Mile 13: Event Day Experience – Spartan Sprint #2

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I’m pleased to announce I’ve reached the half marathon mark for posts. If you’ve read all previous 13 miles I appreciate you coming along with me.

We completed our “freshman” experience for the Spartan Sprint so now we knew what to expect. Since, most of the obstacles were the same you get the idea of the types of obstacles there were. I’ll share some of the new obstacles we encountered along the way.

We were placed in the 10:45am wave for this race. This was exciting because it wasn’t as hot or crowded. I guess more people elected to sleep in and race later. I’m a morning person so the earlier the better for me. Joining me this year were Cait, Keith, Mike and Angie. The same cast as the previous year minus Lauren. This year we got to the event earlier so we didn’t feel rushed.

Tip: arrive to the race at least an hour before your start time. This gives you plenty of time to get ready.

Again, the packet pick up and all pre-race items were handled by the staff quickly. That is one thing about the Spartan Race Series, they do not mess around when it comes to efficiency. You can tell they know what they are doing on race day. Kudos to them for setting the bar high with their events. We dropped our bags, stretched and got to the line for our start time.

This is where we ran into an issue. It turns out each wave had been delayed by at least 15-30 minutes. We didn’t run into this issue at all the previous year. I know I just got done praising them for their efficiency, but they can’t control a runner’s pace on race day. While feeling pressure from the crowd, they started to let the waves off with less time in between. We got underway and started the long trek up Blue Mountain…it seemed like we just did this!

Keith had his GoPro for this race. It was the first time he used it for OCR. We were looking forward to him getting some nice footage. This was also the first race we stuck together as a team. We made this agreement ahead of time. Cait told us to go ahead, but we didn’t listen to her when she said that. I’m glad we didn’t because Cait provided some great commentary especially when directed at Keith.

We quickly realized this course was more difficult than the previous year. The obstacles were more challenging and the course seemed longer. The sandbag obstacle was definitely harder than the previous year. That obstacle really takes a lot out of you physically. Nonetheless we kept moving forward, but at a slower pace.

We reached the top for the spear throw. Keith did some research on how to throw the spear straight. He shared this information with all of us as we attempted it. The dangerous part about the spear throw is looking out for other people throwing “wild” spears. I haven’t seen anyone get hit yet, but I’m sure it’s had to happen with the way some people throw those things. I completed this obstacle for the first time so I was pretty happy about that. There was no tire flip this year. I was disappointed…hopefully you sense my sarcasm. However, there was the rock lift obstacle again. Keith dominated this obstacle while I barely completed it this year. I guess I left my guns at home for this years race. Oh well, at least no burpees for me.

We began our descent down the mountain that we just worked so hard to climb up. This is when the race started to get pretty difficult. The obstacles on the second half seemed harder than the first half. In 2013, I thought it was well balanced. There was the cinderblock drag obstacle, monkey bars, mud pits, barbed wire, wall scale and rope climb.

They added two new big obstacles to the course.

The first new obstacle was the tire pull. Instead of lifting tires we had to pull them. The tires were attached to a chain that we had to drag down an incline and then pull it back up. Luckily, the tires they chose weren’t the monster truck tires as the previous obstacle.

Tip: use a hand over hand motion when pulling the tire. It will keep the momentum up and make it a lot easier to pull.

The second new obstacle was the bucket of stones carry. This was probably the hardest obstacle all day. You had to fill a bucket full of stones and then carry it. You couldn’t drop them along the way or you had to start over. This was really a test of strength. By the way, they remove the handles from the buckets.

Tip: do not carry the bucket on your shoulder. There is a major artery that if pinched will cause you to pass out. If they see you doing it this way you had to restart. There is no easy way to complete this challenge. I took my time doing it while setting it down every so often. It’s probably not the best idea, but it worked.

The rope climb was the last obstacle. I attempted it, but quickly dropped. Keith completed it and was super excited because he got it on his GoPro. Actually he didn’t! The GoPro died at some point prior to the climb. His happiness went to disappointment just like that. Poor Keith!

We crossed the finish line together in 3:30:00. If you remember the first year time was 1:51:11. It may have only taken us 3:00 if we didn’t hit a line halfway through. It took a lot longer to complete the race this year. All of us were so exhausted afterwards we completely forgot to take a photo. The medals were pretty similar to the previous years. Also, the t-shirt was a lot nicer than the previous year. We got our stuff, took our bananas and began our trip home. The trip home always seems longer when the race is harder.

This Spartan Sprint was harder than the previous year. We made it through as a team and all crossed the line together. If I did the race on my own this year I’m not so sure I would have finished. I had my teammates there to keep pushing me. It’s what we do, we all push each other.

In the next mile I’ll talk about the Warrior Dash 2014.

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