Courage: The systematic, deliberate development of courage is essential to the achievement of success. Fear is the greatest single obstacle to achievement. -Brian Tracy
50 Lunges (25/leg)
25 Sit ups
15 Push ups
25 Jumping jacks
1 Minute plank
20 Kettle bell swings (10/arm)
Training for Sprint 1-3 Rounds
Training for Super 4-6 Rounds
Training for Beast 7-9 Rounds
Training for UltraBeast 10-12 Rounds
After completing your rounds, go for a 3-5 mile jog/run.
After returning from your jog/run do 100 crunches as a bonus.
Name: Rob Serrano
Location: Dingmans Ferry, Pa.
Favorite Quote: Yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is cash money.
From Alabama to Wyoming and everywhere in between, Spartans are banding together to share the Spartan story as members of our elite Spartan Street Team! The Spartan Race Street Team is a group of individuals brought together to actively engage our local communities across the country and challenge individuals to step out of their comfort zones, lead healthier lives, and ultimately try a Spartan Race! We’ve asked them to share with our blog audience some of their favorite workouts to help you get ready for your Spartan Race.
With the inclusion of the World’s first marathon distance obstacle race, the Spartan Ultra Beast, some incredible athletes are throwing their hats in the ring to be a participant. With limited spots to fill and an application process, the Ultra Beast is going to be one of the most unique and challenging events on the planet. You can read more about the event and how to claim one of the prized spots in this once-in-a-lifetime experience HERE.
One of the participants is using a non-traditional, traditional approach to train for the Ultra. An Ironman. Spartan Beast finisher in 2011, Rick Kraics will be using his Ironman training and ultimately his Ironman event in Madison, Wisconsin 13 days before the event as his training for the Ultra. Listen to his story and wish him luck in his quest to go beyond the unknown in Spartan’s Ultra Beast September 22, 2012!
Ironman Training: Rick Kraics
My first Spartan Race was the 2011 Spartan Beast in Vermont. I think the average time out there that day was 5-6 hours on the 13ish mile course. So I felt pretty good about my 3:35:56 finishing time. That said it was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done. In fact, the Spartan Beast was mile for mile tougher than any other race I’ve ever done. When I finished the Beast my body was trashed, I was completely exhausted, my legs were cramping, my stomach was nauseous and I was just glad I didn’t have to climb up that damn mountain again. So earlier this year when Andy (one of the co-founders of Spartan Race) asked me if I wanted to step up and race in the Spartan Ultra Beast this year I had a decision to make. It took about 2 seconds. I said, “Of course I’m in. What do you need from me?” It turns out he wanted a lot out of me before I would officially be accepted into the Ultra Beast but I’ll tell you more about that later. First a little background on me.
As a kid I ran a number of road races and even a half marathon. Then I took a 15 year break from running. I didn’t have a reason why I
Peak Ultra 30 Miler
stopped running other than I had other stuff going on in my life and running itself wasn’t a priority. But in 2004 I started running again. I liked it. So I did my first marathon in 2005. Then I started doing triathlons in early 2007. I liked those too. So in late 2007 I did my first Ironman. I started trail running in 2010. I really liked trail running. So I started ultra running in early 2011. And then in late 2011 I ran my first Spartan Race – the Spartan Beast in Vermont. I loved competing in the Spartan Beast. So here I am again trying to prepare myself for what will again be mile for mile tougher than any other race I’ve ever competed in.
What exactly is the Ultra Beast? The Spartan Web page states, “The Spartan Ultra Beast will be the world’s first marathon distance Obstacle Race. It will be ONE heat that will feature two loops of the main Beast course. Races will face the toughest course Spartan Race can bring, TWICE, before finding the finish line. It’s 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 in the Ultra Beast Marathon.”
So, how does one prepare for the toughest course Spartan Race can bring, twice? Well, the bad news about training for the Ultra Beast is there are only two things I really know about the course. First, it will involve lots of elevation gain so I’ve got to train by running some hills and living in a place at sea level with no real elevation change doesn’t make that easy. And second I’ve got to increase my endurance because this race is going to take a long, long time.
The good news is what Andy wanted from me in order to be accepted into the Ultra Beast was for me to compete (again) in the Peaks Ultra, which is a race in Pittsfield, VT. If you know Pittsfield (the location of the infamous Death Race), then you know there are plenty of mountains to run. I ran the 30 mile race and in doing so felt like a slacker. You see the morning I started running a fella by the name of Willy had just won the 500 mile Peaks Ultra race. It took him just over eight days. Other course options included a 50, 100, 150 and 200 milers. So you’ll understand when I tell you that my 2nd place finish in the 30 miler still feels kind of hollow. On a positive note though, that race started my hill training again so I’m on my way to being better prepared for the Ultra Beast.
