Wednesday, May 22, 2013


This weekend in Texas I learned more about drive, dedication, determination, support, and strength than I have learned at any race thus far.  I had the opportunity to run and film the "sweeper heat" Saturday and Sunday night.  To date this was the most rewarding thing I have ever done with Spartan race.  

Saturday afternoon Tony, Joe and I set off just a little after the last heat and began to walk the course picking up trash and releasing volunteers from their stations.  We walked for two miles before we came to our first participant still on course.  It was there at the tire flip that we met Chris Reedy.  A man who forever changed my perception of what is possible when you believe in yourself and push your limits.  

Chris Reedy was not your typical Spartan racer.  Tipping the scales at 460 pounds and with a heart of gold Chris Reedy was in the middle of his first Reebok Spartan Race.  He was joined by his brother's who had flown out to complete the race with him and support his adventure.  

Over the next four hours we stayed with Chris as he conquered the tire flip, nailed the spear throw, beat his brothers at the Hercules hoist, rocked the tire pull, made a valiant effort at the slippery wall, rolled like a beast under the barbwire and finally jumped the flames to the finish line.  

It was not an easy journey for Chris but he never gave up.  He put one foot in front of the other and step by step completed the course.  He never complained or said "this sucks", he even smiled a lot!  Parts of his journey were painful to watch...the look on his face when he saw the uphill section after exiting the pipe crawl, the concern when we discussed the possibility of him being pulled if he didn't finish in daylight. But through the concern and pain Chris pushed forward.  He attempted obstacles I never thought he would even consider... the pipe crawl, the cargo net, the slippery wall... and he dominated them.  He told me about his struggles with weight and how he was trying to get back on track to be healthier for himself and to inspire others.  He inspired me with every inch of terrain he covered and as he crossed the finish line my eyes filled with tears of happiness.  

Chris is what Spartan Race is about.  He signed up for what even the healthiest individuals consider insane, difficult, and crazy.  He showed up with determination, a great family to support him, and the biggest heart I have ever seen.  He completed the course and never gave up.  He proved no matter where you are in life, no matter what size you are, no matter who believes in you or who doesn't... if you believe in yourself and if you set goals... anything is possible.  Thank you Chris for reminding me of this.  I reach out to anyone considering signing up for a Spartan Race and say - DO IT.... there are no excuses.  Give up the self doubt and put yourself out there.  If Chris can do it, YOU can do it.  

Sign Up. Show Up. Never Give Up.

Look forward to photos, interview, and video footage of Chris completing his 1st Spartan Race on the Spartan website in the future. 

Corinne, Ang, and Andi. 

Photo Credit: Anthony Matesi, and The Painted Warrior - thank you!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Let me make mistakes so you don't have to - Obstacle racing in contact lenses

A few weeks ago I made an appointment to get some new glasses.  As I explained to the eye doc how I lost my old pair of glasses in lake Nicaragua during Fuego y Agua a blank look came over her face.  "You were doing what when you lost your glasses!??"  Yes, I was wading in a lake and the lake was more like an ocean and a wave knocked them off my face.  I couldn't see long distance for the rest of the race and subsequently got lost on a volcano....

Last known photo of my glasses!  LOL!  Fuego y Agua race just before the lake.

As the doc stares at me like I'm crazy a smile begins to crack... "you need contacts" 
I had never wanted contacts before because I have really sensitive eyes and was worried about putting them in and taking them out. My eye doctor convinced me otherwise and also convinced me that they would be the perfect solution to me not being able to see at my races.  I told her about the mud, the water, the smoke and the dust involved in my races and she still seemed to believe contacts would be great so I gave them a try.

Since then my contacts have completed two Spartan Sprints, and one GoRuck.

The first day I wore my contacts I was thrilled.  I could see the entire race course,  I could wear cheap sunglasses over them and not care if they got muddy, I could recognise my friends in the crowd!  This was awesome!  Saturday went by flawlessly and while my eyes were a little dry from the long day I was very happy with my contacts. 

