by Carrie Adams

Gasping for breath, Ogden crossed the finish line for the sixth time in two days, held up by friends and spurned on by a crowd who greeted him with cheers as he nearly collapsed.  Covered in mud, scraped, bruised, and battered, he was finally able to rest having fulfilled a commitment he’d made months before when he sent a simple email to my inbox.

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When I began reading the message, I was intrigued by Ogden’s request.  It was simple, Ogden was direct.  He politely asked me if he would be able to run the Carolinas course as many times as he could.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked this question by a Spartan athlete, but James had a special reason.  He wanted to raise money for the charity Wounded Wear.  Given limited heat sizes, we don’t allow multiple heats run on the same day at an event, but Ogden was ultimately granted special permission given the cause and his commitment.  

He explained, “My challenge is to now focus these efforts to raise money for a non-WW_Posterprofit organization; Wounded Wear.  I have made it possible to pledge money ($$ amount per lap) or by simply a flat donation for my efforts via a wepay.com website that is set up here.  As a former Marine Veteran I fully believe and support the organization and their mission.  My entire reason for doing this is to draw attention to our wounded vets and, of course, the awesome (non-profit) organization; Wounded Wear.”

Wounded Wear provides free clothing and clothing modifications to wounded warriors and raises the national awareness of the sacrifices of America’s wounded and their families.

Wounded Wear was created by a severely wounded Navy SEAL who while undergoing his own reconstruction and recovery recognized two key issues that were not addressed by other organizations. He struggled with his massive injuries to find clothing he could wear around the medical devices necessary for healing and he noticed that most people never assumed that his injuries were incurred on the battlefield fighting for our Freedom.

Ogden ultimately took on the challenging course six times.  Racers and athletes watched on with fascination and horror during the sixth lap as Ogden battled the course while donning an elevation mask and carrying a ruck and weighted vest adding and additional 50 pounds. 

Beginning his six laps in the early Saturday morning Hurricane Heat and ending on Sunday he details his time on the course and the people and the cause that helped inspire him along the way. 

On race day, I did six laps total.  That includes the Hurricane heat on Saturday morning.  It took us about 3.5 hours to finish it.  We got done with that at 9:20 or so in the morning.  I still needed to eat and replenish my fluids.  I did that an washed all of the excess mud off of me.  Lap two for me started at around 10AM.  This was obviously my fasted lap.  I think, total, it took me an hour and a half to finish it.  After got back, I knew I needed to eat but had to just chug a bottle of Powerade and take off.  My friend John Henry was fighting off some serious cramps but decided to do this heat with me.  Three was bad.   I basically forgot to eat and felt it after about half way through.  My blood sugar dropped like a rock.  John Henry kept me going but just making small-talk, pithy jokes and such.  Once I got back I had realized that because I slowed due to my blood sugar dropping, I wasn’t going to be able to do five heats total in that day like I had wanted to.  I took a “break” for about an hour. 

I ate a whole bag of Simple Granola, drank a couple cans of Kill Cliff, changed clothes and I was a new man.  I killed my fourth heat.  I probably passed half of the field from the previous heat (@3:30).  I coasted on in and Eric Ashley, one of my heroes, had been checking in on me and personally gave me my fourth medal.  It’s pretty cool when a person that deeply inspires you, gives you a medal.  And chatted with me for about an hour afterwards.  Super cool guy and he gave me some awesome advice.

One of the biggest challenges laid before me and that was waking up the next day and essentially doing it all over again.  My entire body was bruised, cut-up, rubbed raw — my hands had blisters and splinters.  My feet and knees sounded like a bag of popcorn in the microwave.  But my alarm clock that was set for 5:15 that morning didn’t even get a chance to go off.  I was up at 4 just stretching, pacing and re-hydrating.  I was amped.  Ready to attack it all over again.  The only thing that was stressing me was what I had planned for the final lap. 

Another huge challenge was getting over the mentality of what qualified me as “a finisher.”  That was huge.  Usually, you show up, STFU, get your medal, pass around a few high-fives, drink some beer and go home.  That wasn’t what was in store for me.  As happy as it made me to see all of these new, and very elated, Spartans, I still had a mission to accomplish.  And I sort of had to block all of that out.

