100 Mile Party – Fitness on Road Trips 

I love to drive places and I do it often.  At least once a month I haul a few hundred miles to Atlanta for the Navy.  I have been known to drive twelve hours each way to a race without thinking twice.

Driving makes me happy.  This is for a few reasons.  1) I hate flying.  It is a hassle and I have an irrational fear and deep control issues.  2) I love the adventures I have while driving.  3) I have a tradition called the 100 mile party.  This tradition helps break up my drive and encourages me to get some fitness squished in where ever possible.
So let me tell you about the 100 mile party.  It was born out of driving from Ohio to Florida with two small kids.  It’s hard to do and we needed to not be miserable during the drive.  So we carefully monitored the odometer and every 100 miles we stopped at the nearest rest area or exit area.  The kids got to pick a physical activity – play on the playground, run circles around the building, whatever, and one treat from the gas station or vending machine. It broke up the drive and it was really fun.  The kids loved keeping track of the miles and knowing there was a goal to be reached.

I decided to keep up this tradition, even when I drive alone. Every 100 miles I stop and do some form of physical activity and usually find a GeoCache.  I have done everything from burpees to yoga to run up and down hills.  I normally get strange looks, occasionally get quizzed by officers, and I always have fun.

Push Up Challenge in a Georgia rest stop.
Push Up Challenge in a Georgia rest stop.

This is just one idea to add more fitness to your life, be more safe while driving (getting tired behind the wheel is  DANGEROUS) and make a boring drive much much better.

Go Forth and Be Epic, my friends!!!!

My Race Timeline

I have run enough races at this point that I have realized I have a distinct, if not always planned, pattern. This is how I go about running races:

The night before, approximately 5pm – Eat anything I want because, heck, I’m racing tomorrow. Vaguely recall this being a bad idea. Ignore recollection.

One hour later – regret stuffing myself and mentally note, again, not to do this the next race.

The night before, approximately 10pm – Go to bed.

The night before, approximately midnight – Get up and make sure all the gear is ready.

Next five hours – remain wide awake, alternating between staring at the dark ceiling and pacing around the house.

Ten minutes before I HAVE to get up – fall into a deep sleep.

Time to get up – have a minor heart attack when alarm clock goes off.

Next hour – get dressed, make creative breakfast shake, head out door, drive at least ten minutes before realizing some essential item has been forgotten. Go get item. Start drive over.

Miss at least one turn or exit.

Get to site at least 45 minutes later then planned.

Check in/register. Explain how to pronounce my last name.

30 minutes before gun time – drink whatever pre-workout concoction
I learned about last week. Vaguely recall this being a bad idea. Ignore recollection.

25 minutes before gun time – start to “warm up”, notice my face is tingling.

20 minutes before gun time – make mental note, again, to stop trying new supplements on race day. Begin jumping up and down, walking in circles….nerves or supplement rush?

15 minutes before gun time – stuff into starting area. Still jumping.

10 minutes before gun time – feel extremely badarse. KNOW I am going to conquer!

2 minutes before gun time – panic. Start to recall every reason I shouldn’t be doing this – I’m not fast enough, strong enough, look how big her muscles are, I used to be FAT! Ahhhhhhhh.

Gun time – Forget every excuse I was just panicking over and remember that I’m badarse at my own level. Mentally scream Hoo Yah and start running!

First distance marker – feel amazing…..FULL of awesomeness.

Half way point – doubt my very existence. Wonder what the hell I was thinking. Start audibly whining that I’m never doing this crap again.

30 seconds later – mentally kick myself for being a pansy. Take a deep breath. Resume attempts at arsekickery.

Upon sight of finish line – find energy not normally known and sprint!

Cross finish line – grab one of every item of food handed out.

30 seconds after – find private spot to fold over and try not to puke. Look at food in hand with disgust.

5 minutes later – Inhale previously mentioned food.

5 minutes after that – drink beer while reaching for my toes….have to at least look like I’m stretching. Vaguely think about how I really need to stretch better. Something about always regretting it later. Ignore this recollection.

Eventually – “wash” off with whatever passes for a shower/hose/fire truck/bird bath.

Dry off: Cold weather- shiver until dry. Hot weather – lay on grass until dry.

Next – Wander around for changing tent….find none, so I engage my suriptious changing skills behind my car door. Flash neighboring car ONLY once or twice.

Start drive home.

15 minutes into drive – realize that my beer drinking “stretching”, once again, wasn’t effective. This realization occurs when every muscle tenses in unison.

Get home – FALL out of car and hobble into house….straight to the refrigerator.

Next ten minutes – eat until no more food can fit in my gullet.

***Post race amendment – Shower. Marvel at how many cuts and scrapes I have. None of which I could see or feel prior to scraping the mud off and rubbing soap over them. I am sure that anyone listening would hear alternating sounds of curse words and hissing.

Grab laptop, collapse onto couch, sign up for every future race I can find (that I’m not already signed up for).

Repeat every two-three weeks.

Disappointing Myself

I ran a very fun and challenging race today, TAC Force Challenge. It was a great balance of physically challenging without being un-doable alone (my upper body strength usually leave me in a bad position for some obstacles). I was making pretty good time, having a crap ton of fun, and feeling pretty good about myself. I even tumbled down a hill with a few people (me on the bottom, unfortunately) and was still going strong.

Then I hit the cliff jump and my day got bad. I have a paralyzing fear of heights. This is actually a misnomer. I actually have a paralyzing fear of hitting hard things at a high rate of speed. I froze. I walked to the edge of that cliff 20 times. I watched 30+ people take the plunge. And I couldn’t do it. The obstacle staff was rooting me on. I knew there was no danger. Yet, I froze. Every muscle in my body shook in fear. I added at least 45 minutes to my time before I gave up and took the walk of shame down the hill. It was embarrassing at the time and it is even more embarrassing now when I see my result time.  I feel shame – one feeling I am truly not used to feeling (hopefully because I don’t do shameful things, not just because I don’t feel shame ;))

I gave up and I am so disappointed in myself. I am trying to think of a time where I have just flat out gave up without trying and I really can’t.

I let my reptile mind take over my rational mind and I stinking gave up.

It tainted the rest of the race for me. I was just so disheartened….by myself. That’s an unsettling feeling; One I don’t ever want to feel again.

While I feel really bad about the situation (it is about a day later and I still feel like an idiot), I am going to take this as a learning experience. I am filing this feeling away and will pull it out the next time I ever consider quitting, especially without trying.

So, dear reader, here is where I ask for assistance. Do you have ways to train, both mentally and physically, to overcome primal fears? Please comment and let me know how you deal with your irrational fears.

I have a year to get over this and take on that cliff jump next year at TAC Force Challenge (oh, yeah, I will be back).

We all have trials…..conquer them like a warrior scholar.