It has been a week since the Vermont Championship Beast. Arguably the hardest Spartan Race this side of the Ultra Beast. We had a chance to catch up with some of the Pro Team to get their feedback on the race. Despite their toughness, training and experience, they suffer the same mental and physical challenges along the course. Here is some of what they shared with us.

Elliott Megquier, who has completed more Spartan Races this year than any other Pro Team athlete, shared his thoughts.

“It was about of mental and physical toughness. It was not about who was the fastest runner (a two time NYC Marathon Champion quit), not about hype. It was about determination and plugging away. I was discourage after doing 30 burpees for the spear and then for the Tarzan swing. But I brushed it aside and ran through cramping.”

Jenny Tobin, finished in 4th place and was the ProTeam’s top placing women.

“I had three goals: goal C was to finish, goal B be in the top 10 and goal A be in the top 5. I felt like I could at least accomplish my C goal but I had thought that in Vegas too and did not finish…Anyway, I lined up a few rows back and started very slowly not knowing how I would feel and knew it would be a long day so no sense in going anaerobic from the get go.” She went on to say, “The obstacles were tough but the mountain seemed like the biggest obstacle. I also felt like there were as not as many obstacles as the year before other than the mountain this year, however, the killer obstacle was the 60 lb sand bag carry straight up hill and down that seemed to go on forever!!! I would have liked to have seen Morgan Arritola carry that thing being that she probably doesn’t even weigh a 100 lbs.”

Ang Reynolds, one of the most experienced Spartan Pro Team women on the course had her own finishing doubts along the way.

“Coming back down that mountain I rolled my ankle on a rock under some grass. I went down, picked myself back up, and made the decision to walk off the course. At this point, I realized my will to finish could not supersede my lack of training. I was completely spent. I limped down the mountain and finally caught sight of my fiancé. I told him I
was going to quit. I told him that it was the smartest thing I could do at that time to avoid further injury. He looked at me and said, “Well, let’s make sure. Why don’t you pick up that sandbag and start climbing while you think?” I grabbed the sandbag and headed back up the mountain. I have since heard that those sandbags were between 65-75 pounds, more than my 7-year-old son, and well over half of my body weight. That wasn’t very fun.

Miguel Medina, who has seen the podium many times this year, most recently at the NorCal Beast had his own personal triumph on the race course.

“Dealing with an injury less than halfway through the race hampered my efforts and shattered any hopes of achieving a top finish, at this point the race was completely mental; finish…adapt or die. I refused to be beaten by this beast, regardless of my placement I was going to finish this race, and I reject the idea of quitting so almost 6 hours later, it was all over…beat up, tired, weak and weary…but not defeated.” and “Adversity tests our will and asks us to do more, so I’m answering the call…next year The Beast won’t know what hit it.

Cody Moat, last years winner and this years 4th place man almost DNF’d. Here is what went through his head at that point and how he came back to finish strong. After a failed attempt at the Tarzan swim

“Half way through my burpees my legs began to cramp. Instead of the burpees taking 2 minutes they took around 3 minutes. I knew at this point that it would be hard to regain the lead but I thought perhaps there was still a chance. So I took off again and only made it 200 meters and my leg really cramped. I sat there on the ground while Matt Murphy ran by. I didn’t know what to do, I’d never had a cramp that bad. So I began hobbling back to a DNF when I decided that I was going to find a way to make my cramped quad bend. So I pushed down on the ground as hard as I could to make my knee bend and it finally bent and released the cramp. By this time Matt had probably gained 5 minutes on me so I knew that it would be tough to catch up with anyone ahead of me. So off I went through the woods but I couldn’t really get going again because I knew any minute my cramp may return. After about 2 more miles of running I had worked out my cramped muscles but there was no catching anyone up ahead so I finished the race in 4th place.”

Christopher Rutz, the Tough Training guy and the oldest man on the Pro Team hit a huge obstacle at the Tyrolean Traverse.

