Spartan Races Galore in Thailand — 2020!

I’m sitting in front of an executive at one of the biggest banks in Thailand and abruptly he says, “registration opens tomorrow!” It was a random comment at the time since we had been discussing the ever-so-annoying-coronavirus, but I shifted my attention to him and said: “huh?”

He said, “Spartan Race Thailand!”

I was in disbelief. I was in awe. I didn’t know what to say. Should I ask him where? How? When? What? Who said? What’s happening? I told him, “get the hell outa here! Show me!” He quickly went to his phone and there it was, three spectacularly magnificent dates of the race here in Thailand this year.

After going on a one year hiatus after the Spartan Trifecta in Hua Hin, people rambled about it having poor reviews, complaints, etc. I thought it was perfectly placed, but the mountains and going through 13km of hills was a daunting task for my joints.

2019 it was crickets. I had already opted out of races for the subsequent year because that 2018 ripped the soul out of me. I just felt, “man, f*** that! That was just soul-crushing. I damn near died!” Not only me, but another massive trainer (bodybuilder) by the name of Vishal, who works at the lab, was found by me….crouching over, eyes red beyond comprehension and gasping for life during the bucket carry towards the end of the Spartan Beast. However, that was a resurgence and gave me a ton of energy to finish because I said, “wow, I’m not in this condition and have about 25% of the muscle!”

I finished, stopped doing Spartan Races, then flirted with the potential of doing one in Vietnam this year (as a matter of fact, tomorrow).

I said, “man, I just don’t have it in me. I just don’t wanna do it. What are you trying to prove, Arsenio?”

Until I saw dates at Chiang Mai (not interested), but the ultra-gorgeous Krabi (beach camp) and a forest camp in GORGEOUS Songkhla!

I HAD TO!

Next Vacation & Spartan Race: Taiwan!

You read it correctly. Your main man, who goes by the name of Arsenio Buck, is reentering Spartan after a bit of a hiatus.

When I was trekking through the foothills in Hua Hin, sucking in dust particles like it was oxygen, I told myself: “man, FUCK THIS!” I said I would never do it again. However, after listening to my body and feeling how strong I’ve become, my body is craving that immense pain once again!

I made an oath to myself at the beginning of the year that I was going to take a year off from Spartan races because the Beast in Hua Hin last year was just so unbelievably demoralizing. However, after sorting out my visa situation here in Thailand, micro trips to Malaysia and Singapore are NO MORE!

I can’t let just a few assholes at Immigration in Hong Kong determine the outcome of me traveling everywhere. Yes, Taiwan will be another very difficult country I need to acclimate with, but because I will be be the “not-so-thumb-sticking-out,” that means I won’t have a problem recording and documenting my stories. Will the Spartan Super go as planned? I have no idea. I will need to adapt very quickly and once I land in Taoyuan International Airport, I’ll know what I’m up against.

Spartan Bag for The Beast

On the dawn of the monster, let’s take a look at what’s important for a Spartan Beast!

Essentials

Hydration Pack

Energy Gels

Protein Bar

Two pairs of socks

Arm sleeve of some kind to protect you

Sunscreen

Compression (shirt and shorts)

Distance running shoes

Waist belt

  • The hydration pack, given the distance, is absolutely essential.  Because I’m running in such a sweltering and humidity-filled climate, dehydration, especially during the beast, will lead to a lot of problems on the course.  Yes, water stations will be scattered, but that won’t be good enough to defeat a course that’s 21km long. I bought one of these packs recently and I’m super excited to use it. Option: run with a bottle, but I totally wouldn’t recommend it.
  • Energy gels made their debut when I first ran the Spartan in KL, a very memorable monster I had to defeat and befriended a Malaysian entrepreneur during the process.  In a 13km race, I probably took one around the 5-7km mark and maybe towards the end (not even needed).  In a sprint, it’s not needed at all.  However, the Beast is an entire new beast, and it’s absolutely needed for the beating your body will take.  I did a Tough Mudder three years ago, and that I didn’t have ANYTHING to help me through the entire course.  The climate wasn’t suffocating, though.  Coll temperatures (around 15 degrees celcius and maybe went up to about 20-25) made it the most enjoyable race (maybe not the best — Bali’s Tough Mudder was pure heaven). Thailand, on the other hand, isn’t like that.  Stack yourself with gels.
  • Any form of food during the race will work.  Getting some food, protein, carbs or anything that has energy in you will significantly reduce all the negative effects that will take place during the race.  However, having a melted protein bar will do you no good, so stash a bar or two in the refrigerator (or even the freezer for an x amount of time) to have it nice and cold before race time.  1-2 hours in, it’s a edible bar.
  • Doubling up on socks reduces the chances of having to take off your shoes over, and over, and over during the race, smacking it against the ground to get those imaginary (what it seems like during the race) and microscopic rocks out of your shoes.
  • Arm sleeves and gloves are your best friend! Honestly, don’t be the big-tough-guy-bonehead that says “gloves are for __________.”  Carrying, dragging, holding buckets, etc will get increasingly difficult after the 10km mark, so please, don’t be the idiot.  Your arms will look like Freddy Kruger got a hold of you after the race.  Keep those arms looking gorgeous and protect yourself.
  • The waist belt I bought a couple years ago is still durable and still works.  This has gone through about 3-4 Spartan races and plenty of city runs.  Having this enables me to carry my protein bars and gels; and even if I have to crawl, I can rotate it to the back so it doesn’t get ruined.  SMART!

