To start the year I made the commitment/goal to complete the Spartan Trifecta. This required the completion of the three traditional Spartan races, Sprint, Super, and Beast. They range in distance from 3-5 miles for the Sprint to 12-14 miles for the Beast. Races consist of 25+ obstacles as well depending on the race. Penalty for failing a obstacle is 30 burpees (yuck). This past Saturday I finished that goal by completing the Beast. It was at Snowmass and was 13 miles with 4,400 feet of elevation gain and 33 obstacles. Once I get the official photos in I will post them up with a story, but in short it was tough and a very good learning experience.
I wanted to write about this one as I think it proves that with the right goals and mindset, you can accomplish a lot. Prior to completing this goal, there was little chance of my success in completing these races. Especially the beast. While I was not in bad shape, I was not a runner and my upper body needed a ton of work. My focus also needed an overhaul. In the past I have made fitness goals that were not very measurable (SMART goals), I would say things like “I will work out more this year,” or “I will get stronger.” No way to measure success there. In the end, maybe I would hit the gym a bit more, but results were limited. In short I was not set up to succeed and if I did I wouldn’t even know it.
This year I decided to change my goal and used a bit of brute force. I bought all three races ahead of time, basically committed to them out of the gate. Since I do not like to waste money, I knew that would force me to run them all. The challenge was then to get ready to race them. To do that took a change to how I trained, how I ate, and how I thought. Learned a lot of lessons from the experience . Here are a few of those that may be of most interest to others. These are specific to my fitness related goal, but they may apply elsewhere.
- Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goals. Make sure you know when you are done and have something specific to work toward. Should be attainable, but difficult.
- Be prepared to be uncomfortable. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Good chance you will need to get out of your comfort zone and that is the idea.
- Changes needed for success will be multifaceted. For my goal it was a change to diet, exercise, mentality, and schedule.
- Learn from others and from experience. There is always someone stronger, faster, smarter, and better than us in what we want to improve in. Find them and work with them. Not only can they help you get better, but they can push you. Took me awhile to find this.
- Get your family on your side. Not only for cheerleaders, but so they are on board with your time commitment. No way I could have done this without my wife and family. Thanks Jen.
- In the end, you have to hold yourself accountable. Some days will be harder than others, you will fail, and you may want to give up and phone it in. Don’t do it. The saying goes, nothing good ever comes easy, its simple but true. Work hard to find a good support group, but make sure you believe in yourself. You have to be your own biggest fan.
- Have fun and do it because you want to. You won’t get far unless you really want it and you enjoy yourself (for the most part at least).
In the end I was happy with how I did. In general placed in top 25% in my races and got better every time. I have a lot of work to do still, but I came a long way. Lots of good lessons and I feel better equipped to continue training for next year. Got some good thoughts on diet and other items too, but I will save that for some other posts.
Do you have a goal you completed this year or are shooting for? Something you want to do, but haven’t committed to? Feel free to share! Interested in the Spartan and don’t know where to start, let me know.