Gear Review: Merrell Agility Peak Flex

My favourite shoe from Merrell so far has been the All Out Peak. This shoe was made primarily for the USA market, and difficult to find in Canada where I live. I picked up a pair last year ago on a visit to the USA and promptly threw them into circulation on my training and racing schedule. While it isn’t an obstacle racing shoe specifically, I took them through hell and back and they are still going strong.

The follow up to that shoe is the Agility Peak Flex from Merrell. It really isn’t a revision of the All Out Peak at all. Instead it’s a complete replacement for the all out peak. This is the new top of the line trail runner model.

Looking at the Agility Peak Flex, you may find yourself intrigued by the appearance of the shoe more than anything at first. It looks almost organic – the anthropoid midsole design references some of the natural structures of the foot, as does the outsole itself, which is ridged and divided to mimic the natural flex points and musculature between tarsals and metatarsals. It’s a distinctive and seemingly intuitive look. The shoe comes in a range of attractive colours, and I’m a sucker for the Merrell red. I personally love the design.

Ride

When in use, it’s a shoe of two very distinct halves.

Flexibility and Agility are things that are both referenced in the name and design of the shoe, however in reality I found the shoe to be fairly stiff. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I found the All Out Peak to be similar in stiffness through the forefoot and I loved that shoe to death.

The Agility Peak is not a brick – but there seems to be more flexibility in the forefoot along the length of the shoe rather than across it, and less flexibility than you might be expecting overall given the name. It’s a fairly firm ride on the toe off. This means that they climb well, delivering good energy return, and the forefoot also comes to life on faster, more technical downhill sections.

The firmly cushioned heel stack provides good control and shock absorption. It’s a 6mm drop shoe, with a smaller stack height than Salomon Speedcross 4 (11mm), but just slightly more than Saucony Perigrine 7 (4mm). It’s not the height that feels so different though. It’s the firmness of the cushioning that makes this such a different ride. Less height, but denser foam.

Grip is excellent, with a tonne of bone shaped skeletonish lugs across the forefoot. It leaves cool looking footprints! The compound is Merrells M+ select rubber, which seems to deliver the promised traction on lots of different surfaces, but it is wearing just a little quicker than the seemingly invincible Vibram Megagrip compound seen in other Merrell trail shoes. The tightly spaced, shallow 5mm lugs would better suit this shoe to drier runs, but they do shed mud well when required due to the flexible nature of the front end.

There’s a lot of complex things happening here, and it takes some time to get used to, but I see what Merrell have tried to do. I found myself trusting it more and more and using these features on my long training runs. It’s a fusion of a few rationales. The Agility Peak Flex seems to offers a rewarding blend of adequate heel cushioning and responsive, flexible forefoot control, with the stiffness contributing to good energy return for longer slower trail runs, and a protective rock plate that does the job well. These things can take you to the top of a mountain and back without a problem.

The upper mesh is breathable and comfortable, with a rubber bumper covering some of the more vulnerable flex points on the upper. There is quite a lot of TPU shielding around the arch and outside of the foot as you would expect from a trail shoe made for the mountains. This adds weight, but is very protective. Throw in a rubber toe cap and the shoe weighs in at 11oz per shoe, so it’s not super light.

Merrell Omni-Fit™ lacing system: provides a good fit. The lacing system works nicely and the flat laces pull through strings that are attached to the tongue and the upper.  Ingress of debris is pretty minimal, and I haven’t had problems with them coming undone mid run, or undoing them when muddy or wet. The Hyperlock™ molded TPU heel counter seems to be more open than that found on the All Out Peak – which is supposed to improve ankle mobility during sharp turns. I did initially have some issues with the heel slipping upwards out of the shoe, but engaging the extra ankle lock eyelets fixed the problem.

Drainage is excellent on the shoe, should you get them wet. I wore them through a Spartan Race in Montana which was extremely wet and muddy. They held up incredibly well through that course, which basically had everything from wet singletrack, muddy pits, rocky climbs and steep descents. Full immersion to drained out occurs within 200m or so. There’s a lot of mesh that lets water out, without needing any specific drainage holes.

I did initially have some issues with some of the outsole pushing through into the shoe and digging into the arch area of my foot just behind the ball of my foot, however this issue seems to be mostly unique to myself, as many people I have spoken to have not had this issue. For me, the issue gradually went away as I broke them in. Now that I’ve put over 50 miles on this shoe I can confirm that they seem to run true to size and I have no blisters or hotspots on longer runs with them.

