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Interview: Obstacle Race Training Center, VT

One of the most exciting “finds” since we launched the New England Spahtens, was finding out that right in our own back yard (Benson, VT) was an obstacle course training center.

A *what*?!

Right – a permanently installed, professionally run facility dedicated to obstacle course racing – here in New England. Even better – they hold events at the venue – and the Spahtens will be heading up there for the Polar Bear Challenge in January. Bring Cold Gear 🙂

To get more of an idea of what to expect, I contacted the owner, Rob Butler. I am very much looking forward to the Polar Bear Challenge now.

Firstly, some links for those looking for more information

Secondly, for every New England Spahten that races – you will find a team discount of $5 back in your goody bag on race day – make sure you choose (or start) team NE Spahtens during the check out process! Thank you to Rob for this kindness!

 

Tell me a about your facility and it’s background?

ORTC at Shale Hill Adventure started out as a training facility for myself to train for obstacle races. When I started building it, people just came out of the woodwork and wanted to join in the fun. I started out with about 8 obstacle training areas and it has grown into a 150 Acre, 5 plus mile long, 35 plus obstacle and challenges course! The course is set up in such a fashion that it gets you warmed up and stretched out and then it starts to challenge your cardio and strength. Everything I have built has a purpose, it works everything you have from your head to your toes!. The final goal for this obstacle course is 50 obstacles in 5 miles. The obstacles vary in difficulty from very simple balance beams and barbed wire crawls to very difficult Funky Monkey bars and Tarzan ropes. (only a handful of people have been able to complete the 60 foot long Tarzan swing and only slightly more people can complete the Funky Monkey bars!) I am in the process of building “The Jungle” which will be a series of tall, very challenging obstacles in a very dense wooded area. My plan for the course is to rate each obstacle using the same system as the international skiers code. Green circle, blue square, black diamonds. I am going to rate each obstacle and also assign each racer an ability level. This system will allow people of all different ability levels to compete and have fun together. For example, If you happen to be a green circle and you are running with someone that is doing the black diamonds, when you reach an obstacle with no green circle, you just keep running! The black diamond person then is forced to complete the obstacle and then push it to catch back up! It works for everyone and helps people to become more fit. This has been very successful with couples of different ability levels (keeps them form arguing so much! They actually find it very rewarding!) I could go on forever about this course, so I will just stop here…OH YEAH, I forgot our penalty! If you fail to complete an obstacle, you are required to to spider pushups!! Very fun and difficult!

Our facility is new and ever expanding. We have the very well marked obstacle course. We are in the process of building an indoor gym with a 32′ long 12′ high and 12′ wide bodyweight training cage that is second to none. It has rings, and ropes, and bars and pulleys and bags and, and and….. you get the picture! We are building locker rooms now and should have them ready by the 2013 season. Currently we have an open run on Saturday mornings at 8 am and wednesday evenings at 5. We are open everyday by appointment and in 2013, we will be open everyday for walk-ins.

Where are you located and what lodging / entertainment is there in the area for spectators / support crews?

In regards to lodging in the area, we have many bed and breakfast type facilities in the immediate area that are very nice and popular with couples that come to run here. The larger chain hotels are a short 25 minute drive to Rutland Vermont. During races, this is where most people stay. We are currently working on a deal with the hotels for a racers discount and should have that in place for our 2013 races! There is a lot of nightlife in Rutland, with some good restaurants and clubs. And the Killington access road is only 15 minutes from Rutland and you can have all kinds of fun there!


