Archive - July 2012

1
Tonya Stogsdill: Obstacle Course Racing Extraordinaire
2
Looking Back — A Spartan Emerges
3
Indiana Spartan Sprint by Stacie Preston
4
Indiana Spartan Sprint Review and Race Recap by Jeff Cain
5
Spartan Woman On The Horizon

Tonya Stogsdill: Obstacle Course Racing Extraordinaire

(for full article with pictures see http://purposefulmovement.wordpress.com/category/athlete-success-stories/)

I always think it’s interesting to hear the stories of people and the journeys that they take to becoming “endurance athletes.” What motivates us to participate in all of these “crazy” races? Aside from being a great way to stay in shape and build relationships i think that many of us have realized that training for races is an excellent form of stress relief. It helps our minds AND our bodies stay in better balance. This is how Tonya Stogsdill, one of Joplin’s local racers, first got into endurance sporting events. Tonya isn’t just your typical “runner”. . . Tonya likes to add a little more “craziness” into her training. She has a rock she named “Sparta” that she carries sometimes when she runs . . . when Sparta is not with her she likes to do burpees ( a quick push up with a jump for those of you that aren’t familiar) in the middle of her training runs. When she is not running she likes to climb walls, jump over park benches and do lots of push ups. . . among other things. Why would Tonya do such things you might ask yourself? Well, for those of you that don’t know, Tonya is an endurance “obstacle racer.” She has competed in a number of 3+ mile obstacle races across the country over the last two years. Her longest and toughest race to date has been the Utah Spartan Beast (a 12+ mile obstacle race) which was held at the end of June this year. After completing the Utah Spartan Beast Tonya’s point total in this year’s Spartan race series boosted her to a 4th place national ranking in the overall female division. Her goal is to evenutually compete in the Spartan “Ultra” Beast (26+ mile obstacle race). . . a race that you must be invited to participate in. I invite you to read some of Tonya’s story and her advice below.

Q: Why did you first get into obstacle racing?

A: On May 22nd, 2011 my life was changed as an F5 tornado ripped through my hometown of Joplin, Missouri. Many of my friends and family lost their homes and some even lost their lives. As you can imagine, this was a very stressful time for our community. It was because of that stress however that many people, myself included, began running and working out as a way to deal with the stress and anger evoked from the storm. Soon, running became an addiction for me but before long it wasn’t enough. As a result, in August of 2011 I was introduced to obstacle racing. Obstacle racing is a race containing 10-36 obstacles that include things like army crawling through mud, fire jumping, wall climbing, sandbag carries, repelling, and spear throwing. After my first race, I was hooked. I knew this sport fit my competitive personality and I absolutely loved it. I discovered that I had a passion and real talent for obstacle racing.

Q: Which obstacle race has been your favorite and most challenging so far?

A: No doubt, Utah Spartan Beast has been my favorite. The Spartan series is by far the toughest of any obstacle race series. This race was definitely the most challenging on my mind and body. The scenery in Utah was breathtaking and was my first time to race in mountains. My body was challenged from the very first few steps from the lack of oxygen I was getting due to the high altitude (race took place at an altitude starting just over 5500 ft. and went up to just over 6800 ft.) . Once mile 1 was over with, it was a major mental game because that’s where the incline started. We inclined for about 10 miles and only descended for about 3. So our descent was a quick one, which after 10 miles felt great. I only failed one wall climb obstacle (30 burpee penalty) which was the 3rd to last obstacle. I failed mostly because I had pushed my body so hard that my arms completely cramped up and I couldn’t hang on any longer to the wall. This race had most of the best elite females in the Spartan race series, so it was a big race for me. . . it is one that I am very proud of.

Q: How do obstacle races compare to traditional 5k/10k/half marathon races both mentally and physically?

A: Regular road races are probably more mentally challenging than obstacle course races(ORCs). I am constantly checking my watch for my pace on regular races. Which don’t get me wrong, I still like to beat my PR’s in road races. . . it just adds more to the mental challenge of the race. I would say that OCR’s are more physically challenging. They are all different so you can’t really go by time or really even pace yourself. I’m sure this could be argued. I guess I’m more of a kid at heart. . . I’ve heard people say that an OCR is like an “adult playground”. I get bored with “just” running so this mixes it up for me. Its a full body workout and some races even have mental challenges such as questions to answer. You never know what to expect with the Spartan series. That’s part of the obstacle, is the not knowing what is coming next.