Conclusion

Great for trail running in the mountains, cross training outdoors or trail running in loose dusty or dry conditions. They grip well in the wet and drain well. They offer a stable, but firm ride – which may be too stiff for some, but provide good energy return for me. They are a little heavier than some other options out there, but these offer a superior balance of cushioning and control over a range of conditions.

SPARTAN UP CHALLENGE 4

THE DREADMILL WORKOUT

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Welcome to treadmill hell….

Print this sucker out and get ready to push some buttons. You’ll need an incline treadmill with 15% incline, 750mls of water, the safety line connected to your body, and an unbreakable attitude. Read through the article and get the flow of it before you start.

  • 0-2:00 – Jog at 5 mph
  • 2:10-10:00 – Alternate running each .2 mile interval at 7 mph and 10 mph. 
  • 10:10-12:00 – Lower speed to 3.5 mph, perform walking lunges, alternating legs.
  • 12:10-13:00 – Run at 11.5 mph
  • 13:10-15:00 – Lower speed to 5 mph
  • 15:10-23:00 – Alternate running each .2 mile interval at 7 mph and 10 mph.
  • 23:10-25:00 – Lower speed to 5 mph, perform side shuffles BE CAREFUL AND TRANSITION SLOWLY (think defensive stance in basketball)
  • 25:10-27:00 – Turn around and shuffle, leading with the opposite foot. BE CAREFUL AND TRANSITION SLOWLY
  • 27:10-30:00 – Alternate running each .1 mile interval at 7 mph and 10 mph. 

30:00-40:00 – PLYO TIME!  Hop off the treadmill and get ready to burn it out with some explosive jumping movements.  I want you to perform the following circuit for 5 minutes total:

10 squat jumps/8 Russian lunges/rest 30 seconds.

For the next 5 minutes you’ll be doing this circuit:

10 twist jumps/8  mule kicks/rest 30 seconds

Get back on the treadmill.

  • 40:10-42:00 – Set speed to 5 mph, perform side shuffles
  • 42:10-44:00 – Turn around and shuffle, leading with the opposite foot.
  • 44:10-50:00 – Lower speed to 3.5 mph run/jog backwards
  • 50:10-60:00 – Increase incline to 15%, run/jog at 4mph

Warning: This is an unsupervised workout that I have taken from this website

By using this workout you agree to the terms and conditions on this page

Fitness Breakdown for Spartan

Today I’ve looked at the elements of fitness you might want to concentrate on for the spartan sprint.

Cardiovascular endurance
Endurance training involves cardiovascular training at a slightly faster pace than you find comfortable for a sustained amount of time. Running is the main activity of the spartan sprint, do endurance sessions should be geared towards running further than the distance being raced: 5-10K, running at a level that feels only just sustainable for that distance. This is hard, but, you can increase your speed with time. Whatever distance you end up running when doing your endurance training, keep going for at least 40 minutes, no matter what. Go longer if you wish.

Speed
In order to develop your cardiovascular response to high levels of physical effort, you will need to do some speed intervals. Any training that repeatedly requires your heart rate to rapidly climb, and then to gradually recover is called interval training; in fact recovery to a lower heart rate level before starting the next speed interval is critical to the expansion and development of the cardiovascular response to strenuous activity. Exposure to unpredictable conditions created by interval training means the development maximum capacity of the system to meet those possibilities. Measuring and controlling intervals is easier with a heart rate monitor, but can be done by measuring your pulse, or by getting to know how it feels to recover after effort.

Maximum effort activities such as 100m sprints can develop speed, however great care should be taken to make sure you do not spend too much time near maximum heart rate levels. Remember that decreased recovery time is a sign of increasing fitness.

A typical sprint workout would consist of a 5 minute warm-up, followed by 10 X 100m sprints at maximum effort, walking back to the start line after every sprint. Once all the intervals are done, a 5 minute cool down jog and stretching routine should be done. There are lots of different ways to run intervals. Google it.

For the spartan race, you will eventually need to learn to sprint uphill too.

Plyometric/Sudden Burst power
A Spartan race involves jumping, climbing, throwing, and hopping over
obstacles. In order to perform well on these obstacles, and not be completely drained by them, you will need to develop your ability to contract your muscles very quickly and and powerfully.

