Coppell Fitness Trainer Tip of the week – Megatransect ultra hike Part 2
Update September 30, 2013
I finished my 2nd Megatransect September 28th and certainly happy to say that it was a much more enjoyable experience than the first one. Last year at this time I was hardly walking. Although I am still sore, I was able to workout at our 8am GYIS session this morning.
This year was once again a test of the body and mind. Although I prepared myself with long hike at the trails in Grapevine and put a lot of miles on my feet, I thinks it’s close to impossible to prepare for an event like this unless you live close to trails like these. As you will see from the pictures, I got to experience some great views and some crazy climbs and trails.
My time went from 8 hours and 40 minutes last year to 8 hours and 15 minutes this year. If you read my experience from the first Mega, I really struggled to even finish and thought I was going to have to quit a few times because my body just shut down. Although my body took a beating and I did cramp throughout the event, I never got major camping going on and knew when I needed to take a break and let my muscles relax. I also never thought about having to quit.
Below are a few pictures from the event.
If you were in the Get You In Shape fitness program last year, you most likely heard about my ultra hiking experience last September. It was 8 hours and 45 minutes of hiking/trails that ended up being over 27 miles. My body was certainly not prepared for it. I believed that I was in good enough shape by doing 60 minutes of exercise 6 days a week leading up to it. I was mainly doing Cross Training to prepare and did NOT prepare by going to any local trails. The blog post about the hike and my experience is at the bottom of this blog.
Although it was physically one of the hardest things I have put my body through in my life (I had some experience with this playing high school, college, and professional basketball along with being a fitness professional since 1999), I decided to do it again this year.
This week I wanted to share what difference having the knowledge of what to expect and the difference in my preparation and workouts this time around.
This can be a great lesson for everyone. In the end, having the knowledge (or trusting someone else that has the knowledge) on what I needed to do this year to prepare has allowed me to more comfortable going into the last 2 weeks prior to the hike.
Since Get You In Shape is about helping our clients reach their health and fitness goals, I figured this can be a great tip for anyone looking to lose weight, get more toned, and increase their fitness level. Having the knowledge (or getting the tools and tips to follow) to put a complete program is KEY to making the whole journey and experience enjoyable and lasting. This is why all of our programs are put together in a way that gives you the tools, tips, and support. You just have to follow them with our help and support. I hope that you will understand that this tip can be applied to your own health and fitness journey. It also may help you realize that having a goal to shoot for will help you in your off-day workouts and especially with your nutrition.
Knowledge – My training and preparation this year has been geared to putting more time and miles on my legs. I set out 13 weeks ago to do more cardio which turned out to be Cardio Club like workouts on Tuesdays and Sundays and Thursdays being my long run day. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I would do the Get You In Shape fitness sessions.
Since you guys know all about the fitness sessions and the general fitness we do, I will mainly explain the cardio and mileage preparation I have done to prepare for this years MegaTransect ultra hike.
As with anything, you have to start where you are. The first long run 13 weeks ago was 5 miles for me that first week. Each week, I have increased the long run by 1 mile. Besides getting miles in, I also knew I needed to start getting some actual trails in since all but 4 miles of the ultra hike is in uneven ground. I then moved my long runs to trail runs after topping my longest road distance at 16 miles. Again, I started where I was and did 7 miles of trails at Lake Grapevine the first day. The next week, I got 11 miles in. The next week I increased it to 14 or so. With a little over two weeks remaining, I did my last long trail run last Thursday of 20 miles. My body did hit a breaking point, which was something I was looking to do since that is something it did 5-6 times last year.
Nutrition – You really have to think of food being fuel for your workouts when you are preparing. I started with the 10 Day Cleanse as part of our 24 Day Challenge. I have stick with the nutrition and the vitamins along with other products that have helped my by recover faster and also allow me to be productive throughout the days.
I am Ready! Once you have the knowledge as to what needs to be done to reach a specific goal, you have to start implementing that knowledge and put into practice.
I did not know what to expect when I did this last year but after my experience, I knew that I needed to approach my training and preparation different this year.