So now with hill training out of the way (wink, wink) I need to focus on endurance training. The Ultra Beast is going to be the toughest race I tackle this year for sure but that doesn’t mean it is going to be the longest. According to Wikipedia ”Endurance (also called Sufferance, Stamina, Resilience, or Durability) is the ability for a human or animal to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to trauma, wounds, or fatigue.” That sounds exactly like what I’ll need for the Ultra Beast! The part I can train for is the ability to remain active for a long period of time. What better way to do that than to do another Ironman? For me I’m guessing an Ironman should take approximately twice as long as it will take to finish the Ultra Beast. And as it happens Ironman Wisconsin is exactly 13 days before the Ultra Beast in September. Sounds like the perfect, last long training day before I set my sights on the muddy mountains of Vermont. Who knows maybe I’ll try to go unsupported and carry all my fuel and water on the run to emulate the Ultra Beast? Nah, that is just crazy talk. But seriously finishing an Ironman by itself is no joke. I know, I bonked and DNF’ed the last one I entered 2 years ago. I don’t plan on repeating that performance. Instead, I plan on finishing the Ironman to have fun, race hard and prepare myself both physically and mentally to compete in the Spartan Ultra Beast.
So that’s it. I’m a runner, triathlete, obstacle racer and Spartan that is dead set on taming the Ultra Beast in Killington this September. My logic is simple. I figure if I can handle 140.6 miles of Ironman swimming, cycling and running on Sept. 9th than I should have enough gas in the tank to finish a grueling 26.2 miles of untamed Ultra Beast on September 22nd. And if I don’t, then you can carry me home on my shield.
If you find yourself on Cape Cod this summer and need someone to train with shoot me an email or send me a message on Facebook. I’m always up for an adventure!
This week Chris helps out with the Spartan Death Race.
If you are new to the story, Chris Davis started out at almost 700lbs. He’s lost over 300lbs so far. Follow his Spartan journey as he attempts to get below 200lbs and complete the Spartan Ultra Beast in September.
The 2012 Summer Death Race was an incredible experience for me for several reasons. First, it let me see Joe and Andy do what they do best, manage chaos on a grand scale. Second, it gave me a chance to interact with some of the world’s best athletes. The last and most important thing, it taught me to realize that only you know when you need to stop.
For me the race really got real on Thursday when I saw the list of people that had signed up, and I got my list of responsibilities. I knew that if I was going to survive the race, I was going to have to push myself both mentally and physically – but looking back I had totally underestimated just how far I was going to push myself. I was scheduled to work about 10 hours a day for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I was relieved to see that they were planning on rotating people out to get some sleep throughout the race. So I got home early and tried to get some extra sleep, which I found hard because I was so excited about what was to come.
My first task for the race was to report to registration and help get everyone checked in. I was so happy to see that Margaret Schlachter from Dirt in your Skirt was one of the first people to get to the pool house and wait for the registration to start. I have the privilege to know her since arriving here, and I consider her one of my close friends. I could tell that she was ready for the race, but there was something not quite right. She told me that she was not going to finish the race, and I knew that her heart was not in it today. In a race like this you do not have a chance in hell of completing it if your heart is not 100% in it.
As registration opened, I took my position in the pool house, and I had a chance to talk with every racer that went through the registration process. It was funny to see the different reactions you would get when you would ask people do you want to quit. It was also great when I would switch it up to ‘do you want to race’ and some people would just say no, because they had already stopped listening to the questions we were asking, because the 5 people before me had asked in they wanted to quit. It would take about 5 seconds, then it would hit them to what I had asked. It was great, we had already started to get into some of their heads.
Photo by Matt Davis
Once things calmed down, I headed to Amee Farm to see the official start of the race. But it looked like Joe had other plans for me. Once I arrived he had me front and center walking up and down the farm telling people that the race was starting and they had 60 seconds to get checked in. The next thing I knew I was walking along with everyone over to the Amee Farm Lodge, where everyone had to get into the pond. Now to honest with you, I would not want to get into this pond if I had a space suit because of the duck droppings and the run-off from the farm fields above the lodge. But that did not stop most of the Death Racers. There were a few that tried to sit on the shore and tried to talk them into getting in but they refused, and it was at that point I knew that they were not going to last long. After Joe split them up into teams, I headed off to get a head start on their hike up the national forest because I knew that I would not be able to keep up with the pace Joe was going to have them moving. I met up with the groups a few miles away from the national forest entrance. A couple of the racers peeled off from their groups to help me keep up, but I knew I was slowing them down so I let them go after a few minutes so they could get back with their group. Things were going great until I came down one of the hills to find one of the racers having problems. There were already two volunteers helping him, but I stopped to help as well. We helped him to sit down and relax. We got him some water and food, but it keep getting worse, so we had to call in support. We were able to get him back to the farm but his condition got worse and he ended up heading to the hospital. After we cleaned up a little we continued down the road until we meet up with everyone.
