By Pete Williams
TAMPA – At some point during my second round of carrying a pair of 45-pound plates 200 yards across a sun-baked parking lot this morning, Eric Stratman reminded me and two dozen new friends why we were here.
“If you can survive this,” he said, “you’ll have no problem with Tough Mudder.”
No kidding. As the owner of The Next Level Training Center, Stratman spends his days whipping people into shape via CrossFit. Many use the program to train for adventure races, triathlons and other endurance events.
With the Tough Mudder coming to Florida for the first time in December, Stratman figured it was time to offer a special program.
“Tough Mudder is not a race your average runner or athlete can show up to and hope to complete,” he said. “The obstacles will be too much.”
About 30 of us showed up this morning, split male and female and mostly under 35, which made me one of the oldest. We were supposed to start at 10 a.m. but began at 10:30 — gametime temperature 92 degrees and sticky outside in the empty parking lots of the office park where TNL is located.
We began with an 800-meter run around the complex. Easy enough. That was followed by the 200-meter “farmer” – carrying the two 45-pound plates 200 yards. (Women used 25-pound plates).
After another 800-meter run, we attacked the “Prowler,” a sled with 300 pounds of weight plates. The good news is you could have a tag-team partner or two. The bad news is you had to push the thing 400 yards.
My pal James Bellamy of Mix1 and I teamed up, each pushing the sled for 40-yard intervals. After another 800-meter run it was time to throw giant tires 100 yards and run 400-meters backward.
If you still had time left in the 45-minute session, you got to do it again. I almost made it through twice before time was called, pleased that as an old guy I outlasted a number of trainees.
The program continues every other Saturday until the race in December. Just as CrossFit is never predictable, Stratman says he’ll mix it up next time. We’ll have to compete in groups of five or six, mimicking typical Tough Mudder strategy.
Sounds like a plan. Interested? Check out TNL HERE.