It takes a certain amount of bravery to be a firefighter, it also takes just a bit of craziness.
To a lesser extent, the same could be said about the new fitness craze sweeping the nation, Spartan Races. Spartan Races began in 2007 and have exploded globally since then with events in 15 countries, a nationally televised show, and an abundance of Spartan-related spinoffs.
Firefighter and SWAT Medic Mike Blohm has been hooked on Spartan Races since he ran his first in 2010. On top of a nearly 60 hour work week, Blohm spends much of his free time training for the next event.
“The [Spartan] training is definitely tough,” said Blohm, “But I think the job and the Spartan Races complement each other really well. You stay prepared for new challenges, keep your cardio up, and force yourself to adapt on the fly.”
Spartan training resembles military training in many ways as competitors are tasked with jumping over walls, crawling under barbed wire, running long distances, and scaling countless obstacles. Successfully conquering obstacles allows racers to finish with a better time, failures at obstacles leads to a 30 burpee penalty that is both grueling and time consuming. The distances for races range from 3 miles to those one would see in a typical marathon.
Races range in competitiveness with Spartan-veterans choosing to run in the Elite/Competitive brackets for time against each other. The Open bracket tends to be filled with newcomers or racers who who are worried less about their finishing time.
Working in one of California’s most dangerous areas Blohm compares the mindset that goes into a potentially rough situation at work similarly to entering a multiple mile race with obstacles.
“There is a military saying that goes, ‘Embrace the suck’,” reflects Blohm, “You know it’s going to be challenging. You just stay focused, evaluate the situation, and be adaptable until the job is done.”
The idea of incorporating Spartan training into a daily routine is something that Blohm is very passionate about.
“I constantly ask coworkers to do Spartans with me,” said Blohm, “Some do, others worry about injuries. I can sympathize with them in those regards, but it’s the races and the preparation that goes into them that staves off injuries. An object in motion tends to stay in motion.”
Blohm, who has finished 3 Spartan Trifectas (the act of completing the 3-5 mile Sprint, the 5-10 mile Super, and 10-15 mile Beast in one calendar year) is currently working on completing his fourth, had some advice for interested racers.
“Make a trip out of it,” says Blohm, “Bring your family, get a great workout and have a few beers after. Load up some rock and roll and before you start the race be sure to listen to ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ by Madison Rising.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Spartan Races or finding a race near you, visit the Official Spartan Race page.
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