Posted on 2 Comments

Unleashed Open House – Bonzilla reviews

Unleashed Indoor Obstacle Fitness & Functional Training Center recently opened in Warwick, RI, and this Saturday, 7/27 they advertised an open-house with a back-to-back smorgasbord for their classes.  The first class of the day was taught by Kevin Roy, titled “Obstacle Course Fit.”  It promised an hour-long circuit that would include a hard workout and practice on lots of technical elements on their cage and other internal elements, including 6’, 8’, and 10’ walls, ropes of various  lengths and widths (for those who are unsure if this makes a difference, thicker ropes are harder and also help build grip strength).  A heavy duty “cage” type set up with lots of monkey bars, including ones at pretty steep angles, Tyrolean traverse ropes, a Hercules Hoist, low and high rings, and cargo-nets.  The only things that seemed missing on that contraption was a series of swinging rings (a la the Superhero Scramble rings obstacle), although that may be a personal fear-based desire on my part to figure out how the hell to do those things without my grip failing.


I was also interested in getting a taste of Kevin’s coaching style.  He’s one of the first group of folks trained and certified as a “Spartan Group X” trainer.  I don’t actually know much about this particular project by Spartan, but based on my experience with them my presumption was that the folks that went through their program were going to be experienced and serious trainers, and also have some really concrete experience and insight into knowing what helps to make OCR races better, stronger, and more successful.

I gathered from Kevin that this particular Open House class was significantly bigger than most of his OCR classes, at least to-date (there were 17 of us).  He started out with some dynamic stretching and a light jog over to a local playground was we did a couple of laps, climbing over some natural and playground obstacles, and intermittently doing burpees.   The fitness levels present in the class were clearly diverse, from at least one elite level racer I spotted to those who clearly found even the warm up extremely challenging.  Kevin did a great job of keeping the group together but also making sure everyone kept moving, and also kept a really positive vibe going the whole time.  Lots of fun, and since I am what I’ve taken to calling a “gently aging athlete,” I really appreciate taking the time for a significant dynamic warm up before getting down to the more brutal business.

After jogging back to the gym Kevin began placing people at stations, initially outside the gym, using some of the natural and man-made landscape (using a concrete walls that had some grooves that could be used as foot and hand-holds to drill a traverse wall, using a lower barrier that was still high enough to have to be scrambled over, a section for folks doing squats, sprints, etc), and then inside the gym.  The stations inside the gym included jumping on and over progressively higher boxes (not sure of the height, but the highest was no higher than 3 feet), doing laps with a heavy sandbag, climbing over 6’ and 8’ walls (folks were welcome to attempt the 10’, but I only saw one fellow try and he couldn’t do it although he was over 6’.  Kevin, who’s no taller than me at 5’8” was able to do it to demonstrate, which I found super impressive).  There were also stations all around the cage contraption: practicing the Tyrolean Traverse, doing ring-dips, practicing the Hercules Hoist (make it harder by lying down and keeping your head on the ground…ouch!), climbing the cargo netting, practicing on an unstable floor-to-ceiling rope ladder, a knotted 1.5 inch rope, an unknotted 1.5 inch rope, and unknotted 2 inch rope, and an unknotted 1.5 inch rough hemp rope.

Kevin had all 17 of us on one station apiece and every few minutes would have us rotate to another stations and element.  17 folks spread out over the whole gym (including outside it) are a lot of folks to wrangle, and Kevin did a great job, being clear, encouraging, enthusiastic and giving some solid technical instruction.   In fact, he was basically running around the entire space for the whole hour, doing his best to be everywhere at once and very nearly succeeding.  I had a ball and was dripping with sweat after about 10 minutes on the stations.


