Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Things I Learned From Spartan Race 2012

1.    Stay on course
I have gone off the course this year more than I have stayed on course. These deviations have cost me quite a bit. Valuable time was lost, extra placement, and in Vermont, this cost me the opportunity to complete the Ultra Beast. When running a Spartan race, if you don’t see the Spartan tape, you’re not on course. It’s that simple. From what I can tell, there are only two races where I stayed on course the entire race, Malibu and Mississippi. Thanks to my Weeples in Malibu for yelling at me when I went the wrong way. :)

2.    Learn how to do a pull-up
When I started my Spartan season this year, I couldn’t do a pull-up. I also couldn’t climb a rope, and it was pretty tough to get over walls. My arms were completely gone by the end of a race from penalty burpees. If you can’t do a pull up, start practicing. I hung a pull-up bar in my bedroom doorway. Every time I walked through the door, I’d try to do one. Eventually, I learned to do a few. I’m still working on it, they only get “easier” with practice. 

3.    Burpess are your friend
You’ll have to do them, learn to do them. A set or two of burpees (30 burpees is the penalty for missing an obstacle in a Spartan race,) can really wear out your arms. Do burpees often and it will hurt less. It will still hurt, it will just hurt a little less. Well, maybe not. 

4.    Love your competition
I stood at the start line at the Temecula Spartan Super in January 2012 in a crowd full of strangers. I stood at the start line at the Glen Rose Spartan Beast in December 2012 in a group of my closest friends. Everyone can use some encoragement, and throughout the course in Texas my friends were cheering for me, as I was cheering for them. At the finish, we congratulate each other and hug. It’s great to have a group of friends to race with, (see #5).

5.    Race with friends
It’s always more fun to run with a group. Your friends will help encourage you along the way, and penalty burpeees suck less when you’re in good company. Running with friends also gives you the support you’ll need to make it through your first Spartan race. 

6.    Spartan is a “runners race”
If you can’t run, (or walk) for a while, start practicing. I often hear, “That was a runner’s course.” In fact, most Spartan races are running races. You’ll need the ability to sustain yourself for a while on a walk/run. Start training one step at a time. 

7.    Anything is possible
Never underestimate your abilities. The finish line is not easy to reach, but will bring you a sense of accomplishment like you have never felt before. Good luck!

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