Q: What types of obstacles have you run into during some of the OCRs you have done?

A: Some of these obstacles are hard to explain…..but a ton of trenches full of water and mud, rugged terrain, mountains, wall climbs ranging from 4-10ft, over under series(over a 4ft wall, under a 2 ft….killer on hams and quads) several cargo net climbs (some straight up, some angled, some at the side of bridges), pulling a tire up the side of a bridge with a rope, tractor pull (hardest for me….pulling a huge solid concrete block with a big chain attached to it up a rocky hill), spear throw into hay bails (has to stick or you owe burpees), shooting range, rope climb to ring bell at top over muddy water (so it makes it more fun if u fall), sandbag carry up mountain side, fill bucket full of rocks and carry overhills, army barbed wire crawl up very jagged rocky hills, , traverse wall(that’s the one I fell off w the 2×4 studs to crawl across), soapy rope walls to climb up, trenches to swim thru w tops covered by tarps and not much clearing for face, stump walk(series of tree stumps to step on and walk across without falling,), monkey bars always follow the water obstacles, mud holes to swim thru, tractor tire flip, and of course the gladiators are there to knock you down with jousting sticks at the end of the race.

Q: How have ORCs helped you as both an athlete and as a person?

A: This is hard. I believe I have become a more well rounded athlete from these races. I also think they have helped me to stay motivated and keep running and staying active. I feel I have set a good example for our 2 children, Tatum (10 y/o) and Triston (7 y/o). They did their first obstacle race this year and will be runnning in their first Spartan race this December. My husband Larry has even began to walk and jog some. He is mostly a powerlifter, but has stressed some interest in running a 5k so he can beat me. Lol. My goal is to get him to do an OCR. I’ve had to learn to prioritize my time in order to get my training in for these races. I try to start my day around 5 AM with my running and lifting so I won’t take time away from my family. They still give me a hard time for all that I do but are very supportive of my new passion. They are my biggest fans and are very proud of me.

Q: What advice do you have for people who want to train for a longer distance (8+mile) OCR?

A: First off you can push yourself as much or as little as you want in these races. There are people who literally go from the couch on friday and race on saturday…..however, there are also the athletes like myself who will put it all on the line and train like crazy for these races. I highly suggest that everyone try it at least once. You don’t have to be a major athlete or competitor to do one of these races. The most important training I would suggest is what I call my “crosstraining runs.” For me this is 3-8 mile runs w push-ups or burpees about every half mile with no rest in between. The hardest part of these races is the starting and stopping so much to do the obstacles and then getting back into the running. It messes with your heartrate. Or if I get a chance to get off of the road and onto a trail I will run through ditches, jump over knocked down trees, or go under anything with tight spots. I also have my rock, Sparta, I run with at times. Upper body and core strength is extremely important. My husband is very smart with weights and has given me a great upperbody workout to do. I do a ton of planks and ab exercises for my core. I also take martial arts and plan on starting Cross Fit.

Looking Back — A Spartan Emerges

by Heather Voorhis

Note: Laura and I have had the pleasure of spending a pretty good amount of time with Heather and have really enjoyed her company on our adventures. I am happy that she has allowed me to put this blog of her experience about the Indiana Spartan Race on Corn Fed site. Thank You Heather!!  Remember to check out her blog at http://princessbadass.wordpress.com/

I know that we should always look forward in life since we can’t go back in time, but this was a Imagedefining moment in my life, and has most definitely changed my path for my future.

I remember the day I saw Spartan Races on Facebook. I thought, this looks fun and posted a comment on their page to bring it to Indiana — they replied to my comment “come to the Midwest Super”. I remember someone liking my comment — I often wonder if it was one of my now close teammates from Corn Fed Spartan Group.

