Archive - 2013

To Conquer All Fears
The Day a family of CornFed Spartans changed me!
The Road to Becoming a Mud Ninja
Lilo’s OCR Camping Tips and Thoughts!
A moment with Stitch and his ‘Littles’ as they do the Jr Spartan Race

To Conquer All Fears

At the starting line! Photo credit to Tina Basinger

At the starting line!
Photo credit to Tina Basinger

When Tonya Stogsdill asked me to do a Spartan race with her I thought she was out of her mind. I’ve been a runner for 12 years now, but this insane new type of race did not interest me in the least. Or, that’s what I told myself to keep from signing up. I watched the videos of runners throwing themselves into mud and slithering under barbed wire and a twinge of jealousy hit me. I wasn’t that good. So, I convinced myself I’d never finish and that I should just stick to flat road races. Six months later I was standing on the starting line of my first Spartan race in Virginia. What changed? I didn’t want to be afraid anymore.

I raced in high school and college and the pressure and constant reality of never being quite good enough ruined it for me. I avoided improving as a runner because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to meet my own standards. But, when my running hit a plateau in improvement the disappointment I felt woke me up. Running means to

o much to me to be afraid of being the best I can. So, I started racing again. This time, I picked the races I wanted to do and I forced myself to relax, to actually enjoy it. Soon, staring me in the face was the challenge of a half marathon, and again I was terrified. I didn’t want to lose the freedom I had in running if I failed and couldn’t finish. I remembered how Tonya raved about her love for the Spartan race and I figured that if I could complete a Spartan I could do just about anything. I jumped on the website and much to my dismay found that in my state, just an hour away, was a Super Spartan. Now I was stuck.

I trained hard, ran hard, and found myself doing more miles than I’d ever imagined. I passed the mileage of a half marathon a week before the race. I didn’t want to admit yet that the Spartan Race had already pushed me past my limits and I hadn’t even made it to the course.

The day of the race was a gorgeous 75 degrees and sunny. I met up with the Corn Fed Spartans that morning and they told me how hard this course would be. All of the anxiety from every race I’d done flooded into my mind. I’d fail. I wouldn’t finish. My mind was stuck on repeat. I trudged to the starting line, shaking in my running shoes, surrounded by the Corn Fed Spartans who I’d joined to force me to finish. We took off and as I tackled the first obstacle I begrudgingly admitted I was having fun. I was actually laughing. The Virginia Super Spartan was just starting with me though, as I left the open fields and ducked into the muddy woods of Wintergreen Resort. The trails were treacherous and narrow with mud-covered rocks, hidden holes, and impossibly steep hills. In the first 2 miles, we went uphill four times. It was like déjà vu each time we stared up an endless slope.

I broke away from the group with Kevin, who would end up kept me on pace and sane for the first 5 miles. As we pulled ahead a bit, I realized that I’d conquered another fear: being last. Through racing in school, the word had become something of a curse to me. Coaches warned us just to never be the last runner. By the time I did finish, it occurred to me what a meaningless concept in running that is anyway. No one who finishes is ever last. Watching the Corn Fed Spartans never leave a man behind, and the Wounded Warrior Team carrying their own across the finish line, revolutionized the way I think about racing and winning.

The hills in the last 2 miles made the ones before seem like bunny hills. I hiked up the mountainside what felt like 10 times and I dragged my tired legs past other Spartans who had sat down to rest. I discovered I was not alone out there. I dared myself not to stop until the finish line. After destroying the first two walls, 6 then 7 feet high, the 8-foot wall loomed above me. The tallest men around me hesitated, and some missed the top. After nearly 4 miles of hills, I felt more like it was climbing over the Hoover Dam. I had a vision in my mind of jumping but just slamming my entire body into the wall and sliding down. Comical in hindsight, but a serious concern at the time! My jump barely got me off the ground and I caught the edge of the wall with just my right hand.  But, after 30 sadistic burpees at the spear throw, my mental determination lifted my left hand to the top of the wall… then my leg. I was over. At that point, I knew I would finish.

The brutal hills finally gave way to a cluster of obstacles at the end. I made it through each one until I found myself staring straight up at over 10 feet of rope to climb. Here, I faced another fear: heights. As a hiker, it’s my dirty little secret. But, this obstacle, out of all, would be the hardest. I pushed up with my legs, one knot at a time, coming closer to the bell. But, there wasn’t a knot in the 4 feet before the bell. I stood on that very last knot, shaking, pleading with myself not to look down. I closed my eyes and hit the bell. It was done.

