan this week is to be flexible and focus on the good. I will also personally weight myself monday as I always want to try and drop the Fluff as my son calls it before the race.

A few weeks ago I met someone who had never done snowdrop for the first time. I gave them a few tips on the race that I think are useful  so here goes my top 5.

Top 5 Tips to Finish 100 Miles at Snowdrop.

  1. You cant finish 100 miles if you dont stay on the track. Limit the time you spend bullshitting and not moving around that track. I have finished the 100 in some shorter times and some longer times but the work still remains the same. The more time you spend chatting, in that aid station and messing around the harder it will be.
  2. Try and get to 60 before the end of the first day. With the race starting at 6am if you can get to 60 miles before 9pm that has always been a personal goal. Some years I have the 1st 2 and last year my knee blew up early and I didnt even get to a fucking marathon by 9pm. But I also remained focus on #1 and got it done despite the 53 hour time stamp.
  3. Bring every type of clothing and shoe you have known to man. I have seen the temps be hot enough to wear a singlet and cold enough to have 3 layers on. Its been so windy your lips hurt and its been so wet we ran in panchos for hours. It is December in Houston folks anything will happen. Bring all you have and hope you dont need anything else.
  4. Its a timed event not a distance event. What this means is that you can go as much as you want for the 55 hours. While many folks target 100 miles some target 150 or even 200. All of this means you have to change your perception of what you want to try and do. Planning is key if you you are really going for some longer mileage.
  5. The most important one of all- Remember the reason you are on that track. We are all on the track to help raise money and spread awareness about pediatric cancer via the Snowdrop Foundation. The pictures of the kids, our own stories and those folks out there are all behind you to keep pushing like the kids have. It is emotion, it is raw but it is worth it.

So with this week being another crazy one its time to keep it consistent as I will probably put some time back on the road to get my body out of rowing mode and get some miles under my feet. The fun is over time to grind it out.

5 weeks to snowdrop and the saltwater cure.

5 weeks to snowdrop and the saltwater cure.

I should have blogged as advertised at least 2x time since the last. I have failed but will not quit. 

So there is a really good quote that speaks to my heart every time.

“The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea. ” —Isak Dinesen

Shortly after coming home from the 2 weeks that was the franklin mountains I had a good solid week of training which was this last week. I have been building towards a 100 mile attempt on an assault bike, im rowing again like a champ and ive been lifting daily. My diet has been a bit carby with the thanksgiving treats wafting in the late night air. But nonetheless have found myself feeling strong and already feeling the impeeding emotions of training for snowdrop.

The quote speaks to me as I feel more raw than I have in sometime. For me every glance at the pictures of my snowdrop kids I run for has me shedding tears and my mind keeps playing the memories over again. Every night as I head upstairs i see the beautiful smile of Dezma and our God son Kees sweet gestures on the picture that i have laminated. That picture has been with me for so long and as of today will be with me wherever I go.

But with the emotions in my heart comes the responsibility that I still have to finish everything that I have started to get there. I have had the displeasure the last 2 years of having my knee give me tremendous issues early and make it tough to finish. I can remember last year after getting a 45 min nap around 3am I got up for the jeep. Tommy my friend saw me and neither of us though I could go another step at mile 82.

I can remember telling tommy to grab a red bull for me from the aid station… The truth is that i asked him to leave so that I could cry alone because I thought that is how it would all end after 4 years. I was fortunate that my heart spoke louder than my knee and we were able to get it done despite the 53 hour shitshow.

So as I sat in a bath this afternoon trying to get this knee to stop swelling I see a post that I was tagged in on instagram. A post from an amazing runner http://instagram.com/anna.in.the.mountains

As I read the post I thought how similar our lives are at times. Anna dosent know but I used to sit on those oil rigs on the gulf as well wondering what would become of my life at 300+ lbs. But with a simple post thanking me for inspiring her she paid it back all in one second.

It was for me the reminder that despite my unwanting to blog about how I feel I have made a commitment to do so and how much I must keep pushing no matter how comfortable that is.

 

 

So here we go last 4 weeks of training and a week off. I WILL DO a great job this week of showing everything I can because im at TRE all week. So it will be a crazy week of trying to fit in workouts, doing it out of air bnb and gyms. So since we do travel a ton here is my 5 tips on getting workouts in on the road.