Who are these Corn Fed Spartans you ask…well, this is THE GROUP and THE REASON that Indiana got a Spartan Race! I hooked up with them early on and signed the petition to get this race here! I forwarded to my friends to sign, and then I kind of lost track of the group. It was over-whelming — getting so many notifications from people I didn’t even know — I turned the push notifications off and checked in to see when the race was officially a go. That day finally came.

I signed up to do this with 3 other girlfriends. We have all done mud runs before, so we felt pretty confident going into this. Besides, all of these mud/obstacle races claim to be the toughest, most challenging. So this was just another fun race with the girls….right?

Let’s remember how unusually warm it was all week– 70′s and just beautiful all the way up until Friday night…and the temperature DROPPED, and I mean dropped!!!

Then….one of our teammates is a firefighter, and the firefighter convention was in town….at 4:30 in the morning, she texts and says she is stuck downtown and she is going to bail….(her loss!)

ImageThe 3 of us who were left met up to drive together — we were in an early wave, I believe the one right after the competitive wave. It is COLD, as in the weather
-was-definitely-going-to-be-a-factor-cold. But we kept our spirits up–because we are fun, pumped up chicks!! I remember hopping around with a big grin — sometimes I think I am a human pogo stick lol! Well, we caught the attention of Andy (yes, THE Andy–but we didn’t know who he was at he time) — I remember him telling us to do the Midwest Super and use “Andy” for 50% off– most of us remember how that turned out– they had to turn it off because too many people knew about it lol!!

Back to this race….we checked in, we got our packets and were a little shocked with 

Imagethe printed statement “you may die”….. Utt ohhh…what have 

We didn’t poke around much, just went to the starting Corrall to hopefully be around more people and more body heat. As we look around, we start to realize that people take this really seriously — some dressed in full spartan gear. All I can do is continue to human pogo to keep warm and shake off the nerves.we gotten ourselves into?

Now this is the part where my memory will not remember every detail of every obstacle in the order they happened, but I can hit the highlights.

I remember yelling I AM SPARTAN a few times and then a cannon blasted–I mean a real cannon….loud…we were off — not too fast as there was a muddy pit right at the start–nothing like starting out with wet shoes on a cold day (I really don’t think I would have it any other way).

There was a rope climb– we had to stop and wait a minute, but at least there were some boards to help me up– rang the bell, and felt a great sense of Imageconfidence building. Down I went and waited for my girls to finish… We were on our way! I know we ran down a hill jumped over fire into a mud pit– I came out pretty wet and cold, but I did it!!

I know we ran up and down hills, I remember my hands feeling unable to clench or move for that matter. I also remember continuing to have a big grin on my face. We carried a log….up and down and up and down and up and….well, you get it. We ran up big hills and down and up and down– we ran up and down extremely dangerous loose rocked ravines — I believe one was called the devils backbone (if that gives you any indication).

As we kept running these crazy motocross trails, we are sometimes the only people around– weird, eerie… But then an obstacle such as a cargo net is in front of us, and all of a sudden there are men out of nowhere helping to anchor the net so we can get over. The camaraderie in this race was an amazing thing to be a part of. Strangers seemed to come out of nowhere to help…it happened time and time again.

So we have already heard the cannon go off a second time — an hour in– this race should be almost over……then, the barbed wire. Brand new shiny barbed wire and LOTS of it–must have been on special at the hardware store 

We start crawling……and crawling …and pulling…. And rolling,…ahhh , finally, a mud pit (any one’s guess on the depth–they were all different) getting in, easy — out on the other hand, well, required a hand — muddy slickness everywhere. Once we got out and over a mud hill, we discovered a dirty little secret — more barbed wire! This went on and on…. Barbed wire, mud pit, mud hill, repeat….Then we hear the 3rd cannon– we were an hour and a half in, freezing cold, covered in mud, crawling under barbed wire, and I got the giggles– I could not stop laughing. It all seemed so absurd, and I was loving every minute of it!!

Needless to say, we finally got thru what seemed to be a mile of barbed wire and mud pits! I remember crossing a creek on a tree–there were shorter trees, and then the tree that someone yelled, “Spartans run across this tree” — challenge accepted! It was really bouncy in the middle, but I made it (almost broke into a little Dirty Dancing).
I know there was a second rope climb in the middle of some woods– I did not want to do 30 burpees — thankfully again, some awesome strangers lifted me as I pulled with all my energy to get to the top — I RANG THAT BELL– high fives all around as my girls did the burpees and then on we went.

