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    Can You Finish a Spartan AGOGE? Shooting Down Excuses, Rachel Lotz Explains How She Was Able To Successfully Complete it.

    Can You Finish a Spartan AGOGE?  Shooting Down Excuses, Rachel Lotz Explains How She Was Able To Successfully Complete it.

    Rachel Lotz is a Rockagator guest contributor who just completed the June 2018 Spartan AGOGE in Pittsfield Vermont.  In this post, she debunks some of the preconceived notions about AGOGE and some excuses that potential finishers use that keep them from even reaching the starting line.

     

    Chances are by now you have come across the hushed word, "Agoge", either by word of mouth in the OCR community or scrolling through the Spartan Race Endurance page. However, very few have taken on this seemingly formidable event.  Can you finish the AGOGE like I did?  Yes you can!  But here are some of the excuses that you might be using right now that are preventing you from even getting started.

     

    Excuse #1:  I'm not ready.

     

    If everyone in life waited until they were ready to participate in an event, the time would never come! I can tell you, you will never be ready, but you can try your best to be as close to "ready" as possible. In the six months leading up to my first Agoge, I suffered from IT Band Syndrome in both my legs. I was not able to run, hike, or partake in just about any physical activity. Instead of looking at the negative, I looked at the parts of the event that I had control over. I learned how to orient a compass, read UTM coordinates, start a fire, and tie knots. Yes, an Agoge is a physical event, but it is also a mental and emotional test.

    Rachel Lotz carries lifts her Rockagator AGOGE pack over her head in an endurance challenge

    Excuse #2:  It looks cold.

     

    Yes, the cold sucks. Cold weather is particularly uncomfortable. Agoges are uncomfortable! No one experienced personal growth in their comfort zone. I thought that signing up for a Summer Agoge would remove any possible chance of being cold; wrong. At some point, even during the summer you will have to strip down to your skivvies, or even remain in full clothes and get into freezing water, regardless of the time of day. Make the cold a learning experience. For example, I chose pants to wear during this event that may not have been as warm as other options, but dried faster to minimize the time that I was wet. Most importantly, use the weather conditions to learn about cold weather gear! 

    Rachel Lotz watches over the flame where she is getting ready to cook the rabbit that she had skinned only minutes before at Spartan AGOGE

    Excuse #3:  I don't know how to ___. 

     

    Taking a quick scan over the gear list, you will be asked to tie four specific knots and orient a compass and map. There is no if ands or buts to these points during the event, you will not pass if you do not know how to do these things. When first opening the mandatory gear list, I had absolutely no idea how to tie the four necessary knots, and didn't know what a topographical map was, or even where to obtain one. In the months leading up to my first Agoge I made YouTube my best friend, by searching for the how-to tutorials for each knot. A once seemingly impossible task was made manageable by using the resources around me. I started with the first knot for two weeks, then once I mastered that one, I added a second knot for another two weeks and so on until I felt confident in all four knots. Once you feel that you understand each of the knots, add some variety to your practice. Tie the knots with your eyes closed, behind your back, with gloves on, or even with thicker rope. 

     

    These tasks can be transferred to other aspects of your life. If you head into something full force, the probability of your success will be very small. Break the larger goal into smaller and more comprehensive tasks. 

    Rachel Lotz lined up with other Spartan Competitors as they hydrate for the next AGOGE Challenge

     

    Excuse #4:  It's expensive.

     

    Yes, it is. Often, you'll need to buy a flight or put some gas in your tank to get to Pittsfield Vermont. You also probably won't have all the mandatory gear listed and need to buy it. However, I can promise you that there are ways out there to cut down on the cost of Agoge. I split a hotel room for 4 nights with 3 other people, that cost me $85 in total. I became a member at REI and unlocked access to their "Garage" that discounted name brand items, where I was able to get some rad Marmot pants that were originally $100, for only $40. Make sure to look through social media groups for lightly used items that people are looking to get rid of. I purchased an Osprey pack for the event from a previous Agoge participant for $100. If you give yourself a bit of time to look for the items, instead of heading straight to Amazon, you may be surprised with what you can find! 

     

    Excuse #5:  I'm not a great runner, I am not strong enough, I am not ___. 

     

    Agoge is not a race, contrary to popular belief. Let me repeat that, Agoge is NOT a race. However, do not take this statement as an excuse to slack off with your training, as an Agoge finisher is often, a well-rounded individual. You do not have to be the fastest runner out there, or the strongest individual to sign up for an Agoge. This event is all about team work and relying on one another to get through the 60 hours together. At some point throughout the event, someone will have to rely on you, and you will need to rely on them. Whether that be in the form of a funny joke to stay awake at hour 50 or receiving water from a teammates' water bottle when yours is empty. Every aspect of you will be tested. Make sure you are emotionally as strong as you are mentally and physically. 

