If you’ve never heard of a Spartan Race stop reading (but make sure you come back) and go watch this quick two minute video. It will give so much more context around the rest of this post. If you don’t want to watch the video here is my personal breakdown: A Spartan Race is like a normal 5K race, except it hopes to destroy you in the process of running. It was created most likely by the devil himself as a sadistic way to have people pay money for pain and suffering.
At the start of February, I participated in my first Spartan Race which also happened to be my first ever official 5K. You can
Lots of people have run 5K’s but I never have in an official race format. It was on my 2018 “to-do” list, but with moving my family to a new country, and opening a new office for the company I work for, that goal got lost in the mix of life and put on the shelf. But, once 2019 rolled around it was time to knock it out of the way sooner than later and this seemed like a good way to do it.
Before we go further, let me get vulnerable for just a minute. Part of the reason I’ve never run a 5K is because I was scared. Sounds silly even writing it, but it’s the truth. I have a strong fear of failure and I let my mind tell me that I would fail. I would not run fast enough, I would be in last place (I hate losing), I simply could not run a 5K without stopping or slowing down. However, in the past 6 months, physical fitness and mental pushthrough has been a major focus for my life; it was time to put petty fears aside and step up to the challenge. To be bigger than fear and just do.
For the Record, here are my stats for this first race. They’ll provide context for some of the points below:
Challenges Completed: 21 / 23
Overall Place: 461 / 2699
Male Racers: 376/1586
Male age bracket 30-34: 71/339
Now that you have all the details, let’s dive into what was learned:
+5 Points Confidence:
Do you remember playing video games and getting a bonus in points or health because you completed a challenge successfully? A spartan race is essentially a giant power up. The moment I crossed the finish line I wanted to run it again. It was so unbelievably satisfying and if I’m totally honest, the feeling of championship was unbelievable. There were 23 total obstacles and I successfully completed 21 of them, including a 17ft rope climb that many others were totally failing or skipping all together (fun fact: fail a challenge in a Spartan race and you owe the Gods 30 Burpees)
The confidence boost came from not only completing the course within my goal time of one
In facing fear, I achieved success. Success lead to a desire for more challenges to attack. Not only do I fully plan on taking on a Spartan race again, but I’m planning on doing a much longer and harder race later in the year. During the beginning of 2018, running a 5K was a challenge. It felt hard and even though I could do it, there was always the sense that I would not go much farther in distance no matter how many times I ran.
As a first born, I have to fight my fear of failure and often pessimistic take on things. Well, this helped me push my limits and actually feel that I could smash them. So, now it’s time to push harder. To train more. The results of training and completing the Spartan race prove that with a “can do” mindset, 23 obstacles, and a 5K race course, are simply a mindset. A mindset can either lead to frustration for a mind that is willing to feel overwhelmed, or victory for a mind desiring satisfaction through accomplishment.
Life is Better with Friends:
This is a picture of my friend Spencer and we after
In mid-2018 Spencer and I embarked on a crazy adventure together to move 9000 miles from our homes in Chicago, USA and open a new office for the company we both work for in Sydney, Australia. Spencer and I have both been training in our own ways since moving to Australia, and it felt right to do the Spartan race together. In the future, I’ll probably run some of these races on my own, but the first one I would highly recommend doing with a friend. Here is why it mattered to me for this first race:
a. Spencer Made me Run Faster: Early on in the
b. My Weaknesses is Your Strength: Because Spencer and I ran together, there were clear challenges that he was better at that I and
On the flip side (he said it was cool to tell this story), there was a challenge that was an inverted climbing wall. I climbed over pretty quickly. As Spencer rounded the top he slipped a bit, and I was able to grab him to help pull him over. He would have completed the challenge on his own, but as they say: “Teamwork makes the dream work”. Because we ran together, we were able to help each other overcome individual weaknesses, together.
