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.