by Zach Elbaum, guest blogger age 14

I’m a Warrior

Being muddy. It might sound horrible but when you prepare your mind for it and you see others dealing with the same thing, it isn’t so bad. Before I did my Reebok Spartan Race the one thing I REALLY wasn’t looking forward to was getting muddy.  After the first 15 minutes or so you get used to it and take on an, “I’m a warrior and little bit of mud isn’t going to stop me” mentality. Now, if I slip and fall into the mud or get forced to go through it I know it won’t be so bad. 
IT’S EASIER TO DO SCARY THINGS IN A GROUP

Another thing I learned during the Spartan Race was that doing scary things with a group is much easier. For example, when we came to the monkey bars I was  scared that I would fall. However, since I had a small group who was supporting me and also doing it, I gave it a try and I actually got across. If I had tried this one on my own, I probably would have just said, “forget it- I’ll do the burpees instead.” I’ll take that lesson with me.  

DO NOT LET YOUR MIND LIMIT WHAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF DOING

The last and final thing I learned during the Spartan Race was don’t let your mind limit what you can do. Going into the race, I was nervous about what I would have to do and how difficult it would be when it was time to face the challenge. This didn’t help me, in fact, it slowed me down. After the first few obstacles, I realized that if I just forged ahead without my mind stopping me, I could do it.  And the rest of the race was much less stressful.  I faced a lot of my fears in this race, and I’ll never forget the lessons that I learned.

Do you have a Spartan story to tell?  Email carrie@spartanrace.com with your story of what you learned taking on a Spartan Race!

 

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by Steffan “Cookie” Cook

On Sunday February 24, 2013, members of the Southern California running and hiking group (and largest Spartan team in 2012), “The Weeple Army” held a low-key event/get together in the city of Signal Hill near Long Beach.

The Hike/Run was to be around 8km and would include various mental and physical challenges including the staple diet of those that often train for Spartan Races – car tires, house bricks, buckets and backpacks.
The course and set up was one of a 2.7k loop of trails and various hills whil carrying these items. It was a warm day and while many people were laughing at themselves for going through the motions of the absurd self-inflicted pain that many of us are used to, one man wasn’t enjoying his day as much as he usually does.

Half-way through the second loop, Andy Bird complained of feeling unwell and felt the need to rest a while and it was soon apparent that this wasn’t the normal, “take a breather” moment. A car was quickly brought to him and he was returned to base camp where he was given more water and he rested a little further.

He decided he was going to leave and make his way to a nearby hospital, just to be sure. As he entered the building, he started suffering from what he believed was a heart attack. It was quickly confirmed that it was.

Incredibly, Andy was taken to a bed and confirmed stable within 18 minutes. Even more incredibly, Andy quickly shrugged off the attack and was in good spirits within a couple of hours.

He explained, “Mild Cardio Infarction (STEMI) is what they called it. They did an angioplasty. Then they tubed my throat – a testransesophageal echocardiogram – and put a camera in to look at the outside muscle of my heart. The cardiologist has no clue why I had a heart attack as all the lab work came back as me being quite healthy. My blood pressure is low to normal.”

When asked what he’ll do to mitigate any future attacks he replied, “I will be attempting a lower sodium/lower fat diet. I will be taking 81mg of aspirin every day for the rest of my life and Plavix for the next year. After a short break I will resume my “crazy” (as described by friends and family) training.”

When asked if the hiking, rucking and carrying of tires and bricks was responsible for the attack, Andy defiantly shakes his head and points out the very opposite, “My friends asked themselves how it could have happened to me with all the training I do? I have to look at this in a positive light that I can only hope that what happened to me will hopefully get other people off the couch and hike, run, do something active as it could possibly save their life.”

He actually believes the training may have saved him. “If I hadn’t been training with the Weeples for so long and leading the Spartan Race lifestyle, I believe the heart attack could have been much worse.”

Hard-hitting words. Ones that should inspire action and movement. Andy hopes others will read his story and get off their couches and join him in training.

Go for a jog, a swim, get your body moving, active, and healthy. One day, it just may literally save your life like it did for Andy.

See you at the finish line.  Register today.

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by Geishel Valverde, Miami Race Manager

Hot, Hot, and more Hot

The Reebok Spartan Race was held in beautiful sunny Florida with partly sunny, warm temperature in 82°F at Oleta Park, Florida’s largest urban park.  Located on Biscayne Bay in the busy Miami metropolitan area.  Although it offers a variety of recreational opportunities, the park is best known for miles of off-road bicycling trails, ranging from novice trails to challenging trails for experienced bicyclists. Along the Oleta River, at the north end of the park, a large stand of beautiful mangrove forest preserves native South Florida plants and wildlife. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle the river to explore this amazing natural area.  It also makes for an epic course for Spartan Racers!

