In the July issue I naively described The Spartan Race as a “five-kilometer run in the woods.” After completing the Spartan Sprint (the shortest of the Spartan races) at Owl’s Head ski resort in the Eastern Townships in July, I’d like to correct myself.
The Spartan Race is a gruelling five-to-seven kilometer endurance run up and down the steepest slopes of the mountain with 20 military style obstacles to complete along the way. Even to call this a run is misleading: for many of us doing the race, the best that can be achieved is a steady walking pace up the slope and a cautious slow jog on the way down. There are some, the elite athletes they’re called, who can achieve a running pace through the entire race but for the most part competitors of all ages just do their best to keep moving and reach the finish line in one piece.
Why take on this challenge was a question I kept asking myself as my team-mates and I made our way doggedly up and down the mountain, not once but twice! In my case it was a matter of having been cajoled into signing up by my daughter, Bryn, and her friends. Once committed, proper physical and mental preparation was a must.
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I started exercising in early January and entered a more formal and exhausting regimen in mid-March with trainer Lelo Polcari at Flex Gym. The training program included four sets of 30 challenging exercises split into a two day on and one day off routine. At the beginning I could barely complete half of each day’s workout and was frequently on my knees panting, sweating profusely and asking myself why I was doing this.
The preparation, including all the gruelling evenings in the gym, paid off. I completed the course with our team and received a medal for finishing the race. But more than anything, getting back into shape is its own reward. I feel younger, move with greater ease, and have taken on other challenges.
In late August I participated in the Ottawa Craft Beer Run, a five-kilometer run along the scenic Rideau Canal. This was my first “timed” race and provided me with a baseline for future runs.
On Labour Day weekend six of us set out from Montreal for Quebec City by bicycle. It was 300 kilometers in three days with two nights
of camping. This was the most cycling in a three–day period most of us had done. What a feeling of accomplishment!
My involvement with The Senior Times coincides almost exactly with this process of getting in shape physically and mentally. As the paper celebrates its 30th anniversary, I look forward to growing along with it and living an exciting, active (senior) life!