One of the biggest problems I had with running shoes back in 2015 had to be the only pair I had at the time.  I bought a pair of under armour shoes that I KNEW wouldn’t survive during the race, but didn’t want to use the other ones (in the video down below) instead.  I decided to wear them and probably halfway through the race, I was limping because it was painful and I had a pinching sensation on the outer portion of my right knee.  Problematic to say the least.  Test your shoes, in the grit, and see if they hold up.

Spartan Beast Malaysia = Cancelled; Now What? Spartan Beast Australia!

I went from booking a ticket, thinking that my Spartan Beast in Malaysia was on a Saturday, to cancelling a plane ticket and realizing that plane tickets on other days were at extortionate prices.  YIKES!

What a disaster.  What seemed like a sure Spartan Beast and trifecta claiming weekend turned into a nightmare whereas I almost lost out on $167 dollars.

So, Arsenio….your health goals of 2018 have suffered a minor hiccup.  What are you going to do now?

Well, there were three options.  First, I’m grateful I don’t have to fly back to Malaysia at this point because I’m so sick of the garbage airlines (Malindo Air & Air Asia) that are ALWAYS late.  I’m sick of almost getting in mid-air collisions (on Malindo) and Air Asia) and terrible service — along with cardboard box seats.

So, got it.  “It’s a low-budget airline.”  Well, no more!

I’d much rather take some time off from these low-budget airlines than deal with lunacy of them always being late.

Well, I’m first very grateful for having experiences both airlines, but it’s time to spend a tad more and fly reputable airlines from a better airline that’s connected to the rail link, which is connected to the city.

Anywho, let’s focus on the matter…my Spartan Beast has been stopped, momentarily, and now it’s either the Beast in Thailand, Australia, or Malaysia (lol) in December (in the Malaysian/Singaporean border town of Johor Bahru). What will I choose?

 

Questions & Answers: Why The Spartan/Tough Mudder Competitions?

It was a perfect question at a perfect time.  Back in 2015, I put my mind, body and spirit to the test.  In one of the most difficult races of my life, I saw everything flash before my eyes: ewwwww! Black man! Negro! Pimp! Black people are disgusting! — yes, these are the comments that Thai women spewed upon me.  Not only that, in 2015, I worked for a company where a dutchman, who is known as a pedaphile here in Thailand, got more praise at a job (how does he have a job being a pedaphile in Thailand is beyond me) than me.  2015 was also the last stint of holding myself to being a victim.  It was difficult.

So, like many people, I joined this competition to hopefully get over that mental hurdle.  Did it help? Not only did it help, but it opened something within my mind that pressured me to better myself.

If it wasn’t for these redunculous competitions where I put myself through so much agony, I wouldn’t be where I am today, right? Something inside me needed to be turned around.  My paradigm needed to change or else it would’ve driven me to pure insanity.

Back in 2016, I still remember working at a job in the heart of Bangkok and they said, “sorry, you can’t teach TOEIC (a test for non-native English speakers) because you’re black and the students don’t like you).  I quit that job in a heartbeat and continued searching.

This is why I do these competitions because now I’ve re-created a reality that none of that trash from 2-5 years ago exists.  Sure, I get the occasional racist looks, but hardly ever.  I stayed away from racist Thai news websites that demonized black people….and now all of that has seemingly vanished.  Let’s get into this in my podcast down below!

Podcast

Spartan Super: Chon Buri, Thailand – The Good, The Ridiculous, The “Come On, Man”

The Race – A Debacle of Astronomical Proportions

This is a very infuriating situation that was BECAUSE OF ME.  I couldn’t believe out FAT and out-of-shape I was for this race.  Did I feel fat? Well, the extra fat on my stomach is absolutely noticeable.  However, I think a lot of it had to do with the people I ran with.

