How many times have you stared longingly at those people at Spartan Races that effortlessly scamper up those climbing ropes and ring the cowbell with effortless ease?

There you are, hugging that rope with your hands clenched around that knot, hoping that if you can get just above the one in front of you, you’re part of the way there. Then what happens? You slide back into that muddy water and curse the whole thing to Hades.

How do they do it? It looks so easy when they do it!

Never fear – the Spartan Race Pro Team are here!

In this episode of “How to…” the Barbed Wire Queen of Green, Andi Hardy, is going to show you how to employ the “J-Hook” technique when climbing a rope. Gone are those frustrating times of shaking an angry fist at that cowbell you can’t reach.

Just watch this tutorial video made on course at a Spartan Race and all will be revealed!

Learn the technique and sign up without fear of failing it again!

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On the Las Vegas Strip, opulent waterfalls, sky scraping hotels and lush retreats abound.  On The Strip, you could almost forget that this bustling city began simply as a dream in a desert.

Yes, a desert.

This Saturday, thousands of Spartans will invade the infamous Sin City for the second-ever Las Vegas Super, which make no mistake, while conveniently located, is taking place on the outskirts of the metropolis, away from the ringing bells of casinos, the air conditioned biomes of pink clouds the billboards of lights, lights and more lights.

Spartan Racers should expect nearly nine miles and nearly two dozen obstacles in the dry, dusty plains of the Nevada desert.

With a new locale from last year aptly called the “Gravel Pit,” course designers are promising all the Spartan staples — spears, ropes, walls, pits, tires — amid both the natural, rocky topography and new, man-made terrain.  There will be muddy portions, but true to the setting, very little water, except for the planned three stations and one at the finish. If last year is any indication, participants should also expect some down and uphill climbs. At last check, the weather predictions called for sun with highs in the 70s and a slight wind.

The Racer Athlete Guide suggests everyone bringing an ID for check in (and any post-race drinks), arriving at least an hour before the wave start, carrying personal hydration and nutrition. If starting at 2:00pm or later, it’s also advised to carry a headlamp. Click here for the Las Vegas Athlete Guide.

Just like the desert itself, the elite heats will be scorching, with athletes from the around the nation all vying for spots on the podium and top ranking in the 2014 World Points Series, especially since this is a one-day event.

In the men’s elite, look for 2013 top-ranked Brian Hoover and the Spartan Pro Teamers Elliott Megquier, Chris Rutz, David Magida, current points leader, Hunter Mcintyre and Charlotte’s first place winner, Matt Novakovich.

Last year’s Vegas 2nd place winner TyAnn Clark and Spartan World Champion Amelia Boone are both expected to take the start line in the women’s heat, as are Leslie St. Louis, making her first 2014 return from injury, and Pro Teamers Andi Hardy, Juliana Sproles and Tiffanie Novakovich.

Beyond the Super Spartan, there are other events taking place on Saturday: the not-to-be-missed Kids’ Races, the 6:00 am Hurricane Heat and the 12-hour Hurricane Heat (HH12HR), which serves as one of the qualifying events for the Peak Death Race.

While all of the events promise to challenge racers, the festival area will offer some Spartan-Style entertainment and fun, including food and refreshments, an SGX Warm up every hour starting at 7:30am, an SGX tutorial on rope climbing every hour starting at 9:00 am and Pull-up, Traverse Wall, Slosh Pipe and Tire Flip challenges happening throughout at the day starting around 10:00 am.

Amid obstacles, sweeping desert views and rousing “Aroos!” racers at the Spartan Super this weekend will likely discover something new to remember about Las Vegas, a city founded on dreams and a desert.

Click here for more information.

 

Leslie St. Louis is a trail runner, obstacle racer and mom of two mud-loving girls in Morrison, Colorado. She is currently ranked 9th in the Spartan World Points Series and the founder of a local obstacle group, resource and blog, Colorado Obstacle Racers, http://coloradoobstacleracers.com/.

 

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By: Tony Matesi

Welcome to Atlanta where the Spartans play, and we hang on them traverse walls like every day. Big Heats, fit Elites, see Spartans roamin’ and the festival starts at eight in the mornin’.