Fast twitch muscle fibres are developed through performing exercises like box jumps, hurdles, clapping push ups, boxing, javelin throwing, olympic lifts, medicine ball slams, martial arts, soccer, basketball and any other activity that requires fast reactions or jumping.

Other examples:

  • P90X Plyometrics and P90X2 Plyocide
  • Insanity
  • Air attack – Basketball drills

Deceleration control and negatives
What goes up, must come down. Controlling falls, descents down hills, and drop-off type obstacles is an essential skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Landing softly from these movements allows you to develop the strength needed to maintain control and stay injury free. Most running injuries happen when going downhill too fast.

One way to develop this kind of deceleration control is to practice box jumps. Hop off a wall or a box and control your landing by softening your knees and lowering yourself slowly into a squat. You can also make this move harder by dropping off the platform into a low squat, before immediately jumping up from the lowest point of the squat.

When running downhill, keep the core tight and keep your knees and hips flexible and responsive to the terrain, rather than attacking the decline with speed. Try and let gravity do most of the work, but stay in control. You will run downhill many times during this race, and will have to slow yourself down to stop falling over. Stay controlled and calm on the way down to make it an efficient recovery that retains energy for the next hill climb.

The same principle can apply in a different way to strength training. For example if you cannot do pull ups, you can start by using a chair to step on to get up to the bar, and lower yourself to the straight arm position as slowly as possible. With one arm on a preacher bench or leaning over a gym ball, you could try slowly resisting and lowering a dumbbell that is too heavy for you to curl with one arm, resetting the weight with both arms. These kind of movements are called negatives, and can develop strength very quickly, but require supervision to achieve safe form.

Flexibility
Getting your leg over the high wall, ducking under the barbed wire, raising your knees high above the mud as you run through it, stretching out across the horizontal wall traverse, will all require a lot of flexibility. You will need to do yoga or some form of stretching routine in order to gain the flexibility and range of motion you need to make it through this thing injury free. Seriously, yoga is the best way to do this. There are plenty of free yoga routines on YouTube.

Balance

Good balance is key to completing some of the obstacles without a penalty of 30 burpees. Performing strength training on one foot (like curls with one foot off the ground) will force you to learn to balance. Yoga standing poses, like warrior 3, half moon, shoulder stands, and standing splits etc, all force your centre of gravity to shift away from it’s normal position, and force you to use tiny accessory muscles to maintain balance. Walking on your tip toes, or on your heels, jumping side to side only landing on one foot at a time, or walking along a balance beam will also develop balance and coordination.

Strength

This might seem obvious, but you need to build a solid platform of upper body and lower body strength for the race. Being able to lift, push or pull your own bodyweight in a number of different directions would be a huge advantage when it comes to scaling the high wall, or the rope climb. It’s not all that simple though, and when you look more closely at athletic ability, what you really need to develop is a good strength to weight ratio: muscles weigh more than fat, but are infinitely more useful for climbing monkey-bars. You don’t have to be as strong as the next man or woman to do this race, you just need to be strong enough for your own bodyweight.

Bodyweight training, free-weight and tension band training will each give you a really great ways of developing strength. I say ‘and’ because you should probably do them all at some point, but this is fairly obvious stuff that you already know. Make sure you use the right form for any kind of strength exercise.

Another slightly different strength element of the race is moving with weight. You have to carry, pull, roll and lift a few different objects in this race. Try doing farmers walks (holding dumbbells at your side and walking in a straight line), or carrying a heavy rock, water bottle, or backpack up a hill and back down again. These movements use compound strength (groups of muscles together), rather than isolated strength (one muscle at a time).

Isometric strength

Isometric strength is the ability to hold yourself in one position. Wall squats, low planks, side planks, other core work, and nearly all of the yoga moves require you hold yourself in a controlled position and breath through the pain while keeping good form. These compound movements don’t burn a lot of calories, but I have seen huge functional fitness gains by using these methods.

Extra weight and diet
Obviously if you work out 5-6 days a week, you will find that you will safely lose weight and become leaner and fitter. If you want to perform well in this event, what you eat and how you view food can either help you win, or be your worst obstacle and the hardest exercise of all. The exercise of self control and sacrifice. If you are interested in getting some really great looking fitness results, (and lets be honest, you wouldn’t mind getting a 6 pack this year) you need to complete the whole equation and think about your food intake. If that’s not your goal, then fine, and I agree that long term fitness is the greater purpose in all of this.