When the hour was up he led us through a bit of dynamic and static stretching and then invited anyone who wanted to do a bit of a workshop on the Cage.  He demonstrated a course through it where he went underneath hand-to-hand on the monkey bars the entire length (including two significant sections of pretty steep up and down angles), then bear-crawling over the top (more challenging than you might think when tilting downward), and then flipping onto the underside when reaching the end and going on one Tyrolean Traverse half-way, then switching, mid-climb, to another and continuing.  He then coached and encouraged all of us to take a turn and play on it.  By this time my already modest grip strength was flagging, but I crawled around that thing for an additional 20 minutes or so until I don’t even think I could do a hang, let alone a pull-up or two lengths of monkey bars.  I left extremely happy and sweaty.

Kevin has what sounds like some great plans for some additional elements, including getting a real traverse wall up, which will be a neat addition.  He also said that at present his OCR group classes are generally a lot smaller, closer to 5-10 folks generally, which allows for a lot more individualized work and technical coaching.  He also does a more conditioning based class at the gym (Ultimate Conditioning Mix), and a monthly trail running outdoor workout he calls “Ultra Beast Trail Run Workout,” which is a 10-mile trail run with obstacles and challenges worked in, aimed at helping folks get ready for the Spartan Beast, or similar longer races.

On top of all that Kevin is offering a special rate to his group classes to the NE Spahtens—They’re generally $15, but if you were a piece of NE Spahten gear it’s only $10.  For the time I had, an absolutely fantastic deal.

I’ve been on the lookout for a resource to work into training that has  some high quality instruction and capacity to practice some of the more technical elements present in Spartan Races and other OCR’s that are similar, like Superhero Scramble.  After a first taste of what he has to offer, Kevin Roy’s obstacle course race training offerings at Unleashed are most definitely in the running!  I’m most certainly heading back and highly recommend you get down there and check it out.

Check out  Unleashed at and Kevin Roy at

Tell him the Spahtens sent you!

Posted on Leave a comment

The Bonzilla Project – July update


It’s been six weeks since my last update and lots has happened. I finished up my initial June plan, continuing with 3 times per week of crossfit classes, and continuing with my running schedule swiped and from Hal Higdon’s training page. I’ve adjusted again, integrating some new thoughts, hard-earned knowledge, and some changes in strategy starting July 1, which I’ll review below. Again, my big goal is to hit the Vermont Beast hard on 9/21. How hard? I’m not sure exactly, since I don’t have much context for the race, but I’m going to shoot for a sub-5 hour finish, and shoot for the top 100. Delusional? Well, that certainly hasn’t stopped me before…

June was chock full of important lessons. Chief among them being that racing really screws with my training schedule. I raced four weekends in June (Superhero Scramble, Ruckus Boston, BAA 10k, and Civilian Military Combine). For each of these races I took two days off before each race in order to be fresh, and although for most of them I did do my long run the day after, I was pretty ragged and I’m not sure whether that helped or just beat me up more. I had a ball at all of these races, but by the end I was definitely ready for a break from racing. It made me think a bit about priorities and about the danger of losing sight of my larger goal in the midst of a bunch of smaller ones. I don’t regret running them, although I could have been a bit more deliberate and discerning and am using that insight for the months of July and August, the big months before the main events in September, the NJ Spartan Super and the VT Spartan Beast.

Another interesting lesson came from the Curveball Files; sometimes you just don’t see it coming. I have seasonal allergies which I manage pretty effectively through over-the-counter medication. Over the past few years I simply spend a few moderately unpleasant weeks in the both the spring and fall, but my daily life isn’t generally significantly impacted. This year, for whatever series of reasons I got whacked far harder and for a significantly longer period of time than I’m used to. My energy was sapped, I had trouble sleeping, I felt vaguely sick from taking medication for so long, and was regularly coughing like a Dickensian tubercular chimney sweep, trying to hack all the clingy phlegm from my lungs (which had the added benefit of completely exhausting me as I spent my weekdays struggling to suppress the cough all day in my work as a psychotherapist). When the allergies finally decided they’d rattled around my body for long enough, and my June races were coming to a close, I was very ready to celebrate Independence from Histamine Day, and also realized I was a bit behind where I was hoping to be on my training.

