Friday, November 30, 2012

Spartan Chicked Holiday Gift Swap!

by Aja Varney, Guest Blogger
It isn’t the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it. ~Eileen Elias Freeman
When Carrie Adams, and the other founding members of the Spartan Chicks, created a FaceBook group (sorry guys, it’s for ladies only!), it was for the purposes of connecting women across the country who were all interested in Obstacle Course Racing. It was intended to give them a safe space to discuss training issues, racing tactics, share concerns, while supporting and motivating each other. In a short period of time, this group has grown from a tiny group of 100 ladies, to an 8000+ crowd of Chicks. More importantly, the group has identified itself as a real community of united women, running with each other at races, keeping tabs on each other via email, connecting via phone for workouts – a community of Chicks, always ready to chat and lend a hand at a moment’s notice, and show Obstacle Racing that women are a force to be reckoned with.  The Chicked logo seen all over the race course on the tank tops and other “Spartan Chicked” gear.
In that vein, we’re launching our Second Annual Spartan Chicked Holiday Gift Swap! It is open to women across the globe (yes, no matter where you do your Chicking, you can participate!) to sign up. You will be provided with the name and address of one other Chick, with whom you’ll get to share some Holiday Season cheer. Gifts range from simple cards and baked goods, to fun and functional fitness gear, to handmade scarves, blankets or ornaments. The only limit is your creativity! We’re not looking for you to spend billions, but help continue to unite our community of awesome ladies, by connecting with one specific Chick around the holidays.  To date, we have women from all over the globe from London to Australia, Malibu to Manhattan!
To join in on the fun, fill out this form with your information. In a few days, you will be contacted with the name and address of your Giftee. From there, take matters into your own hands; friend your Giftee on FaceBook, check out what she’s been posting about in the Chicks group, get to know her and let your creative juices flow!
Submissions will be accepted until MIDNIGHT (EST), DECEMBER 7th.
Aja Varney
For your privacy, your name and address will only be shared with the one Chick who will be sending you a gift. If you do have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me: (Even just to say Hi!)
[Editor's Note: Aja Varney is a Spartan Chick many times over.  You can follow her adventures on her blog, What a Beautiful Wreck, where this post was originally published.
The Chicked Movement began in 2011 at the Vermont Beast, the brain child of Spartan staffer Carrie Adams, with about a dozen women wanting to run together  (Adams included) for support, and has grown drastically since the humble beginnings.  With over 130,000 women passing across a Spartan finish line and a closed network numbering over 8,300 at press time, it shows no sign of slowing down.  The Chicked movement is even featured in the soon-to-be released book Ultimate Obstacle Race Training by Brett Stewart.  Are you a Spartan Chick who wants to join the movement?  Click HERE. ]

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fenway Time Trial!

(Originally posted on 
Race reports have been flowing in by our athletes who were lucky enough to be a part of the first EVER of it's kind inside the walls (and stairs) of Fenway Park.  We'll be sharing our own race report as well as the accounts of our Spartans willing to share their incredible stories of how the Fenway Time Trial excited and delighted all those in attendance.  Athletes had unprecedented access to the park as they ran, jumped, climbed their way through one of the most beloved American landmarks in a Spartan style tour.  
Here is one story, told by Adrian Syso, a true Spartan Chick and a six time Spartan Race finisher!  

Saturday morning, November 17th, I was up at 4 am to eat breakfast and be on the road by 4:30. I live in NY and don't ask me why I thought 9 am heat would be a good idea! I made myself some oatmeal which almost immediately after I took the last spoonful decided it didn't want to stay with me. It was starting already, my pre-race jitters. I am positive my anxiety was turned up high because I was running SOLO! I had never run a Spartan by myself before, I always had a sister with me, or my teammates. But my sisters are off at college and my team signed up for a later heat. So it was just ME!
Walking up to Fenway Park was a surreal experience. I saw people running in the stadium and I knew that would be me in a few short moments. I got my racer packet and signed my son up for the kids race and headed inside. I found the starting line, kissed my son good-bye, my mom and brother wished me luck, and I was gone.