But… I’ll be honest. Egg whites, cottage cheese, 0% fat greek yoghurt, skimmed milk, protein shakes… I don’t really enjoy these high protein foods much, but if you can view them as fuel, or as diversions from the crisps/potato chips/crackers that are sitting in the pantry, then you will find that they are excellent tools for making you feel fuller and less likely to snack on the bad stuff. My tip would be to concentrate on training, and use some general common sense when it comes to food. Avoid obvious traps like thinking that you’ve somehow earned yourself the right to eat whatever you want after a hard workout. You haven’t. Absent mindedly snacking between mealtimes is another major problem for people – breaking that habit can be hard. Eating larger portions than you really require is another big mistake, and an easy one to make.

For info on how I am trying to eat when training this year. See my next blog post.

Day 6: Chest and Back

Today’s workout was P90X Chest and back.

The numbers show a mild improvement in some of my max-rep exercises compared to last week, although other reps seem to have just been borrowed earlier on, not to be replaced later in the workout. I’ve lined the two workouts up below, so you can see what I mean, understandably get bored very quickly, and move on to my other posts before heading back to the Facebooks.

Step Exercise Week 1 Week 2
Reps Weight (lbs) Reps Weight (lbs)
01
Standard Push-ups
22 30
16 13
02
Wide Front Pull-ups
8 9
4 5
03
Military Push-ups
13 16
9 5
04
Reverse Grip Chin-ups
7 7
3 4
05
Wide Fly Push-ups
20 22
12 10
06
Closed Grip Overhand Pull-ups
6 7
3 3
07
Decline Push-ups
13 12
8 6
08
Heavy Pants
10 35 10 35
10 35 10 35
09
Diamond Push-ups
10 11
5 4
10
Lawnmowers
8 40 10 40
8 40 10 40
11
Dive-bomber Push-ups
6 7
5 6
12
Back Flys
10 25 10 25
10 25 10 25

You may be interested to see that on some of the exercises, I did less than I did the previous week. However on balance, I did achieve more reps, which makes me happy. I was quite sore today, but not as sore as I was this time last

2014 Season – Two Races

I’m entering two races this year. On the 31st of May I will be taking part in the first ever mud run to be held in Lethbridge called Mud and Sweat: Operation Lethbridge. I am entering the 12:00 noon heat. It’s also a 5K race, and I’m expecting it to be much like the Spartan Race, but held in the incredibly steep coulees of the Old Man river.

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Then on the 16th of August, I will be entering the Calgary Spartan Sprint for the third year in a row.

The Goal

Obviously, the goal of my training plan will be completely race-fit by May this year, and then to maintain my fitness level over the summer. I want to achieve at least a top 30 time in the Lethbridge race, and a top 50 time in the Calgary race. I also want to stay injury free as much as possible.

Starting Fitness Level

My fitness has taken a hit this winter, having injured myself fairly badly while snowboarding just after Christmas. I thought I was getting the hang of carving, having finally made it to the bottom of one of the runs without falling down on my first run. On my second run, I decided to try going a little faster and turning a little harder. I caught my heel edge and launched into the air, landing fully on my left flank. I winded myself badly and was in a huge amount of pain for the following two weeks.

I’m not sure if I broke a rib, or tore an intercostal muscle, but either way – the day was pretty much over for me at that point and it’s taken this long for it to heal and to regain my full range of motion.

I haven’t been able to do any real fitness training since before Christmas, and it’s nearly February. I’m not in terrible shape, but I’m suspecting I’ve lost a fair amount of my cardiovascular fitness, and it’s time to regain it.

There is another possible break in training that might happen during April, as I am going to the UK to visit my family. It’s likely that I will have some time to exercise, but then again, I might want to spend most of the time with my family. We will have to manage that two week period when I get to it.

The Plan

This year instead of writing out a full training plan like last time, I’m going to try and provide anyone who wants to read this with a weekly outline of my training plan, the rationale behind the workouts I am using, and my progress at the end of each week.

2013 Spartan Sprint: Report and Pictures

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If you’ve not heard of the Spartan Race before, then I’ll give you a brief introduction. Spartan Races are obstacle races, generally ran on hilly, muddy terrain. It’s part of a growing trend of ‘Mud Runs’ that are cropping up everywhere. There are three main types of Spartan Race: The Spartan Sprint (5K), the Super Spartan (15K), and the Spartan Beast (20K). The Calgary Sprint takes place on off-road dirt-biking terrain at the Wild Rose MotoX circuit. The 2013 Calgary Spartan Sprint was held on the 17th and 18th of August 2013, and was attended by over 5,000 people over the two day event.

