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Spahten Story: Chris Marinin – A battle buddy who believes in you. Yes, you!

spartan-muckChris Marinin, AKA Lunchbox, was nominated for a Spahten Story by friend, Nathalie Beaudoin.

The Spahtens are what they are because of people like you.

Chris’s Nomination

Why are you nominating them?

He is the best battle buddy, teammate and friend to have out on the course!

What about them inspires you?

The fact that he goes out there and helps others no matter what it takes to confront obstacles and will encourage you no matter what it takes to get you through.

helping-new-friendsWhat quote would you use to describe them?

“Believe in yourself.”

Chris’s Responses

What was your first reaction when you found out you were nominated?

Successful, After my first race I got so much encouragement and help I wanted to keep that feeling on the course for others. Doing one of these races can be really scary for some people, and knowing there might be a helping hand when needed can put someones fears at ease.

When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race and/or what got you into OCR.spartan-cheesing

My first race was the 2013 Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park! I had never even heard of Spartan Races or OCR until a month before when an old high school (Andrew Fogarty) friend put the bug in my ear that it would be fun. Once I accepted the challenge that Andrew but before me I trained as hard as I could with a month till race day. That was also my first race with the New England Spahtens!! Needless to say I was instantly addicted.

What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)hugs

For me completing a race is the biggest accomplishment. Starting a race for me is easy. You are surrounded by family and love, then you begin the journey. It’s the middle that scares the life out of me. Basically it’s all the What if’s that can and will go wrong that makes the completion of the race worth every step. It’s all about how far will you push yourself when your mind says your are crazy stop.

What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?

The People!! I have met some of the most amazing people while racing! The friendships and bonds made on these courses can’t be described with words. Not a day goes by that I don’t talk to at least one member of my OCR Family

What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?hugs

Next Season is there is going to be a lot of juggling. We have our first baby Spahten due on Nov 1 so even if I’m not racing a lot you will see the newest NES member at several races. My biggest goal for myself next year is to just continue working on obstacles that have been issues for me this year specifically the Rope Climb and the Rig.

Is there anything else you think we should know?

If you are reading this and thinking I can never do one of these races I have two things to tell you:
1. Believe in yourself and amazing things can happen.
2. If you have trouble believing in yourself come find the New England Spahtens and we will help you along the way!!

spartan-finishHow has your racing changed because of the Spahtens?

Spahtens is really all I know. My first race was with NES and I wouldn’t want to change it. It was a perfect fit and no need to change something amazing.
Do you have someone YOU would like to nominate for a Spahten Story? Click here!

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Spahten Story: Kim Frechette – A woman on her own journey.

On August 23, Kim Frechette shared a before and after photo and a brief message:

“So its hard for me to post this picture. From FB PostI am not proud of the June 2015 side. I had left myself get that big. I didn’t eat healthy or eat for what my body needed. In Jan 2016 I started eating for my body. I started belly dancing and Zumba. I then started walking. In June I did my first Spartan Sprint. Thanks to the support of Chris Marinin I finished it with a time of 3 hours 20 mins. Then with the support of this group I signed up for the Super. I completed that with my friend Amy, this past weekend. With a time of 4 hours and 27 min! I am super proud of the Aug 2016 pic. I am super proud of my finishes! I am down 55lbs and hope to lose more. I am hoping to sign up for more races this year and next! You all are an amazing group that has welcomed me in and supported me out on the course. You have now become a part of my journey to being healthier and I just want to say thank you!”

I reached out to Kim to get a little more information to share.  This woman is amazing and a total inspiration!

When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race and/or what got you into OCR.

Finished the Sprint with ChrisI started ocr this past June. I did my first Spartan Sprint in Barre, ma. Prior to that I had heard of ocr but hadn’t thought I would ever be able to do one. I asked my friend Chris about Spartan because I knew he had done a few. He told me all about it and had me join the group NE Spahtens. My first race I was excited, scared, nervous, hoping I didn’t kill myself on one of the obstacle and just hoping I could get to the finish line. My friend Chris was right there beside me, along with other NE Spahtens, rooting me on and challenging me to try every obstacle. I’m not sure I would have made it through without him there. I was so happy when I got to the finish line, I just wanted to collapse. I couldn’t believe that I had done it. 6.1 miles 20 something obstacles! I think I was in a state of shock for a few days afterwards, but what a great feeling to have accomplished it. I did my second Spartan race a few weeks ago, the Super in Barre, ma again. This time I brought my friend Amy to do her first Spartan. I was excited this time and new I would finish no matter what.