Saturday pre-race.  Thank you Navy Federal Credit Union for this cheap pair of sunglasses! They were a perfect way to protect my contacts and eyes :)

Sunday started out the same until I hit my spear throw!  I was so excited that I hit my spear I flew through the traverse wall and literally dove head first into the underground mud tunnels!  I emerged covered in mud and totally blind.  I could not see ANYTHING and my eyes were on fire!  I stood up and stumbled forward until I ran straight into the camoflauge netting seperating the next half of the tunnel.   " I cant see!!"  I yelled.  "I'm blind!"  somehow I made it out of the tunnels and continued to stumble forward, literally wobbling as the mud was thick and I couldn't see my foot placement!  Was this going to end my race??? I was horrified as with my spear I had moved into first place!!  "Help!!"  Somehow from the sidelines someone yelled for me to walk over.  I slowly made my way right and someone placed a water bottle in my hand.  I dumped it over my eyes and my right eye began to open up again.  Light... i can see light!.  Out of my left I could see only darkness but my right was good enough to make out shapes.  I approached the slippery wall and began to grab for a rope.  "Go to the right,  go up the right"  people yelled at me from the sidelines.  I moved right a few feet and began climbing.  I made it over the wall. 
The rest of the race was a muddy, painful, and amazing blur!  I ran with my left eye closed and my right eye squinted, feeling pretty stupid. 
As a first time contact user I forgot to bring any solution or eye drops for after the race, I didn't even have a mirror so I could take them out.  Big mistake.  My eyes were gooy and red for days after the race. 

Mud face :)

So with Texas this weekend i am going to attempt the contacts again with some things in mind.  This may sound like common sense for long time contact lens wearers but it was a big lesson for me. 
I recommend the following things:

1.  No matter how excited or pumped you are about the race, DO NOT jump face first into the mud pit!
2. Bring an after race contact cleanup/recovery kit: water, contact solution, eye drops, and a mirror to take them out.
3. If you have prescription glasses or sunglasses to wear in case your contacts fail - BRING THEM
4. If you are wearing contacts, get some cheap dollar store or gas station sunglasses to wear over them.  Saturday I feel this helped protect my eyes.  Sunday I didn't have them. 
5.  Ask you eye doc which lenses might work best for races.  Mine recommended disposable in case I lost or damaged them... and I have done all of the above.  I lost one about 5 hours into GoRuck friday night :)
6.  Have fun!

O.K. Good luck racers.  See you in Texas :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Race Review -Spartan Racers Dominate Alpha Warrior!!! - Written by guest blogger Jeff Bent

As the sport of obstacle course racing (OCR) evolves, new & unique races continue to emerge. Each new race brings a great excitement to those of us who are fueled by this extreme sport.

This past weekend, an inaugural race took place in San Antonio, Texas. The "Alpha Warrior" was assembled in the parking lot at Retama Park Racetrack.  Unlike any OCR to date, "Alpha Warrior" is an extremely obstacle heavy course with twenty challenging & unique obstacles spread evenly throughout a half mile course.

I caught up with Spartan racing friends Corrine Kohlen & Marko Vennerholm. We arrived early, had a few minutes to view the course, and were in awe of it & its obstacles. With a childlike excitement we began assembling for the 8am elite heat. Approximately 75 in all signed up to toe the line for the elite heat. With some brief instructions we were off -  released every 60 seconds in heats of 3 with Corinne in the 2nd heat and Marko & I in the 3rd.

Obstacles included:  3 consecutive giant carpeted rollers, a side-ways traverse of a cargo net, a long ring traverse, several horizontal bar traverses, a hanging vertical bars traverse, a vertical ropes traverse, a low ladder traverse, slack line traverses, trampolines, and the home stretch included a large structure referred to as "Alcatraz". Alcatraz included cargo crawls, 2 different & unique forms of monkey bars, long jumps to carpeted boxes, a long descent of a loose cargo net, then a high jump down to a padded landing. Several obstacles are difficult to explain without going into great detail but all-in-all an über fun & challenging course! 19 minutes total for me, placing almost 6 minutes behind the winner :( Corinne took home the ladies title by more than 10 minutes with a 22 minute course domination!

