90 days until USARA Nationals and we just completed the first month of our new training cycle.  I’ll call it the easy month, although it never felt easy.  Our training plan has been based on Don Fink’s book, “IronFit Secrets for Half Iron-Distance Triathlon Success” but modified to fit adventure racing activities.


In Fink’s book, he has three workouts: The Competitive Program, The Intermediate Program, and the Just Finish Program. Given our commitments and available free time, we are doing the Intermediate Program with an average of 9.4 hours per week spent training and a max week of 11.8 hours.  Some of the changes we made were swapping the swimming workouts for canoeing and the road biking for either spin biking or mountain biking.  With two small boys, we don’t want to eat into our evening family time so our longest workout during the week is 1.5 hours with one long workout every Saturday.  This is very similar to what I did to prepare for the Blue Ridge Mountain AR and I felt well prepared for that event.

However, I’ve reluctantly come around to addressing nutrition. So, for month 2 of our 4-month plan we’ll start looking at food.  I’ve recently read Matt Fitzgerlad’s, “Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance” which has led me to his follow-on book, “Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes




I’m pretty sure that this is going to be the tougher month.  I don’t know why it is so hard to eat nutritious meals.  I guess it’s more of an issue of how convenient it is to eat bad meals.  Since I wasn’t sure if the first cookbook would have enough good stuff in it, I also ordered “The Runner’s World Cookbook.”  It was also highly recommended on Amazon.


What I really want is a cookbook that is 1 month of recipes, breakfast lunch and dinner with an attached weekly grocery list and calorie count/nutritional facts.  In other words, I don’t want to have to think about it.  Just tell me what to buy for the week and then give me daily recipes to follow.  Oh, and don’t include sweet potatoes…those things are disgusting.

If you’ve found a good workout or nutritional plan, I’d love to hear about it.  Post in the comments below.  And if you know of a good cookbook for athletes, post that as well. If you really want to know how our workout schedule is progressing, check out The Motivator box on the sidebar—>

It links to our training log on Attackpoint AR, training and competition logs for adventure athletes.

Lastly, if you want to check out these books, click on the links above and buy from Amazon.  They’ll send us a couple of nickels and that will go towards Nationals.



Teammates Wanted!

Finding good teammates is rather difficult. Not only do you have to find people committed to adventure racing, but candidates have to be a good fit physically and socially. Ideally, they would also live in the same area so that the team can train together.


We think that there are 3 main traits a good team member must have:

  1. Gotta have passion: If there is no passion for adventure racing then there is little commitment for it either. Given the time and money required to race, passion is paramount—which leads me to my other two traits.
  2. Gotta have time: Racing takes time. There is training time and racing time. Most sprint races are on a Saturday, which means we’re traveling Friday evening, racing on Saturday and traveling home Saturday evening. That makes for a pretty long couple of days, but it gets us back to our families sooner. We also train 6 days a week with weekday sessions lasting an hour and one long training session either Saturday or Sunday that can be from 2-5 hours long.
  3. Gotta have money: Adventure racing can be expensive, especially if you’re just starting out. There is gear to acquire to cover the multi-sport aspect and then there are race entry fees, transportation costs, hotel or camping costs, food, etc. We plan on one race per month and these races can cost between $50/person to $350/person. We typically limit ourselves to 1 or 2 expensive races per season. Lodging and travel costs are divided equally among the team members.


While the three items above may dissuade you from getting into adventure racing, let me be the first to encourage you to give it a try. For us, there is no other sport like adventure racing. I have tried to describe it, but my words never capture the essence of it. It is something that you have to try and then decide for yourself. All I can tell you is that we were hooked from our very first race. The combination of the physical and mental challenge mixed with team dynamics, the beauty of the natural environment and exploration of the unknown are what makes these more experiences than races.