John Henry decided to do the my fifth lap with me on day two.  That was a HUGE morale booster for me.  Anytime you have JHE next to you, it’s going to be a good day.  While we were running, we chatted about how the last lap was going to go down.  I preemptively bitched about every hill and every obstacle knowing full well that it was going to hurt and it was going to be super tough.  JHE’s standard response:  “Yea, that is going too suck.”  My body was pretty shot at this point so it was indeed all mental.  JHE and I coasted in at just over two hours.

Close Up _Ogden JamesFor the final lap, I had about 40 minutes to get changed, feed myself, and gear up.  Just to antiquate it, I had a 20 pound vest, a 30 pound ruck, and (the killer) the elevation mask.  I got a lot of concerned looks on the way to the start line, to say the least.  But I had my elite entourage covering my six: John Henry, Todd Sedlak, and a guy that I ran with at the HH – John Powers.  I’m not going to lie, I walked at a 3.5 mph pace the whole time. 

From previous training, I knew that the mask, when I had all kinds of weight and gear strapped to me, basically restricted my breathing down to barely acceptable levels.  I had to really concentrate on my breathing.  I felt so lightheaded just moving from one obstacle to the next.  I honestly don’t know if I could have made it with out my guys– I have a strong feeling that I would’ve had to ditch the mask.  Every hill was a battle.  My muscles fatigued faster than they ever had – I felt kind of useless at points.  There were a few points where I had to take the mask off and take a knee. 

The guys were always patting me on the back: “You got this, man.  This is all you.”   There were some obstacles that there were was just no way that I was going to complete it with all of my gear.  To avoid burpees, Todd, JHE, or Powers would do it for 389663_10150605212806861_251061411860_9643993_1450376691_nme and we would move on.  The low-crawl through the mud under barbed wire was unequivocally the worst.  Todd and John pushed me and Powers helped me drag my ruck.  We moved pretty quickly considering the circumstances.  A lot of the racers had stopped at the end to make sure we all made it out ok — or perhaps they just wanted to see the show that was unfolding before them.  The biggest problem that I was having was trying to keep my mask opening from going in the mud and, thereby, cutting off what little air that I was taking in.  So I had to look sideways and up; not comfy in the least.  And at this point, the mud was at its worst consistency.  Just slick as can be and full of rocks and roots.  I am most confident that all of us walked away from that pit bleeding from at least three areas on our body. 

When I put the ruck back on, it weighed at least fifteen pounds heavier.  That’s something I did not train for.  I just had to suck it up and drive on.  The funny thing is all of the guys were telling stories and making jokes the whole time and I kept laughing in my mask.  That screwed my breathing up but kept my spirits high the whole time.  We kept pushing forward. 

I stopped and took my mask off when I knew had less than quarter mile to go and still in the woods.  I heard the announcer and music playing in the not-so-distant background.  I caught my breath again and thanked those guys from the bottom of my heart.  I could not have gotten this far without them.  And there was indeed a small part of me that, even when I started, thought that I would end up failing.  They, in turn, thanked me for letting them be apart of this.  Are you fucking kidding me?  “You’re thankful?  No I’m thankful!”  We could have argued all day and night but, at that point, it had been BEER:THIRTY about two hours ago so we shoved on.

560940_10150605228671861_251061411860_9644106_1423847210_nThe rest was history.  We worked through the last few obstacles. And made it to the fire and the floating platform that led to about 75 meters of open water to cross.  Todd and JHE had an epic battle with the pugil stick Spartans at the end.  They pushed them completely off the raft.  I had tripped on the rocks and fallen on my face, hitting my head as well.  Exhausted and confused, I look over my right shoulder while seeing double (and trying to catch my breath yet again) and saw John Powers reaching for me with an out-stretched hand and calling my name. I grabbed it and the flag that I had dropped and jumped onto the platform and back off of it.  My Marine Corps training kicked in once I was submerged; I immediately donned the mask and sank to the bottom with all +50 pounds strapped to me.  I pushed up off the bottom but didn’t even reach the surface before JHE and Todd had snatched me up.  They hoisted me up over their shoulders and I had the flag in my hands.  It was pretty emotional.  Finish photo

The guys were still thanking me but with cracks in their voices.  “For what?  Having you babysit me for the past 4+ miles?”  They set me down about ten feet from the water line and I was able to walk it in with fifty or so people gathered around and screaming.  It was tough not to get emotional. 