At this point it really gets blurry as to what happened when ( I really wish I had written this right away, Imagebut not sure I would have gotten it straight then either). I remember coming to a lake and we had to cross — we had to do this two different times– some people opted for the burpee penalty– I decided what the heck, I’m already wet and muddy so I just jumped right in- it actually felt very warm– it later occurs to me I was probably close to hypothermia.

More log carrying and running…. More hills and frozen fingers…jumping across pits..we finally came to the end. All we had to do was cross two high logs. We helped each other over the first — at the second (and finish line) we watched a fellow Spartan go down with a crack of a bone — I went back into pogo mode as I heard the crack and saw him in such pain. My friends walked under the last obstacle — I just stood there — I was not giving up– I was not quitting! I pulled myself together, had one of my friends come back to help boost me up, and I got over …. Finished!!

I now understand when they say “you will know at the finish line”

I finished right around 2 hours and I am ok with that. I didn’t give up, I didn’t complain, I loved every minute, and I am hopelessly addicted!!!

Image
I AM SPARTAN!

Please note that immediately after this race was over, I went back to find my Corn Fed Friends and see what they were saying about this raw and epic race….I have been very involved ever since!  I have met a bunch of my teammates thru different events this summer, and consider each one of them good friends.  We are all different, but tied together by our passion for being slightly crazy and loving pushing our bodies to be the very best they can be!  It goes beyond Spartan Races, but that will always be the uniting bond that brought us all together.

Image

WE ARE CORN FED!

Indiana Spartan Sprint by Stacie Preston

Indiana Spartan Sprint

By Stacie Preston

MEMO: Stacie was one of my Indiana HH teammates and was a very strong person throughout.  Thank you for allowing us to post this on our blog site, Stacie.  As always everyone, remember to visit her blog for recaps and a little of everything at http://www.ummmwhynot.blogspot.com/

 

ImageWell now that I’ve got the Spartan bug, it was time for my second race. Knowing that I was already registered for the Death Race, I started to wonder if I should treat the race as a training day and carry a pack or run the race twice. I knew that I would participate in the Hurricane Heat (HH) because that was my favorite part of the previous race. I was thrilled to find out that it would be the night before especial

ly since I was camping at the site. No hot shower in waiting for me this time. Also knew that I was traveling alone to the race…..maybe making it harder for myself wasn’t the smartest idea. I do have to drive home the same day as racing. 

I drove up the afternoon of the HH and left plenty of time to get there and set up my tent, etc. Upon arrival, I quickly realized unloading my stuff, setting up the tent, and getting ready at a leisurely rate wouldn’t go as planned. They say to drop your camping gear in one spot, drive a quarter mile to park, walk back to where the gear is, and then walk another 5-10 minutes down a dirt road to the camping. Doesn’t sound horrible except I didn’t pack for that type of camping. I was all set to unload my huge cooler, tent, sleeping bag, backpack, couple bags of food and drinks, and pad, and…and…and…..! Well now I had to decide on what I actually needed at the tent. Everything else I would be trekking back to the Jeep multiple times. I quickly realized I need to work on my packing skills.

 

ImageFinally I get everything set and change for the HH. Standing there I see Hobie Call. Sad I know, but I was in awe. He is such an inspiration and amazing watching him perform and now I’m standing next to him. Tommy and Todd come walking down the path and tell us all to split into equal teams of 16. I’m standing next to this really tall guy with a bright red Corn Fed t-shirt on. I jump on his team. Much easier knowing I can quickly pick out one of my teammates. Teams are formed quickly and I realize hey, Hobie’s on my team! Nice! Let’s get to it. I went into the weekend wanting to focus on me and enjoy every minute of it. Trying to remember that I have a much bigger race ahead and to learn from all of it. The HH was a blast. Did a bit of running, a whole lot of jumping jacks, burpees of course, carrying logs, climbing ropes, “powdered donuts”and an all-around awesome time. I can tell you I enjoyed every second with a smile on my face! Really! Even the camera guy started questioning my sanity why I was still smiling after siting in water that smelled like poo and it being 40 degrees outside. What can I say? Lost my sanity I guess.

