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Stephanie Pedersen: Here's to training like a Spartan

I want to be a Spartan.

Stay with me now.

The Spartan is an obstacle race that has many different levels. There's the Spartan Sprint that's 3-plus miles and 20-plus obstacles, the Super that's 8-plus miles and 25-plus obstacles, and the Beast that's 13-plus miles and 30-plus obstacles.

The Sprint looks more my speed, and that's a good thing because this series of races is coming to our area this spring.

I'll admit I'm usually energized by the new year with brand new goals and food patterns. This year hasn't been easy so far in accomplishing most of them.

I haven't meal-planned well or sacrificed sleep like I should to get a kickstart on my training, but I know that's about to change because I'm serious about this.

When I told my family I wanted to do this, they asked me if I was crazy for actually paying to go through something like that.

The organizers don't tell you how long the race will be. It ranges from 3-5 miles from what I can tell from reading blogs. And most of the obstacles aren't easy.

They range from running through mud and fire, traversing walls and crawling through barbed wire.

Sounds fun, right?

I realize it isn't for most people, but it's a challenge that I want to tackle.

I've been semi-serious about working out for about two or three years now. And no, that doesn't mean walking on the treadmill or watching a movie while I maybe work up a sweat on the elliptical.

That means lifting weights, going through high intensity interval training, running tracks, understanding when I should eat what and learning what has the most impact on my body.

Most women have this idea that lifting weights will make them appear manly, or bulky, but that's not the case.

I hate cardiovascular exercise. Hate it. I'm the person who is counting from the .01 marker on the mile chart as to how many more tenths of a mile I have until I'm 10 percent done with my workout. The entire run is a math problem.

I've learned that, for me, lifting weights at a decent speed with very little rest in between sets can keep my heart rate up enough to keep my cardio hate at bay.

For this training, I'll need to step up my game in both.

So, here's the timeline:

On April 16, the weekend of the 36th Best Ranger competition, the race will be held at 101st Airborne Division Road in Fort Mitchell, Ala. Prices to sign up vary on what level you'd participate, but they range from $69-$99. It's $20 to watch.

The course is the "first ever Spartan race built with the help of the Ranger Battalion," according to the website. "A Spartan pushes his/her mind and body to the limit. A Spartan masters his/her emotions. A Spartan leads. "

Those are the words to live by on their website, but you could replace "Ranger" with "Spartan" on any instance.

So while, yeah, it is just a race. But it's also a chance to push yourself to be better, stronger mentally and physically.

Who's not game for that?

Stephanie Pedersen, senior editor, at