Intrigued? Want to give it a try? We’re looking for teammates. We are not Ironman fit podium placers. Ideally, we are mid-pack finishers but sometimes we fall short of that goal as well. If you’d like to know what we’re about, check out our Team Creed. If you’d like to train or race with us, drop us an email at teamdisoriented@gmail.com

We’re going to Nationals!

Team Disoriented is going to the USARA Adventure Race National Championship!


What!  That’s right folks, we’re going to Nationals.  One of the goals that I had for our team this year was to qualify for the USARA Adventure Race National Championship.  USARA sponsors regional adventure races throughout the year and teams that place high enough at one of these events gets invited to race the nationals.  We performed well enough at one of the races to qualify and we’re super excited, and nervous.


Many of the top adventure racing teams in North America will be at the USARA Nationals.  We, of course, will not be competing at their level.  But, it will be exciting to be in a race with so many high performing teams.  Did I mention we were nervous?  Yep, it’s going to be pretty tough and it will really test the limits of our skills (we’ve got skills, right?) .  But, ultimately, these races are done for the experience of getting out and testing ourselves, seeing some amazing scenery and meeting some of the coolest people around…like us!


Just by participating, we’ve already won.  Yeah, I know, cheesy right.  But, it’s true.  We race against ourselves and against the course, not against other teams.  Which is good because other teams just blow us away.

The race takes place at Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Kentucky.  I’ve heard rumors that they have mountains.  We’ll see how this flat-land Florida team handles those.  There is a 30-hour cutoff time for all teams, and I’m sure we’ll need every minute, and more, to complete it.  The setting is going to be spectacular and it’s close enough that we can make the drive in a day.


Anyway, we don’t have time now to keep chit-chatting with all of you, we got some training to do.  Plus, I gotta go figure out what this UTM thingy is.  By the way, you may have noticed a Donate button on the right side bar (yeah you can’t pretend to ignore it now).  We hate to be beggars, but the Nationals are going to cost a pretty penny, and a lot of ugly one’s too, so if you like the site and want to contribute to the team going to nationals, we’d truly appreciate it.


Marathon training…barf!


I’m having serious withdrawals from adventure racing.  For some unknown reason I got this stupid wonderful idea that I wanted to run a marathon.  Ana had already ran a full and together we had completed a half-marathon, but I felt that I needed to do a full marathon to mark it off the list.  Well, I can tell you that I am regretting that decision.  Marathon training consists of lots and lots of running…go figure.  We got this book, Four months to a 4-hour Marathon and we’ve been using it to train for the Space Coast Marathon


The book is fine, it describes a basic running program that will get you geared up for running a marathon.  But the training, my god, can it get more boring.  Hey big fella, I got a great way for you to spend your Saturdays, go run 13 miles, oh and next Saturday go run 15 miles and the next Saturday after that, well just go out and run 17 miles.  Good luck finding a 17 mile route that has anything interesting to look at.  Nope, just go pound the pavement in suburbia, check out your neighbors grass, and come back in 2.5 hours.  So far, our longest run has been 17 miles.  Ana did it on a treadmill.  I would rather poke myself in the eye with a flaming stick and wash it out with alcohol then spend 17 miles on a treadmill.  I don’t know how she did it.


All I can say is that I can’t wait for this to be over and to get back to adventure racing.  So far we’ve missed some really great races like the Pangea LighterKnot AR and the 7 Hills 3 Rivers AR.  We’ll also miss the Pangea Turkey Burn AR because it is the same weekend as our marathon.

I don’t know how the Ultrarunners do it.  50 miles, 100 miles of running/walking down a trail…not unless there’s a Krispy Kreme and Starbucks after every 5 miles.  Nope, I’ll take my adventure racing, where the course isn’t laid out for you, where there is running, mountain biking, canoeing, dodging alligators, battling water moccasins, getting lost, sometimes crying, always raining, always against the wind, always uphill, always an adventure.  You can keep that boring running shit for yourself.