Six laps, almost a marathon’s distance for a cause.  Ogden indicates that over $2500 was raised for Wounded Wear.  If you’d like to help this worth cause, donate directly through WoundedWear.org or go to Ogden’s donation page HERE.

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3.20.12

WOD Presented by Gaspari Nutrition

3.21.12

On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, ‘Okay, this is the limit.’ As soon as you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.
-Ayton Senna, former F1 Champion

Simple movements allow you to really focus on your form.  You want quality reps only.

WOD

Warm up:
10-20 minute warm up run with some fast strides mixed in.  (Strides are 30 second intervals where you pick up pace).

then

Main Set
2-6 sets of:

100 meter sprint
5-30 push ups
50-200 lunges
100 meter sprint
5-30 push-ups (or chin ups)
50-200 squats

Great to do this WOD mixed with an aerobic run of 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Cool Down:
light jog
stretch

3.22.12

WOD on Banking:

You will get more out than you put in.  Just make sure you put it away.  Don’t use your mouth to write checks your body can’t cash.  It’s going to be a long day out there.  Be ready.
-anon.

Aerobic fitness needs to be locked away. Deep endurance takes years to happen. But, what you gain, you keep.  It’s worth the investment.

WOD
Go for a long trail run if you can. Or find some intense and interesting roads.  Regardless, get out and get the heart rate up for as long as you are able.  Enjoy it!

3.23.12

The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful, is the man who will win.
-Roger Bannister

Today’s WOD is brought to you by Hobie Call. Hobie is an amazing athlete that has won more Spartan Races than we can count.  He is currently in the lead of our 2012 Spartan Race Points Series with 11,013 points!  Are you tough enough to take his place up top?  Are you even tough enough for Hobie’s Upper Body WOD?

Hobie Call’s Upper Body Challenge

CLICK HERE TO WATCH

3.24.12

“The best way out is always through.” -Robert Frost

Push through the pain!

WOD:
Descending A Burpee Ladder
12 burpees – 400m run
11 burpees – 400m run
10 burpees – 400m run

Beginner’s Tip: No need to be intimidated by numbers! Start with 4 burpees and work your way down if that is good for you. The most important step a beginner can do is commit to setting aside time each day to personal improvement in regards to health. Every step done with this attitude is magnificent and impressive. Let the internet tough guys brag about numbers of reps in Facebook comments. YOU do what YOU can and enjoy it. Give yourself permission to be great.

3.25.12

“I can, therefore I am.”
Simone Weil

We obsess too much about numbers. They can clutter your workout.

WOD:

Devote 1 hour to aerobic fitness tomorrow. For our beginners this might mean a run/walk with no regard to distance or pace. Just focus on making this 1 hour tomorrow as active as you can and try to stay in motion. A journey of 10,000 miles begins with a single step. Take that first step tomorrow. Give yourself an hour to focus on it. Don’t psych yourself out with ‘what if’s’ and ‘am I doing this right?’

For our more experienced runners, maybe you could benefit from running at tempo or race pace. But maybe leave the heart rate monitor and GPS at home?

Spartans weren’t analyzing data. They were do busy ‘doing’. With this mind set you might discover some useful insights into your routines. It is a focused effort to properly listen to your body. We are great at creating a lot of noise that distracts us from this vital ability.

3.26.12

“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.”
Ralph Marston

WOD:
We just want to give a shout-out to the Carolina Spartan Racers who inspired us this weekend. Recover! You are going to need it to get ready for what we have in store for you this October!
That’s right! The Carolinas Spartan Beast Race: http://www.spartanrace.com/carolinas-obstacle-racing-the-beast-2012.html

Beginner Tip: You can’t always go hard. When you train you are actually making yourself weaker. It’s the recovery that substantiates strength. Monday is a traditional ‘rest day’ as you were probably training hard this weekend!

 

by Carrie Adams

The mail we receive from athletes who come and run with us are often filled with inspired stories of how people are making positive changes to make their lives better, to be healthier, and to lead active lives.  One story came into HQ today and we had to share this amazing journey from unhealthy to Spartan glory.  Meet William Coleman.

