It’s been a week since I ran the Spartan Super. The bruises are turning all sorts of colours, the scrapes and scratches are scabbed over and my muscles have recovered. I figure it was time to write my recap.
My husband came home from work on a spring evening and told me that the resident motivator at his workplace, nicknamed Big Red, decided to get a team together to run the Spartan. This guy can motivate a rock to move, so I had no doubt he’d put a good sized team together, including myself.
What I later found out is that we were doing the Spartan Super which is usually between 13km-16km on a ski hill with 25-30 obstacles. I thought we were doing the Sprint which is roughly half the obstacles and distance of a Super. Wonderful. I know from experience with a local boot camp class that my grip strength and upper body strength aren’t great. I should have been training to work on my weaknesses, but that didn’t happen. I got too caught up in my half marathon training and trail running, it’s not an excuse, just a fact.
The week leading up to Spartan my husband got hit with a nasty cold, he became known as “The Plague”. Not what we need to be dealing with a few days before a race.
4:30 a.m., the alarm goes off. I roll out of bed a bit disoriented in my childhood room and remembered that I was dog sitting for my parents. Coffee, breakfast and a glass of water and I start getting dressed. In my half-conscious state, I decide on my mantra for the day “be strong, think strong, finish strong”. My husband picks me up at 5:30 a.m. and we hit the road to meet the team.
We arrived at Calabogie Peaks Resort at 7:15 a.m. and lined up to get our race kits. While we were in line we saw some of the Hurricane Heat finishers walking back to their cars to sleep, others to get changed and run the Super, because apparently they are superhuman and an overnight race wasn’t challenging enough. The Hurricane Heat is a 12 hour grind from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. We overheard some of their conversations and they had to carry a large heavy log (they said it was a tree….yep a tree) up the ski hill, swim around an island in the middle of the frigid night among many other insane tasks. These guys and gals were tough, and they looked like exhausted badasses. All I could think was, what the hell did I sign up for?
Finally we get to the front, we sign in and asked if we could start in the 9 a.m. competitive heat instead of our scheduled 11:15 a.m. open heat to be with the team. They said there was no issue and no extra charge but our results would still be classified with the open heats. We head back to the car to change our footwear, apply sunscreen, anti-chaffing lotion (thank you Body Glide!). Once we’re back on the grounds we found the course map, 12km and 29 obstacles. Shortly after, I start my warm up.
8:55 a.m. we jump over the hurdle wall and line up. After a brief explanation of what is expected of us as Spartans and the penalty for a failed obstacle (30 burpees), we set off at 9 a.m. Up the first hill we go. We encountered different height walls on our way up. We run back down the ski hill.
Up a different ski run, and this time it was steeper and I couldn’t run on the inclines without stopping every 100 feet. Anytime there was a somewhat flat section I would run until I got to another incline and power hike up the incline.
Once we got back to the bottom we had the Bucket Brigade and the Sandbag Carry up and down a small section of hill. The Bucket Brigade was a little tougher than I anticipated because of how we had to carry it. Sandbag Carry wasn’t too bad, other than I slipped on a muddy section, fell, and I thought I ripped my shorts, thankfully, I didn’t.
Back up the hill for the third and final time… it was STEEP. I stopped a few times and looked back and thought “I can just quit now, this is insane” and “why the hell is this hill so steep? How do people ski down this? It must be a black diamond run”. I snapped out of it and continued up that damn hill. At the very top there were monkey bars and swung through them fairly easily.
Back down the hill for the last time to more obstacles, Spear Throw, Platinum Rig and the Tractor Pull. The Tractor Pull was pulling/dragging a cement block up a small section of hill and come back down. As soon as I started making my way up, both calves seized up and I fell backwards as though I’d been hit with a tranquilizer dart. After a few minutes, I was able to push through the cramps to finish that obstacle.
The Creek Run was a ditch filled chest deep cold water and we had to wade through it, which was a welcomed relief for my muscles. There was a giant rock in the middle that was fully submerged, the volunteer told us to be careful. I found the rock no problem with my knees and everyone around me heard me cursing this stupid rock so they also knew where it was.
More obstacles around a golf course including the Atlas Carry, part 2 of the Creek Run, again more obstacles that were difficult and then the final one, the Fire Jump.
I crossed the line after 2 hours 19 minutes. Placed 10th female in my age category, 57th female and 293rd overall. In total I failed 6 obstacles of the 29 on course which means I did a whopping 180 burpees and the distance came in around 11km. I am also very happy to report that my husband (a.k.a Patient Zero) finished the race despite still being very sick.
It was a great but incredibly challenging experience. I am awe of the athletes who train and compete in OCR events regularly. You really do have to be an incredibly well-rounded athlete to do what they do. I learned a lot about myself, my limitations and where I need to make improvements if I decide to complete another Spartan, which I’m sure I will one day. Maybe not a Super, maybe I’ll try a Spartan Sprint
I. Am. Spartan, AROO!