GTS Runner’s Spotlight: Monstrous Mad Mike

by GTSTRUTTER on August 18, 2015

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You may not know the name Mike Moss but if you are a part of the SETX running community you have probably heard the name Monstrous Mad Mike! He’s a Louisiana boy that has made his way into the hearts of all the runners that he meets. He’s made the drive down from Sulphur, Louisiana down to our neck of the woods for a GTS runs too many times to count which makes him the perfect candidate for one of our GTS Runner’s Spotlights. Check out what Monstrous had to say to a few questions that I asked of him.

1.  How did you become a runner and why do you love running?

Became a runner by accident really.  When I was younger I was teased a lot because I was never allowed to run and it always bothered me. So when I was working out at my local gym and saw that they were offering a couch to 5 miler program it peaked my interest. I  joined in on it and thats when I found my love for running.  Through running I’ve realized that not only can I help myself but I can also help many others by inspiring them to run. I got into fitness to get into shape and meet women but running has given back so much more to me. I look back and think about all the people I have helped through running. That thought keeps me going and keeps my love for running going even after 126 road races.

2.  If you could run anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Philly full marathon is my dream race. I am going to run it in November of 2016 God willing. There’s a huge back story with the city and why it’s inspired me for so long. One of my favorite movies is Rocky 2, it was filmed there and it actually inspired me to start working out. So much so that this year’s Gusher I wore the flag shorts at the Gusher. And I will continue to wear them at the Gusher and will wear them in Philly too. I just think it will be a very personal and good race because Rocky Balboa inspired me a lot and continues to inspire me.

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3.  Music or no music on your runs? If you do listen to music what’s the song that get’s you through that last mile of your race to finish strong?

Music! I have to have music no matter what. I listen to all kinds of stuff really, but mostly 80′s music. It just depends on my mood at the time really. Probably two songs pump me up more than any others. Tina Turner’s “The Best” I have an extended version of that. And “Famous Final Scene” by Bob Seger, which brings back memories of my second Gusher in 2012 at the finish line.

4.  How do you fit running into your busy schedule?

It’s not easy but I try to run 3 days a week which is tough because I work shift work.  So I have to run whenever I can fit it into my schedule and that sometimes means I have to run at 3 am in the morning. No excuses!

5.  How did you find out about the GTS group and why you continue to run with us?

Well for those that don’t know I have been friends with Willie and Jeremy Fermo for about 3 and 1/2 years. We have done a lot of races together, hung out and cut up. So much so, that we are brothers from another mother. They made me an honorary Strutter years ago and even invited me. Then things changed for me here in Louisiana and I took them up on their offer to come and run in Beaumont and I loved it. I can’t say enough good about the Fermo brothers God bless them. :)

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6.  How do you prepare yourself the week before a race?

Probably my favorite thing to eat for carbo-loading is a big bowl of chicken spaghetti. Other than that not much else.

7.  The Texas summers are hot! Give us a few tips on how to beat the heat.

This goes for Louisiana and Texas heat. I always found that it was good to go slower than you normally would when it’s hot. I don’t care for hot weather and crave cooler weather. Best thing I can say is just push through it because it will all be worth it come fall and winter when there are more races.

8.  What are your tips for people looking to get into the sport of running?

Results take time, sometimes a long time but they are worth it. Don’t be intimated by races or other runners, most are very friendly and good people. Enjoy running it’s a very pure thing. Stay away from races that are poorly planned and not thought out. Buy good shoes and have several pairs, rotate them. Find a good group like GTS and run with them as it helps out a lot for motivation and accountability.

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9.  Besides running what do you do to stay active?

I lift weights and have done so for years. I do Cinergy at my gym (a mix of yoga and Pilaties), spin bike classes. I also just started riding my road bike and have been riding while it’s been so hot lately.

