Melbourne Sprinters in Sydney

COMING TO SYDNEY?

 

We’ve negotiated red hot rates with Mowbray Park Farm, just minutes away from the Sydney Sprint course.

  • Bed & breakfast: $80.00 per adult ($40.00 per child 6-14yrs for those bringing families)
  • Bed, dinner & breakfast: $110.00 per adult ($55.00 per child 6-14yrs)

50% deposit on Visa or Mastercard will secure your booking; please email or phone Elise on (02) 46809243 if you have any questions or would like to make a reservation.

 

Directions to Picton from Sydney airport via train: 

Go to the Airport station’s Platform 2. Catch the train to Campbelltown Station and change to Platform 3 for your train to Picton (Southern Highlands line).

Travel time is approximately 1 hour 39 minutes.

We’ll be running shuttle buses between the course and Picton station on Friday March 15. Email us for more information and to reserve your seat.

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TAMARA TAYLOR IN TRAINING: Down but not out.

 

My calf muscle is so tight it feels like it might tear. It feels like an elastic band that’s been pulled too tight over and over again, and I’m beginning to wonder what will happen if I push it too hard. What does a tear feel like, anyway? What’s the healing time? I could Google these things, but to be honest I’m hoping to not need the answers.

 

The Sprint is looming ever closer and an injury I’ve had for a while is causing problems. Doctors have looked at it and aren’t quite sure what’s happening, except for a tight muscle, and their solution is some simple stretching. I’m worried. Training has slowed down while I attempt to rest it and stretch it out regularly. Burpees that I’m growing to love are beginning to hurt more than they should. Carrying weight is straining my muscle more than it should.

 

Put it this way, friends: my mind is reeling with the possibility of not finishing.

 

There is hope for me yet, though. I’m confident that even if my speed isn’t as great as I’d like it to be, my strength is built up and will get me over more obstacles than I’ve managed before. I’m confident that my mental grit has strengthened over these months of burpees, sandbags and kettlebell swings.

 

Injuries aren’t the end of the world. They just make my approach a little bit different and limit the way I can train, and what I can train. Hill sprints are out, short runs are in. Burpees are limited, kettlebell swings are unlimited.

 

My training doesn’t stop here, and my race isn’t over before it begins. I’m a bit disheartened and quite worried, but still determined to know at that finish line.

 

Tamara

Playgrounds make great training grounds.

Playgrounds make great training grounds.

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TAMARA TAYLOR IN TRAINING: That’s just how I roll

TAMARA TAYLOR IN TRAINING: That’s just how I roll

 

Newtown is my new home. After writing posts from Corrimal, Katoomba, Harrington and Doyalson, I’ll finally be in the same place for a while. It feels amazing. It feels like this year has finally begun and I can get into the swing of things without worrying about where I’m sleeping next week.

 

With a new home, what exactly are the things on my mind? Firstly, good coffee spots. That’s of the utmost important, but it is Newtown, so bad coffee is hard to find.

 

Secondly, I’m beginning to try out running routes – find the hills and the fields and the spots that just make me grin. There is no better way to explore a place than to run through it. You get to experience it in a whole new way. Thus far Sydney Uni is providing some decent training terrain. I’ve been working on breaking my Inov8s in, and the fields there are probably the closest to nature I can get in the middle of the Inner West!

 

 

Thirdly, I explored gyms and immediately realised that I actually don’t like them anymore. It isn’t that they were bad quality. It’s just that I’d rather be outside. I’d rather do pull ups (did I mention that I can now do one pull up without dying?!) on monkey bars in a quiet playground than in a gym surrounded by boring brick walls. I’d rather do weights on the roof of my dorm than have to wait for someone to get off a machine. And gyms don’t often have kettle bells. What’s with that?

 

Lastly, I’ve had identity on my mind. I moved from the South Coast to the South West and was 20kg heavier than I am now, and had never attempted running in my entire life. I thought people who ran outside were silly. Why intentionally make your body ache and your heart race? A year into my time there, I fell in love with running and now, here I am! A new place means that people aren’t familiar with who I was. That’s refreshing. That’s amazing. I need to let to of who I was and just be who I am now, because really, who I am now is much better than who I was.