What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)

I think my biggest accomplishment at my first race was just finishing. At that point I had lost about 40lbs and had only been walking a few miles a day. So to get to the end and not have given up was amazing to me. My biggest obstacle accomplishment was that dam slip wall! My first race I went up and came right back down. Thanks to Chris and other racers helping me and encouraging me to try again. I was able to get up and over it! This last time at the Super I made it up and over with the help of Chris and my friend Amy the first time! That felt amazing. Knowing that even though I still needed help I was stronger and able to get over in one try was the best feeling!

What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?

Well first I think ocr are like potato chips, once you’ve done one you are hooked! I was first attracted to ocr for the challenge. I had been doing belly dancing, zumba, walking and some weight lifting. I had been losing weight and felt so much healthier and full of energy. I had seen others do ocr and seen how much fun it looked. I wanted to see if I could do one myself. I wanted to see if all my hard work was paying off.

What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?

Top of the Dunk WallMy next goal is to do the F.I.T Trailfecta with my mom! We just signed up for all three and I think it is going to be a great thing to do together. I am also thinking of signing up for the F.I.T Challenge with my husband. It would be great to get the whole family involved. I know my two little ones can’t wait until next summer when they can do the Spartan Kids race. What is in my

future? Well I hope more races, more Spartans. I would love to get my trifecta next year. I want to be the healthiest that I can be.

Is there anything else you think we should know?

So I started this journey to be healthier about a year ago. I started small by signing up for belly dancing and zumba. About 8 months ago I really changed my eating habits. I have pcos (poly cystic ovarian syndrome.) This makes it hard to lose weight; it makes you crave sugar and carbs. In lots of cases it makes it hard if not impossible to have children. We ending up adopting 3 great kids. Looking back I can say that I used this in part as an excuse for letting myself gain so much. I thought it’s too hard to lose weight, it’s too hard to exercise I have pcos. I was up to 259lbs! I didn’t want to see 260 on that scale. So Kim and Amy at the Dunk WallI cut way down on carbs and sugar. I stared walking more and for longer distances. And guess what? The weight started coming off! I could do it. Was it hard? Yes in the beginning it was, I had cravings. I was obsessed with the amount of carbs in each thing I ate. Did it become easier? Of course. I have now lost 55lbs. I still eat low carb/low sugar but I don’t deny myself the occasional treat. Like the yummy ice cream at Carter and Steven’s Farm at the end of the Spartan Race! If I can do it so can everyone else. Start small; don’t try to do it all at once. Take each day one step at a time.

How has your racing changed because of the Spahtens?

The NE Spahtens are an amazing group of people that support each other no matter what. It feels
amazing to be part of a team, there like a big extended family. I think my racing has changed because of the Spahtens in the fact that I know if I go out on the course I’m not alone. They will always be there to help me over that obstacle I just can’t get over yet or to cheer me on as I get over one that I couldn’t the last time. They also push me to join more races and give encouragement on my goals.

Finished the SuperOne piece of advice you would offer to a newbie?

Believe in yourself. You can do it! Try everything; even if it looks impossible try it at least once. You are
never alone out on the course. Sorry that’s more than one piece of advice but I think it all goes hand in hand. 

*All photos courtesy of Kim Frechette.

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Spahten Story: Danielle Mitchell – Tackling obstacles on and off the race course.

    Danielle was nominated by good friend and teammate Michael Downey, one of our Ambassadors!

muddyDanielle Mitchell’s Nomination

Why are you nominating them?

In part doing OCR helped her realize she is a much better person when sober.

What about them inspires you?

The fact no obstacle stops her and she dosent fail, she finds a way

What quote would you use to describe them?

Anyone who has Danielle as a friend is a VERY lucky person. She is loyal to all her friends and will always go above and beyond for a friend at a moments notice. She is one of the most fun people to battle buddy with at races and event when it gets challenging her spirit never changes

Danielle’s Responses

What was your first reaction when you found out you were nominated?


When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race and/or what got you into OCR.

fenway with mikeMy first OCR was Fenway Park 2012. I had no idea what I was getting into but because it was at Fenway
and no mud I said lets try. It took me and my friend Mike over 2 and a half hours to complete it. I was huffing and puffing the whole time, wondering what I had gotten myself into and vowing to never do this again. It pointed out every flaw and how out of shape I really was

What was your biggest accomplishment at an fenwayobstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)

My biggest accomplishment, oh boy. I think my biggest accomplishment was finally getting up the rope at a Spartan race, not only once but three times out of the four laps I ran at Fenway in 2015. Heights are one of my biggest fears and I tend to scare myself once I am half way up the rope about how high I am and how the heck am I going to get down.