The racers were doing burpees at the entrance of the national forest. Joe told them as I arrived that I was the reason they were doing burpees and I just shook my head. Once I got there Joe made me do at least one burpee with every group. Some groups talked me into doing 5 or 10 with them. As I was getting ready to head back I bumped back into Margret and she told me that she was going to finish the race – I was shocked by the change. I know that she is an experienced racer and that something had convinced her that she was good to go. So I headed back to my house to try and get some sleep because I knew I had a big day ahead of me tomorrow. I had not realized how far down the road I had walked because it took hours for me to get back to town and then to my house. I finally made it home around 11:30pm and I had to be up by 5am because I had to be on the top of Joe’s mountain by 7am.
* * *
There is almost nothing worse than hearing your alarm go off after only a few hours of sleep. I got up and stumbled out the door. I made it up to the first cabin by 6 am and then headed up to the top cabin. I made it there by 6:50 am and I called to home-base to let them know that I had arrived. Only I found out that the racers were over 12 hours behind schedule. The only thing going though my mind at that point was why did I not check in before I got to the top cabin. So after a few hours they had me head back down the mountain to the lower cabin and wait for a ride back to Amee Farm. While waiting for my ride I started talking to Nick (he was there as Elisa Thrasher support crew). He had spend the night in a tent at the lower cabin. After hearing their story I knew that she was going to be one of people that would find a way to make it to the end.
When I arrived back at Amee Farm, I was told that Margaret had quit. The first thing that I asked is she hurt? No one had an answer, so the worst started to go through my mind. But then I realized that if she had been hurt severely they would know. So like everyone else I waited for the shuttle to arrive with the people that had quit. When I heard that the shuttle had arrived I started heading towards it when I saw her, she was having some problems walking so I gave her a hand and we got her sitting down. She took off her shoes and her feet were destroyed. One of the medics from another team stopped by and checked her out. We talked for a while, and she did not quit because of her feet, she quit because she realized she was racing for the wrong reason. She had been racing because everyone else wanted her to, and not because she wanted to. I cannot tell you how much I respect her for making that decision. I do not know if I have the inner strength to make that decision if I had been in her place.
Later in the day I was sent back up the mountain to the lower cabin, where we set up for the pebble challenge. This was also the first time that the racers were going to be able to get support from their support crews. So when I saw Nick still here I continued to talk to him while we waited for the racers to show up. When Elisa showed up I got a chance to talk to her for a bit, and I knew my early assumption was right, she would make it as long as she did not get hurt.
The challenge was basic in design, but almost impossible to complete. As the racers came to the challenge they were split up into teams of 2 to 5 people and were given a number. Somewhere on the trails there was a stake and flag with their number on it. Once they found their stake they needed to fill a pot hole in the trail with buckets of pebble from in front of the cabin. Simple right? We expected each team to take 4 to 5 hours to find their stake, but teams were coming back in less than 30 minutes. So we knew something was up, but things were happening so fast we had no idea on what to do. So we sent them to the next challenge.
While they were at the next challenge people started to confess that they had cheated. And as they did they were send back to Amee Farm to receive their punishment. A little while later Elisa walked up to me and told me that she had found out that her team had cheated, but she did not know about it until she arrived at the next challenge. She was very upset that she had not questioned her teammates and accepted it without questioning it. I told her to go back to Amee Farm and explain to Joe and Andy what had happened. She was the only one to come to me and tell me what had happened. Looking back on this I screwed up, what I should have done was take one of the remain flags and sent her out to look for it. By the time it was all over all but one or two teams had cheated. Because of this fact, I was asked to stay at the cabin overnight and assist in their community service for their crime. After that was complete I stayed there till after 6 AM manning the checkpoint to make sure we did not lose anyone over night.
I was so cold when I got home, I didn’t shower or anything – I just hit my bed and passed out. But the crazy thing is I was only able to sleep for a couple of hours before I woke up to my legs on fire, itching and bloody. When I looked at them they were covered in bug bites. Overnight I had only been wearing shorts, and I did not have any bug spray with me so the only protection I had was the fire and smoke from the fire. I started to count them and gave up when I reached 300. Since I could not fall back to sleep I headed back to Amee Farm. I was half out of it and I really don’t remember the next few hours.
The next thing I really remember is helping with the last of the cement distribution. We were giving each racer a 60 lbs of cement to take to the top of the mountain, So think about this, each racer is wearing a 30 lbs to 70 lbs backpack, and now we just added an additional 60 lbs to their load. Oh yeah, and don’t forget they have been up for over 48 hours. Then out of the corner of my eye, I see Elisa hopping on one leg as Nick is helping her walk. I stopped everything I and ran over to find out what had happened. I found out that she had sprained her ankle and she was out. I was crushed, I was so sure that she was going to make it, but it was not to be. I helped her get into her car, and talked to her for a few minutes. I went back to helping with the cement, and after the last bag was gone I was asked to help move the registration computers from Amee Farm back to the pool house.
After getting things set up I got to relax and talk to Margaret, Forest, and Tara for a while while the race started to wind down. Around 11pm Joe told us to get ready because the race was over and they would be sending people to us. It was so cool being there as the race came to an end and the remaining racers started to file in.