 

thennow

 

And so, from a cafe with free wifi in the middle of Newtown, I’m writing about what’s on my mind and feeling ready to take on 2013. Hurricane Heat, Sprint, Super, Beast. That trifecta will be mine, because that’s just how I roll.

 

See you at the finish line!

 

Tamara

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TAMARA TAYLOR IN TRAINING: Against all odds

TAMARA TAYLOR IN TRAINING: Against all odds

Tired_Eyes

The hills of Katoomba make my legs burn. The fatigue of two weeks without a real rest makes my mind tired. The thought of training fills me with shame because man, oh man, am I behind where I should be. Here is where I sit currently. Tired. Drained. Honestly, a little afraid that I won’t even finish the Sprint on March 16th. Heck, I still can’t manage a pull up.

 

The reason for this feeling is something that’s been holding me back for a while now. It’s that I’ve never been the one who is strong. I’ve never been the one who is fast. I’ve never been the winner. I’m used to being the underdog who finishes against all odds. What I’m expecting of myself is to be the strong, the fast. The winner. Yet, it’s hard to become something you’ve never been, isn’t it?

 

It’s hard to sprint when all you’re used to doing is stumbling. But. I’ve been told that I’m stubborn. Determined might be used instead, if you were feeling kind.

 

The decision I’m currently facing is whether or not I stubbornly pursue strength, or stubbornly stay the same. I know what my preference is. The former, for sure. Then again, who doesn’t want to take the path of least resistance? Staying the same seems nice. Comfortable.

 

These hills that make my legs burn, this shame that looms in my mind… I’ve got to ignore one and embrace the other. The decision isn’t one that I can write down because it’s one that rises or falls on my actions. It’ll be decided when my feet hit the pavement and my heart races from the effort.

 

Or it might be decided when I fail.

 

But, it will be decided soon. It will be decided on the 1000 steps of Katoomba. It will.

 

Just, sometimes, I worry that the shame will win and I’ll just stay the same.

 

Tamara

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Tamara Taylor in Training: Plenty of Excuses Not to Train. But I’m Going To

Tamara Taylor in Training: Plenty of Excuses Not to Train. But I’m Going To

 

Boxing Day. It’s the day when we rub our sore stomachs and regret the extra one (or five) goodies. It’s the day when the Christmas high is over and we’re left to relax a bit and reflect on the day that was while looking forward to New Years. This season is nuts. It’s busy, it’s chaotic, and if you’re anything like me, you find yourself never in the same place for long.

 

Training is hard this time of year.

There are more excuses than I can count to not do it.

There are more than enough obese family members who will tell you that it’s good that your “health kick” is over, so you can now join the rest of the family in loving life.

 

Yet, at the end of this season, we always find ourselves feeling sluggish and sad. We drag ourselves for that run on January 2nd, as part of a grand New Years resolution. And at that point, we remember why we train and why we never should have stopped training.

 

As I write this, I’m on a couch at my Mum’s apartment in Wollongong. I’m here until Christmas, then off to Harrington for beach mission, then off to Katoomba to look after preschoolers for five days. January 21 is when things settle down a bit for me. Life is nuts.

 

Plenty of excuses to not train. But I’m going to. Here are my reasons to keep training hard over these few weeks of insanity:

  1. The time it takes to get back to peak performance levels after a month of sluggishness is not worth it.
  2. Training makes me feel alive. Over eating doesn’t.
  3. Training gives me an hour a day that’s mine. No one but me. It rejuvenates my weary mind.
  4. Training hard brings me joy. If this time of the year is all about joy (which I’d argue it is), then why not feel joyful?!

 

Spartans, it’s Boxing Day as you read this. Get off the couch. Go train. Train hard, smile a lot, and then get back to the cricket.

 

Tamara

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TAMARA TAYLOR IN TRAINING: I’ll Know at the Finish Line


TAMARA TAYLOR IN TRAINING: I’ll Know at the Finish Line


Spartan Race Australia is following Tamara Taylor’s training trials and triumphs as she prepares for the Spartan Sprint in Sydney on March 16, 2013. View her ‘Open Letter to Spartan Race Australia’ here.

