Spartans At Work

January 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

by Jason Jaksetic

Who is going to excel at a Spartan event?  Someone who makes success a part of their everyday life.  For most of us, that’s our work life.

The individual who knows no boundaries in his resolve to achieve career goals is made for Spartan Races.

There is no 9 to 5 for the Spartan entrepreneur, small business owner, or ambitious employee. They don’t hit the snooze at 5:00 am.  Why?  Because they’re up at 4:00 am, getting a quick workout in before tackling a 12-15 hour work day.

A job is not just a job if one possesses the Spartan mentality.  It’s about doing something meticulously and doing it well.  It’s about a passion for excellence in performance.  It’s about perfect execution, all of the time.

And when things don’t go according to plan, one must be adaptable.

Success at a Spartan event is determined by dedication, resilience, creativity, positive attitude, adaptability, strength, endurance, and speed (among a litany of other noble qualities).

The mental resolve needed to accomplish your goals at a Spartan Sprint, Super Spartan, or the Death Race should not begin and end with your workouts or on race day.  It should be cultivated into an instinctual and habitual attitude toward any task at hand.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Training should never be a grind. If apathy reaches in and robs you of the thrill of living in the moment, then you should stop what you are doing and ask yourself: why am I doing this?  The same goes for your job.

It doesn’t matter what it is, it should be something that you strive to excel at for the sake of excellence.  That’s what life is about, isn’t it?

There is always an easy way out.  Always.

But the winners never give that direction a single glance.

So who will be racing first towards the finish line at the next Spartan Race?  Probably the person who had the “fewest” hours available to train.  Probably someone with immense family obligations and a crushing workload to manage.

An indomitable spirit will shine at a Spartan Race.  Are you bringing yours to the table?

Jason Jaksetic is a writer/athlete/Spartan who can be found racing all over the country.  Contact him at http://www.facebook.com/jasonjaksetic or www.JasonJaksetic.com.

Monday Motivation

January 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

I got an email this morning from Ash at themiddlefingerproject.org.
You feel like ****…because there’s a huge disconnect between what you’re doing and what your potential is.
That disconnect – that tension – will eat you alive.
And if it doesn’t literally, it will, at the very least, cause you extreme mental fatigue like no other.
Why?
Because you KNOW.
You know consciously.
You know unconsciously.
You know on every single level.
With every single part of your being.
That YOU AREN’T GIVING YOUR ALL.
And that knowledge.
Will inevitably tear you up.
Until you’re nothing more than a heaping mess on the floor.
Just waiting to be saved.
The bad news is that no one’s going to come along to save you.
The good news is that you can still be saved.

GO.
GO NOW.
Get it out of your head that you aren’t good enough.
AND GO FIND SOME ******* SELF-RESPECT.
By being the person that you want to be.
And doing the things that you want to do.
You’re the ONLY one who can save you.
Come visit to talk some more:
xo
Ash

The Middle Finger Project
Chester Springs, Pennsylvania 19425

What is Fitness?

January 3, 2011 § 6 Comments

by Jason Jaksetic

Is fitness the ability to lift up heavy objects and put them back down again?  Some would think so, I suppose.  There are quite a few individuals I see in the weight room who, in between looking at their biceps in the floor-to-ceiling mirrors, hoist some weights up and down.

Or is fitness about 30 hours of cardio a week?  Sure, your body fat is way down, but you are about as strong as a 12-year-old video game junky and you need to ask your neighbor to carry your grocery bags from the car to the house for you.

Let’s get literal for a minute.  The New Oxford American Dictionary defines fitness as:  The quality of being able to fulfill a particular role or task.

But what task?  Lifting up heavy objects is a task.  So is running a marathon in 2:08:00.

Obviously the merits of both can be argued.  That is not my point in here.  I’m going to suggest a task that acts as a good criteria for fitness.

Fitness should allow for you to fulfill the role of living.  Fitness should allow you to function and survive.

Now if your life revolves around bench-pressing 400 pounds, then by all means, focus just on that.  And if you are a pro marathoner, well, you know what you should be doing in order to get paid and eat.

But what about the rest of us?

In terms of functional fitness, survival suggests itself as our goal.  We need to be strong and fast in life.  Why not bench press 180lbs for multiple reps and run a 3.15.00 marathon?  Why not keep yourself solidly entrenched in cardio and muscular training?

These are the things that are going to offer the best benefits on all levels of, well, not dying.  Things like blood pressure, body fat, bone density, muscle and tendon strength, mental health, immune function, and heart vitality are proven to depend on both.

And also, in the ‘not die’ category, let’s step back 300 or 500 years. Before then, who would be most likely to pass on their genes to the next generation:  the body builder or the pro marathoner?  Maybe one, maybe both?  Maybe neither?

For sure, my money is on the person who is functionally fit.  He’s able to both run and scramble from wild animals and hostile people as well as wrestle them down and pound them to death.

This the holistic fitness that Spartans needed to have.  This is what they still need to have.  This primitive understanding of fitness is what Spartan Races cultivates.

In times of crisis, you won’t find yourself on a treadmill with a bottle of Fiji water watching Dr. Phil on a TV hanging from the wall.  You also won’t find yourself doing a bench press.

You are going to be on your feet, moving fast, and doing what needs to be done to survive.  You are going to have to be able to dig deep and push your limits of endurance.

So what is fitness?  I really don’t know.  What do you think?

Until a clear answers gets spelled out for me, I’m going to be fast and strong, full of both endurance and explosive power.  I’ll leave the extremes for the specialists.  I’ll take lean, cut, strong, and fast any day.