“Coming into the Tyrolean Traverse I was in a good position in the course. So I aggressively decided to traverse under the rope. In hindsight, this was a big mistake for me at this point in the race. I should have been more conservative and used the ‘on the top’ approach. I attempt the traverse 3 times, and each time I failed. Once trying on the top, but without a shirt the impact of rope burn on my chest was unpalatable. Pumping out thirty burpees after each attempt really zapped my strength, but not my spirit. I was determined to finish the race despite the impact this would have on my time and placement. You can be sure I will have revenge on the Traverse and The Beast next year.”

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by Andi Hardy, Spartan Pro Team

One day I woke up and just couldn’t bear it anymore. Somehow I had let life get the best of me and I had tipped the scale to a number that totally disgusted me. It wasn’t just the number that glared at me from that little square thing on the floor beneath my feet, but it was the discomfort of my clothes, the zippers that took an extra jerk to get up, the buttons that pulled a little too far to side of the buttonholes and the tire that wobbled around my middle.

It was April Fool’s Day and I felt like I was the fool. I just couldn’t stand the way I felt in my own skin anymore and I was going to do something about it starting that very moment. Yes, I had tried diets in the past as my weight had crept up in number each year. I tried cutting out certain foods, I tried New Year’s Resolutions, I tried one thing after another. Each attempt ended with a big bowl of ice cream topped with peanut butter and chocolate syrup. Not this time, this was it; I had had it with myself.

In horror I jumped off that blasted scale and into the shower. I hurried to get dressed, fix my hair, and makeup. Then, upstairs I scurried to the deadly kitchen to have breakfast. Or not? Should I try skipping the most important meal of the day again? It worked for some people, but I knew myself. I would be even hungrier by 9:00 AM and then would grab whatever edible thing I could and gorge myself. I decided I had better eat something. So I settled for oatmeal and fresh strawberries, with a bit of sugar. That had to be healthy, right? I ate that down and made myself drink a 16 oz. glass of water. I knew water would help ease the hunger pains. After all, I was used to a big bowl of cereal with my fruit.

I quickly packed a few “healthy” items I found in the fridge for my lunch. I had been a fairly healthy eater up to this point, so chips, candy, and other junk foods were not a staple to my current diet. I had been a vegetarian for several years and fresh vegetables, fruits, and lentils were always on hand, but so were breads, cereals, cheeses, pasta, and potatoes.

I still had ten minutes before having to leave for work. I ran to my computer and googled “online weight loss programs.” I knew that I would not stay committed to Weight Watchers, but thought if I had a program like it that I could easily do at home; I’d do it if I set my mind to it. And my mind was set. I just needed a little help. Many matches were found, oh what to choose in my remaining nine minutes. I clicked on one called “Spark People.” That was it! I quickly entered my name and created a password. This was what was going to save me from obesity!! In those 9 minutes I learned that each day I would have to enter every food that passed through my lips, including chewing gum. I would have to log my glasses of water and every minute of exercise. There were calculators that would help me limit a number of calories, fat grams, carbohydrate grams, and protein grams each day. I would log my weight and body part measurements each week. This would help keep my accountable.

I filled two huge water bottles and took off for work with hope. Finally I was going to do something about this uncomfortable skin I was in. It wasn’t going to be easy, but I was determined. I ate my measly lunch at noon, resisted junk food that was around the office, and threw out emergency snacks stored in my desk. I drank water like I was a camel preparing for a trip across the Sahara. The hour long commute back home seemed forever as I was anxious to enter all of my info into the “Spark People” program.