A spot opened up for a single runner so I made my way to the front and stood on my spot. We started off with Joe DeSena showing us proper form of a Burpee and before the race even started we had to do 10, that was just a taste of the massive burpees I knew would be in my future.

And off we went, in true Spartan fashion up the incline ramps to the top of the stadium, I just can't get away from Spartans with hills huh? At least it wasn't a mountain. The air was so cold. I wasn't used to running in the cold weather so immediately I could feel the effects on my lungs. But I was determined not to make that an excuse to stop. "Keep running, deep breath, in through your nose out through your mouth." I kept repeating in my head until the air didn't bother me as much.

Honestly I don't remember what order the obstacles went in. I was focusing on getting through them and NOT WALKING! I had no one with me to cheer me on. usually I have my sister Rosy with me and we are constantly encouraging one another, or talking smack, you know how sisters are. I just had to keep pushing even when I didn't want to.

My favorite Obstacles would have had to been the medicine ball slams, women had 15 pounders and had to lift them over their head throw them to the ground and pick them back up 20 times.

The rope climb, my arch nemesis. In Tuxedo, NY I got all the way to the top only to realize I was too short to hit the bell!  In PA I only made it about halfway.  This time around, I was determined to get to the top!  I took my time and focused. Reassessed my grip and footing at every knot I made it up. I got to the top and hit that bell and was ON TOP OF THE WORLD. I felt like I was flying.

The traverse wall and I have a love/hate relationship, I am about at a 50/50 when it comes to being able to get all the way across. I picked what I thought the best wall would be, and it was UNTIL I got about three pegs away from the bell to realize they were spaced out a tad farther than my 5 foot tall body could reach. I just had to keep telling myself I could do it... Sure enough, DING! I hit that bell and took off running again.

I did my fair share of burpees though, got to about 85 meters left in my row only to see "Burpees for You" come across my screen.  Missed the spear throw, another 30 burpees, and of course the 30 burpees "Just for Fun" Come one really?? Who does Burpees for fun??

I had a ton of silent victories. Not going to lie every time I passed a guy I grinned to myself in true Spartan Chick fashion. Knowing I was able to do the race by myself was a huge victory in and of itself. That I didn't stop to walk for longer than a few seconds. I ran the whole race. I carried that ridiculously heavy sandbag through the stadium bleachers with only one stop to adjust. I just focused on one step ahead of the other. Not worrying about what was next. As I was crossing the finish line running full force INTO the gladiators I saw my mom and my son.  I fought my way to the finish line had my time chip cut off and was shacking with adrenaline! I was handed the most beautiful Spartan medal and t-shirt I have ever seen, its such an amazing feeling to know that you EARNED that.

The slogan is right, you do know at the finish line.

I scarfed down my banana and two glasses of water. Found my son and gave him a huge kiss!  In addition to me running my 6th Spartan Race, I also had a six year old who was running his 2nd Spartan. We headed down to the starting line. He wanted me to run with him so I ran alongside to take photos. I have a ton of proud moments as a mother, but I have to admit watching him participate in the Kids Spartans are up there on my proudest. He is fearless, he doesn't even think twice about an obstacle. He is a true natural and I can not wait for him to be able to run along side me and be cheering me on in a few years.

I am thankful to Joe DeSena for creating such an AMAZING race. One that I am able to share with my sisters, friends, family, and most importantly my son. To be setting a good example that fitness can be fun, that it is something to do with the people you love. I am grateful for the entire spartan community. I have met so many amazing and driven people who motivate me to be the best me I can be.

