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Spartan Race Montreal: Senior spartan hits a wall, finds strength to recover

Chad Ronalds is preparing for a Spartan Race in Montreal this summer. You can read each installment in his journey by clicking here.

As I prepare for my first Spartan Race event – a five kilometer run with 20 obstacles – I realize that thinking I’m in reasonable shape for my age is not the same as actually being in shape.

After training for two months at a steady pace — three times a week for two hours — I’m still not as fit as I like to think I am. This I discovered in mid-March when I started a more regimented and intense workout plan provided by my trainer, Lelo Polcari at Flex Gym in LaSalle.

My new workout is a two-part plan with day one working mostly on legs and day two mostly on upper body. Both are “supersets” three exercises performed one right after the other, with a 30-second break before repeating. This is done four times with four different groups of three exercises. The goal is to push your body both in terms of the strength-building as well as cardio/endurance ability.

My first day on this plan was an eye opener. I was on my knees trying to catch my breath after just one superset, never mind repeating it four times! My trainer insisted that I do at least two sets of each trio for the first two days as he was teaching it to me.

After those first two days I came to understand the gap between where I wanted to be and where I was. Yet, I haven’t felt this physically alive in some time. I have more energy, body awareness and a feeling of well-being that permeates
everything I do. So far, members of our team have each been training in their own ways, mostly solo, except for the yoga my daughter is teaching me.

With the arrival of spring we’ll have the opportunity for outdoor sessions together. We are planning on group jogging and hiking — even conquering some improvised obstacles. Stay tuned for more on the road to Owl’s Head and the Spartan Race, July 16th.

Daughter Bryn works out her way

IMG_7467A few months have gone by since my roommates challenged my Dad to the Spartan race, and while he appears to have returned to the gym regularly, I have found it surprisingly difficult.

The mental discipline of adding something new to my daily routine, even though it hurts or is boring, is a challenge. Many of us aren’t up for it. We like things easy, fun and engaging. I needed to find a way to get a workout that appealed to me.

One way to beat the monotony of the gym is to take classes. I tried pole dancing and instantly fell in love with the sport. And trust me, it’s a sport. It combines dance with gymnastics and puts you in a place that immediately makes you feel more comfortable with your body and what it is capable of. It is hard: you are covered in bruises by the end of a session and your muscles burn. It is also so much fun that I leave eagerly anticipating the next session.

Participants include women of all shapes, sizes and ages, and even a few men.

Dad prefers the gym and finds ways to keep his workouts fun and engaging. He was initially amused and a little uneasy with my trying pole dancing, associating it far more with a misspent youth than a workout. Now he supports it although he still hopes I will continue to give the gym a chance! One thing he won’t do is join me for a class, which I suppose is fair. When it comes to working out, everybody is different.

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