Kicking off another extraordinary Spartan weekend for the 2014 season we saw another grueling Hurricane Heat that pushed participants beyond their limits. Wasting no time getting down to business the event started with a 100+ burpee penalty in response to a collection of late arrivals.

This weekend we saw some familiar faces from the Spartan Pro Team ready to tackle the Spartan Sprint. In attendance for the men we saw David Magida, Christopher Rutz, Elliot Megquier and Georgia Native Alec Blenis. Alexander Nicholas was also in attendance but did not race competitively this weekend. For the women we saw TyAnn Clark, Juliana Sproles, and the Barbwire Queen Andi Hardy. Other Spartan Elites who made their way out for this incredible event included Cody Wright, John Henderson, Tony Matesi, Margaret Schlachter, Amanda Ricciardi, Kristine Iotte, Amie Meyer, Valerie Smith, and Sarah Pozdol.

Johnny Colt of Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd takes a moment with race director Mike Morrris

The men’s Elite saw tough competition for the top three spots resulting in podium finishes for David Magida, Alec Blenis, and Elliot Megquier (finishing first, second, and third respectively). As if that wasn’t enough for the trio they suited up for battle again on Sunday crossing the finish line once again in the same order as the day before.

The women’s Elite however saw both familiar, and new faces, take the podiums. On Saturday Pro-Team member TyAnn Clark came in first with close to a seven minute lead over second place SGX Coach Sarah Pozdol while Emily Fowler took third. Unlike the men the women’s Sunday podium looked different than Saturday. New comer Kristine Iotte took the lead in the first minute of the race on Sunday and never looked back. Like TyAnn the day before, Kristine held nearly a seven minute lead over second place finisher Amanda Ricciardi. The third place women’s Elite finisher went to Valerie Smith who on Saturday participated in the grueling and mentally tough Hurricane Heat.

Alicia Keys evaluates the next obstacle

Taking care of our racers with post race fuel was the Core Power Team with their delicious Core Power Protein drinks awaiting finishers after they battled the Gladiators. Mellow Mushroom kept everyone fed with exceptional discounts for all Spartan Racers. Eco Vessel was on site with their eco-friendly water bottles. Our friends from Obstacle Racing Media were on site providing coverage of the day’s events and SpartanUp! Graphix offered up their impressive wall graphics made straight from your favorite race photos.

Not only did we see familiar faces but there was even a celebrity on site as well. Alicia Keys came with a group of friends and tackled the course. Crossing the finish line in true Spartan fashion covered in Georgia clay, Ms. Keys was all smiles over becoming a true Spartan. Another music guest included Johnny Colt of Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

After a long and exciting weekend of Spartan-filled, fun, mud, sweat and maybe a little blood, we’re signing off. We’ll see you at the next one. The Spartan Team will be invading Charlotte, North Carolina in a couple weeks. If you haven’t signed up yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Sign up, show up, and never, ever give up! We’ll see you at the finish line. AROO!!!!

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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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by Andi Hardy, Spartan Elite Athlete

Tucked among the steep, wooded mountains, two hour’s drive from Mexico City, lies a beautiful, small, colonial city called Valle de Bravo. Just outside that city the first Mexico Super Spartan Race was hosted on May 17, 18, and 19, 2013. And a SUPER race it was. The venue was amazing, getting to it was an adventure. The people of Mexico were so accommodating and supportive. The competition was strong.

Eight American Spartan Race elite athletes had the opportunity to experience this superb Super. Hunter McIntyre, Christopher Rutz, Miguel Medina, David Megida, Brad Fredricks, Dave Huckle, Margaret Schlacter, and Andi Hardy were the contenders all hoping for a taste of Mexican podium and the money that went with it. All they were promised was an experience of a lifetime.

After the first ever Mexican Spartan Race in February 2013, a sprint, the Mexican nation had fallen for this sport. Once announced, this Super sold out in less than 48 hours. In fact, another day had to be added to the already two day event just to accommodate the overflow of registrations. 9:00 Saturday AM was the elite heat start time for men and 9:30 AM for women. And elite competitors they brought, Olympians, major marathon winners, tough local athletes to name a few.

