On April 9th, I completed my very first Spartan Race! Thankfully, I was fully recovered from my half marathon the week prior.
I went through the course as a team with my co-workers, MM & RJ, and my husband’s co-workers AB, SB, and CS. The funny part (well not really funny, but ironic) was the whole thing was my hubby’s idea, but since he had a health concern recently, the doctor said “No Spartan.” So he followed the Dr’s orders, and thankfully can defer his race entry to a new race. We are planning for the Spartan in Fayetteville, NC in September.
The night prior, J & I had date night at a place we had never been, 1618 Seafood Grille in Greensboro. It’s the top-rated restaurant in the city, and it did not disappoint! I had my hair cut/dyed/straightened, and got a new dress, so I was feeling AMAZING 🙂 (and young, haha!)
We had spring rolls as an appetizer, I had the seafood trio for my entrée (shrimp, scallops, tuna, served with asparagus), and the waiter brought out a key lime pie for my birthday! Absolutely incredible meal. I was so stuffed though… I could barely move 🙁 I should have stopped mid-way thru the dessert, but it was sooo tasty!
It might be a good time to mention that I wasn’t taking the Spartan race too seriously. I would NEVER eat all that food the night before a race, but I figured I would be fine since I wasn’t going to be racing as hard as I could.
The next morning, I STILL felt full, but I ate my usual eggs & toast for breakfast at 6 AM. We left around 6:30 to get to the Porter Farms area in Concord, NC by 7:45ish. Not a bad drive at all!
My teammates MM & RJ were already there waiting… anxiously. Both worried they’d be the “weakest link” and the team would be waiting on them. (We all secretly hoped it wouldn’t be us!)
RJ had only done one training run… 2 miles… about 2 months ago! LOL
Asher–being his usual mischievous self–messed up Javi’s hair, and giggled about it in a devilish kinda way: hehehe.
Our other teammates arrived shortly thereafter. I made 2 trips to the bathroom and began to realize that I might have overeaten. We got some fun pics together, altho Gabe didn’t want any pics:
Soon it was 8:45, and time to line up in our start corral (9 AM start time). It was still chilly so I opted to wear my arm warmers (the Brooks “Run Happy” ones were all I could find!)
We were surprised to find we had to jump a wall just to enter the starting corral! Thankfully no one got hurt 😛
We did a motivational “I am a Spartan” chant, and we were off!
The course started with a nearly 1/2 mile run. I didn’t feel great from the get-go. Too much food. Ugh!
Here’s a not-so-clear map:
I decided to run with a Camelbak so I wouldn’t get dehydrated. It was a bit of a pain to run with, but overall not bad. As I tell my kids, “better to have and not need [such as a raincoat or umbrella], than to need and not have.” And so I ran with the Camelbak.
The first obstacles were wooden beams set at an odd angle that we had to get over. Not bad. Then a few we had to crawl under, and through. Then some hay bails to get over. The smell of cow poop permeated the area! Yum! LOL
The obstacle we couldn’t pass was a wall with different handholds, called the Olympus. Check out the tutorial here. Your feet couldn’t touch the ground so… I opted not to even try. It would have been very difficult. I thought my feet would slip and my grip strength would be shot. Hopefully with some more grip strength training, I’ll get it next time. I did some burpee’s… maybe not 30 of them, but definitely some 😉 I think most people “lose count.” I figured since I was in the “open” category (not “competitive” or “elite” category) then it’s fine. I could already tell we were NOT the fastest team out there!
One of my least fave obstacles: fill a bucket with rocks and carry it around… the bucket was so heavy, and so awkward. I struggled. As you can see 😉
My back hurt a little after that one! We then had a sled pull, a huge muddy area to cross, some cold streams to go thru (thankfully only up to the knees), a sandbag carry up a big hill in the woods, and some others.
Then we came to my VERY least fave spot: the mud pits. And here is where my day took a turn for the worse.