It sounds like you have some pretty serious, permanently installed obstacles – can you tell us about them? (Which is your favorite, which is the “hardest”)

Our most serious obstacles to date are the Funkey Monkey Bars and The Tarzan swing. My monkey bars are a series of two, one pretty straight forward 50′ long section immediately followed by a 60′ uphill section that is super steep, the bars spin and they are 2′ apart. These separate the men from the boys. Out of all the people that have come to do the course, I can still count on two hands and a foot, the number of people who have completed them. They will also be growing in length this winter as I am planning another 50″ up down bar section! Another really difficult obstacle is the Tarzan Rope Swing. It stares at you at 4 1/2 miles into the course. It is a large, intimidating looking structure with 3 lines of ropes spaced 5 feet apart and dangling from 13 feet in the air. One line of ropes has knots in the ends for people who just don’t have the grip strength yet. The other two lines are set at different heights for different height people. The object is to jump onto the first rope and transfer rope to rope over the course of 60′ without touching the ground. Most people can get about 2 maybe 3 ropes in and they drop. We had had about 8 people that can get through this and about 100 that can’t wait to try again and again and again. It is a timing thing, once you get it, it is not quite as hard. My most difficult obstacles are the ones that I am building right now. I have a salmon ladder and press wall combo that is super tough. I have a series of traverse walls that is over 130′ long. I am building a floating log climb that is downright scary! These will all be in “The Jungle” and they come in at about the 2 1/2 mile mark at which point you are muddy, wet and a little weary as you have already done 12 obstacles at this point! (one of which is a 1/2 mile sand bag carry with obstacles!) Another one of my favorite obstacle is my Hay bale area. We have all seen hay bale obstacles on different courses, but this is of epic proportions. It is an uphill run with stacked large round bales (over 100 of them). The total length is about 1/8 mile uphill and these come in at about 3 1/2 miles. They will absolutely bury your cardio! They are followed up by a much needed water station! The last obstacle that is encountered on the course seems to be the worst for most people, it is the Anaconda. It is a constant weaving up and over a ridge with a challenge at the top of the ridge every time you get there. It is so difficult because you can see the finish line, but just can’t get to it!

What kind of races do you currently offer, or have been offering?

In 2012 we held just one race, The Benson Bear Obstacle Challenge. It was our first race and was successful. Everyone had a great time. We don’t charge for spectators so we had quite a few. The national guard was there with a giant inflatable obstacle course for the kids. We had vendors, and of course food!

What are your short term goals for the facility into 2013? (Whats next?)

For 2013 we are holding a 4 race points series as well. It is called The Benson Bear Obstacle Challenge Series. This points series offers a $1000 first prize to the top man and $1000 first prize to the top woman finisher in the series!! The cost for the series is $280 total ($70 per race). You can buy a season pass for $280 and it comes with 8 free training days on the course! ($80 value!). We will also have a Team division and the winning team will chose a charity and we will make a donation to that charity in there name!

Our other events for 2013 are a Non-Traditional Triathlon, a duathlon, two High school challenges and a college grudge match! The Triathlon is very unique in that you start on your bike, ride an easy 5 miles to the lake, swim 1/4 mile, ride 5 not so easy miles back to Shale Hill and finish with the obstacle course! We will also be offering an elite triathlon for people who want to bike a total of 20 miles, swim 1/2 and run a 10 mile obstacle course! Please keep an eye on our website as we are currently upgrading it! I hope it will be ready soon!

Everything that I have listed above falls under short term goals. One of our long term goals is to establish solid relationships with the schools in the area and get obstacle racing as a varsity sport. We currently are working with 5 high schools and they are coming out once a week with a team and training on the course! I would like to see this happen with about 20 schools in the area including colleges. This type of workout is so complete and the teamwork and camaraderie are unmatched by any other sport! Other long terms goals are to open our zip line course and our 3 paintball courses as well as our gravity mountain bike park and pump track and equestrian center. I want this place to become a family destination so there is something for every member of the family to do while they are here.

Where do you see the sport of OCR going in the near to mid term future?

I believe that it is very important for OCR to have an infrastructure in order for it to not only survive but to thrive. Without a place to train, without a place together on a regular basis, I am afraid obstacle racing could become a 10 year flash. How successful would soccer be if there were no fields to play on except every weekend in a different location, who know how far away from where you live? I would love to see ORTC franchise and go nationwide. I feel it is important to set a standard that other courses are built on so that everyone is competing on a similar level. You wouldn’t be able to compare athletic capability of baseball players or hockey players if they didn’t compete on the same size field or ice, right? The one thing that I hope never changes about obstacle racing is the thrill of not having too many rules and regulations. In the world we live in, so many rules and regulations are thrown at us on a daily basis, so many Safety devices forced upon us. It is a breath of fresh air to have an event that is edgy, offers some risks, and challenges your inner self! It is very important that thesecharacteristics remain! These are just some of my thoughts on that!

