Spartan Beast Breckenridge

2017 Breckenridge Spartan Beast and Sprint Race review

Spartan Race Breckenridge 2017

Who does a Spartan Race?

People have funny reactions to Spartan races. For some, there is an instant “Hell No!” reaction. For others, there is a little curiosity but it is centered around why someone would do this rather than the event itself. Then you have those that are hooked. From the first time I saw the black banners waving at Fort Carson in 2016, I knew I was all in. Terrified and nervous but nevertheless all in. Obstacle Course racing or OCR, has that primal kick that is lacking in our safe, sedentary lives. Some do it compete against others, most of us do it to find out about ourselves. Work on building a little grit.

Most Surprising Part of the Weekend?

The most surprising part of the weekend were the sheer number of people who had never done a Spartan race before and signed up for the Beast! That takes guts.

Time for a little Backstory.

Back in 2016 I saw the goal of achieving a Trifecta as part goal and part fantasy. The 5 mile Sprint race had basically chewed me up and spit me out. Very humbling for a fitness coach and at the same time opened up a number of new doors for me. The Trifecta is an award given when you complete the 3-5 mile sprint, 8-10 mile Super and 12-14 mile Beast in one calendar year. The Sprint has 20 plus obstacles, the Super has 25 plus and the Beast has 30 plus. These are approximations because every course is different and because they don’t want you to know the lay of the course until the day of the race.

Breckenridge was the missing link to my Trifecta and I couldn’t have picked a better place. Originally I had planned to go to Seattle. One, I would have an advantage by going to sea level since I train at 5,900 feet. Two, it would not be as hilly. Then I started feeling a little ashamed. Colorado is my home and I am not going to back-door this challenge. Give me the highest elevation race and I will either do it or not. The whole idea of Spartan is not to make life easier but to challenge yourself. To sweeten the pot a little more, I decided to do the Sprint the next day.

The Venue

Beaver Run Breckenridge

You probably need to know two things about the Breckenridge Spartan.

  1. The course goes from about 9,200 feet above sea level to 11,200. And down, then up, then down. And yes, there are obstacles and burpees at 11,000 feet.
  2. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

This race has the makings for an adventure of a lifetime. But you need to be prepared.

How to deal with altitude.

Breckenridge

I was really shocked by how many people started the Beast without carrying any water or supplies. When you are at elevation, you need more water and electrolytes than you think. A lot more. The air is dry, there isn’t enough of it and you are going to be going full blast for 4-7 hours. If you don’t refuel, you will blow yourself up at some point. I saw a lot of carnage but most of it could have been prevented.

  1. Take a sports drink with you.
  2. Take food.
  3. Bring mustard packets or electrolyte tablets in case of emergency or just to share with fellow runners. It is a nice thing to do.
  4. Take your time. You know the race course creator is going to try and trick you into gassing out early. Be smart, take your time and enjoy the scenery.

This isn’t rocket science. You start at a base of a mountain. where else are you going to go?

Breckenridge Spartan 2017

 

 

Coolest Obstacle

The Water Crossing

Breckenridge River CrossingBreckenridge River crossing

 

Here is an obstacle where it works in your favor to be tall and wide. They said it was 50 degree water and after a mile I was hot already so this was a pleasant way to cool off.

Line of the day came from a woman from Mississippi who shouted “My vagina is frozen!”

Worst Obstacle

The bucket carry was just brutal. Usually I am pretty good at this but at 10,000 plus feet, I just couldn’t catch my breath. In addition, we were putting damp sand into the buckets instead of rocks. You guys got me on this one! The slow incline just sucked the energy out of me. The log carry and sandbag carry were a breeze compared to this.

Would I do this again and should you do the Breckenridge Spartan races

Of course I will be doing both races again. The key for me is getting in the right frame of mind. The chance to earn a Trifecta, for me, is a celebration of life. I earned the right to do this race and I basically set out a game plan to do this.

  1. Either finish or be carried of the course.
  2. Do the race right. Try all obstacles, do all burpees. No exceptions.
  3. Enjoy the moment and have an adventure. Look at the magnificent scenery, make some new friends and leave a bunch of emotional baggage at the top of the mountain.

This was truly a special weekend for me. I would say life changing but all Spartan races are life changing. As always, these races are flawlessly executed and the experience was a 10 out of 10.

 

How To Stay Positive When the Going Gets Rough

Today we have a guest blogger, Caroline, who submitted a great article on how to stay positive when the running gets rough.

Please understand, it will get rough, so you might as well adopt a mindset to deal with this stuff.

If I could add three things to this excellent article.

Your goal should be the thing that drives you everyday to put in your work.

