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Spartan Beast, The Wilds – My First OCR

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5m easy 9:10/pace

Wednesday: 3m easy 9:15/pace, 25min shoulders/legs

Thursday: 7m tempo (2m warm up, 4 @ 7:15/pace, 1m cool down)

Five hours, twenty minutes. 14.7 miles of technical trails, carrying rocks, sandbags, logs and flipping tires. Trudging through mud, wading in water, climbing cargo nets, gathering rocks, hanging onto trees, hoisting up and over walls. (And one huge run-on sentence later) I did it. I finished. I’m alive, unharmed and feeling stronger than ever.  Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.05.14 PM

At first, I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for the hardest Spartan obstacle course race. Being an endurance runner, a pseudo masochist, secret-wannabe-trail-runner, adventure seeker, a how far can my body possibly be pushed-er… I had to try this. I had to know I was a well-rounded athlete.

I drove up to Columbus Friday afternoon to stay with my cousin Becky and her family. Her husband Josh was doing the race with me. We caught up, had dinner and quickly laid out clothes and packed up bags for the next day.

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Our biggest gripe of the day was the parking situation. We sat in bumper to bumper traffic for 30 minutes, just to park. We were stopped for so long I peed in between our car and the car in front of us. I know it seems like i’m peeing in public a lot, but it’s not my fault! I think i’m cursed with bad pre-race timing. I just couldn’t hold it. And we couldn’t wait any longer. We were 20 minutes from our wave start time and still weren’t moving. Becky took the wheel to park, and Josh and I walked toward the bibs, gear check and bathrooms.

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We finally started the race at 9:00am and hit trails and 5 obstacles. Wall climbs, under a wall & under muddy water, monkey bars, ring/rope cross, Z-wall, cargo net climbs, barbed wire crawls… Some really tough upper body stuff right out of the gates, then we were on the trails. We ran when we could. These trails were TECHNICAL. I know i’m not much of a trail runner, but hopping over roots, rocks, mud, steep inclines & dead stop so you don’t fall over the edge declines are the example of technical trails.

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synchronized jumping

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Josh on the Z-Wall

Our mile time was about 23 minutes–if you count the slowing down for the obstacles & burpees, i’d estimate we were doing about a 14 minute mile. That’s a lot of slowing down, hiking, all while gaining 2,300 feet of elevation. I’m not gonna lie, the trails were my favorite part of the race. I loved not wearing a watch, feeling free out in nature, and knowing endurance was my strength. Getting through the obstacles as a strong girl was a huge boost as we headed back to the tough trails.

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After mile 6, the mile markers stopped. It was a little frustrating not knowing how far we were, but I figured it was part of the mental mind game Spartan wanted to play with the athletes. Putting one foot in front of the other when you don’t know how far your feet have left to travel is a tough task.

We were full of energy early on. Talkative, smiling and having a blast. Honey Stinger gel packs saved our butts on more than one occasion. I brought 4 or 5 packs, i can’t remember, but we went through all of them within 4 hours and both of us wished I had brought more.

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There were moments where I wasn’t sure if i could do anymore with my arms. And Josh was there to help. There were moments Josh’s energy dropped and he slowed on the trails, and I was there to help. We complemented each other perfectly for this race. We constantly checked in with each other and sped up and slowed down when we needed breaks. Our goal was to finish. Racers on the trail couldn’t believe we chose The Beast as our first Spartan. Go big or go home bro. Especially you, bro that skips leg day and gets cramps on the trails. Especially you.

Josh and I both thought the race would be even spread out with running and obstacles. Like running half a mile then doing an obstacle, repeat, etc. It wasn’t. The running/hiking seemed to go on for miles before we hit a group of obstacles. Again, tough mentally, but I enjoyed it. The Wilds was beautiful. Breathtaking actually. The pine trees, the ponds, the seclusion, it was glorious.

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Josh climbing like a pro!

The last miles waned on for an eternity, only to be interrupted with the dreaded bucket of rocks task. It’s as awful as it sounds. You fill your bucket to the marked holes, and you walk with said bucket up and down a path. One heavy foot in front of the other. The sandbag on the shoulder was next and similar in effort. Toss the sandbag over your shoulder and walk up a path and through mud until you hit the drop off point.

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Pierce (becky & josh’s son) demonstrating the rock/bucket obstacle. 

I’m guessing all of this so far sounds awful. But believe me, when you finish a difficult task, like flipping a huge tire over, you feel so strong and invincible! Every obstacle proved I was capable of difficult things. I didn’t complete three obstacles which lead to the dreaded burpees. 3 x 30 = 90 burpees for me. Josh did all the obstacles like a champ! Not too shabby for 30+ obstacles.DSC_0343

When we started to lose steam and were out of Honey Stinger packs we were toward the end. The lovely volunteers told us we had a few obstacles left and we were home. Seeing the fire jump in the distance was the motivator we needed to finish strong!

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me off to the left! Still had a little spring in my step

They said at the start, “You’ll know at the finish line.” And it was accurate. I felt so strong, relieved, happy and proud of that accomplishment. Crossing a finish line for the first time is always epic. Crossing a finish line that proves I’m not just a runner was pure elation.