 

ImageAt one point each person was told to grab a water jug and form a line with their teams. We were told that each team had to get all their jugs to a point about 100 yards away. The kicker is that you couldn’t move if you were holding a jug. They wanted us form a line and pass the jugs. Our team decided to roll the water jugs. You should have seen the leader’s faces. Not how they had planned. The other teams followed us. Luck was on our side because the other teams all busted a jug. We didn’t! They all had to do burpees or another task that they were told to do. We quickly decided that punishment wasn’t worth it. We passed the jugs one the way back. Why add to our burpee count? I’m sure more were to come.

 

 ImageAt another point we were told to take our shoes off and throw them in the ATV. I said ummm….why not? Quickly we realized we were going to have to chase them down. Off the ATV went with us running behind. Didn’t feel too good, but hey I learned a lesson. Tie my shoes together if I’m ever put in the same situation again. Much easier to find both shoes when searching a pile of shoes. Mental Note! The rest of the night was a huge mix of holding planks on rocks, sitting in more water, being quite cold, and ended with a Hobie sandwich! Loved every second!

I opted out of the cold water hose being offered to me at 10pm knowing I was volunteering at 7am. Headed back to my tent and wiped down with my jug of water and baby wipes. Looking back I should have taken that jug I carried around instead of carrying my jug from my car. Mental note #2 added! Use Spartan’s tasks and equipment for my benefit, not theirs. Ha!

The next day was perfect! Woke up after about 2 hours of sleep (mental note #3 don’t put a slippery sleeping bag on a slippery pad on a slippery tent=no sleep). Helped park a few thousand cars which was entertainment alone. Charge admission for that next time. Watching these little sedans go off roading was great! Couldn’t help laughing. Ab workout….check! Around noon I went to get changed and get ready for the race. I didn’t know anyone in my heat, but ended up pairing with a great guy about 1/3 way through the course. We paced each other, pushed each other when needed, and pulled each other through barbed wire. 

 

ImageHad a great time. Learned that I can push myself farther than I ever realized. I learned that I find enjoyment in places others consider torture. I learned that I am much stronger than I give myself credit and that running these races alone is never an option. There are always people that will help you along the way. Find someone, team up, and blow the competition out of the water. Aroooo

Posted 13th May by Stacie Preston

Indiana Spartan Sprint Review and Race Recap by Jeff Cain

By Jeff Cain

Memo: This is a blog post by Jeff Cain, a guy I had the privilege of meeting at the Midwest 2011 Spartan Race.  Below is account of what it was like for him at the first ever Spartan Race “Founder’s Race!”  Make sure you follow him on his blog site, http://onmywaytosparta.com for all of his tips, training, and race advice as well as his recaps of how the race went through his eyes.  Thank you, Jeff, for allowing us to post this on our site.

If anyone needed an indication of what the 2012 Indiana Spartan Sprint was going to be like, the drive on to the race site should have been the first clue.  It was 7:30 a.m. when we drove out to rural Indiana, up a decent-sized hill (for Indiana), and on to the Haspin Acres property.  The sky was a cold grey, almost as cold as the chilly 40 degrees in which we would soon be racing.  The parking lot was a big bulldozed field of packed mud. Nothing fancy here.  Just like the promotions for this race, everything about the race site said “RAW”.  I looked back  on some of my emails regarding the race and this excerpt summed it up very well.

“When the founders got together this year and discussed the “corn fed” Spartans of Indiana demanding a race, they said ok lets give them what they want…a pure, no holds barred, brutal founders race. We decided that once a year we will pick a location that our athletes demand and bring the old school style racing back like we used to hold in 431 BC. Don’t expect glamour, fancy tents, cheerleaders, or anything that is found in today’s society. This race is focused on breaking you in under 2 hours. You will scream “mercy” on this 3 plus mile course.”

