Rugged Maniac

     This year I also participated in the 2013 Rugged Maniac in Brooklyn at the Aviator Complex Center. This was a 5k obstacle course that tested me. Most people would say 5k isn’t a big deal but it is when you haven’t properly trained. I came into the race over confident and that was my downfall. I thought I would be able to do the race without breaking a sweat but I was wrong. They started the race by making us go up three small Hills and I almost broke my ankle because of the way I landed on it. I didn’t expect this. Once I completed this first set of Hills there was another two blocks away. I made sure I took my time but when I landed on the ground from the last Hill I felt my knee cap buckle. Luckily I didn’t injure myself but this set me back the rest of the race. I was extremely cautious after this which in turn made me run slower and ruined my self confidence.
     The obstacles weren’t difficult but almost injuring myself in two occasions messed me up psychologically. I kept thinking to myself not to get hurt. I raced with four of my friends and I had the lead till I almost hurt myself. Then my competition Luis Chavez passed me and was celebrating his victory halfway through the race. He was ahead of me by five minutes and then something in me changed and I ignited the fire within myself. I yelled “Spartacus” to pump me up and it worked. I got my second wind and had my eye on my target, Luis.
     I tackled every obstacle with as much energy as I could. Once I started closing in on my competition I pushed myself even harder. Once I reached the mud Pit Luis was steps away and I pushed even harder. I finally got to the wall and I climbed myself to the top inches away from Luis. We were both at the slide at the same time but I was held back because only two people can go down the slide at the same time. If it wasn’t for that I know I would’ve beat Luis. But he was the better man that day and I give credit where it is due.
     Rugged Maniac is definitely a race to improve your craft in obstacle course racing. I finished the race in 35 minutes. It’s also a good idea to always race with friends to raise the stakes and get some good competition going. Can’t wait to do this race again next year.
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Spartan Sprint Citifield

     I must admit the Spartan Sprint at Citifield was one of the hardest obstacle courses I endured year to date. I didn’t know what to expect when I got there and to make things worst I didn’t properly train for this race. It’s amazing how they utilized the stadium and put obstacles any place they could. My biggest mistake was gunning it once the host rang the buzzer. I didn’t foresee the obstacles that were waiting for us just seconds away. This race requires alot of strength, stamina, and endurance. Without any of these you will have a hard time finishing it at a decent time. This obstacle course tests you in every way possible. If you don’t like stair climbs then start practicing going up the stairs otherwise you will get a beautiful view of Citifield as you go up and down the stadium stairs. Once you finish that be prepared to do some lifting, mainly picking up a 25lb ball and dropping it on the floor twenty five times.
     If you never seen this stadium for what it really is this race will give you an up close and personal look at it. You will be going over 4 foot walls, 6 foot walls and even an 8 foot wall. You better practice climbing over high walls if you don’t want to hurt yourself. As I was racing I saw plenty of people give up and some even needed to be carried out because they were injured while climbing over some of these walls. My best advice is to take your time and go at your own pace. The most important thing is to finish the race. If you don’t know what a burpee is don’t worry you will soon find out at this race. For every obstacle you fail, you will have to do 25 burpees and this will drain most of your energy if you keep on failing some of the obstacles. Luckily for me I only came short on one obstacle and that was the row machine.
     If you don’t know how to climb a rope you better learn because you will be climbing a rope. Your biggest obstacle here is you. Don’t tell yourself you can’t do it because then you are setting yourself up for failure. I never climbed rope before and I used my upper body to help me. I saw people using their legs but I just didn’t know how to climb the way they did. Luckily for me I was able to do it without a problem.
     You will be pushed to the limit but at the end you will know that you were strong enough to finish the race. You get a real workout and bragging rights. They had over twenty obstacles and the best way to complete them is to train properly for this race. You have to do cardio and strength training because you will be picking up heavy blocks over fifty pounds. You will be walking up and down steps with five gallons of water. These are just a few obstacles that I am naming. This nit for the weak of heart and if you come here without training then expect a rude awakening when that buzzer sounds off. Remember to push yourself but don’t break yourself in the process.
     In the end have fun and cross the finish line no matter your place.
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Work it out

