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Picture of vthoky
posted
A year or so ago, a friend of mine asked me about doing a Spartan race with him. Time passed, and the plan just didn't come together. Frankly, I was relieved.

This past spring, he called me again and wanted to sign us up for a race in October. I threw him every excuse I could find...

Me: "Mike, I'm out of shape."
He: "Yeah, so am I. Get to it."

Me: "Mike, I'm fat."
He: "Dude. I'm 300 pounds."

[Insert other random crummy excuses here.]

Me, running out of excuses: "Mike, I'm old."
He: "So? My daughter ran her first one last weekend. She's six."

(Heck, she probably ran it with a Barbie in her hand.)

I had run out of decent (and crappy) excuses, so I relented.

Back to the present: The race is this coming weekend, and I can't help feeling like I'm not prepared.
I've loaded up the Couch to 5K app and been running. (No, I'm not ready for a 5K.) I found the Couch-to-Sprint workout plan, and a couple of the fellows at work have been following along with me. I'll admit I struggle with the 60-second planks, and groups of 25 squats suck!

If I hadn't been working out at least this much, I'm sure I'd be really poorly prepared. Having watched a few YouTube vids on Spartan races, I can't help feeling like this hasn't really prepared me well -- there's been a lot of core and leg-strength work, but not much in terms of upper body strength. So I'm a little worried about some of the obstacles. Climb a rope? Me? Oh, geeze. I couldn't to that in high school, when I was skinny!

I'm in this 3- to 4-mile event for completion, rather than competition, so I'm not really freaked out that there's mention on the web site of the fastest time for this particular Spring (40 minutes, if you were wondering). But as I think about preparation and recognize that it's just three days away, I feel like there's a lot I don't know.

* I know I need to take clean clothes, and a garbage bag for storing the ones I'll get filthy.
* Gotta take some towels.
* Someone mentioned having an aspirin early that morning... is there any merit to this?
* I'm not sure what to eat over the next couple of days, to build energy/strength and to not upset the system while struggling along the course.
* I'm not sure what else to even ask, frankly.


I'm open to advice, especially if any of you all have done one of these before. School me please, SF peeps. Thank you.



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Posts: 8459 | Location: Hokie Nation! | Registered: July 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not me... but I know people. They run. I don't. Good luck! Smile


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Posts: 15060 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: April 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, I did one last year (5 miler) and will do it again this coming spring. Honestly you don’t need to be in top form or shape to do it. Yes, it’ll be less challenging if you are but you won’t have much trouble completing it. Yes, you’ll be tired and sore and muddy (no, I mean REALLY muddy), but you’ll also have the satisfaction of having done it.

I’d been doing CrossFit for a couple of years before doing the race but honestly I can’t say I felt it made a huge difference in completing the stations (most benefit was probably built up endurance). I finished 36th out of 183 in my age group (50-54) and 1237th out of 6184 total men in the race.

Go, enjoy, embrace the suck, and you’ll be just fine. Good luck!


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The Heartbeats Theory: When you are born, your heartbeats are written in The Book. Use them wisely.



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Posts: 2034 | Location: The Shire | Registered: October 22, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Doc H, I think you are wrong on that. Generally people doing a reasonable amount of exercise have less health problems overall. Less problems with the modern diseases including Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, chronic fatigue, diabetes, etc.

In the USA, most exercise related health issues are from under exercising not over exercising.


-c1steve
 
Posts: 2363 | Location: West coast | Registered: March 31, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My DIL is a SF analyst out of Bragg. Her team invited her to compete and she decided to accept.
The rest of the team left her in the dust but she completed it and we're very proud of her..

https://flic.kr/p/29beyeL

https://flic.kr/p/29bewXh

https://flic.kr/p/2axZhuT


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Posts: 3795 | Location: SML & OBX | Registered: February 19, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's too late now to train, just get a good night's sleep.