There were several pits… very deep. Water up to chest level. Then a steep, very slippery (from the mud) bank to climb out of, only to go into another pit. So on the second pit, I slid down on my butt (on purpose) so I wouldn’t fall. And when I came out, my teammate CS said words that no one ever wants to hear, “Uhhh, Vanessa… You tore your pants… And I can see skin.” (he said this very nicely) I was instantly mortified, and looked back, felt for it (we were covered in mud) and it was about a 1 inch hole–not a huge deal in itself. However, it was about 1 inch from my butt crack! Ahhhhh! 🙁 There were some very sharp rocks, apparently. I showed MM and she said it was barely noticeable. But for me, or “butt for me” (ha!) it felt huge, I felt exposed, and I worried that another obstacle would make it worse. I stretched my shirt down… and it came just to the top of the hole. Darnit!
The next mud pit was the “Dunk Wall” where you have to fully submerge, and go underneath a wall that’s about 1 foot under the muddy water surface. I went through with MM:
I couldn’t see a darn thing for a bit, with the mud in my eyes. Thankfully I didn’t lose my contacts. MM & I had also taken off our Camelbaks so they wouldn’t be completely nasty (seen in the background of the pics above).
With that, I struggled thru the rest of the course a little. I had moderate GI distress, the day was heating up, and now a hole in my fave pants (actually they were my CW-X capris from 2009, not a huge loss since they were old, but I still loved them!) I just focused on getting to the next obstacle, and helping my teammates out. We climbed a super slippery, tall, A-frame with ropes… scary. Glad to get over that one! We crawled under what felt like 100 yards of barbed wire. We carried a ridiculously slippery and heavy Atlas stone (50 lbs?), dropped it, did 5 burpees, then carried it back. Whew, that was a rough one! We hoisted some heavy bags up in the air with a pulley system. We climbed a huge cargo net A-frame.
Obstacles we “failed” (most of us anyway), besides the Olympus one:
- rope climb
- rings (very thick ones, I couldn’t get a good grip)
- javelin/spear throw
- monkey bars (uneven bars)
The monkey bars just didn’t look doable… my shoulders were close to muscle failure a few times, so I didn’t want to risk an injury. I just did burpees there like most people 🙂 We could see the finish line, and I saw my boys! Finally, everyone was done with burpees, and we ran hand-in-hand to the finish, jumping the last obstacle: logs on fire!
Hot, tired, sore, and completely disgusting and dirty (and with a hole in my pants!)… but we were Spartans!
Finish line pic by Javi (thank you baby!)
While we were on the course, Gabe was on the kids half mile course (for ages 4-8). Javi said he rocked it, and after watching the videos, I can attest: Gabe did awesome!! Here’s a few from his race:
And his finish line pic with medal (and Clif kids bar):
We hung out for a bit, then hosed off with freezing cold water, got changed in a hot & stuffy changing tent, and bought some Gyros with fries.
I didn’t get my free beer because I was so ready to get home for a real shower! The boys were quite tired too:
I didn’t realize how disgusting my hair was until getting home:
And it took about 6 Q-tips to get my ears clean 😛
Luna enjoyed seeing my medal and my 1/3 of a Trifecta wedge:
I didn’t think I’d enjoy it (and at times I really didn’t enjoy it!), but overall, I think the Spartan was pretty fun, and definitely made me feel bad@$$ and strong! I probably won’t go for a Trifecta just yet, which is multiple distances in one year: Sprint (what we did), Super (8-10 miles), and Beast (12+ miles). But next year I might 🙂
I wore my Garmin during the race, and though it got super muddy, it gave me our overall distance and stats. The course was supposedly 4.8 miles, but mine came out to well over 5 miles:
Very muddy, yet very fun.
Someday I think I could be competitive with the Spartan. I will need to train a lot more though!
Next up… not sure. Probably a 5K. This race changed my priorities, so I am now struggling even more on what is my favorite, or preferred, race and distance. Run all the races 🙂
Year to date stats and race schedule here.
Thanks for reading!!!