No problem. I’d planned on having July 1 being a bit of a re-start anyway. There were a few major issues I needed to deal with in my re-boot:

  • Crossfit + a serious running schedule was too much for me. I needed to find a way to build the strength, core, and conditioning I wanted along with my running, with a greater focus on trail running.
  • Hills and trail running, as the major part of the Killington Beast, needed to be prioritized.
  • Nutrition. As mentioned previously I finally agreed, kicking and screaming I might mention, that I needed to lose weight if I wanted to gain speed.

I made 3 major (and a few minor) changes based on what I learned from my initial 3-ish month experiment to address these issues.

  • I ditched my three days per week of crossfit. Not only was it too much blended with my running schedule, but it was focusing too much on strength and building size (not necessarily a main goal, but certainly one way my body responded to it) and it was also rapidly emptying my bank account. I decided I needed to focus more on the conditioning element (which crossfit also definitely offered), building core strength which is critical for trail and mountain running, and something which provided sufficient intensity, but not so much that I would be suffering from over-training syndrome, which felt neither pleasant nor helpful. After playing with a few things I selected the T25 dvd set, by Shaun T, the trainer from the Insanity series, which I’ll say a bit more about later.
  • I ramped up my running schedule, after a consultation with trail runner extraordinaire, Jay Heinrich. I increased my weekly mileage, added one day of progressively increasing trail hill repeats every other week, and treadmill speed intervals on the opposite weeks. I added an approximately 7-mile moderately technical trail run in the Blue Hills, along with loops on the Blue Hills ski slope tacked on the end, adding an additional loop each week (my last one on July 7 was a total of 10.37 miles).
  • I developed an initial nutrition plan to both lose weight and to more effectively fuel my body, again working with Jay Heinrich as a consult. As I don’t eat red meat, poultry, or pork (I’m technically an ovo-lacto-pescatarian, eating veggies, eggs, dairy, and fish) many of the standard (and trendy) templates proved to be a bit of a challenge. I’ll write about this in more detail in my next post. I’ve already made my first major adjustment from the initial plan, but so far the results seem to be heading in a positive direction.

For the remainder of this post I’ll focus on the new workout plan and schedule. As mentioned above, after poking around a bit I decided on Shaun T’s T25 program, short, 25 minute workouts in the style of his earlier Insanity series for my general core/strength/conditioning template, and to get in regular high intensity interval training (HIIT), which I still think is critical. The program is carved up into three levels of intensity, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. After a couple of weeks on the Alpah level I jumped to the Beta level, as Alpha wasn’t quite intense enough, and now feel that I’m definitely getting the conditioning and core workouts I need without completely wasting myself for my runs. The major weakness to the program is that it has no pull-ups, which are an important part of OCR’s, as we all know, so I’ve included doing sets of pull-ups and hangs 3 days each a week, fit in whenever I can (dangerous for someone like me who works well with a clear schedule).

I also decided to do the timed Civilian Military Combine Pit workout once per week for several reasons. It is a 7-minute workout where three different exercises are done in sets of 7 (75lb Push Press, 44lb American Kettlebell Swing (the website says 40lb, but that’s incorrect) and 20″ Jump-Over-The-Box Burpee).  It is an AMRRAP workout, so you do “As Many Rounds & Repetitions As Possible). I’m including it first of all, it’s crazy fun and an incredibly efficient ass-kicker. Second, with stopping crossfit I was anxious about losing all that structured HIIT and strength work. Third, I loved the Civilian Military Combine event and really want to improve at my next go-round with it (the day of the event I scored 112 total repetitions, which was not completely unrespectable, but certainly wasn’t great.

