There’s no turning back now.

A lot of words, feelings, and thoughts are going to be expressed fall out of my face right now that may not make sense. For the sake of the uninformed…

In four days I will, for the second time, be taking on the Spartan Beast at Mt. Killington, VT.

Those who have done this event before, like me, get it. Those who have not…probably have an incredible sense of dread and anticipation. For those who are interested, you can read my rambling, complainey recap of last year’s race. Buckle up, it’s a long one.

Through all the raging emotions…somehow… I’ve managed to find a little zen. There are some undeniable truths about this race that, if embraced, will help us all find a little solace, a little calm, and a little sleep in these final few days leading up to the mountain.

This “race” is going to destroy me.

Let’s not kid ourselves. No matter if you’re on the podium or DFL… this will wreck you. The sooner we make peace with that the better. This is one of the most difficult events I have ever done. Harder, I think, than my first marathon. Harder, for sure, than the Seven Sisters Trail Race. The Spartan Beast at Mt. Killington has no equal, in my opinion, unless you start going to the realm of Ultra OCR’s, such as World’s Toughest Mudder, the Death Race, or even the Ultra Beast (which is two laps of the Beast).

I am taking extra care of my body NOW so that it can withstand the unearned punishment it will endure Saturday. This “race” is going to annihilate me, body and mind. I will cross the finish. I will recover. I know this. I accept this.

The time to train has passed.

We are four days away from the race. There is no more time to train. Hell, there’s barely time to pack. Whatever is not yet planned…will not be – yes, even items to bring on the mountain. You should only run with what you’ve trained with. By now, you must already know what you’re bringing.

No, I do not need every piece of gear I own. I know what nutrition I need. I know what clothing I need. I know what I will drink. I know what additional gear I need. I just need to pack it, put it in the car, and be done with it. I will be ok. I know this. I accept this.

This will be harder than last year. Unless it’s easier.

Photo Credit – Spartan Race

Last year Killington was the World Championship race. This year its not. However, it IS still Killington…the birthplace of the Spartan Beast. Hell…the birthplace of SPARTAN in general. This year, instead of the World Championship, its a Founder’s Race – this simply means the race founder(s) will help the already-evil course designer make this race more challenging.

Because it clearly needed to be more challenging.

And though rumors may fly about this obstacle or that obstacle (or lack thereof)…we all know this race is going to be hard, and we cannot know EXACTLY how hard until it’s over. “You’ll know at the finish line”…what a bunch of jerks. I know this. I accept this.

I am overthinking this. It is what it is.

Photo Credit – New England Spahtens

I know what I’m doing. The fear of the unknown is strong, but there is much less “unknown” than I think. I know what a Spartan Race is. I know what last year’s Beast is. I estimate this course will be in the neighborhood of 16 miles long (including carries). It’s going to suck. It’s going to be long. There are going to be (multiple) sandbag carries, bucket carries, log carries, barbed wire crawls…But, frankly, it doesn’t matter. It is what it is. I will survive.

A wise man once said…“Don’t Panic”. I know this. I accept this.

I will not repeat last year’s mistakes.

I made a lot of mistakes last year. I will not waste time. I will not stop unnecessarily. I will not stare at obstacles I know I will fail. I will hydrate and fuel every 45 minutes. If I fail an obstacle I fail it. Burpee (or don’t) and move on. I will not fear failure. I will not make the rope climb. I will not make the rig. I may not make the spear throws. But I WILL finish the Beast. I know this. I accept this.

This “race” is not a race. Just do it. 

Photo Credit – New England Spahtens

More important than anything else, I must remember – this “race” is not a race. I said it last fall after finishing, and anyone you ask who has done this will tell you…this is not a race. This event…its a test. A test of your will, your fortitude, your ability to overcome. Don’t race the clock – it will only cause you to make avoidable mistakes. I WILL be careful, and I WILL finish.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got – “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must.” I can do this. It will take everything I’ve got, but I can. I know this. I accept this.

Run your own “race”.

You are here for a reason, whatever that reason may be. This is YOUR event, nobody else’s. Other peoples’ opinions of how you run your “race” do not matter. How you burpee (or don’t), how you climb a wall (or don’t), how you fuel/eat/pee/walk/run…it is your business and nobody else’s. I know this. I accept this.

It’s time to prepare.

Photo credit – Spartan Race

You’ve got some things to do. Account for and pack your gear/nutrition. Get your race clothing/gear selected and packed. Charge your GPS watch. Hydrate. Constantly. Make sure you eat enough. Make sure you rest enough. Most important of all…Don’t Panic. It’s here. You’re as ready as you can be. With this event, that’s all anybody can ask for. I know this. I accept this.

So, if we see each other on the mountain Saturday…say hi. Give a friendly wave. Perhaps “run” part of the course with me. In the end, most of us will finish. Some will get injured. Some will get hypothermia and be pulled from the course. Do not quit. Do not give up. Do not give in. You can do this. Trust your training, trust your knowledge, trust yourself. What will be…will be.

I know this. I accept this.