What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?

I keep coming back to OCRs because I want to continue to improve physically and it is a mental escape. You don’t think about anything other then the what is in front of you. I also like to see how far I have come and how much strength I have gained.

hubbyWhat are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?

After finishing my double trifecta last season, I don’t know what is in my future. I want to continue to have fun, push myself and see how many more obstacles I can over come.

Is there anything else you think we should know?

One year ago 3/10/15 I decided it was time to change my life. I become sober. The friends that I have made in this group have stood behind me 100% and I know I can always count on them. Whether its some one checking in on me or reminding me that they are on the same boat if I never need it, is one of the many reasons I love the family that has been built within this group. I have come so far since deciding this both in my racing and regular life that I can not wait to see what the next year has in store. Always remember there is someone that understands what you are going through, whether it is sobriety, or things like weight gain, low self esteem, lack of confidence or just needing that push to get your butt going again. There is someone there to talk to. Reach out you will be presently surprised 🙂

How has your racing changed because of the Spahtens?fit

Racing with the Spahtens has made me try things I would never think were possible. They push you to be someone better physically and mentally. The peer pressure to do new races or races that you have done and said “never again” is sometimes needed and a healthy reminder to keep pushing and never give up on yourself. It can be done and the finish line will be crossed.


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So you signed up for 24 Hours of Shale Hell, now what!

24 Hours of Shale HellSo you bit the bullet and signed up for 24 Hours of Shale Hell or 8 hours, or some other race where you must go as many laps as possible in a given time period.  Your reasoning might have been a desire to challenge yourself to see what you are capable of or you might have been suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out) but at this point, the why matters a little less and the how matters a little more.

A 24 hour race takes a little more than just showing up.  Many of us can show up and fake our way through a 5k or even a 10k.  To go for 24 hours, you must pay attention to your nutrition, you hydration, your feet, and your body.  You also have to keep your head in the game.

where-magic-happensSet a goal.  It gives you something to push towards or something to push beyond.  The way you set your goal is your choice.  You are going to go as long as you can, regardless of how many laps that gets you.  You want to get at least 5 laps or more than 3 laps.  You might want to go the entire time and take less than 20 minutes between each.  Whatever will drive you forward.

Know your why.  This can be a part of your goal but doesn’t have to be.  You want to push yourself.  You are running in memory or honor of someone.


Stephanie Rios Bin Drop
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Head Games.  Your mind will try to tell you that you are too tired to go on, that you can’t do it.  Find a way to silence that voice.  That being said, listen to your body and stop before it gets injured.


Despite telling you to watch out for head games, if you decide you are done and have had enough, that is okay. Just make sure it is a rational choice and not an emotional “I QUIT!”

So now that your head is in the game you need to take care of everything else!

Stephanie Rios Food Bin
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Hydration.  Start early. Start now. If you normally drink 3-4 liters in a day, up that should be plenty.  If you drink less, up it.  While Shale Hill has 4 water stations on course, I encourage you to carry water with you in a bottle, a belt, or a hydration pack.  The last thing you want is to get dehydrated while running multiple laps in the hot sun.  If you like your water icy cold, bring a cooler with ice, don’t count on a venue to have it.  If you like having something mixed in your water, electrolytes, sugars, such as Nuun or Tailwind, you can pre-mix in liters or gallons and keep in your cooler ready to refill.

Stephanie Rios Food
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Nutrition.  Keep your tummy happy, don’t try new foods on race day.  If you know bean burritos give you an upset stomach don’t eat them the night before or during the race.  Make sure to consume calories during your run and in between your laps.  This can be in the form of gels and chews while on the course, or via tailwind,
but could also be real food, almonds and dried mangos.  When you come in to transition, in addition to refilling your water, make sure you to consume calories.  Eight to ten hours into a 24 hour even is not the time you want to bonk.  Bring more food with you than you think you will need.  Remember, food for fuel and food for happy.

Foot Care. Keep your feet dry and happy.  Change your shoes on socks as often as necessary to keep your feet dry. Apply Trail Toes or some other type of moisture barrier.  Powder your feet to remove moisture, drain blisters as they form to keep them from getting worse. Blisters are not your own problem, keeping your feet dry is imperative to keeping away maceration.  Maceration, if severe enough, can end your race.