Known for our fire jumps, Miami’s Mile 7 presented an unprecedented Spartan challenge in the form of a forest fire!  Ever resourceful, Spartan staff and crew mobilized quickly and worked alongside Dade County officials to safely keep the race going throughout the Saturday heat times and avoid the unexpected flames!

Notable Participants

Pamela , Captain of team The Phalanx was the biggest team bringing in a total of 55 Spartans at this year’s Super Spartan. This is a group of athletes that train together all year round and have built a network via word-of-mouth that started from family and has evolved to co-workers and friends.

The Biggest Loser was another success; Chris Davis ran the whole course alongside Mayra Dumenigo, a diabetic with MS who still attempts to live her life to the fullest.  Dumenigo says, “it was exciting and a real inspiration,” who also said “the best part was the crossing of the river and the ocean.”  She was also very thankful to say she could not have accomplished the Traverse Wall without the help of the team, concerned she might pass out.  Her finish was inspired.

Spartan also wants to make a shout out to Downtown Athletic Club and thank them for inspiring our Spartans to train all year round and find a support group. The Spartan Group X Training Two Day Workshop and Certification was held at this location this month by Jeff Godin, Ph. D., C.S.C.S., C.I.S.S.N. For more information Take the Spartan Fit Test.  Click HERE for more information on Spartan Coaches. 

The Spartan Kid’s Race was adorable, as usual!  Spartan Races are for the whole family and the little ones who competed were incredible and the proceeds for those races benefit the Kid’s Fit Foundation.  

We’d like to thank our volunteers, medical staff, and Dade County for their support in the largest Florida Spartan Race to date!  We couldn’t do it without your help!

Coming Soon

Heading into March, we’ve already had a busy month of racing, but we’re just getting warmed up!  This weekend, we’ll be hosting our inaugural Australian Spartan Sprint race in Melborne March 2nd with another Spartan Sprint in Sydney scheduled for March 16th.  Spartans are international you know!

In the States, we’re staying out East with the upcoming, The Reebok Georgia Sprint, and the Reebok Carolina Sprint but we’ll be returning to Florida more than once in 2014.  We’ll be invading Orlando for a Spartan Sprint in January 11 and our Super Spartan now in April 12 & 13 in Miami, Florida. Where will you find your Spartan finish line? Sign up today.

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by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Athlete

Have you heard Spartan Race is going global?

On February 16 Spartan Race Mexico held their first event. It was also Spartan Race’s first international event of 2013. Mexico is the most recent addition to the international locations which include Canada, United Kingdom and Slovakia. This is just the start of Spartan Race’s global expansion, Australia is up next. This event also marked the highest elevation that a Spartan Race has been held; well over 8,000ft.

I was fortunate to attend the premiere event of Spartan Race Mexico and help bring the Spartan ethos to Mexico. As a seasoned Spartan Racer I had pretty high expectations for the event and venue. Spartan Race prides itself in their race course, organization and location. The race organization in Mexico exceeded my expectations on every level. Here is a recap of what was the same, better, and different.

Same race/different country-

  • Strong brand identity with familiar Spartan Race logos and check-in process
  • Challenging obstacles designed to capitalize on the terrain
  • AROO!!! is the same in any language
  • Race organizer passion about what they are doing
  • Over 7,000 racers introduced to Spartan Racing; they will never be the same

Go global, but act local-

  • Televisa, Mexican national TV, on site to cover the event
  • Mexican celebrities on hand competing against each other
  • The largest Jumbotron I have ever see at an outdoor venue simulcasting the obstacles for the spectators to see in real time
  • The Lucha Libre on hand at the start and as gladiators at the finish
  • More vendors and sponsors in a festival area than I have seen at any obstacle race
  • Finisher T-Shirts of a technical fabric with the race location
  • Finisher medals with race location, distance and year.

 Different-

  • All waves open, elite waves to come at their next race
  • Festival challenges are being developed

Traveling to and from Mexico was easier than many of my journeys to the East Coast. The hospitality of everyone I encountered was extraordinary. I felt safe and secure during my entire journey.