The Mexican atmosphere was crazy intense. Spartan Race held back nothing. The festival area was filled with sponsors and vendors, companies like Salomon, Chevrolet, Sport Beans, Garmin, Monster Energy, Coleman, WODBOX, Jumex Sport, City Express Hotel. There were many food/drink choices, festival challenges, merchandise, race information and registration to name a few. Costumed Spartan gladiators were all over the venue adding flavor to the photo ops. Volunteers were everywhere, all with huge smiles on their faces. Race officials were all patient and upbeat.

The start line was grand. Roman columns lined the gates, the announcer made the anticipation nerve-wracking as could be, interviewing competitors, and making Spartan speeches. A large clock counted down the seconds and minutes til the start. Several tubes of Spartan smoke were thrown out there to create even more of a dramatic beginning.

Once the last Aroo had gone off, we were on our way for our experience of a lifetime. Right off the start, the terrain posed to be an obstacle within itself. Grassy clumps arose some 2-3 inches off of the ground. One had to watch every step as a face-plant was not out of the question. The first mud crawl was like none I’d ever experienced. The mud –so black, its density – so thick, the smell was so foul. And it sucked you in and didn’t want to spit you back out. Crawling out of 3 ½ feet of sucking mud was a challenge, and then round the corner, more of this followed, then shortly after a nice, mucky barbed wire crawl. Out of the barbs and up what would be a series of steep mountain slopes. The mountains were over 9300 feet in elevation. If that alone didn’t shut racers down, the obstacles would finish them off. Needless to say, burpee penalties were not in anyone’s plan.

Obstacles as we know and love were placed at all the right places throughout the race. Not once could you get into a comfortable running pace because a wall would appear or a bag of sand to haul through an uneven single track circle, or a dusty, bumpy upgrade of a tractor pull, another slope that had to be bear crawled. Looking up was not a great option as the discouragement took over at the size of the incline. Through a river, up more inclines, wall after wall, rope climb, traverse wall, log presses, balance beams, and the biggest obstacle; the thin air for us Americans who train at sea level. This caused oxygen deprivation that made our legs feel like cement blocks. Dizzy spells and muscle cramping added to the pain. “Vamonos, vamonos” was common encouragement from the volunteers and fans.

Finally, up the final clumpy hill to the spear throw. Mexican spears were a bit different from our well-practiced familiar ones in the states. But burpees this far into the race would be a killer at this elevation. After spearman, another muck crossing had to be conquered, then a wall to slide down while being doused with a fire hose. Lucky for those who came through alone, the highly pressured water didn’t leave your face even for a breath of air. High pressure water followed loners through th

e slippery wall climb until you made a mad dash to jump the fire and on to the cargo bridge. Once across the cargo, six hard hitting gladiators stood between your tired gasping body and that hard earned medal.

At the end of the day, we got what we were promised and more. Not only was this Mexican Super Spartan an experience of a lifetime, we found meaning way beyond a podium placement and a check in Mexico. Smiles of achievement and bonds of camaraderie don’t need translation either.But a Spartan Race wouldn’t be complete without a Kid’s Race. And because we are just big kids, several of us joined in the excitement. One grabbed a pugil stick, his job was to stay on his feet while being targeted by water balloons. Another rabbited the races and loudly cheered on every single child. Yet another grabbed the hands of scared, crying tots and helped bring smiles of joy to these young faces. Others cheered from the sidelines.

Want to learn more about our international races?  Click HERE to see our line-up.

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by Andi Hardy, Elite Spartan Athlete

One short year ago I attempted and accomplished my very first Spartan Race. What an adventure this past year has been since that life changing race. It has been an incredible journey that has not only changed my life, but saved my life.

I began the adventure for one simple reason, to find out what I was capable of accomplishing. I wanted to put my body and mind to the test. I wanted to know at the finish line if I had what it took to be a Spartan. I was also overweight and out of shape, I was miserable in my own skin and in my life. Circumstances had led me down a road I didn’t want to be on. I needed a change or I was going to snap. I knew at the finish line in GA on March 10, 2012 that I had found my life saver. I finished second overall woman in the competitive heat. I was handed a sword, and the ticket to a new life.