DSCF0683 (2)My name is William Coleman. My sister (Juawana Hall) and I ran the Spartan Sprint this past Saturday in Charlotte. We had a great day. I live outside Washington DC in Virginia. She lives in Winston-Salem. Well, when I got home this evening she calls me and explains how she had been posting on the Spartan Facebook page about the race and how proud she was of me for doing it. Specifically that 2 years ago I weighed almost 500 pounds. Through diet and exercise I’ve dropped over 200 pounds and am in the best shape of my life.

My whole life I have struggled with my weight. I was the fat kid all through out my years in school. I attempted to play sports in high school, but was lazy. Had no motivation. I went for a sports physical in 10th grade to try out for the football team. I was told by the doctor who preformed the exam that at 305 pounds I was to heavy to participate.  At that point I gave up on school sports. I began a gym membership inJuly wedding (2) 11th grade, didn’t stick with it again. Over the next several years I tried everything out there. Weight loss pills, every gimmick diet. Counting points, no carbs, nothing worked.

Fast forward to February 2010. I had ballooned up to 478 lbs. I hadn’t developed diabetes or high blood pressure, but was on my way. I couldn’t go up a flight of stairs with out huffing and puffing like a freight train. I ate ungodly amounts of food. One meal would be 2 full size subs, an order of potatoes wedges with bacon and cheese and chicken wings. Or I would pick up an 8 piece family meal of fried chicken with large sides and 6 biscuits, eat every bit and fall asleep in a food coma, only to repeat at the next meal time. I was going to die.

It was time for a change. A friend of mine, who also happens to be my boss, had to lose weight for a trip his family was taking. He was a big guy too. His doctor had recommended a low carb diet to him. I watched his progress after two weeks he had dropped 20 lbs. It was structured and had no special items that required to be bought with a brand name on the front of the box. Just a plan and a list of how often and what to eat. I started the plan at the end of February. Over the next 6 moths I dropped 100lbs. With out exercise or training. I lowered my body weight by almost 20%. At this point I started my membership at my local Gold’s Gym in Manassas, Va. I then mixed in a sort of structured routine. Fast forward one year I dropped another 100 lbs. This past October I ran in the Virginia 2011 Warrior Dash, a fun race. I had a good time but I wanted a real challenge. Through some friends I found about the Spartan Races. They are what I was looking for. After this past weekend I have made it a personal 5 year goal to prepare for, compete in, and finish the Death Race.  I’m sore and can barley lift my right leg to a straight 90 degrees, but while my leg rests I have much more upper body to work on. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I was.

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3.13.12  Monday

http://blog.spartanrace.com/wod-for-tuesday-march-13th-2012/

This is James Villepigue CSCS and Hobie Call’s wisdom about making sure you are peak for the performance of your life on race day.

3.14.12  Tuesday

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

We think this is good advice for when you feel the burn and want to stop.

WOD
warm-up: 15 minute jump rope.  Be sure to work up a good sweat.  You’ll want to be ready.  Maybe do two easy sets of push ups or burpees.

main set:
for time
30 burpees
30 burpee/pull-ups
30 pull ups

cool down:  stretch, try a yoga pose or two if you never have.

Do multiple sets if you’re feeling it.

Oh, what’s a burpee/pull-up?  Hint:  Stand before your pull up bar and do a burpee before doing the pull up.  You’ll figure it out.

3.15.12  Wednesday

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
-Thomas Jefferson

track workout:
warm up: jog 800 meters (two laps)

Main Set
Run 1 mile (time yourself, aim for your desired race pace)
Run 4×100 meter sprints (rest 30 seconds in between)
Run 6×40′s – rest 20 seconds in between

Spartan run bleachers if they see them.  Be careful, but great way to build strength.

cool down: 10 minute jog

3.16.12  Thursday

Keep steadily before you the fact that all true success depends at last upon yourself.
-Theodore T. Hunger

Abs.

Plank 5 minutes
50 crunches
Plank 5 minutes
Hanging Leg Raises till failure
Plank 5 Minutes

3.17.12  Friday

Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.
– Joseph Joubert

warm up: 800 meter jog

Main set:
100 traveling lunges, 100 double unders, 100 hand release push ups, 100 air squats
Run a 400 meter interval after each movement
followed by a
2-5 mile run
As always, adjust as needed.

3.18.12  Saturday

The simplest things are often the truest.

- Richard Bach

Straight ahead fitness.  No gimmicks.

