Spartan WOD for Monday, 10-1-12

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.
-William Penn

Lunch Break Burpee Pyramids

Do your burpees in the following sets:


100 burpees.

No rocket science.   No expensive gear.

And everything you need to know about doing burpees properly is here.


Spartan WOD for Sunday, 9.30.12

Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.

-Henry Ford

Take advantage of the weekend to train with friends. It will do you all some good to pick a time (4:30 am is suggested) and get some quality exercise in together.

Warm up:
50 jumping jacks
50 seal jacks
10 burpees

Main Set:
Run 5k-10k together (bring sandbags of different weights and rotate them) then
30 squat jumps
30 jumping lunges
30 burpees

Cool Down:
Stretch – 15 minutes

If you like working as a team, we definitely suggest you check out our Hurricane Heats at your next Spartan Race.


Spartan WOD for 9-29-12

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The more gnarly the trail, the stronger your core.
Get after it.  3-10 miles of running.  30 burpees every 3 miles.


Recover with our Spartan recipes.  Eat well, perform well.


by Carrie Adams

Building the sport of obstacle racing has been a passion of Spartan Race since we began.  As the only event with world rankings, points, and chip times, we rely on our timing to be the best in the business, particularly at championship events such as the recent Ultra Beast.

Our friends at J-Chip USA, who have been timing Spartan’s US events the past two years and recently shared with Spartan Blog their results from their experiments with obstacle split times (similar to swim/bike/run splits in triathlon) at the New England Sprint and Mid-Atlantic Super, have combed through the data collected from six timing checkpoints at the Ultra Beast and now offer their unique perspective on the Spartan Ultra Beast – By the Numbers.

UB Applications Accepted: 400
Athletes Who Showed Up:
366 (92%)
Athletes Who Finished:
156 (39%)
Fastest Time: Cody Moat (7:01:29)
Slowest Time: Spartan’s own Steve Halstead (17:59:52) who started at 4am with Chris Davis!  Don’t worry Steve, we know it was your birthday AND you were told to stay out there for a while to help with operations.

Average Time (Overall) – 11:11:35  (11:02:29 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Time (Loop #1)  – 5:01:58   (4:52:18 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Transition Time – 0:15:28   (0:15:09 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Time (Loop #2)  – 5:54:09   (5:56:23 excluding “The Lost Tribe”)
Average Ratio (Loop 2 vs. Loop 1) – Loop 2 was 18.5% slower than Loop 1 (22% excl. “The Lost Tribe”)

*NOTE: Stats are presented excluding the 24 “Lost Tribe” runners who went off course and lost 60-90 minutes in Loop 1.  Since many of them went on to “negative split” their 2nd loop, the UB stats are much more accurate excluding them.

Extremes in Transition:
*Fastest Transition: David Chandler (Cary, NC) – Only 25 seconds!
*Slowest Transition: Michael Sandercock (Milwaukee, WI) – 43 minutes, 16 seconds
*Junyong Pak completed Lap1 with over 26 minutes to make up on Brakken Kraker (then 2nd Place in the UB).  Kraker, who came in from Lap1 in under 3 hours  (earning 3rd in the Elite Beast behind Cody Moat and Hobie Call) took over 16 minutes in transition before heading out for Lap2.  Pak cleared transition in 3:07 – gaining 13 minutes on Kraker, which proved to be the difference between 2nd and 3rd, as Pak only edged out Kraker by 9 minutes.

Notable Ratios:

*Ultra Beast champion Cody Moat was 40% slower on his Lap2 (3:58:13) than his Lap1 (2:49:37).  After pushing so hard to complete his 1st loop in front of Hobie Call, Cody just needed to “coast” through his 2nd loop to maintain the 30-minute lead he’d opened.
*Joseph Nuara was 17% faster on his Lap2, since he carried 26.2 pounds of extra weight with his team (The Burning Muckmen) on Lap1.  When his teammates opted not to continue on after spending over 6 hours on Lap1, Joseph went out on his own and blazed through Lap2 by himself in 5:06:16!

