MY Death Race

17 06 2012

It is Father’s Day today, June 17th, 2012. It is 11:30 p.m. and work starts early in the morning. I am driven from my bed by a strange illness. Over 1000 miles away in a little town called Pittsfield Vermont a band of crazies are stricken with a similar illness. An illness that makes you choose crazy, stupid things over comfort or even safety. This weekend is the 2012 Death Race and I am hunched over a laptop hitting refresh over and over reading 3rd hand status updates on facebook and wordpress from friends and loved ones of the sick individuals participating in this event. The internet rumors flying around are outlandish and laughable, but with this crew they are also all probably true. Next year, I will be stepping onto the same course to attempt to join the ranks of these super athletes. I have decided my next challenge will be the Spartan Death Race.

This isn’t the first time I’ve deliberately gotten in way over my head. I wish I had a great story about drawing a line in the sand and deciding to get in shape, but the reality is I needed a hobby and started running (more on that in earlier blog posts). I started running a lot actually, and it was fairly uneventful. I just ran. However, one thing did happen. Dissatisfaction began to fester. No matter what I accomplished my eyes were on the next event. Race directors, much like savvy pushers, don’t even let the medal drape your neck before sticking a flyer in your hand for “the next race.” A generally addictive personality like mine is quickly swept into a frenzy… “I wanna do an ultra…” I wanna do a better ultra…” “I wanna qualify for Boston…” There’s nothing like a lack of focus to make you run a terrible race, and there’s nothing like running a terrible race to make you reevaluate your goals.

    After a couple of “unacceptable race experiences” I decided it was time to figure out what I really wanted. Do I want to get faster or run further. Do I want to be more muscular or lean. The answer was a resounding “Yes.” It occurred to me that most of the overweight chain-smoking 40 somethings around me working construction could palm a bag of portland cement, but couldn’t run to the truck if they were being chased by a velociraptor. While all my running buddies that ran sub 4 marathons couldn’t swing a 20lb sledge if they needed to even if it meant a million dollars. I want all those things.

    I began seeking out the oddballs in the fitness community. The weirdos who won’t stay in a mold, the outliers. I found an amazing subculture, like the bastard children of cross fit athletes, ultra runners, and farmers. The figurehead I quickly became obsessed with was a man named Joe Decker. Joe is the fittest man on the planet, according to Guinness. At my age Decker had all the physical prowess of Dom Deluise. Now, he more closely resembles a Frank Miller rendition of a Twilight werewolf. That inevitably lead to the discovery of the Death Race. It is an ultra from hell. I know it will take place in Pittsfield, VT. I don’t know how long it will take. I don’t know how far I will run. I don’t know what crazy sadistic challenges they will dream up in the next year, but I know I will be broken by whatever means necessary. Beyond the basics, the race is deliberately shrouded in mystery. The challenge of the race is not only physical (though there is plenty of that), but very much mental. Check out for more on their race. To even step up to the start line I will have to become a totally different person. This is the first time that being an ultra runner is simply not good enough, but whats bigger than ultra…

I must become Mega!

Stay tuned for training videos and more blog posts documenting my transformation. So I guess, here goes. I’m off to become Mega Josh.




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