I Did It! Can You?

by Meredith Winnett

It’s official! I am a Spartan! AROO!

It was a tough road to get here, but I never gave up. So, how can you become a Spartan? I’d like to help you become one, because the feeling of accomplishment is  amazing prodigious.

I initially wanted to do a Tough Mudder, until I realized that the only ones around me were 10+ miles and most people don’t finish due to injuries. I wasn’t in that great of shape at the time, so I decided to start small. Doing my research, I found a Spartan Race about two hours away from me that was only about 3 miles long. This seemed doable. So I let my boyfriend know, and we agreed to go for it. Until, we learned that by volunteering, you qualify for a free race. This is amazing tremendous news for college students. We signed up to volunteer for the Spartan Race in August.

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I earned that medal! (And the T-shirt, and the water, and the banana)

We thought we would be racing that same day. We learned late in the day, after six hours in the sun, that in order to race the same day as volunteering, you need to volunteer in the morning. Oops. Not so amazing marvelous. We loved the energy at the race though and would definitely try to find another race to do. We learned there was a Spartan Race at Fenway Park … the day after my birthday … Back to being amazing bewildering.

Immediately we signed up for our free race and we able to race together and we were SO EXCITED. We had been training before, but the real hardcore training started towards the end of August.

November 16th comes. We had pre-race jitters, but they went away the second we got into the park. WE WERE GOING TO BE RACING AT FENWAY PARK! 17 DAYS AFTER THE SOX WON THE WORLD SERIES! THIS IS AMAZING MIRACULOUS!

The obstacles were tough. We got pretty banged up (I have a pretty little shiner on my thigh from running into so many seats). But it was worth it. Spartan Races are so much fun! And, like I said before, the sense of accomplishment at the finish line is amazing astounding.

How can you become a Spartan?

Months before the race:

  • Do your homework.
    Figure out where the race is, how long it is, and obstacles done at the course in the past. Use the information in your training.
  • Sign up.
    Whether you’re just racing, racing and volunteering, or just volunteering, sign up early. The earlier you sign up, the less you’ll pay (if your’re not volunteering).
  • Bring a friend.
    Find a partner who will keep you motivated and whom you can keep motivated. I brought my boyfriend because we make a pretty damn good team. Train with them. Race with them. Keep the morale up!
  • Volunteer.
    Like I said before, you get a free race out of volunteering. Volunteering before I raced gave me a good feel of the Spartan environment. It helped to be exposed to that before it was my actual race day because I knew what to expect later. The Spartan Race staff are the most appreciative people of your time that you’ll ever meet. I was thanked so many time by so many people (including racers). It was an amazing extraordinary feeling. You get a free t-shirt and a lunch as a bonus.
  • Train!
    Spartan Race emails a workout of the day. I suggest you sign up and DO THEM. I signed up and only did a few here and there. I’m sure I would have done a lot better on race day had I done the suggested training. Also, make sure you’re able to run how ever much you’re going to have to run. Doing a 3 mile race? Be able to run three miles. If you do your cardio, running is the easiest part of the race. You won’t be running 3 miles straight, but you’ll need to be able to run three miles without getting tired.
  • Burpees.
    The ultimate goal is to not have to do any burpees, but some obstacles include burpees in them. Also, if you can’t do an obstacle for some reason, you’ll be paying the price … through burpees.
  • Research many obstacles.
    At the Fenway race, there were monkey bars. Now these aren’t your average schoolyard monkey bars. These are more spaced out, and much harder. I couldn’t get past the third bar. To train for next year, I’ll stop by the playground and practice doing every other bar (since that’s pretty much how spaced out they were). There are a variety of obstacles that test you to the extreme, so find some and see if you can do them!
  • Eat right.
    You can’t be hitting the gym then eating McDonald’s every day. You have to be dedicated to getting into shape. Spartan Race sends out the food of the day along with the workout of the day. Avoid foods high in fat and sodium, and try to eat foods with more protein and fiber.

Race day is approaching…

  • Plan your outfit.
    If you’re running in Boston in November, know there’s a good chance it’ll be cold. If you’re running in August, know it’s going to be hot. Dress appropriately. Plan it a week or so ahead and be confident that you’ll be able to run and perform obstacles in it. If you look at Spartan Race pictures, you’ll see some people wear costumes. If you plan on doing this, be sure you can do so at your best ability and no one is going to see up your very short skirt and see your p-parts. Don’t let a wardrobe malfunction ruin your experience.
  • Stay positive.
    It’s easy to get scared a few days before the race. It’s a scary thing! But you’ve been training all this time, and you have to believe in yourself. You can do it.
  • Carboload.
    Be sure you’ll have enough energy on race day. The night before, eat a pasta dinner. It’s light, so you won’t have a lump in your belly, and it’s full of carbs, which will give you longterm energy and last you though the next day.

Race day!

  • Eat a good breakfast.
    Avoid fatty, greasy foods and aim for the protein! Eat an omelette with lots of yummy veggies. Drink some orange juice. And if you have time, eat a light lunch. I had a 4:30 start time (so I was running under the lights!) and got a little hungry around 3. Snack on some trail mix or peanut butter crackers. Something small to hold you over, but super packed with energy.
  • Hydrate.
    Drink Gatorade. Drink water. Drink coconut water. Drink liquids low in sugar. Avoid the coffee and other beverages that will dehydrate you. Be sure you’re not suffering with dry mouth five minutes into the race. There are water stations, but you have to earn them.
  • Stretch! 
    I can’t stress this enough. Make sure you’re limber because you’re going to work very hard. Stretch before the race, stretch after the race, and stretch before bed. There’s no avoiding being sore the next day, but try to lessen the pain.
  • Have ice in the freezer.
    You’ll probably get beat up. You’re going to need ice. It’ll be nice to have once you get home and sit down and realize your legs are covered in bruises.
  • HAVE FUN!
    You have worked so hard for this. Make the most of it! Take your time (if you’re not doing this for time). Make those obstacles your bitch. You know you can do this. Feed off the energy and HAVE FUN! Sure it’s hard to do, but you asked for it. You’re going to look back after crossing that glorious finish line and immediately want to sign up for another race. I cannot tell you enough how amazing marvelous it feels to finish.
    Hang out with the finishers. Make friends on the course. You’re all here for the same reason.

Are you a Spartan? Leave a comment with some of your tips! Help out the beginners. We know. Help them learn 🙂

 

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