The fact that this race even came into existence is a testament to sheer effort of  two of my best Spartan Racing friends, Jonathan Nolan and Nathan Deavers (and of course their significant others Laura Anglin and Mary Deavers who permitted it)!  Jon and Nathan, along with a few others they recruited, not only generated the interest in this race, but also helped design and build an extremely challenging course.

I ran in the first heat of the day at 9:00 a.m.  I’m not sure it should have even been called a “heat” because there was none in existence.  The customary jumping/dancing around pre-race served more than just getting rid of the jitters, it was necessary to keep from freezing.  A cannon, yes a real cannon, that shook the earth with a really loud cannon boom signalled the start of the race.  The elites had an extra special beginning as we were directed away from the regular course route to a neck high “dip” in the pond.  I had lined up near the front of the pack, so as I was making my way back out of the pond I was met with a thundering herd of racers coming toward me.  It was like I was running against a herd of migrating wildebeests!  I’ve said before that I go inside my own head when I race and thankfully this held true again.  I knew I was cold, but I honestly did not feel the cold during the race.  As usual, I can’t recall the specific route of the race, so I’m just going to recount the obstacles to the best of my ability.  If I forget something or go out of sequence, then….it really doesn’t matter.

One of the first challenges was packing small logs up and over several series of undulating hills.  This made me think back to some of my training with my log and I wished I had done more.  There was a rope climb up the deck of a building followed by a run through the darkened crawl space of said building.  I remember vividly the first ascent up a fairly long, fairly steep rocky slope.  I remember it because it was the first point in the race where some racers had slowed from a run to a trudge.  At this point, I was doing really well.  I had passed several people and was probably within 10 to 15 people of the leader.  That was until we ran up a small hill to a pond.  I heard the race volunteers shouting to swim across and use the ropes if you got in trouble.   The next thing I heard was “if you can’t swim, then don’t even attempt it.  Do 30 burpees.”  Fabulous!! (that was sarcasm).  Swimming obstacles kill my performance times.  I suppose if I could overcome a fear of drowning and actually become a decent swimmer that this wouldn’t be the case.  However, that wasn’t happening at the time, so I went to the side and started my burpees.  It seemed like for each burpee, another racer got in front of me.  That included all those individuals I had just passed to get to the front of the pack.  I’m guessing that I lost 25 positions because of the burpee penalty.

If the burpees that taxed my energy were not enough to wreck my performance, then the next “incident” really did.  There were a series of short muddy berms and mudholes to traverse.  As I was making my way through them, I made a bad decision on foot placement.  What I thought was packed mud was most definitely not!  My left foot went shin deep.  When I pulled it out I left something very important behind — my shoe!  When my socked foot hit the next mud pit, I quickly turned around to find my shoe.  I caught a glimpse of a rapidly closing hole in the mud.  I thrust my hand down it and fortunately grabbed my shoe.  At this point, my socked foot was covered in mud and I wasn’t even sure I still had a sock on.  I made my way to the next mud hole and begain feverishly trying to clear the thick goo from the shoe so that I could get my foot back in.  After about 30 seconds of this and another 20 or so people passing me I was finally able to get it back on and struggle through the process of tying it.  This made me angry because it was my own doing.  I must have not done my usual pre-race tightening of the shoe and I attribute some of that to the cold.  Finally, I was back on the path and thinking to myself that I had just ruined any chance of a great finish in this race.  I did my best to shake it off and run the rest of the race as fast as I could.

What else did the race consist of?  Lots and lots and lots of muddy undulations.  It seemed as if the entire race was running up a muddy embankment and back down another.  The X-talons were great again.  There were several hill climbs that had ropes from the top so that people could actually get up them.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that I didn’t need them and started making my way back toward the front.  There were no “fancy” obstacles in this race, just elements of the earth used to the course’s advantage.  In addition to all the hills, there were dozens of water/mud holes about 4 feet deep dug throughout the course.  These were accompanied with a muddy hill either before or after the holes and they taxed the energy levels trying to get out and over.  I heard of several people that needed assistance getting out of them.  At times I struggled to climb out.  On one of them, I made the leap over the hole and heard the volunteer exclaim “Wow! You made it!”  For reasons unbenknownst to me, I then immediately fell BACKWARDS into the mud hole with a big splash and took a mouthful of that nasty muddy water.  I came out of it with one of those sounds you make when you’re unexpectedly doused with cold water!