Georgia was just the beginning of my journey. As I crossed finish line after finish line, my confidence grew, my weight dropped, endurance was gained, and I began to feel alive once again. Nine months, 14 venues, back-to-back races on weekends, and countless adventures later, I had become the person I had always wished I could be. I changed from a quiet, withdrawn individual to someone who could talk to strangers giving them motivation, encouragement, and advice. I came out of my shell and gained confidence that I’ve never known before. I no longer made excuses; I learned to give everything at every workout. I learned to tolerate pain. I learned how to be a winner and how to graciously accept not being on the top of the podium. I felt incredible happiness for the first time in years. I have had the privilege to race all over the country on untamed terrain with amazing views. I was running on knees that specialists had told me wouldn’t make it one month. I developed friendships with fellow Spartan athletes that are second to none, amazingly compassionate people who simply understand and accept me. My two best friends ever are people I met through RSR.

I was not ever very talented athletically. Yes, I was a high school ball player, and played a little at the collegiate level, but was neither a superstar nor even a standout. I always loved sports of all kinds, I enjoyed the competitiveness and physical and mental aspects of sports, but wasn’t great at or committed to anything, until I found obstacle course racing. I now had the drive to push incredibly hard and to give my training, racing, and clean eating habits all I could.

I accomplished that goal from a year ago; after years of searching I now know what I am made of and what my passions are in life. I embrace each and every day. Thank you Reebok Spartan Race for changing and saving my life.

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How it Began

by Michael Mills

I became the first ever paralyzed Spartan in history when I finished the Reebok Spartan Georgia race on March 9, 2013 along with my team.  A head-on collision with a drunk driver in  1993  landed me in a wheelchair.  The devastation from my injuries resulted a T-12 paralysis, but I’ve never let it define or stop me.  I’ve competed in over 160 road and track races in the twelve years since, even representing the United States three separate times.  So, I’m used to competition, but Spartan was a challenge I had not yet experienced.  I had to be a part of it and wasn’t going to let my paralysis keep me from finding that finish line.   It began just a little over eight months ago I made the decision that I was going to compete in the 2013 Georgia Reebok Spartan Sprint. I didn’t know how I would do it, but I knew I was going to give it my all. I built a team with my misfit friends and we all trained in preparation for what we knew would be our toughest challenge ever.

Race Day

On race day, we started off at 9:15 am through the smoke and we began our journey to become Spartans. We hit the first obstacle with an aggressive nature and we didn’t look back. Shortly after the first obstacle we made the trek into the woods where there was the crooked creek about shin deep. Most people saw the creek as just part of the course, I saw it as obstacle number two. I dove right into water that was chest deep and started to crawl. Shortly after reaching the end the creek, I realized I had a flat tire on my wheelchair. Not even a mile into the course we had a problem.

In Spartan form I said “I ain’t got time for this, let’s just go!” So, we pushed on. We attacked each obstacle with extreme prejudice. We were relentless and we conquered each and everyone of them together. We made our first block around to the cargo net and that’s when I realized that people were really yelling and rooting for us. Our team were making a mark in Spartan history.

As we got to the top, my good friend Chris Davis came up behind me and said, “This is what you’ve been waiting for!” He was right, I took a short breath and looked around and just took it all in. We made it through the traverse wall, the tire flips (man those things were heavy), and off to the remainder of the course. As we got closer to the finish we could hear music and people, I knew it was close to being over. I saw my oldest son, my mom, and my dad. They were in awe I had made it this far. I was just three obstacles away from the finish.

Next up, the spear throw. Well, let’s just say, I wasn’t the only one doing a burpee. I had to do a “murpee,” which I call a Mike burpee or a modified burpee. I put my 30 in as fast as possible and we were off to the rope climb. I got up about a 1/4 of the way and went down into the cold water. Needless to say I hit 30 more murpees in the nasty thick mud. Then we went to the mud and barbed wire. We came out fast and muddy. Last obstacle was the gladiators. I looked up and to my surprise was Andi Hardy an Elite female Spartan Athlete. Andi took a spot just for us. We as a team decided that we were going to attack instead of them attacking us. The next thing I knew we were crossing the finish line, as a team just like we had started. Team Pushharder were now all Spartans!

I want to thank Nathan, Kevin, Brandon, Will, Scott, Joel, John and April for everything you guys did to make my dream come true. My team and I did something people said couldn’t be done. We made history together.

