Utah Spartan Super Blog 2015
I have 4 good reasons why this year’s Utah Spartan race was the best ever.
Reason #1- I got to race with a lot of good friends and exceptional athletes today from all around the country and especially from right here in Utah. I was also able to see my family who came to support me
Reason #2- I ran a solid race and tried to focus on running my best instead of comparing myself with other athletes. I was also able to control my race pace early on and keep it under control when others were pushing the pace.
Reason #3- Spartan put together one of the best obstacle sections of the year and I felt strong, capable, and confident. And most importantly I was able to run a clean race.
Reason #4- A bunch of my Millard High School track athletes took a bunch of time out of their day to come and cheer an old coach on! It was a good surprise to hear them cheering me on during the race and I believe it made a difference. (Thanks again guys)
Congratulations to Matt (the Bear) for a great race. I believe the Bear is getting faster every year! Also a great job to Ian Hosek for a nice 3rd place finish.
Once again I’d like to thank my sponsors- Spartan for a great course today and all they do for the Spartan team. Inov-8 for the shoes that carried me through X-Talon 190. And for Gnarly and Beet elite for all the nutritional help that they give me to carry me through my training and races.
This last weekend I had the opportunity to run with some of the best Obstacle Racers in the World. Spartan put this race on in Breckenridge, Colorado. NBC covered the race and it will soon be shown on Television.
With an elevation of over 10,000 feet, I knew this race was going to be tough.
Going into the race, I was lacking a little confidence. Whether it was the fact that I hadn’t run a race since March or whether it was the quality of competition, I’m not sure. But I had more nerves than I’ve had in a long time. I knew it would take a very solid race to win.
The race started out about like I wanted it too. It was just fast enough to drop the majority of runners within the first mile or two. I could feel the elevation but I knew that my body should be more accustomed to it than most of my competition. I knew that if I was feeling it, those from lower elevations would surely be feeling it.
Like I had hoped, the elevation had taken its toll on the competition. I was leading the race and Hobie Call was right behind me. We were creating a gap on the rest of the field. As the race continued, I had hoped to put some distance on Hobie Call as well but he was running solid and strong. I jumped out to a 30 meter lead but as soon as I’d start thinking that I was going to get a break on him, he’d some how make up the distance and be back in front. So for 2-4 miles of this 5 mile race Hobie Call and myself traded off leading the race, each hoping to somehow pull away. We had created a substantial lead on the competition and it was down to the two of us. At about mile 4 the obstacles got harder and they were close together. I’ll have to admit during this part Hobie took a slight lead but I was clearly within striking distance.
We came to the spear throw and Hobie threw first. I watched as his spear flew wide. This was my chance, this was the break I had been waiting for! I took my time, I knew all I had to do was hit the mark and the race would be mine. I let my spear go and it flew just off to the left of the hay. It struck the edge of the hay and broke out. I knew it was going to be pretty hard to win now. I was wishing I hadn’t taken my time on the spear throw because Hobie had about a 5-10 burpee lead. With less than a mile to go I knew I was in trouble. I finished my burpees and Hobie was well ahead by now. As I headed towards the finish, I just tried to enjoy the moment and the mountains of Colorado. I ended up taking 2nd place. It was a great opportunity and I would like to thank all my sponsors for everything. Spartan for putting on such a great event. Inov-8 for the use of the X-Talon 190’s, Gnarly and Beetelite for helping me feel my best.
The race began with myself, Hunter, and Glenn all up front with one or two guys leading the way. Within the first 800 meters I found myself leading the race. I knew that with racing athletes of the caliber of Hunter and Glenn that I would need to create a gap throughout the running sections of the race. But in the first 2 miles neither Hunter nor Glen were willing to let me get away.
Going into mile 3 I had finally created a small gap on Hunter who was followed closely by Glen. My goal was to keep pushing the pace and lengthening the gap. I knew that there were some heavy obstacle later in the race and I knew I didn’t want to be anywhere near Hunter when we came to those obstacles. So about mile 4 I had stretched my lead out to 20-30 seconds. This was about where the spear throw was. I came into the spear area, picked up my spear and hit. I took off running not looking back but my curiosity got the best of me and I sneaked a peak over my shoulder to see if my gap was any better or if anyone had missed the spear. Much to my surprise Hunter was no where in sight but I could see Glenn. At this point I knew that Hunter had missed the spear throw.