Most importantly: running. I’ve shifted from the Hal Higdon “Intermediate Half-Marathon” chart to his “Advanced” chart which I actually like a lot better , although I’ve altered it significantly after consultation with Jay who thought that for preparing to run 13.1 miles up and down a mountain I wasn’t putting enough miles in during the week. I increased my Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday runs to 5 miles from 3 miles. I put in an aggressive hill repeat schedule, swapping weeks between that and my 6-minute-mile pace treadmill .25 mile intervals. And what feels most important to me, I finally got back regularly into the Blue Hills reservation for long trail runs. Using an initial template from the Colonial Road Runners, who’d mapped out a 10-mile course I spent several weeks running around with a map and getting lost until I doped out an approximately 7 mile course with a gentle beginning and ending, lots of technical up and down, totalling around 1,000 feet of elevation gain. After that I head over to the Blue Hill Ski Area and run a loop up and down, with the idea of progressively adding one loop each week. Presently I’m up to 10.4 miles and around 1,500 feet of elevation gained, and am feeling far more comfortable on the technical elements of the trail. It feels like a great training course.

Although I have some concerns about loss of strength, I feel like I’m on the right track and look forward to both giving it a solid run and adjusting as necessary. I’ve attached my templates from now until the VT Beast below, with the first couple of weeks of July filled in with what I ACTUALLY did (you also may spy a couple of weird things on the September schedule, which I’ll get to in later posts). In my next post I’ll run down my nutrition plan, what it started as, what it’s changed to, and how it’s going.

As a preview I’ll just say that I did just cook a dozen hard boiled eggs.


Posted on Leave a comment

The Bonzilla Project – 5/30/13

Every few weeks, Rob is going to update us on his training, his progress, his successes and his challenges. 

Rob will be taking on Superhero Scramble’s elite team race as part of the 4 person male team in two weeks!

Reach The Beach 2013 - Bonzilla/Hasselhoff
Drink it in! Reach The Beach 2013 – 192 lb Bonzilla/Hasselhoff in a full sprint!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to provide an update at the back end of my experiment with about 10 weeks of mixing a half-marathon training chart with 3 days of HIIT training (in this case crossfit at a Boston crossfit box). As planned I’ve completed it and am now evaluating the results and tweaking for the next phase, which is going to be from now until the end of June. I will then be switching again to get me from the beginning of July to the Spartan Beast on 9/21. I’ve got different goals for each phase, and am also trying to integrate what I’m learning as I go.

As I posted previously, I took a pretty traditional half-marathon training chart (in this case Hal Higdon’s “intermediate chart”: with 3 days of crossfit and one power-yoga style class, making sure I had one full day of rest. I particularly liked the Hal Higdon chart as it integrates a fair amount of speed work while moderately and progressively increasing mileage, and also seemed relatively reasonable. I knew this would result in 3 days a week of double workouts where I would be doing a running workout and a crossfit workout and didn’t know at all how that would play out.

I decided to take the Hal Higdon chart basically as written in regards to the running miles and day-of-the-week miles. I overlay on top of that the yoga class as my Monday “Stretch & Strengthen”, did my crossfit classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and used Friday as my off day. I did the miles Saturdays and Sundays as the Higdon chart had listed, with the long run on Sundays. I figured this would fit pretty well with weekend events that were starting over the last few weeks (MuckFest, some 5k’s, etc), where I would have a rest day before race days. I scheduled it so that I’d basically finish the full half-marathon program the weekend of May 17-18 so I’d peak for the Reach the Beach relay (200 mile 24 hour relay with a team of twelve over a 24 hour period; our team did it in 28 hours, which was respectable). Since that event was a road running event I decided to focus on road running for doing this round.

So I’m now on the other side of Reach the Beach and am planning my next phase and trying to integrate what I learned and adjust accordingly. I’m also planning on switching to focusing on trail running, since nearly all of the upcoming OCR’s are 80-90% trail running with intermittent obstacles, so speed and technical skills on the trails are of primary concern. So here’s what I’ve learned, some questions that still remain open, and what I’ve got planned for the next phase.


What I’ve Learned

  • I can get faster.