If you’ve read my earlier blog posts, you’ll see that I ran the same race last year. This year I was back with more friends to join me and a previous personal best to beat.

On arrival at the venue you have to drive carefully, as there are many exhausted, muddied staggering towards their cars. Every one of them looks exhausted – and maybe a little disoriented, but they also look generally very happy with themselves especially once they had found their vehicle. Some of them are still chugging down bottles of Gatorade, and sitting down on the floor. Some are putting sheets of newspaper onto the seats of their cars to drive home and take a shower.

I asked the couple getting into the car next to mine what they thought of the race, and what to expect. The woman told that there was a ‘gross’ dead deer carcass on the trail, while her boyfriend said that that the running was way harder than last year. They also tell me there is an impossibly difficult rope climb right at the end.

After collecting my number and getting my number written on my arms so I could be identified in the photographs later, I entered the main arena.

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In the festival area, things are different from the previous year; there are plenty of freebies on offer, like a phone charging station, somewhere to get a picture together, etc. Big sponsors like Weetabix (?) and sports nutrition companies have moved in, but I found it disappointing that the event had also been infiltrated by pseudo-sports science quackery, selling things like Kinesio taping for sports injuries, goji berry supplements, and other useless crap.

At the start line, a race official started bellowing out some motivational blurb to the group who were about to start. I thought the speech was a bit cringe-worthy and overly long. Some people at the starting line weren’t impressed either, and one of them shouted, “Get on with it!” which raised a few cheers from the spectators – who clearly agreed.

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Soon I was joined by my team members and other friends who wisely chose to spectate. Only four of us were able to make it to run in the race; two of our original team ran in the heat before mine, albeit accidentally, while another had badly hurt her foot and was unable to race that day. I wasn’t feeling my best either.

Despite my best efforts, I was still recovering from a cold that had developed in the first half of the week and had threatened to keep me from racing altogether. By Friday night it seemed like the worst was over. I still wasn’t feeling 100%, but I had to make the most of it. By Saturday morning I was on the road up to Calgary anyway.

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The Race

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Once the starting gun had fired, I held back a little; nerves, uncertainty about my fitness and the excess adrenaline in my system made for a cautious start. I evaluated the pace, and slowly began passing people, wondering if they would be bearing down on me later in the race. Also getting passed by me in a race is much like a Ford Focus passing a Mercedes: people get annoyed and don’t understand the physics of it. I don’t understand it either to be honest. Still, getting the correct starting pace is probably the most difficult thing to judge.

With a few obstacles already out of the way, I found myself ahead of the pack, apart from one guy who seemed pretty determined to stay in first position. I soon caught up with him and he and I exchanged first place a number of times. I wasn’t trying to necessarily beat him, but I just wanted to get the best time possible. Ok, I was trying to beat him.

I started thinking about last years personal best time, but the course was very different this year, so there was no way to really compare the timing. It didn’t matter too much, and I enjoyed it more and more as the event progressed. A long set of monkey bars, mud pits (lots of mud pits), a bigger cargo net and the hanging tires were all new additions.

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The running sections of the course took us through a winding set of switchbacks, ducking down below the view of the spectators into rutted, forested paths (complete with the deer carcass), and back up pebbly scrambles so steep, even my legendary gecko-like New Balance Minimus Trail running shoes had problems keeping traction. Other parts of the race were run on the actual motocross circuit jumps themselves. I found that the running was generally less savage than last year, with fewer uphill sections during the first kilometer than I remembered. Either that or my training was paying off. My shoes on the other hand, were letting me down badly.

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A tip for anyone racing this year: Mud gets into your shoes, and makes things difficult. Mud is extremely abrasive to shoe materials and feet. It’s also very heavy; so much of the race feels like one is running with ankle weights. After the first mud pit, it was very hard to find traction within the shoe itself. I was running without socks (which may have been part of the problem) and my foot slid around on the insole like I was running on banana peels, distorting and stretching the thin upper materials to breaking point. The toes of the shoes tore on each foot. This is mainly because I bought a size too large, because they weren’t long enough for my hobbit feet. They aren’t ruined, but I’m not going to use them again for racing; I hate those shoes anyway, but that’s another story about barefoot style running shoes. Don’t wear them, get something that is cushioned.

TLDR: Wear shoes that fit properly because: mud. Barefoot/minimalist training shoes suck.

