Another year has begun and, with it, plans for more Spartan Races have been set. While last year, it was YaYa who sent me down the path of getting Spartan fit, this year the goal is to support my brother, Robert as he chases his 1st Spartan Trifecta. Lil Sis (Carol), who jumped in with me for my Spartan Beast last year, will be joining us as well.
As you may know, Robert’s first race was the Stadium Sprint at AT&T Park. The event is a good introduction to the world of OCR but in no way compares to the intensity of the races yet to come. It will be a challenge for everyone who takes on these races. Besides the fact that I love my brother, my willingness to stay with him and support him along this journey is because I know that he will do the work (and research) to train appropriately for what is coming his way. In the meantime, I have plenty of work to gain the skills that have tripped me up on my past OCR adventures.
I have been doing my dead hangs, and specifically working on improving grip strength. I am at a new athletic club which has so much more in the way of state of the art strength training equipment as well as a few monkey bar options on which I can practice the skills I need and, more importantly, work on gaining the confidence I need to master them. I have also begun working with a personal trainer who has done an amazing job of listening to what I want from him in order to develop a program to help meet my goals. There is much work to do in the areas I’ve identified with include the development of back strength, forearm, and grip strength, improving ankle and hip stability and mobility, gaining the confidence to traverse the bars, rings and other hanging obstacles while learning to land safely when jumping down and/or falling from them, and overcoming my fear of heights.
There is much work to do and, I realize it cannot all be done effectively in the gym setting. In addition to getting out and running, I need some time working with the walls, and other obstacles. While I have a climbing rope of my own, I am currently limited to a super short climb on it as I haven’t found a high place to hang it from. BoBo and YaYa also gave me a Spartan Training Kit which has the bucket, spear tip, and pancake to work with. It’s a great start but I needed more.
So yesterday, Lil Sis and I visited the Mission Peak Spartans to get some technique training specific to the sport of OCR. Not only was the ability to practice on the many obstacles they have available to athletes who come out to work with them, the support and tips they share are invaluable. I only wish I’d discovered them earlier; it would have saved my back a good deal of discomfort. There are a number of ways you can work with them including membership, technique workshops like the ones we attended, and drop in visits.
They also participate in the Spartan Edge Kid’s Program and, Ty and his team work specifically with the students and staff at Irvington High School at no cost. Ty told us that he extends the invitation to ALL high school students who come out to visit him.
As for Carol and me, we had a blast working with Ty and Nicole. Thanks to the threat of another day of heavy rain, we were fortunate enough to have them all to ourselves for two of the three hours we spent with them. As a result, we got a little extra attention and time to work on the skills and techniques they gave us.
I am certain we will be back there to attack the obstacles again and again.