  1. Bring equipment with you.. I will bring my push ups bars, knee pad, kettle bell and bands with me on the trip. This way i can get full body workouts and also be able to do solid glute work as well with ease.
  2. Check local gyms and memberships before you go. I have a national 24 hour memberships so in Austin this works well but I have gotten $10 a week memberships or $25 monthly and cancel them after a month. But if you are heavy into a training program you cant afford to miss a week off.
  3. Be flexible.. This week will be crazy for me since I have obliations, I have a lot of smoozing to do and I have no idea what my schedule will be.
  4. Key workouts come first- I try and schedule my long hikes, rows etc when i know I have time like before big expo days or days off. I never think I am going to squeeze in a 2 hour hard row at 10pm after a day walking in an expo.
  5. dont give up on the week no matter what you cant get in..

So here is my “goals” for the week and the usually the last 4 weeks of training for me its a volume week. meaning i stop doing a ton of super heavy lifts and stick to more reps/sets etc.

40 miles hiking, 40 miles on the rower, 60km on the assault bike- 5 sessions of lifting- volume (abs, step ups, pushups).

So im going to start the next blog since ill have my computer and can just log in.. Maybe ill even break it up.. the sky is the limit.

 

 

 

 

Digging in and Digging Deep 8 weeks till Snowdrop

I have for the better part of the last few years been running away from having full knee surgery over and over. I have already had 2 knee surgeries and have already known that I just need a whole new knee to replace this piece o shit that i currently get to use.

And yes whenever i post I am nervous about knee surgery 300 people tell me that Im going to be okay and their in the health care field and see it all the time. I get that but You are talking about people that I dont know I am talking about my own  body here. You dont know that Im going to be okay and you cant guarantee that ill come out with stars and unicorns. This as you can see is why i havent scheduled it previously because I dont like the unguarantee since ive already been through this 2x with NO HELP.

But…

What i do know mentally is that having the knee surgery planned for the end of may gives me a sigh of relief to plan my next adventure, our summer and beyond. I am a planner at heart and I hate suprises more than people can imagine. Part of why i love race directing is trying to put myself in the situation so that I can see the fix before it becomes a problem.

So last weekend I had the opportunity to jump into a 50 miler and get it done with some good friends of mine. I do say jump into as I had been for the past 6-8 weeks training to hike a 224 mile road course known as the El Camino De Lavaca about 10 days before then. I have it a go with only having one day of full rest from Orion but with my knee already blown up from the race weekend I only got in about 6 hours and I had to call it. I was mentally ready for 4-5 days of an all our grinder but it just wasnt in the cards. A friend of mine commented on how I can jump into a 50 miler with no training. I thought it was super funny that he assumed that I didnt train for it and because I dont “post” every workout I do on social media that I didnt do something.

Truth is that I have 2 things always going for me.. I have a 6 year continuous history of endurance sports and I really love to suffer mentally. The one thing that has hindered me for the 6 years is I have always had a bum knee. I mean i ran my first ultra in 2012 and had knee surgery 3 days after running my first 50 miler on a torn knee then.

So i am presently coaching/helping a couple of people who reached out to me to reach some big goals they have coming up. I am really strict about logging runs etc but I myself dont log a bunch of stuff that I do. I kind of just say hey im going to workout 2-3 hours a day week days and 3 hours sat/sunday. I do a variety of thing ranging from hiking, treadmill walks, tirepulls, crossfit, traditional body building and of course rowing. I also do some other random stuff like strenth under pressure, slide boarding, sauna etc.. I do a ton of different stuff because a) my knee hates running and b) i would rather be strong than fast both professionally and in life. If I dont honestly work on keeping big muscles strong than it effects my daily life.

 

So the last 2 years leading up to snowdrop I had these 8-12 week blocks of training where I ran a bunch tried to get super fit and then headed into the race. Both of those races were the absolute most painful things i have ever done. I think i finished a 100 miles in like 52 and 53 hours with the last one me getting a 45 min nap between day 2-3.. What was even worse was that I couldnt use my right leg to drive for 4 months after that race. I was driving left footed everywhere and would have to pull over while driving to ease the pain often.

So this year I made changes early in the season to fix all of that with rowing. I rowed for 100 miles in late april and as I rowed I got stronger. As i got stronger my knee got more stable and I have been able to hike more than ever. So that leads us to today.