Not only has Spartan Race gone global, but so have I. At this race I met many racers that have been following me on my Facebook Page, Tough Training, and on Twitter @ToughRutz. It was great to interact with followers who are as obsessed with this sport as I am. Will I be back to Mexico for a Spartan Race? Absolutely. I need to earn a Mexican Trifecta. Valle de Bravo is their next venue and it will be a Super Spartan. It too will be at a high elevation, so breathe deep if you come.  I hope to see you there.

Want to learn more about our list of international races?  Click HERE.

 

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by Carrie Adams

Family and friends of Daniel Zamora put on shirts with the words “In loving memory  DZ 13” and took on the Reebok Super Spartan in Miami with him in their hearts and on their minds.  A year earlier Daniel had been the one racing, and his father Colon just a spectator watching his son take on the course.  Daniel finished that race and his dad was hooked and wanted to try it himself.

Colon said, “Last year I was a merely a spectator as my son Daniel Zamora ran and completed the 2012 race. I came to love the event and promised him I’d join him this year.”

Then August 4, 2012 Daniel Zamora was involved in a fatal car accident, a shocking blow and tragic loss to his family, friends, and community.  At just 23, Zamora had accomplished much in his life and his family wanted to honor how he lived by running the Reebok Spartan Race on Saturday together in his memory.  His father even donned his son’s bib number, 4135 as a way to feel more connected in his experience

Daniel Zamora
(1989-2012)

“My hope was to complete the race together” said Colon, “and, although he wasn’t physically present, he was in my heart. The entire family decided to participate, his mother and brothers included, helping fulfill my dream.”

The family completed the grueling event side by side and it gave them a way to feel more connected to Daniel who is gone but never forgotten, “Personally, completing the race was a unique and beautiful experience.  It was eight miles full of love, eternal love. Upon crossing the finish line I truly felt him next to me, just as I had promised him. Now I can proudly say we are Spartan Brothers. Arooooooo!”

Inspired by Daniel’s story?  Find your finish line in 2013 with Spartan Race.

[Editor's Note: Zamora’s family has established the Daniel Zamora Foundation to aid some of the causes that were important to him. Also, a scholarship for outstanding scholar-athletes will be established at his high school, Christopher Columbus.]

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by Christopher Rutz, Spartan elite athlete

Two years ago, I ran my first Spartan Race, the 2011 Arizona Super. I did not know it at the time but my life would never be the same again. I did not realize how unique Spartan Racing was until I tried out some other events. The competition and sense of accomplishment that comes from running a Spartan Race is unparalleled. Later in 2011, I returned to Spartan Racing at the Malibu Sprint and declared that 2012 would be my “Year of the Spartan”.  2012 was an adventure for me. I ran 24 Spartan Races and hit more than a dozen different race venues.


 

 
Along the way, a group of top athletes developed a camaraderie that is unlike anything I have experienced in my athletic career. We are competitors on the course but we encourage and help one another along the way. This takes on many facets including training advice, racing advice, sharing hotel rooms and/or coordinating travel. Often we refer to one another as our “Spartan Family.”

In my athletic past, I have always been involved in competitive endeavors. My level of success varied from activity to activity. Spartan Race has allowed me to showcase the consistent and dedicated training over my athletic career.

When asked “how has Spartan changed my life?”, I have two thoughts.

One is the external focus. I have been able to build and be a part of the Spartan community as an athlete, a mentor, and a coach. I have helped people accomplish their personal goals.

Second is the internal focus. Spartan Racing has allowed me to truly think of myself as an elite/professional athlete. I have won prize money, I have secured sponsors and I have fans.  I am near the top of a new sport that will grow exponentially over the next few years.

I am excited to be involved in the first chapters of the book that is being written on Obstacle Racing and plan to be involved in the sport as the story evolves.

Are you ready for your shot at Spartan glory?  Sign up HERE.

[Editor's Note: Chris Rutz is a regular on our Spartan Race series.  Follow him @ToughRutz on Twitter and Tough Training on Facebook]

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Grit vs. the Ventilatory Threshold

By Michael Levine and Jason Jaksetic

In response to the recent Wall Street Journal article on exercise, here at Spartan Race, we felt a certain responsibility to weigh in on the subject of what allows one individual to exceed all her perceived athletic limits, while another individual can’t endure a week of exercise.

When you read the WSJ article, you are going to see terms like VO2 Max, CO2 levels, lactic acid, and, particularly, ‘ventilatory threshold’, and these numbers are going to used to help breakdown athletic achievement and failure.  Thus making the case for certain individuals ‘being hardwired to hate exercise’.

