Who are our members?
When we first set out to create Warrior Tech we knew the most important piece to the puzzle was community. We fell in love with racing and Ninja Warrior because of the people we met throughout our journey. Here at Warrior Tech, we planted the seed of “family” by creating a schedule that allows families to train side by side. And that seed is growing. It’s been heart warming to watch parents and their kids tackle obstacles. Whether it be in fitness Classes, Ninja Classes, Open Rig or on the racing circuit, Warrior Tech families are working together.
We’d love to highlight our members here. Who are they? How do they train? What goals do they have? Take a read and learn who they are…then grab your family and head on in. And let’s build the Warrior Tech community!
I’m Going to Look Ridiculous
That of course was my first thought as I walked into Warrior Tech. Looking around, I was easily the oldest person there (those track out kids are young!) and I couldn’t remember the last time I had worked out, let alone taken a class…with other people! But there I was, stretching and trying to pretend like I knew what I was doing.
That was almost 8 months ago. I still spend quite a bit of time pretending I know what I am doing, but I have realized that nobody, and I mean that sincerely, nobody cares what I look like. It’s not an exaggeration to say I have come a long way, and just as true, I have a long way to go. I have learned the differences in medicine balls, swiss balls, and bosu balls, kettle bells and dumb bells and I know where to find the TRX. But I still can’t remember the differences between the seemingly endless dead lift variations (can someone please demonstrate that?)
My warrior “trek” started when I sent my second daughter off to college. Over and over I told her: “try things, don’t be afraid, what’s the worse that happens if you try and fail?” I realized, I needed to heed my own advice because I was sick of hearing myself say “Oh my gosh, I have got to start exercising. I have got to start eating better. I have got to stop drinking so much.” (the eating and drinking could still use a little work.) It was time to stop talking and start trying. So I googled Ninja gyms near Raleigh. (Because…of course, ANW. The show.) And I signed up. And I showed up. And I almost threw up. But then I showed up again. And again. And I realized I like it at Warrior Tech. I like the challenges. I like how it has makes me feel stronger. I like that I can laugh at myself when I am not quite “getting” it and people laugh along…not at me, but with me. Everyone training takes it seriously, but not so much that it isn’t fun.
I’m not the most observant person (Warrior Tech DOES have showers!) and I don’t always think things through before I commit to something. If I had really thought about the skills and athleticism needed to conquer the rig, to jump a wall, to climb the rope, I would absolutely have talked myself out of trying. But luckily for me, I started before I really thought about all those things. Many baby steps get you closer and closer to your goal, until one day, you get up the warped wall. Or you make it up the rope. It’s a process. And the satisfaction of finally accomplishing a goal is fabulous. There are plenty of things I still can’t do (yet) but I love trying. My advice is don’t think, just jump in.
Next thing you know, you might bring a friend, you might stay awhile, you might become family!
On September 29, 2014, my family’s life changed forever. My beloved husband of 20 years died suddenly. I spent the first year coping with all the changes that come from a tragedy – my children and I put one foot in front of the other and somehow got through the year.
The second year was spent figuring out how our new life would look. It also was spent in front of the refrigerator and pantry. Some people cope with grief by controlling everything they eat and making sure they sweat out the tears. I was not one of those people! I ate all the things and did none of the exercise. I was so focused on making sure the children had a semblance of normal that I forgot to take care of my health.
This third year has been focused on making room in our lives for health and togetherness. It was important to me that my children and I do something together. My 11 year old daughter, 13 year old son, and I are training at the same time in the same place. It’s something we can do as a family. After just a few months of training, we even did a Big Muddy Race together! As someone that has never been particularly athletically inclined, this was an incredible accomplishment!
Finding Warrior Tech is a big part of this journey. I love that the staff (and fellow members) meet everyone where they are – if you are a beginner, you are welcome; if you are already a TV star competitor at American Ninja Warrior, you are welcome.
It’s OK to be a beginner; it’s OK to take longer than everyone else to reach your goals. It’s OK to be the slowest one in the class, or to be the one that has to have all the modifications. If you keep showing up, and you do your best, you have succeeded! I see the truth of this every time I step foot into Warrior Tech. Perhaps most importantly, my kids see this truth every day. They see high-fives for getting through the training; they see staff and members encouraging each other to try something hard. We are inspired by the super-human athletes we train next to, and we are inspired by the normal humans we train next to.
I may never do a trifecta, or maybe I will. Right now, I’m focused on getting through some injuries to get stronger and healthier. My daughter is focused on getting up the 14’ warp wall. My son is focused on getting stronger. I love that we can show up to do all these things together.
A New Normal
How I Completed My First Spartan Trifecta in 8 Weeks
I have always been very active person with regular gym workouts and running completing several 5k’s in the past year and was ready to step up to half marathon. However, I found myself wanting a fresh new challenge with more focus on my core and upper body strength and discussed options with my trainer who suggested I try out the Spartan obstacle races.
