Posts by Aidan:


    Tough Mudder SoCal 2012 announced!

    July 13th, 2011

    Tough Mudder SoCal 2012 has been announced!

     

    The event has been moved from Snow Valley (near Big Bear, CA) at 7500 ft starting altitude to Vail Lake, near Temecula, CA, at 1500 ft starting altitude.  What a huge difference!  The altitude was a major factor for all mudders at SoCal 2011, with the second day reporting temperatures of 10 degrees above zero at the summit.

     

    The Vail Lake course is approximately 11 miles, reaching a peak of about 2600 feet along the northern side of the lake.  It looks pretty desolate.  The event is in February so its going to be another cold run.

    There are two secret obstacles for 2012.  As well, it appears they’ve added a new one called “Blood Bath” that they describe as, “it’ll be like tie-dying your shirt at summer camp, except that it’s your body and it’s the summer camp from hell.”  It looks like there will be two rounds of the Berlin Walls.  These are the 12′ walls that are a monumental pain in the ass to get over.  There were 4 of them in a row for 2011.  Ball Shrinker and Walk the Plank (Jaimi’s favorites) are included.

     

    Kick ass.  View the map at http://toughmudder.com/events/socal-2012/so-cal-2012-course-map/ and signup.

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    Warrior Dash, Lake Elsinore, 2010

    June 14th, 2011

    Warrior Dash really strikes me as the “me too” wanna-be of the mud run circuit.  If Lake Elsinore’s track is to be taken as a representative of the other locations.

     

    Race Profile:
    Distance: 5k (3.1 miles)
    Elevation Gain: 13 ft.
    Elevation Loss: 20 ft. 
    Terrain: dirt road, dirt trail, obstacles, lake wading, fire.

     

    I’ll give it to them: this is the first time I saw fire on an obstacle course. The smashed cars were another first.  The usual hay bales, planks and over-sized tubes were present.  Floating log hurdles rounded out the last quarter mile before the nastiest mud pit ever.  I’m pretty sure it was a puddle of wet manure. It felt like it, stunk like it.

     

    This is a flat, fast, hot trail.  By mid-morning it was already turning out to be a warm day.  The party-like atmosphere was accentuated by silly Viking hats, live music and plenty of beer.  The heat and beer don’t mix prior to race time, however, as we passed a lot of frat boys on the “verge of purge” through the race.  I’m sure the heat also made those that dressed up in elaborate, furry costumes reconsider their decisions.

     

    Overall its a fast race with loud music and mediocre obstacles. If you’re looking to booze it up with some buddies, get a little messy and party then this is your event.  I don’t think we’ll be back, though.

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    Tough Mudder Finished!

    June 1st, 2011

    We finished Tough Mudder SoCal 2011 last Saturday.

     

    It was an unbelievable experience; bar none the most difficult physical activity either of us have ever encountered.

     

    Jaimi will be writing up a review shortly, I’ll be posting images, maps, etc.  Stay tuned!

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    Solutions for a Strained Soleus

    May 27th, 2011

    Weeks before Tough Mudder, my legs turned into injury upon injury. Calves, shins, knees, ankles: you name it, there a knot or a tear anywhere you looked. Less than a week before race day, I’ve narrowed it down to strained soleus and mild tears in the gastrocnemius.

    Jaimi’s skill as a corrective exercise trainer kicked in to keep me in the game. here are a few things that have helped:

    1. Slant Board Stretching. Bar none, stretching has been the most important. The slant board has been one of the most useful devices to facilitate stretching. With multiple levels, i can start the day off at a low intensity and work my way up. I leave the board near my desk so that every chance to stand up includes one quick minute of stretching.

     

    2. The Stick. This handy little device has been great for massaging my calves, IT band and Jaimi’s shoulders

     

     

     

     

     

    3. Single legs squats and lunges. These quick exercises activate the glutes and quads and relieve tension from my calves and soleus. Using a single stair and performing 20 reps for each leg, anytime i stop for my hourly stretches, has really helped to strengthen my legs and align my ankles, knees and hips.