For those of you who doubted my abilities and said it couldn’t be done, now is the time I can gladly say, “I told you I could!” Not only am I a Spartan, I am the first ever paralyzed Spartan in history.

What’s your excuse? Sign up TODAY.

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by Chris Rutz, Elite Spartan Athlete

The Reebok Spartan Race Florida Super continues a new program with some of the best Spartan Racers in the sport of obstacle racing. It is called the Reebok Spartan Race Invite Series. We have asked our top racers to invite someone to run a Spartan Race with them. The top Spartan Racer will host someone they have been trying to get into Spartan Racing. It may be their best friend, their wife, their son, their coach or anyone who can coerce and invitation out of them. It just has to be someone that has never done a Spartan Race.

For the Miami Super Spartan, David Magida has asked one of his friends Greg Malone to join him in a Spartan Race. They will be running together in one of the Open heats on Saturday.

David finished the 2012 Spartan Race Points Series in 9th Place overall. He is kicking off the 2013 race year with the Miami Super Spartan.

We asked Greg a few questions about David and Spartan Racing:

How do you know the David?

I have known David Magida for over 15 years. I went to middle school and high school with him and ran cross country with him briefly when we were younger. He was the Spartan racer that initially sparked my interest in obstacle course racing. He suggested that I participate in the a short, local mud run in Miami as an introductory obstacle course race. He offered to run with me, for his third lap of the day, in my afternoon heat so that he could give me tips to conquer the obstacles as well as provide encouragement during. Elliott Megquier and Isaiah Vidal, whom I’d met earlier while waiting for my heat to begin, also offered to run with me. I also met Andi Hardy and Ella Kociuba at the Obstacle Racing Magazine tent and later was able to pick their brains about obstacle course racing, Spartan Race and training methods. Andi recommended that I sign up for the Spartan Workout of the Day (WOD) as a good place to begin my training.

What is your athletic background?

I played baseball in high school and wrestled for 3 years. After high school I really fell out of shape; I indulged in everything the college life had to offer. Unfortunately that lifestyle carried into my 20s and one day I found myself winded after walking up a flight of stairs at work. It was at that point I decided I had to do something about my fitness. Being friends with David for so long, I knew that he was someone I could ask for advice as I began a regimen to get myself back into shape. I began slow, running a couple miles and doing some push-ups  Now I try to go to the gym/workout a minimum of 5 times per week. I am an avid cyclist and while running is certainly not my forte, I try to do it as often as possible. I also enjoy swimming and have recently started going to a gym called Orange Theory Fitness, which holds classes that focus on high intensity interval and circuit training. I am definitely nowhere near where I want to be fitness wise, but I can see the path, I know my goals, and I finally have the motivation and desire to change my life around and reach those goals.

Why did you say yes when you were invited to race?

My experience at my first mud run was amazing. It pushed me mentally and physically and tired my body in ways it hasn’t been fatigued in years. Not the mention it was incredibly fun. When I was able to complete it without having to drag my body across the finish line I knew that I wanted my next race to challenge me even more. When David Magida told me there was a Super Spartan coming to Miami I jumped at the opportunity. Knowing there’s a race coming up and then signing up for it has forced me to push myself to another level when it comes to my training. I had such a feeling of accomplishment crossing the finish line and I can’t wait to run a Spartan race and recreate that feeling.

What are you most excited about?

The obstacles. If I just wanted to run a foot race I could sign up for a half marathon or a 10K. Breaking up the race by having to navigate through difficult and often very unique obstacles is definitely what makes the race fun for me. That being said, it’s been a very long time since I ran 8+ miles at once. I’ll definitely be incorporating a few long runs into my training, but at this point I’ll also be very excited just to cross the finish line. And drink a beer.

What are you most worried about?

My endurance. My fitness level is definitely much higher, but I’m still concerned about how tired I am going to be near the end of the race. It’s really important to me to complete every obstacle and unless they’re part of an obstacle, I’d rather not have to do any burpees during the race.

 

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[Editor's Note] Ang Reynolds is a regular on the Spartan Race scene.  An active member of the Spartan 300 group, she’s a to points leader and she’s spent the year traveling the country racing Spartan events and making a name for herself as a competitor in the growing OCR sport.  The single mother of three is also a contributing writer for the blog Barb Wire 4 Breakfast.  Here she shares her year in review.  A year of racing, competing, and finding the family she never knew she had.