Body and Chafing. Lube is your friend.  Inner thighs, where the waist pack or hydration pack rubs, shoulders, and especially between your butt cheeks.  Finding out you chafed when you get in the shower is not a pleasant experience.

Stephanie Rios Bin
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rios

Gear List. Towels, headlamp(s), spare batteries, water, food, gels, hydration pack, water bottle, socks, shoes, two to three sets of running clothes, long sleeve, hat, sun glasses, tent, chair, first aid kit, foot care kit, sunblock, bug spray, and a roller if you want one. Don’t forget a bin or bag to hold it all and keep it organized!

That’s it! Oh, and remember to have fun.

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Spahten Story: Larry King – Dad, Friend, Survivor, Inspiration

 BlizzardBlastOnesieLarry King was nominated by a friend and since I neglected to ask who was doing the nominating in my original form, I have no name to thank!  If this was you, please step forward as I would love for Larry to know who finds him inspiring.  

The Spahtens are what they are because of people like you.

Larry King’s Nomination

Why are you nominating them?

He’s a dad, a computer programer, amazing friend, a cancer survivor, bowling master, obstacle crushing, inspiring, hard working man. And he is the lime to my tequila. And he manages to crush the courses even though he had a knee replaced!

What about them inspires you?

His uncanny ability to be there for anyone who needs him no matter what he is going through, always TMElectriclifts people up (figuratively and literally) on and off the course. I am a better person for knowing him. He is the one on the course to high five and clap every person he meets, lend a hand or a knee to complete strangers, and always pushed me further than I could have dreamed.

What quote would you use to describe them?

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me”

Larry’s Responses

What was your first reaction when you found out you were nominated?

I was surprised. This NE Spahtens is a fantastic group with lots of people who are an inspiration and to be singled out was surprising.

When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race and/or what got you into OCR.

I have done OCR for about 4 years. My first race was a foam fest and that turned me on to other races. I had gone through a lot of medical issues including cancer and knee replacement but wanted to show myself I could do it and also others that they don’t have to stop an athletic life after major issues.

SpartanGroupWhat was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)

My biggest was the Killington Beast in 2015. I had never done Killington before and a month before tore the MCL in my “good” knee so it was going to be even harder. This combined made it mentally challenging to get up for it. The great thing was that I was staying with a group of other Spahtens (none of whom I had met before) who were all emailing and posting how great it was going to be get to know each other and race together.

What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?

The camaraderie that comes with racing with the Spahtens and finding people who are willing to challenge themselves no matter what their own personal story may be. They inspire you to be there and make it a great place to meet friends. The OCR courses themselves present a challenge to each of us in different ways and BattlefrogGroupfinishing them and seeing the smiles of everyone else who finishes makes it all worthwhile. Ok, the beer at the end is a kinda nice treat too…

What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?

My future will be continuing to rehab the ‘good’ knee and be able to do 6 to 8 races this year. I am also going to take up biking which will have less impact on the joints. I plan to volunteer at several races to see the NE Spahtens team and be able to support them as they race.

Is there anything else you think we should know?

The NE Spahtens attitude and support is without any bias or restriction. Anyone who wants to try is fully supported and encouraged. This has made me a better person and something I will share with my children as they get to try OCRs.

BattlefrogWallHow has your racing changed because of the Spahtens?

The Spahtens has shown me a reason for racing rather than just for my own accomplishment. Everyone is truly happy for everyone else who finishes and that type of selflessness is just not seen that much anymore. It makes me want to be with the Spahtens more.

Follow Larry on Twitter @kingerredsox

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Spahten Story: Stephen Sweetser – All it takes is a little courage.

blizzard blast wall top backOn February 1, Stephen Sweetser shared a photo of himself going over an 8-foot wall and a small story on the challenges he faced before the race and how his own courage and the encouragement of his battle buddies got him through.

