It has been a couple of months since I finished the Tough Mudder NorCal 2011 event in Squaw Valley, CA near Lake Tahoe. I’ve had some time to think about that day, the obstacles that I faced, and the overall experience. All in all, it went very well. I had a great time and, to be honest, it wasn’t that hard for me. That’s a good thing. That means that my training worked and preparation paid off. That doesn’t mean that it was easy. By no means was it easy! It was definitely a test of your strength, endurance, teamwork, and your willpower to continue despite fatigue, hunger, pain, and extreme discomfort. For example, I don’t think there is any way to really be ready to enjoy the icy cold water of the Chernobyl Jacuzzi and the Underwater Tunnels obstacles, unless you’re a member of the Polar Bear Club and get off on that type of thing. I hate being cold, so I was careful about the gear I chose to wear that day (Read more about my Head-to-Toe Gear here).
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone talking to me when I’m lifting heavy. I don’t want anyone standing in front of me when I’m lifting heavy. Yet, there is always that one guy who can’t stop getting in your way. He always feels the need to talk to you right in the middle of a big lift.
Well, I have been testing and re-testing a lot of gear that I want to use to run in the NorCal Tough Mudder. I’ve been quite happy with my Under Armour ColdGear top and leggings (compression fit). I’ve tested it running in cold weather and even jumped into a cold river to see how warm it would keep me after I had been fully submerged. It works! I didn’t feel very cold and I warmed up quickly as I started running again. Do I look a bit silly wearing leggings? Yep. Do I care? Nope. I have seen guys wearing much crazier stuff at the Tough Mudder (think loincloths and thongs), so I don’t think my appearance is going to matter much and I want to be warm in that icy water.
So, if you’ve read my Tough Mudder training posts before, you know that I have been wearing the Vibram (VFF) FiveFingers Treksport shoes for my trail running. I still love my VFF and now I actually have 3 different pairs (KSO, Trek, Treksport). I wear VFF every day. But, there has been a nagging issue for my more aggressive uphill trail running: My smaller toes keep sliding out of the VFF toe pockets when I sprint uphill. Don’t tell me that I need a smaller size, because I can’t go any smaller. My big toe is already uncomfortably scrunched a bit. I know that I could go one size even smaller and then use a heat gun to heat and stretch the big toe. But, I already did that with this pair and I think it would probably destroy an even smaller pair. There is only so much you can stretch that toe!
Just wanted to share this great deal going on at Under Armour. I love UA gear and have lots of their heat gear T-shirts and shorts, compression shorts, and some cold gear compression clothing as well (which I will be using for the upcoming NorCal Tough Mudder event). Right now you can get Free Standard Shipping on Orders of $75 or More with code YKEQ75 at Under Armour online. Just click that link to check it out.
I’m still ramping up my training for the Tough Mudder event in NorCal this September. I’m wearing my Vibram FiveFingers much more regularly and did another 4 mile trail run in a pair of the KSOs. You may recall that I did buy a pair of the KSO Treks earlier and did a trail run in them as well. The fit was a bit too large. They felt fine for walking around, but my smaller toes kept slipping out of their pockets as I started running harder and climbing. So, I bought a size smaller of the KSOs, which are a bit different (better for water, thinner sole). Now my big toe is a bit cramped. Guess I have weird toes.
To continue preparing for the Tough Mudder event, I am still doing CrossFit during the week. But I’ve also added a trail run each weekend to keep improving my endurance and add a bit more cardio work. I ran again in my Vibram FiveFingers to see how they feel on the rocky trail and what it feels like to keep running in cold, wet feet. It was ok. The FiveFingers certainly just let the water come in and your feet are instantly wet and cold. But I found that my feet warmed up as I kept running, so it was tolerable. My feet obviously still need to toughen up more. I felt all of the sharp stones on the trail (it was a really rocky trail). But, the barefoot running style ensures that you are landing lightly on your forefoot and lifting your feet quickly back off the ground again. So, hitting a rock wasn’t nearly as painful as it would be when you stride out and land harder on your heels.
You know it’s going to be a good day at CrossFit when your warmup looks like a full-on conditioning WOD. One of the warmup exercises was a 250 M row on the C2 rower. That was just to get us all warmed up and excited for the 2000 meter row that was coming up. Today ended up being my best row yet for the 2000 and I’ll tell you how I did it.
One of the friends of Kill Fat Me suggested that we offer some custom gear and we think that’s a great idea! So, I just opened our first Kill Fat Me store on Cafe Press at http://www.cafepress.com/KillFatMe Check it out and have some fun with it!