I started out exercising three days per week for 30 minutes a session. I walked, rode bike, lifted a few weights, each time logging my exercise and time into the program. It was only a few weeks before I increased those days to five and sometimes even to 45-60 minutes. I was super religious about logging my food intake. It didn’t take me long to realize that my favorite food of mashed potatoes was not helping my diet. I learned that squashed cauliflower gave my tongue a similar experience without all of the carbs and starch. Bread and pasta were soon replaced with veggies. Cereal and oatmeal was replaced with Greek yogurt. Ice cream was now being measured to ½ cup even. I bought a little food scale and carefully weighed each portion of veggie chips, cheese, or whatever it was I wanted to eat. Going out to eat at restaurants was difficult. I stuck to salads without cheese, dressing, or croutons.

Not going to lie, it was incredible difficult. The hunger pains were miserable. It was so hard watching others around me eat my favorite things while I chomped on carrot sticks. But the weight was dropping. My confidence in myself was increasing and I started feeling better and better in my skin. Three months into this new me, I decided to step it up and sign up for a triathlon, something I’d always wanted to do. I had been biking and swimming, as well as walking and hiking, so I knew I could complete the event. But knowing myself, and knowing how much of a competitor I am, I wanted to do well. I started training harder, but still accounting for every calorie I took in. Three months later I did that triathalon, and placed in the top ten in my age group, of over a hundred. I wasn’t completely satisfied, but tried to reason with myself; after all I had “bad knees” and hadn’t run for years. That day was the first I had run, and my 5K time wasn’t all that bad for my first time running. I celebrated the success of my goal at IHOP allowing myself to eat anything I wanted. Eggs, pancakes, and hash browns it was. Then home to recover.

Upon returning home I had a lot of energy left, I got online and signed up for a local 5K mud and obstacle run for two weeks later. I got back on my “Spark People” plan and ran 5 kilometers every day until the race. I placed first in my age group of 129 women. I was so excited and felt so good, too! I am so happy to be able to race in spandex shorts and not be too embarrassed by my reflection in the mirror. That day I heard about Spartan Race, supposedly it was the “best of the best of obstacle races.” I just had to find out. I went home and signed up. Training for that first Spartan Race was not easy either. I knew that I had to train hard, but also really had to watch what I put into my body. I kept learning about food and portions.

It has now been over two years from that miserable April Fool’s Day. I no longer count calories on a daily basis. However, I do watch what I put in my mouth very carefully. But I do not deny myself the foods that I still love and thoroughly enjoy. I am comfortable in my skin. I am not the skinniest woman, nor do I have the body of a model, but I wear what I want and race in a skimpy outfit and don’t feel embarrassed by my skin (or what used to jiggle around under it.)

Remember, losing fat is not easy for most people, especially when this thing called the aging process happens. But it is something that can be done naturally. You must give it time, you must be patient, and you must be diligent!!! Don’t give up, even if you have a cheat day here and there.

What’s your excuse?  Find a race for yourself!

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It all comes down to Vermont.

Spartan Racing reaches its pinnacle this weekend in Killington, Vermont. There are many opportunities to race, a Sprint or a Beast on Saturday and a charity Sprint, Beast and Ultra Beast on Sunday. Each course will present a challenge with the professional and Olympic level athletes expected to take about four hours to complete the Saturday Beast course. The weather in Killington on Saturday is expected to be cloudy with a high around 70 and a chance of rain. In other words, like in any Spartan Race, plan for anything. The majority of our racers will be out there most of the day and will need to be self-supported. Killington Mountain is no joke. Top elevation is 4,241ft with a vertical gain of 3,050ft. You can expect Spartan Race will make full use of this mountain.

All eyes will be on the World Championship Race Saturday morning. Top athletes from around the world will be present for what will be the most competitive race in Spartan history. In addition to the podium spots and cash purse available for the Saturday Beast, the US Spartan Elite racers will also be racing for their final placing in the 2013 Points Series.