“I normally don’t post anything like this, but the overwhelming urge is killing me. I just want to throw out a huge thanks to the people I met at Blizzard Blast. It was my first OCR ever, and it was a very emotional and motivational event for me, and it may be the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

When I told people I wanted to get into the OCR scene, I was mocked, jeered, and put down by most. I’ve heard it all from “You can’t do that” to being laughed at while I get a disheartening and mocking “Good luck”. Even a family member of mine had little faith, and was so surprised about it that it destroyed me on the inside. But thanks to my brother Brian, I didn’t have a choice but to prove everyone wrong (he bought the tickets, thanks again!). And I did.

blizzard blast wall topYes, I’m overweight. You can say I’m obese. It’s obvious, I can’t hide it, Yet society never lets me forget that I am. So therefore, I’m fat, and I’m not fit. Right? It was so easy to be discouraged by stereotypes. I’m 340ish pounds, and thanks to society, I thought that I was basically “going to kill myself” at this event. I didn’t think I could do a single obstacle. I thought that I was going to be a quitter and just throw in the towel half way through. But thanks to all of the NES I met so far, and my family running beside me, I gathered the courage to go out there. I felt like a totally different person while I was around you. I wasn’t fat anymore. No one looked at me and said “you can’t do this” or “what is this guy doing here?”. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more accepted in my life. And for that, I thank all of you, even those I haven’t met, because I already know that you all have the same mentality.

I’ll try and keep this short. I could write a 12 page essay on this, but I’ll save some time for everyone. I was a nervous wreck getting out there. Finally 1 PM came, and I was off. And of course, the 8-foot wall was the first obstacle. Here comes the negative thoughts. I can’t do this, just walk around it. But for some reason, then and there, I shut everything out, and I said to myself “no, we are going to do this”. And to my surprise, I made it. I climbed that wall. I made it to the top, and went down the other side. I wished everyone that doubted me was there to witness that. I proved them all wrong. I did it. That one obstacle meant more to me than anything I’ve done in my life since graduating high school.

So again… THANK YOU to everyone. Without the support of people like you, I’d still have so much self doubt and negativity. It’s time to blizzard blast wallturn things around for myself. I look forward to MANY new adventures with you all, and I hope I get to meet more and more of you. It was so much fun out there, and I feel like a new person in just one day.

But for now, I’m off to rest my sore muscles and join a gym, I have so much I can improve on!”

The courage to step out of your comfort zone is pretty incredible.  Stephen has it in spades and was able to answer a few more questions to go just a little bit deeper into how it helped get him through

What made you decide to sign up for Blizzard Blast, your first OCR?

Well, my brother signed me up, along with my sister and my mother. This race was our Christmas gift from my brother. I’m glad he did it too.

bb end groupStepping outside your comfort zone is never easy, especially when mocked and jeered, but you did it. How hard was it to not give up?

It was really tough. While waiting at the starting line, I started to feel really anxious. To the point that I felt sick. My mind was telling me to give up before I even got to the first obstacle. It definitely helped to have some NES and family with me, because I didn’t want to be “that guy” and throw in the towel, they helped me keep going.

What are your plans for this next season?

I’m already signing up for races left and right! I can’t remember a time that I’ve felt so motivated and so determined to do better, and be better. So far you will be able to find me at Boldrdash Winter Dash, F.I.T. Challenge, Wason Pond Pounder, and the Spartan Boston Sprint (in Barre). I can’t get enough! Like I told my brother, I have to see how far I can push myself, and how much I can improve!

One piece of advice you would offer to a newbie?

Don’t be afraid of failure! I think that all my fears boil down to being afraid to fail. Becuase unless you are Spiderman, you are most likely going to fail at least one obstacle. And you can NOT let it stop you from trying. Like I was saying about the 8-foot wall, I didn’t think I could do it, but I tried it anyway. And I DID do it! Like my brother said to me when I voiced my concerns about OCR to him “you are going to surprise yourself”. And I did. And so should you.

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The Kids Are In The Game!

Benson Bear

Soon, the 2016 #racelocal Grand Prix will be on us.  Walls will be climbed, heavy things carried, miles will be run, mountains will be scaled.  There are medals to be earned.  One of the items we are very excited, and very proud, to announce about ~this year’s~ 2016 Grand Prix is it’s not just for *you* any longer.

It’s time to get the kids into the game!

A few early details for you: Some races will have a minimum age requirement, some will not.  Some will have a minimum age requirement, and require the child to run with their parent.  But this year your children are going to have the ability to run, crawl, jump, get muddy, and #racelocal right along with you! FULL details are coming very soon!

MaAlong with the registration information, there will be information about how to register your child for #racelocal as well.  While you are earning swag for your races, so will your child (or children). Oh, wait…you didn’t think we’d save all the cool stuff for the big kids, did you?  Oh, no…we have a lot of very cool things lined up just for the kids division!  The more they race, the more they earn!

What could be better than spending the day together, racing, and earning cool swag?  That’s what we thought, too…nothing!  Which is why we’ve put this whole thing (and prizes) together!