I read up on the Spartan website all about obstacle training and attended a session where I was introduced to techniques such as bear crawls, crab crawls, duck squats and pull ups. This gave me the encouragement and motivation to give it a go and I signed up for my first race along with a couple of my friends to run the Spartan Super in Fayetteville in September 2017.
Now I had about 4-6 weeks to train hard, and my first challenge was to get my head around the right training program. I researched on the Spartan website where they had a lot of information and excellent Youtube videos on techniques as well as a couch to Spartan training guide. I tried to work on the guide myself at the local gym and with friends when we could get together but it was proving very difficult for me to stay committed and follow the guide. I really needed to find the right place where I could get more exposure to obstacle courses, and that was my next challenge. I searched some local places and stumbled across the Warrior Tech Obstacle Course Readiness Facility which also provided qualified Spartan SGX trainers all within short distance from me PERFECT!!!!
I went the next day to check out the facility and as soon as I walked in I was greeted with a friendly team and welcoming atmosphere. They knew exactly what I was looking for and how they could help me achieve my optimal level of fitness for my first race. To my pleasant surprise they even had a whiteboard that highlighted all the upcoming Spartan races including my race as well as a display of Spartan medals so I knew this was the place for me to get some serious training done.
I started my training classes straight away attending most evenings and what I really enjoyed was each session was never the same, focusing on different parts of your body each day and learning new techniques. They offered ninja training classes once a week which I found daunting each time but the main aim was to learn and apply yourself to the obstacles in class. Within period of 3-4 weeks I could tell the difference in my legs as my squat jumps got stronger, as well as my shoulders and arms as my push up’s increased to 10+ instead of crashing at 1. The classes gave me more energy and I could tell my body and eating habits were slowly changing which was a great feeling.
However, my work commitments became very busy during this time and I was unable to focus and train as it got closer to the race, my motivation and confidence level took a nosedive and I started to doubt my ability to take part in the race. I went to Warrior Tech and spoke to the trainer who provided the most valuable advice at the time “you CAN do this Ishy, all you need to do is change your my mind set and get over the finish line”!
With the tremendous support from the trainers and my team mates I was able to re-focus and put all my efforts into training as much as I could in the short time I had. Warrior Tech offered a two hour Spartan SGX workshop 2 weeks before the race, where they ran a small course outside on the grounds with some of the obstacles that you would expect to see on the day of the race. The Olympus wall, spear throw, hercules hoist, the Z wall, the atlas ball was a few which I tried out and got myself mentally prepared.
Fayetteville, NC Spartan Super September 23 2017 – 8 Miles 27 Obstacles – completed 19, attempted 4, duration 4.40hrs
Race day had arrived and I was so excited and the atmosphere at the venue was overwhelming as we got ready in our official Spartan gear.
As we all lined up at the starting line, we had to go over the first wall and that is where the fun began with me being “thrown over the wall” and I never looked back!! It was all about me and my team working through each obstacle and meeting some great people on the way who shared their stories of past races and the motivation to do it again. Watching these obstacles on youtube was not the same as being there for real and thinking “what the hell am I doing here! We made our way through mud, water, the barbed wire crawls, conquering the dunk wall, the slip wall, the inverted wall, overcoming my fear of heights climbing the A frame cargo net and stairway. I struggled with the bucket carry and there was at least 2 others helping me carry the atlas ball. I didn’t even try to attempt the open rig, rope climb and twister and went for the burpees, but it was all so much fun.
I recall turning to my team at 5 or 6 miles into the race and saying “when do we sign for the next race!!” which I thought I would never say. The course was very flat but was still tough combined with the obstacles, and as we got to the last mile we could see the festival area and the Warrior Tech team were there with their booth encouraging the teams. They cheered us on to the finish line through the fire jump and the amazing feeling to complete my first race and get my first shiny medal!
I was so motivated to run again and complete the other two races, the beast was scheduled for start of November so my friend found a Sprint race which we signed up to run 2 weeks before the big finale and we had such determination to do it.
Me and my friends made our way to Atlanta for the Sprint with only under 3 hours sleep the previous night, this was really what you call true commitment and so much excitement to do this again.
The course was shorter and more scenic at the lake, however the course was little hilly and more trial running which took me off guard and made me realize not to take each race course for granted. I had promised my team that I would attempt to run most of this as it was 5 miles, but that didn’t happen unfortunately but the team never left my side as we all worked together to get through the obstacles and enjoy the beautiful views.
I was over the moon once I completed my second race and this was even greater feeling of accomplishment now I had two shiny medals within space of 4 weeks.
South Carolina, Spartanburg, Spartan Beast November 4 2017 12.5 Miles 31 Obstacles – completed 21, attempted 5, duration 6.19hrs.