The situation was much worse  this time because it was just a walk-a-thon.  In the first four KM, I wanted to quit.  I’ve never felt that before in my life.  I think 60% of it was because I kept looking back and never got into a rhythm in terms of running.  Two, I honestly have done only a few classes at my gym in one month.  That’s a recipe for disaster.  Normally I do two classes a week, but three classes are better.  I didn’t have anywhere near the amount of strength I had in the past.

This was a very sad reality.

When you’re able to Face What Isn’t Working, you’re able to think clearly about situations.  A day after the race, I’ve cleaned up everything.  Yes, I had that sugar craving and wanted my gummy bears, but I didn’t because I have a nasty image of what I’m becoming engraved into my head, and that’s the most terrifying part about all of it.  So, I just keep asking myself, “if I buy those bags of candy, I won’t be proving a god damn thing to myself.”

Podcast

 

One Day Away – Spartan Race

Cardio, strength, core training, leg training….all of these things were done in bulk and now it’s time to put it to the test.

How do I feel going into the Spartan Super in Chon Buri, Thailand? I wouldn’t say nervous, but not really sure what to expect.  Have I trained like crazy since my Spartan Spartan Sprint in KL? Nope.  Honestly, I have done maybe two hard training sessions since mid-April.  Either I’ve grossly underestimated this race and I’m in for a grueling 13km, or I took a chance and knew what I was going to be up against.

Spartans in Thailand are far different from Malaysia.  In Malaysia, if you’re going to do a Sprint, you need to train for a Super.  If you’re going to do a Super, you need to train for a Beast.  That’s how difficult it is because the organizers set up the race on hills, rivers, gorges and so many other things.  It’s ridiculously tough.  So between now and July 28th, I will SURELY sign up with a gym and hit it hard.

Tomorrow is going to be not a test of will, but a test with the people I’m running with.  I will warn them in advance that if in the event one person begins to walk, I told them that I would meet them at the finish line.  I did not pay 66$ to walk.  I can walk at home for free.

2) It’s 13km, but I have my energy gels and everything ready to go (oh, and just by writing this blog, I just reminded myself that I need to buy some armguards for the race. YES!).

3) Now that I think of it, I think I’m seriously underestimating this race and could be in huge trouble.

Podcast

Ramble of Positivity: 5th Anniversary In Thailand

It’s been an unbelievable 5 years.  Wow, how can I even put it into context. I will try highlighting this through pictures.

First Three Years

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You understand where my focus was, right? 2013-2015 were the rough years with lots of racial influences, advertisements, and me focusing on “what I didn’t want.” I had a woman from Thai Airways threaten my life, stating that she would get dangerous people to kick my face in.  I got the “ewww black man! Low-class! Pimp!” comments from lots of women.  I was denied jobs for being black.  My language center (New Education World if you must know the name) denied me dozens of jobs stating, “ohhh, they want a white teacher.”  All of these culminated for three years (and even well into this year after cutting off the unknowledgeable job)…..until the beginning of 2016.

Then this happened…..

Last Two Years

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And just like that, within two years time, I was able to overcome all of the ignorance — ignorance that I saturated myself in.  Let’s look back at the years that transformed me into the influential figure I am.  It’s time for the ramble!

My first photo, which was taken at a night safari deep in some forest in Bali, is possibly the best trip I’ve ever had in my life.  Bali, an alluring island that’s tucked away in the bottom of Indonesia, was one of those chips that changed me as a human being.  It should’ve been the trip that made me quit my current job, but it never crossed my mind.  This island is inhabited with white sandy beaches, quiet beachside fronts, jungles, monkeys, and a rich history.  The indigenous people there are full of smiles, big round eyes, and possess such a wonderful heart.

The second Spartan Race, which took place in Chon Buri, Thailand, was a memorable WALK.  I’m kidding.  However, I’m not kidding about it just being a long walk.  Regardless of laziness and the willingness to push yourself, this was one of my favorite runs because the amount of smiles and people pushing each other.

Maldives.  I’m laughing while writing this because this was a country that featured no currency.  That’s right.  I went there with Thai currency, only to be turned away and had no means of getting any currency while I was there.  Until I was met with the most incredible gesture anyone has ever given me.  This trip, which could’ve been a hell of a lot better, taught me a lot about myself in general.

Ho Chi Mihn City – the city of beautiful souls.  Well, not all.  I got cussed out roadside by a Vietnamese boy who was soliciting me for services *curling eyes*.  Going inside the remnants war museum and seeing the pure destruction the USA Army unleashed upon all Vietnamese crippled me inside.  Not only that, but it made me realize how strong-willed the Vietnamese are.