In addition, the J-Chip timing crew caught two cheaters (who shall remain nameless) who cut out the 4-mile loop (out 2 miles from transition then back 2 miles to the festival area) on the 2nd lap.  J-Chip had strategically placed a mat to capture the time that it took everyone to leave transition and return to the 4-mile checkpoint.  Split times for this 4-mile loop on Lap1 ranged from Cody Moat’s 45 minutes to The Lost Tribe’s 2 ½ hours.  On Lap2, J-Chip noted two 4-mile splits under 10 minutes, meaning the runners headed out on the loop and immediately turned around on the return trail and proceeded through the checkpoint.  Both runners were promptly DQ’d…so let this serve as a notice to anyone who thinks of cheating at a Spartan Race – WE WILL BE WATCHING.

Like our course builders and race directors, our J-Chip timing crew is among the first to arrive on race day (4AM for the Ultra Beast) and last to leave (11PM departure), and for championship events, they take hours to audit the results before they are posted.  This year’s Ultra Beast results were delivered at 4:30am, then the crew went out and did it again Sunday.  Above are J-Chip’s (L-R) Disco Stu, Kurt, Andrew, and Russ.  Thanks guys, you ROCK!


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“We are brothers forged in the fire of commitment, hardened by the hammer of war and sharpened by the stone of honor. By our sword of fortitude and faith, we can conquer all things.” –  Team X-T.R.E.M.E. X-Athlete, Vigilance

Since the dramatic images of Team X-T.R.E.M.E. flooded the internet after the Leesburg, VA Super Spartan, fighting their way through the difficult course, Spartan Race HQ has been inundated with questions about the men and women who donned the blacked out masks.   Their faces hidden and their identities unknown, the team captured the attention of the Spartan community and it spread like wild fire.  Aside from the wounded warrior athletes, the rest of the team are distinguishable only by the call signs stitched into the patches they wear on their arms, and they intend on keeping it that way.  This deliberate anonymity is in recognition of their mission to honor, empower, and motivate wounded warriors and to remain selfless in the process.  With an upcoming appearance in the Carolinas Beast, I spoke with some members of the team behind the mask about what makes them a unit, a team, and ultimately, a family.

Those athlete patches bear designations like Vigilance, Endurance, Justice, Loyalty, and CommitmentSacrifice is the designation for the wounded warrior X-Athletes. These self-selected leadership traits are chosen and embodied by the new team members who endure the Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Warrior INDOC process and are selected as Team X-T.R.E.M.E. X-Athletes.  We recently published a story about call sign “Justice” the lone female who raced with the team on the day of the Leesburg race and chose her call sign because, “So many wounded Veterans from so many generations haven’t seen justice to the extent we wish we could have provided them when they came home.”  She goes on to say, “That one we need to keep in the front of our minds; getting them the support that they deserve and are taken care of by a grateful nation.”

Another Team X-T.R.E.M.E. X-Athlete, a Richmond VA native with the call sign Loyalty, is one of the newer members of the Team.  He survived a devastating motorcycle accident in 2008 and in surviving knew “My whole life changed.  I knew I had to do something with that.”  After completing Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Warrior INDOC and officially joining the team, he chose Loyalty as his call sign because, “Being loyal means that no matter the obstacle, you will be there for your brothers and sisters.  Loyalty brings the team together.”  And the team did come together.  They finished the grueling eight mile course in five and a half hours taking it one obstacle at a time as a unit.  Says Team X member Loyalty, “Knowing you will not be left behind and will never leave a teammate behind, a team will accomplish anything.  No man left behind.  Ever.”  They will need that same attitude to get through the longer Beast course in South Carolina in October.

One of the wounded warrior X-Athletes, call sign “Sacrifice” who also chooses to remain anonymous has no doubt of the team’s success in the Carolinas.  “Together you can do anything.  You can last through anything,” says the 25 year old USMC Sgt.  The Leesburg resident who joined the Marine Corps in 2005 lost his left leg below the knee April 1st 2010 while on patrol in Afghanistan after stepping on a pressure plate IED. After a speedy recovery in Walter Reed’s Ward 57, he took off running and never looked back.

He joined Team X-T.R.E.M.E. in April 2012 and in addition to his Spartan finish, has an XTERRA triathlon finish under his belt.  To him, “Sacrifice doesn’t mean what I’ve already sacrificed but what more I can give to help our wounded warriors.  Whatever happened to me happened.  It’s over.  Now I can help others.”  He’ll be on hand in the Carolinas to support the team in taking on the course.

