Lessons Learned The Hard Way…


On August 25th I pulled 20th overall and 4th for my age in the Spartan Mid-Atlantic Super. To date this has been my best performance on what is being called – by what appears to be the general consensus – one of the most brutal courses Spartan has put on . Two weeks later on September 8th I competed in the Spartan Tri-State Super, a far easier course by comparison, however I landed in a disappointing 61st. Reflecting back I know exactly what went right on the 25th and wrong on the 8th

Going into the Mid-Atlantic I had read a review of the course (from Saturday), it highlighted hydration issues, and relentless hill climbs, basically saying this course wasn’t a run of the mill trail running experience. So I prepared, I made an effort to get in some extra sleep, I made sure I woke up a little earlier, ate a little extra, drank A LOT of water, made sure I had some Cliff Shot blocks stuffed in a baggie, and warmed up properly. With all of that said, I crushed that Mid-Atlantic course. I was focused, prepared, and definitely gave my best performance to-date. I was damn happy.

 Two weeks later it was time for Tri-state, and in my mind, a watered down version of the Super I just conquered. I was lackadaisical to say the least. I arrived Saturday. evening, ate late, watched a lot of TV , was up late, woke up and rushed out the door, no food before the race, no super-hydrating, nothing. When I arrived (after I got lost…) I did a half-ass jogging warm up and went into the pit, I payed dearly for it. By the end of the start-line climb I already had dry mouth… and it just got worse from there out: cramps, dizzy, locked up quad, hunger pains, desperate sprints to try to gain some position. In the end it was all for vain. My lack of preparation had already sealed my fate before the last AROO was shouted out of the pit.

So! Lesson learned and I hope I can save another competitor from suffering from the same foolish mistakes:

  • Nutrition: Both pre and during the race is critical, know what sits well with you and know what you need to get through the competition.

  • Hydration: Drink! Some like simple water other like drinks that help supplement sodium and potassium, both are lost in great amounts when perspiring. I personally don’t carry water with me, unless the competition exceeds 10 miles. Coming into the race hydrated is also critical, makes no sense to play catch-up during a race if you can avoid it.

  • Sleep: Get some Zzz’s! Shut the TV off, as well as the computer, and tell your significant other that play-time can happen tomorrow. Post-Race!

  • Focus: I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t over-confident. My performance at Mid-Atlantic got to me and ruined my ability to get serious and focus at the task at hand. No competition is easy if your goal is to continuously do better. Stay focused on your objective leading up to the competition and especially during.   


I hope this helps some of you out! Also, be sure to check out my Official Facebook Athlete page: https://www.facebook.com/R.Josti.OCR and be sure to [Like] https://www.facebook.com/mudandadventure!


  1. I got into OCR’s about 2 years ago and have found my new “thing”. Being a runner for the past 37 years and a triathlete for the last 23 of those years, I was getting bored and needed something new. I found it! These races are so fun, and so challenging. I’ve competed in Spartan (Sprint & Beast), Gladiator, and a few other local ones (& XTerra trail races), and will be adding Tough Mudder and many others this year and in years to follow. Being a competitive athlete for, well, a long time, along with these races being fun, I always challenge myself to do better and better. I want the Age Group medals along with the Finisher medals. I have the running down pretty good, but since I generally suck on the rope and wall climbs, I’m working on improving my arm and upper body strength. I just started a 1-2x/week CrossFit workout, and have also added daily (well, mostly) upper body/arm/core workouts…I want to be seriously kicking some butt out there. My mom can’t believe I “pay money” to put myself through these torturous events, I tell her it’s like being a kid again…I get to go play in the mud and climb walls. Just having some fun, meeting great and crazy people, and enjoying life. Yeah baby!!!


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