So who will be racing in the Elite wave at the World Championship Beast on Saturday?
On the men’s side:
Australian Spartan Racers on their way include Matt Murphy, Will Lind and Shaun Phelps. The top 3 ranked racers from down under. From the USA you can count on seeing most if not all of the Spartan Pro Team and other Top 10 ranked racers including Hobie Call, Isaiah Vidal and Brian Hoover. Currently 7 of the Top 10 US Points Spots are occupied by Spartan Pro Team members, Elliott Megquier, David Magida, Brakken Kraker, Alec Blenis, Hunter McInytre, Cody Moat and Alexander Nicholas. Mexico will be represented by New York Marathon winner German Silva and Tavito Oliveros.

On the women’s side:
The Top 10 ranked US women are also dominated by Professionals. Olympic Cross-Country skier and professional mountain runner Morgan Arritola will be tough competition for returning champion Claude Godbout, a Canadian National Team biathlete and Olympic hopeful. Spartan Pro Team members. Top ranked April Luu will be racing to maintain her number one position and a number one spot on the podium. Battling it out on the course with her are expected to be Rose Marie Jarry, Hannah Orders, Leslie St. Louis, Jenny Tobin and TyAnn Clark. Beyond these Spartan Pro Team women other Top 10 to look for include Ameila Boone, Shaun Provost, Karlee Whipple, and Elise Fugowski. Mexico will be represented by Olympian Fabiola Corona.

New for 2013 are awards for the Master’s men and women in the Points Series. While some are also competing for a spot in the Top 20 overall, they will also be recognized for their performance as Master’s athletes. Brian Hoover, Christopher Rutz and Tadd Morris will be racing for the top 3 Spots for the men. Jenny Tobin, Andi Hardy, Jolene Wilkinson and Juliana Sproles will be battling on the women’s side.

Beyond these seasoned Spartan Racers look for some new faces and familiar faces from other sports to show us what they have to conquer Killington and the Spartan Race Sprint, Beast and Ultra Beast. There will be many high powered athletes looking to claim the title of Spartan Beast World Champion.

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by Leslie St. Louis, Spartan Pro Team

The Tri-State New Jersey Reebok Spartan Super has big shoes to fill this weekend at the Mountain Creek Waterpark. It is just a few weeks after a brutally tough Spartan Super in Virginia and just a few weeks before the Vermont Spartan Beast Championship.

However, if you are one of the lucky participants in New Jersey this weekend: don’t fret. The Tri-State Super is sure to stand its ground and make its own epic impression this 2013 season. There will be some serious challenges from the natural terrain on the ski hill, water park features and man-made Spartan obstacles.

While every Spartan Race is its own unique event, if last year is any indication, this course will likely take at least three hours and have you trekking up and down the mountain, scaling the infamous Tyrolean traverse, tromping through forests, swimming lakes, jumping cliffs, wading lazy rivers…oh and likely heading up and down the mountain a few more times! There are flotation devices available for all the swimming portions and four on-course water stations planned. Also, you may have some obstacles from Mother Nature too, as in 2012 there was plenty of rain, which helped create some extra mud and post-race stories.

In addition, the New Jersey Super will be the very first event offering a Special Needs course designed for individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD), where “considerations have been set in place to accommodate the sensory profiles, physical and cognitive limitations, and behavioral issues associated with the challenges” faced by these racers.

In both the Open and Elite Heats, points are also at stake, as this is the last Spartan Race until Vermont. Not to mention there are added cash incentives in the elite heats.

Expect strong showings from Spartan Pro Team Members Rose Marie Jarry, Andi Hardy, Juliana Sproles, David Magida, Alec Blenis, Alexander Nicholas, Elliott Megquier and Christopher Rutz. Alexander recently took 1st in Hawaii, this will be Elliott’s 34th Spartan and David and Alec will be riding the momentum of podium finishes in Virginia. Last year in New Jersey, Rose Marie and Andi took 1st and 2nd on Saturday and Christopher placed 3rd on Sunday. On the women’s side, other elite racers to watch will be Tri-State New York winner Melinda Branch and past podium finishers Danielle Ross and Gretchen Krueger. On the men’s side, look for Kevin Donohue and LeEarl Rugland to likely place in the top 10.