If it doesn’t, you may need to alter the goal so it does. I wish I could tell you what that is but it is different for everyone.

When the going gets tough, break things down into small increments.

I have broken down in races to the point where I am trying to run to the next telephone pole. Once you get there, pick another target. If a mile is 5280 feet, all you have to do is run 10 feet at a time. I like the idea of a mile at a time but don’t be afraid to break it down even further. It works.

Injuries, Injuries, Injuries

We all get them and I think it is important to mention that injuries are almost always a result of poor body mechanics over time. So if you have to take it easy for a few days, what better time than to try and figure out what happened. You can also start working on foam rolling, compression and other forms of rehab. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, use the time to get better.

Thank you again Caroline for your article. If anyone else wants to contribute, get in touch with me and we will figure it out.

 

when runing gets tough

 

 

How to Stay Positive When the Running Gets Rough

Running isn’t all sunshine and smooth pavement. While almost any long-term runner will tell you about their triumphs and successes, not so many will tell you about the bumps in the road. Some goals might frighten you. That’s ok. Challenges are part of growth, and getting through times where your motivation wavers will only make you stronger in the long run.

Yet to get through, you might need help or a strategy. This is why we’re here. Consider the following if you find your dedication waning:

See Your Goal and Never Waver

How many times have you told yourself “just one more mile” as you were nearing the end of your run? After that, how many times did you go that extra mile? I imagine quite a few.

The goals you set for yourself are meaningful and important. Visualizing yourself triumphant over whatever you were going up against is one of the best motivators for an athlete, and that determination can clear your mind of any negative thoughts that might make you stop running for the day (or completely).

This is especially important for those who are new to running or who are trying to get back into it after a long break. Once you stick to a goal for a few weeks, it will get easier, and you will be able to think of running as a great part of your morning routine (maybe you can replace coffee with it).

Make the Most of Distractions

Running in a sound void early in the morning can be calming to some or creepy and boring to others. For those in the latter category (myself included), some steady earbuds and a smartphone might make all the difference. You’ll want to find something that works for you, but you might want to try the following:

* Music is an obvious and common choice, and with the advent of internet radio and services such as Spotify and Google Music, you can get whatever tunes you want. You can also, of course, create your own running playlist to keep you going. Also, studies show some music improves your performance.

* Podcasts or audio-only versions of your favorite video series might also work, especially if they are workout-related or you don’t have to focus on it too much (I wouldn’t recommend audiobooks for running).

* If you don’t like the idea of using headphones, pay extra attention to your surroundings. Instead of thinking about the pain, think about the community around you and how it’s changing. Look at the gardens and front lawns of your neighbors—whatever attracts your attention.

If you’re going to be using your phone for your distraction, I would recommend a belt or armband to keep your device in place as well as some earbuds designed for running. You also might want to adjust your settings so that you can change what you’re listening to with a few touches. It might also be a good idea to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect your connection, which helps keeps any personal information safe.

Use Your Community

If you surround yourself with positive people, their positivity will influence you. Unless you try extremely hard (and I don’t know why you would), your mood will be buffered by those of your fellow runners. Accountability is a huge part of staying focused and on track, and being part of a running group or community, even if it’s just online, can make the difference between staying positive and giving up.

Only you will know the best community for your needs, but try to consider running groups in your town first. Alternatively, see if there are other fitness-minded individuals among your friends and look for ways to sync up your schedules.

Always Stay Moving

Of all the things that can happen to you as a runner, an injury is probably the most demoralizing. No matter how careful you are, you will still likely suffer an injury at some point. You will need to stay cooped up in the house (or at least relatively sedentary) for several weeks, which can be particularly frustrating on warm, sunny days.

To this I say two things:

* You might not be able to run or move around, but your doctors (probably) said nothing about going outside. Spend some time in the sunlight to keep serotonin levels up. Read a book on the porch, or take a calm walk in the park. Whatever keeps you outside, get to it!

* If it’s just a leg-related injury, there are other ways to keep yourself active. Tell your doctor you’re an active person and ask about what exercises and activities you can still do. If you see a trainer or also go to a gym, the professionals there also will be able to help you. In fact, they’ll be delighted to!

This also counts for those terrible days where you just can’t get outside. While you might not get the exact runner’s high you’re looking for, you will be able to get your blood moving and keep your body used to exercise, which is half the battle.

Whatever has got you down, don’t let it get you out. Your mindset is half the fight when your feet hit the ground, and a positive and confident attitude is your best defense. Do what you need to so that your fitness doesn’t suffer. You can do it!

About the Author:

Caroline is a lifelong runner who writes about both health and technology topics on a regular basis. She’s seen her share of ups and downs and hopes that these ideas let you keep your mindset above your struggles.