The rest of the race was a blur, the miles clicked over quickly and before I knew it I was within 2 miles of the finish. I was concerned with a couple heavy obstacles near the end of the race. I could see behind me that Hunter was coming on strong and if I missed an obstacle, I may not have given myself a big enough gap to still win. So I started to get a little nervous but things turned out okay. I passed all the obstacles and ended up winning the race with a time of 57:39. Hunter made a strong comeback finishing ahead of Glenn by about 30 seconds.
Thanks so much to Reebok Spartan Race for another fine venue! Also thanks to my sponsors: Reebok Spartan Race, Inov-8, and Gnarly Nutrition!
I would first like to thank Spartan for putting together a great racing weekend in Killington, Vermont. It was everything I would expect of a World championship. They brought in elite athletes from all around the globe.
After a short announcement of some of the top contestants, and the national anthem, we were ready to roll.
The race started with a steep 200 meter downhill sprint to get into position for the mountain. The course took us straight up the mountain from bottom to top in and out of trees and brush into open ski slopes and meadows.
I started the race in 3rd place behind several runners that I didn’t know and wasn’t too concerned about. The first 3 miles of the race there wasn’t a lot of action. Kind of like the calm before the storm. So after climbing to the top in the first 2 miles the 3rd mile took us down a steep fast descent to the lake far below. By this time Max King and a few other top athletes had moved ahead of me putting me into 5th place. I entered the freezing cold lake with a shock that took the wind right out of me. The swim being probably my biggest weakness and the water bringing out my greatest fear- I moved slowly through the water to the Tarzan swing (the first major obstacle of the day). I made the swing but because of my slow swim, I came out of the water in about 10th place. I kind of panicked, I had no plans on ever being that far back. I picked up the pace around the lake and into the trees and within 5 minutes I had managed to secure my spot back into 3rd place with John Yatsko right behind me in 4th.
Neither John or I knew much about the competitors ahead of us, we both thought they were going to die before the spear throw at mile 7.5. But as the race moved on, I noticed I was gaining on those two runners ahead of me on the uphills but then losing distance on the down hills. So in essence, I wasn’t gaining anything. After the first spear throw I began to get worried thinking maybe the guys ahead were better than I thought. So I decided it was time to start making a move. I kept telling myself, I have to take the down hills faster, that’s were they are gaining. Finally, at around mile 9, I passed Ryan Atkins from Canada on the bucket carry. I was feeling great and knew it was only a matter of time before I caught John Albon. Sure enough the next section of the race was a steep uphill in which I cut John’s lead in half. I was gaining fast and I knew I was going to get him. At about mile 10 I popped out of the trees and saw the sand bag carry before me. I usually love the sand bag carry, it’s one of my best obstacles so I was excited. Only this time, it was a double sand bag carry. I could see John Albon was struggling and I was feeling great so I put both sand bags on my shoulders and run up past John into 1st place. I knew at this point of the race that the race was mine, I knew I could beat them on the hills and I knew I felt good. As my shoulders began to get tired I turned around and saw John carrying a sandbag in each hand. It looked easier than what I was doing so I dropped the bags off my shoulder and carried them like he did in my hands. Much to my surprise it was harder on my grip and forearms than I ever could have imagined. I was no longer gaining on John and now Ryan Atkins was gaining fast. The problem was, I couldn’t get the sandbags back onto my shoulders. So I continued to drag and pull the sandbags (bad idea, my grip was failing). Even on the down hill, I couldn’t hardly grip the sandbag anymore. Then Ryan passed me and then John passed me before I could finish the sand bag. Back into 3rd place I was still positive that I could catch back up in the running but now I was worried. I realized at that point that my forearms had nothing, my grip was gone and I knew all the hard upper body obstacles were in the last 3 miles. Would I be able to pass a single obstacle from then on? Honestly, I knew I was in trouble.