My 2012 Race Season is over for the year, I am looking forward to 2013 and what the Spartan Race has in store for us next year! and possible Death Race 2014! Who knows? All I know is that I am determined to beat my results next year and to make 2013 the best one yet!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spartan Chick Marina Gentile!

by Carrie Adams
(originally posted on

Every journey begins with a single step, and for anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by starting, there has never been a better time than now.  There has never been a better reason than because today is the day.  For Marina Gentile that story has been a memorable one.  For the last year, she has been on a mission – to become an athlete for the first time in her life and at the tender age of 45.  She’s lost 125 pounds in the process and proved that setting goals, investing in your own life, and taking chances opens doors never thought possible.  Her next stop?  Spartan's Fenway Race.

“Spartan Race was among one of the first goals I set for myself. I have had quite a re-birth, completely transformed my life in the last year, I am training aggressively at the gym now, trying new sports and activities, and becoming more and more active in my life and with my kids since now I am able to introduce more activities to them too.”

Gentile is in her gym six days a week, three of those days working with her personal trainer , Robbie Sherwood.  While she admits she probably has 50 pounds or so left to lose, she’s stronger than she’s ever been and more the athlete than she ever thought possible. When the Fenway Spartan Race was announced, the self-proclaimed, “Boston girl born and raised, living in Yankee country way too long,” knew she had to be a part of the event.  She emphasizes that for her it isn't about the number on the scale.

"Honestly, one of the biggest things I attribute to my success has been that for the first time in my life it is NOT about the weight and dieting... it is like the weight coming off is a natural consequence of my new active lifestyle and not the focus.  I feel so strong & healthy and great about myself, so fit.  I focus on the positives of having lots of fun every day and trying new activities, loving my training, setting activity goals for myself instead of weight goals."

“Fenway is calling to me...” she laughs.  Gentile’s trainer knows she is ready and she’s been training for race day with the expectation that she’ll be even more competitive the next time around.  Running with Team Relentless, she and several others will descend on Fenway to race.
“They are all threatening to wear Mets & Yankees jerseys to my hometown so I am just hoping we don't get beaten up on the streets before we even get through the gates!” jokes Gentile.
She’s had a tough time getting any women in her age group to go with her, but she’s not going to stop trying.  “My amazing husband of 18 years, Alan Alford, is coming along to Fenway as well, he has promised to take great pictures and video and hug me at the finish line.”

Inspired by the infamous Phoenix fabled to rise from the ashes, Gentile says, “I am fascinated by the Phoenix lately and all that it symbolizes, have had such a rebirth through burning down old ways and habits and negative body image messages.”
“I have been limited for so long, that now all I want to do is feel limitless, for me that means trying new activities and pushing and challenging my body to see how far it will go.  I have a lot of limited years to make up for, but I am still pretty young and strong and (as Robbie pointed out to me) seem to have enough positive energy to take on the world single-handedly right now!  I am so out of my mind with excitement for Spartan Fenway right now, and really super terrified all at the same time!  But I am so doing this... bringing the same A-Game and relentless determination that has gotten me through the last year of taking control of my own life and moving it in a very positive direction!

See you at the finish line, Marina.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Death Race Profile Series: Amelia Boone

amelia faceThe alarm goes off shortly after 4:00 AM and Amelia Boone is off to the gym before an undetermined number of hours at the law firm where she works as an attorney in downtown Chicago.  “It’s important to make time.” she explains.  “And I don’t know when else I will get the chance with my working hours.” 

A native of Oregon, Boone grew up active playing soccer and softball.  When it came time for college, she followed the path of academics in lieu of sports but stayed active always looking for something to challenge her.   She will be participating in both the Winter and the Summer Death Races in 2012.  Athletes like Amelia are redefining females in sport and giving women new heroes of the non-traditional variety.  Successful, strong, smart, and beautiful, she’s going to be one to watch this season.  She’s adding to an already strong field of female athletes. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tales From the Chicked: Ella Anne Kociuba

by Carrie Adams

Originally posted in the Spartan Race Blog.

