Guest blogger Michael Ainis
The air was chilly, but the energy was electric as everyone gathered at the RoadRunner lot and signed in with Stacy, who was asking everyone if this was their first Spartan event. There were a few Spartan veterans, but for the most part it was first-timers who were signed up for the Malibu Sprint in December. There was a 63 year old lady, who was going to be volunteering Saturday in Temecula to earn a free race on Sunday. There was a Spartan Family getting ready for the Sacramento Beast where they would be earning their Trifectas together.
The participants were arranged in 6 columns; “The Phalanx” about double-arms width apart front and back. Instructions were also given that any time “Spartans Assemble” was yelled they would have 10 seconds to be back in their lines or 30 burpees would be due. Don Devaney took the lead in starting off the warm-up with jumping jacks as shirt sizes were called, with the warning given if they took longer than 20 seconds, the burpee penalty applied. As everyone got geared-up in their “Improved Spartan Training shirts that were specially designed to make the participants sweat more,” the jumping jacks continued, and then it happened, one participant didn’t meet the 20 seconds and 30 burpees followed. After that Don made some more introductions and thanked RoadRunner for hosting the WOD, and then lead into the importance of “Joe-ga” and that practicing Joe-ga/deep breathing was not about perfecting the skill but more about doing the practice consistently as a daily routine.
Then it was SGX Trainer, Michael Ainis, who jumped in with “SPAR-TANS” Participants “AROO!! AROO!! AROO!!” High knee ramp-ups were explained; participants were instructed to start about 50% and then increase their intensity by roughly 10% each time. “Ramp-it-up” was yelled then followed some dynamic stretches and then the fun began. For the next hour and a half participants learned about the Spartan Philosophy, bear crawled, crab walked forward and reverse. They learned the “Wrestler Burpee” which Don explained, was devised in the Secret Spartan Lab to ensure there is always a way to make a “Regular Burpee” even harder.
A few participants came from a strictly running background (marathons/halfs) and remarked that they had never done that many exercises for their upper body without setting foot in a gym. The Active Rest position of the day was The Plank – on concrete… Yet the participants held strong, encouraging each other, yelling words of encouragement that “We can DO this together!” One participant (Eric Douglas) realized in holding a plank for so long he had made a “Sweat Angel” (see pics). They did buddy carries with a mom even challenging her teenage son to carry her back across the parking lot after she carried him to the turnaround point. Sisters helped each other with wheelbarrow walk and friends pushed each other to complete burpee-broadjump challenge. “You’ve done over 200 burpees” Don yelled as the final round of burpees were completed and the cool-down began. Shirts were sweaty, but smiles were beaming bright in the San Diego Sun! Everyone wanted to have their picture taken with the Spartan Crew and we even met a group of friends that crossed the border from Tijuana, Mexico to attend the WOD.
Everyone finished of inside the RoadRunner store as they were raffling off 1 free entry to the Malibu Sprint and 1 for the Temecula Sprint, which were won by two friends who had never done a Spartan Race previously. RoadRunner also raffled off some recovery products: Bodystick and a foam roller, and participants were also given 10% off anything in the store.
This workout was definitely harder than a lot of participants were expecting, some had no idea what to expect but everyone experienced their digging deep moment and found a new level of strength inside themselves. Don constantly reminded everyone that once they climbed to that next rung to never go back to the old one, keep moving forward, a little bit every day.
At this time, Spartan is discussing Round 2 for San Diego WOD and hopefully will be 12/1, the week before Malibu?
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