There should be a few other showdowns this weekend too: in the Team Division between Mud and Adventure and VPX Team Xtreme, and in the 2013 Open Points Division between Stu Klaas and “The Painted Warrior” Stephen Sinek. Current 1st place point earner Sinek is sitting out in preparation for Vermont, but Klaas is only 20 points behind and is registered for the 10am heat.

In every Spartan Race, you need to summon your courage and expect the unexpected. Especially at the New Jersey finish line, you’ll know why!

About the Author: Pro Team Member Leslie St. Louis raced the New Jersey Spartan last year, placing 3rd and 1st on Saturday and Sunday. You can read about her 2012 experience HERE.

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by Elliot Megquier, Spartan Pro Team

After rain hit Massachusetts for much of Friday, I expected similar weather to 2011 when Hurricane Irene hit Amesbury and the ever popular Hurricane Heat. However, when I awoke Saturday morning for the race the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. The course was a fast course starting midway up the hill and running briefly up through the woods towards a big opening. Then back to running through trails in the woods until racers came across the first ever Gamble. You had the option of running a hilly, technical route to the left which was 0.2 miles or you could go to the left and run 0.3 miles on a faster, less hilly route.

On Saturday I went left, but on Sunday I decided to go right. I would have to say the technical route was faster, but I was glad to go the more gradual route on Sunday due to tired legs. Both days on the men’s side the race was decided at the sand bag carry where racers had to scale the hill top to bottom with their respective sandbag. Another obstacle the factored in greatly was the spear throw. Out of the first three male racers to reach the spear on Saturday two missed it. Junyong Pak was battling Andrew Hostetler neck and neck when Andrew missed the target. I, (Elliott Megquier) came to the obstacle and saw an opportunity to take second, but missed it as well. Kevin Donoghue who went on to finish second hit his spear passing Hostetler and Megquier to claim his first ever runner up finish. Pak defended his 2012 Massachusetts Sprint title and Hostetler claimed third for the third year in a row. On the women’s side Orla Walsh finished first beating Karlee Whipple by a mere 16 seconds and third place finisher Laura Messner by only 24 seconds.

Sunday was another gorgeous day for racing. On the men’s side Elliott Megquier defended his Sunday Massachusetts title besting the Canadian challenger Benjamin Morin Boucher (racing in the US for the first time) who came in winning 9 races in a row in Canada including four in which he beat Megquier. Dennis Smith rounded out the top three. On the women’s side Laura Messner won her first Spartan Race wrapping up a successful weekend. Shaun Provost came in second and Karlee Whipple finished third. One highlight to see on Sunday was watching Kevin Donoghue, Saturday’s second place finisher run a lap in a diaper for losing a bet to Laura Messner on whether the Yankees would beat the Red Sox.

Sign up now as the Reebok Spartan Race returns in 2014 to Amesbury yet another year! This was my third year doing the race in Amesbury and it has improved every year so I would not wait and risk missing out on all the fun to be had. This year almost 12,000 people conquered the course between the two days, let’s shatter that number for next year! Aroo, Aroo, Aroo!!!

For more photos, check out our Google+ page HERE!

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In our second year back to Washougal Park for the annual Sprint on August 3 and 4, 2013, Reebok Spartan Race felt right at home. With many return Spartans, there was an excitement at the start line that could be felt all around the festival area. The Spartans had returned.

The elite heat went out fast, and finished strong. Perhaps it was this familiarity with the terrain, the obstacles and “that hill” that saw the elites move around the course in lightening quick time. Hobie Call took the first place honors, but Spartan Pro Team members Brakken Krakker and Hunter McIntyre never out of his shadow taking second and third respectively. It was a very close race, something which is proving to be a habit now at every Spartan Race.

Amelia Boone continued her amazing streak by making it three successive wins on the trot. Lena Dembisky edging out Spartan Pro Team member April Lou to second place in another toughly fought female elite finish.