 

The finish line is where you know. It’s where you know the work paid off; it’s where you know you made it; it’s where all that effort to fight off fear and failure is worth it. At the finish line, you take a breath and smile wide because you know. You know at the finish line.

 

But, I think I’ve gotten ahead of myself already. We’re not even at the start line yet. We’re months out from the start line, in fact. Why would I write about the finish line at this point? Simple. Now is when we get ready for the finish line. Now is when we prepare well so we make it to the finish line.

 

That, I suppose, leads us to me. Little old me. A 23 year old woman who has always been the smart fat girl and just this year started a love affair with turning perpetual “I can’t!” proclamations into medals to sit on my mantle. And, I’ve done it. But at the same time, I know there’s a long way to go. Finishing is one thing, but I’ve never done more than finish. That’s about to change.

 

Spartan Race Australia have decided to let me show that the people who forever said “I can’t!” aren’t too far gone to reach that finish line. My goal is simple, and sweet. It is to train hard and smash the Spartan Sprint when it hits Sydney on March 16th. Then I’ll know. My hope is that by letting you in on my training – including the moments when I fall flat on my face- that you’ll work harder too; that you will fight to not just stumble across the finish line, but to stride across it with a victorious grin.

 

You’ll know at the finish line. So will I. But in the meantime, let’s make sure that on race day, we’re ready to get there. Then, and only then, will we know.

 

Tamara

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STFU STORY: A motorbike accident shattered this Spartan five months ago

STFU STORY: A motorbike accident shattered this Spartan five months ago

Hi this is Braydin Cozens, I am writing you my story of my motorbike accident and recovery. I would like to start my story at where I began to get into fitness and that was about two years ago. I lived in Bendigo and worked as a plasterer, ate takeout, got drunk with mates every weekend and weighed 130 kgs. I was sick of my job as I had been a plasterer for seven years and I wanted a change. I shifted to Birchip, a small town in the Mallee and worked on a grain site. It was a different enviroment in Birchip, no temptations, but boring. There was nothing to do for fun, so I joined a local Mixed Martial Arts Club. I enjoyed it and my trainer taught me a lot about fitness. I started running, lifting weights, eating healthy and within a year I lost 60kgs. I was the fittest I’d ever been in my life and I felt like i could do anything. I got really into body building and put on a lot of muscle, but really enjoyed running. I put on about 12kgs of muscle and weighed just over 80kgs. I did the Tough Mudder in Phillip Island with my MMA trainer. I loved it so much, it was fun. I thought everyone has to try this stuff, it gives you the biggest buzz and the feel of achievement.

Braydin two months before the accident

So my life was going awesome and I was going for a ride on my road bike to Bendigo to visit my cousin who had just been in hospital after falling into a bonfire. It was early in the morning when I left and the sun was still rising. I wasn’t even 30mins from home and a farmer was crossing his sheep. I didn’t see them til the last minute, no time to brake. I hit one sheep and went over the bars. I was airlifted to Alfred Hospital. That was only five months ago and the first few days were a blur, it felt like a nightmare. I was in a neck brace, staring at the ceiling. I had grazes all over my body and a big chunk out off my knee.

