Gaspari Nutrition

Margaret Schlachter

Digging Deep

I recently spent the weekend in Pittsfield, Vermont as a candidate for the Certified Spartan Coach Program through Spartan Race. This is not a detailed blog about exactly what we did, if you want that go over to and read all the details. It was however the takeaways I got from the weekend that are staying with me. Did I pass the test?  I should know in a few weeks, but in the end it was the experience that mattered.

I arrived at the farm totally confident I had what it took easily to be a Spartan Coach. I had been coaching for almost a decade and an athlete for as long as I could remember. I was confident in my skills and knew I was ready to take on any challenge.  This experience was not only a humbling one in which I was tested physically and mentally but also it was a chance for me to learn all that I don't know. I am eternally grateful I had the opportunity to be one of the first to even be a candidate for this program.

We as athletes and trainers often think that as we progress professionally we have all the answers. We grow confident in our skill sets and sometimes this hinders our progress. Sometimes it takes a weekend a little over your head to realize how much their still is to learn in the world. It takes the strong at heart and of mind to stop, look around and ask for help when they are unsure of the next step. (This happened while leading the group on a hike in the middle of the night). It's times like these that I find myself getting amped up again and ready to go out and really hit it hard. One might look at it as one step back but really now I am able to take two steps forward.

For those interested in what the weekend was like here is the briefest cliff notes version. Friday - Sunday we did at 10+ miles of running, two 90 minute bikram yoga sessions, 4-6 hours of moving wood and farm chores, 4 hour continuous workout, 3 mile trail run, cold river crossing, 8 mile hike/run up and down the mountain in the dark, and 90 minutes of sleep under the stars and that was just the physical part we also endured over 10 hours of written exams. Finishing off with a one-on-one interview. All of this on about 4 hours of sleep total for the weekend.

It is the weekends like this that really test me and with several long endurance races coming up a weekend like this is perfect training. What a better way to spend in Vermont that out in the open and in the woods.

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