I came across a groupon deal for the sprint race here in the PDX area. Bought tickets for the kids and myself since I'm in really good shape, why not?

What surprised me was the wife signed up. She has been working out, running and bodyweight strength training...but she was the band nerd in school, never an athlete. This was a big stretch and a big deal for her.

Anyway, I was actually quite surprised at what I found, it was not expected (but makes sense in hindsight).

It seems like you can have 3 distinctly different experiences based on your fitness level and motivations.

#1-you are in good shape and can do most of the obstacles. You will have a good time, it will be a bit challenging but enjoyable.

#2-you may or may not be in decent shape, but either way you fail 5-6+ obstacles...but have the integrity to actually do the 30 burpees each time.

You will have a very rough go of it, 2-3 hours on the course, probably the toughest thing you've ever done and you'll be demoralized by the majority of folks who are in group #3 below.

#3- you aren't in shape, can't do most of the obstacles, and don't do the burpees. You are basically just giving yourself a self-guided tour of a Spartan course and then get the medal, T-shirt and social media "atta-boys" as-if you actually completed a Spartan race.

I was at first shocked that group #3 existed and moreso that they made up the overwhelming majority of participants. On the one hand, good for them for being active I guess, but if you aren't going to do it right, why bother?

If you complete the course as designed (30 burpees for each failed obstacle) no matter how long it takes...you will have accomplished something to be proud of.

I may do the "Trifecta" but I'll have to enter the age group "competitive" category where people take it seriously. I also assume for the 8+ and 13+ mile races it will massively cut down on the #3 folks.




“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” –Chuck Palahnuik

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Posts: 3819 | Location: Oregon | Registered: October 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of vthoky
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quote:
Originally posted by Strambo:
You will have a very rough go of it, 2-3 hours on the course, probably the toughest thing you've ever done and you'll be demoralized by the majority of folks who are in group #3 below.


I'm thinking this is the group in which Mike and I will be.
I recognize now that there are obstacles I won't be able to tackle, such as the rope climb. Burpees, schmurpees... I can do them, but 30 will take a while. So be it.



Support our troops, and our veterans.
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Posts: 8459 | Location: Hokie Nation! | Registered: July 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sort of. . .

The ski area that I ski patrol at hosts a Spartan Race every Spring, and members of the patrol provides first aid to the racer's, which I helped with one year.

The course is grueling, running up and down and across the mountain, and most of the terrain is very uneven, with rocks, boulders, trees, low-friction shale stone, etc., to run upon and/or around and/or into.

Some of the man-made 'Spartan' obstacles themselves do cause injury (falling off, etc.).

This of course lends itself to twisted ankles, slight to severe sprains, heat related illness and dehydration, falls, which of of course can result and does result in broken bones.

So, I would not hold it against you to thank your friend for the offer but politely decline it, as in "There's no fucking way am i doing that!"
__________


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Posts: 2329 | Location: Lehigh Valley, PA | Registered: March 27, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by vthoky:
quote:
Originally posted by Strambo:
You will have a very rough go of it, 2-3 hours on the course, probably the toughest thing you've ever done and you'll be demoralized by the majority of folks who are in group #3 below.


I'm thinking this is the group in which Mike and I will be.
I recognize now that there are obstacles I won't be able to tackle, such as the rope climb. Burpees, schmurpees... I can do them, but 30 will take a while. So be it.


Congrats! Then you'll be in the group that reaps the greatest reward. The cheaters know they were just posers...and it isn't so great an accomplishment for someone who can already do all (or almost all) the obstacles.

You can do it...it is just a matter of how long it will take. Make sure you are well hydrated to start. Try and nail the spear throw, would suck to do burpees over that.

My wife swore she'd never do it again. Wink Big Grin

A week later she saw next year's race was on sale for like $65 so she already bought her ticket. Big Grin

We will work on her upper body and spear throw to hopefully take the burpees from 5-6 times down to 2-3.

