by Jose Albanil

I looked across a crowded room. Our eyes met. Love at first sight. The Spartan playground was beckoning me to come play. Just kidding, I knew they had this training course at the Arizona Health and Fitness Expo. I really need to have a place outside and away from a city with lots of acreage so I can have this kind of stuff laying around to keep my workouts fun, new and fresh.

It is time to begin. One of the trainers made sure we had some nice warm-up stretches. This is really important and I always need that. Then it was all about business. The workout starts off by warming up the legs with 50 squats. Followed by 30 Burpees. I knocked out 10 more just because I needed to get better at them. It was a team workout so if you got down fast you had to drop down and hold a plank and of course that was me. Next, we did 30 plank to Spidermans. I was starting to sweat big time. My hands were shaky. While we waited for the others we had to do as many banana to Supermans as we could. This was something new to me, but it kept your heart rate up. Then it was time to grab our “friend” as the trainer called it. It was a large sandbag with the Spartan Logo on it.  I think everyone called it a pancake. We went out to jog around the building with the bag. Half way around we had to do a combination that involved throwing the sandbag forward to frog jump towards it and then down to push up and repeat. All this while moving yourself down a length of course.

Of course the mind works in funny ways. As you get tired you start to loose your concentration. You hear what you want to hear as I call it. The trainer was telling us certain things we had to do and people became very selective in what they were hearing when it came to doing more work. If he said do these 10 things, people would blow through but only do 7. People would ask lots of questions as if they were using it as a way to take a longer break. But when it came time to stop, oh man it was instantaneous from when they heard that and dropped the bag or whatever they were doing.

Now for me, I do not like to cheat or take the easy way. I do the full and extenuated move. I add jumping or longer range of motion. I needed to be pushed. But I also like to work smart. I was surprised how quickly I processed the information at hand. When we were doing the combinations I mentioned above, I realized after the first one that if I threw the bag farther I cover the distance quicker. The trainer heard that and said yes you are correct. But by this I am not saying it is easier. I do expend more energy to throw the bag farther, I have to expend more energy to frog jump farther, etc. I do arrive quicker, more energy spent, and pushed harder. I was able to complete this part 3 times to everyone else doing one. Then we grabbed our bags to run back inside.
We ran back around the whole building and through the convention area. Nice way to attract attention to your booth. As we got back, I noticed one of the guys that was working the booth was asking people how they were feeling. As I ran by I said, “When is the warm up over?” We thought, “Oh man you are in trouble now.” Perfect, that is exactly what I needed.

Next, we grouped up in teams of 3 for the obstacle course. There was one kid by himself so two other trainers came in. I let the kid have my spot in my group and I rolled with the trainers. Yeah baby. Here is what the course looked like. I stared off by grabbing a rope to pull an SUV looking tire down and back. Then to the other side of the room to grab our “friend” again for the combinations. Across the course to a huge 300 pound looking tractor tire for the tire flips. I had to do two flips out and two back. Running to the other side to do a cinder blocks carry. This involved carrying them out and back. You had to make sure you stacked them nicely or you would have to do it again. I proceeded over to dive under another wall, and picked up a large plastic tube filed with water. It would throw off your balance as you did a lunge and shoulder press combo out and back. Next it was my favorite… NOT…. 30 Burpees.

Now the last thing, in order to finish, was to tell the trainer what the card was he showed us at the beginning of the workout. I memorized the numbers of objects, the shapes of the objects, the colors, the orientations of each, etc. The trainer needed to know which card number we were given in order to pull it up to make sure the participants answer was correct. I was like……..CARD NUMBER?….SHOOT. I never saw that. So I immediately went to the penalty phase which was ANOTHER 30 BURPEES. Everyone was only given one chance. Every person missed it. Everyone had to do the penalty. They all whined and complained and asked for another try. Doing whatever they could to get out of the penalty phase.

I finished first and rang the bell. The trainer looked at me and wondered how I finished so quickly. He knew I had no shot at the memory card and that I just banged out my burpees. He was laughing. Very good he said. I asked him if he remembered which card I had. He said yes. So I rattled off the color combo. As well as ALL the other things I memorized. He was shocked. It was an amazing workout. I had a serious sweat going on. And since I was not use to so many burpees in a row I could feel some tightening in the glutes but nothing a good stretch would not help alleviate.

Today’s workout had men, women, and your adults, all of which finished the workout in their own way and at their pace. I do feel that anyone that is at least active, with no physical limitations, can finish a Spartan Race. Sign up for the Spartan Sprint with a team and have a great time helping each other finish. Motivating and being a support crew for each other. See you on the course.

Editor’s Note: Bio:

Jose Albanil is a Graphic Designer in Scottsdale Arizona whose hobbies include creating art in various mediums, photography and staying physically fit. He has been running all kinds of races since 1991 and has come to love any and all mud/obstacle races that he can find. Spartan Races challenge him physically, mentally and allows him to have fun while competing. Blog originally posted at:

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