Monday, April 06, 2009

Barkley 100 Miler - "the race that eats it's young!"

The Barkley 100 Mile trail run, this is the toughest race I've ever run in my life. Having completed the the Badwater 135 (twice), the Marathon des Sables, the Grandslam of Ultrarunning and countless other endurance events, I thought I'd have no problem at Barkley, was I seriously mistaken! Last year I completed 2 loops of the 5 loop race before pulling myself at the end of loop 2 due to injury. Here's a link to my last year's Barkley farewell -
It's in progress right now with one runner left. Go Andrew! I had every intention of going back this year and was even invited again. Unfortunately this year I injured myself 2 months before the race during a 50k training run. As you can imagine I was and still am pretty disappointed. I would give anything to be out there with the other 35 runners slugging it out with the Barkley. Oh well, there's always next year. I broke the Guinness World Record when I turned 30 and plan on taking Barkley out next year when I turn 40! Oh, and Running with the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain too.
I truly feel that we were all put here on this big ole wonderful planet to do incredible things, not to let life pass us by. Find your Barkley whatever it may be and go for it! "We're not here for a long time, but for a good time!"

Thursday, April 02, 2009

People ask me all the time, "How were you able to do 1100 push-ups or 3000 crunches for Guinness Book?" Many times these numbers are almost too much for the mind to comprehend. Heck, they were for me at first. I remember when I first joined the US Army, 12 push-ups on my first PT test. That was it. You needed 60 to pass. That seemed virtually unattainable. But with the help of my 'friendly' Drill Sergeant I was able to do around 100 at the end of Bootcamp. How did that happen?

Here's the trick or atleast what has worked for me over the years. Also, this can be applied to running a marathon, a 100 miler, bench pressing 400lbs or pulling car. Take your ultimate goal and break it down into manageable & realistic sets over a realistic time frame. For instance, when I first started running, couldn't run a full mile. Well, kept with it then ran a 5k, 10k, half marathon and eventually a marathon. Did it hurt, yes, but was it worth it, of yeah! Then decided, hmm, can do a marathon, now let's try a 50k. How about a 50 miler. Ok, what about 100 miles. From 1 mile to finish 100 miles took me 10 years but I do feel that it can be achieved much faster. I've worked with clients that have started at 10k's to the marathon and done the 100 miler in less than a couple years. You can do it. Just gotta be smart and want it bad enough. Back to 1000 reps. Ok, could do 100 push-ups without much trouble, now add 10 more at the end of each set. 2 months later, 250 push-ups with quick breaks at every 25 or so. 2 months later 500 push-ups with quick 10 sec. breaks at the end of 10 reps. Within 1 year hit 1100 push-ups for Guinness Book in 45 minutes. Applied this same methodology, which is actually called "Progressive Overload" to 1100 jumping jacks, leg lifts and 3000 crunches. After Guinness in December 2000 I wanted to attempt the World Record for Push-ups in 1 hour, which was 3,500 at the time. My goal was 57 push-ups a minute for that hour. So again, I broke it down into manageable sets. 30 push-ups, 10 sec break, 27 push-ups, 10 sec break which came to about a minute. I came somewhat close. My max for 1 hour was 3,000 push-ups. Yes, it hurt and I left a puddle of sweat the size of lake. Believe it or not, it wasn't muscle fatigue that got me but my darn blood pressure went through the roof being in the push-up position for an hour. Got a massive pounding migrane and blurry vision, had to call it quits. So the bottom line, no matter what the goal, break it up into manageable blocks over a releastic timeline. Periodically check your progress along the way and the sky is truly the limit. Believe me, if a an out of shape guy like me can go from 12 push-ups to 3000 and 1 mile to 100 miles in 10 years, you can too! The sky is the limit! Never, ever quit or lose site of your dreams and your goals. You'll look back some day and regret. To me, living and eventually dying is being able to look back on judgement day and have the fewest regrets. "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'!"

Joe Decker W.F.M