Monday, November 19, 2012
by Carrie Adams
(Originally posted on blog.spartanrace.com)
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
by Carrie Adams
(originally posted on blog.spartanrace.com)
(originally posted on blog.spartanrace.com)
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.