Cornwall Ontario – Local athlete extraordinaire Lindsay Diehl is making a name for herself in the world of Spartan Races. She has once again qualified for the Spartan Race World Championships. She is going to compete in the Spartan Race World Championships in Lake Tahoe (Olympic Valley, California) on October 1st and 2nd 2016 presented by Reebok.
Her numbers for the Canada Elite Series and the World Elite series are impressive. Lindsay Diehl qualified in the 2016 Canada Elite Series: 48th Overall, 10th female, and 2nd in her age group. She also qualified for the 2016 World Elite Series: 316 overall, 86th female, and 13th in her age group.
To compete in a Spartan Race is an obstacle all in itself. To travel to California and pay expenses associated with the race is a whole other obstacle for the single mother of two. That is why Shannon Champagne, owner of A Lil’Pole Fitness, and a co-worker of Lindsay’s wants to help. She started a crowdfunding campaign to assist Lindsay Diehl on her journey.
“I started a GoFundMe page for Lindsay because I truly feel that Lindsay is a remarkable woman. She works a full time and a part time job to take car of her 2 beautiful children. I see some days how tired and exhausted she is but she still keeps going and I see the biggest smile and pride in her eyes when she is with her children. She puts her health and her family first and that is extremely important. Being a single mother, she works extremely hard and it is very important to her to be such a positive example and role model in her children’s eyes. She is always putting everyone first and I think now it’s time to put her first for once. Obstacles in life or in a race are no match for our Lindsay and we love her,” said Shannon Champagne who is owner of A Lil’Pole Fitness.
Training for a Spartan race is a serious long-term commitment. Lindsay Diehl trains 5 to 6 days a week, up to three hours a day. Physical fitness is vital, but that alone is not enough to succeed. The mental game is also very important to success. Having the right philosophy and frame of mind is paramount to competing in a Spartan race.
“Training for the Spartan races consists of weight training, endurance and grip strength for the body. The mind needs practice in handling the unknown, facing fears and pain tolerance. Obstacles require the athlete to climb and carry, most simultaneously. I train five to six days a week from an hour up to three hours.
I train in pole fitness and teach at A lil’ Pole Fitness where I develop upper body strength to climb and the grip strength to hold.
I also train at Caveman Strong. The expert coaches train me in balance, mobility techniques and weightlifting. The mobility training helps me with endurance. I know what my muscles are capable of and body awareness allows for me to use the muscles I need and change which ones I use to help me through tough obstacles.
Weight lifting help me build muscle and push my limits. Balance classes are my favorite as they allow me to train and practice precision, concentration and applying the techniques thy teach through gymnastic style exercises. I also run but it isn’t my main focus. Running is hard on my knees and joints so limit it to preserve them for the races.
Training the mind is something that is a daily process. I challenge myself every day to move forward, stay positive and focus on the rewards. This is essential to competing! There are times in a race where your muscles will be burning, cramping and twitching. You may be bleeding from scratches, cuts and blisters. Your lungs burn and you head pounds. As an obstacle course racer you have to be able to control your emotions, many times during a race there is an urge to quit and give in to the pain and exhaustion. We all push each other out there. We all encourage each other through the mountains and obstacles.
Many people will read that and say: not for me. I look at it as a challenge. Stopping isn’t an option. As an athlete I can’t live with mediocrity. I have to succeed. I don’t have to be perfect as perfection is unattainable. I try hard not to say “I can’t” because I can do anything. I have to learn from the fails and use them to try the next time. I am the example for my children and I want them to know they can do anything. They learn by watching, so it’s my job to show them,” said Lindsay Diehl.
In addition to being a role model for her children, she is a role model for others. In addition to training at places like Lil’Pole Fitness, she is also a fitness coach there.
“I have been teaching pole fitness with Shannon Champagne at a lil’ Pole Fitness for over two years now and have been learning the sport for three. I found a love and respect for it when I realized how much effort, strength and practice it takes to look graceful. As a teacher I love seeing the reactions of my students when they achieve a move on the pole. Their efforts and confidence they gain from their motivation to learn drive me. They truly help to keep me motivated and driven.
I also have two horses at home. I have been riding since I was only five. It was a dream come true to have them at home. I grew up showing them and training. My first post secondary education degree was in horse training. It’s a passion I will always have. I find my horses and riding help me emotionally and physically. They help me focus, stay calm and feel grateful for what I have accomplished.
Physically, riding is precision sport that requires muscle memory and control in order to keep an animal that size in a happy state of mind and willing to perform. Owning a hobby farm has only increased my ability as an OCR athlete as I need to be able to carry hay and feed and take care of the needs of animals that weigh 1200lbs! Growing up on horses took a lot of practice, years of learning and I still learn. They teach me patience and perseverance,” Lindsay Diehl recounted.
Patience and perseverance are both vital when competing in a Spartan race. For Lindsay Diehl the toughest physical challenges of the race will be the cold water and the high altitude.
“Race challenges are the elevation and cold water. I hate cold water! Period! The muscles cramp and the hands get so cold that having grip becomes a dream. I have to prepare for the water obstacle and be ready to get in, get out and go! The altitude can be an issue as well. Lack of oxygen can make anyone get out of breath faster. I try to arrive a few days prior to acclimatize and get used to it,” admitted Lindsay Diehl.
There is also the economic challenge of the race.
“Challenges for this are first: getting there! As a single mom of two it’s a struggle. I work two jobs to make ends meet and provide my family with a comfortable life. I want to show my kids that if you work hard you can have what you and what you want. We only live once, make the most of it”,” Lindsay Diehl declared.
This carpe diem, seize the day, attitude is inspirational – but the reality is sports are expensive, even with careful budgeting.
“Costs for the races are fairly pricey. Most OCR (obstacle course races) groups offer early bird pricing, season passes and discount codes. Aside from entries there is the cost of travel and lodging. This year I chose to camp near the races so I could manage my time between the races and still have vacation time with my kids who also participate in the Junior events. Food costs can be economic as it’s not beneficial to indulge in fast food restaurants. I pack ahead the foods that keep me energized and assist in recovery. Aside from the Lake Tahoe race I did last year I tend to stick to the nearby races.
Finally the cost of attire, most compression workout clothes can be found at many races and almost all sports stores, however footwear can pose a much larger cost and more difficult to find. A pair of shoes only last a few races yet are pivotal for performance. A poor fitting shoe or one that isn’t created for trails and terrain can determine even a finish of a race. Until I can earn a sponsor I have to be humbled by a budget and work with what I have,” stated Lindsay Diehl.
Lindsay’s goal in Lake Tahoe is to finish the race, and to finish in the top ten among females like she did in the Canada Elite Series.
“My goal is to finish, even if I crawl. These races are about facing the unknown and testing how far you can push yourself. You may know the obstacles you will face, but you won’t know where and you won’t know the terrain ahead. This season I strived for the top 10 females. I succeeded! I know it’s possible. I always strive to complete every obstacle. A failed obstacle costs 30 burpees. Burpees deplete energy, motivation and confidence so avoiding them at all costs is a goal,” Lindsay Diehl concluded.
For more info on the Spartan World Championship visit the official website.
To sponsor Lindsay’s journey visit the GoFundMe page.