Man, have we been slacking.  We haven’t raced since the Atomic and haven’t really been training either.  I guess everyone needs some down time.  We were supposed to race the Luminescent, and I was really looking forward to it.  But, this thing called work got in the way.  Once I get this money thing figured out, there will be no more excuses for missing races.

Since we couldn’t make the Luminescent, we decided to do some lazy-man training by going to Oak Mountain and hitting their permanent O-course.  On the way, we also decided to go to the Coosa River and try out their Class II rapids.  We called ahead to reserve a canoe from the Coosa Outdoor Center and made the 3.5 hr drive north to Wetumpka, AL.  The last departure time was at 2PM and we were supposed to be there by 1:30PM to sign our paperwork and get our safety briefing.  We were running late, imagine that, and so called to let them know we wouldn’t make it until 2PM.  But they were super cool and told us to come up and they would wait for us, which they did.

We rushed there, signed our paperwork and were whisked off to the launching point.  Along the way, we chickened out with the canoe and decided on a tandem sit on top kayak instead.


The Coosa River was flowing and it took a little getting use to the eddies and currents pushing the kayak around.  The trip starts off on flat, flowing river and then you hit a couple of small rapids to get you warmed up to the idea.  This is a great first trip for those that have never done any rapids.  The river is very wide and there aren’t any sweepers or hidden trees in the water to be concerned about.  As you approached the rapids, you could definitely hear the water rushing over the rocks and the sound would get us a little worked up thinking we were going into some major whitewater action.   But, we found that our canoeing on Choctawhatchee Bay prepared us well to handle these small rapids.

At one point, we approached a large island just prior to some rapids where a lot of kayakers had stopped.  We also stopped because the rapids looked impressive on the approach.


From the island, we could decide on how best to approach the rapids.  There was a little deliberation on whether we should take the bigger rapids to the right of the island, or the smaller rapids on the left.  We knew we’d regret not haven taken the bigger ones and the worst that could happen is that we’d dump and get wet–since we’re experts at that, we decided to go big.  We took the line we wanted and ended up making it through without dumping and I think we even got a hoot from the spectators.


The rapids here are fairly short and the total trip took us about 2-2.5 hrs.  If you’ve never done rapids before, this is the place you want to go.  And if you are looking to rent a canoe or kayak, check out Coosa Outdoor Center, they were really awesome.

After the rapids, we headed up to Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham AL to do their permanent Orienteering Course.  I did  a short write up on it for the first trip we took there (https://teamdisoriented.com/tag/oak-mountain-state-park/).  The park is amazing with tons of bike and hiking trails.  But best of all there are two permanent orienteering courses with maps, which are maintained by the Vulcan Orienteering Club.

Beginner Course Map

Advanced Course Map

This time we found the elusive CP#6.  Oh, and that little stick pointing move, well let me tell you that is no stick but a rather magical wand we found.  With it, we attempted many new spells such as: Eradicus Arachnius; Eradicus Reptilius, and my favorite Eradicus Ursus.  It worked miracles keeping away the snakes and bears, but it didn’t work so well on the spiders.


I’m going to throw one more picture in here just because it’s so damn pretty, kinda like me…


We didn’t finish the advanced course due to our leisurely stroll speed, but we did find CP5-CP10 on the advanced course and we already found all of the CPs for the beginner’s course, so we know they are all there.  I think the course organizers did a great job putting the markers in interesting locations that are not the easiest to find.  The posts blend into their surroundings and there is only a small metal placard designating it as the marker, so you have to look closely to see them especially if there is much undergrowth.  Here is one marker they placed in between to very large boulders.  Ana is practicing her Spider Wall Climb so she can be the next American Ninja Warrior.


So, if you’re feeling lazy but still want to get out and claim a day of fun as adventure race training, go hit up the Coosa River and Oak Mountain State Park, you won’t be disappointed at all.

