NBC’s Spartan US Championships, Palmerton, PA.

“I am gonna pick the world up and drop it on your head.” – lil Jon

Looking back on things 6 weeks ago I was pretty iffy if I would line up. I had just finished a forced break do to some serious over training (and racing) and was in rough shape. But this race was the carrot. A big NBC event; a hard course that suited me in many ways and I wanted to come correct for it.

Realistically you can’t cramp 6 months of training needed to get into peak form into 6 weeks. But as race day got closer I had some promising workouts. My upper body strength was close to my peak, as I did 14 pull ups (that’s kind of my bench mark exercise for me) which was 1 off my PR in the fall. Running wise I had won a Rugged Maniac so I felt my speed might be there. Also I had two great workouts where I was able to run up Bear Mountain’s “Weltch Trail” which is tricky and steep. So I had hope to hang onto as I went in. But I also know I am still 4lbs off race weight and solid week isn’t a solid month.

After my pre race BOSTON COMMONS COFFEE and a warm up it was time to get this party started. The start had call ups, all the top guys in the sport had flown in from Europe, North America and Australia. NBC cameras circled us. The announced that the sand bag carry would be two not 50lbs bags not, one. This crushed people last year, me included. They then announced that “shuttling” them, doing one at a time, and dragging them, would be a DQ. Big dude cheered, little dudes groaned. I had done some double carries in training and just stared forward more curious about how much pain this would cause me, like a kid playing with a deep cut in their own arm. Then they threw smoke bombs; we said AROO thrice, and it was on.

Last year I had been one of the top runners up the mountain. Sadly after the first rise my body was just not feeling it. I was disappointed as this was my strength. The first 30 minutes was me not smoking people and being frustrated about it. On a downhill my friend and training partner Jazz caught and passed me then wiped on rocks running full blast downhill, ouch! Then the guy behind me did the same thing ouch ouch!!. Then it was my turn. I hit the deck, but their is no standing 8 count like boxing so I got up ASAP and started running again but ouch ouch ouch!

We hit the strength stuff at some point. Heavy bucket carry; and I didn’t lose any spots. In fact I passed people. What?!?! Sadly the excitement didn’t live long as My grip on the “hoist” got lose as I went to lower it and it fell. 30 burpees later and about 2 minutes of lost time. Gah! It was a good time to have a BOOM GEL. After that we got to the spear throw where you have to hit a straw person from 40 feet and make it stick. I never made this before but thanks to Jazz’s training on proper throwing mechanics I not only hit it, but it was a bulls eye. Things are looking up! In fact from there on things mostly got better and better. I made everything else for the next hour including things I failed often like a boulder wall, and this new insane thing where you jump in water, climb a rope out of it, then do bars that are not fixed and dangle at different heights. Wet and at different heights it made it hard but I made it, avoiding a 20 foot fall into water and 30 more burpees. I also caught 4 people on the barbwire which is becoming my thing as I seem to value skin less then others. But I made my move at the double carry. 20 guys we just broken on the side of the mountain. Literally crumbled on the side of the mountain staring at the group huffing and dying. That was me last year. This year I put both on my shoulder and made my way 150m down being extra careful not to fall as its a black diamond ski slop and I suspect 20-30% pitch with rocks and awful footing, thankfully this year I wore Brooks Pure Grit, the shoe was tipped off to me by shoe guru Jim Ortel at BLOCK ISLAND SPORT SHOP. As we turned to go up I focused on two things 1) footing 2) pacing. The issue isn’t the weight per se: it’s blowing up. It’s nearly impossible to go easy. So I took small steps at a slow pace. I was steady, and made it to the top without faltering and in the process passed a huge number of guys.

My legs and running still weren’t firing however so places where I would have crushed people and dropped them I was now lingering with them. This was irksome. We hit the final obstacles which should have been a breeze except my upper body strength was waning. We did have a swim and I was stoked to be in the CHAMPION SYSTEM skin suit for that and passed people in droves. By the time we hit the rig I was excited because I had made it all 4 times in other events. This time they had a wrinkle. It was a series of rigs to a straight bar, to ropes but the ropes were thin, slippery and had no knots. I slipped on the last one and came up 12 inches short of the bell. I came insanely close o both obstacles I failed which is both encouraging and frustrating. 30 burpees later and I found myself in a sprint for the last pay check (see photo of us coming out from under the dunk wall) with a 2:30 marathoner. I lost. I tried, hard. Gah.

I was 23rd over all and found it a mix bag. Looking back I realize I am making progress; on the other hand I know I can do a lot better and this was a chance to really stand out but my fitness just isn’t there and I won’t get another shot at a big-time event until 10/2 at the ultra beast worlds.

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Next up: some tris! Hitting the Tuckahoe Tri www.citytri.com 7/31!

Then defending my title at the block island Tri 8/6.

Can’t wait to get back to some multisports!

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