Thank you to Rob for taking the time out of building the facility to answer my questions. I’m going to be running this event (even if I manage only a lap or two) – and it sounds like we have several interested Spahtens. Check our the Spahten events page to get more information, arrange ride shares and lodging, and hope to see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/events/373379622751142/

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Interview: Renegade Run

Tell me a little about your organization and it’s background. How big is the team behind the idea? Do you have an official website for Type One?

Our organization was founded in 2012 by three friends and professionals, Tyson Sunnerberg, Paul Foti, and Eric MacIntosh. We have spent the last few years running, jumping, climbing, and crawling through many challenging obstacle courses, mud runs, and road races so we have decided that we would love nothing more than to dedicate our time, efforts, and lives to this passion. We are also equally determined to fight for a cure for Type One Diabetes. With that said, we have named our organization Type One, LLC and will be creating exciting and fun fitness challenges throughout the USA while increasing public awareness and raising money to fund existing promising research projects to put an end to Type One Diabetes. Tyson is a Type 1 diabetic and together we would like to end his and all other type one diabetics’ dependancy on insulin, constantly checking sugar levels, requiring the use of needles, and injections for survival.

We are partnering with the Joslin Diabetes Center and couldn’t be happier with our choice as Joslin is “The world’s preeminent diabetes research and clinical care organization.” We will be working directly with our choice of researcher and project so that our donations can be charted and we will be able to see the impact we will be making on the push to end this disease!

The most current information about Type One and our first event can be found on our website promoting the Renegade Run at www.typeonerenegaderun.com

What made you want to organize an Obstacle Course Race?

As avid fitness individuals, we have participated in numerous obstacle challenges such as the Tough Mudder, Spartan Races, Rugged Maniac, and the Warrior Dash among others. We have witnessed the rapid growth of this sport over the past few years and feel we have something unique to add to this type of event. We also see it as an opportunity to take something we are passionate about and love to do and create a tremendous platform to cure Type One Diabetes. Nothing could be better for us than to create and host challenging events while we raise awareness of Diabetes!

Have you organized any other races, of any variety? If so, what have you offered?

The Renegade Run is our inaugural event! We have received overwhelming support and a positive response in a very short time and we are already planning for our next event in 2013 so keep your eyes on us!

What are your goals for 2013?  

Type One will continue to grow and expand in 2013.  We are currently looking at some unique and exciting venues for our next event.  The sky is the limit in this industry and we are looking to provide the most unique, fun, and challenging experience for all of our participants.  As participation in the sport continues to grow at a rapid pace so does our platform to raise Diabetes awareness and funding for research. Ultimately our goal is to cure Type One Diabetes and in 2013 we will be making a big step towards that goal.

Tell us more about the Renegade Run.

The Renegade Run will be a 4 mile run through the paved and dirt trails of Wompatuck State Park in Hingham MA on Sunday November 25, 2012. Runners will weave their way through the trails while overcoming a series of obstacle challenges. The event kicks off at 10AM on November 25, 2012 and will be followed up with a post run celebration for everyone! We chose the end of November for the Renegade Run so we could close out Diabetes Awareness Month with a challenging yet fun race for all to participate in!

Do you have an official Renegade Run website?

Yes, we do. www.typeonerenegaderun.com

Where do you see the sport of OCR going in the future?