The very next obstacle was the Rig. I had never seen the rig before and didn’t know anything about it. I got past the rings, the swings, and the rope on the rig but I came to the foot rings and wasn’t even sure what to do. I put my first foot in the ring and let go of the rope. I spun around backwards and could have recovered if I had anything left in my forearms but of course I didn’t and I fell flat on my back. So instead of making a move on 1st place, I was doing burpees. What a let down.
I was able to get through the Traverse rope but then I failed the spear throw so again I had to do 30 burpees. I barely slid past a couple more taxing obstacles that normally would have been easy.. I got to the Herculean Hoist and easily pulled the sand bag up 15 feet but my fingers wouldn’t grip. I decided it would be quicker to let it drop and do 30 burpees than sit and struggle for a few minutes. So that’s what I did. I was able to pass the rest of the obstacles and finish in 3rd place. I was disappointed, I went from knowing I was going to win to-wondering if my grip would hold out enough to finish the race. For me the turning point in the race was the double sand bag carry.
I would really like to thank my sponsors: first to Spartan for all that they do for their elite pro team. Second, to Inov-8 for the use of the X-Talon 190’s (the best traction, light weight shoe ever) and for their fanny pack the Race Ultra 1. And finally to Gnarly nutrition- the Gnarly boost in my water was great, it kept me on top of the running part of my race.
The Utah Beast started with a bang when John Yatsko started fast from the beginning. I knew he was going to go out fast and push the pace because that’s the way he likes to race. I was happy that I would be able to go out fast without having to push the pace myself. So I started out on John’s shoulder and within the first mile we had started up the mountain and had gotten a substantial lead on the field. I knew judging from the pace that it would be a battle the whole way. And it was a battle through the first 4-5 miles at-least up until we hit the spear throw. John came into the spear throw first and picked up the spear and hit. I think maybe I was too concerned about whether he would hit or miss instead of about my own spear throwing or maybe I was a little over-confident. My spear grazed the edge of the hay bale and broke out without sticking. So I did burpees while John ran away unscathed. Then throughout the rest of the race, John and I stayed pretty equal the whole way. So what should have been a great race was quickly turned sour with the spear throw. So John finished in 1:41. and I finished in 1:43 and 3rd place went to Glenn Racz.
I would like to congratulate John Yatsko on an incredible victory. I would like to thank Spartan for putting on such a great event. I would also like to thank Inov-8 for their shoes and Gnarly for my recovery protein.
The Tuxedo New York Spartan sprint #2 had a very competitive field of racers. I felt good about my chances of winning but I knew that I would need a good race in order to win.
The race started with a bang; the first ¼ of a mile was right up a steep hill…no messing around. I took the hill in 3rd place behind Isaiah Vidal and Matt Novakovich as we reached the top of the hill. The course headed right back down hill to the first set of monkey bars. I had moved into 2nd place behind Isaiah. From the monkey bars the course headed right back up a steep technical incline. From there I felt good and decided to take the lead, still only ½ mile into the race. I kept a good steady pace and jumped out on Matt and Hunter McIntyre by about 30-45 seconds. I knew with that kind of competition, the race was far from over. Hunter’s obstacle speed and downhill speed and Matt’s uphill speed would challenge me the whole way. There were several obstacles like the tractor pull and the log carry that looped back enough for me to see how my lead was being maintained. There were moments that I was worried that as Matt and Hunter battled it out and pushing each other, they would also be gaining on me. I tried to stay positive and consistent and maintain the lead I had gotten. So all in all, the race stayed pretty constant with me have a 30-45 second lead.
As we all know in obstacle racing, 45 seconds is nothing. One mistake and there it goes- so I was a little concerned with the spear throw. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy one with the barb-wire crawl right before it. As I was crawling and feeling the burn in my upper body I knew that the spear throw would be a challenge. But I hit it just right and kept my lead. The last ½ mile was mentally hard as the course swung by the finish line and I was ready to be done only to find that there was another big hill and who knows how many more obstacles. As I came over the traverse wall at the top of the last big hill, I knew the victory would be mine. I opened up with a nice finish down to the fire and on to the finish line.
