Spartan Code Series
A Spartan pushes their mind and body to their limits!
By Martin J. Pasternak
@OCRLibrarian315 on Facebook and Instagram
When I first had the idea to write a blog series on the Spartan code I quickly wrote up a few articles and had them scheduled to release easily a month ahead of time. At that time the originals were relevant, but pushing our bodies and minds to their limits is an entirely different animal than it was just 1 month ago! The overwhelming issues that we are dealing with during the time of this virus will test our resolve, and has tested mine already after just a few weeks. So today I want to change my original post and focus on how we can push ourselves farther than ever during this time of uncertainty!
The past few weeks have been impossible for me. I know I do not have it as bad as many, but the mental strain that I have put myself through has been devastating. I repeal from social media, am nervous to see anyone in person, and hate venturing out of my house! This is not due to fear of getting sick myself. I feel that I am healthy enough and do not have any underlying issues that would cause me anything sever. I do however fear for those closest to me, many of whom do have underlying symptoms and issues. It terrifies me that some of my most trusted mentors and confidants are at risk, and my daughters mother is as well. I would never be able to forgive myself if I was the one that gave any of these people a virus that put their lives at risk.
With that being said, I did get tested because I recently traveled from Spain and both my uncles that live out there now have the virus. Being in close proximity to them and to so many others that are now sick put me at an elevated risk according to the CDC representative that I spoke with. So I went and got tested and isolated myself from my daughter and just about everyone else as I awaited the results. It took me 8 days to get the results and in those 8 days I fell hard.
Obviously I was not able to go to the gym to get my usual stress relief and push my body like I am accustom to do. I have some weights at home, and a friend dropped off a barbell and a few plates so I could at least do something while I was home. I could also run since I was not showing any symptoms, but kept this to a minimum just to be safe. I made sure to stay away from others and not touch anything!
Things also began to ramp up at my day job. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but when the talk is about if/when we will be going back to school, what happens if they extend us into summer, or if we will lose our jobs due to massive budget gaps that are being created right now it makes things very stressful. This on top of trying to keep the few students I am seeing calm and entertained while they are stuck at home (much like I was) was beginning to be a bit difficult.
It didn’t take long for my workouts to suffer, my runs to get shorter, and my motivation and drive to become almost non-existent. I couldn’t wake up like I use to, no matter how hard I tried, and would literally have to drag myself off of my couch to get any sort of work done. It was embarrassing! I am a Spartan, a Spartan SGX Coach, and a personal trainer at a gym and here I am reverting to a couch potato! I was sick of myself and all in just 8 days!
Friday afternoon, a week and a day after I had taken my Covid-19 test, I FiNALLY got my resutls. Getting a negative for this test was relieving to say the least, but having the ability to see my daughter was what really threw me back into the real world. Seeing her, playing and running around with her, and being me at my best (being a dad) I realized how important it was that I kept my wits about me and got my ass in gear!
I was fortuntate it didn’t take too long. A weeks worth of damage only took a few days to recover from. Now that she was back on her normal schedule I knew that I could get on a schedule of my own. As some of you saw I attempted to create a very active and hopeful schedule, but as most of my ideals it was a bit more lofty than I could actually do. Even with being back to normal I have been unable to get up to my alarm as early as I would like. So I set out to start identifying the problems I was struggling with in this regard.
I noticed that I am drinking more coffee than normal, and drinking it later into the day/evening. This combined with a little bit of boredom at night gave me the excuses I needed to stay up longer. Mix this with the fact that I do not have anywhere to be early in the morning like I normally do it has been a combination that allows me to sleep late (7 am) and not get the things done that I want to.
I started to change this earlier this week. I woke up a few times at 6, then 530, and then had one morning I slept until 8 (oops). Each of the days I was up before 8 I was able to get out and go for a run. I realized I needed something to work at so I started talking to a few people and friends about things they are doing and found a challenge that I think I can do!
I know there are virtual races out there that are blowing up right now, and I am sponsored by Battle Miles Racing currently, but I wanted something that would be a little more than just one day! For my normal Spartan Race the race itself is a one or two day event, but the training that goes into it is much more extensive! This also gives me that purpose to get myself up and out early (when I do not have my daughter), so I was looking for something like this! Finding something that would take consistency and motivate me was the goal and I think I found it!
After several hours of conversations and research I found a running challenge that I feel would be perfect to get myself going and prepare me for the hopeful return of OCR this summer! It is a marathon run that requires a marathon a week for the full month of April. That would be 104.8 miles of total running which is a lot more running than I have ever done before! Even at my best I was running about 18-20 miles per week because my weightlifting routine was my priority. I feel that pushing myself to go this distance will be a great way to really push my body to a limit it has never gone to before! (Click here for the link to this challenge)
That answers the body question, but how do we push our mind to its limit during this time without driving ourselves crazy with information overload during isolation? This is increasingly difficult as more and more friends and family either contract this awful virus or are in contact with those that have. For me I am still trying to find the right thing, but I will go over a few of the things I am looking into.
First, my gym has expanded the virtual platform to all members since we are going to practice social distancing until the end of April. This has made me responsible for a much larger number of gym members on the virtual platform than I ever thought possible at one time! This is not only keeping me busy, but also giving me the opportunity to be more creative when designing home workouts for others.
Secondly I am learning more about personal training and how to help my clients more. This is also benefiting me as I am learning more about how my body works and different ways to push my body without the need of weights (even though I LOVE my weights). It has been an adjustment, but one that I am trying to embrace. I am also using this time to learn more about nutrition and the best ways to get my body in ideal shape.
All of this with the additional responsibilities my job as a librarian has brought me has been keeping me busy and the opportunity to think outside of the box a bit more than I normally would. That has been saving my sanity but I want more than just sanity! I have received several recommendations for books and also audiobooks. I want to take advantage of this time we all have at home the best I can! I want to set one more goal by the end of the week to really push my mind! That way I can put it out on my socials and get some feedback while also having some accountability.
What are you doing to take advantage of this time of isolation? How are you going to push your mind and body to its limits while they are both confined to your home? What can you learn while you’re at home that you have not had time to before? Leave a comment on this post or on any of my social media accounts and lets share the love and inspiration!