First Spartan Race in Malaysia (and the one just two weeks ago) were FUN! Wait, I’ll take that back. The first Spartan race SUCKED.  Ok, yes….it was near public transportation (versus the last one that was in the middle of a damn jungle), but there weren’t comedians or anyone cheering each other on – on the course.  Get what I’m saying? But a Sprint and Super have been achieved.  It’s time for the BEAST!

Moving into my new condo and leaving a place that was killing my insides…was a monumental feature.  I believe I brought all the pain from the beginning of the years to my last job and it held me down.  I took the leap of faith, left, and I could finally breathe again.

Anyways, enough of that.  How about checking some things off my list! Sheraton Hotel, which is a five-star hotel in KL, was put on my 101 goals list in 2015 — ACHIEVED! It wasn’t the only one to join the “checking” list with several others being highlighted.

And last but not least, the trip back to Arizona — a place I haven’t been in years.  I competed in a Tough Mudder after fighting off food poisoning (courtesy of Singapore Airlines – Thank You!).

All in all, when I was looking in my camera roll on my iPhone, I began to tear up.  How was I able to overcome all of it?

Personal development, of course.  5 years in Thailand and I still go through the craziness of it all.  So, I want to just say THANK YOU to no only my loyal followers and supporters, but the fact that I never gave up.

Questions & Answers: Feeling Left Out? Drop Them!

That’s right! You heard it here first! Today I’m bringing everyone another Q & A – a Q & A from an individual in Asia.

“Hello, I see you do a lot of podcasts on friends and speak a lot about well-being.  I have a class with friends and we chat in a line group.  For the past month, they haven’t been replying to any of my messages.  They send 30 messages a day to one another, but they leave me out.  What should I do?”

See, that’s simple.  I went over a couple of things in my podcast in terms of this, but I’ll give you guys my story in bulk and how I handle “worry” situations.

Now, let me try to break this down as much as I can.

I was suppose to go to Spartan Thailand in two weeks with my original friends from the last Spartan.  Because one didn’t like pushing himself, “powerlifters do zero cardio,” I decided that I needed to go with some others.

I came across a gym called the Lab last September and loved them ever since….given the fact that everyone from there had done the Spartan Race before.

However, there was a little bit of a discrepancy of late.  Because it’s a distance (the race) away, I asked anyone and everyone about transportation (in the same group you’re in — Line)…….*crickets*

No one said anything and no direct messages were given.  This is called not acknowledging what other people are saying.  However, within a few minutes, someone brought up another random topic and completely ignored mine.

Push came to shove….I’m 3 weeks away and I found out the other guy I was going to would be staying in rat-infested Pattaya — the city with the most prostitutes in the Eastern Hemisphere.  I, having the dignity I do, don’t want to stay there.  But because he’s the driver, I have no choice.

I woke up this morning and I said, “ok, Arsenio.  You woke up with those asses on your mind.  They now have your attention.  They have your self-control.  You no longer have control over something so microscopic.  My question is….what are you going to do?”

I went to the group…..clicked “leave group.”

It’s that simple.  They completely ignored me and have been for weeks, no one is setting up transportation, and everyone is doing their own individual thing…yet they all have a team for the race (but no one converses with me?).

They’re undeserving of your attention, your work, your personality, and your well-being in general.  Maybe I’m going a little overboard, but if they’re bringing nothing to the table and you see them constantly talking to one another in the group, what’s the f***ing point of even having them in your group?  What are they giving to your tree? It sounds like they’re a bunch of ants who have mauled a dying tree, and if that’s the case, I would say “bye bye.”

I break the situation down more in my podcast down below!

Podcast

https://www.spreaker.com/user/thearseniobuckshow/questions-answers-feeling-left-out-drop-

My Spartan Bag: Energy Gels

Now that the Spartan Race is over, I want to evaluate and see just how great these Energy Gels are.  In 2015, I didn’t have any protein bars on me or energy gels.  On that specific race in Melbourne, Australia, I almost gave up.  Was it because I lacked energy? Or lacked Will-Power in general? It could’ve been both.  However, I continued doing races without these bad boys for a couple of more years until the the Spartan Super in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

In that race I had 2 energy gels.  For the majority of that race, I was running.  I continued running for the longest of times, even after the 10km mark.  By the time the end of the race came, I felt pretty damn good!

Fast-forwarding to present day, I took yet another energy gel and felt absolutely amazing after the race.  So, I decided to make a video on this and show you guys an easy and affordable way to sustain your energy and give you a boost during your competitions.