Training in Unlikely Places

When I’m not running trails or crawling through mud, you can usually find me in a theme park.  Yes, Daniel and I are admitted theme park addicts.  We are the proud owners of more than one season pass to Southern California’s best attractions.  We are proudly turning our three young ones into adrenaline junkies one day at a time just like their parents. :)

Two of our kids enjoying Space Mountain at Disneyland.

Without even thinking about it we can log six miles on the pedometer in one day at a park.  This is a great way to keep the training going even in the most unusual places. [Read more…]

Training Tips For Beginners – Tip #2

So you are probably thinking, “Okay, I know how to run now.  How do I take it to the next level?”

Once you feel comfortable in your running shoes and you feel confident in your running skills, it’s time to bump it to the next level.  Whether you’ve been a stroller strider, treadmill champ or sidewalk soldier, take to the dirt!

Your journey begins just off the paved road.

If you are training for a obstacle race or mud run, guess what?  Your event will be in the dirt!  I’m sorry if I scared you.  It’s not so bad.  I think you will actually enjoy it once you get out there and get a little dirty. [Read more…]

Training Tips For Beginners – Tip #1

We will be doing a series for beginners that should help you start a training routine to get you ready for your first race.  If you are a seasoned mud running obstacle racer, maybe you can add a comment that could offer some more tips to other readers.  Either way, we hope you enjoy this series and find it useful.

Quick Disclaimer: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with any exercise, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

Any time you start something new it’s easy to want to jump in and give it your all.  That may not be the best idea if you are just starting to exercise or beginning to run for the first time.  If you start off too fast your body may rebel, and leave you a sore stiff mess.  It may just turn you off from exercising ever again.  Okay, maybe not forever.  But there are some things we can suggest that can help you ease into a routine that will be enjoyable and great for you at the same time.



You should make your way slowly into a running routine.  Going slow and steady will get you to running three miles (or 5K) on a regular basis in just two-three months.  Beginners should start with combining walking and running. Begin by alternating four minutes of waking with two minutes of running for a total of 20-30 minutes. [Read more…]

Excuse Me, I Burpee’d

30 burpees for every obstacle I can’t finish?  Yikes!  I get winded after about 10!  I suppose I better bump up my training and add in some burpees!  The Spartan Sprint is just two months away, and they require you to do 30 burpees as a penalty for every obstacle you cannot complete.

Most people would probably ask, “What the heck is a burpee”?  If you are asking that question, you probably last thought about them in middle school gym class just before blocking them out of your memory until now.

This is how Wikipedia defines a burpee:

  1. Begin in a standing position.
  2. Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground.
  3. Extend your feet back in one quick motion to assume the front plank position.
  4. Return to the squat position in one quick motion.
  5. Jump straight into the air as high as possible.


4 Steps to a successful burpee

I really like the idea of gradually building my burpee endurance, so I’ve decided to create my own burpee challenge. Each day I hope to add at least one additional burpee.  I will check in to keep me accountable.  I definitely don’t want to not be able to get my 30 burpees in if I can’t stick that spear at the Spartan Sprint! [Read more…]

Episode 4 – Monster Mash!

This episode we interviewed GiGi Muth from the Monster Mash Obstacle Run and we talked about their upcoming event. We’ll also catch up with our training progress and update you on some of the latest events. Thanks for listening and now it’s time to get dirty. [Read more…]

Conquering My Everest

Today I did something I never thought I could do – I conquered Everest.  Not THE Everest, but my own personal Everest.

I think a little backstory is in order to understand the full impact of my experience today. When I was just starting my journey to getting healthy and about 50 pounds heavier, I went for a hike on a popular trail in Northern Los Angeles called Towsley Canyon Loop Trail. This was a very strenuous hike for me. There is little shade and lots of steep switchbacks that climb 1200 feet leading to the top of a 3,000 foot vista. The whole loop from the parking area is about 5.5 miles. When I first did this trail it was very hard and I huffed and puffed all the way up the hill.  I was determined to finish even if it killed me. Sometimes to my detriment I have a strong stubborn side and this side was in full force on that day.

I did the loop, but I think I was only half alive when I finished.  At the time I was very proud of my accomplishment, but I still knew I wasn’t fit enough to complete the trail without feeling completely exhausted and half dead when I was done.

Fast forward two years, and here we are today.  My brother and I were planning our regular weekend run, and when he asked where I wanted to go, I suggested the Towsley Canyon Loop.  He agreed.  It was going to be one of the longer continuous runs we had done.  It wasn’t until I was actually running on the trail did I remember the last time I had been on this trail, and how I felt back then.

Large oak trees and chaparral line parts of the Towsley Canyon Trail.

As I was keeping a consistent pace through the dry stream beds and over the rocky trail I felt such a sense of accomplishment.  Even though we had just started the run, I  felt so good about how far I had come.

One of the dry stream beds crossing the trail.

We decided to do the trail counter-clockwise which offered the steepest uphill switchbacks within the first two miles of the trail.  I did my best to keep a slow, but consistent pace.  There were some parts of the trail that were very narrow (about 24 inches) with a drop off to the canyon floor.  I took my time up the steepest parts, as safety was more important to me than speed.  I even took my own advice and took it down to a power walk with longer strides to manage the significant incline.

One of the steep inclines on the trail.

Once we hit the top I took a moment to take in the view and snap a couple pictures. It was going to be all downhill from here.  We went on our way down the mountain as the sun began to heat up.  We were now on the east side of the mountain with full sun on us as we made our way down the switchbacks.  It’s amazing how going down the hill is so much easier than going up!  I think I made up a lot of time with my downward pace.

One of the views from the top of the vista.

As we were passing many hikers heading up the hill I couldn’t help but glow inside knowing I had just conquered something that just a short time ago was so out of reach.
Just like Everest, this trail wasn’t about to let me get away with being cocky of my accomplishment.  There always needs to be a healthy respect for nature and how powerful it can be.

I was about 10 yards from the entrance of the trail and practically running on air.  Another runner was just getting on the trail and heading past me.  I lost my focus for a split second as he passed me, and caught my foot on a rock sticking out of the hard-packed dirt trail.  I did a really lame cool ninja roll onto my right side.  I looked back to see the runner who passed me completely oblivious that I had just met the dirt and my brother was ahead of me enough to not realize I had just gone down.  I laughed out loud a little because of irony in it all.  I got up, dusted myself off and kept going.  I finished the run in a about 1:15.  It wasn’t the best time compared to others, but it was an amazing time for me.  Other than being covered in dust and dirt on half of my body, I made it out unscathed.

A little dirty, but it’s all good.

As I look back on that run I will always remember it as the day I conquered my Everest.  And it has shown me that no matter how hard I think something is today, with the right attitude and training it can be possible tomorrow.

Chris and Laurie after completing the Towsley Canyon Loop Trail

Episode 3 – We’re Bringing Sexy Back

Daniel and Laurie start a series of training tips to help prepare you for your next race.  We also talk about a little snafoo that happened at Tough Mudder Mid-Atlantic, and we bring you up to speed with our own training progress.

[Read more…]