I do know that this year will still be very physically tough and still take me over 7 hours to complete. Having taken the time to prepare my body over the last 13 weeks, though, has allowed me to make this a more enjoyable experience.
How does this relate to YOU? I feel that if you do have a goal, you have got to learn what you need to do in order to reach your goal. My goal was to be physically prepare to be able to do this ultra hike for 27 miles. I then sought our the knowledge to put a training program in place in order to prepare my body for that. What about YOU? I would hope that your goal is to continue to seek to either lose weight, maintain your weight, or seek to increase your fitness level. If that is the case, you have to have some sort of action plan (and the knowledge) to achieve that goal.
If you are in the Get You In Shape program, you have a number of tools already there at your fingertips for you to just follow step by step. This is another reason why our 24 Day Challenge has been so successful, the tools are already there, you just have to follow the step by step directions.
Here is a video that shows just a little of the highs and lows of my journey.
I survived the Megatransect! I really did not know what to expect going into it. I knew it would be hard because I had not done anything like it before. I also only trained for an hour each day so before this so I knew that my body was in for a treat. If you missed my blog post last week, I did this with my three brother-in-laws. Cynthia, my wife, entered in it with them a while back and I took her place after finding out she was pregnant.
Before this, the longest I had every gone was 13.1 in a couple of half marathon’s.
Either way, this was a true test and although it was certainly VERY difficult, I am very pleased I did it and also completed it.
The challenge was in the mountains (or hills) of Lock Haven, PA. It was just the perfect time of year as the colors were different on the trees and the fall weather made it a great day. The pictures below give you an idea of how nice and beautiful everything was
About mile 8 or 9 my body hit a wall. My legs had started cramping up besides the great preparation and hydration. I really thought as both legs were cramping and the pain was about a 9 on a scale of 10, that I was going to have to stop. It was certainly a difficult time. But after about 5 minutes both legs stopped locking up and the pain was gone.
This was at the point where I knew I better just walk the rest of the day. After the cramps, it was a realization that this was about finishing and not about how fast I can go.
I battled a number of cramps as my body and muscles were just not used to the endurance and also the steep up and down of the mountain, the rocks, and the pounding it was taking.
I finished in 8 hours and 40 minutes. Here was some pictures from the event.
All Pictures from the event at on a folder on my facebook page here
What is the Megatransect?
The Megatransect is a 26+ mile/hike and trail run event staged in Central Pennsylvania . The course is designed to challenge any trained or seasoned athlete. The recreational hiker or trail runner not looking to set any blistering personal records for the distance can also enjoy it equally. It is an event that focuses on the safety and needs of all entrants. Preparing is the key to success and even that is not guaranteed. Racing the course is not the objective, finishing strong is!
The outstandingly beautiful course offers unique geologic features, such as an unrelenting boulder field of white Tuscarora sandstone. Cliffs line a scenic gorge to heights of 300 feet that sink from the Chestnut flat plateau. Trails run along 8 miles of streams and brooks with multiple stream crossings and small waterfalls. Competitors will be subjected to unrelenting climbs and down hills with total vertical gains over 5000 feet. Footing varies from soft peat to gravel to boulders as well as smooth stream stones and shallow water crossings. While most of the course is under the canopy of mature forest, some sections orient under the hot sun. This is especially true in the slow going boulder field sections.
Interesting flora and fauna abound. Natural areas harbor old growth hemlock. Wet seasons bring out mushrooms of every type. Bear, coyote, deer, bobcat, porcupine, fox and turkey are all common. An occasional Bald and Golden Eagle can be spied near the reservoirs. Reptiles and amphibians abound with rattlesnakes and copperheads always a concern.
The Megatransect planning committee is comprised of well-traveled hikers, avid trail runners and marathoners. Their varied experiences and dedication to the Megatransect has resulted in one largest trail events in the United States! It has been so successful that we are now limiting registrations to the first 850 entrants. This year if filled to capacity in 48 hrs!!!! The course is designed to cycle moderate to very difficult terrain with easier sections for recovery. It by no means designed for speed but instead to be more technical in nature. The course is well supported with a small army of volunteers to provide basic needs as well as emergency help and evacuation if needed. The race boasts a fantastic safety record and a high finishing percentage.