I could not believe I was taking part in the beast at last and I had not ran 10 +miles at all so this was going to be tough but I was ready. The course was very hilly again and I really had to watch my steps through the trail for the weeds and branches all over. The race started very slow for the first 3 miles with the dunk wall and slip wall and barbed wire crawl coming up earlier in the race. Once we got past those few miles the rest started to come around much quicker with some new obstacles that I hadn’t done before such the log carry and the tyro traverse which I attempted but could not complete. My legs started cramping at 8 miles and I started to slow down, my team gave me the motivation to get through the last few miles. No words could describe what I went through when I saw the 11 mile marker and I was nearly in tears with the sense of achievement reaching the goal of my first trifecta was too overwhelming.
Reaching the finish line at the beast with my awesome team #triplethreat #OlgaRyzhikova, #AllenThompson and getting my third shiny medal was the most incredible feeling I have ever had. I would never have accomplished this without their dedication and commitment, the pain and the fear and come out the other side of this journey with them. It has been truly the most amazing experience and made me a much stronger and better person.
And finally remember that no-one can take away that feeling of great accomplishment from you:
• The sense of personal achievement as you wash and scrub away the mud and dirt from your running shoes and clothes after each race
• The shiny medals that you now wear with pride
• The inspiration you now give to others who want to challenge themselves
From Sofa to Super
I guess you could say my story starts out in the same way that many others do. I was at a point in my life where I was excited to make a change for the better. I needed to set my sights on a new goal and I wanted to test my limits.
It all began one evening while watching American Ninja Warrior with my children. As each individual competitor would cross the line to go to the next obstacle, my daughter would say, “Daddy, can you do that one?” or “Daddy, I bet you could be a ninja warrior.” As we speculated upon my abilities, my intrigue grew. After I put my kids to bed and returned to the living room, there was a show on called the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge. I decided right then and there, this is what I wanted to do. I immediately Googled the next Spartan competition and found out that there was going to be a Super race in Fayetteville in just six weeks.
I knew what I needed to do, so I registered and began planning how I could achieve such a lofty goal. With the support of my family, including my incredibly understanding and encouraging wife, I began a new exercise regimen trying to plan for practical strength and endurance. My wife, being a little more astute, realized that I needed “real world” obstacle course training in order to achieve my goal. She discovered the amazing facility of Warrior Tech OCR and proceeded to give me a membership as a surprise.
When I arrived at Warrior Tech I was greeted by some of the kindest, most knowledgeable and supportive individuals that I am proud to call friends. Through their diligent training and constant positiveness, I could now visualize my goal and knew that nothing could stop me from achieving it. I began simply by attending some group fitness courses, then proceeded to integrate their ninja training and obstacle course training nights. In those six weeks I was able to completely transform not only my physical abilities but my mental fortitude to the degree in which I knew I could not fail. I am a firm believer in the fact that we can have whatever we want in life if we make a conscious decision to help those around us to also achieve their goals. It is with this network of support that I was able to complete my first race well ahead of projected time. With this accomplishment, I was left not with a feeling of satisfaction, yet a hunger for more. I had to see what else I could achieve with this new powerful mindset.
So, I set my sights on achieving my trifecta. In order to do so, I had to complete both the Sprint and Beast within the same calendar year. Fortunately for me, there was only one opportunity left, within a reasonable distance, for me to achieve this. I spent the next six weeks diligently training my body and mind to complete both races in the same weekend. It is with a very full heart and with a mindset of gratitude, that granted me the strength and determination to finish my races and earn my first Trifecta. As I move through this new phase of my life, I am truly filled with confidence, respect and appreciation for all of those who helped me to get where I am today.
The Hardest Obstacle in Obstacle Course Racing
I was arguably the least experienced guy in that corral at the start and while I was standing there couldn’t help but think that I didn’t belong with these elite athletes who had trained for years for this opportunity.
However after the gun went off and the mud settled, I discovered something exciting. At the completion of every single obstacle I was given something. CONFIDENCE! Confidence I should have already had from all my fitness classes and “ninja training” at Warrior Tech OCR.
As I learned this month, SELF-DOUBT is the hardest obstacle you will encounter in your training and on race day. Don’t give into it, you are better than that. Set a goal and accept nothing less. The human body and spirit are amazing things, so don’t ever underestimate what you can do.
My wife and children have always supported my crazy athletic ventures and I love that they have come along side me and are also competing in OCRs and finding success. Now I’m so proud to call Warrior Tech and the people I’ve met there my “extended family”. We reach down and help each other up when we fall and we all share in the joy of our collective accomplishments.
I told my son recently while we were training, “If you give your mind an out, your body will take it.”
If you allow yourself to think that NOT making the grab or letting go is acceptable, then your body will follow.
Don’t give yourself any options except success.
So what is YOUR goal?
Write it on your bathroom mirror, put it on a sticky in your office, do whatever it takes to remind yourself that you WILL achieve it! Because the best part about goals is that once you achieve one, you get to create a NEW adventure for yourself.