We expect the future of obstacle course racing will continue to grow and innovate, and we see OCR as something people will not tire of anytime soon. These obstacle runs add an element to a person’s life that has them training for the event as it will test their strength, stamina, and mental ability, and whether it’s run as an individual or with a group, it gives them a sense of accomplishment they just don’t get with ordinary day to day activities and decision making. This is why OCR will show continued growth in the future. We’ve seen this industry explode in conjunction with workout regiment’s such as Crossfit, TRX, and Boot Camps. We expect the competition to stiffen significantly and it’s likely that additional regulations will be implemented as safety is always a top priority. Our goal is to continue to provide quality events for our participants while building a loyal base following. Above all else, we want everyone to be safe and have fun! We can see OCR as becoming a professional sport, where courses could be recognized as official and maybe there will even be a governing body. It has the potential of becoming something like and Ironman or perhaps even a winter and/or summer Olympic event.

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Spahten Story: Nele Schulze

I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to one of your fellow Spahtens – someone who is known for her accent (she sounds as funny as me), as well as for her ability to leave many of us in the dust on her way to the Championship Heat at Ruckus – or running with Team Reload at the Fenway Spartan Race.

You may not know that only a few months ago, Nele hadn’t really been active at all – having been a skate boarder and competition roller blader back home in the UK – since moving to the US she hadn’t picked up any active sport, and obstacle course racing jumped in at the right time!

Since replying to Facebook post about Team Reload, she is now one of their team of 7 pro racers hitting the course first thing Saturday morning – before she hits it again with the team heat and the New England Spahtens.

Her story is inspirational – let me introduce you to Nele.

My Story 11/8/12

“I’m thinking about running Ruckus…” my boyfriend Ben said to me one day, “what’s Ruckus?” I replied.

And this was where it all began…

Before April 2012 I was just your average person, working, applying to grad school, hanging out with friends etc. Then at the beginning of April that changed. Ben and some of his friends were thinking about doing Ruckus at Marshfield MA on June 16th 2012.  I had no idea what this was so he sent me the link to the website. I had never seen anything like it before, a 4 mile long race with lots of obstacles and plenty of mud.

I immediately wanted to do it, so I began training. I started running, going to the gym more frequently, and eating better. The first time I ran a mile, I almost vomited and had to sit down in the middle of the path until all the pain, nausea, and aching in my body went away.

Being at Ruckus and completing an OCR for the very first time felt like a massive achievement. I had friends come cheer me on and I was thankful for their support. I was in awe of all the people around me. I saw everyone covered in mud, wearing their medals with pride, laughing and smiling with a beer in hand. I couldn’t wait to be one of them.

I beat my goal of one hour by completing Ruckus in 58 minutes and 33 seconds. The ‘post-race blues’ set in almost immediately after finishing Ruckus. I had worked and trained hard for two months all for that one race. Now that it was over, I felt a little lost.

One day Ben told me about Spartan Races. “They’re like Ruckus, but harder,” he said. I couldn’t register quickly enough and I was back into training mode, setting a goal to work towards.

The Spartan Sprint in Amesbury on August 11th was when I began to feel ‘at home’ in this sport. My first Spartan experience was the Hurricane Heat. I then ran the race; climbing up ropes, crawling under barbed wire and leaping over fire, in just over 1 hour and 6 minutes.  I could feel the improvement in myself and my performance. Just completing a race wasn’t enough anymore, I had seen the elite athletes and I wanted to run with them.

After my first Spartan Race, Eric hosted an event at his house, now known as Mini Sparta. That day I met too many people to name and the atmosphere was fantastic! Everyone wanted to push themselves and work towards their goals. I left feeling stronger than ever and with a whole load of new friends.

It was then that I knew what my next goal would be, The Spartan Beast in Vermont. It was quite a leap, from a four mile race to a 14 mile race, but I knew I could do it. I threw myself into training, running, doing the Spartan Workout Of the Day, or going to running clubs every day after work.

My non-OCR friends thought I was becoming obsessed, that just made me train harder. I registered for the Warrior Dash as training for the Beast. I completed the race carrying a rock the whole way. It seemed like everything I did became training for the Beast.