At 42 years old, 5’8” and starting this at 200 pounds (I’m now around 192), no one is going to say I have a “runner’s body.” I would guess my body fat percentage is in the high teens, so it ain’t all muscle either. Through the combination of speed work in the running program, HIIT conditioning and strength strengthening through crossfit (presumably developing both slow and fast twitch muscle fiber through the combination) I have definitely increased how fast I can run for sustained periods. I don’t have a good pre-program baseline, but I ran a moderately hilly 5k in early May in a time of 20:21 (that’s a 6:33 pace), which is most definitely faster than when I started, and on the second day of Reach the Beach I ran 3.44 extremely hilly miles in 24 minutes (that’s a 6:58 pace) after having run 10 miles a few hours previously at a sub-8 minute pace, and not having slept. To me that says speed and an improving ability to recover. All things I’m pleased about and suggest to me that I’m heading in a positive direction.


  • Working out twice a day wears can wear on me.

Over the first few weeks I kept to this program without any changes, and for the first 3-4 weeks I felt pretty good. Several times I would finish a bone-crushing crossfit class where I got my ass absolutely handed to me and then would head off for a run or a speed interval workout, and did just fine. I felt like a total badass and felt pretty impressed with myself and felt like I could tolerate this schedule no problem. About week 4 or 5 that started to change. I began to feel incredibly fatigued much of the time, felt oddly feverish especially in the evenings, had significant trouble getting to and staying asleep, I became generally logy and felt myself losing motivation, had to stop a couple of workouts in the middle because I completely bonked and couldn’t continue, and definitely felt an observable, if not intense, impact on my mood heading in a depressed direction.

My impulse was to just stick with it and see if my body adjusted, which I did for a couple of weeks, and then it became clear that I couldn’t sustain things and that “overtraining syndrome” is real (I mentioned what I was doing and some of my symptoms above to a couple of trainers/coaches and they looked at me like I was dumb as a post when I then asked, “Do you think I could be over-training?”)
I talked to one crossfit coach in detail about this and she recommended, big surprise, that I cut out all running except my long weekend run and that I can get all my conditioning and speedwork more effectively and efficiently by simply upping my crossfit (this encounter, though completely sincere on her part represents my main problem with crossfit, which I LOVE by the way: the Kool Aid that it is the only exercise you need, everything else is a bit of a waste, that it can cure cancer and basically solve the problems of war, pestilence, and poverty if people just smartened up and gave it a chance). I spoke also in detail to an extremely experience and seasoned trail runner who offered the opposite advice (again, shockingly), that I keep the running schedule and decrease my crossfit to two, but preferably one, day.

I chose to ignore both and try to experiment with a few different changes and try to monitor how I felt. I started to work in an extra rest day, sacrificing the yoga day (always the first thing to go, I know…), and doing speed work every other week and then doing only crossfit on those off weeks. I hated to do this as I loved the speed work, but the combo of those two together seemed to me to be a likely culprit that was overwhelming my system in the middle of the weeks. I also offered myself a bit more leeway in dropping a workout, either speed or running here and there if I just felt like my body might be leaning that way (all told I probably missed 3 scheduled runs over the following 5-6 weeks and 2 scheduled crossfit classes, so nothing major). Things seemed to even out, and although I was dissatisfied with the catch-as-catch-can element of the solution, it seemed good enough as a stop-gap.

A question that remains for me is for double workout days how to space the workouts and how to fuel for them. This is one of the main questions I’ll be checking out moving forward and an area I’ll be adjusting for my second go round.


  • A deliberate plan, concretized in a formal schedule, suits me.

I’m a pretty lasseiz faire guy in a lot of ways, and continue to believe that flexibility and a lack of hammer-headness and testosteroneosity in training are all key. But having a set schedule to rely on proved incredibly useful, especially on the days I was tired or didn’t feel like it. On those days I didn’t need to choose what to do based on what I felt like or didn’t feel like…I just shrugged, looked on my sheet and did what I was told, whether I felt like it or felt lousy or not.

Also, since it had some particular goals, one being speed, I knew why I was doing what I was doing, and was able to gauge whether I was accomplishing it, which was motivating over the long term and served as good motivation to work through the entire experiment so I could see how it panned out.