In the open heats, there was no shortage of inspirational stories. Take the story of Ben Pfeiffer. Setting off from his home town of Bremerton, Washington at midnight on the day of the race, he arrived at the venue at close to 4am. He napped for an hour and got ready for the Hurricane Heat – his “breakfast” consisting of only energy drinks and water. After finishing one of the most grueling Hurricane Heats of the year, he again slept for an hour before returning to complete the regular Sprint. In itself, this is no mean feat, but if one considers that Ben weighs over 350lbs, it’s very easy to see how Ben quickly became known on site as “That Guy From The Hurricane Heat”.

On the course, Ben met TJ, a local of Portland who, as it would turn out, would be the last to cross the line, but displayed one of the most gritty performances of the weekend. Standing at 6ft and weighing 340lbs, he knew he had a battle in front of him, but finishing was never a question for TJ. He explains, “To prepare for this race, I made sure to take it seriously and learn from people who did it as well as checking out the videos online.” At the finish he remarked, “You will be wagering your toughness both physical and mental against the course and the course will want to take it from you. Just take one step and then another they will add up in the end.”

We met another incredible Spartan Racer on Saturday. Lousiana resident Lua Walter was unceremoniously dumped by her fiancé on her birthday only five months ago, the plan was that she and her intended were to run the race together. Instead, she packed her trail shoes and running clothes and flew the 2000 miles alone and triumphantly did the course herself, making a vast list of new friends in a flurry of high-fives in the process.

Keeping it in the family, was leading open heat competitor Stephen Sinek, aka The Painted Warrior, who convinced his parents Frank and Tricia to take part. Agreeing that is “was very challenging”, completing the course hasn’t dissuaded them to think that they are beyond doing another. With Malibu in December now being the focus, Frank calmly points out that, “this race is as grueling as you want to make it. You can either sprint through it or you can take your time, as there are enough people here that will make sure you finish. It’s a real team effort. It was tough but it was a great experience, one that I wouldn’t have had sitting on my couch.” Wise words from a man that nonchalantly points out, almost as an afterthought, that he’s suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for 16 years.

Offering a last word of advice, Tricia smiles, “In the words of William Wallace, ‘every man dies, but not every man truly lives.”’

If you’re not sure what she means, sign up for a Spartan Race and you’ll know at the finish line.

Find results HERE.  And more pictures from the event on our Google+ page HERE.

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I am TyAnn Clark. I’m a member of the Spartan Pro Team.  I’m a Mom, I’m a Runner, I’m a Fitness Trainer, I’m a Zumba Instructor, I am a Spartan Racer.

I look at my life every day and feel so amazingly blessed to be able to do what I love. One year ago, I never imagined that I would be in the position that I am – I race as a competitive athlete at the age of 32. My life is full of all the things that make me happy. I have a wonderfully supportive husband and three beautiful, amazing children. As a fitness trainer and instructor, I get to motivate others to be healthier and happier in their lives.

I’ve always been a runner – It is my life force. It’s as vital as breathing to me most days.
But after adding our third child to the mix, I found myself completely overwhelmed, exhausted, and quite frankly – depressed. Even as a fitness trainer, I found very little time to be able to work out or run. With a husband that worked very long hours, I was lost in the daily grind and forgot to appreciate what I had. The things that usually motivated me to run and stay in shape were races to train for – and not even that was doing the trick.

