“You can’t cheat the mountain”….. These words have never rang so true as the moment I strapped down my 30lb pack and attempted to ascend the mountain course of my first Train to Hunt challenge! I finished the first challenge course disheartened, with a burpee time penalty on an easy shot I should have made, but I had to keep moving despite my burning lungs, moderate signs of heat stroke and shaky legs. As I intently watched my opponents complete the grueling course, I got lost in the thought that this was about them vs. me, it wasn’t, this was about me vs. the mountain and the mountain was winning.
My mind had been on competing in the Train to Hunt challenge for months but my physical preparation wasn’t what it should have been, I could have done more but given some unforeseen circumstances and a busy work schedule I had done what I could. Training really kicked into high gear for me in March just three months before the event. Teaming up with Adam Ford from Ridgeline Fitness we created a concrete plan to get me where I needed to me for the challenge:
In between all this I maintained all my normal workouts in the gym, with a few modifications, and tried to run an average of 6 miles per week.
I crossed the finish line in 3rd place with only a 90 second gap between 1st place and myself, I felt great about my performance after, but how I felt during the competition was an entirely different story. I pushed myself, my body ached and burned and the mental challenge was at a peak and I loved every second of it.
With that first Train to Hunt challenge behind me, my competitive drive churns to get back on the course. So what will I do different for the next time I decide to take on the mountain?
I would start by controlling my anxiety prior to my heat. At times I tend to be a bit too competitive, like I am sure many of you can relate to, and it can get in the way of my performance if I let it, which in this case it did. Kenton Clairmont said it best “We are here for our love of fitness and archery, leave our egos at the door.” Leave your ego or the mountain will eat you alive!
I would make some changes to my training, most importantly, putting the two courses, the hike and circuit course, together. Its one thing to go climb a mountain with a pack on and then two days later do the challenge course but to do them back to back is a whole different story. I was not physically prepared to push myself hard in the challenge, only to strap my weighted pack down tight, and take off up a ski run in the heat of the day. Changing my nutrition plan is a must! Nutrition was not a focus for me and I know this would have been a game changer if it would have been. You have to eat to perform right? The first 6 months of the year I was just eating. No rhyme and no reason to it, and this coming from a girl who has consistently tracked macros for years. YOU CANNOT OUT TRAIN A BAD DIET.
People always get complacent and stuck in the day to day life that is easy and what they know, but you learn so much more about yourself when you step outside your comfort zone and the Train to Hunt challenge is one that will put you there. When you step up to the plate and swing, even if you miss you have already won. You will learn something from the first swing and even more from the next. I left everything I had on the mountain, shot better than I ever have in a 3D shoot and learned something new about myself.
See you next year Train to Hunt.
Feel free to leave comments for Whitney below and be sure to follow her hunts and journey on Instagram: @whitneynicholle_fit