If you would have asked me 4 years ago if I’d ever run a marathon, a half marathon, or even a 10K I probably would have laughed in your face. Growing up I absolutely hated running. I hated running because I wasn’t good at it…I wasn’t good at running because I never ran, and I never ran because I hated it, and I hated it because I wasn’t any good at it…you get that idea.
Although I hated running I’ve always had a love for sports and physical activity. I played high level hockey and football as well as many other sports (just not at a high level) throughout high school. I loved to work hard during practice and compete even harder at game time. I liked to battle in the corners and fight for every inch of grass. The physical opposition in hockey and football was so fulfilling, in each battle it was you vs them, and whoever worked the hardest came out on top. There was immediate gratification for out working your opponent. However I found running to be much more internal. Running felt more like it was you vs yourself, which I did not like at all. I needed that physical opposition which running didn’t provide.
My active life style fell by the wayside as I entered University and the obnoxious life style that is University ensued. Working out and staying active was replaced by boozing three (or more) times a week, eating junk food (pizza, donairs, chicken fingers, subway) seven days a week, and playing dodgeball once a week. Dodgeball was the only thing that kept me some what active and it is not the most physically taxing sport. Living such a lifestyle brought on some significant weight gain and a hell of a lot of fun. Although not the healthiest time in my life, University is easily one of the best times of my life. And by not playing competitive sports I was able put my competitive nature into other areas such as beer pong, quarters, and dodge beer where my patented crab walk move is legend.
Although beer pong tourney’s and dodgeball games can get intense (I’ve seen people cry after dodgeball matches…Lister Dodgeball League is the real deal!) I still missed the true thrill of sport that calls on you to push your body to perform and to excel beyond your preconceived limits.
I was May long camping with a bunch buddies which was essentially a 3 day booze fest in a field and my one friend told me about this Spartan Race that is being held in Calgary later that summer. The sound of crawling through mud, under barbed wire, and jumping over walls had me intrigued immediately. I signed up later that week and began to “train”. I say “train” because I thought running 2.5 miles around my neighbourhood 2x a week was training.
I showed up to the Calgary Spartan Race vastly under prepared and got my ass handed to me on the course. I think it took me just about an hour to finish the 5 km course (fastest times were well under 30 minutes). I remember my friends laughing at me for not being able to get over the 8 ft wall, and being terrified as I ascended the rope climb and clung for dear life…but I had a blast! I couldn’t wait till next summer for the Spartan Race to come back to Calgary and improve on my results.
Next year was a lot of the same, I talked about training but wasn’t really doing any. It wasn’t until the following year when my friend Pat and I decided to complete the Spartan Race Trifecta. A trifecta is earned when you complete all three Spartan Race distances (Sprint ~5 km, Super ~12 km, and Beast ~21 km) in one calendar year. I knew completing a Beast would be incredibly difficult and I’d need to train hard so that I could achieve my goal. Pat and I trained hard all summer and completed our trifectas but I still wouldn’t consider myself a runner.
Upon finishing the Beast I said “never again will I train this hard for something, nor do anything like this again”. Running simply takes up too much time and effort, especially when you’re still trying to party every weekend. I wholeheartedly believed I’d never do a Spartan Beast again until Pat came to me and said, “Hey let’s do the Ultra Beast”. I actually laughed at Pat and told him to F off. Yeah right would I do an Ultra Beast (two laps of a Beast course). Over the course of a few weeks however Pat finally wore my down and I committed to the Ultra Beast.
If I were to do the Ultra Beast I was going to go balls out with my training. I began researching everything I could about extreme endurance events and how to train for them. There is no way I was going to sign up for this and fail.
It was during my training for the Ultra Beast that I truly fell in love with running. I was at peace when I was out running. Nothing in the world matters when I’m out on a run it’s just me, whoever I’m running with, the trails, and the world. It’s now essentially a form of meditation. Although I’m working hard for long hours I am incredibly calm.
I’m now full immersed into the OCR scene and absolutely love to train and to run. I love the fact Spartan Race requires you to be good at everything and not just running. The type of training that goes along with Spartan Racing is an absolute blast. If I were simply training for a running event hill repeats would be a part of my training and that sounds boring as shit. However training for a Spartan Race also involves hill repeats, but throw a sandbag on my shoulders, climb the hill, do some burpees, run back down the hill and do some pull ups at the playground…and that sounds a great time! It may sound dumb but it’s incredibly fulfilling moving heavy shit from Point A to Point B (it’s the simple things in life that matter right?).
My Spartan Journey began when I could barely run 5 km, and has taken me from crawling over the finish line of Sprints, to crossing the Ultra Beast finish line in 3rd, as well as qualifying and competing in the Elite Wave at the Spartan Race World Championships. I’ve even at the opportunity to meet and train with some of the best OCR athletes in Western Canada, and even a Spartan Race Pro Team member (Faye Stenning). I don’t think I’ll ever be on their level but I’m always looking to improve and better myself. Spartan Racing as ignited my love for sport again and I’m continuously looking forward to my next race/challenge.