Saying Goodbye to 2012

by Ang Reynolds

It is tough to summarize the end of my racing season. With three races in four weeks, my weekends have been packed with the air of Sparta. The Sac Beast was cold and rainy with relentless wind, pitted mud, and straw thick under foot. My hometown race, the Malibu Sprint, was rainy as well. When a typically dry Southern California is drenched with rain for days prior to the race, a muddy course is easily delivered. The tough hills in Calamigos Ranch were slick and unforgiving as I trudged through two more cold wet days of racing. Four days later I boarded a flight to Texas to be reunited with many friends I had not seen since my wayward weekend in Killington, Vermont.

As we stood at the starting line on Saturday morning, facing a course that Mike promised would deliver Spartan’s best; I looked at the faces that surrounded me. A little over a year ago I ran my first Spartan race. A little over a year ago all of these people were strangers to me. Now, as I looked to the Spartans on my left, and the Spartans on my right, we ran into our battle united as a team.

I remembered the first time I spoke with Andi Hardy on the phone, inviting her to spend the weekend with my family in Utah for the Beast. I remembered the first time I met Corinne Kohlen, volunteering at the Spartan Super in Arizona.

I looked further to each side and saw more familiar faces. These were the people that were my greatest competitors. The people that I wanted to beat to the finish line at the end of the day, but also the people that I shared my days and nights with. We had stayed out many a night, and slept late into the morning. We had jumped in lakes, stood around fires, and huddled together in the pouring rain to warm our bodies. We had helped each other limp across the finish and wipe the blood off our broken and bruised bodies. We shared some of the roughest times in our lives and but also in each other’s greatest joys.  

After less than a year I was innately connected to each and every one of these individuals in some way, having shared so much more than just a race. We had not only raced together, but to also encouraged each other along the way, through our strong moments, and at our worst. The racers that stood beside me were my family, and for the last time racing in 2012, I was reminded how lucky I was to be a part of the Spartan community. I have gained not only everlasting friendships, but also a family that runs thicker than blood; a family that will continue to love and support me through so much more than just racing.

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by Jason Rita

“Phenomenally Phenomenal Women”
SPARTAN RETURNS TO GLEN ROSE WHERE THE BIGGEST NAMES IN OBSTACLE RACING WILL BATTLE FOR THEIR SHARE OF SPARTAN’S $40,000 POINTS COMPETITION PURSE.

FOLLOW ONE EPIC WEEKEND OF LEGENDARY SPARTAN RACING AS THE SPARTAN300 POINTS LEADERS FACE OFF IN THE SEASON’S FINAL BEAST RACE IN ORDER TO SETTLE WHO WINS THE 2012 SPARTAN POINTS SERIES COMPETTION. YESTERDAY WE PREVIEWED THE MEN’S RACE; TODAY WE FOCUS ON THE WOMEN’S RACE.

Maya Angelou wrote her anthem to a woman’s strength, “Phenomenal Women,” in 1978, but she might have been describing our Spartan women athletes:  “It’s the fire in my eyes and the flash of my teeth, the swing in my waist, and the joy in my feet.  I’m a woman.  Phenomenally.  Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”  These women have the fire and flash, the swing and the joy.  They are phenomenally phenomenal.  But only one can be Spartan Points Champion.

Rose-Marie Jarry

While the Spartan men’s race in Glen Rose, Texas, on Saturday may feature two titans of the world of obstacle racing in Hobie Call and Cody Moat, who sit atop our sport like two colossal mythological figures, the Spartan women’s field features a constellation of competitors, a magnificent and impressive array of athletes/warriors/goddesses, a panoply of serious “playas” (I think that’s how the kids say it), all of whom are striving  this weekend to write their name into Spartan legend and the win the inaugural Points Competition title as the crowning achievement on the Spartan racing year.

This weekend, the field of Spartan women is like one of those ensemble comedies where everyone is an A-lister.  It is the Emmys, Grammies, Golden Globes and Oscars all rolled into one star-studded and mud-splattered extravaganza.  It is the All-Star game and the Pro Bowl except everyone is really competing from the first AROO to the final obstacle.