I caught up with the competitors running in the previous heat near the sandbag hill climb along the north edge of the arena. I wasn’t completely drained of energy when I reached at this obstacle like I was last year (when I thought I was literally going to die from dehydration). The sandbag hill climb is definitely a killer though. You must take a 40lb bag of sand over one shoulder, which must be carried down and back up the steepest slope on the trail. It killed me. This time I had made sure I was ready (osmotically speaking), so I still had plenty of energy. A good thing really, since the water station was positioned right at the end of the course, 200m from the finish line near one of the climbing walls.

The terrain of the second half of the race turned more flat, but the obstacles became either taller, or more water-based. I had to duck and crawl through a trough full of mud, passing underneath the barbed wire overhead. The trough then opened out into a flooded trail, which I had to wade through fast to keep ahead of the faster members of my heat who were a few obstacles behind me.

People are getting clearly exhausted and struggling to keep going. I was starting to slow, and my legs were burning from wading through the water at speed, but my shoes were getting the mud cleaned off by the action. Once I was into the shallows my feet felt a couple of pounds lighter and I sprinted out of the water and to the final three obstacles.

The last three obstacles are the trickiest. The first was the apex wall climb; a scramble up a slanted, muddy board holding onto a knotted rope and a descent down a slippery ladder. It’s all about balance, and whatever remaining arm and quadriceps strength you have left.

The second was the previously rumored rope climb.

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Positioned over a pit of muddy water, the rope is 15-20 feet long and covered in slippery mud. The rope has three knots, placed just far enough apart to make them difficult to reach. These knots are the only hope you have to ring the bell at the top of the rope and complete the obstacle without a 30 burpee penalty. I stood below the rope, and jumped out of the mud, and wrapped my leg around the rope, pinching the rope between the shin of one leg and the calf of the other, ratcheting myself up to the top. The rope was incredibly slippery, and it took more effort to maintain grip on the rope than it took strength to pull myself up. Each knot offered just enough support to keep going. Once I had rung the bell, I let go of the rope and dropped quickly into the water below, underestimating the height of the drop. Luckily I landed uninjured on my feet, and ran to the final stage, the spear throw.

At the spear throw, I knew it was critical that I hit the target first time, as there was a line of people waiting to throw the spear, after having failed on their first attempt. I took aim, and threw the javelin, which buried itself into the shoulder of the straw dummy. Surprising really, javelin was probably my worst event in P.E. at Gowerton Comprehensive. I jumped the small fire obstacle, and got knocked about a little by the gladiators before I crossed the line.
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I couldn’t see any sign of the other guy who had been out front with me, or anyone else from my heat for that matter. I realized I had probably taken first place. I couldn’t believe it.

While that sunk in, it was great seeing my colleagues and friends making their way through the mud and the obstacles. They made a big collective effort to make it through the race. It was clear they had enjoyed themselves, and they were proudly getting photos taken with their medals.

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The Results

I had finished first place in my heat of 250, finishing 49th place overall for the entire two day event with a respectable time of 32:09, an improvement over my first year time of 34:17 from the 2012 race. I feel like I ran to the best of my ability on the day, even if I didn’t get the sub 30:00 time I was hoping for, even coming first in my heat didn’t matter; I had beaten my own time. I didn’t have any injuries to complain to Deanna about, apart from some sunburn that wasn’t even that bad. That meant I would be getting a burger.

After getting cleaned up, and changed into our Spartan T-Shirts we went as a team – wearing our medals, to the South Street Burger Co. to get the filthiest burger money could buy. No regrets. Then I had the two hour long drive home to Lethbridge.

Sunburn won’t be happening again this year. It was really, really bad. And I did complain to my long-suffering wife Deanna. A lot. So make sure you cover up, or use some heavy sun-block.

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So, please join me for this year’s sprint. It’s a great opportunity to get in shape with a goal. You have 8 months to prepare. Let’s do this!20130211-172800.jpg

I’m going to update the blog with my training plan and tips for training this year, based on what I experienced.

Yesterday’s Sprint intervals

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Started at 26.8* for the distance (220m or so) and ending at 37.9 by round 8, walking back to the start every time. It was pretty brutal, but felt very productive. My legs feel ok today considering the beating they took, but my obliques, intercostals and abs are totally destroyed! Lesson learned, you want to work your minor abdominal muscles? Do sprints!

*note: I didn’t record the splits for my first two runs.