2 mile warm up run
50 lunges (3 to 5 sets)
20 push ups (3 to 5 sets)
2-5 mile run
50 lunges (3 to 5 sets)
Pull ups till failure
1 mile cool down jog

3.19.12

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
-Henry David Thoreau

w/u 3 rounds of 10 push ups, pull ups, dips, sit ups, air squats

For 30 minutes (As many rounds as possible):
run 800m
20 burpees

by Carrie Adams

thebeast-60The 2011 Vermont Beast was a game changer in the sport of Obstacle Racing.  The climbs, the insanity of the obstacles, and the technicality of the course left racers breathless and broken.  It became the crowning jewel in a calendar of events that just keep getting more challenging in 2012.  So true to Spartan form, the game is changing again.  We’re kicking it up a notch in two very dramatic ways.

UB_SM_FB_IMAGESpartan Race HQ is announcing the inclusion of a new event that will be added to the  Vermont Beast weekend in 2012, the Ultra Beast.  The first of its kind, the Ultra Beast will be the world’s first marathon distance Obstacle Race.  That’s right, roughly 26.2 muddy, hilly, and obstacle-filled miles of mayhem.  Intrigued yet?

There’s more.

The Ultra Beast will be ONE heat on Saturday, September 22nd.  Racers will be designated with Ultra Beast armbands and announced by our Emcee.  (The time of the heat will be announced at a later date.)  The Ultra Beast will feature two loops of the main course resulting in an approximate marathon distance.  Racers will face the toughest course Spartan can bring TWICE before finding the finish line.  No skipping obstacles and only serious athletes and hardened competitor’s apply.  The Ultra Beast is not for the faint of heart.  For your own safety and for the competitive nature of the event, you will have to apply for acceptance into the Ultra Beast.

Still interested in participating?

  • Send an email with your race resume and three sentences about why you want to take on the Ultra Beast to ultrabeast@spartanrace.com.  Upon acceptance, selected participants will be notified and given registration instructions by Spartan Race.

In addition to standard Spartan finisher amenities, Ultra Beast finishers will earn their thebeast-72own distinct medal and a one-of-a-kind T-shirt that will not ever be available for purchase.  Athletes will also earn DOUBLE points for their efforts when they take on the Ultra Beast on race day!

What else does Spartan Race have lined up for the VT event?

In addition to creation of the Ultra Best, Spartan Race HQ is making the entire Vermont Beast weekend of heats the first (almost) unsupported race in the Spartan Race line-up.  “Unsupported”, a concept in Adventure Racing and other endurance challenges, means racers will have to prepare and ultimately take on the course with everything they’ll need to finish.  This means they’ll carry their own food and water for the duration of their time on the course increasing both the challenge and the accomplishment when finished.  Spartan Race will provide ONE aid station at one point on the course for the Ultra and the Beast participants with water only, but it’s location will not be released prior to race day.  Come prepared.

thebeast-18In preparation for this unprecedented standard of challenge, Spartan Race will be providing information on how to self-support successfully straight from Spartan Race Director and seasoned Adventure Racer, Mike Morris.   Says Morris, “One aid station will up the intensity of this already difficult course.  A mostly unsupported race adds a new level of challenge to the game that no other event has.”

For the ultimate badass wondering how to compete in the Beast’s competitivewave AND take on the Ultra since they are happening on the same day,  there are two simple steps:

1. Register for the Beast’s competitive heat to confirm your spot as spaces are limited.thebeast-20

2. Submit your race resume and three sentences why you want to take on this historic challenge to ultrabeast@spartanrace.com.  If accepted, Spartan Racewill contact you with details.

For those participants wanting to take on a regular, non-competitive Beast heat and the Ultra Beast in the same weekend, we recommend applying for the Ultra Beast heat on Saturday according to the directions and registering now for a heat on Sunday, September 23rd.

Already registered for the Beast and want to try your hand at the Ultra?  Submit your application and instructions to transfer registration will be provided if accepted.

To find out more about the Ultra Beast click HERE.

Questions?  Check out our ContactPage.

UltraBEAST_FB_Large_date (2)

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Spartan WOD Archive 3.6.12 to 3.12.12Spartan Race Archive

by Jason Jaksetic

 

If this documents your hard work for this past week – congratulations.

If this documents what you are going to do this week – go get it done.

Subscribe for our WOD here.

