It is that time of year again when Men’s Health just finished hosting their Urbanathlon. It is once a year and usually has only been in NY and Chi town, but this year they had it in San Fran as well. Each year the course changes and is different from city to city because it uses each city’s natural landscape and landmarks. It is one of the most grueling races I have ever endured – and I have done a fair amount of races throughout the years but it also could have been because I did something not so smart. I ran the race when I was living in New York and was asked by Men’s Health to create a portion of the program for them, which you can find in the link below. Feel free to use the program that I created as a general fat burning and weight loss program. Pretty much anyone can do the exercises except for maybe #3. Squat Thrust Jumping Pull Up in (which you need to be in decent condition for especially in combination with the program). It also provides you with some good stretches.
When I ran the race, if I remember correctly, this was the course.
- We started in Central Park
- Ran over to the west side (quick sidebar, as we were running down town on the west side highway bike path, in a throng of close to 1000 people, one fella decided it was a great day and time to do some speed training uptown on his bike, so as he approaches the mass he starts screaming “get out of my way” with out slowing down one bit. Just picture a bike path about 6 feet wide with 1000 people funneling through it and one jerk on a bike coming in the opposite direction at 30 miles an hour screaming “get out of the way”. You can only imagine what happened next. He went full on, front wheel and handle bars straight into the mid section, between the legs of the guy running next to me. Not a pretty sight but also not an abnormal one in NYC.)
- Ran down the west side 3 miles to the first obstacle course
- Kept running down the west side highway 2 miles to another obstacle course
- Ran another 2 miles till we got to 7 World Trade and ran up 52 flights of stairs and back down
- Then 1 more mile to Battery Park where we had to hop over cabs and walls to get to the finish lineThis race was intense and my goal was to win but about a week before the race I got run down and sick. Against my better judgement and the recommendation of my trainer I ran the race anyway. BAD IDEA! I thought I was invincible and it would take a week or two to recover. I ended up with walking pneumonia and it cascaded into a barrage of health problems that lead to months, then years of struggle to a full recovery.
- What I learned is never take your health for granted, it can be gone in a flash. I was in the best shape of my life and I let it all go down the tubes because a silly race.
- When you’re sick, take time off to fully recover and do not push through it.
- Everything happens for a reason – after this race and becoming sick, it caused me to slow down and appreciate life more. So when you make a mistake learn from it and move on.
- Balance is key to health and success. I was non-stop training, working, training, working for about 2 years straight. My body reached a breaking point and it jeopardized everything in my life. A balance between work, training, hobbies and family is a must for true success.There are many more lessons I learned specifically about nutrition, health and fitness, life and personal training through the whole ordeal but those were the big takeaway lessons that I learned.
That will just give you an idea of how grueling the race was. I walked the stairs and still finished top 10% and I was sick, what that means is that the rest of the people behind me were crawling or some other variation of both. It is a small photo but if you can look closely you can see in my eyes that I thought I was going to die, haha. It’s funny now, but it was NO JOKE then, I seriously thought I might end up in the hospital. My heart rate reached a max of 204 – I had never seen it past about 193 beats before, even at a full sprint for a mile. My average heart rate through the race was 185 for 120 minutes. Wow! Yea, not so smart to do a race while on antibiotics.
In the end, I highly recommend doing the Urbanathlon if you are into running and obstacle courses and you are not sick :). One thing is for sure: you must prepare for the race, it is not something you can just sign up for and run without knowing what you are getting into. Giving a good 6 months of training would be recommended but if you want to do well, you should start right now!
If you are training at EarthFIT you are already on the right track, all you need to do is supplement your cardio training for the distance of the race and you will have no problem finishing.
Here is a video of the Chicago race that will give you an idea of the fun involved in the whole event.