Now that the scratches are nothing but pink streaks and the bruises have begun to fade to that lovely shade of purply-yellow, I feel it is time for a Tri-State Spartan Sprint recap.
It was really warm and humid as all get out. By the time my team started at 10 it was already 80°F out there. My team consisted of me and Jay, my badass friend Allison (who had never done a Spartan Race,) and Jay’s friend Justin (who had never done a race before, period, and only just started getting even remotely active within the last month or so.)
The terrain was pretty intense. Instead of sending us straight up and down the slopes, we did a lot more uphill in-between trails, dodging rocks and trees and more rocks and tree roots hidden under hay-strewn paths. I had been hoping that with all the running I have been doing, that I could run a lot more of the course, but with all the ankle-twisting hazards, I opted to take it a bit slower than I wanted to.
My team crossed the finish line 4.6 miles after starting in about 2 hours 53 minutes. Our pace was better than any other Sprint I have done.
Some obstacle highlights:
- Lots and lots of walls. I lost track of the walls because they kept throwing in random walls. Every time we turned a corner, there was another wall. It got to the point where we were starting to think we took a wrong turn and ended up going backwards to walls we had already done.
- Tire Drag – A new obstacle. Drag a tire out a few yards downhill, leave it there, go back where you started from and pull the tire back using the attached rope
- Log Hop – Holy Narrow Logs, Batman! Typically, the logs for this have been 5-10 inches in diameter. These were probably 4-6 inches. I was petrified that if I fell, I’d be impaled. Talk about incentive to stay balanced!
- Barbed Wire Crawl – I think they replaced the mud with clay, glass shards, and shrapnel leftover from Vietnam landmines. My knees and hands are speckled red with all the scrapes.
- Slippery Wall – Easy-peasy, right? Wrong. I don’t know if the angle was steeper than normal or if the rope was smoother than normal or what, but this was way harder than it should have been. Jay flew up and over like nothing, but Justin, Allison, and I slipped and slammed hard against the wall and slid down in a very non-graceful way. Twice. I had to give up and take burpees because I could no longer breathe after the wall knocked my lungs and heart into my spine.
- Backward Wall – This wall leaned toward you. There were 3 or 4 planks on the under-side that you could use to climb up and over and slide down the other side. I need a little help from Jay getting over because I was still physically drained by that foul slippery wall. If I hadn’t just been bodyslammed by my self, I probably could have done it alone.
The real highlight of my fourth Spartan Sprint was the people who were around us. I loved my team. It was great introducing 2 more people to the addiction that is Spartan Race. Allison pushed herself that much further. Justin did something that people told him he couldn’t. And Jay was the best team leader, pushing us when we needed to be pushed and letting us be when we needed to figure things out on our own. But there were a lot of other people that I am going to remember- the people in the Biggest Loser Off-Road Challenge wave that took off right before our wave. There were so many people who were not the stereotypical obstacle course racer, out there on the same course as us, doing a lot of the same obstacles with us, positioning themselves waaay outside of their comfort zones. The Biggest Loser Challenge was a reminder of what Spartan Race had originally meant to me – prying yourself off the couch and doing something awesome and being better than who you were yesterday. They re-affirmed my love of the sport that I had been starting to doubt. I had been getting so sick and tired of these events becoming so much more about the “elites” and “killing it” and being more bad-ass than the next person.
The Losers were the real “elites” in my eyes. Of course Mister 3% Body Fat can can cover the course in an hour and Miss Six Pack Abs can launch herself up the rope climb like some kind of spandex-clad lemur, but they are they really stepping out of their comfort zones anymore? This is what they do every day at their 2 CrossFit sessions and 10+ mile daily trail run. Do they still feel that sense of accomplishment that I feel just by completing the damn thing a few minutes faster than I did last year, or are they pissed off at themselves because they didn’t make the top 3? I was more impressed with the girl in the pink tank top who, no matter how tired she was, kept moving on up the slope even though she had to stop every few feet for a breather. I was in awe of the Caribbean(?) woman with the ankle length skirt who tried the monkey bars and then did her own modified burpees (jumps) when she couldn’t get across- even though she didn’t have to. I was ecstatic to see whole groups of people with the Biggest Loser bibs sticking together no matter how slow their teammates may have been going. They signed up for an off-road challenge, but I have to think they couldn’t have expected it to be that far off-road. I sure as hell wouldn’t have been expecting rock scrambles looking at the event website!
If any Biggest Loser participants are out there reading this: It was an honor to run/walk/just-keep-moving with you on Saturday. Aroo!!