Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Spartan Race completed

Last week I spent up at Camp, but on the Sunday immediately prior to going to camp I participated in my first ever Spartan Race.

It was a coworker who organized a group of us to go and before the race started we decided to see about sticking together to run the race as a group.

Before the race started, on the grounds of the race, there were a few practice elements and it was interesting to see who on the team was able to do it, and who wasn't. We had to climb over a wall to enter the starting 'pit' and that was easy enough.

We were more or less grouped together at the starting line, and the first 80 minutes or so of the course we were to follow was a fairly steep, continuous, uphill. About 5/7ths of the way up there was a slight leveling off and those of us who were at the front of the team decided to wait for the rest as we did not all ascend the hill at the same rate.

It turns out one of our team members felt ill part way through, and two others stayed with him. For those of us who were at the top, we decided to press on. Out of about 11 team members, five or six of us moved ahead, and as the race progressed, this front group separated further. I ended up in the very front of the team with another coworker, a young woman, and we decided to be partners for the remainder of the race as of about the 4/7 mark.

I do not remember exactly the order of the obstacles, so I will simply list the ones that I can remember in whatever order I can think of them. There were three vertical climbing walls, one at four feet, one at six feet and one at eight feet. There was also an angled wall, where the top of the wall is closer to the racer as compared to the bottom of the wall. There was also a through wall (a rectangle cut out of it that a racer climbs through) and an under wall (a wall raised up about a foot off the ground that a race climbs under).

There were three crawling spots, two under camouflage netting and a third under barbed wire.

There were four carrying obstacles, one was a sand bag, one was two tires, one was two water jugs and one was a very heavy atlas ball. For the first three we had to carry the items up a hill and then down, or down a hill then up with the tire one being very long. For the atlas ball we had to carry it only a short distance, then do five burpees, then pick it up and bring it back.

There were some upper body strength obstacles, like the rope climb, the monkey bars and the tank raise. The tank raise was an obstacle where a propane cannister was filled with sand or water and tied to a rope that went up to a pulley and back down again, so the challenge was to raise the cannister to the top by pulling down on the rope.

There were a few other obstacles, like a balance beam, jumping over a fire, the slippery wall/cargo net, and there was some mud in a few spots. In youtube videos I've seen of other races there was more mud, or some muddy water to pass through, but in this one there wasn't. Between each obstacle there was some amount of going up the hill some more and then going down the hill. The total distance of the course was 8.5km.

There were four water stations spread out throughout the race and at each one I downed two or three cups of water. That worked out fine for me, but before the third water station my partner had started to flag so we took it easy.

My partner and I ended up completing the race in 2 hours and 52 minutes. If I had been doing this on my own I think I would have cut off about half an hour from that time as there was various times that I had to wait, near the beginning, and then a few more times when I had to wait for my partner. In the M40-44 group I placed 68th out of 92 competitors. I'd have placed 52nd if I had come in a half hour sooner.

She wasn't able to do some of the obstacles but in those cases I was able to help her - for the monkey bars, for example, I did them and then went back to the start and put her on my shoulders.

I really enjoyed the experience, it was a thrill to get through the obstacles and the challenge of over coming the distance. My plan for next year is to purchase a season pass for Spartan Races held in Eastern Canada and attend three or four different races.

There are different distances - the one I did last week was the Sprint distance, the shortest one. There is also a Super distance (about 1.5 times the length of a Sprint) and a Beast distance (about 2 times the length of a sprint). If you do all three of these in a calendar year, you earn what is called the Trifecta. I will see if I can do that next year.

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