Recovering at The Alfred

After a few days, they decided I didn’t need the neck brace. I was in and out off surgery on my knee. I had a screw put in my knee cap because it was cracked apart and they did skin grafts to fill the chunk and to replace the missing muscle. They took the muscle and skin grafts from my calf and upper thigh and even took a artery from my thigh and put that in my knee down my shin to get blood flow to it because it wasn’t taking. I spent two months at the Alfred laying in bed, not even able to move. They told me I wouldn’t run for two years. I read a lot of books that gave me motivation and confidence. One on Mick Doohen, he was in and out of hospital a lot through his career and was a great athlete. He enjoyed his running and exercise even though he went through heaps of injuries, he never let it stop him. He’s as tough as nails. I also read a book on Bear Grylles about how he went through the special forces and climbed Mt Everest and broke his back. I now have a love of rock climbing, thanks to Bear, so these books helped me keep sane.
I moved from the Alfred to rehab in Bendigo. My knee was healing, but I could not bend it at all. Now it was time to get to work. I spent about two months in rehab. They thought I was a bit insane, because I pushed myself so hard and I was doing any exercise I could think of all day in my room – using door frames as pull up bars and so on. I got a bit of movement back in my two months at rehab. I could now walk, but barely. I felt like an old man. They told me there that I would barely be able to run properly in six months, much better than my timeframe from The Alfred, so I had made a big head start already.
I have been home now for around two months. I’m not allowed to work but my running is almost back to normal. I’m in the gym lifting weights three times a week and back eating healthy again. I have a few new scars on my body, but I don’t mind, because they tell my story and I can’t wait to get on with my future. This accident has only made me stronger, it’s made me more determined to enjoy life.
I hope this can inspire others to never quit and enjoy life and know what we are all capable of.
Braydin will be at the Spartan Sprint in Wonthaggi in March. 

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RACE REPORT: Spartan Beast, Sacramento – Max

RACE REPORT: Spartan Beast, Sacramento – Max

 

Saturday morning 4.30am, I meet up with the Spartan Crew and drive out to the site. It’s cold, wet and windy. Not ideal racing conditions but as Joe D would say, “STFU”.

 

5.00 – 7.30am I help get the course and festival area ready to receive 4500+ racers. Before first light they’re already streaming in, unfazed by the relentless rain. Spartan tough.

 

8.00 – I am standing on the start-line of the elite wave next to Hobie Call, who seemed slight and timid when I met him at the hotel, but now, he’s bare chested and restless with predatory energy, waiting to be let loose on the beast.

Max – second from left with goofy grin

 

With little fanfare the MC counts down three, two, one, GO! I tear off, eager to get moving and get warm. Within a km we hit the first set of moats. I’m glad to be in the front pack as the edges crumble easily and soon the gap to jump will be 3m instead of 2.

 

I settle in to a good rhythm, ignoring the sleet that is now stinging my face and arms. A few grunts as the sleet becomes more intense, but no comments or funny remarks. Everyone is saving their energy.

 

Over-under-throughs come and go, and then the balance posts. The row of runners doing burpees looks ominous. I try to scrape as much of the clay mud off my inov-8 and step on to the first post. It is about 2 feet high, and smaller than the cookies they give out at the hotel. A big gust of windy sleet hits me as I take step #3. No chance. I drop off and join the line. 30 full push-up burpees. It’s going to be a long day.

 

The barren, rolling hills throw up obstacle after obstacle, ditches, barbed wire, boulder carry, tyre flip, concrete block drag, I find myself back at the festival area facing the first of 2 rope climbs. The rope is an eel, wet and slimy with mud. I get up to within 5mm of the bell, holding on as the wind swings me violently. I keep trying to reach it, I can feel it at the end of my fingers but I need another 2mm to make it ring. Won’t cut my nails next time. I keep trying but hanging takes its toll and I fall 6m straight into the water ditch below, hands stinging. I wade out, looking at the volunteer hopefully to see if she saw me ‘kind of’ touch the bell.

 

‘Thirty burpees please’ she says as I climb out of the ditch. Crap.

 

More, icy running, the brutally low barbed wire (too low to roll in most places) is stretched over rocky ground with little mud. My elbows and forearms are copping it, raw and bruised. Just keep moving, the cold is always there waiting to pounce as soon as you stop. By 15K, I pass a few racers walking and shivering, muddied and bloody. Some stop and sit, unable to continue, too cold or too tired, waiting for Spartan staff to rescue them. The pot holed, uneven terrain claims its victims. I see numerous racers hobbling on with sprained ankles.

 

There are 4 of us now running as a group. No doubt we are racing, every time the front guy slows someone else takes the lead, but when I slow to a walk on a steep section of hill the guy behind me barks and I run again. As we swap glances going up and back down the block drag or the sandbag carry, there are determined nods and the odd grin. I love this. We’re racing, but also working as a unit and pushing each other forward.

