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The Spartan Sprint..walk…wait…sprint…wait again.

June 24, 2012

Allll-righty then…Spartan Sprint done. It was 7 km instead of 5 km, which was fine by me. Nice hills and a beautiful venue and running path, except when it bottle-necked down to space big enough for one person only. Yep – one person.

OK. I don’t want to start off with complaints so let me start from the beginning.

Registration and set up – very well done. A huge improvement over the way they set up last year. ( I was a little dismayed to see french fries, ice-cream and fried chicken for sale near the entrance however.)

They had a lovely area set up for families and spectators and a small race course for kids – that was cool to watch.

The weather was perfect – slightly cloudy and a nice breeze, 24 degrees ( that’s about 75 degrees for my friends south of the border.)

At the beginning of the race…the only time I’ll ever be on the winners podium!

I had a 9:30 a.m. start. Looking around all I saw were younger guys with muscles in places I don’t even have places and girls who looked like they came out of fitness magazines…which wasn’t a bad thing. I thought I was in trouble as, apparently, this was the “elite” heat!

Never mind. I was there to run my own race – no expectations.

The start area was well located and accessible.

Then, things sort of went astray from there. As normal, we started running uphill. A beautiful, winding trail that suddenly squeezed down to a small path where everyone had to walk through for 3 or 4 minutes. We continued sprinting and getting squeezed down to a walk, sprinting and walking, for over a kilometer before we hit our first obstacle!

First obstacle – Crawling under a mesh net, uphill. It lasted all of 10 seconds and you were out the other  side. What was the point? This was a bad omen.

Finally the trail widened and all the runners got a good pace going.

Second obstacle – didn’t prove any better. Cargo net climb –  but the whole net was strung between two trees for a width of about 3 meters! Imagine 60 – 100 people trying to scramble over that thing at the same time.

The trail continued and as I mentioned, it was really beautiful. I’d really like to get back up there just to do a run. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera with me.

The next few challenges were decent and then we came to the mud pit. BONUS! It was a deep, squishy, black mud that twisted and turned for a good 30 meters or so with the standard barbed wire looming inches over my back. That ended in a waist deep water sludge pit that was really tough to get through. Things were looking up!

…and then down – the culvert crawl. Some of the bigger guys couldn’t even fit inside and there were only three culverts. Three!

By this time I was close to the leaders anyway…big muscles don’t seem to do so well on these types of courses…thankfully. ( hee hee)

They did have a very interesting wheelbarrow push. The wheel barrow had cement blocks in it and sandbags tied to the handles. I had to push that up a nice incline and around a curvy trail and back to where it started. Nice challenge, but again, the route was  much too short for my liking.

And on it went – I did very well on the hills. That’s where I passed most everybody. I attribute that to my weighted vest training.

I psyched out the Spartan Bullies at the end of the race. They swung their batons – I bobbed and weaved and took the baton away from one guy. Krav Maga does have it’s advantages!!

I sneaked through OK but others didn’t fare so well!

The standard ” Biting the Medal” pose.

Overall, I’d give the race a 5 out of 10. The day overall, I give a 9 because Thai and I spent the whole day together and had a nice picnic after.

I’ll have to do some serious thinking about whether I’ll do the Spartan again next year or not. This race course, like last years, just didn’t measure up to the hype.

I have no idea what my time was and I’m not too concerned. Too much was spent waiting around ‘obstacles’ to be a real time anyway. I did well and finished within the top twenty or so of my heat of 300 or more runners. Not bad for the old guy on the course.

Now to get ready for the Warrior Dash and the Tough Mudder. Those two will be a real challenge for sure!

Oh – the blisters on my fingers didn’t cause any problems at all.

Take care – stay well – and smile, even through the pain.

Doug

15 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2012 10:52 pm

    I think some of the races are just that way – too many people to put out a good time. I love your detail of the event and the biting of the medal pose! Congrats – looks like it was a great time overall!

    • June 25, 2012 8:07 am

      Thanks so much- over all it was a lot of fun. Last year the Warrior Dash had over 15000 people but it was extremely well organized and the course was awesome. The Spartan is a big organization. I think they need to put in a better effort in Canada.

  2. June 24, 2012 11:05 pm

    Great job!! You are an inspiration to us all. :)

    • June 25, 2012 8:09 am

      awww shucks, thanks (blushing here). I’m just an old guy trying to have some fun and show people they can too…regardless of their age.
      doug

      • June 25, 2012 11:56 am

        I will be 60 soon and I too hope to inspire others that yes you can still work hard at the GYM or whatever exercise of your choice as you get older. Yes we can!! :)

      • June 25, 2012 12:03 pm

        We can indeed!

  3. June 24, 2012 11:20 pm

    Nice goin Coach!

    I was running with you in spirit. Did you feel me give you a boost up those hills?

    • June 25, 2012 8:12 am

      Hey Mike! I knew you were there!. I thought I felt someone pull me out of the sludge pit…I was waist deep and kind of stuck.
      Thanks for the encouragement pal. Take care of that ankle and get back out there OK.

      doug

  4. June 25, 2012 4:53 am

    Way to go Doug!! Great description and lovely to hear that it was a day well spent…with Thai that is. Looking forward to the Warrior Dash too! See you this week.

  5. June 25, 2012 9:42 am

    Congratulations!!! So very proud of you! You really have such an unconquerable spirit! Sharon

  6. June 28, 2012 4:06 pm

    Glad to see that you wrote mostly about the positive as opposed to the negative! It’s terrible that you had a sub standard experience….The Spartan Series has been my favorite this year, but I have a Tough Mudder coming up in October…so we will see which I prefer…. The Spartan race is probably going to be my first “double-up” this calendar year, as I am doing the 12+mile BEAST here in Texas in December…. I just can’t wait to get my NEW orange head gear….

    • June 28, 2012 7:28 pm

      Hey Muddy – actually I’m a little surprised that the Spartan isn’t well organized here. I’ve read so many good reports and watched so many great videos on it. No fear – I had fun and helped a few people along the way. I have the Warrior coming up next month and then the Tough Mudder in August. Sigh…I’m becoming a Mud Junkie! They give out Orange headbands at the finish! Never any point in dwelling on the negative.
      Keep me posted on the Beast.
      doug

      • June 28, 2012 9:59 pm

        I envy you your event schedule right now…I have nothing on my plate until the tough mudder rolls into my area in October, but then again, it was 110F yesterday evening…..
        THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY MUD RUNS….I have done them on back to back weekends….

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