I completed the Beast with someone I had never met and who will now be a friend for life, Patrick. Without him, some obstacles would have gotten the better of me, especially the rope traverse. Hanging upside down from the rope, hands burning and legs aching, ice cold water beneath me; that was the one and only moment I ever wanted to give up. Patrick wouldn’t let me; swimming next to me in that freezing water, shouting words of encouragement, I forced myself to complete the rope traverse. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a sense of accomplishment when I finished the Beast in 6 hours 15 minutes.

After the Beast I took part in Tough Scramblers, a small yet fantastic adventure race, with some amazing NE Spahtens. I remember being at that start line and asking Ben if he wanted me to run with him. I was looking at some of the other women running and never thought I could beat any of them. “I think you can do this,” he said to me and with those words of encouragement I was the first girl to cross the finish line and finished 8th out of the women.

A few weeks later I went on to finish second in the women 20-29 category in a local 15k trail race. Even after getting my second place medal, I still couldn’t believe it.

On November 3rd 2012 I ran Ruckus Fearless Fall 5k, returning to the place where it all started. In June 2012 I ran with my boyfriend, both of us new to the world of OCRs and with three friends there to support us. Five months later I was running with a large group of NE Spahtens, all supporting each other and cheering each other on. I was even able to qualify for the Champions Heat (top 10% of categories, in this case Open Women, qualified. I finished top 1.7%). What a difference. I finished 9th in my category and 29th overall.

I recently took part in a Worlds Toughest Mudder practice run with someone I had never met. Josh was doing 10 mile loops of the Charles River in Boston, complete with exercises, starting at 10am and going for 24 hours. How could I miss an opportunity like that?!?!  I have yet to do a Tough Mudder, that’s on the schedule for next year, along with GoRuck and Run For Your Lives.

So on a Tuesday evening after working 8 hours I drove to the house of a person I didn’t know to see how many laps I could do. The first 10 mile loop I did with Josh, Sean, Keith and Lubo. Then for the second lap, more people joined. It was just wonderful seeing people arrive and saying bye to others. Everyone just wanted a piece of the action and to show their support, whether or not they were doing WTM. I turned 27 at midnight at around mile 15.

In the space of 7 months I have gone from not being able to run a mile without wanting to throw up to being able to run a half marathon, completing the Beast, and finishing in top 10 of 3 races.

My focus is now on the Spartan Race at Fenway on Saturday November 17th. I have been lucky enough to have been selected to run on Team Reload Fitness with 6 other athletes. I also plan to run it with my fellow NE Spahtens and then again on Sunday November 18th. I will be ending 2012 with a new small local OCR, the Renegade Run, on November 25th. From there I will be looking onto 2013 and what that year will hold. 2012 has been a life changing year for me, I can only hope that I can push myself harder for 2013.

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Thoughts on a Beast.

 Why would I do such a thing to myself.  I have had many rambling thoughts as to why I would do this.  The basic overriding reason is because somewhere in the back of my mind is a voice from the past saying “you can’t do that”.  I don’t like that voice.  It isn’t me, it never was me.  That voice has prevented me from a great many things in my life.  I didn’t put that voice there, someone else did.  I can’t tell you who or when but its there.  At some point, someone told me I wasn’t good enough.  I wasn’t fast enough.  I wasn’t talented enough.  And I believed them.

Last year I heard about the Death Race.  I watched the only video they had at the time, I think it was from 2007.  I thought to myself that has got to be the coolest things ever.  And of course I also immediately thought “I could never do that.”  Again I thought “Man what an awesome concept”.  And again “Well maybe in another life that could have been you too.”

March 2011 I was coerced under duress to sign up for the Spartan Race in Amesbury.  To say I was out of shape at the time would imply that at one point I was in shape.  Have you ever got out of breath bending over to tie your shoes?  That was me.  Not terribly over-weight but completely sedentary.  Not one chin-up, 5 push-ups and I was out of breath and dizzy.  12.5 minute mile and that was it, I couldn’t have gone another step.  Multiple days to recover from that 1 mile.  But as you know when you sign up for a Spartan Race you open your email to the flood gates of Spartan Nation.  It seems that last year 8-10 miles wasn’t hard enough for people, so now they were going to hold the inaugural Spartan Beast! 10-13 miles on Mt Killington.  Well the idea sounds cool and it’s 10 miles (yes I completely blocked out the possibility of 13)  and if you registered with the promo code you got %50 off!  There’s that voice “you can’t do it”  So I bargained, a stage of denial, and I thought its 8 miles further than you have ever run in your life, how hard can it be?  So  I signed up.  My wife thought I was crazy.  My son threw up (reflux he was about 7 months old at the time)