I was going along pretty good and blitzed across the log crossing over the muddy chasm.  Then another problem.  I lost the path.  Not just me, but about 10 other guys.  The volunteer wasn’t any help and we spent a minute or so going back and forth trying to find out which way to go.  Another minute lost and 7 or 8 more people that caught up with me.  More muddy hills.  More log carries up and down muddy hills.  The cargo net, which is usually pretty easy was even more challenging as usual because it was not taut.  There was a second rope climb.  I’m still mad about failing this obstacle in AZ and I made sure it didn’t happen this time.  The 2 guys in front of me failed, but I went up with a couple of slips.  Just when I thought I was in danger of failing again, I resolved not to quit and made it.  Thank goodness!  There was the customary barbed wire crawl.  I should say crawlSSSSS.  After each crawl there were more mud holes and berm crossings followed by another crawl.  Just when I thought I was through the barbed wire crawl obstacle, there was another!  I’m not even sure how many there were, but I’m sure that my knees and elbows are scratched and bruised today because of them.

Jeff struggling at the finishAs far as running goes, there couldn’t have been more than a quarter mile of the 4.3 miles that was on even and stable ground.  The entire race was very technical, including some rather long and very rocky ascents/descents.  I was thankful to make it through those quickly without a race-impacting injury.  I’m sure I left some things out, but the final stretch of the race was up a hill, around a pond and then a 20 yard crossing through a shallow part of it.  Coming out of the pond, we had to grab a log and carry it down the path and back.  I picked up the first log I saw and then heard the volunteer say for guys to get the big logs and girls to get the smaller ones.  I had picked up a smaller one.  I turned around, dropped it and picked up the first big log I saw.  That log was unfortunately the biggest of the bunch and had to weigh in excess of 80 pounds.  I made the loop and was ready for the sprint to the end except now my legs and upper body was spent.  The last two obstacles were new ones and consisted of a jump up and over a log suspended about 6 feet high crossing the course.  It took me 2 attempts to get over that one.  One more to go.  The last one was higher and thicker.  I made it up on the first try, but then struggled like a sick monkey for what seemed like ages to get over it.  April videoed it and trust me, it wasn’t pretty.  If I ever think of myself as an athlete, then that video will dispel the myth!!  The landing on the other side was the end of the race.  Done!  Wow!  What a fabulous race!

That's not a cape!I received my medal, gave up my timing chip, and then came out of my head to the realization that I was freezing!  I grabbed a metallic thermal sheet and went looking for my girls.  April was getting ready to run in the next heat.  She did great by the way and I’m thinking she needs to start racing in the elite heats!  I spent the next 30 minutes trying to clean off and get some warm dry clothes on.  This post has gone on and on, so I’m going to wrap it up now.  My little girl raced in the Kids Race and this edition was fabulous as it consisted of a 1 mile run over a part of the course where the adults carried logs.  The kids just ran the course and had a couple of smaller obstacles thrown in.  My little one ran really well.  She started at the back of the pack, but passed SEVERAL other kids along the way.  The family had completed another Spartan Day and it was joyous!  I got to renew acquaintances with “old” friends and make introductions to new ones.  My Spartan community continues to grow and I cherish dearly the friendships made at these races.

My 2 Spartan Race GirlsHow did I do?  Considering the swimming penalty, the lost shoe, and the lost path, I guess I would say pretty good.  Remove two of those issues and I would have improved my standing greatly.  As it stands, I finished 40th out of 188 in the elite heat and 3rd in my age range with a time of 1:09:24.  I’m not sure if the overall results are official, but as of now, it looks like I finished 79th out of 2259, still 3rd in my age range.

Epilogue:  It’s the day after the race and I’m scratched, nicked, torn, bruised, sore, and unfortunately sick.  However, I wouldn’t trade that experience.