Around 2 am they need some help running the last obstacle “The Death Roll” . You literally roll on your side for 0.2 miles then have to answer a question if you get it wrong, the loop doesn’t count. After 6 loops you are done. When I got to there I noticed that number 486 was on the obstacle and I thought to myself I miss my old 486 computer… Yes I am really that big of a computer nerd.
As the morning went on I kept waiting for racer 486 to check in but he never did. A little while later his teammate started to ask when was the last time he had checked in. All we could tell him was that he started the obstacle, but he had not made it back. A little while later I called over to the pool house to see if he had quit and they replied back saying he is still in the race. So we figured he was just taking his time on his first loop. When his team asked again if he had check in yet, and we had not seen him, we sent several people to walk the course to see if we could find him, but since it was still dark we did not have any luck. It was at this point we started to get more people involved. His name was Marc DiBo. We started to call out for him as we walked up and down the course. When the sun started to rise we went into full search and rescue mode. We started calling in any staff member we could wake up and even reached out to the State Police. After a few more hours we found him. He had walked off the course and went into one of the barns on the site. Marc had found a shirt, and fell asleep on the stairs that lead to the attic.
After checking him out, he asked to complete his remaining loops so he could complete the race. So I walked by his side until he finished all six of his loops. After he was down we walked back to the pool house together as he was the last one on the course. As
we were walking out of the pool house, I was surprised to see Joei Harrison show up. She had been asked to stop because of medical concerns a few hours ago. But she did not want to quit, so we headed back out the obstacle and she did her last remaining loop. By the time she was done it was sometime near 11am. I had been up for over 24 strait and I had only had about 10 or 12 hours of sleep since Friday.
So to say I was exhausted is an understatement. I was so happy to have survived my first death race.
Since the arrival of Spartan Races on the scene in 2010, we’ve been grateful to hear from our racing community on how Spartan Races are changing lives and inspiring those who take on the challenge. More and more participants are choosing to take on our races in teams. Inspiring one another not just on the race course but in training for the upcoming races. One our our 2012 partners, Gaspari Nutrition, features a team known as Team Braveheart that is led by a very special woman, Jen Rosant. Jen Rosant brought her team to Staten Island in 2011 and plans on returning to several Spartan Races with her incredible team. They exemplify the Spartan spirit, never giving up, never leaving one another behind, and committing to much more than just one race, but a lifestyle of getting off the couch and getting out on the course.
Rosant said of their Staten Island experience, “On September 24th 2011, Team Braveheart confronted Sparta in Staten Island, NY. The Super Spartan challenged us, exhausted us and changed our lives! In the end, our hearts felt ripped out but there was nothing like the feeling of VICTORY and honor to wear the Spartan Finisher Medal! The Spartan Race has energy about it unlike any other competition. Here you could truly find the meaning of your strength, your courage, your beliefs and most of all YOURSELF! Team Braveheart’s goal is to motivate the world while The Spartan Race is taking over the world! (A great match) Bring on the fire, mud and insane obstacles- “The hotter the battle the sweeter the victory.”
We are proud to have such motivated and inspiring individuals coming to our courses time and time again in search of the Spartan finish line! You can read Jen’s blog HERE about all Team Braveheart’s adventures!
You can also check out Gaspari’s sponsored WOD’s every Monday night on our blog and on FB!
If you’re been following our weekly WOD and staying the course with the rest of your weekly WOD’s, you must be progressing at a steady pace and that’s awesome!
Today’s WOD is a tough 8 point exercise cycle. You’ll be performing 6 of the movements for 45 seconds of work time and you’ll have 15 seconds to make it from one exercise station to the next. The additional two exercises are treadmill work. If you don’t have access to a treadmill, even better…take it outside on some hilly & rugged terrain!
Here we go…
Set your timer to 45 seconds of work and to 15 seconds of rest. If you don’t have a timer, shoot for 15-20 repetitions per 45 second exercise burst.
If at any point during the circuit, you feel dizzy, nauseous or you cannot catch your breath, please be smart and stop! Take the time to assess your condition.
Here’s Your List of Movements…
1- DB or Trap Bar Deadlifts – I like dumbbells and the Trap bar because they allow you to use better form, as you are more centered during your lift…but I personally still prefer traditional Barbell style Deadlifts.
2- Bicycle Abs – One of the moist effective abdominal/core exercises.
3- Pull-Ups With Slow Negative (I want at least 10-12 reps – the slow negative will take up the long duration – if you begin to exhaust, you may jump up for the pull portion, BUT please allow a full negative)
4- Treadmill – 3 Minutes at 4 Incline and a steady moderate run
5- One Arm Alternating Barbell Push Press – Position an Olympic barbell with the unloaded end tucked into a corner. Be aware that you must secure that end with something very heavy, like a dumbbell or you can even have someone assist by standing on that end.
Add sufficient weight to the other side…the lifting side of the barbell, but me mindful of the fact that you will be switching arms every other repetition. Be smart and add less weight and simply move faster to help boost the exercise effect.
Place the weighted end of the bar on one shoulder with that arms elbow tucked back and kept tight to the body – the hand and wrist will be in a cocked position, ready to press the bar upward.
