I know, I know. I keep bringing up this Spartan Race. With a little less than two months before the big day, I am starting to get a little nervous about my decision to sign up. Instead of opting to run the open heat with the intention to complete and have a good time, my husband talked me into signing up for the “elite” heat. The elite heat is designed for the athletes that are competing in the event for a cash prize. They are the best of the best. While I feel confident that I can complete, my competitiveness is driving me to want to see how I fall out against people who train for the event on a consistent basis (and get paid).
Let me introduce you to the newest addition to our home gym – bucket full of rocks and homemade sandbags. Of the approximately 25 obstacles that we will encounter over our 8+ mile run, there are certain tasks that stand out more than others. Why? Because if you don’t complete them, you get disqualified. In every other exercise, you can take a 30 burpee penalty. That said, my plan is to train these obstacles so hard that I can dominate people when they can’t just take the penalty.
- Sandbag carry – While we have no idea how far we will have to carry sandbags (or the weight), I know that it could be for up to a half a mile uphill and downhill. One of our sandbags weighs 38 pounds. Instead of paying a ridiculous amount of money online to get a special Spartan sandbag, we opted to buy a bag of sand from Lowes, wrap it with thick duct tape and brand our homemade weight with an F3 sticker.
- Bucket Brigade – Again, this obstacle is mandatory to complete. We have to fill the bucket with gravel or sand to a designated line and carry the full bucket along a prescribed route. They check the bucket to make sure you didn’t “lose” a few rocks along the way. You cannot carry the bucket on your head, neck or shoulders. My bucket full of rocks currently weighs 50 pounds.
My post workout battle scars are an indication of my effort level. My first workout using the new equipment is below. I have to admit, my brute strength is there. I carry around two kids a good chunk of the day. I surprised myself with my ability to push through.
- Warm up – 5 minutes jump rope
- Side Jump Burpee x 10 each side – I jumped over a small weight on the ground (it’s all I had, and it worked).
- Step Up with Sandbag x 20 each side – I hoisted one sandbag on my left shoulder for 20 reps, before switching sides for 20 reps.
- Pull-up x 10 – Do what you can. I used a band for several of these.
- Box Jump x 20
- Bucket Brigade (rock carry) x10 down the driveway and back up – I altered walked this distance with our Garmin on and found that the distance was exactly a quarter mile.
- Burpee x 20
- Pull-up x10
- Sandbag Squat Throw x 20
- Sandbag Push Press x 10
- Repeat the circuit above
I followed up the workout with the following set of abs. Repeat 3-4 times.
- 10 crunches
- 10 laying leg raises
- 10 crunches
- 10 V-sits
- 10 crunches
- 10 mountain climbers
- 10 crunches
- 10 bicycles
- 10 crunches
- 100 second plank – this will get you!
While I have been working out in the early morning, I have also been spending the first part of the day taking my girls to the park as soon as I can get them out the door. Sometimes as early as when dad leaves for work. My oldest daughter must be taking our cue on obstacle training. She has started to climb. Literally. Ladders, steps, whatever she can get up on. She amazes me. She is focused and loves the challenge. I am scared.
To keep up with her, I have started toting our youngest in the Baby Bjorn around the playground. I simply can’t push the stroller fast enough. Having the infant strapped to my chest gives me the freedom that I need to “spot” our oldest as she monkeys around on the playground.
She will be running Spartan races or doing pole vault before I know it. This leads me into my next exciting piece of news. I have finalized registration to coach a Girls on The Run team this fall. Sports, and most importantly, running, have played such a tremendous role in my development. The confidence and leadership skills that can be gained through positive activities throughout life are so important. With limited time, any volunteer work that I undertake has to be something extremely special to me. This decision was easy. I can’t wait to give back to other girls how special running made and still makes me feel. I am hopeful that as I continue with the program, my girls will also want to find a place on a team.
I have to admit, the last time that I “coached” a running group was (gasp) 5 years ago. I helped a friend of mine train a half marathon group to both pace and finish a half marathon. Girls on The Run is so not about competition, so I am looking forward to a change of pace. I plan to have the girls out at the track with me (and a sitter) when I am with the team. I want them to see how fun running can be. I literally couldn’t be more thrilled that I will also be coaching the school that my kids will eventually call their own elementary school.
Since having baby number two (who is now raising her head and legs no problem while on her tummy), my life has taken a complete 180. I left my full time job to spend more time with my kids. In the process, the opportunities that have come my way have been overwhelming and such a welcome blessing. I am excited about the future, and I am more excited that my girls will be there for a more significant part of the ride.