Thank you Spartan for bringing me out to such a fine venue and for kicking my butt in only 4.5 miles. Thanks to Inov-8 for the X-Talons gripping the rocks on the technical sections of the course, and finally thanks to Gnarly for giving me the fuel to recover from many hard workouts.
This race is scheduled to air July 22, 2014 on NBC so check it out!
Check out the OCR racing frames under the shop tab at the top of my page. They are on a great sale until the end of May. The possibilities are virtually unlimited, so if you want one a little different (color, frame,etc,) just leave a comment on your order and we’ll see what we can do. Don’t forget to scroll through all 3 pages!
I knew coming into the Temecula Atlas race that with the stiff competition I would really have to race well. I knew I could come anywhere from 1st-10th place depending on how everything went in the race. This was the most competitive obstacle I had raced in to date and one of the shortest.
We had some good pre-race chats before the start of the race. Obstacle races become reunions with old friends almost as much as they are competitive races.
The race started out pretty fast. The first mile was quite steep rising above the valley floor. The first crawl was within 200 meters of the start. I knew I had to get out pretty fast in order to not get caught behind in this obstacle. So I took off in the top 3 and reached this obstacle with only a couple people ahead of me.
On the highest point there was a 15 foot wall with ropes and I reached this point in 4th place. After scaling this wall the course took a wicked dive back off the mountain. I opened up on the downhill and got back into position (3rd place) but Max King had taken the pace out fast and had about a 60 yard lead. I wasn’t very concerned at this point but after reaching the tire flip I wished I had gone out a little faster. I picked what I thought would be a good tire but I really struggled with this tire flip. The tire flip in the past has never been hard but for some reason this time I was struggling. In the process of flipping the tire I ripped my race chip off my wrist and had to stuff it down my sock. By the time I actually got done with the tire flip, I had gone from 3rd place to 8th place (very disappointing).
Hunter and Max were no longer in sight. At this point I started to panic a little bit. I knew the race was somewhere between 3-5 miles and we were at around mile 2-3. So deep down, I was a little concerned. I was running on one of those mental breaking points where you wonder if you are out of the race and whether it’s even possible to get back onto the podium. I tried to keep a positive attitude through the next couple obstacles. I was starting to gain on Matt Murphy which helped me push myself a little harder. But it wasn’t until the Sand bag carry that things started to go my way.
I felt very good when I grabbed the bag and much to my liking this obstacle was about a mile long. In that mile I was able to go from 8th place back to 3rd place. Max King and Hunter were now back in sight I knew I only had about a mile left and there wouldn’t be time to catch them but I had a battle of my own to deal with. Chad Trammel and I were neck and neck making a final mile dash to the finish. We pushed the pace pretty hard but lucky for me I was able to retain my 3rd place finish.
There have been lots of articles on injuries and I want to focus on just one: Plantar Fasciitis. This is an injury that haunted me in college and continues to creep up on me periodically.
The plantar fascia is a connective tissue on the bottom of the foot. When it becomes inflamed, it is very painful. I first got this injury in college, at Cross Country Conference Championships. I won Conference, but 2 weeks later at the Regional Championship race I had to pull out of the race. It took a couple months of taping, stretching and night splints, but I was able to race Indoor and Outdoor track. However, I didn’t feel like I ever got back to “my old self”.
This injury re-occured after I won my first trail marathon. I went easy on it for 2 years, did whatever I could think of to get it better, but nothing worked! I got some advice from a retired medical professional to NOT get surgery since studies have shown that it doesn’t help in most cases. Finally I decided I was just going to run on it and work through the pain…….and then it went away!
It has threatened me some in the years since and I try to recognize it early, tape it (especially since I’m standing all day) in a customized low-dye tape technique, stretch it, exercise it (pick up marbles with toes, walk around barefoot on my tip toes, etc) and keep running.
Check out the Spartan World Championship coverage by NBC at this link……http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4Jngl5x2fow