Anyway, this meets the alternative definition of fitness my dictionary describes:  the condition of being physically fit and healthy.

A Racer’s Guide to a Hangover

January 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

by Jason Jaksetic

photo credit The New Yorker

 

Happy New Year Folks!  How are you feeling today?

Maybe this would be an opportune time to share with you one of my favorite articles of all time, written by Joan Acocella for the New Yorker entitled A Few Too Many.

It is a detailed and in-depth examination of the history, science, and culture of the hangover.  Acocella notes that writer Kingsley Amis “…described the opening of Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” with the hero discovering that he has been changed into a bug, as the best literary representation of a hangover.”

In my mind this piece pretty much will answer any question you have about the phenomenon of being hung-over.  I was just hoping to add a bit of Spartan wisdom on the matter.  Consider this the Racer’s Guide to the Hangover.

Whatever your race, if it’s tough enough, you are going to go through some trying times.  In my history of Ironman Triathlon and ultra running/cycling racing, I’ve NEVER gotten through an event without having to battle severe nausea. It’s just par for the course.

So is hitting the wall at some point.  That dead feeling where you can’t imagine going on another step but it just so happens you have miles and miles and miles ahead of you.

It’s all about coping with the adversity at hand and moving forward.

I keep this in mind when waking up dehydrated, puking, and feeling like I fell down the stairs a few times, and have a day of workouts planned.

Rising to a difficult challenge is required in extreme racing.  So, practice makes perfect, I rationalize.

When I wake up after a night of too much fun and feel like death, I know that this feeling is a great simulation of how I’ll probably feel in the midst of my next big race when I have to dig deep and pull myself through hell one step at a time.

Also, when training ramps up, even if I’m 100% sober, I’m going to want to stay in bed many mornings.  I’ve found a 25-hour training week can produce mornings of suffering far worse than any binge drinking.

So, as a racer, as an athlete, and as a person who’s going to achieve so much this year:  Suck it up and get your workout in!

If you puke a few times, just be discreet enough to not get arrested.

 

Jason Jaksetic is a writer/athlete/Spartan who can be found racing all over the country.  Contact him at http://www.facebook.com/jasonjaksetic or www.JasonJaksetic.com.

Freeform Fridays: Get younger in 2011

December 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

Jennifer Hudson

 

These celebs look younger today than they did a few years ago, says the Daily Beast.

You too can look younger in 2011 than you did in 2010.  Take your before photo today, then register for a 2011 Spartan Race and start your training.

You’ll be shocked at how quickly the Spartan Spirit of courage and fortitude will take years off of your age and pounds off of your body.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

See Gillibrand’s weight-loss strategy (she went from a size 16 down to a size 4/6) here.

 

 

Resolute

December 31, 2010 § 1 Comment

by Jason Jaksetic

Statistics on the matter vary.  I’ve read that 4 out of 5 individuals fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions long term.  I’ve read that 97% of people actually don’t.  There seems to be a consensus that 1 out of 4 people blow their resolutions in the first week.

Whatever the case, according to statistics, YOU WILL FAIL.

That’s not being vicious.  It’s just a reality.  If I were a betting man, I’d be a fool to put my money on your keeping your resolution this year.

But, however, I must consider a variable.  A wild card.

You are reading The Spartan Race blog.  You are a fan of Spartan Races.  You might already be a Spartan.

That certainly throws a wrench into my odds – for you just might understand taking up a challenge.  You wouldn’t be here unless you believed that personal betterment and, ultimately, greatness, is within your own reach.

In short, you just might not be AVERAGE.

Are you?

Because there go my averages.

Only time will tell.  Spartan Races wants to see your resolutions achieved.  We hope to see it in your resolute face at the starting line, confident that you’ve done your training.  Confident because you took 2011’s start as an opportunity to get less apathetic and more aggressive in your fitness goals.

Here at Spartan Races we are tired of average.  We strive to be the best we can be at everything we do.  Modesty does not keep one from saying “I want to be great.”  Fear does.

So put yourself on the line.  Say that you’re going to do something this year.

And do it.

Be resolute.

 

Thoughtful Thursdays: Young at Heart

December 30, 2010 § 1 Comment

by Jason Jaksetic

The British Department for Work and Pensions announced today that more than 10 million people currently living in Britain will live to see their 100th birthdays.  Half of this population on track to reach the century mark is currently between the ages of 16 and 50.

We guess that the British government has gotten word of Spartan Races’ presence in the UK.  The increased vitality achieved through the fitness demands of our races is starting to ripple through the social fabric of England.

They are currently adjusting their fiscal plans to accommodate pensions that will need to cover individuals who will spend as much as one third of their lives in retirement.

Interestingly, there is a “Centenarian Clerk” at the Department for Work and Pensions whose job it is to make sure 100-year old birthday boys and girls receive a card from the Queen.

We are planning on offering any centenarian Spartan complimentary entry into their next Spartan event.

It’s not a joke.  We fully except it to happen one day.

We all should take a moment to acknowledge the incredible feats of fitness that have been achieved by our respected elders.

Bob McKeague finished the Ironman World Championships in Kona with a time of 16:21:55 at age 80.  Plenty of younger folk finished after him in the race that included a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run.

In 2003 Fauja Singh set the marathon record for over 90-year-olds with a time of 5:40:00. He did his first marathon at age 90 and finished one in 2005 at 94.  He’s still running strong at 98.

The current record for 70+ marathon is held by Ed Whitlock at 2:59:10.  A pace that most of the population can’t come close to doing a 5k in.

So, don’t ever think it’s too late to start training!  It’s just not a viable excuse.

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