Over one more wall, through the fire and I was across the finish line. I overheard runners saying they’d finished the Spartan Beast in less time than this Super. I’d finished in about 4 hours. I stumbled to find my husband and despite my bruised, battered, exhausted legs I felt light. I not only finished, I missed only one obstacle. Now, a marathon would seem the less challenging race this year, a half marathon would be dessert! Crossing the finish line wasn’t my victory- it was that I wasn’t afraid anymore. My time didn’t really matter and racing wasn’t to win. I met and passed my own standards and I found strength I didn’t know I had. I’m hooked now and I’ll definitely be at another race this year. The Spartan Race freed my running from expectations and pressure, and gave me back the joy I lost in racing. The next time I think I can’t finish a run, or anything else I face, it’s the absolutely brutal course of the Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan and my Corn Fed teammates that will remind me: I can, I will, and I will only be better.

Corn Fed Family Photo Credit: Tina Basinger

Corn Fed Family
Photo Credit: Tina Basinger

The Day a family of CornFed Spartans changed me!

DSC0245450 days ago I was sitting on my couch – deflated – broken at 43 from life.  I was watching Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell and a couple participated in The Warrior Dash.  I turned to my 16 year old daughter and said, “I have always wanted to do something like that!”  She said, “Let’s do it!” Me not being in shape and so deflated from a nasty divorce three years ago felt like, “yeah right!”  However I found myself googling it and next thing I know I had paid the entry fees to take on The Warrior Dash in Crawfordsville.  I knew my only goal was to finish and I had already picked out several obstacles I was going to go around – believing I couldn’t do all of them.  I went to a dietician and started eating right – then to the gym. For the next 47 days I only focused on upper body strength and endurance.  On Saturday I started out being joined by my 16 year old daughter and my sister for support. I was surprised at first that I seemed to be okay. Then to this “God created obstacle” of a mud drop and then to climb up the other side.  Getting down was okay but as I stood in this valley looking up I had no idea how that was going to happen. Then there appeared this man with this “Spartan shirt with corn” saying come this way.  He showed me where half way up was a ledge. I made it. Then another man reached down and helped me the rest of the way.  People with the same shirts were telling me good job.  I was so thankful and we talked about these nice people as we continued.  More obstacles came and went and then the Barricade Breakdowns – three sets in a row.  Somehow I made it over the first two but when I got to the final wall I was ready to go around.  I didn’t want to but I was exhausted.  Just as I was about to go around a man in one of those shirts appeared and said, “Here let me help – as he got down on his knee.”  I said, “Oh thank you no I am to heavy to step on your leg” He insisted and as I took to his knee and made it over the tears began – he simply said, “You are going to make it!” At that moment I found strength and continued the Dash with determination.  Toward the end with the battlefield behind me we approached the Giant Cliffhanger.  I was petrified but it was the one obstacle that I truly wanted to accomplish.  There was a line and I was walking back and forth sizing it up.  As I waited I began to get scared beyond belief. There again were these individuals in these “Spartan” like shirts and there was a team of them.  They were positioned strategically up the Giant Cliffhanger assisting their teammates and anyone who needed help. I became overwhelmed with emotion because I wanted to make it more than anything.  I didn’t want to fail in front of my 16 year old or feel defeated within myself.  I began to cry.  That is when it happened – a “Spartan lady” came over and comforted me and asked me why I was crying. I said, “I just want to do this.”  She said, “And you will!”  Finally my turn came and I grabbed the rope and up I went with a team of “CornFed Spartans” there to assist on the ground cheering I couldn’t believe it – I made it!  Once I got to the top I just laid there and cried for what seemed like an eternity before continuing down where I was welcomed by a team – not a team I came with – but a team I will never forget.  In that moment I assure you that my life was changed forever.  I don’t know your names or where you come from and perhaps will never see you again but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart!  Respectfully, Heather Rice