     Let’s face it we are all busy people, we have a family, demanding job, girlfriend or boyfriend, kids, or friends that keep us busy. Does this mean that we should just let ourselves go and not workout or keep ourselves in shape. I’m not saying to devote your spare time to exercising but be committed enough to spend at least ten minutes a day doing some type of workout at home. We can’t use the excuse that we don’t have time because if you have eight minutes to spare then you have time. Here are some quick workouts that can be done in eight minutes.
     Make sure you have a timer (we all have smart phones so you do have a timer in your clock application.) First exercise you should do is body squats. Get yourself in squat position and set your timer for four minutes. Do twenty seconds straight and once you reach twenty seconds hold yourself in squat position for ten seconds. Continue this routine for the next four minutes. By the time you make it to the three minute mark you are going to want to quit but don’t. Next set your time for four minutes and do twenty seconds of burpees and stop for ten seconds. Continue this routine for four minutes. You will be sweating by the time you are done. You can incorporate any workout that requires no weights to do these sets. I challenge the fittest people to try this four minute routine doing push ups. If your arms don’t start shaking by the third minute then you are in shape but if you can’t do ten push ups once you reach the three minute mark then this workout is kicking your butt and this is a mood thing. Do the same with sit ups, leg races, bicycle kicks and the list goes on.
     For those who have twenty minutes to spare purchase T-25 Focus from beach body. You get no rest or breaks and you are working out for twenty five minutes straight. Great workout and you will see results. For those who have an hour to spare at least five days a week I suggest Insanity for those who want to lose weight and get toned and P90X for those who want to burn fat and gain muscle.
     For those who like to go to the gym make sure you workout for at least an hour and try to incorporate cardio into your workouts because this allows you to burn unwanted fat while you are strength training. Try to at least do some running for twenty minutes after you finish your final set. I run after I workout because if I do cardio before strength training I get tired and it makes me not want to workout afterwards. To all my crossfit fanatics please don’t overdue it and lift more than you should because then you will hurt yourself and be on the injury list for a couple of months. Remember you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Take your time and progress at your own pace. Don’t worry about what the other people are lifting it isn’t worth the pain. If you do crossfit try to do it four times a week with a break in between otherwise you will be more prone to injuries.
     Be safe out there when working out and please no excuses otherwise when you don’t like what you see in the mirror the only person you have to blame is yourself.

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Get off your couch

     Let’s face it, we here in America suffer from obesity. The only people than can do something about the way we look is us. We have a million excuses as to why we don’t want to work out, “I’m tired, I don’t have the time, I don’t have money to join the gym, I’m never going to see results, I don’t want to be in pain the next day.” These are just a few but there are more. If you aren’t happy about the way you look don’t complain about the problem be a solution to the problem.
     The first step is setting a goal for yourself and sticking to it. Being tired isn’t an excuse. I wake up at 4am everyday to be at the gym at 430am. Once I’m out of bed I’m good to go. The key to getting up is putting your alarm away from you so you have to get up and turn it off. If you feel as if you don’t make time then you find time. You can do workouts ranging from 8 minutes a day to and hour and a half day depending on your schedule. It all depends on how much time you have. You can always squeeze in a quick workout when you get home. There are so many different types of exercises one can do but I will save those for another article. With the amount of gyms that are opening up you can always go to one that fits your budget.
     If you don’t have the money to join the gym then you have options to get videos so you can workout at home such as insanity, p90x,or even the new T-25 Focus. The best way to see results is by staying committed to your goal and eating right. Eating is probably the hardest but if you are committed then you will find away to avoid all the unhealthy foods out in the market.
     If you are tired of being unhappy with the way you look then make a change otherwise you will never be happy. Your best motivator is yourself and once you start getting the results and seeing them for yourselves you will feel more confident. And believe when I tell you that other will also notice the progress you are making and that goes a long way. Hard work pays off just stay focused and don’t quit. Your new and improved you is waiting. So what are you waiting for?

