The “Year of Awesomeness” has commenced

Be Awesome Productions was first thought of when I decided to do the “Year of the Spartan” in 2016. I thought what a great way to push myself out of my comfort zone and become a better version of me (hopefully). When 2016 ended and my last race in December was finished, I had an amazing sense of accomplishment for not only completing my race schedule, but also gradually getting better with each one. However, I also had a feeling of depression. In 2016, I put in countless hours running, training and participating in races all over the country. When the Spartan Sprint at Castaic State Park was over I was asked by a few, “now what?”

This question stumped me. How can I continue to inspire? What should I take on next? Well the answer hit me like the ground hits your chest when you do a burpee. 2017 is “The Year of Awesomeness!” Does that mean there are no Spartan races in 2017? Um, no! In fact there will be more races this year since I have found a true passion. Spartan races give me a sense of purpose. It continues to push me in ways I never thought possible, introduces me to new locations and people, and let’s be honest, the beer after a Spartan never tasted so good.

Wow, that previous paragraph was a perfect way to transition into what took place on January 28th and 29th. You guessed it, the first Spartans of the year, a Spartan Super (8 + miles) and a Spartan Sprint (3 + miles) in the beautiful Lake Elsinore, California. Since the first of the year, I was waiting with anticipation for the season to kick off. A group of us from Stevenson Fitness ventured down to take on the festival that is running, obstacles, mud, sweat, tears, and smiles.

This course was flat, but that doesn’t make it easy. Not only were there new obstacles like the twister, the bender, and the return of the tire flip, the fields of Elsinore were flooded from the recent rainfall. For me personally, I still get nervous before every race (click me to learn about nerves) and this race was no exception.

My goal for this weekend was to be more than competitive, conquer the new obstacles, and start the year off right. I also had a couple side competitions with a few friends about who could finish faster. (A story for another time perhaps)

 

Saturday January 29th.

Race Type: Spartan Super, 8 + miles and 25+ obstacles

Start Time: 8:00 am

 

New obstacles and some cold muddy water…now this is my type of race. The race started out as usual. We jumped a wall to get to the start line, got pumped up by the MC and took off. I always take the same approach to these races (for better or for worse) and never look at the course map. I like the element of surprise. The first few obstacles were standard with a wall here and wall there and some sled drags. Then I saw the first water crossing. I smiled with excitement and followed that up by an “Oh Poop!” (I used a different word) after my first few steps. I had lost my left shoe in the mud. Panic set in when I couldn’t find my brand new Saucony Peregrine 7’s. Eventually I found it in the muddy depths, crossed the water with one shoe and put it back on when I hit dry ground.

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One of the few water crossings 

Next was the twister, a new obstacle that involves upper body and grip strength. I stood by and watched how a few people attacked this obstacle. After watching many fail and head to the burpee zone I took my lane and commenced. Before I knew it I was across (can I get an AROO!) and on my way to water crossing number two.

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A few miles and many obstacles later I reached the bender. It wasn’t too difficult, but it took focus and some strategy. Once past, I turned up the pace because I knew the end was in sight. My heart was pumping especially when I came up to my least favorite obstacle, the rig. Last year this was the only obstacle I couldn’t complete. I would get to the rings and fall every time. Surprise, they made the rig all rings! “Oh bother”, I said in my Winnie the Pooh voice. I grabbed the first ring and leapt for the second. With my momentum I swung like Tarzan to the next, and the next, and all of them until I was at the bell. Holy smokes, I made it and with relative ease. SWEET!

At this point I had done no burpees, which meant I hadn’t failed an obstacle. Every obstacle that was left I had completed numerous times with a lot of success. Could this be my first burpee-less race? I then came up to my favorite obstacle, the spear throw. As some of you know I am always showing off my spear throwing skills on social media. I am proud that I now don’t have to worry about burpees when I get to this obstacle. I relax, take aim, and throw! Right on target, except the spear doesn’t stick. “SUN OF A GUN!” (I used a different word once again). 30 burpees later I was off for the last mile.

As I got to the rope climb I saw a few of my team members and they were cheering me on. As I repelled down I once again pushed forward because the finish was in sight. I took off and soon enough I was getting my medal and my recovery banana.

Results

Age Group: 24th

Time: 1:52:18

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Overall, it was a great way to start of the Spartan season and it gave me a benchmark on what I need to work on as the year progresses.

 

Sunday, January 29th

Race Type: Spartan Sprint, 3 + miles and 15+ obstacles

Start Time: 8:15 am

 

After a low key night and some pizza, you know for carb loading ha-ha, I once again got myself in position for the next day’s race. My goal was to kick ass in my age group and not do any burpees. Today the race was shorter and there was no water. The major obstacles were the usual suspects, rope climb, monkey bars, bucket brigade, sandbag carry, the rig, Hercules hoist, and that elusive spear throw. As the race progressed I was on a great pace and completing every obstacle. Then I got to the spear. If I stick this I am on my way to my first ever burpee-less race. I am not going to lie; the previous day’s folly was in my head. I took a couple deep breaths, lined up my tip and launched. BAM! It stuck and my adrenaline had me running even faster until I crossed the finish line.

 

Results

Age Group: 4th  

Overall: 23rd out of 298. (Not too shabby)

Time: 52:25

 

Spartan season is upon us and this year, “The Year of Awesomeness” will feature many more amazing experiences.

 

Find what drives you. Find your passion. Work hard and Be Awesome! I’m rooting for you.

 

Race Schedule for 2017 (highlighted are my most anticipated trips)

 

Arizona Spartan Sprint and Super:  February 25th & 26th

Great race of Agoura Hills, California:  April 1st

Seattle Super and Sprint:  April 22nd & 23rd (Maybe)

San Luis Obispo Half Marathon:  April 30th (Maybe)

Colorado Super and Sprint:  May 13th & 14th (Maybe)

Austin, Texas: Super and Sprint:  May 20th &21st

Camp Pendleton Mud Run, San Diego:  June 11th

Lambda Field Spartan Sprint:  June 24th (Maybe)

Hawaii Trifecta Weekend: Beast, Super, and Sprint: August 5th & 6th

Los Angeles Stadium Sprint: August 19th

Colorado Rockies Beast: August 26h

Vermont Beast and Sprint:  September 16th &17th.  (Yay for going home)

Lake Tahoe Beast:  September 30th

SoCal Beast and Sprint at Big Bear:  October 28th & 29th

Sacramento Super & Sprint:  November 11th & 12th

Los Angeles Sprint Weekend:  December 9th.

 

 

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