Team X-T.R.E.M.E. is led by X-Athlete Vigilance, a Marine veteran based out of Richmond, VA.  He is looking forward to the longer Carolinas Beast course with the rest of the team, “We welcome it.” He says.  “The challenges that we accept are indicative of our determination and passion to honor our wounded brethren’s sacrifice.” He explains.  “We take on these events and challenges based on either the opportunity to empower and honor the sacrifice of a wounded warrior or because they have come through our cycle of rehabilitation and now don the gas mask as an icon of overcoming insurmountable odds.  We provide them with a stage to show everyone who witnesses, that they are limitless.  That is simply our method to the madness.” And they’ll be facing several more miles than they conquered in VA. The South Carolina Beast promises to be a tough course for even the most accomplished Spartan.

Of his call sign Vigilance he says simply, “It hits very close to home and defines me.  It’s a fire that started inside of me as a young boy.  As I listened to my fathers account of returning home from Vietnam believing he would be welcomed as a hero, to instead be spit upon and cursed.  He would later work in the wounded warrior ward at the VA and experienced the emotional and physical pain and suffering of men whose country had abandoned them.  All this made a lasting impression on my mind and heart.  At a young age I silently vowed that I would honorably serve my country, that I would remain vigilant and this catastrophe would not repeat itself in my generation.  I would NEVER forget!”  The team has come to represent an elite embodiment of values.  We do not rest in complacency but wish to enact and inspire change and make a difference in the lives of these young warriors.  “Just imagine what people see when these wounded warrior X-Athletes selflessly continue to serve from behind the mask.  People can take solace in that example of physical, mental and emotional fortitude.  If these men and women are limitless, then what excuses do we have?  We will remain vigilant!”

Team X-T.R.E.M.E. will be participating in another Hero Heat in the Carolinas set to kick off at 9:50AM with proceeds from each race registration in this heat going directly towards Team X-T.R.E.M.E. and their ongoing mission.  To be a part of their team on race day and run to support their mission and cause, go HERE and register for their 9:50 heat.  Use the password “teamx” during the registration process.  

The Spartan Race – Carolinas Heroes Heat with Team X-T.R.E.M.E. promises to be an epic and emotional journey through the Beast course.  Team X-T.R.E.M.E. X-Athletes will don their mask along with Marine Cpl. Todd Love and other wounded warriors to show that nothing is impossible through determination and teamwork.  You will be motivated and inspired as you walk, run, crawl and swim alongside them and Team X-T.R.E.M.E. Community Athletes as part of their ongoing mission to honor, empower and motivate our nations wounded patriots.

Check out a gallery of Team X images courtesy of Kevin High Photography HERE.

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Spartan WOD for Friday, 9.28.12

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
—Henry Ford


The mind needs to be flexed like a muscle.  It responds to being exercised.

And how often is this going on at the gym?

Here is a WOD to help train you to keep your mind sharp while in the midst of physical stress.  An alert and active mind in a race is crucial.  Running with you head in the game, instead of zoning out, will only make you a stronger runner, as well as one less likely to miss a course marking.
Grab your favorite top three favorite quotes in written form and bring them to your workout.  You want them memorized by the end.  If they motivate you into training, imagine how powerful they will be when you recall them during a session.

Warm up:

1-3 mile run

Main set: 

10 burpees

1 minute of memorization

25 squat press with sandbag

1 minute of memorization

5-10 pull-ups

1 minute of memorization

25 jumping lunges

1 minute of memorization

Reapeat 3-5 times

Then, speak your quotes out loud.  Verification is important – use your phone as recorder or have a friend hold you accountable.

Cool Down:

Stretch, yoga
Question: Can Spartans do math beyond the 30 burpees and 50lb sandbags?

Answer: YES!


Read about our points series.


by Michael Levine

GRIT: Noun-Firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck

GRIT.  A word that has come to embody the sprit of a true warrior.  Today, during a time in society when quitting has become the norm, people need to learn how to “fail well” to gain resiliency.  Angela Duckworth, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, created a metric system that demonstrates how grit can overcome intelligence through effort.  As a leading expert in the field, she demonstrates the standard capacity of people while explaining how GRIT can bridge the gap of inherent skill or knowledge.