  • Joints: Ouch.

Although I really love to pretend that being a bit older than I was the last time I was behaving like a serious athlete (oh, about 23 years ago or so…), one thing that is significant, and seems directly correlated with increased running miles, is increased, regular, and persistent join pain. I’ve found that I pretty much hurt all the time, sometimes more, sometimes less. I’ve found a few ways to mitigate it, for example before crossfit classes I do a 30 minute active warm up and foam rolling session, and before a run (if I’m really good) do something close to that. Again, this is something I’m going to try to stop being delusional about and find ways to work more effectively with.


  • If I REALLY want to get both faster and stronger I have to lose weight and actually make and follow a nutrition plan to then effectively fuel my performance.

This is the one I feared, and the delusional part of me was hoping that if I worked out this way I STILL wouldn’t have to actually tackle and learn something about nutrition. Sigh. No such luck.

I’ve always carried a lot of weight for my neanderthalic frame. As I stated above I’m 5’8” and generally weigh in between 190 and 200 pounds with a not insignificant body fat percentage. My strength-to-weight ratio is frankly lousy. I eat healthy food (if you want to get technical I’m a lacto-ovo-pescatarian, meaning I eat eggs, dairy, fish, and vegetables) and very little crap, including very few simple carbs outside of fruits, unless I’m carb back-loading after a workout. I’m not overly concerned with looking buff and really, really, really appreciate delicious food cooked with love.

But the simple facts are that as I continue to move into my 40’s and beyond, my joints are not going to be loving the extra weight (actually they don’t already, but my ignoring that is another story, related to the delusional attitude referred to in the previous bullet point) and if I actually want to significantly improve my speed and overall OCR performance I simply have to lose weight along with my focus on building strength, speed, and power. I don’t like this, but I’ve decided I’m going to take it on. Ironically enough what’s incentivized me to actually look at this is my initial success at developing some speed. If at 42 and “husky” I can run a 20:21 5k, I began to think, “Wow, I actually could be fast for a few more years if I continued to really train and…(unable to avoid the obvious) was significantly lighter.” I’m going to be working with my friend and fantastic middle-aged athlete Jay Heinrichs, of the “Breaking the Time Barrier” project and blog (, who has graciously agreed to take me under his wing as I plan this out and to listen patiently to me as I regularly tantrum and whine.


My Plan

I still have some open questions about the best way to space workouts, and how to get the maximum effectiveness and efficiency. I think one blind spot of some OCR training is simply to do more, pile on more hours, do crazier things, carry weirder and heavier stuff, etc. I not only think there is inherently nothing wrong with this, but I actually love the underlying anarchic spirit and playfulness that seems to be its root. But I’ve watched a lot of athletic training and have a core belief that if you want to be successful at a given event or sport, you need to develop and follow training specifically to succeed at that activity. Most OCR’s are mostly trail running and require ENOUGH physical strength and power to complete the obstacles while having to slow down as little as possible. Beyond that, additional strength and power is a bit wasted, and can also actually slow a racer down because of the additional weight, especially as the race lengths increase (look at Hobie Call, Jenny Tobin, Junyong Pak, Rose-Marie Jarry and the other top racers, male and female; they basically all have something closer to a muscular runner’s body than a buffed out crossfitter or body builder’s body. There’s a reason for that.).

So my next chapter is cut into 2 phases. The first phase is to get me from mid May to the end of June, culminating at the Civilian Military Combine. The second is to get me from the beginning of July through to the end of September, culminating at the Spartan Beast at Killington. I will be focusing on:

  • Continuing my focus on full-body general fitness and athleticism, since OCR’s require and reward it (again, with a premium on the underlying skills and capacity for trail running).
  • Increasing my focus on increasing speed, with a goal of being able to run a 19 minute 5k (6:07 pace).
  • Focus on learning and improving several technical skills. This has not been addressed in the above, but it includes some focused, if moderate, specific skill development, mostly in some of the climbing elements (ropes, Tyrolean traverse, etc).
  • Shift to a focus for trail running for my running work, including a major focus on conditioning for hills and the technical skills and experience of running downhill, an area where most of us non-technical runners lose a boatload of time on the courses.
  • Lose weight. I’m stating my goal for this here: to get down to a leaned down prime racing speed of 170 pounds, still heavy by lots of standards, but it’s a pretty big goal of over 20 pounds from my present weight.

