Ultimate Beast Master Pt 1

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Ultimate Beast Master Pt 1

So, naturally, Here I am on the plane to cali for undoubtedly one of the COOLEST adventures of my life..and I can't talk to anyone about it yet! How cruel!! The nerves, the jitters, the what ifs and the oh-nos. Solitude.

Good thing I've got a thick noggin.

All I can tell you is... I'm heading into a competition. A fierce, international one. Six countries represented and only a handful of athletes ready to take it on. Out of the whole world! Its dynamic. Its difficult. Its exciting. Its 600ft long, 80ft high, full of obstacles. And it's going to be shared with everyone, eventually.

 Follow my journey #liveunbreakable // @liveunbreakable

I've been preparing for this moment my whole life, really. Maybe not the silent part. But the adventuring. Meeting cool people. Training hard for the unknown. And most importantly.. The competition.

"Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer," they say. I think we used to blur that line in gymnastics, as kids. We were always in a puppy pile, as we called it. All our gym bags, our belongings, and ourselves as we waited for our turn to compete. Stacked on top of each other, sharing secrets and giggling. Giving each other last minute pointers. During our last few years in the league we would divide and conquer, calling out who would Take what event and the one toss up we would actually compete on.  If one of us did well, we all celebrated.  We didn't compete against each other, we competed to be the best that we individually could be. That was the rule.

Who knows what the rules will be here. I doubt we can divvy up the obstacles or days of competition among ourselves. And maybe I wouldn't want to anyways. Sometimes, life is competitive. In looks. In strength. In perseverance and determination. That's my quadruple threat right there. And I won't apologize for it. Watch out, Stallone... Watch out world. Unbreakable is coming for your Beast.

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Clean Eating Recipes

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Clean Eating Recipes

Clean eating changes lives. From helping me properly recover from harder workout and race days, to improving my attitude and keeping me healthier overall - I am so thankful that I made this change in my nutrition.  With experiences making recipes, and struggling through the easy and hard days - I doesn't just coach, I lives the philosophies that I teach.

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Reflections of 2015

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Reflections of 2015

I have never really been one to wait for the New Year to start something new, to make new goals, etc (must have to do with my lack of patience overall.. hmm..), but I do think that a new year is a markedly good time to reflect back. To really reflect on your decisions and your life, and focus on the year ahead.

If there was one word to sum up entire 2015 in my eyes, it would be "change." This has been a year full of change (both positive and negative) including racing, training, moving, and living life. to the fullest.

shaun working at spartan

I finished up my 2014 in Boston, MA and started off 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Originally intended as a short pit-stop on my way to California, I ended up staying a little longer than planned.  Life happens, and sometimes it's best to roll with the punches!  I started working full-time for Spartan Race as the SGX lead on-site. I loved every second of the crazy hectic life of a Spartan; from meeting new people, constant travel, changing lives, and learning to accept last-minute plans as a thing that happens - frequently. I definitely learned a lot through this role. It was the much needed break from my previous 9-5 life, a focus on all things fitness, and a trial of something completely new and out there for me.

After a year or so working with Spartan, I decided to part ways. I found that my love for OCR as a sport (as both an athlete and a coach), would be best fulfilled through my business Unbreakable, rather than a single OCR company.  I began this journey with a stint in California, working for a health and wellness camp with a bunch of teenage girls. #challengeaccepted

shaun provost 2015

Leaving Spartan, I was looking for a more stable role in either fitness or marketing (my two main career loves). Upon my return to the 9-5 world, I found an amazingly supportive, innovative, and awesome company out in Utah. Entrata is one of the best things to happen to my (non-racing) career in a very long time.  I've learned through trial-and-error that it's the environment that you're working in and the teammates you have supporting you / that you support that make me feel most fulfilled.  It's definitely important to believe in the work you do, but it's equally important to be valued and to value the team you're on.  I finally feel that here, and damn - it's wonderful.

While all these changes were happening in my professional career, I was focused on rehab and balance in my athletic career. Though I participated in a number of events from Spartan, Battlefrog, and road racing, I was nursing a number of injuries that kept me from going all-out at any of the races I attended and competed in.  The hardest fact for any athlete to face is exactly how long it takes to rehab any injury.  Anywhere from 3 month to 8 months depending on the severity of the original injury (let alone compounded issues).  I learned this lesson (again) in 2015, and I won't let it slow me down in 2016.  I'll focus more on quality than quantity, and being the best athlete I can be. From nutrition to gym time, to focus on balancing muscle groups and racing, I have quite a few goals that rely on my health remaining awesome and getting even stronger.

