Chris Bordenca was nominated for a Spahten Story by his friend, Greg Hale.
The Spahtens are what they are because of people like you.
Chris Bordenca’s Nomination
Why are you nominating them?
He inspires us younger guys to keep at it, stay in shape and to drink less and run more.
What about them inspires you?
Everything: Mainly his attitude and the example which he sets by encouraging his wife and kids to be their best.
What quote would you use to describe them?
There isn’t any one, but a multitude of such that all describe him in one way or another.
What was your first reaction when you found out you were nominated?
What the?! What?!
When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race and/or what got you into OCR.
The 2013 Amesbury Spartan was my first race of any kind. My wife has a way of inspiring / tricking me into getting healthier and better. First she got me running and then doing P90X. Until then I hadn’t really been too active except for chasing our kids around. I was a smoker on and off for over twenty years and really struggled with quitting. My brother, who’d done the Sprint the year before, asked if I wanted to give it a shot since he knew I’d started working out and trying to get healthier. A mixture or terror and excitement were all I felt for months leading up to that first race. The adrenaline, the fear, the challenge and afterward the feeling of accomplishment had me hooked immediately. When a Sprint was announced for Killington that would run alongside the Beast a few weeks later I signed up and then right away signed up for the Fenway Sprint and convinced my wife to join me.
Once she was hooked it was like a landslide and we started looking for as many OCR’s as we could find. We even got our three kids running kids’ races too. That’s when I reconnected with Al Heard and Tony Demauro, old friends I hadn’t seen in over a decade, save for Facebook, who noticed the Spartan race pics being posted. They opened my eyes to the magical (super expensive) world (addiction) of all the other obstacle races out there and to the New England Spahtens.
What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)
Finishing the 2014 VT Beast with has to be the hardest thing I’ve ever accomplished. It wouldn’t have happened if my wife, Andrea, wasn’t there to keep my spirits up and not let me quit when my legs cramped up somewhere around mile 10. The one I’m most proud of is finishing the 2015 VT Beast penalty free and with a pretty decent time. I ran solo on that one, but ran into some great Spahtens, like Kevin Grant, along the way who kept me going with encouragement when cramping was slowing me down greatly.
Oh, and every single time I do Walk the Plank at Tough Mudder it’s an accomplishment. That makes one me crazy.
What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?
Obstacle races are far more exciting than straight up road races. They’re more interesting than triathlons. The people, the camaraderie, the sense of insane purpose. I love that most of us are just out there competing with ourselves, just trying to get better. I love the challenge of a new obstacle or the feeling of knowing you’ve got one nailed. I even love the frustration of failing an obstacle and stewing on it until I get another chance at it. I love feeling like a teenager running through the woods from the cops after a party got busted up.
What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?
In 2014 I earned my first trifecta. In 2015 I earned the double trifecta. The new goal for this season, is to see how long I can continue to train and race without drinking. I had a tendency to finish a race and go a little crazy with the feeling of having done something super healthy, which meant I could indulge that much more afterward. There was nothing better than drinking a ton of beer and smoking a bunch of cigarettes after a race. I’m not kidding.
Training for a race was the time when I’d really stop everything so that I could be prepared. But after a race, all bets were off and eventually that attitude slid into the days following a race. Suddenly I’d be a proper smoker again. Craziness. The same held true for drinking to the extent that the feeling that I could be a little more unhealthy for a few days following a race led to a few more hangovers than were necessary.
I’ve got at least one OCR a month booked this season to keep me focused and training. So far, so good!
Is there anything else you think we should know?
I think the mustard craze we all experienced last year in regards to cramping was manufactured by big mustard to boost sales.
How has your racing changed because of the Spahtens?
Races are no longer solitary events. The Spahtens have forced me to engage with more people. I’m generally an introvert, I work from home and I spend more time with my kids than I do with actual adults. The Spahtens are this unique blend of people who all love the same relatively off-beat sport as me with a matched level of enthusiasm and as a result an obstacle race where I’m surrounded by blue team jersey’s has become one of places in the world where I feel at home even when it’s miles from Massachusetts. I love seeing the same faces at different races. I love when the crew that I tend to run with, recently dubbed Al’s Crew at Blizzard blast, encounters another Spahten who asks if they can run with us because they’re new, or got separated from the people they were supposed to run with. If it weren’t for the Spahtens my races wouldn’t be as full of smiles, laughs and pretty cool swag too.
The main thing that’s changed though… I do waaaaaaaaay more races because of the Spahtens.
See what Chris does when he isn’t running obstacle course races at his website, www.bordenca.com.