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On a blustery, Saturday morning in Lynch Park, Beverly, MA the nation's leading obstacle racer, Junyong Pak, got down to business and showed the winner of the CoachUp Ambassador program what it's like to train for the World's Toughest Mudder championship.
Earlier that week Ed Shazade had won the Ambassador Program raffle for a private coaching session and video shoot with Junyong Pak as well as free entry to any Tough Mudder event. Ed was both pleased to win the raffle and see that all proceeds benefited the Boys and Girl Club of Salem as he remembered his own great experiences at the Arlington Boys and Girls Club. A father of three, Ed gave the prize pack to his son Matt, a college student at Gordon College in Beverly, MA. Matt brought his game face on Saturday, along with his buddy Peter, and together they tackled the challenges Junyong presented them.
Junyong walked Matt and Peter through a series of obstacles that he practices on a regular basis in the park. They first began with a crawling exercise underneath low hung rope to help prepare for obstacles like the "Kiss of Mud." They went on to attempt to climb a rope fixed to the top of a tall tree and then climbed a horizontally hung rope to practice for obstacles like the "Dong Dangler." The last challenge was equally a mental challenge as it was physical. Deemed the "Ocean Plunge," Matt and Peter dove into the October cold ocean, and then dragged a tire along the park beach, after which they headed back to the water for another round and then some burpees.
Matt and Peter were champs. Junyong brought his radiating energy and really helped show these guys what it's like to push your limits, albeit in a safe manner.
After Matt warmed up, we caught up with him to get his thoughts on how the day went.
Matt: When my dad called me and said I was going to be training with the Worlds Toughest Mudder in two days, I was caught off guard to say the least. I had done a Tough Mudder event in the summer, and it was blazing hot, around 95 degrees. When I arrived to the park for the training session, it was a whole different ball game. I was cold, tired, and unaware of what was going to happen. The mental aspect of much of the day was not incredibly difficult for me, the drive to push on despite physical limits is good practice. I found my inner voice continuously recites the Navy SEAL saying "The only easy day was yesterday", which was strangely coincidental being that I was so wet, cold, and sandy at the days end.
CoachUp: What was the most challenging obstacle?
Matt: For me, the most challenging obstacle was the one that required using the most parts of my body at once. The hybrid rolling/crawling for speed, under the "barbed wire" was the most physically taxing obstacle, along with Junyong's constant addition of laps. It integrated every part of my body at once, something I rarely practice in my workouts.
CoachUp: What tip(s) surprised you most to learn about?
Matt: The tips that surprised me the most were accompanied by the types of obstacles I was least familiar with; the ropes. I couldn't remember the last time I had climbed ropes like that. Junyong gave me some awesome tips on how to manipulate the rope to my advantage and ways to climb/traverse efficiently.
CoachUp: Do you think the tips/advice Junyong gave you will better prepare/help you for your next Tough Mudder?
Matt: The tips that Junyong gave me will definitely help me prepare for my next Mudder. I am going to start implementing them into my current workout routine to help challenge myself more.
CoachUp: Do you think training with Junyong or an obstacle racing coach one-on-one would help people in their future races?
Matt: Training with someone as knowledgeable as Junyong or an obstacle racing coach one-on-one would help immensely. They know first hand what it takes to compete and perform at the highest degree. The one-on-one atmosphere is also very helpful, being able to work out problems and have take the time to address issues with certain things is important. The small session that I was able to have helped me very much, its easy to imagine what a consistent training schedule would do!
Junyong was a great Ambassador to CoachUp and helped us raise $750 dollars to donate to the Boys and Girls Club of Salem. We'll be releasing Junyong's insider coach tips, and an exclusive interview on CoachUp TV so make sure to stay tuned!