Racing should be able to combine all of your passions together, and now it can.  We told you the 2016 #racelocal was going to be bigger and better than ever, and we mean it.

Now, look – medals and prizes are fantastic, we all enjoy earning them.  We have all crossed a finish line with friends, our battle buddies. Imagine taking on a race with your family! Helping each other on the course, building memories as you finish the race together; those would be memories which would stay with you, and your family members, forever!  Ultimately this is the big goal, to bring us all together.  #racelocal #strongertogether


We hope you have questions, and we hope you’re as excited as we are! Keep your eyes peeled, more information will be coming soon!  All questions will be answered soon!

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Spahten Story: Linda Rae – This is what it is all about.

On October 29, Linda Rae Krov, shared a before and after photo and a brief message:

“According to Sara Jean Norman I should share a glimpse of my story:
After a conversation with some of my fellow Spahtens, I looked back on the last year in races.
Before joining this family, and I do mean family, I didn’t know anyone in New England outside of my job. Being as social Linda Raeas I am, this led to a lot of weekends stress eating junk food and drinking with co-workers. Needless to say, I gained a bunch of weight (almost 40 pounds).

I met a Spahten in the bathroom line at Blizzard Blast and next thing I knew, my weekends were booked with #‎racelocal and tons of other OCR events. I didn’t actually notice a change in myself until I put the pictures next to each other. The comparison is from Fenway 2014 and Run the Gauntlet 2015 (a little under a year apart).

Thank you all for being such a wonderful inspiration and positive influence! (Especially with the dirty jokes😉) Love you all!!!”

It was a “this is what we do and why we do it moment for me.” So I reached out to Linda Rae to ask for just a little bit more.

What got you into OCR?

Linda Rae SnowMy first OCR was the Spartan Sprint in Palmerton, PA back in 2012.  My Muay Thai training buddy had done a few Tough Mudders, and figured I would love the challenge of a Spartan.  While I loved it, I didn’t really do more than one a year until I moved up to Boston in 2014.

I moved to Boston to help open a school and I didn’t know anyone besides coworkers. I also realized that needed something besides school to keep me sane (and battle the pounds that kept adding up.) I read about Renegade Run and Blizzard Blast on a random facebook ads, and signed up for those two plus, the Fenway Sprint.

Thank goodness I signed up for Blizzard Blast because I randomly talked to a Spahten in the line for the bathroom.  She brought me over to the team space to meet people and they talked me into signing up for FIT with the team.  The rest is history.

How have battle buddies affected your racing?

The biggest change I have seen in myself, thanks to my battle buddies, is that I have a ton more GRIT.  In the past, I would have bypassed or burpied out of obstacles that made me even slightly uncomfortable.  (My first race, I cried at the top of a cargo net because the height freaked me out so much.)  Now, I try everything, and sometimes, even make myself do it again.  I NEVELinda Rae Battle BuddiesR would have even attempted doing three laps at Tuff Scramblers without a few very specific Spahtens there to push me and remind me that I was capable.

The other glorious thing about having such a large group of battle buddies is that I can ALWAYS find someone at the pace I am looking for.  Sometimes, I want to push myself to run more, sometimes I am all about aggressively hiking the whole race.  I have a people I can do either pace with.  To be completely honest though, the BEST part of having battle buddies, is definitely the jokes.  When you are covered in mud, exhausted, with a giant hole in the seat of your shorts, the jokes carry you through the race with a smile…. Among other things.

What are your plans for this winter and next season?

This winter, I will be doing Blizzard Blast again (maybe two laps?) and Polar Bear at Shale Hill.  I am also doing my first solo Half Marathon at Disney World in February. (I couldn’t resist a medal with a tiara). #blingwhore

Linda Rae LogNext season I have a few goals.

  1. At least a double Spartan trifecta, my first eluded me this year because of an injury.
  2. Completing a double lap at Shale Hill.
  3. Hitting the century club in Race Local.

These are pretty big pushes for me, but I think with enough of a push, it WILL happen.

One piece of advice you would offer to a newbie?

Don’t say, “I can’t do it” before you have attempted something.  If you are afraid of heights, take it one step at a time, let people help you. Take your time.  If it is too much to do the whole thing on your first race, go halfway.  Don’t just tap and walk by because of fear.

Also, don’t be afraid to talk to people!  My random talking to people at a race got me connected with the best group of people I know.

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Featured Review: BoldrDash on the Beach 2015

boldrdashWhile this was a bit of a drive for me, I had so much fun last year that it was worth the drive to run it again.  Who wouldn’t want to race on the beach!

