KIRSTY'S STORY PART 2
“Damn those post-Spartan endorphins that delude you and make you believe you can conquer the world!”
I completed the Spartan Sprint in Windsor in September 2017, the shortest distance in the Spartan series, and swore I would never do it again. I had some serious OCR kisses and was walking like a new-born giraffe for days. I felt pretty broken. So, 5 days later why on earth did I message Mark the immortal words “Am I capable of completing the Spartan Trifecta? Can you get me fit enough?”. I secretly hoped that he would respond ‘Why don’t you set the Spartan Super (the middle distance in the Spartan series) as your 2018 goal?’, not ‘Book it!’. Oh jeez, now I was accountable! What had a done?!
For anyone than hasn’t heard me bang on about the Spartan Trifecta it’s a 3-race challenge that needs to be completed in one racing season – the Spartan Sprint (5km+), the Spartan Super (13km+) & the Spartan Beast (20km+). The terrain is difficult, the obstacles are bloody tough, and the races escalate in terms of their brutality. It’s geared to test your endurance, grit and perseverance, as well as how determined your noddle is.
I’d been attending Evolve bootcamps for a few months prior to completing the Spartan Sprint so had managed to shift a bit of jelly and get my fitness levels to a point where I wasn’t hanging onto the wall by the end of the session. Taking on the Spartan Trifecta needed a shift in my training…primarily increasing my upper body strength to avoid the 30-burpee penalty you’re given every time you fail an obstacle.
Between October & January, I started increasing the number of bootcamps I attended and began lifting slightly heavier weights during the sessions. My fitness level improved and I started to gain confidence, with this came focus. So in February 2018 I decided to enrol in PT sessions with Mark. Initially, as a short-term fix to improve my technique and increase the weight I was lifting so that I could apply them to the bootcamp sessions and progress.
30+ PT sessions later, I can confirm it’s definitely not a short term fix. These are the sessions I love the most and look forward to them every week. As someone who, quite honestly, needs a kick up the bum at times, this hour is when I really push myself and see what I am capable of. Mark very quickly understood that I’m someone that needs to be drilled (I mean motivated), and he did an incredible job in working me to the point where I left every session I leave feeling exhausted, pretty darn sore, but proud of what I had achieved.
Every PT session has been carefully planned with my Trifecta goal in mind, whether it’s nailing technique on the rope climb, swinging from monkey bars, flipping tyres across field, obstacle training/water wading in sub-zero snowy conditions or squatting within an inch of my life (I’ve done a lot this past year), Mark has been unwavering in his support for me to reach my goal. I mean who gets up at 6am on a Saturday morning to run hills with a client? Mark does.
Most impressive is that not once has Mark lost his rag with me…I am a persistent moaner and lack confidence in my abilities, so standing in front of a rope for the 4th week telling him I can’t climb it must have totally done his nut, yet he had every confidence that I would eventually do it. He was right.
In addition to the Spartan races, PT sessions and bootcamps I’ve tried to squeeze in as many Obstacle races as possible - Muscle Acre, NUTS, The Elements, Mud Monsters, Rough Runner. I’m properly addicted.
So my Trifecta racing journey went a little like this…
The first of my Spartan races was in April, the Spartan Super. 3 hours of traipsing up and down calf cramping hills topped off with a bucket carry where I nearly broke down in tears…part of me died on that obstacle! 2hr 59mins – 5 failed obstacles.
The Spartan Sprint was the second in July. Not the best-timed race…the night after a hen party and in 30+ degree heat. 1hr 28mins – 3 failed obstacles all within the event village. Not my most impressive moment.
The final part of my Trifecta was in October. The Spartan Beast certainly lives up to its name…26km of OCR in the pelting rain. What people fail to know is when my running buddy had to drop out of the Spartan Beast, Mark jumped in and ran the backbreaking 26km with me (I say back-breaking as there was a 2km sandbag carry). I’m pretty sure running the Beast is beyond the call of duty for a PT. Not only that, he didn’t laugh when I face-planted not once, or twice but 3 times. He laughs now! 4hr 30mins – 6 failed obstacles.
Despite failing more obstacles than I‘d have liked, as each race progressed I managed to nail an obstacle I had previously flunked. It’s amazing how those small victories really give you the shot of adrenaline you need to keep going. Crossing that finish line after the Spartan Beast was emotional…I cried as did my family. I can’t remember the last time I felt genuinely proud of something that I had achieved. I finally felt the reward of a challenge that took months of training, both physically & mentally. Something that I couldn’t achieve without Mark or my incredible family. In the last year, I seem to have spent more evenings with Mark than I have with my wife & daughter. Not once have they moaned when I have darted out the door to spend another night in a field, nor grumbled when I’ve blocked another weekend because of racing. They’ve spent hours in muddy event villages cheering me on…they’re superheroes. Best of all, I’ve inspired my daughter to get involved. At 5yrs old she’s already completed Spartan Kids & Total Warrior this year. What’s better than knowing you have inspired someone, even if it’s a small person, to do something to challenge themselves?! The impact of inspiration probably outweighs my own achievement.
If you’re in any doubt about starting your fitness journey, I can honestly say that Mark will put those doubts to rest. Take it from me, 2 years ago I was sofa slob and was going through the same patter in my head. It takes that one brave moment to sign up and another to turn up. From there, you’ll be amazed how your mind-set changes and what you’re really capable of.
So those post-Spartan endorphins have kicked in again and I’ve already sent Mark my 2019 goals…some small and achievable that just need a bit of discipline, others that are way out of my comfort zone. His response to them all… ”totally achievable”.
Looks like from now I’m going to have to start lifting heavier, eating better (eugh!), drinking less (double eugh!) and probably start running a bit more.
I’m excited for 2019.