My First Spartan Race by Sponsored Athlete Michelle Kasold

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My First Spartan Race by Sponsored Athlete Michelle Kasold

Just over a month ago I decided to sign up for my first Spartan Race. I had a month to prepare for a new athletic challenge and I was excited! I watched all the obstacle videos and tried to study all of the techniques. I even bought a spear to practice the spear throw! As an athlete my whole life, I wanted to compete, not just participate. I knew I was in decent shape already, but Spartan is a whole new ball game with obstacles, muddy trails, and the dreaded burpees!

This opportunity was just what I needed to re-devote myself to training hard and pushing my limits. I worked a lot on building my upper body strength back up and building a good endurance base to sustain for the 5 mile course. I must say, training for the burpees (you have to do 30 in order to continue if you can’t complete an obstacle) was tough! I don’t think I’ve ever done 30 burpees in a row in my life!

A lot of Spartan racers do Crossfit and compete in OCR races year-round. I decided to write my own curriculum with the knowledge of fitness I’ve built over years of competing at the highest level, along with trying out some Spartan WODs (Work Outs of the Day). Those were definitely a new experience! But fun to mix it up!

Finally, race day approached. I drove down to Spartanburg, S.C., on Saturday night, ate a good dinner, and hopped in bed early. With daylight savings and gaining an extra hour of sleep, I was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday, eager to go…but my race time wasn’t until 1:15 p.m.! I was confident in my training going into the race, but the morning of, I got super nervous! I am never one to get nervous, really, but that’s because I have always competed in sports I had trained for my whole life. I always knew what to expect. The Spartan Race was different. I knew I had prepared, but I kept thinking, “What if it is too slippery or the objects are heavier than I expected, or I just get so tired?” Despite having those thoughts, I knew the most important thing was to have fun, do my best, and if I didn’t finish well, it would be a learning experience to know what to train for next time!

When I arrived at the Race area about two hours early, I had time to scope some of the course out. The spectator area allows you to see some of the middle obstacles and the last few at the end of the course. I took a little time to observe the strategies of others and see how things were running. It settled my nerves a little bit.

Finally 1:00 rolled around, and I lined up (with my teammates; my boyfriend Eli and his sister Ivy) ready to get the race started! I knew once I took that first step my adrenaline would kick in and I would be in competition mode! Off we went…. The beginning of the course is a bit more running, with fewer obstacles, so that the pack will separate. I started at the front of our heat and stayed in the front group of about five or six racers (male and female run together). After a few obstacles, we started to catch some of the racers in the group in front of us. This became a challenge: trying to pass others and not have to wait for openings in the obstacles. For the most part, I kept a pretty good pace throughout the course and I just focused on staying in the moment and keeping my feet moving forward. Even up hills (those were killer!) I tried to focus on never walking, even if I was jogging the same speed as walking! “Keep that momentum,” I told myself! It was hard and I was exhausted at times, but stopping to do different obstacles actually allowed to me catch my breath and recharge for the next part of the race. Besides the hills, I think the hardest obstacles were the rope climb (it was SO slippery from the mud) and an angled wall with holds at the top (the only obstacle I failed because it was so slick that I couldn’t get any traction on my footing! I had to do burpees for that one!) I really liked the mud crawl under the barbed wire and the “multi rig,” which is basically like monkey bars with rings. I gave it my all and finished the race with a leap over the fire to cross the finish line! I had started the timer on my watch, but completely forgot to stop it once I finished, so I really wasn’t sure what my time was. I had an idea that it was about an hour, which was my target time going into the race. Once my whole team finished, we enjoyed some high fives, took a few pictures, and then went to check our results.

I finished my first Spartan Sprint race in 1 hour and 3 minutes. Right around my goal. I was pretty happy about that! Then I noticed that time put me 1st in my age group (30-34) and 2nd overall for females! That was pretty cool! I also was 32nd overall of all the racers in the Open Division (1,734 racers total). Not too bad! And being the competitor that I am, I had to compare my time to the Elite and Competitive divisions. My time put me in 12th place for all females that completed the S.C. Spartan Sprint.

With a little bit of experience under my belt, I am very excited to continue my training for my next race (in about a month) on December 9th in Tampa, Fla. The competitive side of me is still rushing with adrenaline from the race, but I plan on signing up for the Elite division in Tampa and really testing my limits! I am setting my goals high to finish in the top 5, but realistically will be happy with a top 10 finish. Time to get back to work!

I also have to say a huge thank you to Klean Athlete®, who has helped me stay healthy and strong in my training. I regularly use the Klean BCAA + Peak ATP® during workouts and chocolate recovery afterwards. I also take the Klean Multivitamin™, Klean Probiotic™, and Klean-D™on a daily basis. Before my race on Sunday, I also took Klean Endurance™ (which I also do on long running days) and drank a bottle of water with Klean BCAA + Peak ATP®. I felt great! Looking forward to training Klean and competing Klean again in a month!

You can follow Michelle on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and her website.


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