Rebuilding my Spartan body
Say a deed, do a deed…those are the words of the Ghost Squad. Although sometimes it’s just not possible to do that deed and you have to readjust.
Somethings that I didn’t achieve in the last few years…
2015: Double Trifecta. I wanted to be the first woman in the UK to get an official double trifecta by doing the trifecta weekend in Marseilles (back in the days when such things weren’t possible n the UK, now we’re spoilt!). I got over to Marseille, and I did the Beast (hardest Beast ever fyi) but after that damn mud crawl at the end which went on forever, and finishing just moments before the sprint started, I couldn’t face it.
2016: Trifecta. Luckily for me I got an incredible new job which took me around the world, sadly this also meant I once again couldn’t achieve my goal. I did manage to get a Beast in (I’ve no idea when or where but the medal is on the rack) and my plans were shelved for the next year…
2017: Trifecta. I got pregnant. Yippee!!! Now of course this is brilliant, but once again put paid to my plans! No fear I thought, I’m still getting the trifecta! I did a Sprint at 24 weeks Pregnant (read about it here), and a beast at 8 weeks Post Labour (read about that one here) [Note: massively not recommended to do a beast 8 weeks after giving birth. It was a terrible idea, don’t do it] but the only Super I could've fit in was at 30 weeks pregnant, my hips had already gone wonky, and I was advised by the guys at Spartan to not do it (much to my relief). so again, no Trifecta.
So that brings me to 2018. Already I’ve had to put one OCR on hold. I was training for Winter nuts, but the Beast from the East decided I wouldn’t be doing it. It’s such a brutal race, I knew I couldn’t get round fast enough to stay warm, and the last thing I need with a small one is to be getting ill.
So here it is , 2018, year of the Trifecta. And this time, I will do it. We’re absolutely spoiled here in the UK for Spartan races, it’s a far cry from a few years ago when the brand was new to the country and races limited, and for the size of the country, we have so many happening over the year. So no excuses.
I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it a million more. I love Spartan, they were my first race, and I have a soft spot for them. I love the predictability, but that’s not say they are ever easy. there’s always something to throw you, but they are true to their brand.
The first race weekend is in just a few weeks down in Kent, but I know I won’t be ready for that so I’m setting my sights on South West June 22nd, Midlands July 13th, and Windsor October 6th.
I have to say here though, I'm all about encouraging others into the sport, and I remember my first year, and finding out about the Trifecta and thinking how impossible it sounded. There are so many other options! If you don't want to take on the trinity of a Sprint, Super, and Beast in a calendar year, Spartan are now offering 6 Sprints this year,
The Sprint is just over 5km, still featuring some classic Spartan obstacles (and the dreaded burpees) and you can go as fast or slow as you like. Want to test yourself? run fast...testing the waters? Take it easy and try out what you can. I am a huge believer in everyone running their own race, and the Sprint is a perfect place to try it.
So how am I going to achieve my goal this time? I can barely run, and I’m weak as a kitten. Yes I’ve been training but I’m so far away from where I used to be.
The last time I had an actual training plan was 2015. In that time I achieved my running PB’s (still not beaten) and also managed to place first at Winter Nuts Two Laps. This was quite early in my OCR days and like most people, I got over excited, took on too many races and by that summer had an injury that took me until pregnancy to shake off.
Now I’m able to train again, I have to be careful not to overdo it and damage myself, which is all too easy; although, with limited time to run and train it’ll be difficult to over train!
Life with a baby is never boring, and each day brings new challenges, teething, colds, changes in sleep schedules. Add this in to Toms jobs as a PT and his change of hours, then daylight hours are spent either trying to get her to sleep, or unable to leave her as no one is here to look after her.
How I’ve been able to keep up my train is by embracing my old favourite: CrossFit. Dad takes over bedtime solo one evening, and I’m incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to do a mum and baby class at my local box.
So why is crossfit good for OCR? Since 2015 I’ve raved about CF as training for OCR, mixed in with running and yoga I think you have a holy trinity ( I also used to through in ballet there too, perfect for balance, core, and power in the legs). Lately we’ve seen an uprising in a crossover in training, most notably the recent victory by Icelandic Katrin Davidsdottir, a two time CrossFit games winner. Titled the fittest woman on Earth, she took Spartan Iceland by storm, and obviously puts this success down to CrossFit.
Think of it this way: when you think of CF what's one movement you think of? For me it’s the Burpee. Think of Spartan, you think of the burpee. There’s a reason why it is the penalty for every obstacle, because it’s bloody tough. It’s an all over body punisher, just like a OCR, just like Crossfit.
I can’t just work on strength though, so I’ll be continuing my running, but with a vital difference. I’m always too bothered about pace. Right now I’m so slow pace just doesn’t matter. what matters is getting the miles in my legs, working my lungs, and getting used to be out there moving again.
Getting active after having a baby is easy and it’s hard. There’s limited time, and limited energy, although for me at least, there’s plenty of will power. I want to do it, I just struggle to fit it in always. What is hard is body confidence, not necessarily in looks (although that’s part of everyday life) but strength and skill. I was never the best or the fastest, but I was good, and I wasn’t slow. It’s so hard to go out there being at 50% of what I was, and being ok with that, even though I will never progress if I’m not. It’s tough because you go to do something that was never a problem and suddenly you can’t do it and you feel, well, a bit lost. You lose a lot of yourself when you have a baby, but it’s time to find myself again, and go back to being the Spartan Girl I used to be.