Corinne, Marko & myself spent the morning in the race area which was well laid out to be extremely spectator friendly! Being with the ladies winner we were given "special" treatment. Lol. We shared time with the owners, co owners, Alpha Warrior staff & their ambassador "American Ninja Warrior" finalist Brent Steffensen which O-btw are all super cool people. And all whom have the same OCR thought process as us, more obstacles-less running :)

The festival area had a pull-up bar with some unique hand grips & several barbells for doing clean & jerks or presses I suppose. The meal tent had a good menu including several half way healthy chooses such as fruit bowls and quinao salad. They also had various sponsors assembled with tables/tents as well.

The finishers medal is as cool a medal I've received at any OCR, the shirt although solid black is made of nicer material & the "No Mud, no miles, no mercy" motto on the back is über cool! They also gave us a energy bar, I believe they are selling, as well when we crossed the finish that was yummy!

If it didn't come across thus far, I loved this race! I can't wait to do it again! I feel the experience I have from my first race gives me a chance to make top 3 at my next. I plan to do as many of these as possible the remained of this year. Hope to have ya-all join me :) Namaste.

- Jeff Bent

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gear Review - Solomon Speed Cross Shoes

Its been a while since I have done a gear review and it is much overdue.  Since I have started Obstacle Racing in May 2011 I have been through 3 brands/styles of shoes and I have finally found one that works really well for me: The Solomon Speed Cross (non gortex version). I have worn them at my last 3 ReebokSpartan Races, for  70K Fuego y Agua race, and the San Luis Obispo Marathon last weekend.

What I like about this shoe:

  • It is lightweight but not as light as a minimalist shoe so offers additional support.
  • It is made of fabric and not mesh - this helps a lot with preventing dust and small rocks from getting in.  The "body" of the shoe is really solid and doesn't have many seams for brush or stickers to get stuck in.
  • This shoe has non traditional - draw string type laces.  I really like this.  After triple or quadruple tying my shoes in many races I have found they still come un-done.  With the draw string lace I have never had this problem and they are easy to put on and take off.  I have had to use my teeth to untie traditional knots after a weekend of mud and racing.
  • The tread is really good for mud, rocks, and trail running.
  • They dry relatively quickly and are not horribly heavy when wet.
  • They come in many bright colors.
Downfalls to this shoe
  • The shoe is relatively expensive - I got my first pair on sale at running warehouse. Also looking for last years model can save a bit of money.
  • The tread (rubber) is soft and wears down easily - especially if you use them to run on the road.  
If you get a chance to try a pair out I highly recommend them (I am not endorsed by Solomon in any way, just love their shoes)


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Will you still like me if I’m 22nd place?

Will you still like me if I’m 22nd place?

With Vegas just around the corner and the publication of the Vegas race preview I have to admit my skin is boiling…..

I won’t say I’m nervous because I really do know the outcome.  I will go, I will race my ass off, I will finish, I will see friends, I will have fun, I will get muddy, and I will drive home.    Simple. 
But complicated.  This race has become a tiny bit emotional for me.  I am now two years into this sport and it has really taken over my life.  I love it.  I miss it when it’s gone.  I crave it.  I’m decent at it….but I’m not the best.  As the sport has evolved and become more and more popular the competition has gotten stiffer.  There is now money and titles on the line.  There is sponsorship, magazines, radio, and television coverage….all things unknown to obstacle racing in May of 2011. 
The surge in popularity and media attention has attracted money and talent to obstacle racing.  Great you say.....But where do I fit in???
This question has been playing over in my mind as I have entered the 2013 racing season and get ready for Vegas.  The best of the best ladies are going to be in Vegas.  Woman who are not only strong at the obstacles but run miles 2-4 minutes faster than me.  Woman who are personal trainers, or “professional athletes”, woman who do this for a living and are truly gifted.
How can I compete with them??? Knowing what I know about who is going to be there, should I even show up?  If I race against only my “known” competition I will be lucky to get a top 15 finish.  When you throw in the wild cards…I’d honestly be happy with a top 25 finish.  If I end up 25th place it will be my worst (placing) at a race ever.  But will I be ashamed or will I be proud?  I am struggling with this dilemma. 
I know to be the best you have to compete against the best.  In 2012 I was fortunate to place 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th at different races.  I felt like a contender.  I felt like competition.  I was one of the best… but only since so many had not discovered the sport.