Hobie Call recruited me to run my first race in January 2013: The Spartan Super in Temecula. I have never been as scared and nervous at the beginning of a race as I was there. Self-Doubt had consumed me, but I decided to just take things as they came. It was a brutal race with mammoth hills, a freezing lake to swim in, and a gauntlet of obstacles all stacked within the last mile. I never found myself counting the miles or glancing at my Garmin to check my pace. It was exciting and brutal. My legs handled the hills, but my upper body failed me on a few obstacles. 90 burpees later I finished the race more exhausted than I ever had been, I had pushed my body harder than ever before, and I had found empowerment from what I had accomplished. I had won my first Spartan Race! The feeling of accomplishment was far greater than I had felt at the end of a race at any other time. It changed me. I knew if I could accomplish this, then I was capable of so much more than I knew.
What I didn’t know at the time was how my life would be changed by the people that were around me racing that day, and in races to come. I’ve raced with the best competitors and proven myself. At the Las Vegas Super Spartan, I remember looking around at the starting line and just being in awe of the amazing Spartan champions that I would be competing against. The most amazing part is that I’ve become friends with many of them and we all know at the end of the day that we have the upmost respect for the other person. We share training secrets, obstacle techniques, and tips on the spear throw. We all want to be able to finish the race and say, “I raced my best today”. These competitors have become family to me in a totally unexpected way. All of the people that I’ve met that run Spartan Races motivate me and inspire me and I’m so honored to know them.

Want to learn more about the Spartan Pro Team? Click HERE.

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by Corinne Kohlen, Spartan Pro Team and Registered Dietitian

Summer’s here, your outside enjoying nature and being active! Keeping your bodies healthy and hydrated during the summer is very important. With fruits and vegetables ripe and in season, with BBQing being a great way to spend time with friends and family, and with a few ideas from your friendly dietitian you’ll be on your way to some tasty summer treats.

Summer is a great time to visit your local farmers market. Some fruits that may be in season include apricots, avocado, tomato, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, grapes, mangos, and zucchini. Fresh fruit can be served cut up in a fruit salad or grilled on the BBQ for some extra zest. Children can help cut, or peel fruit, or put fruit on kabob sticks for the grill or to eat fresh.

Grilled Veggies

Here are some ideas for summer meals and snacks:
Fruit kabobs – grill or eat fresh.
Balsamic grilled vegetables
Fresh salsa – try adding peaches or pineapple for color and flavor
Guacamole – makes a great dip for flaxseed tortilla chips or fresh veggies
Homemade Fruit pops – blend fresh fruit and freeze in ice trays or popsicle trays. Try mixing in mint for color and variety
Greek yogurt topped with seasonal berries – adding blueberries, strawberries, raspberries can add natural sweetness to this protein filled snack
Edamame – or soybeans – these are a great fiber and protein filled snack served hot or cold
Grilled pineapple and peaches – add a little cool whip or eat plain
Fresh Apple slices, celery sticks, or banana medallions with peanut butter dipping sauce
100 calories of nuts – 13 almonds, 11 cashews, or 7 walnuts. Eat plain or add to a salad or casserole
Watermelon, mint and peach smoothies – blend these three ingredients with ice for a great hydrating drink
Hummus with fresh carrot sticks, broccoli trees, or cut bell pepper slices

For more food ideas, sign up for the FREE Spartan Food of the day (FOD). Sign up HERE.

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Chris Davis and Anna Gargan

As he walks over to the emcee, Spartan Race veteran and all-round nice guy Chris Davis smiles the smile of someone who has just survived a brutal beating. He points at the mountain that looms over Blue Mountain Ski Resort and shakes his head, “that thing is the Killington of Sprints!” Davis is making a reference to the Vermont Beast that many racers will tackle later this year at the second annual Spartan World Championships. And indeed, the Pennsylvania Sprint has long been regarded and argued as being the hardest Sprint on the circuit, something all too evident as many racers new to the Reebok Spartan Race series were to discover.

The Blue Mountain course features an incline so long and so steep that it requires a ski-lift in order for most people to scale it’s face. And competitors from around the country – and a small contingent from Slovakia – spent months training for a race that would prove an incredible test of endurance. The fact that the course was “only” 4 miles set a beguiling false sense of security.