10.  Tell us more about your Madness shirts and the charity that goes along with it.

Well the Madness t-shirts started out as a way of using my name and likeness to help others. I just felt the need to do something good for the people of Beaumont because my first Gusher (2011) was dedicated to my Dad and every other Gusher I have done (4 and counting) is dedicated to his memory. I just felt like Beaumont helped me heal, now let me help some children out who maybe never knew their dad or mom and don’t have much direction in their lives. So, a friend told me about Boys Haven and we were off and running. I had my friend John come up with the shirts and we have been rolling ever since. We will start another drive for the Turkey Trot in September and it will run till early November.

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11.  Share something about yourself that some of your running pals may not know about you.

I use to be 240 pounds 8 years ago. Really shy, had never worked out or ran. I was totally into video games and anything that wasn’t really active.  I’m still a video game and comic nerd at heart though but now I’m a runner too!

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Thanks Monstrous for answering all my questions! If you would like to meet the MADNESS or any of the other great Strutters come on out to one of our runs! Check out our FB page for current times. www.facebook.com/gstrutters

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April joined us last year and has hardly skipped one of our run days ever since. She’s turned into quite a great runner and has been a big help to the Golden Triangle Strutters whenever the group needed some help. Check out her running story and also her story on how she became a SPARTAN!

AprilontheRun Spartan Super #2 Austin Race Review

For years, I’ve been a runner but never run in a race until I moved to Southeast Texas in late 2013. I hadn’t run since I graduated high school in 2001. I moved to Beaumont, a community big on running. I decided after months of searching for a 5K race that I’d give racing a shot just to see if I still had it in me to run, even a short distance. I registered for the Jingle Bell Run 5K for Habitat for Humanity of Jefferson County two weeks prior to race day. I trained for two weeks straight, first walking a mile and building my way up to running a mile without feeling as though I were going to die at the end. By the time the two weeks of training were up, I was ready for race day. My ultimate goal; run the entire race without having to stop to walk to catch my breath and to just finish. Well, I did just that and placed 3rd in my AG. I’ve been hooked with racing ever since my first 5k. Since December 2013, I’ve run 1 full marathon; placing 1st in my AG, 11 half-marathons, 1 25K, and a variety of 10Ks and 5Ks in honor of my son, Xander who is autistic. I run every race for him and represent The Organization for Autism Research and those affected by Autism. At this point, I’ve got my running routine down pretty well, and my body is pretty accustomed to the demands of a race.

Wanting a new Kind of Race

Early this Spring, a good friend and Golden Triangle Strutters friend of mine, Cody Hensley introduced me to OCR. He mentioned he had done several obstacle races in the past and suggested I do a little research with the Spartan Race being something I should consider. So I started doing a general search of upcoming obstacle races. I looked at Tough Mudder and Spartan Races along with a few other local OCR. After doing my research and watching countless videos, I decided Spartan Race would be my first OCR. I talked to Cody afterwards, he and a few other GTStrutters were already registered for the Spartan Super #2 Austin in May. I looked at the calendar and saw that actual race day would be May 15th. Which meant I had some demanding training to get done in a very short time. Distance running is completely different from obstacle course racing. This specific race was to be a 8+ mile distance with several obstacles I’ve never attempted.

Over the next few weeks leading up to race day, Cody held weekly Spartan training sessions at his home where he had built his very own Spartan training course in his backyard. Along with those training sessions, I did my daily cross training, solo runs and group runs. By the time race day rolled around, I was banged up, bruised, sore, and determined. I was ready to take on my first OCR.


Race Day at Spartan Super #2 Austin

The actual day of the race was exactly what I expected, and at other times much more than I could have ever imagined. The race was held at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnett, Texas. I was checked-in in a matter of minutes due to volunteering the day prior which left me with plenty of time to take in my surroundings and get mentally ready. While my teammates Cody, Brandi, Damien and William were getting checked in. I watched a wave of racers start ahead of us. Everyone was cheering them on and I started getting excited. Soon, my teammates and I were crossing over the first start wall. After crossing that first wall, I remember Cody saying, “there’s no turning back now!” At 11:15 a.m., our wave was released from the starting gate, and our race began. We started as a team and we were finishing as a team. Our motto for race day was, “NO STRUTTER LEFT BEHIND!” The first couple of obstacles were exactly what I had expected – walls to climb, walls to crawl under, barbed wire and so on. I was a bit caught off guard later on, though, by some of the obstacles.

