Mile 22: Event Day Experience – Spartan Sprint #3

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For the 2015 race, the Spartan Race did something new for the Blue Mountain event. They offered two Sprint races and one Super race. For those that don’t know the Spartan Super is the next level up in the Spartan Racing Series. We debated for a few months about trying the Super, but we opted for the Sprint instead. I plan on doing a Super one day, but for now I’m OK with another Sprint medal. For this race it was me, Keith, Cait, Angie, Mike and John. It was John’s first time attempting a Spartan Sprint so I’m glad we didn’t opt for the Super. The first weekend was the Super (Saturday) and Sprint (Sunday). The second weekend was just the Sprint on Saturday. Since racing on a Sunday isn’t the greatest, we raced the second weekend.


It was rained for most of the ride up to Blue Mountain. We seem to have bad luck with this. They were calling for some pretty severe storms so there was a chance the race could be cancelled. Wouldn’t that be terrible? We get all the way up there and they have to cancel the race due to the weather. Well, this wasn’t the case today. It didn’t rain once before or during the race. Apparently all the rain came through while the elite wave was on the course. Crisis averted!


Since we raced the second weekend we could tell it was less crowded. Most people probably raced the weekend before since you could race Saturday and Sunday. I couldn’t imagine doing a Super on Saturday followed by a Sprint on Sunday. A lot of people did it though. Some people even came back for the second weekend after the first. Those people are hardcore! If you’re one of them I’d love to hear how you did it and if you enjoyed it.


The course was different this year. We started where we normally finish and finished where we normally start. The concept was still the same though. We went up the mountain and back down. I thought the beginning was pretty brutal compared to years past. Going up the mountain where we came down before was tough. It could have been because it was steeper. I was pretty winded before we even got to the top. I know, it’s really sad, but I prepared myself for this race, at least I thought I did. The obstacles were pretty much the same. There wasn’t anything new other than the sand bag carry.


Let me say one thing about the sand bag carry. Ugh! There was a picture of the sandbag carry on Facebook a few days after the first weekend. It appeared we would walk a full circle around a tree line at a 75 degree angle. It looked impossible. Also, it was higher up the mountain this year. If you are afraid of heights you would have had issues with this. Since Cait is afraid of heights she opted for the burpees punishment. The rest of us went for it. Some of us were faster than others, but we all finished it. Again, it doesn’t matter when you finish, all that matters is finishing. Walking back up was the hardest part. I just kept looking down at the ground and eventually I made it to the top. This was the most exhausted I felt after an obstacle. With no break in between we went right into the Spear Throw followed by Hercules Hoist. I passed both of those and we started back down the mountain.


Swimming was the next obstacle. We actually had to swim this time! Since it rained in the morning all the water from the mountain collected at the retention basin. I couldn’t touch the ground so it was deeper than 7’. Since I didn’t know it was that deep until it was too late I was stuck swimming, well more doggy paddle than anything. Lifting the inflatable tubes was difficult since I couldn’t touch the bottom. I was still able to do it, but it would have been easier to just go under water.


We encountered our first new obstacle. The Tyrolean Traverse. It was a rope obstacle where we suspended ourselves above ground and used our arms and legs to traverse across. It was painful, but all of us completed this obstacle. It was my proudest moment of the race by far. This feeling didn’t last long because we soon encountered the Bucket Brigade. They made it longer and it was steeper. I filled up my bucket of rocks and began the grueling haul. It felt like everything was heavier this year. Also I couldn’t hold onto the bucket like I did in the previous year. I spent a lot of time on this obstacle. I was the last finish from our group. Everyone waited for me though. After I got to the top I realized I had two buckets stuck together. That explained why it seemed heavier and uncomfortable to carry. No one said this was easy, right?


Side Note: if you dropped any rocks or didn’t fill the bucket up to the holes they made you complete the whole thing again. They were pretty strict with this. A lot of people were getting called on it while I was there.


Right after the Bucket Brigade came the Traverse Wall. I was determined to finally conquer this obstacle. I started off really good, but ended about a foot short. I had a fatal slip on the last block. I was pretty upset! There’s always next year, that’s what us Flyers fans keep saying anyway. The rope climb was next and I didn’t even attempt it. I took the burpees punishment and waited for everyone to finish climbing. There were two final obstacles before the finish line. The first was similar to Thor’s Grundle, but instead of going under three walls we only had to go under one. It wasn’t that bad, but definitely not enjoyable. Lastly, was the fire jump. This is where we got a really awesome team photo.


We crossed the line, got our medals, t-shirts and bananas. There is nothing better than a post race banana. Another new feature this year was the photo company provided team pictures at the end. It was a lot better than trying to take a group selfie with muddy hands.


One obstacle I forgot to mention was the barbed wire crawl. I can’t remember the exact point we encountered this, but it was extremely long and painful. Most barbed wire crawls are easy and quick. They drew this one out. To make it worse they had us crawling on stones and rocks. Since crawling isn’t much of an option for me I had to roll. I got dizzy pretty fast and had to constantly stop. There was nothing enjoyable about rolling over rocks. They also had some guy spraying a hose of cold water at us the entire time. They really stepped up the game for this race.


This was the hardest Spartan Sprint we completed. Even though it was the hardest we finished faster than the year before. It seemed like we took longer but the timing company doesn’t lie. We didn’t come across any lines ether. Our official time was 3:20:00. I couldn’t imagine how hard the Super was. We were happy to finish and already started talking about the next year. That is how you know you had a good race.


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

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