c. Encouragement Matters: Even with the 5K version of a Spartan race, there is
Bigger and Better Goals for Training:
The 5K race is in the bag. A goal accomplished that, although incredibly satisfying, left me longing for more. I’ve been training pretty consistently (4-6 times per week) for the past 6 months, and although I knew I should establish
a. Complete a 5K Spartan in Under 45 Minutes: In the race I ran, I placed 461 with a time of 58 minutes. The difference between positions 100 and 461 was 8 minutes. Racers with a sub
b. Top 100 finish: Dropping the time should, in theory, push me towards the top finishers. I want that to be a top 100 finisher for the 5K Spartan race. This is a tough one to go after because the races are getting more and more popular and the athletes are only going to get stronger. I say: Bring it!
c. Complete the 12K Spartan Race: The 5K race was a blast, but now I know I can push myself harder. More obstacles, more distance, and more pain. Sounds like fun!
One quick rabbit trail around goal setting. I actually have more than the three listed above. However, I’ve found with physical training (I workout 4-6 times a week right now) and with most other things in life, when I put
You can already do more than you think:
A Spartan Race combines a mix of challenges that focus on climbing, grip strength, and cardiovascular endurance. I felt 100% confident in the climbing challenges, 90% in cardiovascular endurance and 50% in grip strength. Well, some of the grip strength I felt okay with, but the monkey bars were a bit daunting. One: I’ve not really done monkey bars since I was a kid, and Two: I knew the monkey bars were going to be at various spacing intervals. But I did them. In all honesty, had there been 1-2 more I probably would have dropped to the ground, but taking one on at a time got me all the way through (for the record, one of the two challenges I failed were the swinging rings). In some of the endurance challenges, such as carrying a 40 lb sandbag for a couple of hundred yards, I found myself trying to run. I was exhausted, but I found more gumption in my desire to finish strong than I knew existed.
I am Spartan:
As the racers say in a unified voice before the race starts: “I AM SPARTAN”. Not going to lie, it freaking pumps you up. The yelling of that phrase makes you feel like a warrior and it does not care about age, gender, physique, or ability. It’s a declaration and dedication to a champion’s mindset. As you yell it with dozens of other competitors you realize you are not alone in this challenge, but one of the many warriors in the battle.
Mindset. Is. Everything.
If you are willing to vocalize you are a Spartan (a warrior, a champion, a victor), then you can act and embody the best version of you. Does this mean victory comes every time? No. Does it mean you are well on the way to success? Yes. In my professional life, I lead sales teams. I’ve led dozens of individuals, some of whom have delivered month after month, and others who struggle. The difference between those who deliver vs. those struggle at times is most often mindset. As a father, when my boys play sports, I work constantly with them on having a champion’s mindset. Giving up before the race starts (or as you face your goals) will cost you. So, if you ever run a Spartan race, when the time comes, fill your lungs with air and yell (don’t be shy) “I AM SPARTAN!” Embrace your inner warrior, and become the victor.
BONUS: Don’t think. Do it:
I know what you’re thinking. “Holy crap, I need to run a Spartan Race.” Yes, yes you do. So here is a link to find the races run all over the world.
On the flip side, you might have no desire to run a Spartan Race or even a 5K for that matter. Maybe that is easy peasy lemon squeezy for you, or maybe you would rather hang out with my four sons for a night, after giving them each a two liter of Mountain Dew than run a race. No matter which spot you are in, I have no doubt that there is something in your mind right now that you want to do. Something you have been thinking about doing for a
I am going to take a moment and encourage you to do it. Stop waiting to live your life to the fullest because of excuses and or fear. Take the plunge, burn your ships, and rule the world of you. Here is the God honest truth. Only you control you. Nobody else determines the satisfaction of your life. Sure, they might be able to influence you in a negative or positive way, but you and you alone determine if you look back at the end with a sense of satisfaction or regret. So, take your fears by the horns and smash them. Sign yourself up for that race, write that blog, start that business. Do the things that scare you because at the end of the day even failure can become positive if you are willing to learn.
Until Next Time – Adam