After several months of not doing any races, I’ve finally signed up for one. It’s less than a tenth the distance of a marathon, but it’s actually one that I need to train for all the same. Behold: The Great Pumpkin Haul.
Your entry fee gets you not only a race bib, tee, and some tasty (pumpkin!) beer at the finish line, but also a pumpkin from a giant patch near the race location, at Chatfield Gardens in Littleton, CO. You will need to arrive to the start early to browse the patch and pick your pumpkin – but choose carefully, because you don’t get to just leave that pumpkin on the sidelines. You will be carrying it throughout the two mile obstacle course. (If you’re really hardcore, Orange Theory Fitness is also offering a free bootcamp at 8:45am to get you warmed up and ready to race. Your pumpkin will be used in the workout as well to make sure you’re hitting all the major muscle groups!) Lest you think you’re going to go easy and grab a tiny pumpkin, though, note that all pumpkins are weighed in, and there is even a prize awarded for the person who finishes the race course with the heaviest pumpkin. (There is also a prize category called the “hauler baler” for those who complete the course carrying two pumpkins… very brave!) This is in addition to the regular prize categories of fastest male and female haulers.
For those looking for something a little lighter, The Great Pumpkin Haul is an event for all ages. Kids either run free/discounted and the race provides “mini pumpkins” for the kiddos to haul – plus there is a free “pumpkin roll” for the little ones as part of the festival. You can also register as a group to share the weight of the pumpkin – teams/families of four save $5 each on entry. (Though keep reading to the end of this post to save even more!) They have also just added a $15 Festival Pass for friends/family who don’t want to haul but still want to be part of the action – that includes tee, pumpkin, beer and all post haul festivities.
I think The Great Pumpkin Haul sounds like a ridiculously fun time, and I’m really excited to participate. As you can probably tell from the abundance of healthy pumpkin recipes I’ve posted (pumpkin chia protein oatmeal, pumpkin cheesecake smoothie, pumpkin pasta), I love pumpkin, so I’m really excited to get to use it as part of a workout routine. Plus, pumpkin beer at the finish line, along with live music and a corn maze? And costumes are encouraged, with prizes for the best ones. This sounds like a really perfect way to spend a fall Sunday with my friends… and that’s not to mention the fun we’ll have carving our pumpkins at home later! My apartment complex is having a pumpkin carving contest, and I have never carved a pumpkin before, so any tips to win will be appreciated 🙂
But in order to get through The Great Pumpkin Haul course with the heaviest pumpkin possible, I’m doing some medicine ball training to get used to carrying that heavy orb around, and moving my body in different ways while carrying it. Whether you’re local and able to do the Great Pumpkin Haul or not, this is a great full body workout that is made up functional fitness exercises – so they’ll help you with a lot of non-workout activities you may be doing in your daily life.
1. Grab your medicine ball with both hands and hit the treadmill. Crank the incline up high and walk at 4.0mph for two minutes. This will get your heart rate pumping and also start the blood flowing to your legs! You’ll also get a little bit of an extra core workout trying to walk on an incline without being able to swing your arms
2. Next up: wall ball squats. Find a medicine ball-safe wall (solid, not glass, no equipment around) and stand about a foot away. Holding the medicine ball in both hands, press up to an overhead toss and release the ball to hit the wall about a foot over your head, then catch it and let the weight of the ball drop you into a full squat, holding the ball at chest height. Drive back up through your heels to a standing position and repeat for ten reps. (If you don’t have a medicine ball-safe wall, substitute a simple overhead press for the toss, and continue with the squat.)
3. The next compound exercise is front lunges with rotation. Holding the medicine ball with both hands out in front of you (and keeping your arms extended as straight as possible), take a giant step forward and drop into a 90 degree lunge, ensuring that your front knee tracks toward your toes but doesn’t go over them. Once you’ve reached the bottom of the lunge, slowly rotate your torso and the medicine ball toward your front leg, until the medicine ball is at a 90 degree angle to the side. Return your arms/torso back to the front, and then push back up to the original standing position. Repeat on the other leg, turning to the other side so both sides of your obliques are getting worked. Do ten sets of both sides for 20 reps total.
4. Now we’re going to focus on upper body and core. Stand with your feet shoulder apart, and with bent arms, hold the medicine ball to one side of your head at about eye level. In a woodchopping motion, swiftly bring the ball down and across your body to the opposite hip. Now bring the ball straight up to the other side of your head, and repeat on that side. That is one rep – you’ll do ten full figure eights to complete this round.
5. Dropping to the floor, next up is rolling pushups. Start in a pushup position (either full body or on your knees), with the medicine ball close to one hand. Carefully release that hand and place it on the medicine ball – this is going to challenge your balance and make you work your core even harder. Slowly do a pushup, then when you get back up to the top, roll the ball over to the opposite hand. Each pushup counts as one rep, so you’ll be doing five on each hand for ten total.
6. Finally, Russian twists: start at the top of a situp position, holding the medicine ball in both hands above your knees. Keeping your back straight and chest lifted, slowly lean back just until you feel your abs engage. Now bring the medicine ball to one side, lowering it toward the floor, and then lift it back up over your knees and to the other side. Do 20 reps alternating sides (ten total).
7. Finally, repeat the sequence two more times for a complete workout!
And as your reward for making it through that tough routine? 50by25 readers can save an additional $10 on The Great Pumpkin Haul with the discount code PUMPKINBLOG; just register at TheGreatPumpkinHaul.com prior to the race.
Let me know if you’re planning to come out – I’d love to meet up with y’all at the finish festival and toast pumpkin beers!
Disclaimer: The Great Pumpkin Haul provided me with free entry in exchange for writing about the event, but it was something I contacted them about since it sounds so darn awesome 🙂