The Road to Becoming a Mud Ninja

Obstacle_American Ninja Warrior

Mud Ninja is a “must run” obstacle course in the sleepy area of South Salem, OH. Located west of the city of Chillicothe, OH, the town of South Salem offers great terrain and a very nice landscape for Mud Ninja. Don’t expect to run through a stream during Mud Ninja, but rather expect to consistently trek up & down hills on a very narrow path.
Mud Ninja is conducted one weekend each year at the end of July. It’s 5K and consists of approximately 25 obstacles. Upon arriving at Mud Ninja, you can expect good organization with parking followed by a smooth check-in at the different registration booths. One unique aspect about Mud Ninja is the registration process. When you register, you can either choose to be timed or untimed. Upon arrival at the registration check-in tents, there are separate tents for timed and non-timed runners. If you’re a non-timed runner, you very quickly move through the registration process. This kept both tents moving quickly.
Mud Ninja had a good combination of familiar obstacles with some new obstacles. Of the familiar obstacles with a new twist, the 3 that stood out the most were the tunnel crawl, the giant wall, and the slide. Starting with the tunnel crawl, the obstacle Midnight Snakebite offered more than just crawling through a straight, tight tunnel. This was a rather longer, winding path with the maze-like feel to it. Nothing like coming out of the tunnel to see a snake right in your face. If you looked hard enough, you could see the serial numbers on the (thankfully) rubber toy snake. Well played!
About half-way through the course, you come to The Great Wall. I expect it was an 8-10 foot wall. Mud Ninja has several obstacles designed to force teamwork and this was one of them. Not super difficult as long as long as you have 3-4 people working as a team. To go this one alone, you’d need some mad Parkour skills. Let’s not overlook what seemed to be a favorite obstacle, the Tsunami Slide. This was a nice, simple tarp waterslide down a very long hill. Loads of fun.
For the new obstacles, you can expect to encounter a Slack Line at towards the finish line. Nothing fancy here, just a traditional slack line. Unless you’ve got good balance or have been practicing, you may end up wet. For anyone who does not like traditional monkey bars, Mud Ninja introduces you to Gorilla Bars. Instead of swinging bar-to-bar, plan on traversing a pit using 2 horizontal bars. And for the signature obstacle, Mud Ninja brings to you the obstacle they’ve named “American Ninja Warrior”. This obstacle was inspired by the Jump Hang from the American Ninja Warrior TV show. For this obstacle, get a running start, jump off a spring board across a ditch and onto a very short cargo net. This cargo net is intentionally short, forcing you to rely solely on upper-body strength to muscle up to the top of the platform. Just like in the American Ninja Warrior TV show, keeping your arms locked in at 90 degrees as you climbed the cargo net preserved upper-body strength. Climb to the top of the platform, feel like a champ for a minute, then down the other side to continue the race.
To summarize, Mud Ninja presented a good combination of unique obstacles along with more familiar ones with their own twist. Given the consistent hilly terrain and price ranging from $27 to $69 not counting any discount codes, Mud Ninja is an excellent race to consider for the race calendar.

Lilo’s OCR Camping Tips and Thoughts!

Having people who know HOW to set up the tent helps!

Having people who know HOW to set up the tent helps!


Next weekend is another fun race, Warrior Dash Indiana, and I have a few people from work who are coming to this one. To make life easier and answer all the questions I could I created a camping/ocr list for everyone. In doing so I realized that it might be a good idea to share with all of Corn Fed as well. I’m sure I don’t have everything on here so please feel free to comment or email me ( with suggestions and add ons.

Here is my list (and comments of course):



Tent (Bass Pro has some nice small ones for a decent price if you don’t have one)

Tent stakes

Sleeping bags/air mattress (don’t forget the air pump!)



Folding chairs

Flashlight and/or lantern

Batteries for flashlight

Grill if you have one

Charcoal/lighter fluid/lighter

Fire starter for campfire

Cooking/eating utensils

Paper plates




Toilet paper (trust me on this, the campgrounds that have restrooms use the cheap stuff!)

Knife (just because it’s good to have!)

Trash bags (and please take your trash to the proper area to dump)


A grill is a must!

A grill is a must!


CLOTHING (and etc):

FOR THE RACE (I assume you’ll have a list of what other clothes you want for the rest of the time)

Tshirt or tank (even if it’s chilly you WILL get warm)

Shorts or capris (I advise compression shorts or capris because you don’t want chafing as you’re navigating through obstacles but that’s a personal choice.) You don’t want to wear sweatpants at all…you WILL get bogged down with mud if you do. (Added on for the blog…or in the case of some of our CFS guys…Ranger Panties).

Shoes you don’t mind getting muddy. Again..a personal decision on this one. Some of us wear combat style boots, cleats, running shoes (you want ones that have a little grip though, smooth is not always good) or whatever you choose. Remember they WILL get muddy but mud washes out. Many of the races have an area you can donate your shoes to when done.

Good socks, the kind made to run in. This is not a day to wear thin socks or loose socks!

Hydration pack (that’s your call, there are water locations on the route but if you want to pack it…do it!)

Sunscreen (always a good idea)

Sunglasses are up to you but I recommend cheap ones since they may get lost/broken

Waterproof camera if you choose…cool to get those muddy pics

Shoes to change into after the race (flops or something easy to get in/out of is the best idea)

After race clothing (there is usually an area to wash off but you’ll still be pretty muddy until you hit a real shower). (and this include underclothing…trust me on this, you want to change those!).

