Preparing For the Beast!

Average_Jbob overlooks Santa Clarita, CA.

The BEAST is COMING!

The Spartan Beast in Lebec, CA is only 5 days away and I’m already getting anxious to GET GOING!

This will close out my 2nd Spartan TriFecta for 2018 (3rd total). . .and I have the privilege of running it with my 16-year-old son who will be closing out his FIRST EVER Spartan TriFecta!  I can tell he’s nervous, but he’s been training awfully hard and I couldn’t be prouder of him right now!  I haven’t had to push him at all, but rather, he’s taken his training into his own hands and mapped out a plan that has extended his long run to just over 15 miles!  He’s been using his gym membership regularly to get in some good lifting sessions and working on his dead-hang time for grip.  I know this weekend will be a HUGE challenge for him, but I have complete faith that he will do the MOST CRUCIAL and KEY PART in all of this. . .he will SHOW UP to the Starting Line!  Whatever happens on the course after that will happen, and no matter HOW long it takes, he will only exit the course when he finds the Finish Line!.

As for me, I have been making a few fine-tune adjustments of my own.

I just got a new 2.5L Hydration Pack for my birthday and had just enough time to take it out on 1 short trail run.  I’m glad I did too because even tho this pack is practically the EXACT same design as my last one, my old pack only had a 2L bladder in it.  I never really felt the weight of the water at 2L, but at 2.5L I can tell an obvious difference!  Plus, when fully loaded with water, I can feel the bulge of the pack along my spine.  I don’t ever remember feeling that with the old one.

[YOU:]

Why are you getting rid of your old one?

That’s a fair question.  There wasn’t anything COMFORT wise that I didn’t like about the old one, BUT the stitching on one of the shoulder straps was coming apart and I wasn’t sure how much longer it would actually hold together.  I’ve already taken it thru a few gnarly Beasts and didn’t want to gamble on whether or not it would survive Lebec!  Also, I was going to swap out the bladder in it anyway since the quick-release on the hose NEVER WORKED!

[YOU:]

So. . .will the new pack work for Lebec?

Absolutely!  You should ALWAYS run with new gear BEFORE you commit to using it in an event, even if the gear is something you’ve used before!  What my test run with this new pack showed me is that I’m going to only fill my 2.5L bladder up to 2L for this run.  Why?  Because once I had drank a bit the bulge in my back lessened and felt a lot more comfortable.  By only filling the bladder with 2L I will not only be carrying a weight I’m used too, but I’ll also eliminate the bulge in my back. . .making me more comfortable and confident.  After this event I’ll play around with filling it clear up for my long training runs and give myself a chance to get used to how it feels and handles.

I also took a little time to do a tune-up Bucket Carry today!

My 16-year-old son and I grabbed a couple of 5 gallon buckets filled with 65 lbs of rock and we took a short 1/4 mile hike.  Not a long hike, but long enough to help my son refine his technique.

[YOU:]

Technique?  To carrying a bucket?

Yup!  I see a lot of people on the course carrying the bucket by putting their hands under the bottom lip.  That’s completely understandable and is also exactly how I used to carry it!  However, by carrying it that way you put a lot of strain on your hands and tax your grip.  Also, by putting your hands UNDER the bucket you are hanging all the weight from your shoulders and pulling them forward, thus taxing your upper back and spine.  The bucket is now dragging you down by your shoulders!  Now that Spartan Race has put lids on all the buckets I see a lot of people turning them UPSIDE DOWN in order to take strain off of their hands. . .but still carrying them with their hands under the bucket.  Since the lid has a rounded edge on it, it does help keep the hands from hurting as much, but it does not take any of the strain off of your grip, shoulders, and upper back.

The better way to carry the bucket is to wrap your arms TIGHTLY around it, sucking it up so the top of the bucket is just at your collar bone level, and then gripping your forearm with one hand.  If done correctly, this not only saves your grip strength for future obstacles, but it takes the weight of the bucket off of your shoulders and transfers it into your lower abdomen. . .better know as your core.  Doing this will keep you from being dragged down and will allow you to walk much further before you feel the need to place the bucket down.

This carry may seem awkward at first, but if you practice it you will find that it becomes MUCH easier and you will wonder why you ever tried to carry the bucket with your hands before!

I’ve been using this technique successfully for a few races now and each time I do it becomes easier and I get thru the obstacle quicker.  This past September, at the Super in Michigan, was the first time I was able to do the bucket carry without resting!  If you are struggling with the Bucket Brigade, then I hope you’ll give this technique a try.  I got it from watching a bunch of the Elite racers using it and figured they MUST know something I didn’t. . .and they did!  🙂

I’m now entering into Hydration and Carb-Load Week (again!), and I’m getting anxious to see just how brutal this Beast course is!  I’m expecting it to be similar to Big Bear. . .and that course is a killer!  Anyone else planning on being there?  If so. . .feel free to sound off in the comments below. . .and good luck!

Aroo!

Average_Jbob

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