3.6.12

http://blog.spartanrace.com/hard-core-strength-boosting-high-endurance-workout/

3.7.12

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.
-Christopher Reeve

Power Hour (or ½ hour) Push-ups

Pick a set number of push ups to do for every minute on the minute for an hour.  A variation is to replicate this reps per minute workout with body weight squats.  Maybe do 30 minutes of push-ups followed by squats each.  This is a great workout for those of northern latitudes spending more time indoors.

3.8.11

Strivers achieve what dreamers believe.
Usher Raymond

Fartlek’s Run on an open road/trail/treadmill (2-4-6-4-2):
‘hard’ = race pace run

10 min w/u jump rope
10 min jog

2 min hard
1 min jog
4 min hard
2 min jog
6 min hard
3 min jog
4 min hard
2 min jog
2 min hard
1 min jog

(repeat set if needed)

10 min cool down job and then stretch

 

WOD 3.9.12

Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health.
Carl Jung

Well, here are some difficulties for you.

warm up: 15 minute jog

6-8 hill repeats on steepest gradient you can find.  Should take 30-90 seconds to climb.  Recover 2 – 3 minutes between sets.  Feel free to kick off each set with 20 push-ups.

If you do this right you’ll be happy to just walk and stretch for a cool down.

 

WOD for 3.10.12

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Vince Lombardi

To be successful in a Spartan Race you have to go the distance. Whatever distance you choose to race, you better be comfortable with it before we throw in a hell-on-earth of obstacles.

Long run.  Whatever that is for you.

 

WOD for 3.11.12

We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.
Jesse Owens

Keep it simple.

Work up to a good sweat by jumping rope.

then

50 burpees

100 body weight squats

pull ups till failure

(repeat if needed)

Stretch it out.

 

3.12.12

Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.
-Ralph Marston
Sometimes a workout can be refreshing.  Just try something new.  Swim, bike, row, or hike.  Avoid the rut!

by Carrie Adams

[Editor’s Note: Original posted on Carrie’s personal blog www.leavingapath.com.]

mom4Spartan Race has exposed me to some of the most extraordinary athletes and individuals.  I’ve made friends all over the world and witnessed feats of courage and triumph all over the United States and from super athlete’s like Hobie Call and Jenny Tobin.  I’ve been inspired away from home and brought those memories home with me. 

This weekend, I had a different experience and while I was away from home, the inspiration came from a very close and personal place. 

My mom has always been a person I’ve admired.  Arguably one of the smartest women I’ve ever met, she made being a mom and having a kick ass career something that looked easy when I was growing up.  It was only years later with my own children that I realized the struggle she faced and how much grace she held to make it look easy.  Never missing a game or a dance recital, putting homemade and nutritious food on the table each morning and night, all while holding down 60 hour work weeks, she was superwoman.

In the business world, she was a force, often in fields dominated by men.  I remember her telling me of working for Lee Iacocca early in her career when he was with Ford Motor Company and how during a meeting she defied the automobile icon directly. 

She says, “He was unhappy with the production numbers at Claycomo, MO plant and looking directly at me, I was  the only woman in the room, he said, ‘I think it’s time for you to leave.’”  She was shocked at the request.

Iacoca’s reason for asking her to leave, “I am going to swear, and I don’t want to do that in front of a woman.”

In a roomful of men she wouldn’t allow herself to be different, regardless of his intention.  She told him, “No, I’m fine.”  She laughs recalling that her boss looked at her like she had two heads at her defiance of the man in charge.

“I stayed.  He swore.” She explains with a smile. 

As I’ve grown up, she’s never ceased to amaze me at what she can accomplish.  Thissarasotaandstuff 3586 past weekend was no exception.  Just a week inside of being over a debilitating bout with pneumonia and coming off a season ending stress fracture, she finished her first half marathon in under 2:45 minutes  yesterday finishing 53rd in her age group. 

No small feat for a woman who has never run more than six miles, who had not run outside since August 2011, and who even the day before the race was having lung trouble post-pneumonia.  She registered six days before the event, at my insistence and calmly, sarasotaandstuff 3635and coolly we towed the line at the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon and took off in the dark with 3,000 other runners.  She was undaunted on the outside of the task that lay ahead. We watched the sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico, she battled for 12 miles by my side in good spirits and never without a smile.  I lost her just past mile 12 and went forward finishing just three minutes ahead of her.  I watched her cross the finish line more than fifteen minutes inside her goal of three hours earning her first half mary hardware. 