Spartan Woman On The Horizon

Image         My name is Laura Mattingly Anglin.  I am a 31 year old woman.  I am a mother of two young sons, Lucas who is 5, and Ethan who is 1, and I have never put them in daycare.  I want to raise them, and be their sole care taker. I also work 2 part time jobs.   One as a hair colorist/cutter, and the other as a child care worker for the YMCA.  I am divorced from my oldest son’s father, and engaged to my youngest son’s father.  I am very over weight, and tired a lot.  Everything I have just informed you about is what I have let define me for the past 10 years.   Although these things are facts, I have found that they in no way, shape or form truly tell you who I am as a person.    

        I have found that it is easy to hide under baby weight.  It is easy to keep yourself busy with the children and everything they want and need.  But, what about what I want and need?  I did not recognize myself when I looked in the mirror.  Not only, that but I had lost my sense of fashion.

  I constantly wore elastic, and hid under big baggy clothes.  Most importantly, I had lost my inner athlete.  I grew up very active, playing sports, and loved being on the lake.  I had let myself become a lazy, always lethargically tired woman, and I was miserable, therefore making everyone else around me miserable.  Something had to change. Queue Spartan Race! 

        On April 21st, 2012, I attempted to do my first race of any kind, the Indiana Spartan Founder’s Race.  My fiancé, who is the Spartan Race Indiana Manager, had signed me up behind my back.  I was furious, but had laughed it off thinking that he was crazy, and that he knew that there was no way that I would really actually have to do this.  I was in no shape to attempt to walk 5 miles, let alone run an insane obstacle course race!  Honestly, running with my overly large breasts, is an obstacle in itself!  Bottom line, I did not take the sign up seriously.  April 21st came, and I found myself at the Starting line, dancing to Katie Perry’s, Part of me, being blasted by DJ/Emcee Billy Gotti!  I really Identified with the song, and felt empowered by the music, yet naive to what lay ahead, then the cannon boomed!   Fear set in, then heavy breathing, then the thoughts OMG over and over.  I was cussing my fiancé Jonathan left and right, and bitched and moaned, and was on the verge of crying until I fell down a rocky steep area called The 

Devils Backbone.  Paramedics were called, and they wouldn’t let me go on.  Tears streamed down my face, and then it happened.  EPIPHANY.  In that moment, I realized that all along, I had really wanted to do this, and to ultimately finish.  I later went to the ER, and it turned out that I had a hairline fracture.  I did not finish the Indiana Race.  An array of feelings flowed through me as I recovered over the next six weeks.  At the end of my six weeks, my fiancé had signed me up for two other obstacle races that paled in comparison to a Spartan.  I was mad, but then I knew that I had been craving a finisher’s medal, and the feeling of accomplishment that would come along with it!  

       I can now say that I have completed two Obstacle Course Races.  The Mudstash, and The Hero Rush.  I feel good, and like I have found myself again!  I now use my YMCA membership, and do group exercise classes daily.  I am also inspired to eat healthier, and I journal my food, and exercise daily on myfitnesspal.com.  Such amazing accountability.  I have lost 11 pounds in the past 6 weeks which is an added bonus.  My goal is to lose 75 more.   I realize now that my sons deserve a mother with a happy, humble, positive, and actively spirited nature.  Besides, they love going to childwatch at the YMCA to play while Mommy gets her time, so it’s a win win situation!

Image

      Biggest lesson I have learned is that as a woman, and as a mother, I owe it to myself and to my children, to role model a happy and healthy well rounded lifestyle.  I want them to look back, and remember mommy chasing and nailing them with a super soaker, while playing tag!  Life truly is short, and it feels shorter when you have growing babies that turn into ornery little boys, that then turn into mischievous “too cool for school” teenager dudes who will never want to hang out with Mom! 

      Thank you for reading about me and my journey on the road to living an active, happy and healthy lifestyle!  At the end of this road, I see a Spartan Woman on the horizon, and she is me.  

                                                  I dedicate this to Spartan Race, and my fiancé Jonathan Nolan.  He had faith in me, and it didn’t matter that I was a size 20, weighing 225 pounds.  He saw a strong woman and a Spartan Race finisher…………………….well now, when I look into the mirror, I see her to, and I WILL KNOW WHAT I’M MADE OF AT THE FINISH. 

Copyright © 2015 Corn Fed Spartans. If your want to know....run with us.