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 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 Carrie Adams

bleacherreport.com

Florida Gets Faster

Some fast women are heading to Florida this weekend.  And we are talking about the exceptional talent that will toe the start line in Miami for the upcoming Reebok Spartan Super in Miami, and we’ll preview them later this week.  But there is another woman in Florida this weekend that will also be racing a short 300 miles North in Daytona attempting to break yet another record, though she’ll be driving a tricked out stock car.  NASCAR’S Sprint Cup series is being kicked off in a big and historic way in 2013, and Danica Patrick is the woman leading the charge in true Spartan Chicked fashion… by beating all the boys.

Breaking Records

Patrick who is no stranger to breaking records, came out swinging this year by winning the pole Sunday for the Daytona 500, the first woman to do so, and her most distinguished accomplishment since she joined the premier circuit of stock-car racing in 2010.  Being only her second trip to Daytona, she’s fast by any standard and that’s being recognized.

Team owner and fellow driver Tony Stewart was quoted saying, “It’s never been done. There’s only one person that can be the first to do anything.  Doesn’t matter how many do it after you do, accomplish that same goal. The first one that does always has that little bit more significance to it because you were the first.”

This is Patrick’s first year racing exclusively in stock car.  And she’s been under pressure and delivered big in the past.  She was the first woman to lead laps in the Indianapolis 500.  She was the first and only woman to win an Indy race, an accomplishment that she enjoyed in 2008.  Known for her racy Go Daddy commercials and photo shoots, this driver is more than a pretty face.  Dedicated, smart, and competitive she’s one of the more popular driver’s in the circuit but she’s focused on her performance.

In Fast Company

Much like the Spartan Chicked crew, that’s been around since August of 2011, girls are making waves in sports like never before.  A 10% female showing in our first Spartan Race in 2010 we’ve grown to nearly 40% in 2013 and 200,000 of our half a million finishers this year will be female. With our own elite athlete females who are chasing down the men on the course and proving that gender is not a factor, we recognize fast when we see it.

JONATHAN FERREY/GETTY IMAGES

“I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl,” she said. “That was instilled in me from very young, from the beginning. Then I feel like thriving in those moments, where the pressure’s on, has also been a help for me.” When asked about what is on the horizon she says simply, ”We have a lot more history to break.”

Go get ‘em girl.  Good luck in Daytona.

Still want to get in on the Spartan action in Miami?  There’s time.  Click HERE to sign up.

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by  Jose Ortiz, guest blogger

Where it Began

In 2000, I made a decision to serve my country in the most honorable manner I knew possible; I joined the United States Marine Corp.  After serving honorably in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, my commitment to the Marines came to an end in 2004.  Returning to my home of Long Island, I settled with my wife in Wantagh, New York, a suburb about 35 miles away from New York City and I became a corrections officer.

 

Needing a Change

Once I was home I was looking for something to take the place of the daily PT routine I had in the Marines.  A friend of mine introduced me to two of the best things I have discovered since my wife, Spartan Race and CrossFit Lighthouse.  As soon as I listened to my friend’s story about Spartan Race I started to track down pictures and watch videos…I was hooked.  I signed up right away for the Spartan Sprint in Tuxedo, NY and started doing the Workout of the Day (WOD).  Soon after, I wanted to workout with some great people who could push me and I met Dan Luffman and Jack Sandhaas, owners of Crossfit Lighthouse.  These two guys are HUGE fans of Spartan Race and they took me on as their pet project immediately.  They showed me how the integration of movements in the gym would translate into a healthy lifestyle and top performance in a Spartan Race.

A New Life

Once this journey began, I set my sights on the Spartan Race and my CrossFit coaches did the rest.  I am proud to say that I dropped 30 pounds of unwanted body weight.  I was inspired by the Chris Davis story and followed his journey as I embarked on my own.  I found that once my body became acclimated to the workouts, nutrition also became a huge focus.  Now, everything was part of my Spartan Race/CrossFit lifestyle.  It was something that I lived and breathed every day.  It wasn’t just a workout or a healthy meal; it was a commitment to my wife, my family, and myself to say that I was taking control of everything that was good and productive for me.