I Smell Dead People

While Stu was at his wife’s baby shower, Ana and I had our long day workout today.  I think we got the better end of the deal, actually.  A room full of women talking about pregnancy, birth, and how to cope with crying children…hmm count me out.  Sorry Stu, I’ll drink a beer in your honor tonight.  Anyway, we had to revise our training plan for the 30-hour Atomic Adventure Race that is coming up May 31st because we aren’t fast enough to make the mileage I had originally planned.  Ana’s parents are kind enough to watch the boys while we go train and there just isn’t enough time to do everything I had originally planned.  So, the new and improved training schedule is below:

Atomic Training Schedule (revised)

But, what I really wanted to post on was something that has been bothering me for weeks now.  Today’s plan was to canoe 1hr, run 7 miles, then bike for 24 miles.  But the day was cut short so we only ended up biking for 10 miles.  After we finished and I got in the car I could smell something like ammonia or nail polish remover  whenever I breathed through my nose.  I’ve actually noticed this after every long training day and many times after doing a 45 minute cross training session.  Now, I don’t smell like ammonia, I smell like other things less pleasant that I like to call, “The Smell of Man” but that’s another issue.  No, what I was experiencing was that when I inhaled through my nose I could smell ammonia, as if someone had placed a smelling salt under my nose.  At times it’s so strong that it takes my breath away and I have to breathe solely through my mouth.  Crazy, right?


When I got home I decided to Google it and here is what I found on Wikipedia:
Ketosis: When glycogen stores are not available in the cells, fat (triacylglycerol) is cleaved to provide 3 fatty acid chains and 1 glycerol molecule in a process known as lipolysis. Most of the body is able to use fatty acids as an alternative source of energy in a process called beta-oxidation. One of the products of beta-oxidation is acetyl-CoA, which can be further used in the citric acid cycle. During prolonged fasting or starvation, or as the intentional result of a ketogenic diet, acetyl-CoA in the liver is used to produce ketone bodies instead, leading to a state of ketosis.[citation needed]

During starvation or a long physical training session, the body starts using fatty acids instead of glucose…[LOTS OF MULTI-SYLLABLE WORDS]…

The ketone body acetoacetate will slowly decarboxylate into acetone, a volatile compound that is both metabolized as an energy source and lost in the breath and urine…

Also, when the body is in ketosis, one’s breath may smell of acetone. This is due to the breakdown of acetoacetic acid into acetone and carbon dioxide which is exhaled through the lungs. Acetone is the chemical responsible for the smell of nail polish remover and some paint thinners.

Catabolism: Is the set of metabolic pathways that breaks down molecules into smaller units to release energy.[1] In catabolism, large molecules such aspolysaccharides, lipids, nucleic acids and proteins are broken down into smaller units such as monosaccharides, fatty acids, nucleotides, and amino acids, respectively…[MORE BIG WORDS]…

Cells use the monomers released from breaking down polymers to either construct new polymer molecules, or degrade the monomers further to simple waste products, releasing energy. Cellular wastes include lactic acid,acetic acid, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and urea.

So, basically I’m smelling acetone because my body is breaking down fat or I’m smelling ammonia because my body is breaking down proteins. Either way, it appears that the cause of the smell is due to a glycogen deficit because I’m carbohydrate deficient. The recommendation is to consume more carbohydrates.

Again from Wikipedia:

Foods with high carbohydrate are often highly processed or refined foods made from plants; including sweets, cookies and candy, table sugar, honey, soft drinks, breads and crackers, jams and fruit products, pastas and breakfast cereals.

I’m sold, no arm twisting here. For the sake of my health, I promise to eat more highly processed refined foods, especially sweets, cookies, candies and soft drinks.

In all seriousness, catabolism and/or ketosis doesn’t appear to be an issue unless someone has Type 1 diabetes, but don’t take my word for it, I’m just some stranger on the internet. Go talk to a real doctor. The coolest thing though is that acetone produced by ketosis has been suggested as a cause for spontaneous human combustion. It’s on the internet so it’s got to be true, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_human_combustion.