Looking back on 2015, I definitely embraced change and learned a lot of lessons by living life my way. It wasn't always easy, and lord KNOWS I appreciate the support from my family, friends, and especially my sponsors.  2016 will be the year of improvement, reaching goals, and giving back.  But first, I'll spend a little time reflecting on lessons learned in 2015...

- Your decisions are based on your experiences. Other people's decisions (and advice) are based on their own experiences. Use this lesson as you will.

- Your Mom is almost always right (99.9% of the time) - stop fighting her and just accept it.

- Your Dad is probably also right 99.9% of the time - especially if he agrees with Mom.

- When the Dr.(s) tells you to rest, REST. Not kinda, not sorta, but really. REST.

- Stop trying to make other people happy. Make yourself happy first, and then focus on other people.

- Be a good friend. If you can help your friends, help them. You'll be a friend in need someday, and your friends will be there for you, too.

- Smile. Laugh. Enjoy the moment.

- Never forget to say "Thank You." Those words are never not appreciated, no matter how big or small the reason.

- If you love someone - friends, family, other - tell them. Why wait?

- Remain positive. If you let the negative voices in your life and in your head influence you, it's a quick slip into a downward spiral that's hard to climb out of. (Note... if you ever think no one is there for you, that no one will understand, or wonder if anyone would notice or care if you disappeared.. just message me. I'm here, I care, and I WILL notice).

- Smile. Honestly. To yourself and the world. You never know who you're influencing when you do.

Happy 2016 Y'all!  

Team Ilene Spartan Race




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Born with ULTRA BEAST Mode Turned On

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Born with ULTRA BEAST Mode Turned On

"The toughest marathon distance race of 2012 is the Ultra Beast.  This event is for our most talented and experienced athletes to compete against each other while battling steep mountain gradients and the world's toughest obstacles.
The Ultra Beast will be staged as a two lap version of the Vermont Beast on Saturday September 22nd, 2012.  You must apply for an invitation to race.
This self-supported obstacle race will call upon a racer's experience in endurance and adventure racing.  No whining about aid stations.  No skipping obstacles.  No matter how tough you think you are, you better think twice before applying for an invitation.  "

Me: "I wanted to send a quick email to you regarding the Ultra Beast in Killington 9/22! I was talking to some Spartans over this past weekend and am very much interested in joining in the fun!! I know I could finish it in good time!  Please let me know how to go about signing up for it - thanks so much!!"

Spartan: I googled your Athlinks.  Let me chat with Mike Morris.  It is an invitation only event.  Be in touch soon. 

3 days later...

Spartan: "I suppose I could just make your day?  Congratulations, your Spartan Ultra Beast application has been reviewed and you are being invited to register for the World’s First Marathon Distance Obstacle race to take place on September 22, 2012.  You are a part of obstacle racing history.  There is NO other event of this type anywhere in the world.  The field will be limited to a small, extreme group of athletes and you are part of a select few invited to take part.  Good luck.  Welcome to the Ultra Beast."

Me: "THANK YOU SO MUCH!
I'm so excited!!!!!"

Spartan "We'll see how excited you are around mile 13.  :-)  I'll be there.  Hope to see you."


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The Spartan Championship Race, Killington, VT, USA. Site of the inaugural ULTRA BEAST

September 22, 2012

Bib# 70112

Call Sign: Mike 025-5877

Me:  "Wanna stick together?" 

Jon: "yeah, I'm thinkin about 8hours?" 

me: "exactly right. Let's go!" 

Ultra Beast Spartan

Lap one of the Ultra Beast went better than anticipated but slower then expected. Having never run a super, I was surprised by a lot of the obstacles and technical trails.  Obstacles were strategically placed in difficult areas (#effnorm) and the cold temperatures combined with rain and wind were slowing us down. Jon kept me moving so my muscles would stay warm, even when I wanted to walk or slow down. We paced, pushed, and motivated each other at every obstacle.  

I saw my parents at the half-way mark.  Two loops of the Beast course made it easy to find them, no searching through the crowd, just utter relief that my family was there to support me. They weren't allowed to assist in any way other than verbal communication, so they talked calmly to me and motivated me while they watched me change into my second outfits/shoes at the gear exchange, grab some food and eat/drink really quick, and look around frantically for my friends to introduce them. "Mom, Dad, this is Jon - he's not gonna let me die today.  Mom, Dad, this is Freddy. He promises not to let me die either. And this is Jeff, he's just a badass."  After a plan to see them the next day, good luck wishes, a couple pictures, hugs, and kisses, we were off again.