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And a few more of us happy to be finished and on our way to eat…

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Josh and I had a brilliant idea to do a Spartan last year while drinking beer at Thanksgiving, this makes me nervous about what we might come up with next November…  🙂

Last Week

Monday: 2500m row, rope pull ups, deadlifts

Tuesday: 4m easy 9:40/pace

Wednesday: 4m easy 9:30/pace 2m walk/run w/LE.

Thursday: 6m interval (2m warm up 10:00/p, 3 x 1m @ 6:53/p, 1m cool down)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 14.7 Spartan Beast OCR

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 28.7

What do you feel when you cross a finish line?

Hardest race you’ve ever done?


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SPARTAN UP! -Time for a Giveaway!!

Monday: 1500m row, 100 bosu burpees w/pushups, 50 bw squats, 50 hanging leg raises

Tuesday: 8.5m combo tempo (3m @ 6:49, 6:49, 6:44 -3:00 rest- 2 x 1m @ 6:22, 6:18)

I’m 4 weeks out from the OC 1/2 and 5 weeks away from my very first Spartan Beast. I know i’ve mentioned i’m afraid of the half marathon i’ve been prepping for, but there is a different fear that happens when I think about the Spartan obstacle course race i’m training for.

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That fear is for the new, uncharted territory. I never thought i would be taking on an obstacle course race, let alone a tough one. I’m excited that this race is gonna be horrible/fun/terrible/awesome. I’m excited to see what my body can do, but definitely nervous for what I’m going to be put through physically and mentally. I know i’m going to cross the finish line in Ohio feeling like a different person. That’s the exciting part, now I just gotta get there.

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Training for a Spartan has been a different experience, but they have so many tools to help prepare for the demands of the course which have helped me out.

1) Watch a Spartan on tv – Once in a while I catch something fun on espn or whatever sports channel… I watched an hour special about Spartan Elites a few months back and it was super motivating. (This is what really pushed me to participate!) Plus it gave me a good idea of the type of obstacles I would eventually tackle.

2) Spartan.com You can sign up for a spartan WOD (workout of the day) and they email you or your weekly workouts. Even if you aren’t training for an obstacle course race, I seriously recommend this to vary your workouts and put something fun & different in your routine. Most of the workouts include running so it’s perfect for runners trying to incorporate strength!

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results from all the rope pulling in preparation for the Spartan!

3) The books! Spartan has several books to help you train and get mentally prepared for the demands of the course. They have a new book coming out called Spartan Fit! which has a 31 day diet & workout plan (that doesn’t require a gym) and motivational Spartan stories. If you’re new to Spartan or ready to tackle the next event even stronger check it out or pre-order here:

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Oh and did I mention the somewhat famous 😉 ultramarathoner, Dean Karnazes likes these books?

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I’m giving away a free entry into a Spartan Race! Don’t be afraid of the unknown, embrace it! Training for an obstacle course race will only make you a better, tougher runner!

4 ways to enter the giveaway: Follow my Instagram, Follow Spartan’s Instagram, leave a comment telling me which Spartan you would sign up for, or pre-order Spartan Fit! (leave a separate comment telling me which entires you did). 

Giveaway is open until 4/13/16 @ midnight–Good Luck!!

Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 9:20/pace

Tuesday: 7.5m interval (8 x 800s @ 6:27/pace w/200m recovery at 10:00/p)

Wednesday: 1500m row, 30 min legs

Thursday: 9m easy 8:45/pace

Friday: Rest day-  2.3m walk w/LE

Saturday: 14m long 9:00/pace

Sunday: Rest day- 3m walk w/LE

Total Mileage: 36.5

Tips for doing a Spartan?

What type of race/activity gets you out of your comfort zone?


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Phone Dump Friday #6!

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6.4m hill repeats (16 x 100m repeats pace between 6:30-6:50), 15 min glutes/lower back 

Wednesday: CFE 5000m row, 100 lat pulldowns (single arms), 120 bosu ball burpees w/pushups, 200 situps (varied type). 

Thursday: 5m intervals –10 X 200s (2 @ 5:39/pace, 2 @ 5:36, 2 @ 5:33, 2 @ 5:27, 2 @ 5:24)

Happy Flex/Phone Dump/TGIF/Can’t wait until Sunday’s Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, FRIDAY! Before we go into the random pictures that didn’t make it onto the blog let’s talk about entering the Spartan Race Entry Giveaway! <—If you win you will be given a code to use for a free entry. So the winner of the code doesn’t necessarily have to be the one to participate in the race. If you have a friend, spouse, co-worker who like adventure races, win it for them! How much would they love you for it? So go enter! You have nothing to lose! Except for time–the giveaway ends Sunday night at midnight!

Keep an eye out because warmer months make me feel uber generous and I will have another giveaway soon!

…and onto the dump! Here’s my sister with a puppy.

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my favorite beer while in LA

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a label i almost ate (yes I did, in fact, wash the apple!)
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My car hit 100,000 and I missed it. 😦 don’t worry, the ostrich saw…
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just cause i’m wearing real clothes. real boring clothes, but real clothes nonetheless
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Pancakes. Cause I run yo

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My travel buddy

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Just cause I don’t get a latte art… hehehe

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and the 1.9lb bag of Sour Patch I “bought for Cameron” for Easter.

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Good Luck to all everyone running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler this sunday! Including several of my clients!

SARAH! MATTHEW! RACHEL! JENNIFER!

KICK SOME ASPHALT!