Sunday, Aug 20:
The day after the Terrain Race, I decided to go for a trail run. I ended up rolling my ankle worse than usual. I might've heard a sound. Usually, I can just run it off pretty much immediately. This time, I had to stop for a few minutes. When it felt good enough to continue on, albeit with an effective stride, we did. Made it back to the car, although I'd have to let it take its time recovering after that.
3.9 in 43:29, 11:08 ave. 380 feet elevation gain.
I think I need to get back into some of the exercises that I used to do up until a year ago... the hip strength exercises, which also hit some other stabilizers that would probably make my ankle stronger. I had been neglecting them in favor of getting in more reps towards the Deez Nutz WOD, but staying healthy is more important, anyways.
The rest of the week, I fully rested.
I left Charlotte at around 3am, to make the 3hr 50 min trip up to Glen Jean, WV, for the inaugural trifecta weekend. It was being held at Summit Bechel, a massive boyscout camp. It reminds me of the whitewater center, minus the whitewater center, plus a skate park and gun-related activities. It's bigger, though... massive. It's another pretty setting for a Spartan race, with the ponds around the festival.
The elite women were scheduled for 7:45am, but there was a 30 min fog delay, so that the Youtube live coverage could let people see more of what's going on.
(We made it on Youtube, much bigger this time!)
I recently got my Legendbourne OCRWC jerseys in the mail, so today would be a good way to test drive. I wore the 2016 version of the jersey. It was neat standing around the elites at the beginning, before they got called up for the start.
(I could see myself again here!)
We headed out in dense smoke, so thick that everyone stopped completely because we couldn't see a thing. Then, we got moving again.
Then, we started more climbing and descents through bushwhacked forest. After last weekend's ankle roll, I KT taped it, and hoped for the best. The main goal was to make it through the weekend without further injury. I took it really carefully down the hills and on the uneven, cambered paths. Slow, but safe.
Back down after our first traverse through the forest, we encountered a twist on the Slip Wall. Instead of a full-length rope, there was only a short rope at the very top. That meant giving it a good running start. A bit daunting, for short people like me. I didn't make it the first time, but I tried it again, and got it the second time. You just have to let go of any hesitations and power up with everything you have. Hesitate, and you won't make it all the way up. Trust and power up.
Steep descents down the grassy knolls, then rolling mud and dunk wall, climb back up, then a really long and steep bucket brigade. Looking back at the Youtube coverage, it looks sooo steep, like straight up and down.
After the bucket, into the forest again, for more bushwhacking, steep climbs, and steep descents. Brutal. Maybe the riskiest thing for an already rolled ankle, but I somehow made it through unscathed. In the midst of going through the forest, the pull lace loop on my Reebook All-terrains got hooked onto a tree branch that was on the ground as I stepped over the branch. My body continued to move forward, but my leg was pulled back. Fortunately, I was going slowly enough that I stayed upright although tilted forward and standing only on my non-hooked leg. I felt like an animal caught in a trap. Also fortunately, there was another racer behind me who kindly helped to get my shoelace off of the branch and free me. I chuckled at myself for having a "Lindsay Webster" moment (she famously got her hair caught in barbed wire for a long time, and other racers helped to free her, at one of the US champion series races).
Z-wall near the top, Stairway to Sparta at the top (summit of the whole course) with great views to take in for a few seconds before going down, Bender, 6' wall, and back into the festival.
Bridge, a swim onto burpee island for 5 burpees, Tire Flip, Rope Climb, 7' wall, Sandbag, Inverted Wall. No burpees so far! Until Spear Throw... burpees. Went out onto some plains...Vertical cargo, plate drag, barbed wire. Tyro - made it, for the 2nd time ever? Atlas carry, Monkey bars NBD, 8' wall, Log carry wasn't that bad for me carrying it on the top of my upper back, A-frame cargo, Twister (2nd time on it ever - made it this time! Used matching hand technique, not skipping any grips, straight arms because I can't do L's). Herc hoist really hard but did it, stepping on the rope to give myself breaks. Olympus fail, Multirig fail on the transition to the pipe that was much higher up than the rings, fire. It was the hardest, longest-duration Beast that I've done, probably.