No turning back once you climb the first wall

No turning back once you climb the first wall

...and we're off

…and we’re off

 

First "wall" jump

First “wall” jump

Nothing better then crawling in the dirt under barbed wire

Nothing better then crawling in the dirt under barbed wire

 

Afraid of heights?

Afraid of heights?

Had to get to the other end some how...

Had to get to the other end some how…

Nothing better then stomping through a cold creek carrying a bag of sand on your shoulder in 90+ degree weather to cool off lol

Nothing better then stomping through a cold creek carrying a bag of sand on your shoulder in 90+ degree weather

 

 

My biggest challenge was the monkey bars and rope swing combo, it was the first challenge I hit that really mentally pushed me and almost broke me mentally. I just couldn’t get past the first bar to the rope swing. I obviously didn’t work on my upper body strength as well as I thought I had in my cross training and it showed. I ended up doing 30 penalty burpees for that obstacle at which point I was beating myself up mentally. Each obstacle throughout the duration of the race seemed a bit more challenging than the last.

Hardest obstacle I've ever had to attempt

Hardest obstacle I’ve ever had to attempt

One pleasant surprise was the cargo high net towards the end. I’m not one who’s afraid of heights, if I’ve got something securing me if I were to fall to my death. I was a bit terrified as I climbed up the side and made my way to the top where I then had to crawl from one side to the other in what seemed hundreds of feet in the air with no safety net below, just spectators walking under you below. I slowly made my way across the shaky cargo net unharmed and alive, whew!

The second hardest obstacle for me was the rope climb at the end. I thought for sure that I’d nail this obstacle because I never had any issues during training with it other then coming down too fast. I just couldn’t get my grip on the wet rope and the slip wall prior to this obstacle just drained me of all energy I had to pull me up to the top. I was motivated to do my best to finish each obstacle by my teammates cheering me on and the ones that I couldn’t resulted in 30 penalty burpees which were torture because they take up so much of your energy.

At the end of the day, Spartan Super #2 Austin was a great first OCR experience for me. In the end, we finished in under six hours and I’m extremely proud of that. I never in a million years would have thought I could run a marathon, let alone an obstacle course when I started my running journey a little over 18 moths ago. I’m reminded how fortunate I am to be part of an amazing run group that’s as supportive, caring, motivated, inspiring and driven as The Golden Triangle Strutters. To have fellow run mates along my side motivating me through every obstacle, hill, mud pit, and creek start to finish as a team is PRICELESS! Good people like the GTStrutters are hard to come by these days! I couldn’t have done the Spartan Super without them!

Jumping the fire pit to the finish as a team

Jumping the fire pit to the finish as a team

 

I am now officially addicted to the Spartan Races. I’ve already talked several strutters into running a Spartan Sprint , and my goal for 2015 is to complete a Spartan Trifecta (completing a Sprint, and Super, and a Beast in the same calendar year). I’ve got the Super down, just need to get the Sprint and Beast by year’s end!

GTS Represented Spartan Super #2 Austin

GTS Represented Spartan Super #2 Austin

#IRUN4Xander & #irunforautism

#IRUN4Xander & #irunforautism

 

I AM SPARTAN! AROO! AROO! AROO!

Join April and the other Strutters on their journey by registering for a Spartan race! Right now they are having a great promotion for July 4th using Promo Code: AMERICA Offer expires 7/8

Check out the details in the picture below.

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CONTEST TIME

We will also be holding a contest for a free entry to any Spartan Race in the Continental USA. Enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter app.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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GTS/Royal Court wins BB100 CLUB OF THE YEAR!

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