What you won’t see is any talk about resiliency, guts, personal value, or grit – and it is these core constituents of human data the unbalance any equation set up in a lab.    Yes, people often move to quickly into exercise and they find themselves waning at the prospect of success, and many biological factors do play into this fact.  However, more often than not, people do not test the basic limitations of their body.  Instead of slowing down, they needed to accelerate.

We each have a tremendous capacity for physical growth.  Need proof? Google ‘Chris Davis Project’.  This mild-mannered computer specialist from Atlanta was nearly 700 pounds before starting to train with Spartan Race CEO Joe De Sena.  Over the next year, Chris learned just what it meant to truly be out of breath, and then keep walking another five miles!  What he would tell you if he were sitting next to me is that he discovered new limits every day.

The problem was that individually,  he was never able to reach such a point to surpass his preconceived notions of physical effort and what he could accomplish.  Fast forward one year and Chris Davis completed the Spartan Race Beast in Killington, Vermont at just over 260 pounds.

We contend that you need to go no further than the starting line of any of our races to see what grit means.  Maybe, in the end, ventilatory threshold might be a pretty good scientific explanation for what most people mean as ‘grit’, but this leads to a false conclusion that, if the ventilatory threshold is a capped number, then a human’s capacity for grit were also capped, or ‘hard wired’.

Be sure to download the free Spartan eBook for first person accounts of grit and determination.

Subscribe for our daily Spartan WOD email.

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by Chase Stewart, Spartan Elite Athlete

In the Beginning

Reebok Spartan Race changed my life. Undeniably.  Before Spartan, I was out of shape and I treated my body like crap. Anything negative I could do to my body I did, in excess, daily.  I never exercised.  Deep down I always knew that this wasn’t me, that I was much more than that. I always wanted to be healthy and fit. One day during the summer of 2011, I decided to stop wishing I was better fit and actually get better fit. The only thing holding me back from being who I wanted to be was me.

Starting a New Life

So I gave up everything that wasn’t good for me and never looked back. I took a last minute trip to Hawaii to visit my grandparents, who were house sitting out there. I needed to get away to get my mind right about what I was trying to do. When I came back, I was a new person.  I started running and hiking 4 days a week.


A few months later I heard about Spartan and immediately knew this was what I was looking for. I needed something to train for, something to keep me focused on my goals. I started researching new workouts and signed up for the WOD’s so that I could train specifically for this race. My race was the Arizona Super in 2012, I signed up for the elite heat because for me it was all or nothing. I placed 51st overall, awesome for me. I was hooked.

Going the Distance

I decided to go for the Trifecta, so I signed up for Colorado and Utah. After Colorado I checked out the global point standings and saw that I was ranked a lot higher than I expected, so I decided I had to do a fourth race. When Spartan HQ announced the Ultra Beast, I thought it sounded awesome. I also thought I wasn’t ready, but after the Utah beast I decided it was the next step. I had completed the Trifecta, an accomplishment that seemed so challenging, suddenly realizing I could do anything I put my mind to. So I signed up for the UB and started logging the miles. Every race was an adventure and I knew the UB would be the ultimate adventure.

Completing the UB is one of my proudest accomplishments. Once I got my season pass I started signing up for races left and right. Today, I have completed 13 races with 4 Trifecta medals and a top finish of 6th overall and 1st in my age group.  I am far from finished.  Spartan gives me the competition I need to push myself to be better every day. The athletes in this sport are unlike those in any other sport. They are constantly pushing themselves past their limits to continually be better. They are also some of the greatest people I know, I have made countless new friendships in this last year. This sport has a camaraderie that I have never seen before. I look forward to watching this sport grow and am proud to be a part of it.

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by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Athlete

The Reebok Spartan Race Florida Super continues a new program with some of the best Spartan Racers in the sport of obstacle racing. It is called the Reebok Spartan Race Invite Series. We have asked our top racers to invite someone to run a Spartan Race with them. The top Spartan Racer will host someone they have been trying to get into Spartan Racing. It may be their best friend, their wife, their son, their coach or anyone who can coerce and invitation out of them. It just has to be someone that has never done a Spartan Race.

For the Miami Super Spartan, David Magida has asked one of his friends Greg Malone to join him in a Spartan Race. They will be running together in one of the Open heats on Saturday.

David finished the 2012 Spartan Race Points Series in 9th Place overall. He is kicking off the 2013 race year with the Miami Super Spartan.

We asked Greg a few questions about David and Spartan Racing:

How do you know the David?