We didn’t run alone, we were surrounded by exceptional women.  Our pacer Marisela (a marathon veteran 41 times over) who we stuck by for 11 miles was extraordinarysarasotaandstuff 3563 and in our group ran two eleven year old girls one of whom would finish side by side with her older sister, just 13 years old, in 2 hours and 40 minutes.   And another 11 year old girl who would finish her first half marathon alone, chicking her dad shortly after the start.  Mothers, daughters, sisters, and best friends crossed the line in a race comprised of 65% females.  I held back tears watching so many of them finish hand in hand.

sarasotaandstuff 3615It was a memory I won’t soon forget alongside women, one in particular, my mother I am so very grateful for having in my life.  I made a video for her, of our day and our run, a little Half Mary by the Gulf, 13.1 miles shared by mother and daughter and one finish that will last a lifetime. 

On our way home she said casually and unexpectedly, “So, where is the closest Spartan Race?” 

I couldn’t help but smile,she’s often heard me talk about the races and what they mean to me.  I replied, “We’ll be in Chicago in October, it’s a Super, so eightish miles.”

“Hmmm,” she mused, “I think I might have to get a plane ticket…”

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Bob Spartan

by Alec Blenis

(Editors note:  Alec Blennis was 4th in our Miami Super Spartan and this weekend he will being doing our Georgia Spartan Sprint with his entire family.  Thank you for submitting this, Alec!)

Start From Now

Crossing the finish line of the Georgia Spartan Sprint, exhausted, Bob Blenis glances at his medal, downs a cup of water, and hugs his family. “That reminded me of Quantico”, he exclaims, recalling his military training, “…just tougher”.  After driving 400 miles directly to the race, finishing was the easy part. Bob drives over 100 mile to work every day, typically working 60 hour weeks. He would get home at 5:00 or 6:00pm, but night time workouts often keep him out much later. Impressive?

 

Bob is 67 years old.

Since the Georgia event in March 2011, Bob has finished three Super Spartans and the Vermont Spartan Beast. He has even signed up for at least eight races this year.  So, what made Bob sign up for his very first obstacle race? “Family,” he says, and that’s what keeps him coming back. Bob believes Spartan Race is a great opportunity for families to have fun together. “I would never travel across the country just to run,” he says, “ but Spartan Races are different. You get to see new places, spend time with family, and meet some really great people.” Bob is pretty great too, and at 67 years old, he has been the oldest finisher at every race. He doesn’t take his age to seriously though. “I have lived nearly 68 years so far, and feel like I’ll live 68 more… [Spartan Race] is saving my life.”

Along with a desire to live a long and healthy life, Spartan Race has motivated Bob to train harder. He takes fitness classes at his local gym, goes to “boot camp” every Saturday morning, and runs after work, weather permitting. He takes no medication, just a multi-vitamin. “I exercise so I can eat what I want. I do eat mostly vegetables, but I exercise so I don’t have to watch what I eat.”  Whatever Bob is doing, it’s working. Not only has he been the oldest finisher at each of his Spartan Races, he’s finished respectably, outperforming more than half of his competition. In fact, he placed in the top 40% of all finishers in last weekend’s Super Spartan in Miami, Florida. He’s not trying to beat anyone though. Well, except for his daughter-in-law.

“A lot of people my age just sit around,” Bob says, “but I’m running Spartan Races and don’t plan on stopping any time soon.” Bob thinks too many people don’t participate because of age and that they’re really missing out on the fun. “Being able to associate with guys like Hobie Call is awesome… and spending time with my family is just great.”

With three generations of the Blenis family competing in Spartan Races, we’ll be seeing a lot of Bob and his family this year.

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Spartan Race HQ is settled in the Green Mountains of Vermont.  The legendary Death Race is held there and the history of the small town is a rich tapestry grounded in good people looking to blaze new trails, get outdoors, and grow local economies for business owners and their families.  In addition to Spartan Races, several ultra events are also held in this area put on by Peak Races, Spartan’s sister company in Vermont.  Here is one story of the Green Mountain Trail system that spreads out from the back steps of Spartan Race HQ told by one of the men who maintains them, Matt Baatz. 

