Chris Davis fixing a stone wall at Spartan HQ

Training at Spartan HQ

My Journey to Sparta – The Chris Davis Project: Part II

by Jason Jaksetic and Chris Davis

We met Chris Davis last week in our introductory blog for The Chris Davis Project:  Part 1.  I had the pleasure of meeting him upon his arrival in Pittsfield.  I knew immediately it would be a pleasure to be a Pittsfield, Vermont resident with Chris Davis as well as a fellow Spartan.

One immediately understands that this man is on a mission and that it will be a long and hard one.  But as the training unfolds I can say that he is keeping his chin up and moving forward. 

In this installment Davis takes his second Kung Fu lesson, which occur in one of the barns at Spartan HQ.  It’s just one of the many non-traditional, full body workouts that you find when you come train with us in Vermont.  Read on to find out how Chris begins to feel as the intensity of his training picks up.


Last night we did my second session of Kung-Fu training.  We started out with some stretching and then I started to work on straight kicks. It’s funny how much I have to think about each step and each kick. Maybe that is why I feel so awkward about the whole process? If I do not focus on each small movement, I start to lose my balance and begin to fall over.  I know that over time my body will adapt, and these things will become second nature, but I am far from that point at this time.

This morning when I woke up, I felt great…that is, until I tried to get out of bed.   This is when everything started to fall apart.

My legs felt like they wanted to cramp up, and my feet did not want to work right.   But that’s ok, I think, because I know this will pass.

When I arrived at Spartan HQ today, we started out by tossing the Spartan Pancake a(20 lbs sandbag) around for a while. This is always fun, for the first 5 minutes or so, because after that, it really starts to suck!  Your arm starts to burn and then you start to worry about dropping the sandbag.  Dropping the pancake is just a bad idea.  I’m informed:  don’t drop the sandbag.

After the pancake toss we started to walk up to the cabin on top of the mountain weighted down with the Spartan Pancakes. Today we did not go as far as yesterday but we did take a detour along the way. We decided to go off the road and climb up a rocky embankment on the side of the road.  It was really cool to get to the top and look back down.  I guess I can add rock climbing to the list of things I have now tried. I have a feeling this is just a taste of what’s come…


Last night I started to hit the wall.  I was so tired that I started to fall asleep at my desk after my morning workout. I also found that I was having a hard time focusing on simple tasks like building a database. For me this is normally something I can do in my sleep, but I found that I was having a hard time getting the relationships between the tables to work in my head.

During our evening Kung-Fu workout, I did a lot of stretching. I am really starting to see the importance of Kung-Fu in my daily work out. It really is helping with my balance and helping to stretch out my muscles after my walks.

This morning was the first night I slept well enough to dream. The funny thing was that I was dreaming about ice cream.  I never dream about food, so this was completely strange – but at least I am dreaming!  Dreaming is a good thing because it means I am reaching REM sleep. Deep, dream filled sleep is important for recovery.

When my alarm went off in the morning, I could barely move. I felt like someone had drugged me it was so hard just to open my eyes!  Once I did, I started to feel better. I started out my morning by walking towards the Spartan HQ office while I was waiting for my ride to pick me up. It’s funny, I have had a car since I was 16, and I have always been the one giving others a ride.  It is very unsettling for me to have to rely on someone else to help with my transportation need. I made it just over a mile before my ride showed up.

Once we got to Spartan HQ I grabbed the Green 25lb Spartan Pancake, and we stated to walk up the mountain. I will be honest my mind kept telling me to quit, but I knew I couldn’t stope around the half mile point.  I started to get some pain in my hips, and after going a little further Joe decided to have us turn back around. We had only made it up about a half mile, which is a shorter distance then yesterday. I was both relieved and disappointed that I did not make past yesterday’s turn around point. I guess I will have some of these setbacks. The important thing I keep in mind is that I do not give up, and I will do better tomorrow.


Yesterday things started to change.  I went from being cold all day to being hot.  I don’t know what changed because I am still on the same diet that I have been on since getting here. I hope this means that my body is starting to adjust to my new diet and life style. I am starting to notice that I am losing a lot of inches in my stomach. But everything else is pretty much the same.

This morning I started the day by going for a walk. It was supposed to be a light workout today because I was scheduled to do perform my fitness test. So I started to walk up the mountain and got about 1/3 of the way up, and then turned back down. Once I got back to the camp I saw that I still had time before I had to go, so I headed down the road into the valley.

After my morning walk we headed up to the Pico Training facility where Dr. Jeff Godin started to perform the first set of fitness tests. Before we started to do the physical tests Dr. Godin took my blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL levels. After that we started to measure the blood oxygen conversion on a treadmill.  We did several sets of 4 minute walks, and after each set he took my blood lactate level to test how well my body is handling the exercise. After we finished the tread mill test, we headed out to the farm. Once we arrived at the farm we performed several other tasks like splitting logs with an axe and carrying a log without dropping it.

I was so disappointed that it took me almost 15 minutes to split one log. I just could not get enough strength into the swing to make it work right, but I did keep going and I finally got it to split in half from there it was easy to get it into quarters.

When I went out to lunch I stated to tell Peter Borden, a Pittsfield local, about how disappointed I was with my performance with splitting the log, and told me to come over to his house later in the week and we would work together on my technique. I know that splitting wood will definitely help me with upper body strength, which is going to be critical if I am going to survive the Spartan Ultra Best in September.

…the Chris Davis Project continues in Part 3:  CLICK HERE


3 Responses

  1. avatar

    Chris, keep it up. I am hitting road blocks in my head also, and the other day I was running and thought of you. I kept going even though I was in pain. You are keeping me motivated. Thank you for sharing with us your daily trials. I will be with you in spirit during my training for my race…go get em’ Chris!

  2. avatar

    Don’t give up Chris, you will have good days and bad days but everyday is a new day, remember that, you are doing great!

    Have a Happy and Keep Smiling it helps!!

  3. avatar

    Chris, you motivate me to do better. Keep up the great work.

    Thanks for sharing your journey. :)

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