Spartan Beast race is indeed a beast of a race. With over 12 miles and 30 obstacles this race will test your strength, endurance and your resolve. It will push you to your limits, both physical and mental. Kapuhala warriors are more than just athletes and to win a Spartan race will require more from you than just athletic prowess.
Antony Pringle is a friend and a regular at Kapuhala Space Discovery Bay. After taking first place in his age group in the Taiwan Spartan Beast race, Antony was kind enough to share the details of his experience with us. We are proud of his success and would like to share this short interview with all of you. We hope that it will be as inspiring to you as it is to us.
When did you become interested in Spartan races and why?
As you know I have a business servicing and fitting bikes for cyclists and triathletes. Both of those sports are very linear as they tax the body mostly one plane only (mainly the saggital plane), and they work muscles in a very limited range of motion. I've always been adamant that the key to longevity in cycling and triathlon, especially as one gets into their late forties, fifties, and beyond, is a program that incorporates full range of motion resistance exercise. This can be in the form of weights training, kettlebells, Pilates and yoga. It was weightlifting and kettlebell classes that got me thinking of Spartan. Obstacle Course Racing tends to attract people who are interested in kettlebells and mobility exercises, perhaps because you need relatively good mobility to get through a Spartan race.
I was already thinking that it was something I'd like to try when a good friend (former DB vet Justin Choo) had a scheduling conflict and couldn't make it to a race he had entered, so I did him a favour and bought his entry.
The training is a blast, and includes weight training, hiking, trail running, using playground structures to challenge oneself (climbing over them or to do things like pull ups), as well as yoga. Nearly all of it can be done with friends and family. Discovery Bay is an ideal place to train for a Spartan race.
What do you think is the relation between mind and body when you are in such a physically exhaustive state?
Racing, in any of the sports I do, gives me a great opportunity to be present and 'in the moment.' In a Spartan race, you're outside, in the woods, surrounded by fun, supportive, athletic people, and it's easy to get intoxicated by it all. The energy is addictive. That said, in this particular race, there was a memory challenge, and I spent most of the race repeating a random sequence of letters and numbers in my head so I could regurgitate it to a race marshal later on. I wasn't going to fail that obstacle!
Did Flexmob class at Kapuhala Space help with recovery?
Definitely, both after the event, and during my training. There's no way I could have done this type of training without yoga to help with recovery as much of the exercises were very new to me.
How much, do you think, your nutritional habits affected your performance?
I think it has a massive impact on my training and how I feel in general. Two years ago, I adopted a whole-food, plant-based diet for health reasons. I cut out nearly all processed foods, most refined sugars, and all meat, dairy, and fish. I don't miss any of the foods I have cut out, and really enjoy the huge variety of plant-foods that I do eat. I have read a lot of peer-reviewed science on this in that time and I'm actually doing a Cornell nutrition diploma course on this now. Although I would very much hesitate to say it's the best diet for everyone, it certainly works for me. I feel like it has reversed the aging clock.
You mention age. Most people don't know you are 50 years old as you look much younger. Share your secrets with us?
I'm certainly no expert, but I have recently read a few books by some people who are, and I strongly recommend them to anyone who is interested in learning more about aging and quality of life:
The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World's Healthiest People Paperback by Dan Buetner, May 30, 2017
The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight by Valter Longo, Jan 2, 2018
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson, May 6, 2014.
There are other books, and there is a lot of very sound research. There are common, recurring themes; things that humans have known about for centuries, like regular moderate physical activity, life-purpose, unrefined plant-centered diets, and engagement in family, social, and spiritual life.
I am fortunate that I have a supportive family and friends, two jobs that I love, I enjoy exercise, and that I really truly enjoy eating foods that are good for me.
Life is short. A very good friend of mine recently nearly died of a cardiac arrest, caused by heart disease. Having a cardiac arrest at middle age is most definitely a sign that you need to change your lifestyle. He uses that same phrase, "Life is short," to justify NOT changing a lifestyle that gave him a debilitating illness. To me, it's the opposite; a mantra to remind me that I owe it to myself, and my family, to do all I can to be healthy. I can't control everything, but I can certainly control the things I can control!
Will you come to our Train-in-Farms in Sicily and Thailand?
Of course, can't wait!