14.5 mi in 4:05:49, 20:29 average.
VOLUNTEERING POST BEAST:
After finishing, I had to quickly transition to get ready for my volunteering shift. No time to go back to the car for my usual volunteering gear (backpack, change of clothes, hiking shoes), since the car was so far away. I made do with the gear I had checked in, and it actually turned out for the best that I volunteered in my race shoes and shorts. That's because my Course Sweep Shift entailed re-doing the whole course!!! Steep stuff and all... the only part I didn't have to redo were the obstacles.
I was teamed up with another volunteer. Our job was to catch up to the last runners and stay somewhat behind them to call out obstacles as cleared, so that they could be prepped for the next day's races. We also picked up trash along the way.
The first part was intense, since the last runners left a while before we did. We caught up to them, though. It was cat and mouse the whole time. It felt like Lord of the Rings when the Legolas and Gimli were chasing down the Orcs who had kidnapped the hobbits. Running through all kinds of terrain trying to catch them.
My dad chose to volunteer too, since he'd otherwise just be driving back and forth to the hotel, or else waiting in the car or festival the whole day. He was at Bender, and I was excited to pass by him and say hello during my chase.
We were chasing one couple during the first half-ish, then it switched to another guy who showed a lot of grit and determination. We stayed with him for a good bit, before switching to another duo. By the time we finished, it was dark, and we were using flashlights. It was a little after 9pm.
Went to the hotel, to get a little rest before the second half of the weekend - the Super and the Sprint, to finish up my trifecta weekend.
I wore my first-edition Reebok All-terrains with normal laces for day 2. This way, I wouldn't have to worry about having to stop periodically to re-tighten my pull-string lace loop the whole day. I may need to just replace those default laces on the new models with traditional laces. Not only would I save that re-tightening time, it would also be safer for my ankles, to have more secured, tight shoes on my feet.
I had a 11:15 start time, but I met up with a friend with a farm in WV who came to watch, beforehand. It's fun to introduce new people to the world of OCR. We're a crazy bunch. With such a late start time, I'd have to keep a reasonable pace, to make it back in time to start my Sprint before the last heat of the day.
Same steep initial climb, third time that weekend. Longer rope on the slip wall, since the Super and Sprint versions of the obstacles are sometimes made easier. That's one variation of making things easier, with the other being the rig where the pipe can be exchanged with more rings. Fortunately, the Bucket course was shorter today, too. Yesterday was tough.
It was fun to see my friend during the festival obstacles. I got my closest ever on the Spear, with a 1) run-and-throw, and 2) arch technique. Not enough force to make it stick, but at least it was on target, in the middle of the hay this time. I made the Twister again! And the difficult Herc Hoist! Got a bit farther on the Olympus today vs. yesterday, but still failed. Because my friend was there, I actually forgot to do my burpees after the Olympus, but I did double burpees after the Olympus after the Sprint to make up for it. It would've nagged at me forever if I didn't make them up.
Made the pure ring rig, then fire jump! 8.5 in 2:44:13, 20:31 average.
Quick transition to drop off my medal and Super shirt, and put on my Sprint race chip, then head out for the Sprint! My friend left right before the Sprint.
It was all about survival now. 14.5 mile beast, 14 mileish course sweep, and 8.5 mile Super = 27 miles covered so far over the weekend. 4th time up the steep hill. Slow-ish but steady. Looking forward to a shorter course. Similar to the Super, no Swim, took out the plains portion, but still lots of obstacles.
Still failed the spear. Got Twister a third time! Could barely budget the Herc hoist this time. Near total fail on the Olympus, where I did 30 + 30 makeup burpees from the Super. Did the Rig!
4.5 in 2:05:15, 31:18 average. Trifecta accomplished! Good prep with heavy mileage and obstacles for Iceland 24 Hour Ultra World Championships. I ran into a fellow endurance junkie friend right in front of the giant billboard, and told my dad, "Surprise! I'm going to Iceland for the 24 hour race", at the same time that I told my friend. Should be epic.
Good Sierra Nevada beer afterwards. I'm so glad that Spartan has finally embraced good beer. It was a great venue, and I hope they're back in WV next year!!!