The Problem of Pain

Two days out from Spartan Sprint Toronto and things don’t look so good. I’ve been out running very lightly but the tendon continues to flame up and hurt, and I’m nowhere near optimal speed and strength. Thankfully my elbow has pretty much healed entirely so I don’t anticipate difficulty with climbing and lifting, but the speed won’t be there at all. The good news? Nobody asks how you did when you get the Spartan trifecta, they only know that you did it. So the mission for Saturday at this point is merely to finish with no regard for time at all. It’s my first ever Spartan race and I’ll defeat it one way or another, and I’ve got it in the back of my head to potentially run another Sprint – competitively – later in the year. (Helloooo Fenway Park!)

My race partner, Jay, has suffered an injury of his own. Dude is beast mode 24/7 and has been training hard for months, and in a race last Saturday managed to sprain his ankle. Still waiting to see if he’ll even make it, and if he does, he’ll be walking it. Which leaves only Jeff, who tells me he hasn’t really done any running or training, as the one of us likely to perform the best. It doesn’t pay to train? :)

My attempt at a light run this morning hurt so I pulled back and called it a day, which means my pre-race training is now complete. The next time I strap on the gear – and the brand new Reebok All-Terrain Series OCR shoes for the first time – will be Saturday for the 9:30 Spartan Sprint. I’ll let y’all know how it goes! Then it’s light runs with more weights leading into Warrior Dash. Keeping my eye on the prize – the Spartan Beast in Killington this September!

Running Dry

Nothing like a little disaster to take you away from your blogging commitment only one post in! So the story goes: Shortly after my last post, as I referenced in it, I hit my first race of the year with the 5k Run for Southlake in Newmarket. I ran all three days from that post to race day, including (and I should have known better) the day before.

10155875_10152357763089420_1142034682490347701_nThe day before race day is always a rest day. Always has been for me, from my first race. Yet this time, in my obsessive rage to become a Spartan, I decided I don’t rest. And not only do I not rest, I run 17km. Prior to that day the longest I’d ever run in one go was 10km, yet there I was, pushing myself to new limits. Burned 1,400 calories and came back accomplished. Ate like a crazy man and was up the next morning for the competitive run.

So here’s the good news – finished it in 23:01 for a new personal best. That time put me 9th/63 amongst men my age, 38th/377 men, and 53rd/1089 overall. The weeks of hitting the pavement almost daily, hill trials, and pushing for time had paid off.

10264972_10152357764749420_3648711805101751780_nUntil the next day, when the pain set in. Something close to “searing” on the right side of my right foot. So I smartly rested for what ended up being a week and a half. Finally hit the road again this past Thursday where I could only muster a lowly 2k. Matched that lowly 2k on Friday, then pushed it to 3.5k on Sunday. Monday I strapped the new gear on, bolted out the door… and stopped. Reluctantly admitting to myself it hurt far too much I angrily came back, showered, changed, and went to work. Spitting nails that my goals had been lost.

The good news is it appears to be a scare – a small case of tendinitis in the foot that, after constant icing, stretches, and one physio treatment is coming around. Physiotherapist feels I could be back on the road by Tuesday night, and should be able to hit the Spartan Sprint at Brimacombe on June 7th without difficulty.

What have I learned from this?

  • New shoes: I was still wearing the ASICS I bought in 2011 for the Island run, and that’s idiotic
  • Pace: I’m not going to be an elite racer overnight, pace myself and work my body up

Hopefully I’ll have more training to report on shortly.

The Beast in its Tracks

On the cusp of the 20th birthday of my blog what could possibly drag me out of a semi-retirement for the past six years and (hopefully) invigorate my desire to blog once again? The Spartan Beast World Championship in Killington, Vermont.

Rick Jessup on the mud slide @ 2013 Mud HeroThose few of you left who’ve been with me for the long haul know my story: In 2002 I found myself with an active blog and a sedentery lifestyle. When I finally had enough I joined a gym and got on a scale – I was 241 lbs. I set out to just start, and a year later ran my very first 5k at the urging of a friend, Clive. You can read that journey right here. I arrived at the finish line entirely gassed and ranked 47th out of 54 male runners, dead last of three in my age group. But I liked it. 18 months later I ran my second, 20 lbs lighter: 27:29, 229th out of 477 men, 90th out of 179 my age. One year later I did the Achilles again: 24:56, 167th place and 39th out of 140 men my age. Unfortunately I pulled a muscle in my foot that race and found myself out for a long time. Five years to be exact – the 2011 Longboat Toronto Island Run where I came in at 23:29, and last year’s Toronto Pearson Runway Run at 24:03. However, last year was also when I become introduced to obstacle races through Warrior Dash and Mud Hero.

All this to say that coming into 2014, as I crossed into age 40, I decided to do what a lot of old guys do: Get in the best shape of my life. The carrot hanging in front of me would be the literal beast of obstacle races – the Spartan Beast World Championship. I’ll be joining the two big shots from the office, Jay & Nick, in a road trip to Vermont where we’ll compete in a 12+ mile race in which the fastest, elite competitors will take three hours to complete. On the road to Vermont I will, so far, take part in:

Here, I will discuss my training and my journey. From ~180 lbs in my birthday to already ~168 lbs. I’ve already set a new personal best in a 5k (23:18) in training, and that first race is this Sunday. Hope you’ll join me on this ride, should be a good one.