I am about 8 weeks away give or take a few days from the Snowdrop Ultra 55 Hour race. Although I am plain TERRIBLE at keeping track of workouts I am going to do it for the next 8 weeks via this blog. I will also drop some posts on what I think are really important to finish snowdrop since I have finished it 4x in a row with over a 100 miles. I have also never videod any of the crazy shit i do in the gym but I am really going to make a real effort to do that as well.

 

So i think it will be fun to try to do it 8 weeks which is manageable and to be honest Im terrible at logging stuff so it will be a challenge to do it.

So here is do Day 1 of Week 1. Time to check all my stats so I can get baselines and im  4 days off of relaxing from Cactus Rose so its time to start working again.  And since my birthday is coming up I think ill buy another Fit bit this week. I really enjoy having one for resting HR, sleep time and overall HR stuff. Easy as well on the road which ill be for the next few weeks.

Goals for the week (Thursday-Thursday) 40 miles hiking, 40 miles rower, 4 workouts.

Intermittent Fasting Goals: Avg 14 hour days

Food Diary Goals: less than 75 grams of carbs a day.

 

Thats the plan.. well see how it all goes down week 1.

 

 

The hardest part of working hard is stopping.

I have for the better part of my life resisted the part of the training that involves rest. It is a great weakness that I have in my own athletic accomplishments but a positive in business.

As i prepared for what I would be my last week of push on the rower I had to take a step back on monday am. We were fresh off a long race weekend, my legs hadnt coming back around from standing up for 2 days with limited sleep and I was tired. Despite this I knew that I had put in the work and that the week would be something I would still go after.

 

My Tuesday/Wed workouts were big, they were good and I watched my HR sit comfortably. I have been battling a tennis elbow like hurt in my left elbow from lifting some heavy weight the week before and my right knee was swelling from the weekend. As Thursday approached I was in a position that I usually fail in.

I was in the position where I know I have put in the work over the past 6 months but I still want more before the goal. I in my own mind wanted that last week confidence booster but my body was getting torn apart just to see it happen. In 2013 i ran 3 100 mile weeks back to back to back in search of fitness for the Grasslands 50M. Going into the race I knew that my hip flexors felt like there were going to pop at any time and therefore at mile 18 they did. I dont tell the story of me doing 3 100 mile weeks because the end results is a big DNF at a race that has beat me so many times.

So as I go to grab the keys off the key ring i cant.. My elbow pulses with pain, my grimace shows what I cant hide and my observant  wife asks why I am still going. Shes right as in most time with my training but I dont want to hear that. I want to find that other gear, I want to push through that pain and I want more meters.

 

After taking the day off I realize that while i might be able to tell people i did another 161k 100 mile week on the rower what would my story be if I only did 6 hours of the 24 hours. I already know its going to be hard, I already feel the anxiousness of trying it for 24 but did I want that to be the end of the story.

So with that I officially shut it down saturday after rowing for about 15min. My HR was about 98 bpm at race pace of 5500 meters per 30 min. That gives me a cushion of about 1000 meters an hour which should warranted a restroom break or 2 an hour to stay on pace.

 

As much as I would love to go 241,000 metres or 150 miles in 24 hours the truth is I am just going to get to enjoy seeing what I can do as a person. Im not really worried about my cardio at all but I just wonder what kind of muscular endurance I will face after 10-12 hours. I wonder how I will feel grinding meters at 2am or what I will think when it becomes not fun anymore.

And the most important part of it all is that I get to row for so many who cant and for the wonderful Wings For Life Foundation. My time on that rower serves as a vehicle to help those who need it and dont get the opportunities I do in life.

So for once in my life I shut it down before I burned in hot. I took of sunday enjoyed indian food and nachos. This morning I got my normal post 2 weeks diet on track and ready to roll. Im looking forward to being as lean as I can, well rested and ready to fight for every meter in 24 hours. Im grateful for Rachel always being the smart one in my life and giving me a push to shut it down.

Dont forget Friday April 28th at 7am is when I start and Im rowing for the Wings for Life Foundation. I will be on FACEBOOK LIVE http://www.facebook.com/runningrobg the entire time so you can watch. Some people have donated straight to the site (SO THANK YOU ALREADY) and some are pledging $1 per 10,000 meters=$24 or $200 if I can do 241,000 meters. But let it be clear I thank you for wanting to watch me do this and I am grateful for each penny that goes to the Wings for Life Foundation. The charity gives a REAL 100% to Spinal Cord Reseach and I will think of them while i row. https://fundraising.wingsforlifeworldrun.com/us/EN/2baba7f0f8cd11e6aa120a9de91963