I’m not sure the exact time frame, maybe 6-8 months ago or something. Either way, my brain had a malfunction and thought it would be a good idea to do a Death Race. Maybe it was the fact it was announced that this would be the last year? I signed up and now, it is only a few days away.
Malfunctions aside, after signing up a few things became clear to me and that was purpose. In order to complete, or even begin, a challenge like this there needs to be purpose.
Last year I lost my father to cancer. Many years ago he was told he only had months to live. Well he lasted years after that “prediction”. He was determined to not let the disease beat him, and accomplished all sorts of tasks. Years back he and my mother moved to Florida. They bought a house and as a builder, he started chipping away at projects that needed to be done. The cancer escalated a lot of the tasks and he was driven to make sure they were done before he was gone. No matter what, my mother came first and he wanted to make sure he left nothing unfinished. This was how we was while I was growing up too. Nothing fazed him, he was laser focused on doing what he had to do to achieve a goal.
That is my main purpose for doing this. If my father can mentally shut off cancer and get his stuff done, I can shut down the pain and get this done!
Secondly, I’m doing it for myself. I want to test myself, and honestly, who doesn’t? When I started this fitness journey it was clear to me I had to change my lifestyle. I was a beer drinking, cigarette smoking oaf! I ate horribly and it was evident when I went to see a doctor. When I was told I had the cholesterol level of a 600lb guy, and was barely 145lbs myself, I knew I had to make some changes. I started running, blah, blah… you get the idea.
Right here was about 600-750 words. That diatribe was about my health and diet, etc… You don’t need to hear that. I will just say this, after hearing my doc tell me about my health, I changed my diet and went plant based. I can’t wait to test out my nutrition on that mountain.
Over the months I ran as often as I could and trained when I had enough time to do so. I completed a Spartan Trifecta during that time, it took less than 1 1/2 months based on the schedule of NJ, MA and VT. VT was the hardest thing I ever did and will pale in comparison to WDR. It was a good gauge though of mental aptitude. I’ve been told that WDR is more mental than anything. In VT I didn’t even second guess myself. When I was in pain I focused on the task and the finish. I’m hoping that same focus can be applied in a few days.
I’ve been told by many DR veterans that gear and nutrition are the most important factors. I’ve been meal prepping, so I believe I have nutrition covered as well. My meals are carb heavy, tons of beans and rice. I will be bringing more than enough apples to keep in my pack and am preparing some homemade energy bars with a lentil base. Vega, a plant based supplement company, has sent me a ton of stuff to use out there including energizing powders, protein powders, etc. I’m 99.9% sure everything is on point there.
Gear? Well I have everything they asked us to bring, which is:
2 Heat Mylar Blankets
2 sets of gloves
5 Gallon Bucket
Cold Weather gear
100′ 3/8″ Rope
Hiking Stick/Trekking Poles
Construction Ear Covers
Knowledge of Basic Skydiving Principles
Sleeping Eye Mask
Locking Carabiner Rated for Climbing
What that all means? What do we actually need and what will actually be used? Who knows, we shall see when we get there!!
I have layers upon layers of clothing to bring, and will be rocking as much Spahten gear as I can to represent the best team on the planet. I don’t just say that, I truly mean it. I’ve received so much support from this community I can even begin to thank people individually, because it’s been a team effort. I feel like you will all be there with me.
There are some who physically will be there either crewing for me, other Spahtens or other racers in general and I want to individually thank them.
Peter Monaghan… Brother, we’ve known each other before this OCR/ Endurance stuff. I can remember the first time we met and felt like there was an instant kinship. Back then we were training our minds, and through the Dharma Collective we created a friendship. Even though we may not hang out all the time, that connection is always there and I appreciate everything in the past, present and future. When we went and saw the Dalai Lama talk at Gillette Stadium it changed my life. I’m glad we were able to share that experience. You sir are one of the most inspiring people I know and you’ve overcome some of the greatest obstacles. You are not only a great friend but a great Dad, your kids are lucky to have you in their lives. Your wife, Jen, has one of the most amazing partners to spend her life with. I am happy to be able to share the experience if this weekend with you, THANK YOU!
To Adrianne Wallace and Hannah Hawley, thank you. Your experience as far as crewing in the past will not only prove to be valuable, but already has. Your expertise has helped me big time in preparing and again, I can’t wait to share this experience with you two as well.
Thank you to Emily Huntington for the use of the crampons!
To all those that helped me in my fundraising to get to this point, I am blown away by your support and will do my best to make sure a skull is brought home in your honor!
Thank you to James Horgan, Nele Shulze, Keith Glass, Mark Webb and anyone else who gave me tips or talked about their experiences in previous Death Races.
To my family and most importantly, my wife Leah, thank you. I know this has been rough on you as I am hyper focused on things. I know you cannot wait for it to be over and for me to be back to normal. When have I ever been normal though? I jest, I jest! Thank you for supporting me, believing in me and for the words that will play over and over in my head when I hit the darkest moments on that mountain. I won’t let you down!
So, what are my expectations?
To have my rear end handed to me! Besides that though, I am seeking an experience. I’ve never even thought I would be in this situation and I look forward to testing myself. I expect to be brutalized, to suffer, to be so cold I can barely feel things. I know it’s going to suck, but finding the balance of suck and motivation to keep moving is what drives me.
I’m prepared as I am ever going to be. My head is in the game, now let’s just see what this body has in store for me.
Onward and see you all on the other side!!