Monday, October 26, 2015

RACE REPORT: Atlanta Spartan Super


Wednesday, Sep 30:
I was craving running so much, after only logging a grand total of 3.5 miles during the previous week.  Fed my running cravings with 10.0 in 1:28:10 on the 2 degree treadmill at 8:19 ave pace, which is 7:59 effort.  I had taken the red eye the previous night, but I felt fine at work... so rested from vacation, despite the incredibly hot cross-country airplane leg from Seattle to Charlotte.  The run felt so easy and nice.

Friday, Oct 2:
55 min strength session.  My legs were still recovering from the 10, but the strength session always helps to improve blood flow and recovery.

Saturday, Oct 3:
My first 20 for this marathon training cycle!!!  20.1 in 3:11:19, 9:30 average at the park.  The first 10 miles, I mentally got through it by thinking about what fraction of the run I had completed.  For the last 10 miles, I counted down the miles in 0.1 increments, which made it mentally last a lot longer.  It would've been cool to make it through the run without food or water, but I had half a bottle of water with lemon at mile 18.5, to help me finish when I was feeling low on energy.  I did the whole run without any music or podcasts, since it was the 1,000 year rain event in South Carolina.  It ended up only raining at certain times, but definitely enough to be unsafe for the phone.  I ate a bunch, once home, and my lips were purple from cold.  I had had chocolate before the run.

Tuesday, Oct 6:
Legs were feeling post-soreness (the tail end of soreness, when all you want to do is stretch out the muscles) at work today, which meant that I was pretty much recovered from the 20 and ready for more.  I did 4.5 in 38:25, 8:32 average at 3 degrees of incline = 7:51 effort, but time ticked away soooo slowly.  It felt hot, too, even though it was 72 degrees, and I was thirsty, so I even had half a bottle of water during the run.  I sweat what felt like a lot.  My form started really deteriorating during the last 1/4 mile, when I was compensating, so I stopped it at 4.5.


I had signed up for the elite heat of the Atlanta Spartan Super many months ago.  I thought that I would've trained specifically for OCR in the lead-up, but with travel and having a hard enough time getting in normal runs, and excuse excuse excuse, it didn't happen.  I could've easily been training burpees, but I didn't.  So... I was jumping into the race not obstacle-fit.  I was also coming off of a 20 miler.  I figured that it may help my fitness some, but it would also mean that I was not at all fresh and rested.  The goal was just to do the best that I could.

It was raining on the drive down, but it let up just as I arrived.  The course, which is already usually muddy, was a muddy mess, and the festival was a muddy mess, even before the day started.  It was slightly chilly, but still tolerable in the sports bra.  The elite field wasn't huge... usually isn't, compared to the mens' elite heat.  The men had already headed out in their start.  Our turn... energy going... and we're off.  After a bit of crowded running down narrow tracks, we hit the first obstacle... where I had to do my first set of burpees.  It was the log hop, except they were super high, and not only that, they were not circular logs but an angled rectangular thing.  It was sooo hard.  Bruised my knees trying to get up it.  I maybe maybe maybe could've spent a bunch of time and a bunch of tries and gotten lucky mustering up everything I had to get up it.... but there was a second row of them right afterwards.  Morale killer.  Burpees it was.  There were other girls, too... maybe 5 of us "elites" who didn't make it up that first obstacle.

Next, over-under-through... doable.  A-frame cargo net.  Then, monkey bars - in the rain, impossible - can't even grip the first one.  Log carry #1 had you walking down a large rocked creek, where it was hard to carry an awkward, large, heavy thing on uneven footing.  Wasn't too long, though.  Cliff climb isn't much of an obstacle, just a speed bump.  Course was definitely not well-marked after this... caught up to a group of people ahead of me who had started going down the wrong way... followed them through the right way.  6 foot wall - failed it = third set of burpees.  Bucket brigade - took many breaks along the way.  Added water weight on fairly small rocks probably didn't make it very easy.  Z-wall... couldn't even get on the first set of holds without slipping off - I remember my first Spartan, where the traverse wall (a dry one) was so easy... a completely different animal in the mud = 4th set of burpees. 

Next, sandbag carry not heavy but very slippery and uphill at the turnaround point.  Multibar - would've been fun to try this dry, but a big fail again = 5th set of burpees.  Barbed wire - I did make up a lot of time on this.  It was my first time rolling uphill.  Rope climb - my first time where it wasn't set up in a pool of mud, but it was still impossible for me, with arms used up so much by now = 6th set.  Slip wall and dunk wall surprisingly not too hard.  8 foot wall fail = 7th set.  Spear throw = 8th set.  Log carry #2.  Tractor pull, cinder block jerry can.  Atlas carry - had to take a lot of time and a lot of tries to pick it up on the way there and on the way back.  That took a lot of persistence.  It was one of the mandatory obstacles for the elite race, along with the logs, jerry can, barbed wire, and bucket brigade.  The last one was the fire jump.

In all, 8 x 30 = 240 burpees. 

8.5 miles in 2:28:25, 18:38 average.  Didn't get hungry during the race.  Ran decently, didn't fade much, run-wise.  I had had a salmon sandwich right before the race, which hit the spot and kept me fueled.

It was fun hanging out afterwards, watching finishers and enjoying Shocktop Belgian White Beer, before checking in for my volunteer shift, where I helped to tear down the Over-under-through walls, the A-frame cargo net, and the monkey bars.

My goal was to just do a Spartan race this year, to check the box for 2015.  With the marathon in December, I wouldn't go for the Trifecta by racing twice in November, so I'm going to leave the trifecta for next year.

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