Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tunnels of Doom

Tunnels of Doom – February 19, 2012

Things that may appear normal to most people turn into training opportunities for people that are training for Death Race. Earlier in the week I had spied a construction site that had a lot of site work going on. An workout was created.
I told Bill to meet me at a four story parking garage near the Rio complex in Gaithersburg. We were each to bring a 50lb bag of sand and a roll of duct tape. 

We began the day by running up the ramps of the garage; doing push-up, crunches or burpees at the top; running down and then up the stairs, more push-up, crunches, or burpees and the top; and then running back down the ramps. Repeat several times. After a good warm up, we returned to our cars.

We took out the bags of sand and wrapped them completely in the duct tape. They looked like gray eggs. With a Sharpee, I wrote “I May Die” (the Death Race disclaimer) to which we both signed our names. Of we went on a hike with our “eggs”. We soon entered the construction site, went up and over large dirt mounds, through storm water management gullies and soon arrived at our playground, an area filled with concrete sewer pipes of various diameters awaiting installation. Our mission, to go through the sewer pipes carrying, pushing or pulling our 50lb eggs.

The sizes ranged from 30” down to 24”. The larger ones you could crouch down and carry the egg through. It was uncomfortable but do-able. Unfortunately, there were not many of these. Most were the smaller sizes, which you had to belly crawl through moving yourself forward on your elbows and toes, pushing the egg ahead of you. I was surprised at how much core strength this took and would have loved to have heard the comments from the people driving by watching us.

After several hours of this we had made it through 82 pipes. Bill followed me over to a small area where I pulled two bags out of my camelback. Each one had a 100 piece puzzle in it. We had 30 minutes to put the puzzles together. However many pieces were left un-attached after the time would result in 5 pushup penalty each. I started the watch and we began. After just a few minutes, I noticed muscles tightening up big time. I was struggling to put the pieces together on the dirt ground. At the conclusion of 30 minutes we counted the un-attached pieces. I owed 290 push-up, Bill owed 400. Puzzles suck.

When we finished the push-up penalty, we headed back through the site towards the garage. We decided to leave the puzzles on the ground thinking some construction workers may want to take a break and finish them for us. At the garage, one more run up and down the ramps and stairs for old time’s sake.

Puzzles suck.


Hay Bale Hell

Hay Bale Hell – February 12, 2012

I have continued this blog so that I can remember the fun and pain of getting ready for my second attempt at Death Race. My good friend Bill Benoit, whom I have been through Ironman and many triathlons with, has decided, for whatever twisted reason, to join me in the training. I have been doing triathlon training during the week, with Death Race training taking place on Sundays, 4-5 hour long sessions at this point. We have decided to take turns creating the workouts, leaving the other person in the blind as to what to expect much like Andy and Joe do to us in Vermont. This week is Bill’s turn.

Big Task Ahead
Bill Tries The Superman Approach
Gravity Sucks - Won't Be Trying That Again
 I was told to be at his dad’s farm in Brookeville at 7am with a posthole digger, knife and calculator. A cold front had come in the night before and it was 4 degree wind chill when we started. There was an inch or so of snow on the ground and it was windy. Our workout began with a 3-4 mile hike through the Tridelphia Reservoir. It was cold, but very pretty. Soon we came to a field that his family hunted geese on and we went to one of the blinds. Bill pulled out two sealed envelopes that his girlfriend had prepared. We were to memorize a list of 5 romantic gestures that should be considered for Valentines (which was in a few days). After gagging on the sappiness of the list, I set out to memorize it. We exchanged envelopes in order to be tested later and set out again. I went to take a drink of water from my camelback, only to find that it frozen. Could be problem later.

This time we came to a field that had large 6’ round hay bales in it. Bill said that he did not know how many there were, but that we were going up and over every single one. I walked up to the first one not quite sure how to approach this task. After several failed attempts that resulting in landing on my ass, I managed to get up and over. This was going to take a long time. There was snow on top of most of them, and when there wasn’t snow, there was goose crap. Lovely. We got into a rhythm and were moving along fairly well. After a while though, my gloves were wet and my hands were beginning to be very painful from the cold. We got to what appeared to be the last one in the field (50 in all). Feeling good about the accomplishment, I looked around and spotted one more up on a slope to the left. Not being one to leave anything undone, we trudged up there to finish this part of the workout only to find another section of the field filled with hay bales. My heart sank with gloom for a moment. This is just the kind of mind games we will face in Vermont. After a few more hours, the total count was 91 bales of hay.

Bill pointed us towards a wooded area where we began reciting our lists from earlier. The rule was 50 pushups for every wrong answer. I got all of mine correct (I had been going over them in my head as we did the hay bales). Bill got two wrong (sorry Irene, hope you had a good V Day anyways) – 100 push up. Before he started them, he handed me a can of soup and some matches. My task was to cook the soup. Feeling extremely confident (I’ve been an outdoorsman all my life, an Eagle Scout and have been through survival training) and looking forward to warming up, I set about to light a fire. I failed miserably. I could not get a fire started to save my life. Embarrassed and with my tail between my legs, we set off to leave the field. I was glad to be rid of hay bales.

We hiked over to a large pile of logs. No Death Race workout is complete without carrying logs so we each picked out logs that looked to weigh around 50 lbs. We retraced our path back to his dad’s farm feeling good overall about the workout, but hungry for chicken soup.