So with no training, 0 experience, and not even a good pair of running shoes I set out to do a half marathon obstacle course on a mountain.  Thankfully my favorite color is green.  Because focusing on that little medal is the only thing that kept me going.  I was not leaving without that medal.  And I didn’t.

So why do I think I can do the Ultra-Beast?

It wasn’t just the Beast.  After Beast I still had to do the Sprint.  Thats would be a great way to wrap up the summer and move back to normal life.  The Sprint came.  It came on the heels of 3 days of rain.  It came in the middle of a Hurricane!  And it was everything the Beast was in a small package.  Epic-ness!  It was about this time that someone whispered trifecta.  Well I did the hard part:  Beast.  I did the fast part:  Sprint.  It didn’t seem right not to at least do one of everything and hang it up.  So off to Staten Island my buddy and I went. It was a very fast course, but when Eric DeAvilla and I crossed the finish line and we put a Blue medal over a Green one and a Red one , there was no turning back I was hooked.   I must say I really  liked hearing the whispers “why do they have 3 medals”  or “what’s the Green one for?” I now officially had “mud” in my veins.  On that day Eric and I had become 2 of the 77 people in the world who held the title trifecta tribe.  Granted its a small world but I belonged to it.  And I belonged to an even smaller club.  No one could say I can’t.

Upon completing that challenge everything became about Spartan Race.  I sought out every fb page, I became a Street Team Member.I began to exercise and run infrequently.    I remembered there were these crazy brothers who supposedly dragged a tire through the Beast, I believed it was a tall tale for sure.  Wrong!  I thought they were crazy when I found out it was true.  Then they said they were holding a training camp in Rhode Island.  For some reason I signed up.  That is when I met people who told me “you can”  They joked and asked us if we wanted to quit.  But they were changing the voice in my head.  They were teaching me how to turn off the “I can’t” voice.  I didn’t have to be better than them.  Shit I didn’t even have to keep up with them (to a point)  All I had to do was not quit.  The same thing I did at the Beast.  Just don’t quit.

So can I do the Ultra-Beast?  Yes I can, yes I will.  Will I hurt?  Immeasurably. Will I cry? Probably.  Will I stop?  At times.  Will I give up and quit?  Not while I have some ability to move forward!  I have no intention of listening to that voice that says “I can’t” any more.  Now I have the tools to hear that voice and punch it in it’s mouth.  And if I can’t there’s a whole Army of Spartan Warriors I call friends that will help me beat that voice to the ground!

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Brief Interview with Junyong Pak…

I recently had the opportunity to have a brief conversation, via Facebook, with one of the few men to consistently give Hobie Call a run for his money at various Spartan events. Rather than be a one trick pony though, Junyong Pak races without discrimination or favoritism toward any specific company or obstacle race. The proof was in the  (mud) pudding, so to speak, at this years Worlds Toughest Mudder, where Junyong dominated and took the title back home to our beloved state of Massachusetts.

Give us a brief run down on how you got started living an active lifestyle.
I’d have to say that it actually started early, as in way back in elementary school where as kids, my friends and I would spend a LOT of time outdoors exploring the woods, playing tag and other games that involved lots of running. I definitely feel the times have changed even over these last couple of decades; I just don’t see a lot of kids doing much of that anymore. (On a side note, it would be pretty cool to see obstacle racing make its way into a school curriculum (i.e. make running fun). Maybe it could be the thing to kick start healthy living into a lot of young lives.) Officially though, my competitive edge was whetted when I got to Junior High and my friend inspired me to join the XC team.