The First Spartan Experience

After months of lifting, stretching, running, and healthy living, my first Spartan Race arrived.  The cannon sounded and before I knew it and I was at the starting line staring at my goal that I set months prior.  I was finally here.  One obstacle after the next, training and muscle memory took over, rope climbs and wall climbs and hurdles were second nature.  I am proud to say that I did not have to do one penalty burpee, but if I did, I was ready.  The motto is true, “You’ll know at the finish line.”

Now, with that race under my belt, I have become a permanent staple at CrossFit Lighthouse and Spartan Race.  I am training every day towards my new goal, the Trifecta Medal.

Semper Fi.

Are you ready to test your Spartan mettle?  Find an event near you and get signed up today.

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IOC makes room for Obstacle Racing in the 2020 Olympics

by Jason Jaksetic

There have been many recent developments in Olympic history, and if you couldn’t keep up, here is a breakdown.

The good news first.

1. Everyone got to learn about modern pentathlon.  One does not often discover an Olympic level sport that somehow integrates shooting, swordplay, horse jumping, running, and swimming. My mental imagery goes somewhere between superheroes and samurais. This is great, and I’m not going to suggest the IOC put the pentathlon back on the chopping block, which was the original plan by some accounts.

2. The I.O.C must have caught wind of our bid to bring obstacle racing to the 2020 Olympics. We understand there has to be the limit to the sports in the olympics.  Otherwise there would be backyard sports in the Olympics  like horseshoes and trampoline…

Wait, incase you haven’t heard, trampoline is an Olympic sport and will remain an olympic sport while…

3. Wrestling is out of the Olympics. At Spartan HQ, we are still grappling with this, as Spartan Race has a close connection with wrestling.

In our first eBook (download it for free), there is an entire chapter written about a future Olympics, with a cast of characters that includes wrestlers and obstacle racers training, and possible competing against each other.

The imagery is no figment of our imaginations.  In 2009, Spartan HQ, located in Pittsfield Vt., was host for one of the United States Wrestling Team’s training camps. Here is an article that details the week of wrestler’s chopping wood and carrying logs in the Vermont Mountains (video here).

Jeff Funicello was put on the round table of Spartan Coaches because of his extreme understanding of fitness through his success in international level wrestling, grappling, Judo, and other competition forms that have lead him to so many world championships.  (Here is a list of all his world championships).

Recently, in 2013 there was wrestling at a winter Death Race.

Wrestlers make an amazing obstacle racers.  They make great people.  We’ve seen many lists lately of presidents, generals, and all around hero types who thrived as wrestlers.

Dismayed at the decision of the IOC, we are hoping you will join Spartan Race in support of bringing wrestling back to the Olympics.

Please help support the effort:

http://themat.com/keep-olympic-wrestling.php

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by Krystle James, guest blogger and Spartan Chick 

I was born on January 29, 2012, at approximately 1:06pm. After about 3 hours and 42 minutes of INTENSE labor and almost having been brought to tears, I crossed the finish line at my first Spartan Race in Temecula, CA, and was born into Spartanhood.  My life has not been the same since.

Up until my first Super, I had raced either alone or with one other friend that I managed to coax into signing up with me and I joined the Spartan Race Street Team before I even completed my first race because that’s how excited I was to become part of such a movement. I loved the Spartan ethos and finally found a community that I could relate to. That is how I met my new family, the Weeple Army.  I am proud to be a Weeple!  I love my Weeple family.

At my first Spartan Race, I was nervous because I had never done anything like it. I was so nervous that I actually felt a little

Weeple Army

nauseous. This time around however, and after a year of strength training, running three marathons, one half marathon, two Ragnar Relays, one Spartan Beast, three Spartan Sprints, and one Hurricane Heat,  (ALL with my Weeple family), I felt prepared and ready to celebrate my 1-year anniversary of being a Spartan. 

I raced the Saturday SoCal Super with great friends, made new friends along the course, ran into old friends, and felt great at the finish line. So I did what any logical Spartan would do…I decided to run Sunday as well!

As I look back on my first year as a Spartan, I am happy to be the warrior that I am becoming, and excited of what’s to come. The year 2012 has been one of the best years of my life. I was born as a Spartan and found a family to share epic times of chasing miles, carrying bricks up mountains, crawling through mud and jumping through fire, sharing laughs, and growing to be the badasses we were meant to be.

As a Spartan, I choose everyday to wake up with a purpose, walk tall, stand strong, and chase my dreams.

It’s time for you to chase YOUR dreams.  Find an event near you, and sign up!

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