I DID NOT FINISH the Vermont Beast.
There ya go.
I said it.
And I didn’t even cry this time. The previous 214 times I had to say it, I most definitely did. Or at least wanted to really bad and ended up hiding my face for moment while I let the tear dry up on my eyelid before it smudged my make-up.
This Beast was, well, a beast. It was the Spartan Race World Championship and therefor harder than any other Beast out there. I knew that going into this thing, but I also knew that last year’s Beast was also known to be the hardest Beast out there and I still was able to do it, so why the fuck shouldn’t I be able to do it again?
Because the course was from hell, that’s why.
Up the mountain. Down the mountain. Up the mountain. Down the mountain. That was all it was for the first 3 friggin’ miles. Insane ascents and descents are totally expected in Spartan Races, but usually I get an obstacle or 5 over that distance to break it up a little bit. No such luck. Just some little wimpy walls. Bo-ring. Those 3 miles felt like 13. I just wanted it to be over. It drained all the excitement and fun out of obstacle course racing.
After climbing up and down those slopes (which I’m not supposed to be doing at all, according to Mr. Orthopedist-Man,) I get handed a SIXTY POUND sandbag and am told to go a quarter of a mile back up the mountain and back down again. SIXTY pounds! I am only 120 pounds. Do you know who else carried a 60 pound sandbag? My 230 pound husband. I’m not to good at math (ok, I am) but I’m pretty sure that is not even remotely proportionate. I cried when I saw those bags and the slope I had to climb. I seriously cried. I took for-ev-er but I finally got that damned thing up the mountain with a little help from my husband. Going back down should be easier, right? Except for the fact that the stupid bag hit a bump as I dragged it down and flew right into the inside of my lower left leg. Y’know- the one that has been all jacked up since June that I’m just recently getting back on. Yup. That one. I saw more stars than the Hubble Space Telescope and was terrified to move thinking that the next step was going to be the one to snap that bone in twain. It didn’t and I moved on, but I was broken- exhausted physically and emotionally by how hard of a time I had with an obstacle that, when given a 25-40lb sandbag, I usually rock.
After the sandbag carry there was another 3 miles of up, down, up, down, up, down. There were a couple of obstacles in there but by the time I got them I had already given up and walked right past them. I am so embarrassed to say that, but it is true. I tried a 7 foot wall and managed to get up but needed way more help getting down than I should have. I attempted the Herculean Hoist but only got the weight 4 feet off the ground before my body and my soul said “Fuck this shit.” I was drained beyond measure. I walked off the course at Mile Marker 6, more than six hours after starting.
At one point I actually started cursing at the course designer, who wasn’t there at the time, saying that it was his shitty ass course that was making me fail. I heard later that he had intentionally made this course as hazardous as he could while still being legal. Fucking bastard. Down at the festival area, while discussing the shear brutality of the course with others in the DNF club, I heard one of the staff say “It’s the World Championship, what did you expect?” Well, schmuck in the blue shirt, I expected an obstacle course race, not an extreme hike with a couple of obstacles where the television crew could see. I expected a Spartan Beast, because, well, that was what I signed up for.
I should be saying something like, “I’ll be back next year and I’ll finish it!,” or something like that, but at this point, I can’t say that. I’m wondering if now that Reebok owns Spartan Race, Vermont will always be this extra-difficult World Championship so there can be prize money and extra publicity and “Oooh look how bad-ass we are.” That’s not what I want out of my Spartan Race. I may have to go to the Carolinas or Texas Beasts just so I can have a normal Beast experience. I am not an elite and I don’t pretend to be. I just want to have fun do something awesome. Maybe I’ll change my mind and be back in Vermont this time next year, but as of right now, I am done with Killington.
Sorry for the long rant that doesn’t make much sense. I’m still kind of in vent mode.