    Rachel Lotz and Crutching Tigress Amanda Sullivan make their way up the Mountain at Spartan AGOGE

     

     

    Now that I have covered a few reasons to why I believe people have not signed up for an Agoge, I also have a few words of advice to those who are straddling the fence to sign up.

     

    Rachel's Recommendations:

     

    1. Bring ONLY what is on the gear list.

     

    Yes, it is that simple.  Don't overthink every item, trust the Krypteia's choice to have put the item on the list. They are there to help you, not work against you. They have beta tested (probably more than once) every item that you will be using, and activity that you will be doing. 

    Rachel Lotz submerges her Rockagator AGOGE backpack in a mountain lake during the AGOGE waterproofing challenge

    2.  Do your homework. 

     

    Learn the necessary skills, ask Agoge veterans about their experience, buy the mandatory gear. Be prepared by learning what will work for you, as it may not work for others. 

     

    3.  Get comfortable being uncomfortable!

     

    We often put preconceived limitations on ourselves, by saying “I can't” or “I won't”. It is always easier to turn to comfort, rather than continue in pain or not ideal conditions. You won't know what or who is on the other side of uncomfortable until that is your only option. What I can tell you is that what is on the other side of uncomfortable is always experience and improvement.

    Hopefully I have tipped the scales in favor of you participating at an upcoming AGOGE.  Click here to get yourself started toward your goal of being a Spartan AGOGE finisher!

     

     

    WATER RESISTANT, WATER REPELLENT or WATERPROOF? Which is best?

    WATER RESISTANT, WATER REPELLENT or WATERPROOF? Which is best?
    Chances are if you have started looking for gear that is going to meet the needs of a potentially wet adventure, you are going to come across products that are either labeled Waterproof, Water Resistant or even Water Repellent.  Understanding the three could be the difference between a enjoyable outdoor experience and mild case of hypothermia.

    Read more

    Top 5 Options for Fall River Rafting in Utah



    Just because you are closing the door on summer and kids are headed back to school doesn't mean that you can't sneak away for a weekend getaway on the river!  Fall is a great time to hit up some of these popular spots because you'll dodge much of the seasonal traffic and the weather is just right.  If you are looking for a diamond in the rough experience,  take a look at these options.


    1.  Sheri Griffith Expeditions - Moab,  UT
    If you are looking for a guide with experience, Sheri Griffith Expeditions has been at it on the rivers in Utah since 1971.  You can do one-day tours or multi-day tours and have your option of which river you would like to explore.  Whether slow and relaxing or fast and furious, they've got a tour to fit your level of adventure.  With tours running through the end of October, you've still got a window to have one last grand adventure before the end of 2017!


    2.  Wild West Voyages - Moab, UT
    Not only can you get a guided rafting tour of the beautiful Colorado River with this company but if you would rather choose your own adventure, they will rent you the gear and get you outfitted for any type of 'on the river' activity.  Grab a Kayak, Stand up Paddle Board or a Raft and they'll do the shuttling to get you where you need to go.  Their shop has all of the necessities for you to have a successful trip and located in the heart of Moab, you'll be in the center of the action.


    3.  Midway Adventure Co. - Midway, UT
    Until the end of September, Midway Adventure Co. can get you on a guided river raft going down the Provo River.  Sunset and Afternoon tours are their most popular and because it is in Midway, you are just a hop, skip and a jump away from Salt Lake City and Provo so you can do this adventure without even reserving a hotel or setting up a campsite.  The Provo River is a great choice for families. Young children are invited to join the fun on this river. The water is mild and the scenery is stunning.


    4.  Don Hatch River Expeditions - Vernal, UT
    There is not a better way to experience the Green River than with Don Hatch River Expedition.  Experience is the hallmark of this company as they have been guiding since 1929.  And through the end of September they offer 1-day guided tours that is a sure-fire fix for anyone looking for some quick adventure.  With Don Hatch, you can explore one of the magnificent canyons of Dinosaur National Monument which is reason enough alone to put this river guide on your short list.


    5.  Destination Sports - Weber River
    Through Mid-September, you can take advantage of this super-convenient Weber River rafting option.  Rafting the Weber River is an experience that Destination Sports has been excelling in for nearly 30 years.  The rapids aren't huge, but there are plenty of them!  The scenery only adds to the experience; the river is nestled beautifully in a wooded canyon bottom.


    Now you've got the list!  Get your fall adventure scheduled!