Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 Carolina Spartan Sprint (In Pictures)

My Spartan Race went even better than I ever could have expected, and I had a marvelous time. I will say that I am very proud of all of you cold-prone people who stuck through that mid 40 degree Fahrenheit, rainy weather. You are all true warriors! Here is my experience in pictures (note: not all pics are mine; some are from Google image searches).

Here we go! Sunday 1pm heat. Yes, you have to climb over a low wall to get to the start line....My first wall climb!

Starts off doable. Low wall with lots of help getting over.

Next, you do some higher walls and this "over/through" bit. Also doable. After a bunch of trail running...

Bam! 25ft rope climb. In the left pic im in t water at the base of the rope wearing the white t-shirt and ready to climb. In the right picture i'm about half way up. I can climb a rope like there's no tomorrow, but apparently I still DON'T do heights. I chickened out at about 15ft and climbed back down.

I call this one "impossible wall." There was no way in hell so I just did my 30 burpees

Did I mention i'm afraid of heights?! I shook like a leaf in the wind all the way through, but I DID make it. I then moved on to...

Lateral impossible wall! Between the mud caked on my shoes, the mud caked on the wood blocks, and my tired burpee arms...I somehow thought it would be smart to just choose more burpees. I did do them with a smile!

I was so sure this sandbag pull would be a cake walk! Little did I anticipate, lots of mud plus rope plus heavy weight equals (you guessed it!) 30 more burpees! Followed by lots more running. SWEAR! I was having fun!

After the running came a trip through the barbed wire mud field. That's me! I mostly slid through that obstacle like a penguin on its belly. I enjoyed the "laying down" aspect of this obstacle, plus the humorous commentary of this guy in front of me.

The farm where we did our course had been flooded the entire week beforehand (a.k.a. no man made mud necessary). Our sandbag carry was down and then up a steep hill. I'm not graceful on mud but did my best and manged not to fall! Hooray! Then, I got to do more of what I did best...running

By this point I was feeling tired. I can't guarantee the next few obstacles are in order, but they did involve these taller walls

And a tire pull (use the rope to pull the tire towards you then somehow grab the tire and haul it back to its starting position)

And a cinderblock haul through very slippery mud

And a series of mud hill climbs and slides into chest deep pools of water (maybe 4 or 5 in a row?) And then a brutal hill climb through slippery mud and another long run through the woods over fallen trees and everything

Then, I picked up a 50lb spheracle rock, carried it 20ft or so, did some burpees, and carried it back. I was quite proud of this moment.

The triumph was followed by a rather embarrassing miss at the spear throw (30ish burpees). I then ran by a field of lovely cows who moo'd at me as I passed. There's nothing like a cow cheer to help you pick up the pace towards the finish line!

I slid down a mud hill and swam under a wall like the one pictured above. Yes, my water was that murky

Then I climbed this wall (that's me half way up and covered in mud)

I jumped this fire (me again)

and evaded these gladiator guys to be rewarded...

with this dank ass medal!!

If you're wondering, my finish time was 1hr 55min for a 4.7 mile course in cold and rain. I was in about the 45th percentile. Overall, it was an amazing way to celebrate turning 30 and I can't wait to do it again!

WAYYYYYYYY better than yesterday!

P.S., I celebrated my accomplishment by taking a quick shower (quick considering the amount of mud and debris my body had accumulated) and taking a trip to IKEA. Oh my gosh, I LOVE Ikea!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

With each step you take, bear courage in mind

I've got about a month to go before I tackle my first Spartan Race. I've been geeking out on youtube videos and google image searches about this epic new age adventure race, and I am SOOOOOOO excited! I think the best part is not really knowing what to expect. It's one think to know in your head that you will be crawling through mud, scaling tall walls, and throwing spears. It is quite another thing to actually imagine yourself doing these things and anticipating your reaction. I am sure of one thing though; I am either going to love every second of this rowdy race or I will be asking myself every step of the way how I could ever have thought this would be fun. If mindset determines experience though, I'm 99% sure my reactions will be along the lines of the former.

I've been preparing for the race by (carefully) ramping up my Crossfit to make sure my upper body strength is ready, and slowly increasing my running distances to ensure I can complete the 3 miles comfortably and without back pain. So far everything is going really well! My leg and arm muscles are noticeably getting back definition. I am also back up to appreciable weights in Oly workouts. Even more fantastic, I just ran 5 miles yesterday with no problem. In fact, I've been running one or two days per week consistently and am feeling stronger and stronger with each run. I credit my daily stretching and mobility work with my lacrosse ball to the success I've had in staying pain free....as well as my strategic rest days.
Now I'm off to do a few errands before Crossfit. Today we will be doing rope climb work which is right up a Spartan warrior's ally. Hazzah!

Happy training

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mantras, Mottos, and Motivation to get you through your workout

This post is for those days where you're really feeling the "work" part of your workout and need a little motivation to keep going. I can't take credit for inventing any of these helpful sayings, but I can vouch for the fact that they can keep you from quitting when quitting is all you want to do.

When you don't even feel like starting



When you start getting tired


When you're slowing down



When you feel panic rising


When everything is going wrong



When you're thinking of cutting it short


And no matter what, know that even your worst effort is better than no effort at all. The point isn't to be perfect; the point is that you try. 

Better than yesterday!