Today, we’re going to use a double hip width stance. I want the right leg in line with barbell, when the right arm is being used and the left leg in line with the barbell when the left arm is pushing.
Now, slightly bend at the knees and extend them and thrust/press the end of the barbell upward and forward until your right arm is fully extended. Use full body extension, your triceps and shoulders and your core musculature to heave that bar up!
Lower the bar, under control, back to the right shoulder and quickly switch the bar to the left side and repeat.
6- Perfect Push-Ups – (The first 10 Push-Ups are arm opposing leg lifts – in other words, when you reach the top position, seamlessly lift your right arm and your left leg at the same time and then quickly bring them back and lower for the next repetition – next rep, switch the arm and leg for the lift. After 10 reps, the remaining time is spent banging out push-ups with perfect form, using a full range of motion! – put an empty water bottle just under your chest and make sure you hear it crackle each time you lower your body – Come to full elbow extension at the top!)
7- Two Arm Dumbbell Row – Bend over at hips and drive those elbows back and up toward the ceiling – The more you concentrate on engaging your back muscles, the more you’ll feel them working and the more muscle fibers you will recruit.
8- Treadmill 4 minute total – First 3 Minutes at 6 Incline and a steady moderate run – last 1 minute at a full sprint (relatively speaking and based on your level of conditioning)
1 Minute Rest at the end of the 8th exercise
Repeat 2 to 4 times!
2 Cycles = 28 Minutes
3 Cycles = 42 Minutes
4 Cycles = 56 Minutes
If you’re rockin this WOD at home and you don’t have access to certain pieces of equipment, no excuse to not do it! You can totally improvise by working with what you’ve got.
If you haven’t already, get yourself a timer.
Use a smart phone timer app or get yourself a Gymboss Timer
Set the GymBoss to 45/15 and as I always recommend, think about how much weight you’ll be using for the various exercises – this will help avoid delays with today’s workout.
Please remember to share your results under this post!
Spartan chick Margaret Schlachter aka Dirt in Your Skirt recently took part in the Death Race. Her race ended before 24 hours, but she stuck around covering the event and she wrote three pieces about her experience on the mountain. Her emotional journey began as an athlete trying to survive and ended as a volunteer helping facilitate the experience for those who would go the distance.
Part Three is jam packed with videos and media of those who remained in the race that Margaret spoke with and interviewed live on Ustream. Check out her journey, her decision in the race, and her perceptions from the other side. Check out her blog and keep following her journey in 2012! We’ll see her at more upcoming Spartan events and you can follow her training and her finishes at www.dirtinyourskirt.com! Next up for Margaret, the Utah Beast!
The beginning is the most important part of the work.
No matter how advanced you think you are now, you were once a newb – don’t forget it! Tomorrow, take the time to encourage someone just starting out on his or her fitness journey. We know the Workout of the Day (WOD’s) can get intimidating at times, so here is one geared for those just beginning to train.
Set aside 30 minutes of time for FITNESS and commit. No distractions, no phone, no excuses. Just keep moving forward and keep your heart rate up as you move from one exercise to the next.
20 minutes cardio (walk, run, hike, cycle, swim, etc)
max amount of pull-ups
Cool down with a nice easy jog and stretch. Maybe try out a yoga class.
We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let’s see what you can do! Tomorrow’s WOD should be performed for time. Just set your exact goals from the suggested reps below and stick to it. Warming up with a light jog, some jumping rope, or doing a few burpees is always recommended.
Run 2-5 miles then do the follow strength exercises
Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work. - Gustave Flaubert
Keeping a strict schedule is important if you keep finding yourself complaining that you ‘don’t have enough time to train’. Actually analyze every hour of your day and you’ll probably be amazed at how much ‘down time’ you actually possess. Regiment your day as to always include a workout, even if brief. Try and squeeze in a few short workouts if your day is totally hectic. Exercise is closely correlated with brain function, so set that alarm to train before sunrise and you just might have an amazing day at work.
grab 20-40 lbs sandbag, Spartan pancake, or even a set of dumbbells and hike/walk 2-4 miles (preferably hills). It’s not about speed, it’s about strength and endurance. The more irregular the weight you are carrying the more you are going to build up your body’s adaptability across many planes of movement while also working your core strength.
finish your trek with weights and do:
20-100 squats or squat throws
10-100 push-ups or burpees
You’ll thank us at your next Spartan Race.
WOD for 6.22.12 Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. - Sam Ewing
You have to put the time in to show up ready for your Spartan Race. There are no magic formulas or pills, only hard work and more hard work.
Warm-up with a jog that stretches into a moderate tempo run that covers 1-5 miles in length. You should negative split these miles, finishing at or above race pace.
Find a good place to jump into:
5-25 pull ups (or 25-100 push ups)
50-200 body weight squats
Jump right back down into another 1-5 mile run, reaching your fastest pace the last mile.
For a cool down, do a 10 minute jog and then stretch.
