Thursday, September 16, 2010

Walk the Tracks

Workout of the Day

In the AM:

4 mile sandbag carry (100 lb)

In the PM:

5 x max pullups - strict, kip, and butterfly

There’s a stretch of abandoned track that runs from Sutter street in historic Folsom out past highway 50 and off into the unknown expanse of the California foothills. It weaves its way through the suburb that has grown up around it and cuts a path that few ever follow anymore. For a while now I’ve been wanting to explore this bit of crystallized history. Today was that day.

John and I filled up sandbags to about 100 lbs and parked cars at either end of a 4 mile stretch earlier this morning. We began under the highway 50 overpass, in the shadow of an enormous CostCo, and worked our way west back towards Old Town. Never once dropping the bags we ran, jogged, and walked the entire length in just over an hour. It was brutal at times—our shoulders and upper backs were cramping under the weight. But it was enjoyable at others—the scenery did not disappoint. Most surprising was the difficulty we had with the footing. Some sections of the track were deep, some were shallow, some ran through mud, others through fallen leaves. Most areas were overgrown with weeds and looked every bit their age. It was like being transported back in time.

The first leg of the journey paralleled bustling East Bidwell Street, a thoroughfare lavishly adorned with Quizno’s, Ross Dress for Less, and The Home Depot. Choosing to walk on such a defunct and neglected strip of track beside freshly laid asphalt felt almost like willful disobedience—strangely satisfying. The looks we got every time we crossed between traffic, the distinct pause of the Prius in the left hand turn lane… these are memories worth their weight.

Then, about halfway through the trip, the railroad veered left into a sort of nature preserve where there was almost no sign of civilization. Just like that, there was no strip malls, no pedestrians, and no apartment complexes. But the rail stretched on. I thought to myself that this was how the entire line looked when it was laid all those years ago. It’s hard to imagine that this kind of nature still exists under the concrete of the “real world.”

When we finally stumbled up to our car we were pretty ravaged. 1 hour and 13 minutes of total time had elapsed and we hadn’t rested at all. My shoulders were scorched, my legs were wobbly, and I was completely parched. I literally could not wait to get home, jump in the pool, and hit the pillow. I was so exhausted that I found it hard to keep my eyes open on the drive home. This is a great example of your body failing at the margins of its experience. Today’s WOD had time and modal domains that are rarely combined and my body felt the impact. Hallelujah for new experiences.

Digressing a bit, it’s now half way through the month and I have received exactly ZERO videos from you guys doing workouts involving public transportation. Weak Sauce. These don’t have to be professionally done. The more people get out and start training without a gym the better—this is merely an opportunity to do so. I promise the fun you’ll have is worth the effort.

The video link from earlier today is below. Big ups to Jacob for suggesting the song. Enjoy.


  1. Great workout! I've tried the same over a much shorter distance and with a bag that was only about 60 or 70 lbs and had to throw the bag down, huff and puff, and then get going again several times. A great example of a functional workout. No telling when any of us might have to pick up a heavy load and move it over distance. My buddies in the military have had to carry weight like that (although in packs) over many miles, so I suppose it is something you could condition for. I hiked the Inca trail in the Andes mountains in Peru years ago and we had local Indians as porters. These little bitty guys who you would think nothing of if you passed them in the street would carry their gear, our gear and supplies (each of them with 100lbs at least each) up through the mountains all day and beat us to each camping spot so they could have our tents and dinner waiting for us. Amazing. Again, great workout and keep it up!

  2. Bit of a coincidence there Blair!

    This last weekend a couple of the lads from 3D and I did the Para 10 P Company challenge ( It's a 10 mile cross country trek that covers the same route as the last section of Paratrooper selection. Rough ground and some BIG hills! Only supposed to be done carrying a 35lb pack (although Mass and I both weighed in over 40lbs) but has to be done in military ankle boots.

    Mass finished in 1hr43 and I finished in 1hr58.

    Legs were cramping badly from about 7 miles onwards and took a few days to completely recover. Spent the rest of the Sunday on the sofa!

  3. Hi

    We are working on a our video involving workouts on public transportation. It involves the street cars here in Portland Oregon. Racing against them, and working out on them. However all great efforts take time! When is the deadline for submission of the video?

    Again great blog, highly motivating to a bunch of us.

  4. Hoping to shoot my vid on my rest day on Sunday, should have it posted then as well. Just need to line up a cameraman!

    Did a little outside workout with my 4yr old son few days ago, wish I taped it it was a beauty, and very "anywhere fit"