In order to get somewhat motivated for this race, I began taking some classes at "Fight Gone Mad" and started to institute my own strength regimen 4-5x per week at the YMCA. As a runner I typically would avoid all of this "Strength" work, but over this past year I have had a change of heart I would call it and have decided to spice up things more. While instituting some minimal running to retain aerobic conditioning I hit the weights more and more. From the video's I had seen online, this Spartan race could pretty legit and I did not want to take it for granted in any way. I began to institute stabilization training into my routine with each session making it more and more difficult with heavier weights and uneven surfaces. One of the key workouts that I found really worked a hard burn was my 1 - 10 workout, which consisted of 1 hard mile on the treadmill then immediately hoping off and doing 10minutes of strength with a max out of pull-ups while I was about 20 steps away from the treadmill.
The forecast worried me on race day, 39 degrees and raining, what would this mean? Those of you who know me, know I have the WORST circulation in my hands and have been known to use gloves in 50 or even 60 degree weather, how could I pull myself up ropes and across bars? Oh well, no time to worry about that! As I pulled up to the US National White Water Center I remembered how much I really liked this place and also that this was a legit event that I was about to partake in. I would guess that nearly 1,000 people were already at the race at 7am and running around with camelbaks, crossfit shirts and compression garments. I had a little time to check in and do a few drills before I had to rush down to the start area. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't really get on the front of the line as there would always be a new guys or two showing up to hop up front. As I looked around, I felt as if I was the only non-military guy up at the front as each were chatting about their drive from this base and that base. The race started with some guy screaming lines from the movie "300" that I vaguely remembered and then all of a sudden everyone took off.
|Starting Line - you can see me to the left in Red|
Where was the starting gun? This was something new to me, I missed my chance to make my way up front and push the pace early on. Instead I had about 60 people in front of me on thick gravel while I had to hurdle several guys who were trying to make their bid to be champions. We hit a bridge crossing about 200m into the run and a few more guys face planted on the slippery wooden planks, all the while I was thinking, " I may not have the mentality for this race, this guys are running for their lives, literally". We get into the single track section of the woods and I am SUPER frustrated, I am coasting behind heaps of guys who are about to blow a lung and I cannot pass anyone no matter how hard I try. At every little opening I quickly realized I had to sprint as hard as I could and pass as many guys as possible. We began hitting our first few obstacles from what I remember as mostly water/mud pits through the Catawba River. The barb wire was pretty high and I thought this would be a cake walk until I was knee deep in mud and swimming through it the best I could.
|Rock Pull up the Power Line Hill|
|Sandbag Carry, down the hill |
into the woods and back.
|30 Burpees Please (this was from the course, see the ropes in the background)|
|Our ropes went higher but this|
is the basic premise
|Feel the Pain!|
FYI: I am supposed to get m personal pictures from the Spartan race at the end of the week, can't wait to see the pain and agony! Also, a Shout out to David Bolger for managing to complete the race, even though he opened a gash in his leg that required 9 stitches, after the race. Wendy Norvell who killed the course and finished as the 5th overall woman, while managing to better my time as well! John Chambers who also slayed the course and came out of it with a smile, ready to do another, I have some hardcore peers, great work and thanks for keeping me motivated!