Reebok SPARTAN Race – Giveaway and Muddy Mommy Interview
An “it’s funny because it’s true” post I saw recently was: The 14 Differences Between Facebook in your 20s and Facebook in your 30s – particularly the one about “Twenty-something pictures of Sunday Morning Drunk Brunch –> Thirty-something pictures of Sunday Marathons.” In my 20s, I was satisfied with working out at the gym when I felt like it. Now that I’m in my 30s, it’s about maintaining the momentum of working out and finding physical challenges.
Spartan Race, Inc. contacted me a few weeks ago about advertising their upcoming Spartan Races in California. I asked them if a lot of Moms participate in the race. They put me in touch with inspirational athlete, blogger, and marketing and editorial contributor for Spartan Race, Inc. Holly Joy Berkey, AKA “Muddy Mommy.“ She answered my questions on how to “Spartan Up!”
Beneath the interview you will find the giveaway and discount codes!
How many kids do you have and how old was your oldest when you ran your first Spartan Race or race similar to one (like a Mud Run)?
I have a 5 year old son named Mason. Our family life has been very involved in Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) for the last several years, and he’s been a big part of it! Initially he and my husband would spectate while I raced, but when he turned 4 we started letting him run the kids races. He started by participating in a couple of local OCR kids races, and then ran a couple of Spartan Races as well. Since turning 5 we’ve let him expand his horizons a bit. For larger, more difficult races (Like Spartan Race, BattleFrog, or Savage Race), we still have him do the kids race, but at a few of our local favorite OCR’s, we’ve brought him with us through the adult course. He actually gets upset at how short the kids races are, and loves to get out on the course for 3-4 miles with us. He knows the obstacles that he can and cannot do, and will usually just go around and cheer for people, give them high fives, and wait for my husband and I as we complete obstacles he’s too small to do. He loves low crawls, over-unders, and cargo net climbs. We typically work together and help him through the obstacles, it’s a great bonding experience for us as a family. We have a lot of fun, just the three of us. It makes me very proud to see him grow stronger, and his last couple of races he’s ran the entire way without needing to rest or asking to ride piggy back. Just tonight he asked me when his next race is, and if he can do a Spartan Race for his birthday. My little guy is hooked and I love it! It has given him a fire to stay active and healthy, and I believe this lifestyle will help him make healthy choices as he grows up.
How did you motivate yourself to start obstacle racing?
I’m not going to lie and say that it’s easy at first. Getting into shape takes time, longer than most people think it will take if they do it the right way. It hurts, it makes you take a long, hard look at your weaknesses, and it’s a struggle. Nothing comes easy in the beginning. But sticking with it and finally seeing the results you yearn for make it so worth it. Once I started obstacle racing, much of my motivation came from wanting to return and do better than the time before. I wanted to be able to complete the monkey bars, I wanted to be able to climb a rope, I wanted to run a little bit faster, to finish a little bit earlier. Obstacle racing really isn’t so much about racing against other people, it’s a race against a former version of you. It’s intoxicating, and makes you want to keep training so you can keep doing better and better. For me, it’s now a lifestyle. I couldn’t imagine living my life without running and training, or without racing. The most difficult part really is sticking with it till you fall in love with it.
Running your first Spartan Race can be intimidating. What tips do you have for those considering a Spartan Race for the first time?
Just do it. There are so many examples of people overcoming all odds to complete Spartan Races. Amputees, people who have survived incredible accidents, blind, deaf, disabled, morbidly obese, the list goes on. If they can do it, so can you. However you don’t want to go into it blind. You’ll want to train your body to be as ready as possible so you don’t feel defeated when you cross the finish line. Mix endurance training (running) with strength training (bodyweight exercises as simple as pushups, situps, burpees, lunges, and squats will do) to get you body prepared for the intervals that will be thrown at you during the race. It won’t be easy, it will challenge you, but it will make you feel alive. You will be so proud of your accomplishment when you finish your race.
Are there dangers involved, and what is a good way to decide whether to overcome an obstacle or skip it (if that’s even an option)?
There’s risk with anything in life. Quality races do everything to make their races as safe as possible, and many injuries sustained on course are from racers who are not taking proper precautions while they maneuver the course. Many of the obstacles not only challenge you physically, but also mentally. They are designed to get in your head, to make you wonder if you can overcome them. Part of the fun of completing an obstacle is not just having the strength to complete it, but also having the courage to get through it as well. I personally have a major fear of jumping from heights. It scares me to stand on that high platform over a dark pool of water and realize that I must jump in order to continue on (I’m way to stubborn to ever skip an obstacle). It may not be pretty, and it may scare me, but I do it, and I’m always proud of myself when I do. I’ve also learned that if I don’t hesitate and just jump without taking time to think it makes it much easier, like ripping off a bandaid. I have a friend who is terribly afraid of heights, which makes cargo nets and high walls very difficult for her. I’ve seen her shake in fear on these obstacles, and I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing the pure joy on her face when she gets through it. People will always be there to help you and encourage you, and on any obstacle that could pose any shred of danger the event will have lifeguards or safety personnel. Long story short, it’s more mental than anything, but that’s what these races do, they help you conquer your fears and show you what you’re made of.
How is the Reebok Spartan Race different from other mud and obstacle races?
The Reebok Spartan Race is not just a race, because it’s based around an ideal to change people’s entire lifestyle. They want people to get off of the couch, and not just for one weekend, for the rest of their life. They want people to WANT to be better, to get stronger, to strive toward better living. Completing a Reebok Spartan Race is like badge of honor for many people. I completed a Spartan, therefore I can handle any challenge that’s put in my way, whether it’s on a race course, or in my daily life. Spartans are a family of people who support each other through thick and thin. It’s an amazing community, one I’m very proud to be a part of.
What would you say to someone who is on the fence about running a Spartan Race?
Just do it. Don’t over-think it. Sign up before you talk yourself out of it. Find friends who will go with you. Commit to train. Show up, don’t give up. It will not be easy. At times it will downright suck, but it’s supposed to. If you didn’t want a challenge you wouldn’t have chosen a Spartan. This is a race that will make you look in the mirror and say “Wow, I really did that.” You won’t regret it, it’ll be one of the best decisions of your life. I can guarantee it.
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Winner can register for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the continental US.