Tackling A Spartan Race At Age 50: Rising to the Occasion

Written by:
Blake Dalton
June 28, 2022

It was a crisp, cold January day. My boys, Finn (6) and Liam (3), pretended to be dragons breathing smoke on our walk to school. I loaded my thermos full of espresso to go to work where I teach Pilates, Redcord and Kettlebells. (Don’t tell anyone, but I also occasionally sneak in other aspects of my movement training: martial arts and modern dance.)

 

Before starting the car, I opened an email from my friend Tom. He was getting together a group of brave hardy souls to do a Spartan race, a 3.5 mile obstacle race over rough terrain. He invited me to join.

 

BAM! Normally this was my tactic to rope people into escapades involving physical challenges. So I decided that I should rise to the occasion.

 

But Can I Still Do It?

 

I did a Spartan race in 2017. But that was five years, one surgery, and a couple of injuries ago. 

 

Here’s my current landscape:

  • 50 years old
  • Some ligament damage in the left knee from someone accidentally diving on the side of it during a dance theater rehearsal
  • A surgical repair one year ago on a large inguinal hernia that was let go for way too long

 

I train regularly with a fair amount of moderate intensity kettlebell training, and some Pilates and Redcord when time allows. I also add a bit of soft style martial arts, freestyle poling staff work, and little bites of modern dance. With my two mini vikings, I don't have so much free time anymore.

 

I have not done a lot of high intensity work in a long time. A Spartan race is definitely high intensity. 

 

So the doubts crept in. Who am I kidding? I can’t do this.

 

But pretty quickly, the tide changed. Maybe to support Tom and maybe something to prove to myself, I decided to go for it. I love a chance to work with good people towards a goal, especially one that involves me bettering myself, rising to a challenge and getting stronger. 

 

As a performance specialist at Activcore, I have a lot of great tools and people at my disposal to prepare for this. After all, I am 50. And the little vikings need me to stay strong and injury free. 

 

My Intention

I talked with my team of friends about this. I had to get into the right mental state. This is not a point in my life where I am going to just all out push myself to the max and the hell with the consequences. This is a time to train intelligently and safely, make it a real learning experience, and be safe first. Most of all, I wanted to have a good time supporting my friends doing it. 

I promised myself whatever level I am at on race day, I will honor that and not push myself into a risk of injury. Adopting this point of view has not necessarily been my strong suit in the past. Case in point: in my first spartan race, I ran in an old pair of crappy running shoes, overtrained the week before the race, strained muscles in my foot, and still went full out on race day and paid for it a while after.

 

My current assignment: be intelligent, learn, be safe, support my team, and have fun.

Stay tuned for more to come.

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

Blake Dalton

Performance Specialist
Blake Dalton is an experienced performance specialist, Pilates Instructor, and personal trainer who delights in the study of movement and how he can use his practice to improve the lives of others. He works at Activcore in Atlanta, Georgia, located just 2 miles from Emory University. His love of movement brought him to the study of martial arts and modern dance. It was here Blake discovered his second love the love of teaching and sharing.
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