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Some words about SUMMER'S BLOG

I love peanut butter, avocado and oatmeal. Not together of course, but nearly any recipe that calls for these ingredients I'll probably enjoy. I have the misfortune of living with some food sensitivities but the extreme fortune of knowing what those sensitivities are - gluten (only mild, thank goodness), nightshades, lactose, and refined sugar. I'm not a formally trained chef, but I love cooking (and eating!) delicious, guilt-free food. I'm a fitness model, certified nutrition coach, trainer and an IFBB pro bikini athlete... and I eat 6 times a day. When I'm not in the kitchen preparing something extraordinary, I'm - in the gym, rushing off to an audition, at a photo shoot, studying nutrition, or planning a vacation. Hope you enjoy my site! For nutrition consultations or more information on training, contact me at summerwhitefitness@gmail.com

Spartan Race Malibu at Calamigos Ranch – Review

Last weekend was my first ever Spartan Race, which was hosted in Calamigos Ranch in Malibu Hills.  It would be 3 miles and 15 obstacles, the company’s shortest race, but a challenge nonetheless. For weeks prior I had monitored Weather.com like a hawk, praying for a miracle packaged in a sunny, dry day.  I wouldn’t be so lucky, but in the end it hardly mattered.

It’s been about 12 years since I’ve actually ran. Four years of track and cross country in high school was apparently enough for me. Being a naturally skinny girl, and deciding to compete as a bikini competitor in the National Physique Committee and the International Federation of Bodybuilders meant an end to running. It’s just too tough for me to hold on to muscle, so my cardio is limited to brisk walking on an incline or elliptical circuits.  The evening my friend Nathan asked me if I’d like to join his team of 4 for the Spartan Race Malibu, my first thought was, yeah right!  It wasn’t the length of the race that concerned me, as I’ve run upwards of 150 miles in a 5 day cross country camp. It was the training that was most daunting.

I’ve gained a few pounds since being forced off-season (see previous posts regarding my Indian adventure and subsequent hospitalization!) and knew I needed a swift kick in the rear to get back on my fitness game.  The Spartan Race would be a great goal, and at only $100, right in my backyard, it was kind of a no brainer. For a bit of motivation (or perhaps due to codependency and a bit of denial) I text my closest athletic friends to see if they had any desire. Now if I really didn’t want to do Spartan Race, this was my first mistake. Nearly all of them (5 of 7 to be exact) replied in the affirmative!  So from that day, it became real.

As a teacher of group fitness, I made it my responsibility to arrange the first of our training schedule. To satisfy those with morning jobs, we would take to Runyon Canyon at 6:30 or 7 am, daily.  Each session was physically taxing, and from the suggestion of my friend, and former Olympian, Malachi Davis, would include a combination of running, hill sprints, and bodyweight exercises to be completed during our few minutes of active rest after each sprint, along a 3 mile hilly loop.  Training through Thanksgiving, and up till the day before our race, most of us were prepared.  The day of the race was upon us.

We all got together around 8:30 am, in sunny Weho, full of carbs and happy as clams that it was already over 60 degrees. Nathan had bought red and gold “war paint” and after seeing him all dressed up, it inspired the rest of us to follow suit.  The guys planned to go shirtless, so us girls decided to show some skin as well. It was semi-warm, after all.

We carpooled up to Zuma beach, where via email from the Spartan crew we were instructed to park in a lot for $8, then catch a shuttle up to the race.  

Nathan had mentioned that last year he was able to park at Calamigos ranch, but the 9 of us thought nothing of jumping on a shuttle since we were having such a fun time together.








As soon as we hit the mountain, it started to rain, then it started to pour, then the temperature dropped!  We got off the bus and headed to the registration tent, freezing as we checked in and got our bib #s, time chips, and our gift bags filled with random packets of Gaspari supplements.  Despite the cold, I neurotically took the time to check the ingredients list, which included artificial sweeteners and GMO additives. I had already taken my Sun Warrior protein and Liquid Light that morning, I wouldn’t need anything else. We ran to the bag check tent and after stuffing 9 bags into 2 duffels, we paid the $10 and found a large tree to hang under. Everyone was writing their bib #s on their face, clothes and body. Apparently photos are free this year and would be tagged online, to our #s, if visible. We got down, prison break style, tatting our numbers on our neck and upper backs, jumping, chanting our team name, and acting wild; drawing a crown to take photos of the “gold freaks!”

We lined up at the starting line, where the MC called my team out on our athletic bodies (not that others weren’t fit, but we were half-naked!). He asked us to give the jousters at the final obstacle a challenge, to which we would later oblige. Then, with rain pouring, a few “AROOs” and “We Are Spartans,” and a smoke canister thrown, we were off!

The first (and third to last) obstacle would be the one I hated most, a swim through an icy lake. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s being cold.  I didn’t have much choice though, there were so many people behind me pushing that I went in without a stutter.  A few steps in and the bottom dropped out on me. Nearly submerged and in a state of shock, I’ll admit, I kind of froze. My girlfriend saw me at the right time and lent an outstretched hand. I climbed out of the muddy lake and ran to the next obstacle. For the rest of the race, the cold didn’t faze me. Maybe it was adrenaline, or maybe the rain was just warmer than my soaking clothes and shoes. None of that mattered, I was having the time of my life!

There were several more obstacles, including 20 box jumps, a really high net ladder, monkey bars, spear throwing, wall jumps, barbed wire, jumping over fire, and carrying sand bags up and down a really steep hill, along with the deepest, thickest mud, yet I pushed forward. My teammates were amazing and we all coached and motivated each other with each challenge. Failure to complete an obstacle meant 30 burpees, of which I didn’t have to do, however the lines for some obstacles were so long that even those with 120 burpees caught up to me.  Since we had decided to run as a team, and just for fun, we didn’t complain too much. If we had planned to race for time, we probably would have chosen the early morning heats, but nevertheless, we still came in 30th out of nearly 500 teams.  

Upon finishing, we were handed a medal, a banana, and a chocolate Zico coconut water, which tasted like God’s nectar itself. My sister and friends were waiting at the finish line with some bubbly and we all toasted to a job well done.

We hung out a bit, cheering on some of my teammates that participated in the extra challenges before grabbing our free beers and hitting the showers (which was comprised of an outdoor lattice with several spray nozzle hoses and some Dial body wash).  The bathing experience felt like we were at some strange coed camp, being forced, yet again, to partake in a cruel activity meant to entertain some noble audience (we were definitely getting a Hunger Games vibe!).  At least they had sex-segregated tents pumped with hot air that we could change into our warm clothes. It’s the little things that count!

The lines for the shuttle buses back to Zuma were horrendous. Again, if we weren’t a group and having a blast, waiting would’ve sucked. Once to our cars, we headed to Marix Tex Mex on Entrada and the Pacific Coast Highway.  Margaritas flowed, chips, guacamole, and salsa were destroyed, and the table was alive with laughter. They say once you do a obstacle race together, you become family. I totally agree.  The email thread between the 9 of us this past week is worthy of a world record. We have already decided on our next race – the Spartan Beast in Temecula at the end of January 2013. We want to keep our group together, with the idea of sharing this journey with each other for the next 10-20 years. It’s a novel idea!

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