The overview of the specific plan includes one more month of crossfit three times per week mixed with a more challenging running plan which I’m going to adjust a bit and customize for trail running ( I have a lot of races this summer, but I’m going to be setting up the schedule with the point of peaking for the Killington Spartan Beast on September 21. I will also be developing a nutrition plan with Jay Heinrichs first designed for weight loss while also still performing, and then, once my goal is reached, shifting to build and maintain strength, endurance, performance, etc. I will outline the specifics of these in coming posts.

There are plenty of outstanding questions. How much can I push a stiffening, much injured and surgically sliced-into 42 year old body until it not-so-politely requests that I back the hell off? Can I actually train the above mentioned body to run faster than it’s ever been able to run in its life? Is it possible to effectively eat to lose weight while also still pushing performance and not fall over or simply becoming an intolerable person to be around? Can I learn to cannonball myself down a technical trail without breaking multiple bones? One way or another, I suppose I’m going to find out…

Posted on 4 Comments

The Bonzilla Project – 5/23/13

Rob Bonazoli recently posted a really detailed look into his three month training plan, and it was very well received.

As a result, we’re going to turn it into a series of blog posts – The Bonzilla Project

Every few weeks, Rob is going to update us on his training, his progress, his successes and his challenges. If you have any questions for him, you can find him on Facebook –



Back on March 10 I posted on the Spahtens Facebook wall a pretty long description of some thoughts I’d been having about trying to be more deliberate in my training and step things up a bit, but in a way specifically designed to improve my performance at OCRs.  I set up a 12-ish week training program mixing a pretty traditional half-marathon running program with 3x per week crossfit classes (at Reebok Crossfit Back Bay), mixing in one yoga day and one full rest day.  It would mean that three times a week I’d be both running and doing crossfit as my mileage  and speedwork increased, and I was interested in how this would play out, if I could tolerate the schedule, and if so, whether I could dramatically improve my performance.

I’ve just completed my first major milestone, finishing the 12 week program, which culminated in my running the Reach the Beach 200 mile relay with a team of twelve this past weekend, and it’s time for me to re-evaluate and adjust for moving into the summer and fall races. My goal is to be in the best possible shape to attack the Killington Beast on September 21.

I’m a 42 year-old guy with five major surgeries on one elbow and both shoulders. I’m only 5’8” and started this weighing in at a built-for-comfort 200 pounds. Three years ago I was told by one of the most famous sports medicine doctors in Boston that I shouldn’t even be in bedroom slippers without restrictive orthotics and that my feet and knees could “possibly” take one three mile jog every two weeks.

But I’ve got to be honest.

I dream of racing with the big boys.

Time is ticking and I don’t just want to finish races anymore. I want to compete. I may never have a chance of beating Hobie Call or Eric Matta, but even for a second on the course, sometime over the next couple of years, I want one of these guys to hear my footsteps and, even just for a moment, pay attention, wonder, and think, “Bona-who?”

There are lots of reasons why my goal isn’t a realistic one, and the truth is that no matter how hard I work this is going to take more than a few months. But a middle-aged guy who sits down for a living has gotta start somewhere.

So I started.

I’ll be checking in on this blog, first to provide an update on how the first phase went, then what adjustments I made, and then updating future changes and results moving forward. This team has been a big part of what’s put me back a mode to decide I want to be an athlete again, not just someone who exercises, and I expect it will be a big part of helping me get to wherever this ends up. So let’s dream big and keep on trucking, folks. I’m game if you are.

I’m going to do my best to turn myself into a monster.

Welcome to The Bonzilla Project.