     

     

    4. Ibuprofen. For pain and swelling. It works.

     

     

     

     

     


    5. Flex Power Pain Relief Cream
    . Pure magic. This warming cream includes an analgesic for pain relief. Rubbed into my lower legs or Jaimi’s shoulder, this has really helped to get more out of our theraputic massage.

     

     

     

    6. Ice Pack Wraps. 20 minute intervals after massage.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    7. Swim. When the legs are so sore that running just isnt an option, swimming laps in a local pool is a great alternative. Its a mental exercise, too, counting laps, strokes per lap, and breaths to endure a moderate intensity workout for as long as I can stand it.

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    Worst decision ever: Sperry Top-Sider SON-R Buckle

    May 17th, 2011

    I don’t know what I was thinking.  I should have known better. Three weeks ago I received the Sperry Top-Sider SON-R Buckle.  I slipped them on and ran 6 miles.  My calves have never been the same since.

    Sperry SON-R Buckle

    It's really just an expensive rubber slipper

     

     

    They’re flat, with knobs on the inside of the sole which you can pretend are ‘sensors’ to help you ‘feel’ the terrain. There’s no strength or support in the side wall of the shoe… it’s really just an expensive rubber slipper.

     

    I’m now wearing a “propper” trail shoe with lots of support that also addresses my low arch. My calves and shins never quite recovered and I’m still spending 30-40 minutes per day just stretching.

     

    Thankfully, stretching is one of Jaimi’s specialties so she has a bag full of great ideas to get me back in condition for the races.

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    Irvine Lake Mud Run

    January 12th, 2011

    I have to admit that I have a special affinity for the Irvine Lake Mud Run.  It was our first mud run that lead us to where we are today.

    Race Profile:
    Distance: 5k (3.1 miles)
    Elevation Gain: 100 ft.
    Elevation Loss: 115 ft. 
    Terrain: dirt road, dirt trail, obstacles, mud.

    2009′s run was a fun event.  The organization already seemed to have a good idea about the ins-and-outs of what a mud run needed to be.  On-site registration was a little chaotic, but the heats were well organized.  The obstacles were fun and it was a good sample of what mud runs could offer.  As well, it was easy to decide, “do I want to run this or play?”  We’re definitely runners.

     

    2010 was a major improvement over the previous year.  We ran with a good friend of Jaimi’s and the three of us had a blast.  There were more pits with gnarly, soupy shoe-saturating shirt-ruining mud.  Brightroom was on-site again and snapped a lot of great photos.  Richard Blade (from long-ago KROQ fame) emceed the starting line to keep the mood energetic.

    The course is relatively painless, flat dirt trail that circles the south-east shoreline of Irvine Lake. Starting out at about 800 feet above sea level, the course gains a mere 100 ft in the first half mile traveling west along a steep embankment known as Vulture Hill, then drops back to starting altitude by the three-quarter mile mark. On to a few obstacles like an ankle-snapping cargo net (I got caught) and stacks of hay bales.

     

    Around mile 1.1, there’s a steep 50-foot incline to a ridge where we cross back over the trail at Cactus Curve.  Heading north back towards the lake we come to a fire road that runs east along the shoreline. There’s lots of direct morning sun exposure here for what feels like forever.  This is where the sunblock and sunglasses pay off.  No obstacles here, just hot dirt and golf-ball sized rock.

     

    Check out the photo gallery

     

    The last mile of the course consists of the majority of obstacles.  This year there were 3 mud pits, mud ramps and the longest crawl pit with the best photo ops.  Soapy foam wrapped up the course.

    The beer garden and live entertainment wrapped up a fun morning.  Overall the event is always a good time and it improves every time we attend.

    Some things I’d like to see at Irvine:

    + Better showers

    + More food options – We have amazing food trucks in Orange County… they should be here!

    + Mailed bibs. I love Runner’s World, but I don’t want to go stand in line for bibs.

     

    Check out the rest of the photos on flickr

     

    Perhaps these improvements will already be made by the time we run in July.  Looking forward to it.

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