During the first week of October, Spartan hosted their world championship weekend at Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe, CA. What made this weekend different than other weekends that Spartan hosts? A lot actually.
So who would be crazy enough – OK stupid enough – to pay hard earned money to be tortured by a course like this? Quite a few actually. One of those people is
Wilfredo Malazarte. Wilfredo did not only sign-up for this event knowing full well what he was in for, he endured 5 weeks of intense training specifically designed by Coach Mike King so that he would be successful in his goal of completing the event.
At the end of Wilfredo’s training and just before his race, we asked him a few questions so that we could understand the mindset of an Ultra Beaster. Part 2 of this post will be a follow-up after the race to not only see how Wilfredo did but to see how his pre and post responses compare. So read on and stay tuned. If you are interested in a custom training plan for OCR racing, running, sports, fitness or weight loss,
let us know.
The following questions were prepared by King’s Camps and Fitness and answered by Wilfredo the day before the race.
KK&F: Briefly, how did you start running Obstacle Course Races?
Wilfredo: I started running obstacle course racing (OCR) in late September of 2013. A coworker of mine asked me if I wanted to run an obstacle race, Tough Mudder. I wholeheartedly signed up for it. It was like nothing I had ever done before. It was one of the most difficult, yet most fun events I had done in my life up until then.
After that first race, I knew I had found something truly special. Having been a huge geek all my life and growing up playing video games, I made the connection that OCR was a real life version of them. Instead of pressing buttons on a controller to make the character on the TV jump/climb/crawl, I was that guy! Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and fitness took on a whole new meaning after making this connection.
I signed up for Spartan Race immediately after [Tough Mudder]. After doing my first Spartan, I truly fell in love with the sport and I knew that this would be something I would be spending a lot of time on.
KK&F: So you decided to do the Ultra Beast at the World Championships in Tahoe, describe your interpretation of the Ultra Beast is?
Wilfredo: According to Spartan, the Ultra Beast is a 26+ mile 60+ obstacle race. The Ultra Beast will be by far, the most strenuous challenge (physically and mentally) that I have faced to date. The longest Spartan that I’ve done was around 15 miles and lasted 7 and a half hours; this will be double that, and more.
KK&F: What was your training like before you really decided to commit to the Ultra Beast?
Wilfredo: My training consisted mostly of free weights and running 3-4 times a week.
KK&F: Understand that once you committed, you really stepped up your training; can you describe what that training was?
Wilfredo: Once I committed to the Ultra Beast, I knew that my regular training wouldn’t cut it. I had heard that Crossfit was quite effective for Spartan Race, so I started doing Crossfit twice a week. After racing at the Hawaii Trifecta Weekend, I wanted to step it up even further. I contacted King’s Camps and Fitness for an OCR specific program, designed specifically for the Ultra Beast. This meant that for about 6 weeks, I committed to training twice a day almost every day. These workouts consisted of running and core work in the morning, and Crossfit or some other form of body/weight training in the evening.
KK&F: Did you do any burpees as part of this training?
Wilfredo: Hahaha… you had to go there didn’t you? I did PLENTY of them in this training.
KK&F: Do you think that training has prepared you for the Ultra Beast?
Wilfredo: To be honest, I’m not sure. I’d love to say that I feel ready, but I’ve never gone into an event feeling 100% prepared. During my training, I never spent any time longer than 6+ hours of being active and on my feet (aside from races).
KK&F: What stands out as the element of the training program that has made you the most prepared?
Wilfredo: Running. Even when I trained for a marathon last year, my running volume was never this high. The intensity of the runs definitely rose as well, as previously I was clocking in 11-12 minute miles on the average, while under this training program, I found myself consistently pushing into the 9-10 minute mile (or lower) zone. Although most of the running was done on roads as opposed to trails, I’m sure some of that mileage training will transfer over.
KK&F: On a scale of 1 through 10 how difficult do you think the UB will be for you.
Wilfredo: Only 10? I’d say the Ultra Beast will take it to at least 11.
KK&F: Going into the race, do you have any motivators, images or tricks to help you maintain your forward movement?
Wilfredo: I have a few mantras that I plan to constantly repeat over and over in my head. Also, during my training and runs, I created a Spotify playlist of songs that I constantly had on repeat. When I’m running, I plan to imagine that I have that playlist going to get me pumped up.
KK&F: What is your biggest fear about this race?
Wilfredo: I have quite a few actually. I have never run at altitude or in 30-40 degree weather, both of which are expected. Also, I’m concerned that between everyone running the Beast on Day 1 and rain expected the night before, the trails/obstacles will become that much harder. Lastly, I am worried about getting injured on the course or an old injury flaring up.
KK&F: On a scale of 1 through 10 how confident are you of finishing?
Wilfredo: Hmmm… this is a tough question. I’d love to say I’m at a 10, but to be quite honest, I’d put myself at around 7.
KK&F: The Ultra Beast has cut off times, tell me how you would feel if you didn’t make one of those cut off and you received the DNF?
Wilfredo: Extremely disappointed to say the least. I’ve never DNFed a race before, but I’ve also never run anything past marathon distance, or an event going past 8 hours. That said, I’m going to leave nothing on the table for this race. The only way I’m getting pulled off (aside from time cuts) is if I get injured or hypothermia.
KK&F: Do you think you’ll hear your coach’s voice in your head when you need a push?
Wilfredo: Definitely. I think I’ll be hearing my coach’s voice and the voices of all my friends who have supported me.
KK&F: What will be your most challenging obstacle on the course?
Wilfredo: Rope Climb and the Multi Rig, as I still cannot climb a wet/slick rope and the Multi Rig will be worse than ever at this venue. I will also probably run into some trouble on the (Double) Sandbag Carry and the Bucket Carry if they make Ultra Beast racers carry two buckets.
KK&F: Having spent some time in Tahoe before the race, how do you think the altitude will affect you?
Wilfredo: That’s a tough call. I’ve read conflicting information on the effect of altitude on athletic performance and the acclimatization period need to overcome them. I went running here the day after I arrived and I definitely noticed a difference when running. Hopefully, being here 3 days before will help.
KK&F: Is there anyone following you that will be your cheering square (besides your coach?)
Wilfredo: My sister and my brother in law will be in the viewing areas cheering me on and hopefully near the gear drop zone when I transition to the second loop.
KK&F: If you had to tell your finishing self, one thing, one piece of wisdom, what would it be?
Wilfredo: You totally had this race won when you committed to your training and doubled down.
KK&F: What time will be running on Sunday?
Wilfredo: Bright and early 6:30am!
KK&F: Good Luck Wilfredo.