As Adam Ribeiro (@adambelieve) stood at the starting line of the F.I.T. Challenge, he felt different. “For once I felt so great while waiting for the race to start! I think I was just felt very confident and trusted all my training!” Ribeiro is the guy you want to see at the starting line. He keeps the energy level high and creates a fun vibe chatting up other competitors. Maybe that’s his way of keeping them off guard before he goes out and crushes them.
It’s easier to feel great going into a race when you know you’re physically ready to take everything coming at you. Adam had been working with his coach Luke Bosen (@luke.sky.runner) for a couple of months leading up to the race. “I had been running an average of 30 to 40 miles per week. Most of those were designed to keep a comfortable pace for a long time. I relied on rock climbing to building my grip and upper body strength.” Geared up in his Men’s Elite Compression Shorts from Human Octane, a bright orange crop top (Ribeiro’s signature is loud color or funny printed shirts for racing) and his Inov8 Ultra 290 shoes, he started the first lap of what would become a very long day.
Almost immediately, the F.I.T. Challenge (@f.i.t.challenge) course started to take minutes per mile off of the competitor’s normal splits with grueling, technical terrain and a series of time consuming obstacles. “It may not sound challenging but the course has 2 crawls, the second one was through a bunch of rocks and was much lower than the first. That obstacle was annoyingly slow every lap I did because you had to be careful not to wreck yourself on the rocks.”
Adam made his way around the course, lap after lap, as the sun made its way across the sky. Stopping only occasionally to scarf chicken noodle soup and Slim Jims, he traversed 30 obstacles and 1,000 feet of elevation gain per lap. There wasn’t any time to waste. He was in the lead. “I’d kept in the front of the pack since the start of the race which was interesting to be the one setting the pace. Around my seventh lap, 21 miles into the race, Luke from OCR Beast (@ocrbeast.co) who was helping me with food through the transitions told me I was in the lead but second place wasn’t too far behind. He told me to never get comfortable with that lead and keep pushing!”
He listened to his coach, but as with most endurance athletes, the battle became more mental than physical. “It became a struggle to keep pushing through with it. Just having to fight those doubts that would often pop in my head … thinking that my chance of winning was gone if I slowed down! I was constantly reminding myself that I could do it, that I’m strong and to believe in myself.” Believing you’re capable of doing epic things is a critical turning point in every athlete’s race. Adam’s confidence level was high going in, but that belief came late in the race. “I knew I’d won the race once I finished lap 11, but I didn’t want to stop. I still had 5 minutes to be able to start one more lap and the motivation of some friends telling me to do it, so I took a shot of fireball and went on my last lap) which meant finishing the race in the dark!”
40 miles after that confident start, Adam stood on top of the podium. “After hours of pain and exhaustion along with lots of hours spent training I never smiled so big in my life. I couldn’t have cried if I wanted to because I think I was delusional with fatigue at that point. I was beyond happy and rode on that high for days, which helped numb the shock my body was in. It didn’t even matter if I was just waddling the next day!” After take a few days off to recover, Adam was back at it with his training plan with several more long distance races and many more crop tops on the schedule this year.
Adam Ribeiro is a sponsored athlete with Human Octane (@humanoctane) and a coach with OCR Beast (www.ocrbeast.co)