Monday, November 3, 2014

RACE REPORT: Spartan Carolinas Super 2014

I woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, only to find that I could barely walk, haha.  At my first Spartan in May of this year, I did the Sprint with my sister and her friend.  That was just 4 miles, and it wiped me out.  Even after 2-hr Spartan Workouts hosted by the race series, I'd barely be able to walk the next couple of days, with all of the burpees.  And this time, I had done 12 miles of obstacles.  I still had a couple of hours of sleep to go, so I elevated my legs up on the wall for a while, then went back to sleep. 

When I woke up, it was still like that... oh man, it was going to be a long day.  I wasn't injured or anything, just rigor-mortis-ed and sore.  So I figured that I'd literally hobble baby steps for the whole 9 miles today... even though I had a 9:45am start time, I wondered to myself whether I'd need a headlamp, since I'd potentially still be out on the course when it got dark.  I packed up, had a nice complementary breakfast at the hotel (eggs, turkey sausage, oatmeal, milk, decaf, and green tea), then drove the 40 minutes out to Carolina Adventure World.  Somehow, by the time I got there, I was able to walk and even run decently.  Crazy.  I had had to hobble out of the hotel.

I took some pre-race pics.  I wasn't sure how well my arms would do on the obstacles, since I don't do much training of my upper body, and it had already gone through a lot the previous day, but it actually turned out ok.

I was in an open heat this time.  The trails were clogged for the first few miles, but the good thing is that I wasn't in a rush or racing for time today.  Another nice thing about the open heat is that people can help each other on the obstacles, which was good on walls and the monkey bars.

The race course was the same as yesterday's, other than cutting out 3 miles.  Nearly all of the obstacles were still there. 

My focus for the race was enjoying the obstacles, taking my time on them to complete them and practice technique.  After failing on the log hop yesterday, I went step-by-step very slowly, caught my balance a few times after almost falling, and made it.  Redemption feels so good!

I learned a great tip from a race veteran, who suggested that I put the sandbag on the top of my back.  I was skeptical at first, but I tried it, to be polite, and oh man, it felt like nothing (at least during the first half).  It was as if I wasn't carrying anything at all.  On the uphill, it started getting a bit heavy, but not nearly as much as it would've felt like, had I been resting it on my shoulder, like yesterday!

During the race, I encountered the Atlas Carry again - hard, again.  Had to try a couple of times, to pick it up.  There were times when I think I wouldn't be able to do it.  

I kept hoping that we wouldn't have to do the Bucket Brigade again.  That nearly did me in, yesterday.  We got through more and more of the race course, and I kept hoping and hoping.  But towards the very end, bam, bucket carry.  Oh, man.

In filling up the bucket, I found a good method - use a big rock to push rocks down the slope of the pile, to fill the bucket, instead of sanding down your hands.  I also found a method not to use.  At first, I thought that I'd try to use big rocks, which, if irregular, may cause more spaces to form in the bucket, to make it less heavy.  But, I think that doesn't work, because the small rocks would still fill in, and one big rock has no space at all, vs. the many small spaces caused by many little rocks.  The rocks were like gravel.  Anyway, I filled it up to the bare minimum and started the long trudge up.  This time, I didn't bother with trying to rest the bucket on my quads.  I put it down completely, quite a few times.  People were encouraging, though.  We were all suffering together.  Many people were putting their buckets down.  The volunteer even helped me lift the bucket up to empty it.  Ah, the perks of the open heat.  

I tried to be deliberate and careful on the Traverse Wall this time, but I slipped again!  Like, on the 2nd hold!  That's 0/3 in races.  I think I need to focus more on keeping hand grip to test footing... next time.  Failed spear throw, of course... not any better than yesterday.  Same with rope climb.

It was all about finishing today, and I did!  Spartan Carolinas Double-header completed, and 2014 Trifecta completed!

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