In this WOD try and get right back into running near race pace immediately following the strength exercise sets. A Spartan Race forces you to transition from speed to strength and power rapidly so you want to be adaptable.
Having weights ready for the lunges and squats is optional.
It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect it’s successful outcome.
- William James
Bringing the right attitude to a workout is crucial for that workout to be successful. You need to show up ready to perform, unwilling to let anything distract you. For tomorrow’s WOD set your mind to the task of executing each rep with perfect form. Try and leave less and less time between each exercise. This is a good routine to tap into some intensity. Let the straight forward nature of this WOD allow you to focus all of your attention on pushing yourself to the next level in your fitness.
WOD for 6.24.12 All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Thomas Fuller
What distance run do you consider to be too difficult for you right now? Well, whether that number is 5 miles or 50 miles, tomorrow start striving towards conquering that distance. A tried and true method to do this is to make sure you continually push the distance of your long run each week. What was your long run last week? Add 10-15% of that run to tomorrow’s run. So, for example, if you ran 10 miles for your long run last week, push yourself to 11-12 miles tomorrow. Make sure you bring enough water and fuel to see you through to the end. If you’ve been pushing hard and progressing continuously for the last few weeks, feel free to consider a more recreational recovery run. Still go long but back off distance and intesntiy to give your body some time to absorb your recent gains.
Begin to be now what you will be hereafter. - William James
If you went long today, go short and sweet tomorrow. Recovery days are crucial in any fitness progression. Take a day to absorb your recent strength gains. Try light aerobic exercise doing something new – whether that is breaking out the jump rope or doing a 20 minute swim session, it doesn’t matter. Just get active. Breaking a sweat is a great way to loosen up and recover from a hard wo
At first inspection, it looks like what transpires in the Death Race is designed to break you. Designed to find where you give up and fail on your commitment to finish. The race directors, Joe and Andy, appear to do everything they can think of to make this happen.
This includes, but is not limited to: telling you that you are disqualified, telling you (repeatedly) that you won’t ever finish, feeding others and not you, giving others a rest but not you, allowing others to do less work, giving you heavier objects to carry than others, make you do things twice, telling you others are quitting, telling you others are ahead of you and its hopeless to go on, telling you that you are almost finished-then give you another 6 hour task, deprive you of sleep for days, keep you away from your family and crew, the list goes on ad infinitum.
However, if you look deeper, what you will find is the opposite. What Joe and Andy really want is to see you finish. They want to be around people who are inspiring them because they won’t quit. They want to be next to people who dig so much deeper than the average human that it moves them. When they find that chink in your armor and you finally say, “I’m done”, what happens is this. On the outside, they may smile and think “We got another one”, but deep down, they are sad because it means that they don’t get to see someone go beyond their breaking point, then go waaay past that, then go some more. They don’t get to see someone go be “powerful beyond measure”.
I got to be near Joe for part of Sunday and he talked about a particular racer. This man, a military veteran, approached Joe and said, “Excuse me sir. I am out of honor. I cheated at the race, then I lied about cheating”. I could tell how much it meant to Joe to have the event he created get into a person that deeply. This event that he developed was getting people that in touch with their own integrity and their own humanity.
Andy mentioned in a post race message how the Death Race is just a game that imitates life. What I think he means is how you show up at the Death Race is how you show up in life. Do your wife and kids easily irritate you? Do you cut corners at work when the chips are down? Do you walk away when you don’t get your way while playing sports? Do you take ownership for your mistakes or blame others?
On my way out of town after the death race, I was asking myself these same questions. Furthermore, I found myself asking: Am I ready to go to the next level and actually enter this event next time? Well, I can safely say, I am not there…yet.
[Editor's Note: Guest Blogger Matt Davis is currently slated to take on the Spartan Ultra Beast in September. He was on hand at the 2012 Death Race as crew and has provided a unique insight as to the unfolding of events of the longest Spartan Death Race to date. We thank him for his contributions and look forward to seeing him on the Spartan Race Course going forward.]
Now that the dust has settled, the race has officially ended, results have been tabulated and distributed, and life in Pittsfield is returning to normal, we wanted to take a moment to offer our reflections on the 2012 Spartan Death Race: Year of Betrayal. Like every year, this event was different than all the year’s before and there will never be another year like it. That’s how we envisioned them when we started the event in 2005. Like every year, there are some notable and heroic events to speak of, like at the 60 hour mark, when racer Mark Dibernardo, suffering extreme sleep deprivation and severe exhaustion, went off-course, requiring the race staff to scour the mountains and fields for hours in the pre-dawn hours Monday morning only for him to return to the race and ultimately finish the race’s final challenge. Or the incredible story of Joei Harrison, who emotionally completed her final task to go on to be a finisher of the full course over the 67 hour mark, putting a poetic finish to the 2012 Spartan Death Race. There were those who were told they would not and could not finish, after missing check-in times who forged ahead regardless earning themselves a skull for not counting themselves out and staying committed to what is ultimately the goal – to never quit.
