By: Kristine Iotte

There in the desert land of Vegas, the sun not even up yet, and already we had started with the burpees. In my mind 30 is a lot. Burpees are hard. We got to 40, 50, 75, 90 burpees. I began to think “Ugh I should have seen this coming why did I sign up for this”, then “this is ridiculous, we are never going to last 12 hours if we are doing this crap the whole time”, and then “there is no WAY we are doing more than 100” –and was pretty set on there being no chance we’d go past 100. Then we got to 101, 102, and something weird happened; I went into autopilot. Instead of focusing on when we were finishing I was focusing on each burpee because who knew how many these crazy jerks were going to make us do. Granted we ended up only doing a few more, but because anything over 100 seemed unreasonable and unsustainable (we still had over 12 hours to go, this was just the warm up!) and we surpassed it anyway, I didn’t really know what to do with it and just kept moving.

The same happened shortly after when they made us roll sideways through the rocks and dirt. When I saw how far they were making us roll, and thinking about how much I dislike being dizzy, all I could think was “when I barf, who should I aim it at: John or Cookie?” After deciding Cookie was my target, and feeling pretty good about that, I kept rolling. It was getting uncomfortable and I noticed I was only just over half way.

Figuring they would likely move the end point even further once we started getting close, it happened again. It got easier. The nausea went away and the sharp rocks no longer bothered me.

What? Again?  Not knowing how long I will have to subject myself to each of these awful tasks is somehow making them easier? How is my brain shutting down discomfort?

It was bizarre.

That pretty much set up the rest of the day. When they made us get tires and announced that we would be carrying them through the entire course, with obstacles, no one flinched. There was almost an air of confidence about us.

There were numerous other occasions (any one of the countless push-up, burpee, or awful-bodyweight-exercise sessions) where we somehow made it through ridiculous amounts of reps –but there was one other repeated task that didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. The dunk wall. I hate wet clothes and get cold pretty easily.  I lost track of how many times we ended up there. Oh, you’re cold? Let’s head to the dunk wall. Your shirts are getting dry? Dunk wall. The sun is going down? Dunk wall. But somehow it bothered me less when I didn’t know how long we were going to be in there or how long it would be until we would end up there again. (And I noticed that no one was complaining about it anymore.)

When I only concerned myself with the task itself and not how long or how many times we would have to do it, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed it should have been. Don’t get me wrong, it was a hard 12 hours and I was plenty beat at the end, but we certainly did more than I had imagined. It makes me wonder how much our expectations and assumptions limit what we are capable of or are willing to try, and it made it very clear how much our minds baby our bodies.

Think you have what it takes? Sign up for an HH12HR today! 

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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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