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