The weather was scheduled to be beautiful but was chilly on the car ride in.  Scarborough Beach was easy to find with GPS.  I followed Sandy, aka Mama Hen, and Vince in to the parking area.  Parking was free but that they were accepting $5 donations for Meeting Street and in exchange you would given a BoldrDash air freshener.  I did not donate so I do not know what the air freshener is like.  It was slightly awkward to have it listed that they were accepting donations.  Personally, I would much rather have it state that the parking was free, or that parking was $5 per car with all proceeds being donated to Meeting Street.   Parking was plentiful and an easy walk to registration and to the start and finish line.groupstart

Registration was located under one of the shelters to the side.  It was not in the middle of the start/finish zone, the location seemed to work well.  What didn’t work well was the different lines for registration but people didn’t realize this and so the line was really long.  Picking up my packet was easy but instead of having all of my bibs ready to be paid for, the volunteer had to send me to another line.  So after waiting to pick up my packet, I had to wait to pay for my bibs.  While they had me on the list for the requested number, when I asked about prepaying and if I didn’t run them all did I come back to this table to get my money back, I was told I wouldn’t be able to get my money back.  This was not what we had been told but since I knew that I was only going to run a max of two extra laps, I decided to just pay for both of them and worry about the details later.  Luckily I didn’t have to worry about getting my money back as I did run both of my extra laps.  Not everyone has been so lucky.  It was time to move on to another line to wait to pick up my t-shirt.  I opted for the technical shirt, which feels great and I love the design, I likely won’t wear it as it is white.  Not the first race to have white shirts of course but lowers the likelihood I will wear it.  Unfortunately, registration was not smooth and does not earn a thumbs up from me.  That being said, I loved the concept of emailing the RD and getting on a list for multiple laps and having them available at the finish line so that I didn’t have to traipse all over to get my additional bibs.

start3Despite the struggles and frustrations with registration, the course was fantastic.  The start was a short walk from the finish line and festival area.       We started out on the grass, with a short down and back that at first felt like a waste but I was soon grateful for the chance to warm up before grabbing a bolder to carry down and back over 3 different walls.  While there appeared to be a few backups by simply walking in between the walls meant that I didn’t have to wait.  The next obstacle was deceptively challenging!  A boulder attached to a chain.  At first glance it appears that it will be easy but the boulders really don’t do anything other than give you a something to hold on to.  The chain was heavy!  Dragging it up the hill and back down was hard.  A spider crawl, which I don’t remember from last year.  At first I tried to go  in the middle option but the walls were too far apart for me to reach!  Luckily the other sets were closer together and I could complete the obstacle.  It wasn’t anything I had ever seen before which made it fun, for the first lap.  Simply energy sapping on the 2nd and 3rd.

The balance beam supported by chains was just as challenging as I remembered.  teamworkAnother new obstacle!  A wall scale to a cargo crawl and down a firemen’s pole! It is much easier going down the pole than it is going up it.  I was starting to get a bit worried we had spent so much time on the grass but that was soon to be remedied as we were sent down to the beach and a 100# Wreck Bag carry.  Sandy and I carried it together but my two additional laps I had help getting it on my shoulders and proceeded to carry it myself!  The tire horse.  I can’t get the ups I need in the sand, so this one I crawl up and over.

A sandy crawl under a platform that runners later in the course were traversing with buckets of water.  The drill Sargent they had working this was encouraging them to dump water on us and yelling at us to get our butts down under the cargo net in the middle.  It was good fun.  I stayed dry on lap bldrdsh wreckone, but laps two and three both involved water fights with other NES members.  Which admittedly felt great in the hot sun.  From there we went on to one of my favorite sections.  We just had to navigate along all the rocks.  I know it tears peoples fits up and can lead to a lot of rolled ankles if not careful but I really enjoy rock hopping and find that I can maintain a fairly decent pace!

The volunteers on course have thus far been great.  One even got a great jumping shot of me and she didn’t even realize it till after the shot was taken.

Tires, a wall that was super slick from the salt and sand and I needed to use the supports to get up and jumpover with a little help from my friends, even crawling up Michael on my last lap and then helping to haul him and his ruck up.  Sandbag carry, of course Sandy and I take the 50# option, why would we take less?  A wall with three options for getting up and over.  No help, some kickers and grabbers, and a full ladder style.  Was a great way to still do the wall even once tired.

