Liz is spending most nights alone at her work gym.

Liz is spending most nights alone at her work gym.

I woke up this morning and realized it was May. Now only three months until I scramble on top of that first Mongolian horse and bomb over the start line of a 1,000 kilometre journey.
After getting my ass kicked in Utah by a 62-year-old, I’ve also realized my fitness needs some work. This past winter was all about hibernating, gorging on fatty stews and perfecting a booze-infused hot chocolate recipe perfect for sipping on Saturday mornings while gazing out at all that snow.

But now, the warrior has stirred. She has climbed out of her hibernation cave and is pushing herself to new limits. She rides race horses and barely broke ponies at high speeds. She spends hours in the gym, grunting, lifting, burpeeing, sprinting…

And then goes home to gorge on potatoes, ice cream sandwiches and wine.

Seriously, this is my new life.
There are two parts to my fitness strategy (which I developed – patent pending on the Liz Brown Mongol Derby Workout Series). My plan is not based in science, was formed without the consultation of fitness experts or doctors, and could potentially lead to some sort of weird over training injury.

On a bright note, I feel this DIY ethos is in the spirit of the Derby!

Ride and carb and wine cramming

My work schedule no longer allows me time to squeeze in a commute to the barn during the week. From Mondays to Thursdays I forget about horses and riding and just focus on my city life. My new strategy is to ride ’til my legs fall off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On these days I ride up to four horses and then cap it all off with a 5-10K run. My weekend nights are spent applying Icy Hot to my legs and soaking in Epsom salts. Another delightful evening weekend activity sees me eating massive quantities of potatoes and washing them down with large glasses of red wine. Never in my life have I liked potatoes – except as a side order of fries – but now it’s all my body craves. Mashed, baked, scalloped, saladified – any way they’re prepared they’re going down my gullet. It’s likely if you come to my home on one of these nights I’ll be sitting there like a former prison inmate, arm wrapped around my plate of spuds, threatening to fork stab anyone who comes close to my meal.

On the weekend, she rides 'til she drops.

On the weekend, she rides ’til she drops.

The gym and ice cream and more wine

The second part of my fitness strategy involves an internal negotiation, battling my own laziness, if you will. Recently I’ve been going to the gym every night after work and really grinding down for 90 minutes or so. I start out running a couple eight-minute miles on the treadmill, then do two to three sets of 25 burpees, then a bunch of different squats, some balancing exercises, calf raises, oh – and I shred my abs and arms, you know, just to get ready for the beach.

Sitting at my desk all day, thinking about the impending brutal workout, gives me plenty of time to formulate excuses as to why I can’t lace up my shoes that night.

“My back hurts.”

“I think I’m getting sick.”

“I brought shorts, but my legs are hairy.”

A lesser person would believe these are valid excuses to skip a workout. Not me, though. That’s because I’ve made a deal with myself – do a workout, get an ice cream bar and a glass of wine. No workout, no treats. Weirdly, it’s actually working. Somehow I’m staying honest to this personal pact, although the fear of not being prepared for one of the biggest challenges of my life weighs heavily into the equation, too.

The results

If training success can be measured by how much tighter my legs and butt feel, I’d say my strategy is paying off. Also, I no longer get winded when I gallop for long stretches.

My only complaint is that I’m not seeing the results across my abs. But that might have something to do with my nutritional strategy. Maybe I’ll tackle that one next…