Jeff and Freddy join Jon and I for the second loop.  Behind schedule, we had to start running.

Unfortunately, that "won't let her die" part of the conversation got tested out. About three miles into lap two, the course came back down the mountain and looped into festival so spectators could see the athletes. I spotted my parents and gave then a wave and a yell, excited to show them what I could do. Wanting to do my parents proud, I began climbing the rope with fierce aggression. Up and up I go, almost to the top. My arms are tired and my grip strength weary. Standing on the last knot I couldn't quite reach the bell. Trying to climb just a little higher, resting my arms by sitting on the knot and shaking out. I jump and grab higher... One more foot to go... Four more inches... And then I fall. All the way down from all the way at the top, into a 2ft-deep water pit. I bet my parents can still hear my scream. Freddy ran over and coached me through my burpees. Each one harder than the last. Jeff and Jon cheered me on, ready to get going. Tears running down my face, out of breath and scared, I finish all 30. I blew a kiss to my parents and gave a stern nod, assuring them I was alright, and we were off again. 

Spartan Ultra Beast Athletes

One of the next pivotal moments I can remember is dreading running up to the bridge which housed the freezing swim, rope ladder climb, and Tarzan swing.  Burpee city, for me. We run up to it just as Mike Morris finished taping off that area, redirecting us on course past it because a wedding was about to start. The sighs of relief were unparalleled as we began burpeeing out for every single obstacle we would miss. Never been so happy to do burpees in my life.

A couple miles later, in the middle of a stretch of running through the woods (again)  we stop for a bathroom break. Freddy comes back to the group and asks "Was anybody else a little concerned by that color?" We all just looked at each other, shared what we had left for water in our packs, shrugged it off and continued our trek to the finish line.

It was getting dark, raining harder and harder, and the warmth from the sun was long gone. my headlamp didn't work because it got wet (perfect!) so the boys shared their headlamp light with me as we ran up and down hills, calling out trees, rocks, and roots in our path, and sang our call signs for miles and miles.

All I can remember repeating to myself for the last half of the second loop is "Mom, Dad, please still be there as I finish this. Please don't leave. Stay until you see me. Please be there, please." And "We've got this. Almost done. Here we go."

As we came down the last mountain it was slick, muddy, and pouring. We were all soaked, freezing cold, dehydrated, and hangry. But supportive of one another. Excited to finish. We could hear the festival area as we got closer and closer. Picking up the pace to finish on time, we keep calling out what we see on the ground that might trip us up, and motivating each other, "We're almost there! Almost done c'mon, we've got this"

Spartan Ultra Beast Finishers 2012

To this date, I have never completed a harder race. And I honestly don't know that I will. Nothing compares to the sheer agony of hypothermia, sore muscles and aches, pain and injury, while simultaneously running alongside the best friends and athletes with the best attitudes, jokes, and that insane feeling that we're finishing the race. It's happening. We're completing the first ever Ultra Beast. Making history.

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 AND we have really badass glow-in-the-dark medals to prove it.

 

My parents did stay until the very end of that race. They watched all four of us cross the finish line, 11 hours 24 minutes after we started, triumphant (limping) crew that we were. 

Shaun Provost Ultra Beast Hug
End of 2012 Spartan Ultra Beast
2012 Spartan Ultra Beast Finishers

 Special thanks goes out to my three teammates Freddy, Jeff, and Jon. You're all badasses and I can't imagine this race without you. Congrats, we made it!

Amanda, for grabbing pictures of us on course and totally sparking our friendship.

Mariano, for helping me get into (and out of) the car, the cabin, and the shower that night. And making me eat and drink. That was crucial. 

My sister for being motivating during my training and supporting my decision to do this race in the first place. You believing in me helped me believe in me, too. 

My parents for not only showing up, taking pictures, and motivating me, but for staying. Seeing the two of you at the end was magical, honestly. I was elated to see your smiles and feel your hugs and love.

And finally, Carrie and Mike for accepting my application and inviting me to take on this insane race and letting me make these memories, test my limits, and always have that something to compare tolerance to.

 

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That DNF Though...

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That DNF Though...

What makes your race resume a little more intriguing? Adding a DNF of course. Read what happens in Tuxedo New York during the Spartan Race Sprint that made Shaun's resume well, a little longer.

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