Sunday, March 16, 2014

RACE REPORT: Georgia Spartan Sprint 2014


I went into the Spartan Race thinking it would be a fun way to shake up the old running and racing routine.  My sister got me the entry as a Christmas present, and we were running it together, with her friend.  I was going to use it as a way to get a feel for the obstacles, to prepare for the Spartan Beast in November.  I trained through it, knowing that running-wise, I wouldn't have any issues.

Leading up to the race, I studied up a bit on the Spartan Race youtube channel, which has some how-to videos on obstacles like the 8-foot wall, the inverted wall, and the rope climb.  I visited my sister in Atlanta a couple of days early, so that we could hang out together and anticipate the race together.  We had a planning session where we printed out race docs and planned our schedule.  She tried her first burpee the night before, haha.

On race morning, her friend came over at 7:30am.  I made a kale +yogurt +soymilk +ginger +strawberry smoothie.  I had debated about whether or not I wanted to bring my GoPro.  I didn't want to ruin official race pics by wearing the GoPro, but this may be the only chance I have to do the race for fun, so now would be the time to wear it and get those shots.  I decided to go with it.  In the car, I realized that I hadn't brought the waterproof backdoor, but with some duct tape and an hour-long ride to the Conyers International Horse Park, I made the skeleton door waterproof.

We arrived at about 9am, just after the elites started.  We got our race numbers, chip bracelets, and headbands on.  There's a big festival area where you can practice the different disciplines, and as noobs, we played around with it.  It was a lot of fun just horsing around.  They had instructors there to help, too.  The atmosphere was very festive and fun. 

Because there were over 7,000 people finishing the race this weekend, they had waves being released every 15 min.  There were spectator areas where we could watch the first waves coming in.  They designed the course so that you could view a number of the obstacles from the festival area.  The most epic one was the long stretch of barbed wire and mud pits that led to the finish line.  We saw one guy roll on top of the barbed wire... it hurt to look at.  This was going to be epic.

As it neared time for us to go to the start, we dropped off our gear.  Before you could even get to the starting corral, you had to get over a wall.  One poor girl totally ate it when she fell off the top of it.

After some William Wallace words to pump us up, we were off!

 The first obstacles were just combinations of mud, hills, and fences, to ease us into things.

There was a good bit of normal running, so a runner may do well at this kind of race, I thought.

We started meeting progressively taller walls, though... like 6, 8, then 10 feet.  It helped to have buddies on this.  TT and I would help up my sister, then TT would help me, then TT, despite being the shortest, at under 5 feet tall, got herself up, by herself, like it was no big deal (she got some help on the 10 foot wall, but she did the 8 all by herself)!

There was some variety later on, with the Traverse Wall, a Cargo net, the Spear Throw, the tire pull, and a Sandbag carry.

My favorite was the inverted wall, since it looked hard but wasn't that hard to do.

I slipped off the Traverse Wall and missed the Spear Throw, so I did 60 burpees there.  By the time I got to the rope climb (and overestimated myself by picking one with very few knots), my arm and grip strength (which wasn't that much to begin with) was toast.  TT aced it, but you can see my shadow as I dangled for a few moments before dropping.  A dry rope at the beginning of the race would've been manageable, but this was not.

Fortunately, this was almost the end... after taking my 30 burpees in a big pit of mud, it was only the Slip wall, the barbed wire field, the fire, and the gladiators left.

We made it!

It was cold.  The showering area was cold. It was tons of fun, though.  We celebrated with a good Malaysian/Thai meal afterwards.  Immediately after the race, I was thinking how glad I was that the Spartan Beast wasn't for another 8 months.  But a couple of days later, I couldn't wait til I got my chance at redemption from those burpee-inducing obstacles, and a chance to see how fast I could push things.  I'm hooked!

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