Since South Carolina in December I have placed 19th, 16th, 15th, 14th, 6th, and 4th .   I have to be honest but with the races I have run this year I have not felt like a contender for the podium.  It’s just not realistic with these fast girls out there. 
So what do I do?  I write to get my feelings out.  I write to let you know that getting 16th place doesn’t give me the same feeling as getting 1st or 2nd or 4th.  I write to let you know that I DO care but I DON’T care!!!!!
I write because I still love this sport!  I love every mud pit, every wall, every rope, every barbwire scar, every ripped shirt, every Spartan.  I love my friends I have met through this sport.  I love my new love of running and training and trying new things.  I love traveling across the US and spending my life savings to roll in the mud or run 3 miles.  I love the relationships I have made and the people who have inspired me.  I love that this race challenges me physically and mentally.  It is a challenge to no longer be a contender.  It is a challenge to come in 16th place and be proud…. But in a way it’s not. 

Winning is great yes.  I love to win.  BUT….. THERE IS NO LOOSING IN THIS SPORT!!!.  Whether you come in 1st, or 16th, or 190th or 1000th… did you have fun – yes, did you get a workout – yes, did you meet cool beautiful people – yes, did you inspire others – yes, were others inspired by you- yes, will you do it again – YES! 
For better or for worse I am married to you Spartan race.  I will keep coming back no matter what place I get.  I will keep coming back no matter how much my knees bleed or my muscles ache.  I will show up to a race that I cannot podium at.  I will walk away with my 4th or 15th or 25th place and be proud.  I will give you 100% of what I have every time.  That is all I can give.  I will try to measure myself against myself and not against others.  I will race a good race for me.  Vegas here I come….let me have it J

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BB4B Chicks Sign with Spartan Race

We are excited to announce that we have signed with Spartan! The Barb Wire 4 Breakfast chicks are now officially a part of the organization that brought us together.

Thank you Reebok Spartan Race. We look forward to seeing each one of you at races. :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Miami Super Spartan


                                                            The Miami Super Weekend
By Guest Blogger, Jeffrey Bent

I just want to start by saying how honored I am to be a "guest blogger" for the "Barb Wire for Breakfast" ladies. Their blogs are epic & I inspire to live up to their standards!

This Miami epic weekend started off like so many others, with a long road trip! Road-trips are many times just as fun as the weekend itself & this one did not disappoint! With beginning to end dancing, yoga, tree climbing & great friends, the slightly over 9 hour road trip was over as soon as it began. Andi Hardy, Amy Sadd, Dominic Lewis, Chris Davis & I began the adventure in Atlanta late Thursday evening. A new "Barb Wire for Breakfast" bumper sticker installed & we were off. Before the sun was up we were closing in on our destination & Andi & I had already been entertaining the local folk at the interstate side Waffle House. A few headstands on the tables & we were on the road again. A quick early morning nap in the car/under a tree & we pressed further to the final destination. Even a "quick" bathroom break always provides ample entertainment when Andi & I team up! A few Yoga poses & there is never a safe tree around either. Yet again entertaining the locals with our antics we provided memories for a lifetime for all in attendance.
An early morning check in at the hotel in Miami & we were off to meet close friends & great people, Dan & Gretchen Kruger, at the beach for some epic Yoga poses, photo ops, and pre-race grappling for Dan & I. I learned quickly the big man is outta my weight class.  Epic sunburn was on the list of things to do for me this weekend in Florida. As I soaked in more rays I shared more Yoga with anyone I who would listen and try. Then Andi and I challenged each other to climb & retrieve coconuts from trees along the beach. Yoga, coconuts, and sunburn all accomplished!

Packet pickup that evening was a time consuming adventure due to local traffic but it's always fun to see Miami race manager Geishel Valverde! An attempt at an early bedtime was an epic fail but adrenaline always fuels the pre-race mornings.


