Still As Tough As They Come: An update on Boost Oxygen ambassador and Spartan runner Paul Lachance
Paul Lachance has been a long-time member of the Boost Oxygen family. We are proud to say that he has had Boost Oxygen with him for the majority of his races. You can read more about this incredible athlete in some of our earlier stories about him in our Learning Center. Paul continues to inspire us all as he turns 80 years old this year. In celebration of his birthday and the new year, we asked him to take a look back on 2020 and fill us in on his goals for 2021.
To learn more about Spartan racing, visit Spartan.com
Boost Oxygen: We know that 2020 didn’t pan out like anyone would have expected, but was there anything in particular that stuck out to you?
Paul Lachance: What a year it was: from meeting a 94-year-old Spartan in Jacksonville to a complete shutdown for most of the year and finally closing up 2020 with 7 Savage Races on the east coast. The COVID-19 virus really put a kink in my obstacle course racing (OCR) plans.
BO: 7 Savage Races? That still seems like a lot, but how did you get into obstacle course racing?
PL: I ran (jogged) my very first Spartan event on May 3rd, 2014 at Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs, CO with my son, Sean. From there we experimented with several other franchises but kept coming back to Spartan. We earned the first TRIFECTA* in 2015 and then 3 in 2016.
About that time, I started thinking about the future as I was not getting any younger and wondered how long I could keep going. Then it dawned on me that if I add one more TRIFECTA per year then I could earn "8 at 80" - a goal was set.
*Boost Oxygen side note: a Spartan TRIFECTA is when someone completes a Spartan Sprint, a Spartan Super and a Spartan Beast race in one calendar year. So 8 TRIFECTAs would mean Paul would complete 24 Spartan races in one calendar year.
All was going along just fine with earning 4 in 2017, 5 in 2018, and 6 in 2019. 2020 started off with the anticipation of earning 7X and I was off to the races with a bang...7 events in two weekends in February and earning my first 2 Trifecta's. The schedule was set for the rest of the season and then COVID-19 pandemic hit and the rest of the year was eventually cancelled.
BO: Having a schedule like yours completely wiped out would be extremely hard to deal with, but how did you cope?
PL: Not only was the Spartan season cancelled, but the gym where I trained closed until our county obtained a variance. The question then became, “Where do I train and keep up my strength and stamina?” Easy, I live in western Colorado where Mother Nature has provided a natural gym complete with obstacles. Along with several other Spartans, we started a Saturday morning "hiking" club through the Colorado National Monument where we have many miles of rugged trails, hills, flat spots, more hills, majestic scenery, even more hills, wildlife, and did I mention, hills?!?
As the summer wore on, the group slowly downsized due to the lack of interest with all the events being cancelled. Eventually I found myself alone.
Staying Motivated with Support and Boost Oxygen
BO: Not having something on the horizon to train for can be a motivation killer, but did you see your motivation flag at all?
PL: For several weeks I didn't even jog once and I could feel the weight coming on as I was in a mental slump. I wound up pouring my soul into work and was working 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, which was not good for this old man. I quickly realized that working that many hours and not having an outlet was not physically or mentally healthy so off I went back on the trails.
BO: Good for you! You’ve certainly overcome plenty of hurdles having beat cancer twice. What has your training looked like since getting back into is and how has Boost Oxygen helped?
PL: I have a 5K trail directly out of my door and along the Colorado River so now it's at least 3 - 4 times a week (weather permitting) and I'm out there. I don't run for speed or time...simple endurance and lung improvement. Every mile or so I take a few inhalations from my can of Boost Oxygen and that keeps me going very nicely.
I am also blessed to have a number of very supportive Facebook and personal friends that kept encouraging me to keep up the training. Without these friends (Tom, Will, Mark, Jimmy, Bill, and Ken to name a few) pushing me it would have been difficult to maintain a level of both interest and anticipation. Thank you guys!
Getting Back To Racing
BO: Having that kind of support is massive when you are trying to stay in shape, but you don’t know when your next race will be. Luckily, you were able to get a few events in later in the year, weren’t you?
PL: As Fall was approaching, I was invited to join a few of my Spartan friends in doing a Savage Race (OCR) in Dallas, GA. Since my daughter lives relatively close to the venue it was a chance to both see her and the family as well as participate in an actual OCR. I'll admit that doing that first event was a struggle since it had been almost 9 months since the last event but I “got 'er done” and it was fun. Several weeks later I went to Dade City, Florida and completed 4 more Savage Races. It was a good feeling to get back on the trail. That also concluded my 2020 OCR season.
BO: That’s a much shorter season than you were anticipating considering you had more than 21 races on the calendar for 2020!
But guess what? 2021 is here and Spartan currently has the year scheduled. I still have my "8 at 80" goal. I intended for my first event to be February 13th outside of Phoenix, AZ, but this event has been postponed until November. There is an event planned for March 27th outside of Mesquite, NV. The actual location is Littlefield, AZ but everyone calls it the ‘Vegas Weekend’. Are you ready for 2021? I know that I am!
Here's an invitation to join me on my quest for the 8X. Let's get muddy and make up for the lost time in 2020. I'll keep you posted on my progress and would encourage you all to join me on the last part of the 8X. Let’s do the fire jump together!
You can keep up with Paul on Facebook! He’s also featured on Spartan Race social media platforms, too. We are very proud to have Paul as an inspirational and motivational member of the Boost Oxygen Family.