August 28th 2014 at 9pm I was doing a 51inch box jump, I made it but fell backwards directly onto my wrist. For 6 months I could not do anything with my wrist, it wasn’t till June 2015 when I could final do a push up, and till this day I still struggle in the push up position ( I am now at 30 consecutive pus ups before I have to stop). Also with starting a new business and being a step dad, making the time to log in the klms is very difficult. Not having a set schedule and random pop up meetings throughout the day made it very difficult to put in the klms needed to bring your “EH” game come race day.
Now this blog is not about excuses, its about determination and setting a Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Goal (S.M.A.R.T) and accomplishing it. Spartan Race has become famous for leaving its races to the imagination and telling us that we must train for the worst so we can give our best, but a “smart” athlete knows what she or he is getting themselves into so they can prepare for the worst. So let’s through a few stats out there, 48.67k (more like 50 when you add the obstacles such as log, jerry can, tractor pull and atlas carries) and an Elevation gain of 11,456 feet and an elevation loss of 11,483 feet. We talk a lot about the gain, which sucks, but a real kick to the ovaries and or bean bag, is the loss. We all know races are won on the downhill, but that’s where knees are truly tested as well.
This race tested us all physically, but also mentally as well. Let me tell you when I was at the 75% mark of the first loop, when I was going around the lake, that’s when I was really questioning my life choice of going into this race, but then came the water, and that my friend was a morale booster. I was feeling alive and ready to tackle anything that came my way (I also thought there was no more hill climbs) I think the Race Director Dan Luzzi aka the Luzzinator knew this would be the case so that’s why he decided to add the mile loop of hell, which included a nice stroll back up the mountain, and we were greeted with Atlas lift, sled drag, and the slap on the back log carry, followed by the tire carry. That was a roller coaster of emotions right there, I legit went from hating life, to loving it, to hating it all in a span of 45 mins, but that’s what Spartan Race is supposed to do.
Volunteers, you all stepped your eh game for this race, you were all tough as nails when it came to the obstacles, some concerns though, on the first loop for the rig, I got through the second lane but I dint have 2 hands on the final ring, I was not aware that I had to as no one expressed that rule to me. I held onto the last ring with one hand and was in control and I was about to high five the volunteer as I completed it, but she broke my heart and told me I had to do burpees, I recall on the rest of the obstacles that when I got to the end I made it clear that I had both hands on the final bar. Also if you are a volunteer, and someone obviously fails, and they know it, please take caution when telling us we have to do burpees, as we know what we have to do, we like salt in our bodies, not on our wounds ;) But ultimately thank you to all the volunteers who are at the top of the mountain for 8,10,13 hrs its not easy, I remember my first year as a volunteer and doing the water at the finish line, being hunched over on the floor (they weren’t on stands like they are now) struggling to keep up with the water demand.
Some new things that I experienced on this race were as following WARNING going to get personal: Toe nails, make sure they are clipped, I’m usually really good at keeping nails modest (gf will be first to let me know that I’m letting my nails go) but my pinky toe was a bit too long and on that down hill I was hearing my pancake telling me to clip my nails. Also chaffing in the rear region, that sh!t is not fun (no pun intended) not entirely too sure where I’m going with this but yeah it was not fun. Also urination, sorry to the racer who went the wrong way and ended up getting an eye full of some man parts, we all know that runners while in a race become the dumbest people on the planet, we are focusing on so much things, keep back straight, shoulders back, breath, and keep hydrated. We get to a wall and ask what do we have to do here? You get over it you nincompoop, its not rocket science, but like I said us runners become pretty held back when it comes to common sense stuff. So yeah follow the flags or else you might see something you could have gone without.
What saved me this race? When I asked a lot of people what they were bringing with them as they plan to be on course for 7,10,13 hrs, and not one person mentioned salt tablets. We need on a daily Carbs, fats, protein and MINERALS. The loss of salt is also connected to cramping and hyponatremia, a rare and potentially fatal condition in which over hydration leads to low blood sodium levels. I also noticed early in the race that my urine was not clear so I focused on hydration and set a goal, it felt great to yell VICTORY, my pee is clear, the medics were jacked to hear that. My fuel for the run was mostly vegan inspired, mashed sweet potatoes with organic honey (no bees were harmed in supplying me the sweet, sweet goodness of that organic honey), avocado chocolate pudding, that I placed in zip lock bags. And finally sticking to my plan, we told ourselves what our pace should be and our watch (well not all of us, our fellow runners Garmin crapped out) helped keep us on track. The Fenix 3 was worth the price tag when it came to this event. Support crew, having someone there to keep you motivated, distract you from the pain, and have everything ready for you so when you tell yourself you can’t do something, they are there to remind you that yes you can. Finally what helped keep us going is that on the 2nd lap little things kept our moral up, things like the sand bag was only one bag, the rig was only one section, the mile from hell was only for the first loop, so no log carry, tractor pull or tire carry, and the jerry can carry loop was shortened (it still sucked but like I said it’s the little things).
In conclusion I’m here to tell everyone that if you set a SMART goal, you can achieve anything, we left at 8:15am we power walked up the mountains, kept hydrated and eat when we should, and on downhill we jogged, on some flat terrain we lightly jogged and beat the first cut off by 1hr, on the 2nd lap we didn’t run at all, kept our average klm at 12 mins (goal was anything below 15), with this plan we were able to beat every cut off by at least an hr. Our goal was just to finish it and that we did. Thank you to the build crew of the race, our support team, and my fellow runners who helped us stay focused on our goal. Some say run your own race, but if you have others with same plan, and use safe words, anything is possible. Our safe word for when we wanted to jog was Leonidas, and when we wanted to cool down was Batman, we didn’t judge each other when we needed to batman, as we knew our pace and we knew when we should go and when we need to rest.
So surround yourself with like-minded individuals and you can accomplish anything.
Set a SMART goal. Don’t let excuses define you.
Blogging thoughts from OCRA Team