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Just keep pushing

     One of the things I have learned throughout life is we as individuals have to continue to push ourselves if we want to progress in life. Whether it be at work, relationships, or sports. In order for you to be successful in anything you do you have to push yourself harder each day. I am fortunate to have a wife that pushes me and wants me to be successful but for those who don’t have that system you are the only ones that can determine how hard you want to push yourself.
     One of the things that annoys me is when I hear people say, “I can’t do that” or “This seems to difficult.” The minute you start questioning your abilities is the minute you begin to fail yourself. Never tell yourself that you can’t do something because the second you do your brain is already in failure mode. The word ‘can’t’ should never be in your vocabulary and if it is start getting it out right away.
     When I did my first mud run in orchard beach I was scared because I started questioning if I was going to be able to cross the finish line. About 73% of racers complete these races the rest either never finish because they get injured while racing or quit because the race was too challenging for them. I started to doubt ny abilities and after looking at most of the runners I felt out of place because the majority of them were fit and I felt a sense of embarrassment. Then I started to clear my head before the race and I told myself no matter how difficult the race got and no matter how tired I was I will not quit. Once I gave myself this pep talk I felt a bit more relaxed. It wasn’t until I started the race that I started feeling more comfortable with myself. When I crossed the finished line I told myself that I could do anything as long as I believed in myself.
     Believe in yourself and Never Quit.

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2012 Merrell Down and Dirty Mud run

     2012 was the year that changed my life in the world of Obstacle Course racing. I never knew about the sport until my co-workers Oscar told me about it. This was a 10k obstacle course run and I must admit I was a little worried because I never ran more than a mile on the treadmill. I will also admit that going into the race I wasn’t in the best shape. I decided to do the race none the less even if I didn’t train properly for the race. I started training one month prior to the race thinking I would be fine and I was wrong. The day of the race I was nervous because I thought I was going to get injured or not make it to the finished line.
     There were over 1000 people there and alot of them were in good shape. I felt out of place so I just stayed focus on the task at hand.  Once I got to the starting point the butterflies in my stomach got more intense and then the gun went off and it was time to run. The anticipation prior to the race was nerve wrecking but I felt more nervous once I started running. I started telling myself that I could do this and to believe in myself. I never knew exactly how big Orchard Beach was but I found out that day. After I completed the first three obstacles I started to get a rhythm going. I just paced myself and told myself that it didn’t matter how many people passed me as long as I finish the race I would be fine. I made sure I took water at every water station because at that time I didn’t even know what a CamelBak was.
     I didn’t realize that we would have to run in the woods of the beach and this caught me off guard. My sneakers and legs weren’t prepared for this. I had to watch the floor as I was running because there were rocks all over the floor and one wrong move couldn’t cost me a broken ankle. I finally made it to the last three obstacles and I was dying just to get to the finish line. I finally made it to the mud Pit and I was drenched in mud by the time I crossed the finish line.
     When I crossed the finish line I felt a sense of relief and accomplishment because I never would’ve thought I would compete in a race like this. After the race my body was in shock and I felt pain all over. At this point I was addicted to these races and vowed to do more in the future despite the bumps and bruises it was well worth it. I knew I would have to train harder if I wanted to beat my time. I finished the race in one hour and fifteen minutes.

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The world of Obstacle Course Racing

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It is no secret that the world of Obstacle Course Racing has taken over. Move over marathons and triathlons because mud runs are now in full effect. Let’s face it running is fun but what’s better than running, how about doing a 5k or 10k run with over 15 obstacles. This forces you to train your body in a different way. This helps you improve strength and speed. For the next couple of weeks I will share my experience with my readers and the experiences of my friends as well. There is one more race left for the season here in New York and that is the Men’s Health URBANATHLON which will be on October 26th in Citifield. The new season will begin next April.
For those interested in these runs let me just remind you that they will take a toll on you mentally and physically and they will challenge you to get in shape. Don’t expect to sign up for these races and not train because you will cause your body some serious damage. Good thing about these races is that you can go at your own pace and don’t have to worry about what place you come in especially if you aren’t a competitor. Grant it there are alot of people that take these races serious and they belong in the Elite category. Make sure when you sign up for these races you don’t sign up under Elite because you will just be in their way.
Stay connected with me as I continue my journey on obstacle course racing.
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