The Green Mountain Trail System

by Matt Baatz

treesignWhen Spartan Race Founder Joe Desena moved to Vermont and bought Riverside Farm his land sprawled well into the hardwood forest in the Green Mountains. By building trails on his land, he saw the opportunity to duplicate the type of gonzo ultra endurance races he’d grown to love. Pittsfield Bike Club president Jason Hayden was eager to help. An extensive trail system would be a major boon to the burgeoning mountain biking scene in the region. The resulting Green Mountain Trail System, and the race series Desena hosted there, would eventually spawn The Spartan Race.

Hayden and Desena marked off twenty miles of trails, and, in trail building terms, cut the trails overnight. Desena hired out an expert operator, a tough old Yank named Charlie Bowen, and a mini excavator. They spent marathon sessions cutting sustainable trails riddled with dozens of switchbacks on the steep hillsides. An equallym_81_picture-6 irrepressible “retiree” Alex, who Desena hired as a summer caretaker on his farm, instead found himself with a new responsibility: He’d contour the excavated trails with a garden rake, and scraped so diligently that he wore the tines down to nubs. He’s known to this day as “Alex the Rake.”

Hayden secured a 20k grant from the state mountain bike association, VMBA, and he brought in the Vermont Youth Conservation Corp to build a series of bridges on the south side of the mountain. Andy Weinberg, co-creator of The Death Race and Race Director for the array of ultra endurance events on Desena’s farm, recruited members of a high school Warman C-1swim team that he coached in the heart of corn pone Illinois to buff the trails for a dollar a day. They came out of the woods that summer just as buff as the trails.

Andy Weinberg and Desena teamed up to develop a series of ultra endurance events, the Peak Races, on the trail system: a snowshoe marathon that was unheard of at the time, but proved surprisingly popular from the start; a six hour mountain bike race with a pig roast called, diabolically, the 666 Race; an ultra endurance trail run that followed fifty miles of the gnarliest terrain they could find, and as if that weren’t enough, they created a “Death Division” of the race involving the type of challenging farm and woodsman type chores common to rural Vermonters.

In fact, the race arose as both an attempt to create one of the toughest races in the pastedGraphicworld and a way to help Desena’s Pittsfield neighbors complete their most drudging chores, interspersed with barbed wire crawls, of course. This quickly evolved into The Death Race. Desena and the other founders created The Spartan Race to bring a comparable level of challenge to the masses.

The Green Mountain Trail System is growing in its own right. MTBVT.COM recognized the trails last June as “the best kept secret” in Vermont with some of the most awesome singletrack in the state for mountain biking. Desena has kept the trails free and always open to the public. Go to www.greenmountaintrails.com for more information and a map.

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by Carrie Adams

401441_10150530644171861_251061411860_9390973_292477025_n[2]Spartan Race is one of the few events of it’s kind where kids get in on the action! Where else can kids take on an obstacle course and earn some rad Spartan hardware and support an amazing charity with the Kids Fit Foundation?

Entry fee is $25.00 Per Child ages 4-13. The course is about a 1⁄2 mile filled with junior obstacles for children 4-9 and 1 mile for kids 10-13. Each child will receive a T-shirt and Finisher’s Medal with 100% of the Jr. Spartan Adventure proceeds benefiting the Kids Fit Foundation.

As a leader in the movement to help children learn life-long health and fitness habits, the Kids Fit Foundation strives to raise awareness and develop programs that educate, empower and inspire kids to become and stay fit. kids race_thumb

Spartan Races are about a return to the childlike sense of adventure that we’ve lost while getting sucked up into ‘normal life’. Spartan Races wants to keep this sense of adventure alive in our kids BEFORE they lose it.

Today, a typical child devotes an average 7.5 hours each day to entertainment media: TV, video games, cell phones, and movies.

Physical activity is essential in helping children control weight, build lean muscle, reduce fat, and develop strong bones, muscles and joints. The challenges in a Kid Spartan Race are ideally suited to building fitter, stronger, and healthier youths.

kids1More importantly, the sense of fun and camaraderie inherent in our races will help instill within your kids a sense of excitement and respect for fitness.

Spartan Races are about building a healthy and active community of people. Kid Spartan Races allow us to help build stronger families.

To register, go to www.spartanrace.com and find an event near you and get your little ones registered!  Kids races happen in every US race in 2012! 

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