Lacking Motivation

Two weeks ago I sprained my ankle playing Ultimate and since then I have lacked motivation to train.  To try and get out of my funk, I did what any other red-blooded American would do, I went shopping.  Bring it on, Amazon.  Check out the new kicks I got…

Speedcross 3

All I can say is that these shoes are AWESOME.  After doing every race in my Brooks Glycerin 10s–which are great running shoes–I knew that I wanted the added traction of trail runners.  Strap a pair of these on and you’ll feel like you could run up the cliffs of Dover.  The Salomon Speedcross 3 is an adventure racer’s shoe for sure, light-weight, superior traction, speed lacing system and, well, just look at them!

The best thing about new gear is that it makes you want to go  and try it out.  So, if you’re lacking motivation, bust out that credit card and buy something.  You’ll be supporting our consumer driven economy and whipping your sorry butt into shape at the same time.  And that’s what I call a double win.

I plan on using these during the Dixie Conquest on Saturday.  Saturday!  Man, I am dreading this race.  It is 10 hours long and, like I said, my training has been lacking.  After the race, I’ll write up a longer review of the shoes and let you know how they did.  Thursday I might even give a brief write up of the pack we just purchased in preparation for the 30-hr Atomic.  It’s SWEET!

For those of you that may not have heard of Ultimate–the greatest game ever–here are some highlights from the 2013 MLU Season.


Paddle Like a Pro

Anyone who follows this blog knows that we have a few issues with paddling our canoe.  There aren’t many instructions that I have found online about how to get 3 people to paddle a canoe well.  But, I did run across a few videos that I wanted to share.  These are slow motion videos of some of the best kayak racers.  Since we typically use kayak paddles when racing, the technique should do well for us.

If you check around 3:13 you can see some tandem kayak action and around 3:40 there is some 4-person kayak action.  I’m definitely no expert in paddling technique so I can’t offer any “real” commentary on the video but I think that just by watching it, you can pick up a few key techniques.

You can definitely see how torso rotation plays a key part in developing power.  I also noticed how for most paddlers, the returning arm (the one that just finished the stroke) comes to a return point straight out in front, perpendicular to the body and then it crosses the body as the other arm finishes the stroke.  Yeah, you like my technical jargon there?  Basically, my advice is check out the videos, see how the pros do it then go try to mimic the same movements.  If you’re half as good as us, you’ll probably dump your canoe within 30 seconds.

Here’s one more video from a pro…


Good grief, we suck!

We went out on Saturday for a long training day and I really only had 2 goals, ride for 32 miles on hard pack trails and canoe with all 3 of us in a canoe for 1-2 hours.  The bike ride went fine, but when it comes to canoeing, we suck.


I really don’t understand it.  It seems that no matter how hard we try, or how smooth we try to paddle, we can’t go in a straight line to save our lives.  I will say that after about an hour, we did get slightly better.  I would say we improved to the level of, “We almost don’t suck.”  But then we’d get excited, lose concentration and zig zag or do circles for the next 15 minutes.  In the end, we could only maintain a track if I was steering from the rear using the paddle as a brake.

Ana and I have gone out a number of times before and everything seemed to go fine, we could maintain a track, we could even put in corrective strokes when we got slightly off course.  But once we get 3 people in the boat, it all falls apart.  And no, I’m not blaming Stu.  I think having 3 people really changes the dynamics of the boat and we haven’t figured out how to deal with this yet.  It definitely makes the boat more tippy.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any helpful information on the internet about paddling 3 people in a canoe using kayak paddles.  Pangea has some info on paddling for adventure races and here is a video clip from Ron Eaglin.

Locally, we are having a canoe paddling clinic that I think I’ll sign up for.  But I doubt it will be applicable to 3-person kayak style paddling.  So, if any of my 4 readers find any good information or videos on paddling, please send me a link.  Until then, we’ll keep providing the comic relief at our races.  Have the camera ready, because someone’s probably going to get wet.