One thing you could do in the next few days is find a sturdy 6' fence or wall to practice climbing over. Lots 'o walls...




“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” –Chuck Palahnuik

The world's a dangerous place, we can help! http://portlandfirearmtraining.com/
 
Posts: 3819 | Location: Oregon | Registered: October 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of vthoky
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Thank you for the encouragement.

My latest debate has to do with clothing -- it's looking like it's going to be pretty chilly Saturday morning. I'm a relatively skinny guy, not well insulated.

I'm not looking forward to getting cold, then wet, then still being cold. Big Grin



Support our troops, and our veterans.
Go Hokies!
New favorite quote from the golf course: "It's not the club, son."
 
Posts: 8459 | Location: Hokie Nation! | Registered: July 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just bring warm, dry stuff to wear before then strip off and race, and put on after.




“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” –Chuck Palahnuik

The world's a dangerous place, we can help! http://portlandfirearmtraining.com/
 
Posts: 3819 | Location: Oregon | Registered: October 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hydrate, a lot, before, during, and after.

A coworker did one (Ragnar?) and spent a week in the hospital, 3 days of it in ICU, and wasn't cleared to come back to work for 2 weeks. Smile
Rhabdo is no joke.

Bruce




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Posts: 2866 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RNshooter:
3 days of it in ICU, and wasn't cleared to come back to work for 2 weeks.


I could use a vacation, but not at that expense! Eek



Support our troops, and our veterans.
Go Hokies!
New favorite quote from the golf course: "It's not the club, son."
 
Posts: 8459 | Location: Hokie Nation! | Registered: July 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Something wild
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quote:
Originally posted by c1steve:
Doc H, I think you are wrong on that. Generally people doing a reasonable amount of exercise have less health problems overall. Less problems with the modern diseases including Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, chronic fatigue, diabetes, etc.

In the USA, most exercise related health issues are from under exercising not over exercising.


Of course some would say that those who exercise moderately and have longevity on their side had a greater tally in The Book to begin with, and those famous athletes who keeled over in the midst of "doing what they loved" used theirs up at a profligate rate. Smile But in general I agree with you - keep the machine tuned but don't wear it out. On the other hand, George Burns said he got plenty of exercise carrying his friends' coffins....



"And gentlemen in England now abed, shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day"
 
Posts: 2034 | Location: The Shire | Registered: October 22, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I do a lot of spartan races; usually a trifecta a year (not this year). Never done the hurricane heat or ultra beast or any off-shoot derivatives. They are my favorite brand of obstacle race. You are ready now and you’ll have a great time. The community will be very supportive of you for showing up and trying regardless of your fitness level.

I don’t bring a towel, I just hose myself off afterwards and usually walk a few miles back to the car which dries me off. The events in mountainous areas usually have less mud, just something I’ve noticed. Designers seem to use mud to compensate for incline in flat areas, I like those races less. Mud isn’t physically demanding it’s just uncomfortable. Inclines can be genuinely hard.

Bring a little cash for a locker, but try to have nothing in your pockets for the actual run. Are you taking a camel pack? I don’t recommend it for the shorter sprints. There will be more than enough water stations.

You’re “supposed” to do 30 burpees for every obstacle you don’t make. If you’re out of shape, this quickly becomes impossible because the sheer volume of burpees fatigues you to the point of impediment for follow on obstacles. This fact in turn results in some of the out of shape folks deciding not to even try certain obstacles. I encourage you to try every one. In a sprint there will be around 25. Give them all a try. If you fail on the obstacle and can’t do the burpees, try anyway. If you get a few and want to quit, ok. Quit and start walking. No one will care or judge you or embarrass you, but you’ll feel much better about yourself for trying.

Hope you enjoy it! Never met an unhappy person in the parking lot on their way home.