It's always exciting to arrive at the race site morning of a race & this was no different. Well, maybe a little different. The fact that I hadn't run a single mile since my last Spartan race in Gulf Coast on Nov. 10th left me slightly more than a little nervous. I wondered if all the rehab that I had implemented had paid off. Unsure if my tendon issue was really healed I also wondered if this would be not only my first, but also my last race of the season. All the preparation that had gone into the last three months was about to be tested. For me these races are never about just finishing, I expect to compete at a high level, I expect to do well. I always know that there is going to be a very talented field of athletes that show up for the 8am elite heat, this being the fact that drives me to train hard.


A few quick hellos with close friends at the start line & we are sent off. Within a 1/2 mile we hit the first obstacle an "Over, under, through."  A short distance later a 100 plus yard waist deep dash across a lake. Another mile plus and we came to the monkey bars. I passed a few racers doing burpees at this point, then some 6 foot and  7 foot walls followed by rolling mud before we hit mile 4 & I was still hanging onto a the top 25 spot. Just after mile 4 is where the "problem spot" began. A 2 plus mile single track with epic switchbacks thru the woods. This type of terrain is difficult in the fact that it is vital to remain focused on the ground that we are navigating. And at the same time we must be focused on the tape & other marking of the course. This is a challenging task for new & seasoned OC racers alike.


So the drama began. The woods were smoldering. It was surly possible that sections of it were on fire. This is a Spartan race! We are always jumping fire & at the Vermont "Beast" they set fire to hay bales to choke us out. For sure this was a Spartan prop. Well apparently not! Some of the first racers had told Spartan race officials that a section of the woods were on fire. When I exited the wooded switchbacks at mile 6 for the tractor pull there were at least 50-60 people including a bunch of ladies in the general vicinity of this obstacle. My thoughts & words became "R" rated at this point. I was very confident I had stayed on course, and had not been passed by all those people.


I completed the tractor pull then the sandbag carry & pressed on as I continued to pass more & more people that I knew should not have been ahead of me. At the atlas carry a bottleneck occurred. I never have had to wait for an obstacle. UGH!!! Over the 8 foot walls then onto the tire flip I continued where traffic was again bottlenecked! The race that I so love was now a loss. I found myself doing the Hercules Hoist with people that were not at all at the competitive level! The wind had been taken from my sails! I pressed on, but without the drive that pushes me to compete at the level I am accustomed to! A mile of road running left & just a bucket hoist before the festival area, but this whole last mile was scattered with way more runners than I was used to seeing during a race.


At this point I had no idea what had happened but pushed on regardless. It's always great to arrive at the festival area & hear the roaring of the crowd. I know my rope climb always gets ooos & aahhs, with my arms only technique & the kick of the bell is always good for a scattering of cheers. Next to scale the traverse wall and then into the barbed wire where I had decided to give the last of what I had in the tank to "Put on a clinic". Scrambling hands & knees like I was being chased by the police, Ii passed a group of racers. I am uber excited as thru it I added an epic "barbed wire" scrap that I'm sure will turn into an epic scar! I love the barbed wire scars! Over the slippery wall & then down, I recognized the first Gladiator. Dan Krueger! As fun as it was to see him there I was surly confused how he arrived before me since I never saw him pass me. 1 hour 40 minutes was my official time.


This was my first race of the year, right? I hadn't run in 3 months, right? I've been injured, right? All this but 84th place is not an acceptable finish for me! Ever!


So the investigation of what happened began. It didn't take long to find out that race directors had diverted all but the first 30 or so racers away from the fire in the woods, thus shorting the course by almost 2 full miles for most. I verified with the course director that the course I ran on Saturday was indeed the same as what was run on Sunday. With less than 100% effort on Saturday my time would have put me inside the top 20 on Sunday. Knowing that made me feel a little better.


Apparently there is no way to know which racers completed which sections & thus the entire race & its results have been trashed as if it never happened! Epic fail! This is Spartan! Are we afraid of a little smoke & fire? I don't understand!