I have known David Magida for over 15 years. I went to middle school and high school with him and ran cross country with him briefly when we were younger. He was the Spartan racer that initially sparked my interest in obstacle course racing. He suggested that I participate in the a short, local mud run in Miami as an introductory obstacle course race. He offered to run with me, for his third lap of the day, in my afternoon heat so that he could give me tips to conquer the obstacles as well as provide encouragement during. Elliott Megquier and Isaiah Vidal, whom I’d met earlier while waiting for my heat to begin, also offered to run with me. I also met Andi Hardy and Ella Kociuba at the Obstacle Racing Magazine tent and later was able to pick their brains about obstacle course racing, Spartan Race and training methods. Andi recommended that I sign up for the Spartan Workout of the Day (WOD) as a good place to begin my training.

What is your athletic background?

I played baseball in high school and wrestled for 3 years. After high school I really fell out of shape; I indulged in everything the college life had to offer. Unfortunately that lifestyle carried into my 20s and one day I found myself winded after walking up a flight of stairs at work. It was at that point I decided I had to do something about my fitness. Being friends with David for so long, I knew that he was someone I could ask for advice as I began a regimen to get myself back into shape. I began slow, running a couple miles and doing some push-ups  Now I try to go to the gym/workout a minimum of 5 times per week. I am an avid cyclist and while running is certainly not my forte, I try to do it as often as possible. I also enjoy swimming and have recently started going to a gym called Orange Theory Fitness, which holds classes that focus on high intensity interval and circuit training. I am definitely nowhere near where I want to be fitness wise, but I can see the path, I know my goals, and I finally have the motivation and desire to change my life around and reach those goals.

Why did you say yes when you were invited to race?

My experience at my first mud run was amazing. It pushed me mentally and physically and tired my body in ways it hasn’t been fatigued in years. Not the mention it was incredibly fun. When I was able to complete it without having to drag my body across the finish line I knew that I wanted my next race to challenge me even more. When David Magida told me there was a Super Spartan coming to Miami I jumped at the opportunity. Knowing there’s a race coming up and then signing up for it has forced me to push myself to another level when it comes to my training. I had such a feeling of accomplishment crossing the finish line and I can’t wait to run a Spartan race and recreate that feeling.

What are you most excited about?

The obstacles. If I just wanted to run a foot race I could sign up for a half marathon or a 10K. Breaking up the race by having to navigate through difficult and often very unique obstacles is definitely what makes the race fun for me. That being said, it’s been a very long time since I ran 8+ miles at once. I’ll definitely be incorporating a few long runs into my training, but at this point I’ll also be very excited just to cross the finish line. And drink a beer.

What are you most worried about?

My endurance. My fitness level is definitely much higher, but I’m still concerned about how tired I am going to be near the end of the race. It’s really important to me to complete every obstacle and unless they’re part of an obstacle, I’d rather not have to do any burpees during the race.

 

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by Chris Rutz, elite Spartan athlete

Reebok Spartan Racing is shifting from the West to the East. This weekend Spartan racing action is heading to Oleta State Park in South Florida. After two cool race weekends in SoCal and Arizona our top racers are hoping that South Florida will bring warm temperatures and sunny skies.

Scheduled to appear this weekend in South Florida is last year’s #3 in the Spartan Race Points Series, Rose-Marie Jarry. Rose Marie will be coming down from Montreal Canada with the intention of winning the elite women’s race. Her favorite race distance is the sprint, but she is certainly capable of winning the Super. She is hoping for lots of barbed wire crawling and mud. She has been known to outpace some of our top men. So keep an eye out for her guys. Also watch out for Sue Luck. She is getting faster and faster at each race and loves the flat terrain that South Florida offers.

On the men’s side look for Hunter McIntyre to seek out his first win in US soil. He won the Spartan Race in Mexico City this past weekend and is hungry for a US Spartan win. On tap to challenge him will be Elliott Megquier, who has won a few Sunday races, but is looking for the top spot on Saturday, and David Magida. David has spent a good deal of time in South Florida and is racing on his home turf. In addition Christopher Rutz will be racing. He is coming off a strong third place finish in Mexico and is looking for an equal or better finish in South Florida. Shawn Feiock will also be looking to return to the podium having made it there for the first time in Arizona.

The is no money up for grabs this weekend, but that does keep the top athletes from competing in South Florida for bragging rights. Will these above racers make it to the podium or will some new talent emerge from the elite athlete pool in South Florida?

Stay tuned to find out who makes it to the top!  

Ready to take on your own Spartan Race?  Find an event HERE!

 

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