Spartan Tough

Hooray, the Spartan Race is done!

I’m a little battered and a little bruised, but I’m walking and didn’t leave needing an ice pack or stitches.  In a word:  success.

The traffic was terrible, of course, which did nothing to calm our nerves, but once we arrived at the race site and saw the gorgeous rolling hills and took notice of the cool, overcast skies, my sister and I felt instantly calm and ready to tackle the Super Spartan course.

Yep, my little sister has a couple of inches on me!  Her long legs proved to be quite an asset to her when we started climbing over things.

When we were in California last month, we found these striped socks on clearance at Target; we figured if we couldn’t win the whole competition, we could at least start off with cute socks which coordinated with our shoes.

Ahh, so clean.  So not muddy. So not wet.

This particular race was held in a giant equestrian park which hosts steeplechase events.  So, in addition to the 20+ obstacles the Spartan Race folks set up, we also jumped over, scaled and climbed over the steeplechase obstacles.  All in all, I think there were 75 obstacles.

Oh, and hills.  Lots of hills.  Like run walk up a mountain kind of  hills.

It seemed so daunting when I signed up months ago.  Heck, it seemed daunting on Friday.  And Saturday morning.  But once we started and climbed over the first of many walls and ran up the first of many hills, our nerves were calmed and Laura and I actually had a good time.  Unfortunately, right out of the gate, Laura’s leg gave her problems, so we didn’t run as much as we would have liked.  She’s from Charlotte, where the running is mostly flat; I’ve lived in hilly Northern Virginia for four years, so my legs are much more accustomed to the inclines.  Thanks to a heavy helping of adrenaline, I was raring to go, so often times I’d run (great hill training) and then stop and wait for Laura to catch up.  She was pretty bummed that after months of training, her leg quit on her on race day, but she toughed out the entire event and did all the obstacles.  It wasn’t easy for her, but she powered through and we finished the 9+ miles and 75 obstacles in three and a half hours.  If she hadn’t experienced an injury, we would have finished well under three hours.

Our time wasn’t what we had hoped, but our experience wasn’t affected by it, whatsoever.

We still rolled under barbed wire.

And climbed up and over large wooden structures.

And did burpees.  Lots and lots of burpees.  150, to be exact.

My proudest accomplishment was completing the monkey bars, which I figured I’d never be able to do.  My least proud moment was forgoing a cargo net obstacle in favor of the 30 burpees, the punishment for an incomplete task.  The net was high and the line was long and I just really didn’t want to fall from a zillion feet in the air.  I should have given it a try, but I didn’t.

I climbed.  I dug my fingers in the slippery mud to pull myself out of murky pools of water.  I scraped up my elbows and knees.  I threw a javelin and missed my target; I dragged a cinder block on a chain around in a circle; I got dirty and wet and grassy; I ran through the gorgeous and lush Virginia hills; I cheered people on; I helped a women get her shirt unstuck from the barbed wire; I didn’t cry.

Ron (Laura’s boyfriend), Rob (a guy they work with), Laura and Me

SO much fun!

11 responses

  1. That looks like so much fun! I’ve always wanted to try one of those races, but after OCS and other training, I figure I’m good in the whole mud thing. Still on my mind though…glad you had a great time!

    • It was way better than I thought it would be. I do suppose that being a Marine, you’ve spent more than enough time in the mud. If you’re in the area next year, I highly recommend this race.

  2. This seems like entirely too much work for something you probably paid to do and got all dirty and gross, in my opinion. But then, I’m quite the couch potato! LOL.

    • Yes, we’re all a little bit strange, don’t you think? I paid $160 for that race and believe me, when we first drove up and I saw the 25ft rope climb at the end, I started to think I was a big dumb idiot for signing up. But by the end, I was really happy I did it….even though there was mud in places mud ought not be. 🙂

    • My sister’s boyfriend is doing a Tough Mudder soon, too. It’s very similar, but the course is even longer, I think. The only advice I have is to not over think it. I tend to over think everything, which makes me really nervous, so I decided I wasn’t going to worry, I was just going to do it. I should probably apply that advice to other areas in my life…..

      Good luck to Sam! He’s going to have a blast.

  3. You are baller! I can’t believe how hardcore this race it! For real, they don’t play. No way that I would do any burpees in addition to anything else! I hope y’all went out to eat a ton of food after that. You earned it.

    And I love the socks! Cute!*

    • Oh man, we were starving! Our heat started at 3 so by two hours in, all we could think about was food. There were only three water stops along the way and we each had a thing of Shot Bloks, but Laura’s got muddy (imagine that!) so I shared mine with her. They really should have had some food to eat at the water stops, but I suppose that’s not very hardcore. After we hosed off and changed we went to Cafe Rio and ate burritos and nachos and then we had Sweet Frog fro yo. It was seriously the best food I have ever eaten.

      The whole thing was so crazy and so different than what I’m used to. Because we walked a lot, I didn’t feel tired or depleted of energy; it was so different than a road race.

      Those cute socks? In the garbage. I don’t think they were salvageable. So sad.


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