Luckily the race is only a small part of why I come on these weekend ventures. It had been 3 months & it was really great to see everyone that was there. I surly try to spend time & socialize with everyone I know & many that I don't!  This is why I come! I am a "Social Butterfly." Here I can spread my wings! I always try to spend extra time with those special friends that I have made during my Spartan time. Dan & Gretchen, Shawn & Sue, and Keith & Nele & Leah were on the list of favorites at this event. Pull up challenges, Traverse wall challenges, Slosh pipe challenges & Yoga fills up the few short hours that we have together very quickly! I arrived late at the "Traverse Wall" challenge. Elliott was 2nd with 12.4 seconds to an unknown who had 12.1 seconds. I'm typically finish around 10 seconds & was excited to have another "Elite" in the challenge. I was on pace for the win & for my 10 second time, but slipped off the last foot hold.


I was Über excited to be the "Rabbit" for the kid’s race on Saturday. There was a lot of pressure to not get passed by a motivated group of young athletes! I had a good head start & pressed hard to stay ahead of the pack. Down the slide & under the kid’s "barbed” wire we went. I allowed the leader to pull in tight & he was more than excited to pass me! One Epic event after another happened this "Super" weekend.


The venue event came to a close but the night had just begun. I spent an hour or so at JayTea’s famous Asian Armor get together. It was fun to see JayTea again & have the pleasure to meet the 'Weeple Army" captain Dave Huckle. The "Panda" guy was there as well. Then off we went to the “after” party. I had a strong suspicion I would be too sore to race the next day, so as soon as we arrived at the "Unofficial Spartan after party" I began to indulge in the 2 for 1 drink specials! Boo-ya!! Yoga poses & pictures began immediately. It was great to have some time with Keith Glass & Nele Schulze. The 2 time "World’s Toughest Mudder" winner Junyong Pak also joined our group. Pak & I have had time together on several different occasions & seem to share a kindred friendship. I was allowed a rematch from a failed "Traverse Wall" competition in Vermont at the "Super" earlier that day. I was victorious in my attempt but he was less than impressed with my technique & other techniques I use at several obstacles. He began to share with me his opinions & I became aggravated with his less than tactful description of my techniques. Our party spot had a pool in the patio area. It was at this point I decided it was going to be necessary to take my friend Pak for a dip. We were both in jeans but I was hot from my sunburn & had enough to drink to not care. I asked him thoughtfully if he had a wallet or phone in his pocket & recommended he remove them for their own safety! I was sure he would be very difficult to get into the pool as he is agile & strong. I was also confident that he didn't think I would be able to accomplish this. My secret weapon was the fact that I wasn't trying to throw him in, I was content with taking him in with me. Mission accomplished! An Epic event for all in attendance!


A few hours of sleep & we were off to the venue again. I was, as suspected, very sore & was happy to not race but to spend the day at the venue. It's always fun to see close friends come through the course at festival area. Because I didn't run I was able to catch a few pictures. Two guys I didn't know were the first to come through, then Shawn Feiock, David Magida, Chris Rutz, & Kevin LaPlatney was close behind. It is so fun to cheer for friends!! I also happened to be on the course when the famous "Cornfeed Spartan," Candie Bobick came through. More Yoga, dancing & socializing! A "Traverse Wall" challenge win today with 10.8 seconds & a "Slosh Pipe" victory with 16 & it was winding up to be another epic day! I spent a few hours as I did the prior day welcoming finishers to the finish line as a gladiator & handing out medals too. I am good friends with many Spartan staff & was asked to help with different challenges & with the kid’s races again. I found "Rabbits" for the kids to chase in the form of top racer David Magida & the current women's "Death race" winner Nele Schulze. Both had an incredible time participating! One last challenge had been on my radar for the weekend & I had a man to run the camera. I had wanted to climb a rope at one end of the set of ropes, ring the bell & then traverse from rope to rope kicking each bell all the way across to the other side. I found an opening during the race & it was my chance. It was so much fun & the crowd was impressed. And of course I got a video of it. Epic!


It's always hard to say goodbye to everyone but we always know we'll see each other soon. We had one last stop to fill our bellies & the return road trips began with one less traveler and a whole lot more quietness. Everyone who road trips with me knows there is a handful of songs that come on the radio that will be cranked & Jeffrey will be dancing! It's just how I roll! It's my version of making time fly like "Maverick" does in Top Gun! Before you know it we were home.


This was another slightly tiring weekend for sure, but I wouldn't change a thing! See you all at the next race. Namaste


~Jeffrey Bent