SPARTAN PERFORMANCE                                        CROSSFIT SUFFOLK




7X2 Hi-Hang Cleans (with hip) + 1 Push Jerk – heaviest possible, rest 60 sec.


Alternating Tabata of:

Ring Dips
Ab-Mat Situps

Notes: This is 16 total alternating rounds of 20 seconds
of work followed by 10 seconds rest. For Ab-Mat Situps the movement
begins with hands touching the floor overhead, and finishes when both
hand touch the feet after coming to a upright seated position.(Courtesy of Outlaw CrossFit)

Further notes: That's a total of 8 rounds of Ring Dips and 8 rounds of Sit-ups, but they alternating Ring Dips (20 secs. work, 10 secs. rest), Sit-ups (20 secs. work, 10 secs. rest), Ring Dips, Sit-ups, etc..  This part of the workout is 8 minutes in total.


Spartan Beast 2012
By George Demetriou

On Saturday, September 22, 2012 several of us from Spartan Performance/CrossFit Suffolk completed the Spartan Beast, an over 13 mile Spartan Race, in Killington, Vermont.  That's Killington as in the ski resort.  That's Killington as in the 4,000-foot-plus-elevation mountain.

Troy, Barbara and I had done the Beast last year.  For Melissa D., Greg and Alex it was their first Beast.  Speaking of Barbara….special congratulations for receiving the Trifecta medal for completing a Sprint, A Super and A Beast Spartan Race within a calendar year!

The following is my observations based on the 2012 Spartan Beast ( I reserve the right to update it or change my mind about my comments since it's only been a little more than 24 hours since I finished the race!):

If you plan on doing the Beast learn how to swim.  You are not forced to do anything you don't want to do or cannot do, but knowing how to swim will increase your level of participation at the event, increase your confidence, and prevent you from having to be rescued.  We are confident in the water, but we saw some racers who should not have been in the water.  They were warned.




What the heck were we doing in the water?  We had to swim about 100 yards to a bridge with rope ladders attached, climb up the rope ladder, grab a slippery, wet, relatively thin nylon rope and travel "monkey-bar style, laterally" grabbing one rope then the rope next to it, until you got far enough over to ring a bell.  Once you rang the bell you had to  drop into the water and swim a short distance to the shore.  Failure to ring the bell and you had to swim to the opposite shore which was a longer swim.  I didn't get to ring the bell.

Vermont, in the mountains, in September isn't what we would call "beach weather".  Apparently the powers that run Killington–the resort, don't heat the lake.  Or was it a pond?  Once you get above NYC the bodies of water and how you refer to them, change.  If you ever stood on the shore of Lake Champlain you understand.  It looks like you're staring out into the ocean, but I digress.  The water was COLD.  Running for a couple of hours and then jumping into cold water makes your muscles cramp.  Nearly everyone I spoke to who actually did this part of the Beast experienced cramping.  Cramping is never pleasant.  Cramping in the middle of a lake makes everything more difficult and for some causes panic.  Fortunately only my legs cramped.  Troy's arms and legs cramped.

Running up a mountain produces a unique feeling.  Imagine holding a relatively light barbell, say 75lbs. and doing about 30,000 front squats-unbroken.  That's what the climb feels like…I imagine since I haven't done 30,000 front squats in a row.  Add in uneven terrain, rocks, mud, and vines.  It's just nasty business.  Some of the "climb" sections of the race seemed like they were never going to end.  At one point we stood at an elevation that featured light fog or cloud cover and darkness, but we could see thousands of feet down below where it was sunny and clear.

Running down the mountain–there is no running down the mountain.  There is only controlled falling.  You only think your running.  You are actually falling.  He/she who can influence his/her balance and eye-foot coordination best will do well at the controlled fall.  There is no POSE running or any other established method that works when coming down a wooded section of the mountain that doesn't really have a trail.  There is rocks, mud, trees, and vines combined with gravity and physics.  And there is you doing your best to negotiate these factors.

Going this distance on unforgiving terrain is painful.  I imagine that if you often travel the mountain by foot much of the pain would be dissipated, but for flat-landers, it's far from pleasant.  If you have ankle, knee or hip issues this is probably not the sport to take up.  Injuries and issues are exposed quickly.  You will experience various levels of discomfort and pain.  The mountain doesn't care.

When we went out to eat after the race the town was filled with limping men and women.  I was one of them.

Th 2012 Beast was more difficult than the 2011 Beast….and longer.  Some said it 14 miles while others said 15.  I'm not sure yet, but it was farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The view of the mountain ranges in the background is spectacular.  Stopping to admire the beauty of the world around you helps distract you from the course, if only for a moment.

It's written that real Spartans would sing while marching to battle.  Melissa and I spent a little while with a group of friends who didn't seem to care about anything.  They were singing, as a group, the whole time we were with them.  For that very short period of time the race was nearly pleasant. 




Melissa was experiencing hip and knee pain from prior and current injuries.  A man who noticed her limping stopped us and asked Melissa about her pain.  He then pulled a roll of duct tape from his bag and taped her knee and leg with the profficiency of someone who had done this before.  Melissa said her stability was entirely better after that.  Duct tape fixes everything.

If there was one obstacle we excelled at, compared to the other racers, it was the rope climbs.  Yes there were two.  In both cases the ropes were wet, yet Melissa and I were able to climb them quickly and fairly easily.  This means there is not enough rope climbing going on with even the crowd that does this type of racing.