Trash bag for your muddy clothes



Washcloth or the like to scrub off with



Alcohol (as in the drinking kind)


Band-Aids or first aid kit


Q tips (mud gets in your ears, I promise!)

Baby wipes (great for a lot of things)

Insect repellant


Extra glasses/contacts

Lip balm

More soap (in case you forget it at the race)


Hand sanitizer


Radio (more batteries)

Allergy medicine

Emergency contact list (keep with your items)

Ziploc type bags (another handy item)


Campground phone number

Phone numbers of contacts you’re camping with


Don't forget pans to cook in!

Don’t forget pans to cook in!

So what’s missing? What do you bring to each camp/race?

Looking forward to seeing those who will make it next weekend…..CORN FED!!

Muddy Love and Ohana!     ~Lilo~

A moment with Stitch and his ‘Littles’ as they do the Jr Spartan Race

I received a memo recently from Stitch who wanted to share his and his girl’s experience with the Jr Spartan Race.

His girls, Lillian and Jasmine, have watched as Daddy has went and played in the mud a few times now and admired his cool “bling” afterwards. Since the Spartan is one of the races that offers a kid’s course, he and his wife Michelle decided to let the girl’s check it out last Sunday! Here’s their story:

We arrived at the course at about 11am and headed to the registration. The heat for the .5 mile course was at 12:55 so we a little time to walk around and look at the different set ups. My ‘Littles’ Jasmine (5) and Lillian (4) were both attracted to my Spartan “bling” from the day before and wanted to confiscate my medal. They were told they would have to earn their medals before they could steal mine (although I couldn’t say no when they gave me their sad faces, what can I say….I’m a sucker for my girls). So I let them wear it and took pictures of my Corn Fed minis.

We wanna be like Daddy!

We wanna be like Daddy!

I asked them if they wanted their own and they excitedly shouted “Yea!”. So at 12:20 I did stretching warm ups with them and reminded them that Daddy and Mommy would make sure nothing happened to them and not to be scared. The obstacle course for the .5 mile was one lap. The obstacles were 3 back to back mud pits, 3 pyramid walls, 3 balance beams, an over under through (Lilo interjects to say this is Stitch’s favorite obstacle since the Spartan Sprint in April), a 3 foot wall, and a “barbed wire crawl” (instead of wire it was string), then a run up the hill to the finish line.

I ran with Lillian and Michelle with Jasmine. When we got to the first mud pit you could see the terror on their faces. Both of my Littles were crying and wanted to give up. I kept telling them they were ok, it was a little mud and it doesn’t hurt. I jumped in, Michelle jumped in, and they both just stood there for a moment. Jasmine was the first to come in, sliding in with Lillian following slowly. After the second mud pit you could tell the fear had subsided and the fun spilled out.

After that Jasmine ran almost the entire course and Lillian kept it nice and slow. The pyramid walls were tall for the adults but were a little challenging for the kids as well. I jumped over and tried to help Jasmine over but was told “No Daddy, I got this!” (Lilo interjects to say Go Jasmine!). As my pride swelled and as I helped Lillian over Jasmine was clearing the second wall. “Good job baby!” I yelled!

After clearing the second wall and helping Lillian over I looked to see Jasmine about to round the corner and had to yell for her to wait for us to catch up. You could tell she didn’t want to but did long enough for us to clear the last wall. After that I ran towards Jasmine which she thought was great and took off running again. When she came to the obstacles she did them by herself and when we reached the “barbed wire crawl” I tool the cue from her. Hands and feet all the way through then she waited for me on the other side and we finished side by side. Lillian and Michelle must have been hustling as well because they finished less than a minute behind us.

The Little's and their own bling!

The Little’s and their own bling!


I was, and am, so proud of them. I know they liked it because everyone they saw for the next few days heard their story of the “mud” run and saw their medals that they wear proudly. (Lilo interjecting to say….I’ve seen the girls twice since and both times I got a recap as they held their medals up to show me again! Hooray girls!).

Great job girls, Daddy is proud of you! You are both now Spartans……Arrooooo!!!!

Still proud of being Spartans! AROO!

Still proud of being Spartans! AROO!

Thanks Matt aka Stitch13!

Lilo’s last thought:

I adore both Jasmine and Lillian and I’m so proud of them for  being a part of the Spartan world! If you have Little’s take a moment and do something silly and fun with them. It doesn’t have to be a mud run but there’s lots of fun things you can get outside and have a blast doing together! Thank you Stitch for sharing the story of the girl’s first OCR and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them at a Spartan race in 2014 and as future Corn Feds!

And thank you to the Spartan Race for creating a cool Jr Spartan course that I know was busy with future OCR junkies all weekend long!

Get muddy and have fun! Ohana!



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