Olof Dallner, 2012 Death Race Champion
What did Mark, Joei, and all the finishers of this year’s Spartan Death Race have in common? They didn’t quit, they simply wouldn’t. Finishers are the type of people that can survive for a week in the woods, they are able to stay calm under stress, they are able to persevere with or without support, and they have a spiritual or personal quest that overrides reason as well as every obstacle in the path of rising to fulfill their goals. The race is very unique and it’s unlike any other race on the planet. Some people get that and some people don’t. No matter how brutal the challenge, no matter how long or seemingly impossible the task was, there are people that quit and people that won’t.
The Spartan Death Race was designed to push and aggravate people to such a point that even the most stoic and composed will eventually fail. Only those people possessing incredible discipline under the most insane and even delusional circumstances can call themselves a finisher. These athletes are willing to complete the journey at all costs. Mohammed Ali used to say he was the best because he was willing to “die in the ring.” The better athlete doesn’t necessarily win but the more determined one does.
As in past years, this year we have heard a thousand reasons why people quit during this event and most of them are completely logical and perfectly reasonable. We, meaning Andy and myself (as well as the DR staff), are not primarily concerned about whether they finish or not, or what their reasons are; the only reason we do this is to get inspired by the people that prove themselves to be immovable objects and don’t quit in spite of all the logical and reasonable reasons not to. They don’t quit under any circumstances.
Death Race finisher in 2011 and Canadian native Johnny Waite returned to Pittsfield this past weekend to tempt his fate against the Betrayal themed race that awaited him and all the others who sought a Death Race finisher skull. He returned home this year without a skull but with perspective after battling nearly 35 hours on the brutalizing course. Waite offered this paragraph detailing his experience:
“I elected to enter the 2012 Death Race by my own volition. I was promised that it would be harder and last longer than any previous DR.
I was also promised it would infuriate me and make me face and manage my own strong emotions. When I quit at 34 hours, that was also my own free choice. The organizers respected my decision, just as they respected the same decision made by the vast majority of racers (each for their own individual reasons) at all times throughout the race. In re-reading the race emails, and reflecting on the announcements made throughout the event, it is very clear to me that we were given all the information we required and that this was an unquestionably fair, albeit brutal, race. Everyone who finished pushed themselves for 60+ hours and honoured both themselves and the Spartan philosophy. Much respect to those who were able to master their body, mind and spirit and claim their DR 2012 skulls.”
From Andy and myself, and all of our incredible staff and volunteers, we would like to say congratulations to all the 2012 Death Race Finishers.
We are now left to wonder who will try their hand at the 2013 Death Race, it’s the Year of the Gambler.
The Chris Davis Project: Week 9
This week – Chris makes it to the peak of “Joe’s Mountain” for the first time since arriving in Vermont.
Chris Davis started out at almost 700lbs. He’s lost over 300lbs so far. Follow his Spartan journey as he attempts to get below 200lbs and complete the Spartan Ultra Beast in September.
6/9/2012: Mountain Climbing, Bears, and The Breaking Point
Saturday morning started early. I hate waking up at 3 am to be at Joe’s house by 3:30am – but there is usually a reason for this, and today this would be no exception. When I got to Joe’s house I was surprised to see Jeff Godin, Tammy Godin, Jason Jaksetic and Joe.
The 5 of us head up the mountain at 3:45 am. I was caring Wilson (my 25 lbs Spartan Pancake) , and everyone else took turns carrying Moab (Mother of all Bag’s – Joe’s 100lb Pancake). It is funny how everything feels like a dream at 4 in the morning; nothing seams real. We made real good time up the road, and as we dug into the steep trail I kept thinking about how this was going to be the furthest I have been up the mountain to date. I keep thinking about all time times I had attempted to climb this mountain and failed. As we passed the location where I had turned around last time, I started to get a sense of accomplishment because last time I did not even have Wilson with me and I was exhausted. But this time was different. I was a little tired, but overall I felt good.
As we made the next turn up the hill, I saw a bunch of logs sitting on the side of the road and I knew that these were going to be used for the upcoming Death Race. So I was nervous when Joe had me put Wilson down. He walked up and down the logs, and said “Let’s take this one to the cabin”. So we all went to that log and picked it up. To say it was heavy was an understatement – it was 25 feet long and over 18 inches in diameter at places. It took all of us working together to get it up in the air and then hold it over our heads. At this point I got very nervous because I have no upper body strength. After a few minutes we started to rest the log on our shoulders as we walked. For me this was a double edged sword because I have lost a lot of the padding in my shoulders, so every time I would take a step I would hurt as my shoulder slammed against the log.
As we were walking, I had a bit of a reality check… Here I am in the middle of Vermont, carrying a log on my shoulder with 4 other people. Is this a dream, because this is not something I could ever imagine myself doing a few short months ago? After what seemed to take forever we made it to the cabin; my shoulder was throbbing. I was a little heart broken when I found out that this was the lower of the 2 cabins. After a few minutes of doing some burpees, and some other exercises we picked the log back up and went back down the hill.
