I always love the feeling of starting a new year. I like looking out on the next 12 months and thinking about what is possible and dreaming about what may be impossible. I feel alive and powerful every year at this time. I mean, I can dictate my year, I can do what I want; I can change what I don’t like. Right? I don’t know why but love it, and nothing embodies that feeling more than plunking down a wad of cash on an over-the-top running challenge.
This challenge represents the motivation I crave, the excuse I need to get super fit and overhaul my diet, the challenge I need to stay strong (we are either getting stronger or weaker….we choose which), and the subject I need to consume my thoughts and annoy my wife. Who else has started this year with a goal so tough, so seemingly insurmountable, so expensive, so potentially publically humiliating, and so daunting that the thought of it keeps you up at night? That emotion is bad ass and is like “life concentrate”. If you share my enthusiasm but haven’t pulled the trigger, go now and sign up for something. I will even borrow a line from my old employer…..Just Do It. Consider the details later. Get your ass on the line. It is a powerful move.
I signed up for the Leadville 100 Mile Trail Run.
Now here’s a little about me, Denver Fredenburg, Hyperwear CEO.
About 5 years ago I had this idea to attempt a 50-mile race. It was just a thought or slight curiosity. I had run a few marathons and like everyone else, thought there was no way I could run one step further at the finish line. But, I read about people running longer and I was curious. So in Chuck’s office one day, I thought out loud…..”dude, I think I want to try and run 50 miles”. His response is one that I will never forget. He said, “Denver, there is no chance an old catcher like you can run 50 miles, that is impossible”. That was all it took. So I signed up, trained (somewhat), showed up and finished in about 9 and half hours. I also won my age group.
Now, there were only 13 people that toed the starting line, but I usually leave that part out. That first ultra was the simply the most intensely painful experience of my life. I am still amazed that I finished…but upon completion, I clearly figured that was that. I could mark that idiocy off the list and not repeat. Strange thing though, something inside me fell in love with the battle…..and let me tell you, running an ultra is a battle.
I have since run 8 ultras from 50k to 100 miles. There has not been a single one where I didn’t want to quit or didn’t think ‘this is the stupidest thing I could possibly be doing’. But each time the pain wears off, the sense of accomplishment and the knowledge of what I am capable of mentally and physically astounds me. There is something in all of us, some deep seeded ability to succeed no matter how difficult or physically painful the challenge may be, that would blow our own minds if we just tapped into it. You flat out don’t need skill or talent….you just need to make the decision to finish. That is it.
I am not fast nor do I have a genetic disposition to running. I have a run a 3:22 marathon and am about 6’1” 185lbs (not exactly a runner’s bod), but I do remain very physically active. I have to with my profession and family. I can’t run Hyperwear effectively if I am out of shape….I mean, we make some of the most innovative fitness products on the market, it’d be tough to attract consumers and investors if I didn’t practice what I preached. And, I am a proud father of 4 kids (8yrs and under). Try managing that brood out of breath and without energy….no thanks.
But, Leadville? This time, I’m pretty sure I have overdone it. This is a 100-mile run with a 30-hour cutoff (I finished Big Horn in 32 hours). There is estimated 14-15k feet of elevation gain and loss. And, the real killer, the entire race is run between 9,200-12,620ft elevation. At that altitude, there is roughly 28% less oxygen. WTF? Seriously, I am a tough SOB but this just may not be doable. (Side note, I exhaled this dramatic sigh after signing up and realizing what I had done and my wife, Jill, just blasted me. She thinks I am so dramatic and this 100-mile stuff is just so stupid. So, for her sake, and for my love life, I am hopeful to really tone down the dramatic tone to my writing). Bottomline though, I really am afraid of this race and unsure that I can complete it. But, I am going to train my ass off, eat right, and employ a few creative tools to simulate altitude. Hell, I am even going to drink less beer…..that is motivation.
So, initially I was going to kick the Bandera 50k’s ass this past weekend and take that success into the Leadville training camp. Haha, not so much. Bandera, as always, is such a beast. I actually laid down at mile 15 in the mud to ease my nausea. Not exactly a confidence booster. I ran the 2013 50k 2 hours slower than I did 2 years ago. I am pretty sure I am getting old, soft and slow. Not acceptable.
Regardless, to generalize, I was going to focus my training on a few objectives
-Kick start the training with a great 50k FAIL
-Start writing a blog so everyone (and I mean everyone cause this thing will go national) will read and know my plans
-Eliminate excuses. I will create a realistic weekly training calendar at the beginning of every week, and I will do what is on the calendar. Join me in eliminating weakness by doing what we say we are going to do…..it is empowering.
-Reduce refined sugar (I love cookies and probably shouldn’t have dessert after every meal)
-Maximize my raw veggie/fruit smoothie intake (I crank up the Blendtec every morning possible to get my kale, broccoli, spinach, and fruit needs….if you don’t have one, buy one…it will change your life)
-Minimize beer consumption (now you know I am serious)
-Focus on 3 good running days Fri, Sat, Sun
-Heavy emphasis on hills and speed
-Stay off the roads and stay healthy
-Lift heavy weights full body 1x week
-Super cardio intensive SandBell workouts 2x week
-10lb Hyper Vest FIT weight vest on at all times except for sleep and exercise
-4lb Hyper Vest PRO weight vest on during all exercise running and other (start with 4lbs and increase every month…the idea is tax the body with additional weight and constriction consistently and gradually increase.
That is the general plan. There are some subtle tweaks to my running regimen with focusing less on long slow distance (LSD) and more on hills and quality miles. There are bold changes like wearing weight vests in all of my training…in fact, I am wearing one right now writing this blog. Might as well re-mention that I happen to work for the perfect company to make this happen as Hyperwear makes the best weight vests on the market and was just featured in Runner’s World. And, anytime I revise my dietary gameplan, you know I am serious.
Join me literally…go sign up for Leadville. I think there are spots available. If not there, figuratively, go sign up for something you love but might be out of your comfort zone. 5k, 10k, Tri, Spartan Race, School, community service, etc. Put your ass on the line. I did and would love some company. Whatever you do, just join me in getting stronger not weaker and eliminating excuses. Oh, and a by-product of putting your own ass on the line…..it inspires the people around you to do the same.
It is Jan 17, there are 211 days to prepare.