Spartan Race is a company that was created at the forefront of the concept of GRIT.  We constantly place people in a state of unfamiliarity in an effort to make them quit.  We strongly believe that our racers are seeking a challenge outside of their traditional lifestyle because they want for something more.  To that end, our esteemed professors of pain and suffering created our own GRIT test.  Burpees, Sandbags, and Burpees.  Racers are signing up knowing that we are going to make you think about quitting, while wanting every person to finish.  The more pain you feel, the more suffering you endure, the more you learn just what your mind and body can tolerate.

How many times in your life have you reached what you considered was your breaking point?  Now how many times were you able to press on beyond that point?  Spartan Race empowers people to reach, mentally, physically, and emotionally.  We hold you accountable for all actions.  If you are unable to complete an obstacle, you incur an immediate penalty.  There are no shortcuts, there are no end-arounds, there is only you and your fellow racers encouraging you as you go.  You arrive at the race uninhibited, and leave as a Spartan.  Aroo!

[Editor's Note: Michael Levine is the newest blogger on the Spartan Race team.  His voice will enrich the story that our blog strives to tell.  We welcome him and look forward to sharing his words.]

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Spartan WOD for 9.27.12


The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.
- Bruce Lee


You can muscle over obstacles, but you can’t muscle into developing efficient running form.  Rather, for seasoned strength athletes, most have to relax into effortless running.

Speed work is essential in developing neuromuscular conditioning and broadening your understanding of running mechanics through varied experiences.  Why would you spend all your time on the one portion on the running spectrum?  Mix it up, and see what you can do.


Run 1 mile easy

4-8 dynamic exercises


Main Set:

4-8 400 meter intervals on 1-2 minutes recovery

4-8 100 meter intervals on 1-2 minutes recovery


Cool Down:

800 meter jog, stretch


by Rose Marie Jarry

What a fun way to enjoy tempura veggies without deep frying them! Less guilt and more pleasure!


Slice the eggplant into 10-11 thin slices. Lay them on a cutting board and sprinkle some sea salt on every slice. Set them aside for 10-15 minutes.

Mix the water, flour, and spices with a whisk. Make sure it’s a medium-thick texture; it can’t be too thick or too liquid. Dip each slice of eggplant in it one by one to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed to all of them.

In a preheated pan, melt the coconut oil and place each slice to be grilled. Cook each slice for 1-2 minutes for each side on high heat. After that, place the slices on a greased cookie sheet and cook in oven at 400F for 10 minutes.

When they are all crispy and toasted, it’s time to eat.

Serve with a refreshing tomato and cucumber creamy balsamic glaze.

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by Carrie Adams

Race day always brings stories from the community.  This one is a doozy!

The Ultra Beast featured a team element that included a $15,000 payday for the winner.  Only eight teams were brave enough to take on the monumental task that included specific requirements for the team, including carrying at least a 26.2 pound team weight throughout the course.  One team, dubbed team Rollover, had a more than monumental start when their truck rolled just minutes before the race kicked off.  The team included Kevin Donoghue (his vehicle), Eric Matta, and Andrew Hostetler (who we featured in an “Every Obstacle Matters” post in Amesbury.  Read more HERE.)

They pulled up to the medic tent to unload their gear bin and didn’t see the ditch on the side of the road with a sharp drop off.  As driver Kevin Donoghue pulled up, the front tire slid over the side and the truck flipped.  All three team members were in the vehicle at the time and because they had their seat belts on, they were safe and able to race.  They crawled out with about 30 minutes before the start reorganizing their gear that had gone all over in the flip and ran up to the transition zone.  Donoghue spoke with police and with ten minutes to spare, the kind folks at Amphibious Medics (Donoghue’s brother’s company) took over the responsibility of getting the car flipped back over and the team took off!

When the team circled back after their first loop, the truck had been flipped, had the side mirror re-attached, cleaned, AND given an oil change.  It was even drivable!  Well, for a day.  Kevin got stuck in Rutland, VT just a few miles down the road and is currently awaiting additional repairs.

Photos courtesy of Crystal Fam

They were lucky no one was hurt in the accident and it also had no effect on their dancing skills.  They had the best half-time performance during their transition, busting moves to loud music while they ate and prepped for their second 14 mile loop of the day.   Bearing witness to their dancing skills, I’m prone to recommending they stick to the obstacle racing.  The pre-race car roll didn’t deter the team’s performance; however, they ended up finishing in second place. Not too shabby, guys.

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