Balance beam with slosh pipe.  Was great that the volunteers offered to bring the slosh pipes back to the start for us but on the third lap none of the slosh-pipes were at the start and so people just ran up and over the balance beam.

The buckets, woman grab one, men grab two, there were different sizes.  I grabbed two for each lap.  This was totally brutal on my hands as the handles are so thin.  Water fights did ensue!

Over under through, with a 50# buoy.  I downgraded to the 35# for the 2nd and 3rd laps.  BuoyI believe it was in this obstacle that I lost my FitBit.  I looked briefly on laps 2 and 3 but couldn’t find it.  I know other people helped look for it as well.  Very sad!

Tire hop, similar to the log hop but stacked tires with wood on the top.  They wiggle and sink and are super fun.  I get a lot of enjoyment from these, a little more than I feel is truly necessary!  On to the slant wall, again with different amounts of help.  As the day wore on and the sand and salt built up on the wood, it got slicker and slicker.  First lap I went with the harder, but not hardest, option, and by the end I was using all the help I could get.  Sliding down the backside was a bit scary as I was afraid of falling.  Silly irrational fears!

slantSomewhere between the buckets and slanted wall was a tire drag. Through the sand. With different weighted tires.  Blue rope was the lightest, the first two the heaviest.  They were heavy but I did them, all three laps!  The sand and the rope chewed up my hands though.  Between the swelling, the heat, the friction of the sand.  Ouch.

On to the monkey bars.  It was only at FIT Challenge a few weeks ago that I managed to get the monkey bars on my own.  I even did the larger spaced ones with help on the upwards bars.  At the Beast, where the bars are thicker, I did all but the highest up on my own, that one up I needed help.  But BoldrDash? I DID THE HARDEST UP AND DOWN MONKEY BARS!!! ALL THREE LAPS!!! WITHOUT HELP!!! Okay.  Sorry, not sorry.  I did it on my own and its one of the proudest moments I have ever head at a race.

topofwallParallel bars that I fell off of and so used my legs to help get through, a tire wall up and over, and then it was the dreaded potato sack.  I am actually pretty efficient at hopping in a sack but all the jumping brings out the calf cramps like nobodies business.  I had to miss this obstacle on lap two as they were taking someone away in ambulance.  I haven’t heard an update but he was alive when taken away and have been thinking of him a lot.  I don’t know the details but it was certainly scary.

The tire swing, maneuvering from tire to tire without touching the ground.  I have a great method but wish the ropes were a little thicker as they continue to sackjumptake a major toll on my hand.

Finish line! Fruit, chia bars, bottled water.  Was great to cross the finish line and be able to stuff my face with something.  Certainly made a difference in getting back out for my multiple laps.  They took my timing chip, handed me my medal, and right there was my next bib.  It took just a minute to get and I was able to be off again.

I sadly didn’t get to enjoy any of the festival area or see what was around for vendors but there were plenty of porta-potties and that was all that mattered at the time!


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NJ Beast – Are you worried?

spartan-beast-awardSome do’s and don’ts for the upcoming NJ Beast!

Do check the weather a few days before to start planning.
Don’t obsess over the weather.

Do wear technical gear: wool, synthetic, cold-gear, wicking, whatever works for you in winter.No-Cotton-long-underwear
Don’t wear cotton.

Do wear shoes with tread.
Don’t duct tape your shoes.

Do keep moving.
Don’t stop for long.

Do fuel and hydrate before and on course.
Don’t ignore the signs of the wall or bonking*.

Do have fun.
Don’t give up.

Do carry out all trash, there are trash cans at the aid stations to deposit.
Do not litter; you can carry the fuel on course, you can carry the trash.


Check out Jessica Wohlen’s post: So You’re Running the Super (and/or Beast)…

* ~ Definitions courtesy of Heather Gannoe over at Relentless Forward Commotion.
The Wall:  A not so magical place that typically exists between mile 19 and 26 of a marathon.  You’ll be running along, feeling on top of the world, when BAM! a switch is thrown and everything hurts, you feel physically and emotionally drained, and for a few minutes, wonder why on earth you decided running a marathon would be a good idea.   There might even be tears. You have hit “the wall”.

Bonk:  Similar to “The Wall” (see above) but a “bonk” can happen at any time, during any race.  When an athlete goes from seemingly strong and well trained to a an utter, exhausted, mess, they have “bonked”.  A bonk is often related to poor nutrition and low blood sugar, and can often be overcome mid race with the right snacks and a second wind.