If you have young children take every opportunity to get them to a playground that has monkey bars.  Teach them to become profficient at monkey bar "walking".  Have them get used to hanging and doing pull-ups, especially if you have a daughter. Traveling by monkey bar walk is a daunting task even for the strong.

My respect for all Special Operations military personnel, which is already tremendously high, gets kicked up a few notches everytime I do a Spartan Race.  I spend a few hours in a day "racing".  The Special Ops guys do stuff like this and much more difficult for days on end in worse conditions.  My respect for Navy SEALS was again elevated.  After experiencing muscle cramps from the cold water I didn't want to get into the water again–and I didn't, even though I was supposed to.  SEALs spend hour after hour going into the water, coming out, standing on the shore, sometimes sitting where the waves can break on them and then going back into the water at night.  There is no chance of getting warm or dry.  The ones who make it face this "surf torture" again and again and again without letting it get to them.  I have much respect for the man who isn't broken by this process. It is a display of tremendous mental strength.

An unidentified man performed a version of the Haka when he was about to finish the race and he was to confront the gladiators.  Knowing how to perform the Haka is impressive.  Doing it as you are about to finish the Spartan Beast is too cool!

Finishing this event is very rewarding.  Your mind and body are definitely pushed way out of the normal comfort zone. We believe pushing beyond your comfort zone makes you stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.  It's what the mind, body and spirit need every so often!


6 Responses

  1. Lauren

    Awesome story, George! You really have a way of incorporating all the special details to make us (the reader) feel like we were right there with you. Glad you guys all finished and hopefully enjoyed the torture. 🙂
    Congrats to Barbara! Not too bad after a recent shoulder surgery. 😉

  2. George

    Thanks Lauren!
    I’m not sure I’d use the word “enjoy”! We survived. As always, the best part, for me anyway, is accomplishing these events with my family and friends and then hanging out sharing our observations and EATING!

  3. Barbara Olsen

    I did not enjoy any of it. Seriously I felt like they were trying to break me and the almost succeeded. I honestly don’t know how I did it. I can’t even say I was happy to cross the finish line. I am still mad at the race…….mad at the fact that it was no fun at all…….more like pure torture to me. I thought maybe it was just me…..but my cousin Adam, who did they race with me also an Army vet also struggled.
    When we were climbing the last climb which I read was about a mile and a half up…….it was silent……no talking, no singing, hardly any motivation except for whispers ……..people literally falling down exhausted……the silent stares as you passed people sitting……we were too tired to even smile at each other. That is what I remember. I remember being told less than a half mile once we finally got to the top but that was one long less than a mile. And I agree with George……downhill is not easy…..it’s dangerous. I agile walking or trying to somehow get down a diamond or double diamond ski slope. There is no easy way…..if you slip you are only going to stop if you hit something.
    Once we got down there was more…….run was all I was thinking….jog a bit……my legs were not listening……my knee developed some pain that thank goodness has subsided a bit. Eat? I slept right through eating Saturday night. For those of you who know me I am the one who would wear the medals ( I got two since I completed the trifecta) all night, the next day and then to work……I am mad at the meals lol. I feel still so tortured by this race…..which by the way gave us only 2 water stations. Another really crappy part was waiting on a line to pull a sled around a trac while inhaling smoke coming from the burning bales of hay surrounding us. Oh yeah and getting hit with the embers and ashes.
    I am now officially retired from these races. I honestly feel that the fun has been taken away and torture is the new way they choose to go. I will never recommend doing anything longer than a Sprint. The Super I did they raised the mileage to 11 miles and now the beast was 15!!!!! I mean really what’s next?!?

  4. George

    Thanks for your comments Barbara!
    That was an excellent assessment. It seems as though the race directors are trying to outdo themselves compared to last year’s events. They did, but I don’t know that it was an improvement. I was looking to improve on my last year’s time with the same or similar course. Instead we got a longer course with less obstacles.
    Barbara’s description of the last climb was spot on. It was eerie. You could see despair and fear in the eyes of some racers. I offered words of encouragement to those who looked like they needed it. I probably would have looked like some of those people, but I was with my daughter, who was in pain. I had to stay strong for her. These gave me more purpose than just finishing the race.
    But, again, I couldn’t call this race “fun”. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone except those going into the military or those looking to test the limits of their mental strength.

  5. Lauren

    Wow! That sucks! These races are supposed to be fun not dangerous. Maybe with all these other mud races that are being made, theyre trying to compete. Like “who’s balls are bigger” type of thing. It’s a shame that you were all suffering opposed to having a good time and to boot, had to pay for the torture.

  6. George

    I don’t want to complain too much. There were competitors doing the Ultra Beast which is doing the Beast twice! I saw quite a few of the Ultra competitors and they all looked good. There was also the Spartan Death Race. The death race takes between 24 and 48 hours to complete. I saw some of them as well. The death Race people ALL looked terrible.
    The Ultra and the Death race competitors had it much harder than us regular Beast people.
    I guess the point is you really have to decide what’s “fun” and why you do these races. If it’s really just for “fun” there are probably a few hundred ways to have fun that are much better than running up and down a mountain. If “fun” for you means challenging yourself then the Spartan Race is one way to pass the day!

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