Do you have different training regiments throughout the year? As in, do you have an “off season” and an “on season” schedule?
I ran in high school and regrettably didn’t continue into college but I became competitive again when I moved to Boston in 2006 and joined the Greater Boston Track Club. Over the years with the club I’ve participated in whatever was going on at the time, which generally transitioned from track in the winter and spring, to road racing into the summer and fall, to cross country through to the early winter… and put on repeat. So there was never much of an off season per se but the change in seasons would keep things fresh and interesting. I ran everything from the mile to the marathon—roads, trails, and everything in between. This mix would ultimately help me in obstacle racing. In the past year however, I have shifted my focus towards obstacle racing and will be strategizing to time my fitness peaks to coincide with important races.

Do you have a trainer, or have you ever used one? If not, how did you come up with your training program?
When I was running with my club I was joining them in the city for weekly workouts, but between the distance and straying off on my own unpopular direction with obstacle racing, I’ve sort of become the black sheep of the bunch. So I’m my own coach, trainer, doctor, and athlete. It can be really good that way as the feedback loop is very small and continuous, but it certainly is extremely difficult sometimes and I can fully appreciate the benefits of having a coach or trainer type figure, or even training partners to keep motivated. However I’ve never been in shortage of self-discipline and that’s 90% of it right there; just having the mental strength to get out there and go to work, whatever that may be. There is no special recipe for success that bypasses the work aspect. It’s seems obvious but it needs to be said: Some people have talent that can easily carry them above everyone else, but even the talented will only bring them so far before they have to bridge the gap with effort to reach their own full potential. I train by feel, and being my own coach and athlete it’s easier to execute successfully. But basically when I’m ramping up for something big, I try to go right to the edge of breaking down then back off a half-step. This has just as much to do with training the mind as it does the body because when the mind is well-conditioned, the body will obey and follow naturally. Come race day when the two are playing in harmony, it will become a symphony and you’ll be ready for your opus.

What drove you to start obstacle racing, etc?
I had always envisioned myself doing obstacle races but until recently they didn’t exist. I knew my odds of being decent at it were good because none of my fast running friends were very strong above the belt and everyone who had enough strength could never run very fast. Welcome to my world of being a jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none.

I wasn’t going to touch this question, feel free to “no comment” me on it. There seems to be a rivalry of sorts between some of the obstacle racing organizations, mud runs, etc. At times, it seem to get kind of trivial, and to me it seems to lose sight of the goal many of them started with. They’ve always talked about inspiring folks to get fit, to have fun and just be active. Do you think it’s just friendly competition betwee them? Thoughts?
I don’t follow it much but I’ve definitely sensed and witnessed the bitterness of the rivalry first-hand. Regardless of what anyone says their motives are, it seems obvious to me that it’s a matter of finances (and as business endeavors, at no fault to them). But with the sport as young as it is it, there’s no limit on the foreseeable horizon to indicate they wouldn’t be better off working in harmony with each other to grow the sport for the long haul and prosper simultaneously. Taking early profits can only lead to the demise of growth, and possibly even a phasing out.

Back to the real stuff here… What did you do to prepare for the WTM? How long did you train?
This answer could have been an insanely long one, I should have realized that when I asked it. So, Junyong is referring us to http://tinyurl.com/JP2011WTM for the answer. You will find an extensive training schedule, nutrition and supplement info and more than you might need to understand what the beast went through.

Do you follow a particular diet? You get this guy talking paleo, that one talking vegan, this guy talking carb loading before races. Where do you stand on nutrition?
Again, my take on this exact topic can be found in the link above.

Finally, a huge congrats to you for the win at the WTM. Where are we going to see you this year? You going to continue to race right? Thanks for taking time here, Junyong!
I got off to a delayed start and I’m presently cramming like crazy to prepare for the Boston Marathon next month. Then I intend to carry some of that fitness over to Tough Mudder New England and the Death Race in the months following. I’ll also be at the Spartan Sprint in Amesbury, Spartan Beast in Vermont, World’s Toughest Mudder (wherever that is). I’m sure I’ll jump in some other races as well when the time comes.