At Spartan Race HQ we are lucky enough to receive inspiring stories from all over the world of athletes who have faced adversity only to come back stronger and more determined than ever.  I recently received this story about eighteen-year-old Ella Anne Kociuba and I knew her story would inspire.  After a horrific injury she has battled back and her story of triumph and success is one you won’t soon forget.  Here is her story in her own words. 

ella2My names Ella Anne Kociuba, I am eighteen years old and currently attending a community college in Austin, Texas. I have big plans for the future (I hope to one day be the image of Spartan Racing and become a professional athlete/writer).  I would like to explain my story to you so that those who are struggling can see the light in even the darkest of times.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Have you Been Spartan Chicked?

by Carrie Adams

thebeast-2Unless you’ve been living under a muddy rock, you’ve heard about all the amazing Spartan chicks that come out and race and kick some major ass!  In 2012, we are taking it up a notch with some help from our amazing partner ZICO Coconut Water.  ZICO will be onsite at several events in 2012 handing out products and  hosting the Official Spartan Chicked Pit Stop!  It will be a meet-up location for all the Spartan chicks to mix and mingle and stay hydrated!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tales from the Chicked: Gayla Allen

by Carrie Adams
I got the most amazing email today and had to share it with you. Sparta, meet Gayla Allen.
Hello Carrie,
My name is Gayla and I’d love to share my story and personal goals for the May Spartan Race event in Texas!
Living in Austin – a city whose motto could be “nuttin’ but health nuts” – I’m a 51-year-old entrepreneur, mother and grandmother, and I love my chosen lifestyle, which is centered on living the good life, being healthy and strong. You see, I subscribe to the “strong is the new skinny” theory, and with so many health enthusiasts around me, I’m fortunate to be able to draw inspiration from those who could show Rocky how running up the stairs is really done. My husband, who shares my passion for his own, unique reasons, has helped me to reach the even higher-hung branches on life’s little coconut tree.

Altogether, I have six children from a mixed marriage; and I’d like to point out that I gave birth to five of them. Yup, you read right: my body produced five whole separate humans! Still not impressed with my commitment to strength? Well, I also broke my tail bone during each delivery. I didn’t hold it against them, though: my kids are aged 22 to 28 now, and I raised each while maintaining a healthy active lifestyle. I don’t think I need to tell you what a challenge staying fit was – singlehandedly finding a cure for Austin’s allergy crisis might actually be easier. An entrepreneur by spirit, I ran a small business as an independent virtual executive assistant while working as a real estate agent, raised my children, and have recently co-founded a new company, My Texas Smile. In our spare time, my family and I love outdoor activities, like swimming, kayaking, hiking and tennis (although, let’s just say I’m no Venus or Serena).

The Spartan Challenge is our next adventure and we intend to make it memorable. My husband, daughter and I will be joining the other Austin Hoplites to compete in this May’s 2012 Texas Spartan Race. If I were a real Spartan, the motto on my shield would say: “If you want to beat this old lady, I’m not going to make it easy!” My challengers had better laugh me off at their own peril: I have been strength training with my husband for several years now, and have recently started to mix in some cross fit training. My daughter, a cross-fit trainer who would make a truly Herculean Spartan chick, has been my biggest champion and source of encouragement. When it comes to food and nutrition, my diet follows the Paleo principles: this powers both my training and activity fuel banks, and gives me enough protein to make you think 50 could be the new 25.

My goals are simple:
• Improve on my standards achieved in years past;
• Build muscle and bone density;
• Increase vitality and energy;
• Be a role model for women, especially my age, who want to use healthy living to better their lives.

I definitely believe that humans by nature are designed to be fit and strong, even into older age brackets: the only requirement here is just to ignore the caution tape and refuse to stop. Don’t stop running, lifting, eating right, playing and otherwise living life to its life-iest. When we hit the brakes, our lives get stuck in traffic, too.