Everything was going great until I lost my footing and down I went. It all happened in slow motion. I remember my foot starting to slip on a rock, then I knew I was in trouble so I let go of the log so that I would not pull everyone over. Then for some reason, instead of trying to brace for the impact like I would normally do, I decided to tuck and roll. I wonder if this because of the kung-fu or what, but it worked great. I hit my knee on a rock, but for the most part I was good. I did not break anything and I was able to get back up and continue on. Joe joked, saying it looked like I was faking it, because of how well I rolled and took the impact. It was that moment I realized that, yes, he is pushing me, but he is doing it because he really cares. I know that I do not always agree with him (ok most of the time I do not agree with him) but that is OK. Sometime we need that person to push us beyond our limits, and if there is one thing Joe is good at, it is pushing people past their personal boundaries.
As we got back to the logs, we met up with the film crew and continued up the mountain to the top cabin. The path was wet and slippery, and as we went up my knee got worse and worse. But we pressed on, and after a while we made it to the top. Talk about an indescribable view. It made me feel like we were the only people left on the planet – there was fog in the valleys, and incredible calm around as the sun was just peaking over the mountains. I was grateful that the film crew was with us, because it gave me some time to sit back and enjoy the beauty of the site as they interviewed Joe and Jeff.
After the interviews were over we headed back down the mountain. Once on the valley floor we headed Jason’s driveway when, out of nowhere, a black bear ran across our path about 50 feet ahead of us. So once again I had to ask myself if this was real or a dream, and yea it was real… The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, but by the time the day was over I had walked 13.2 miles. A great day in my book considering we had summited the mountain, and I had Wilson with me the whole day.
Sunday, also started out early – I was on the road by 4 am. The plan was to walk to the Trailside Lodge and back. But overnight my knee and hip started to really act up, so I grabbed Wilson and headed up the mountain instead. I made it up to the end of the road and headed back down. Once I got to the main road I headed towards the lodge and I had made it about 2 of the 5 miles there when my hip popped out and then back in. When it happened I decided to turn back towards town because the closer you get to the lodge, the worse the cellphone reception gets. And I was alone, so my phone was my only backup in case things went really bad.
So I headed back towards town and continued on. Everything started to really hurt, but I was determined to get my mileage in. It was shortly after this that Joe showed up. I explained what was going on and we decided to adjust the route to keep it a little closer to town in case we ran into additional problems. Also Joe had Courtney, his wife, and the kids join us to keep me from giving up, and calling it a day early. Every mile that passed, I stated to have more and more pain until we got to the end of the walk at the General Store. I was bummed that I had not made my goal of 13 miles for the day, I had only been able to walk 10.67 miles, and I was done. The problem was I still had to walk back to the house. So I took some time and ate a couple of oranges for breakfast and got some water. I started to feel a little better so when I left, I headed towards the farm, instead of back to my house, but within a half mile, my body started to give me problems again, so I turned back around and headed home.
While passing through town I bumped back into Joe, Courtney and the kids, and we decided to take the trails back to Joe’s house, this way we could keep the kids off of route 100. There was only one problem, there was a gate blocking the bridge that crosses the river. Joe had headed back to get the car so it was just us. We got everyone else over the gate, and I was the last to go… Because of the way the gate was attached it was not stable enough for me to climb over directly so, I had to climb over the rail of the bridge, slide past the gate, and climb back over the rail. Not that big of a deal, for most people, but remember, I am not a graceful person. My body had gone through a lot of changes in the last few months, and I do not trust myself yet. Add to this the fact that my hip and knee are destroyed from over 20+ miles in the last two days. But for some reason that did not stop me… I got up and climbed over and away I went…
I had a couple of moments where I was sure I was screwed, but I found a way to do it. I was so upset that Joe had sent us this way because I was sure he knew there was a gate on the bridge, and that was why he chose to go and get the car, but looking back on it I am glad he did. I would have never tried climbing over the rails on a bridge if he had not send me that way. It is something I will always remember, and I am so glad that I did it. I still don’t trust my body yet, but it is things like this that will help me get to that point.
By the time I made it home that night I had completed 12.42 miles. Close to the 13 mile mark but not quite there. When I got home I just collapsed, I was sure my day was over until the phone rang. It was Joe; he wanted me back on the road… So at 5:51 pm I was back on the road with Joe, Courtney, and Wilson. We headed back up the mountain, and we made it all the way back up to the T in the road and I headed back down. When we got back to my house, I told Joe and Courtney good night I was done. They wanted me to continue down Joe’s house but I couldn’t go any further. But they would not take no for an answer and for the first time since getting here I completely held my ground. I finally got to the point where I said, ”I do not want to be rude, but No, I am done, have a good night.” I walked back up my driveway took a shower and fell asleep. My total, millage for Sunday was 14.06 miles.
So this weekend I walked over 27 miles, and climbed over 6,600 feet of elevation. I made it to the top of Joe’s mountain, saw a black bear, and climbed over the side of a bridge. It took me almost 15 hours, but I survived!
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