Rose-Marie Jarry is leading the women’s field in the Points Series heading into Texas, having won the most recent two Spartan Races, the Malibu Sprint last week and the Spartan Beast in Sacramento three weeks ago by an incredible 21 minutes ahead of 2011 Spartan Champion Jenny Tobin.  The fast, flat and dry Texas conditions will suit the Kronobar founder even more than the cool and muddy conditions from Sacramento, and the former 800m Canada national team track and field star will be fast away from the starting line.  An experienced and accomplished front-runner, Rose will force the pace and demand that everyone try to hang on to her raw speed.  She already has 15 Spartan races under her belt this year with a sweep of the Canadian sprint, super and beast races in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, to which she added first place finishes south of the 49th parallel not just in Malibu and Sacramento, but also in the Mid-West Super, Tri-State NJ Super, and the New England Sprint.  Rose needs to win in Texas to make certain of the 21012 Points Series crown, and in the absence of the Vermont champion Claude Godbout, Rose enters Texas as the favorite.  Her recent wins prove she is the in-form racer but there have been many thoroughbreds who have been Triple Crown contenders after winning the Derby and the Preakness only to falter in the Belmont, and Rose will need to prove she has the character and mettle of a true champion to hold off the charging challengers. If she can, she will claim not only the $1,500 first prize being awarded by Navy Federal Credit Union to the top female finisher on the day, but she will also win the Spartan prize of $4,250 being awarded by Spartan Race to the 2012 Points Series champion.

Andi Hardy has done more Spartan races this year than Rose, a staggering 20, in her first full-year of obstacle racing, and is

Andi Hardy

in second place in the Points Series table.  Since Andi already has points from four Beast races that make up the points calculation, Andi can’t overtake Rose but can improve her tally to ensure she preserves her shot at the 2nd place $2,000 cash prize.  One of the most popular Spartan athletes with a large following at races and on her blog BarbWire4Breakfast, she is easily recognizable in her lime green racing kit and will have a lot of support to help her conclude the 2012 season on the podium as well maintain her AG lead over Juliana Sproles.

Numerous racers can overtake Rose in the points standings with strong showings on both days of racing including Melinda Branch, Ella Kociuba and Jenny Tobin.  Ella and Jenny come in to the weekend banged up from a season of obstacle racing that has pushed them to their physical limits.  If they can survive Saturday, their challenge will be to recover in order to thrive on Sunday.  Jenny will be drawing on a wealth of experience as a pro athlete in Xterra and Ironman competition for the mental tenacity to race on less than 2 legs.  While Ella is one the youngest racers in the field and lacks Jenny’s racing resume, her legendary workouts for sponsor Flag Nor Fail will give her the endurance edge to overcome her lack of recent training and finish the season with one last chance at fulfilling the promise that we glimpsed one year ago at Glen Rose, when she had the fastest time over the weekend in any wave. Melinda has quietly positioned herself with a chance at a high points series finish, and proved at the South Carolina Beast, she is a podium threat.

Podiums are not foreign to another of the most well-known and popular Spartan racers, Dirt in Your Skirt alter ego Margaret Schlachter, who despite having 17 races in her legs this year before coming to Texas, is aiming to have two of her best finishes all year in the Saturday/Sunday elite waves.  An experienced competitive skier, she knows what it is like to race hard multiple events over a two or three day competition.   If Rose falters, Margaret could find herself on the top spot of the Points Series table come Sunday afternoon.  Irrespective of finding her on the podium, you can always find Margaret supporting other Spartan racers, giving medals to racers all afternoon, doing sweep heats, setting up the “Meet the Racers” tent where beginner obstacle racers can get training and racing advice from the competitive Spartan300 athletes.

Despite the great camaraderie and friendship amongst all these Spartan women athletes, make no mistake that for two hours

Margaret Schlachter

on Saturday and Sunday morning this weekend, no quarter will be given nor asked. Too much is on the line – cash, pride, titles, glory.  Seriously, what more could a girl want?

Maya Angelou’s powerful words concluding her famous poem say it best as a celebration of spirit that our Spartan women athletes represent:

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels, 
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. 

AROO AROO AROO!

See – even Ms. Angelou knew from Spartan Chicked.

 

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