Edited to add— reference Strambo’s post, there are a lot of folks who simply can’t do 30 burpees x ~20 obstacles with additional PT and running in between. I agree in principal with your sentiments but I’d personally rather see people try their best than not try at all. If OP is someone who has no issues doing 600 slow burpees with running on mountains in between, then he’s in a higher fitness category than he thinks and will likely do fine on most obstacles. In that case, if we’re talking only 5-6 obstacles you don’t make, I agree: do the burpees! My comment was to the truely out of shape folks who I credit and encourage for even showing up.
 
Posts: 2018 | Registered: May 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
British by birth,
American by Choice
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Well, the Asprin should stop your heart attack.... Wink

Seriously though, I'm pretty sure you'll do fine, as long as you're just trying to finish, and not win the thing.

You'll go out with your buddy, and have fun, and had a sense of accomplishment once you've done.
Then you'll find yourself surfing the web, for the next local one.

GOOD LUCK !!


______________

I will NOT Sit Down !

"There are many who vehemently argue something CAN'T be done.
They should stay out of the way of folks who are doing it."

 
Posts: 2979 | Location: Georgia... 45 Minutes from everywhere....... | Registered: July 05, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bunch of savages
in this town
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Never done a Spartan, but have down a few others. They have various classes: Elite, Competitive, and Open.

Only the first few heats are timed. After that, the course will be trashed, and you will be bottlenecked at the obstacles.

You can take as long as you want. I had a friend do an Ultra Beast with 3 others, and at the halfway mark, the 3 others quit. He finished, but said it was more difficult than an IronMan.

I use to enjoy them, but the expense of it ruined it. They use to do "early day specials", and I would pay $49. Now you probably can't get into one of these events for under $150. But I tell everyone they should at least do one in their lifetime as part of their bucket list.

I take ibuprofen before to reduce inflammation before it starts, not after.


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Posts: 9954 | Registered: December 30, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I did two of them. One in Montana and one in Idaho. Got lightly injured both times. One at the very start of the race. First time I did it, had a deep mud/water pit right at the beginning. Problem was that I was at front of the surging surging mob in the start gate. Foot got stuck deep in mud. Mass of people behind me, pushed me forward before said foot came out of mud and gave my ankle a good twist right out of the starting gate. I suggest not being at the front of the start gate unless you are actually trying to compete. The climbs were bad with a gimped ankle and I limped that whole race and weeks after.

2nd time, there was an obstacle with poles horizontally by chains suspended over water and you went hand over hand across. It would have been easy for me, but one of my fingers slipped between the large eye hole connecting the chain to the pole and the end link of the chain. Well water logged soft hands and being squished don't mix well and the flesh of my finger just blew out in blood everywhere and hurt like hell. The only good part was that obstacle was near the end of the race so the only one left was the rope climb that needed hand strength. Obviously I just ended up doing burpees for the rope climb.

Wasn't any worse than my time in Marine boot camp, but I was a whole lot older and in worse shape. No I wasn't trying to be competitive. Like the majority of people, I was just trying to have fun and finish. It's much more fun with a group of people to share the misery with and drink with after.

If you want to do it, the prices for the race keep dropping the closer it is to the race. in addition, there's groupon coupons galore. ewnded up only paying like $30 for the races.
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Boise, ID USA | Registered: February 14, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by c1steve:
Doc H, I think you are wrong on that. Generally people doing a reasonable amount of exercise have less health problems overall. Less problems with the modern diseases including Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, chronic fatigue, diabetes, etc.

In the USA, most exercise related health issues are from under exercising not over exercising.


Perhaps true in general, but the fact that Orthopedic Sports Medicine centers are popping up like mushrooms would indicate a lot more exercise injuries now than in the past. Those injuries, even if "repaired" will translate into reduced mobility in old age.

There was just an article about active baby boomers wearing out their artificial knees with running. WTF?? You broke your first set and didn't learn?
 
Posts: 7515 | Location: The Red part of Minnesota | Registered: October 06, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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