 

I try to pick up the pace in the last 4K, and hit a run of obstacles, the second rope climb (nailed it this time), another barbed wire crawl (nooo) and a zig zag balance beam. Thin as a tightrope, it looks long and unforgiving. I make it half way, then begin to loose it, I hurry hoping momentum will see me through. No chance. 30 burpees. I am past caring and just get on with it. The 19K marker looks sensational, but the high is short lived as I come around a hill and run into a set of 8 foot walls. I am the only racer here, so no helping hands. I manage a half sprint and jump. Hands hook the top, I get one forearm then the other onto the edge and take a moment to catch my breath. Then work my way up and flip over. The drop on the other side is far enough to give me time to worry about the landing. All good. The second wall is a struggle, no space for a run-up, I barely make it, but barely is enough.

 

The finish area appears as I crest the last hill, and it looks like the promised land. Not quite there yet though, as we run in we come up to the spear throw. One shot at it, the spear needs to stay stuck in the straw target. I should have taken my time, watched someone else throw, worked it out, but I grab a spear and throw. It’s not a bad effort but the trajectory is too flat, so the spear stabs the target, then clatters to the ground. A more curved throw, where the spear hits the target going down not straight has a much better chance of staying lodged. Next time.

 

Today, it means one last heart breaking set of burpees, with spectators cheering me on. I grab the rope and walk up the slippery wall (the x-talon 212’s sticky tread holding true). I sit on the top and take it in, the rain, the festival area, the fire below me. It looks truly medieval. Then through the smoke I lock on to a pair of eyes, looking straight at me. The gladiator area beyond the fire comes into view, and I see Ian, the Chicago ex-gang member man-mountain I hung out with at the hotel last night glaring at me, finger pointing accusingly. He is not smiling.

 

Ian

 

As I climb down and face him across the flames, he shouts to the other two monsters in the arena with him and they all put down their pugilist sticks and beckon me forward. A free pass for buying Ian a drink last night perhaps.

 

Perhaps not.

 

I jump the flames and charge them, screaming as I go. The first gladiator goes in for a takedown, but his chest is so big that before he gets his arms around me I bounce free, take another step and drop my shoulder before running straight into Ian. Now he’s grinning as he drives me back and shakes me off my feet. I give it all I’ve got and manage to spin him off balance, at which point he roars with laughter and lets me go to run through the finish arch.

 

The beast has been conquered! But she left her mark. I am cut and bruised but not completely broken. The festival area is a mud pit, but I don’t care. I make a beeline for the food vans and fill up on chicken, beans and rice.

 

I go back to talk to Ian at the gladiator arena, and the Spartan staff there ask me if I would do a stint to give the gladiators a break. It wasn’t what I had in mind for post-race recovery, but when they say I need to wear a pair of the awesome Spartan UFC style shorts, I get with the program.

 

Gladiator Arena

 

I was in the arena as a gladiator for almost 3 hours. Lots of fun, but by the end I was destroyed. Some of the racers come over in groups of 8 or 9 and charge the gladiators. I take 1 huge hit to the ribs and I’m hoping it’s intercostal bruising and nothing more. Bloody sore to breathe, but it will heal. I would not change a thing. Getting in the arena as a gladiator rounded off an amazing day. I am at LAX about to get on a plane back to Sydney with a notepad full of ideas, observations and advice that will help ensure the Sydney and Melbourne Spartan races in March are the best Australia has ever seen.

 

Oh, and Ian (who believe it or not is an architect) has said he’ll be booking his holiday to Aus in March to ensure you will all get to meet him in the gladiator arena! Aroo!

 

Max

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Spartan Race is Coming Soon – Stay tuned

Spartan warriors, like the SAS, were successful because of their dedicated, professional approach to training, tactics and conditioning. Activities like trail running, Crossfit and boot-camp will all help prepare you for your first Spartan Race. Pull-ups are a must, make them a daily staple.

During high intensity interval based sessions, alternate upper and a lower body exercises (aka shunting), this trains the body to move blood effectively between different target muscle groups.

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