The Elites set the standard very early on. Spartan Pro Team athlete Hunter McIntyre blazed through the course in an incredible time of 41m 53s, with his Pro Teammate David Magida coming in a close second, only 19 seconds behind him. Andrew Hostetler took third place on the podium with a time of 43m 42s.

In the ladies Elite wave, Kristen Zielinski powered through with a time of 56m 08s, coming ahead of Gracie Wikie and Cassidy Watton who took second and third respectively.

In the open heats, stories of how Spartan Race not only changed people’s lives, but brought them together as a community. A

Ben Braverman

group of friends since high school and through work calling themselves “Team Lionhearted” came together from Reading, Philadelphia and various parts of New York in order to help their friend Louis Valencia get off the couch. Together they stormed the finish line and high-fives were the order of the day. “You *CAN* do it”, being the simple message Louis gives to those contemplating a race.

Ben Braverman, in active service with the Pennsylvania National Guard, decided to wear all his equipment – weighing in at over 40lbs – with the simple explanation that, “you train how you fight. There’s no point in my training without the weight and getting used to movement without what I would have to wear”.

At 9.30pm, some five hours after she started, Annie Wills crossed the finish line with her husband Andy by her side. After seeing him complete the Vermont Beast, she decided to train long and hard to do a course together with him. Setting about a regime that would see her train four days a week every week for four months, Annie lost 7 inches from around her hips, and dropping three dress sizes in the process. With pure grit and determination, she completed her first Spartan Race. There was not a dry eye in

Amy and Andy Wills

the venue when they crossed the finish line. Amid cheers and applause from all the staff, volunteers and remaining racers, the couple from Houston, Mississippi kissed under the finish line. Exhausted and completely drained, but proud. It was a true moment of Spartan togetherness and how something can become greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Next up on the tour? Two days of Super Spartan madness in Illinois. See you at the finish line.

Sign up today!

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Hunter McIntyre, PA Sprint 2013

By Hunter Garrahan McIntyre, Spartan Pro Team

As a Spartan pro team athlete, the great outdoors are a fundamental part of the training and success for any race that I compete in. I see far to many people that associate fitness with a membership at a the local gym. The old school brawny man methods are seemingly long gone and being replaced with group classes and rows of treadmills.  But it doesn’t require any machines or even four walls of a building to get fit, it just takes some creativity.

The truth of the matter is, all you need is a good pair of sneakers and open mind to make the outdoors the answer to all of your health club needs. I am currently writing this article after spending a few days at Spartan HQ where I had a first hand experience with backyard fitness! For starters running outside is a far better than what you would gain from using a treadmill, a more natural stride combined with the constant variation of terrain makes a strong all around runner.

Dumbbells and barbells can quickly be replaced with rocks, stumps and other heavy objects one might be able to find in your garage. Some of the strongest men and women in the world train with real world objects like atlas stones to set world records in more conventional strength training events.

Another great way to experience a good workout is yard work! As a said early I spent a few days at the Spartan “farm club” digging, lifting boulders and chopping wood. A few chores in the back yard done with the right intensity will burn up to or more calories than you could achieve on an elliptical. These movements will also prove build a much more functional and all around better performing athlete than more simple machine movements one might find inside your local gym.

In closing, if you want to get in shape anywhere you look can be a great start whether it be a gym or your back yard. And don’t

Hunter McIntyre, Mexico City 2013

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Don’t be shy of climbing a tree or two in the process because making the world your play ground is what this experience is all about. Make it a goal to take on a new obstacle every day such as lifting a 200 boulder or raking up that stubborn pile of leaves that never seems to blow into the neighbor’s yard. Sure there may be a few cuts and bruises along the way but that’s all in the day of a life true Spartan.

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[Editor's Note: Hunter McIntyre, 24, is a member of the Spartan Pro Team.  This past weekend he took the top spot at the Pennsylvania Spartan Sprint held on July 13, 2013.  No stranger to the podium, it was a fantastic finish with a time of 41:53.  Congratulations, Hunter!]

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