I've been through the ranks over this past year preparing for my Spartan Trifecta (Spartanrace.com). As I reflect back on my journey I get a vague sense of surrealism in what I have accomplished, yet my reflection in the mirror reveals a smug look on my face at the same time. Over the past year I encountered two injuries that I had successfully worked through while maintaining my regimen in preparing for my Spartan races. My daily regimen was doused with mindful determination and lots of trail miles mingled with plenty of cross fit training. The trails themselves offered an adventure all of their own starting with an abundant of deer sitings; there was was even one occasion when I saw in its full majesty a buck bounding through a mountaintop meadow. I have had the pleasure of sharing the trails with numerous turtles and the privilege of running with a groundhog, literally! On one occasion I encountered a lone dog with a cowbell running the trails in the opposite direction who never stopped to ask for a good petting as most normal dogs do; I guess he was in training too! Whenever I reached the mountaintops I would pause to enjoy my reward and soaked in those breathtaking vista views. On one mountaintop experience I actually had vultures flying right around my head (no I wasn't dying). One afternoon as I ran deep into a valley floor I unexpectedly encountered a rattlesnake basking on the trail causing me to take a flying leap into a seven minute mile pace (I normally run nine minute miles). One of my best encounters has been a dog named Aberdeen who came bolting out of no where and ran four miles by my side; I felt obligated to share my Nuun and water with her along the way. The Spartan Races themselves provided a much different journey all of their own. Other than racing over off road terrain one has to navigate on their belly through thick mud under barbed wire. Along the way one will find eight foot walls to traverse along with climbing twenty foot ropes. All the obstacles are too numerous to list, but of all the obstacles one must face the best one was the opportunity to jump over fire, which kind of culminated the whole experience for me.