After the Ragnar Trail Relay, I thought I really knew my mud. I was so very wrong!
My team of my favorite crazy people (trust me, it takes one to know one!) is taking on the Spartan Trifecta this year. The plan is DC Sprint, VA Super, Carolinas Beast.
They did the Spartan Super in Virginia last year and two did a Sprint in the Carolinas earlier this year but I was a Spartan virgin. I was also still a bit “rope shy” after my incident at my last obstacle race**. My plantar fasciitis was causing major heel and ankle problems and one of our team mates was still recovering from the affects of Whooping Cough. A third had just moved cross-county and came back just for the race, and the fourth – was okay! In other words, we were in our typical racing form 🙂
The drive to southern Maryland was very easy and the parking and shuttle process was very smooth. We went through the waiver signing, packet pick up, body marking, going back to find the strap I dropped for the timing chip, bag drop, etc. in fairly record time. Before we knew it, we were waiting for our 10:45 start! Oh, but first — we had to climb a wall! Oh, Spartan, I hate/love you already!
I honestly don’t remember the order or number of the obstacles and the course was in a clover leaf so I felt like we were going in circles all morning. There were a lot of technical trails – and I managed to have my first major trail fall there, complete with bruised butt – with a river from the shower stations adding to the fun for the last half mile or so. There were many huge, sticky mud pits to crawl through. And just when you thought that part was done, you’d exit to find another one! By the end of the last one, I was pretty done with the mud.
One of the toughest obstacle for me, mentally, were the four pits with very steep, muddy sides. You had to slide down into waist-deep water and then climb out the other side. You cannot do it on your own, you need someone to help pull you up. As someone who is constantly concerned with being “too heavy”, I despise anything where someone has to help bear my weight but it was that or be stuck in the pits forever (and we know how well that worked for the dinosaurs!)
I failed four obstacles – a reverse incline wall (I fell from the top because I could not swing myself over the top), the spear throw, the rope climb, and the traverse wall. Technically, I also failed the Herc pull but I helped my team mates with theirs (the ropes were crazy muddy) so I don’t count that.
I loved the sandbag carry (down and up a hill with a sandbell on your shoulder), the “hunk of concrete” pull where we pulled a concrete donut up and down a couple of hills on a chain, and the tire carry/pull (huh, notice a theme?)
I did okay on the walls but needed quite a bit of help on the incline wall. I seriously had flash backs to last time but two of my team mates helped pull me up and I knew I was okay once I got my boobs over the top 🙂
It took us about 2 1/2 hours for an almost 5 mile course. Granted, we stopped to help quite a few people, especially at the 4 “pits of despair”, but that is still slow. Thank goodness is was overcast for most of the day!
I had a Huma gel right before I started and drank two glasses of water at every station but I was feeling very rough by the time we finished. One of the ladies in the food line looked at me and said “oh, you need TWO bananas!”. I quickly ate one, drank a Muscle Milk, and ate a protein bar of some sort. The pictures look like I’m about ready to faint/hurl but I was just worried about having black teeth from the chocolate mint power bar 🙂
After quickly cleaning up, I hot footed it out so I could get back home in a timely manner. It looked like there was a decent finish festival but I didn’t check it out.
Overall, this was a great experience! Very organized and a lot of “fun”. I am simultaneously looking forward to and dreading the Super next month!
Very organized finish area
Spartan people at most of the obstacles
3 water stations
Plenty of shuttle buses to and from the start area
Plenty of portapotties
I can’t think of any!
**I thought I had blogged about it but, apparently, I didn’t! At the last obstacle race that I did last year, the first obstacle was a very, very high incline wall with a rope. I was all the way at the top and my foot slipped. I knew if I let go, I would break something (it was that high!) so I held onto the rope to slow my descent and tore up my hands in the worst way. Seriously, it was horrific. I finished the race but I was in a world of hurt for quite a while after that.
Many thanks to one of my team mate’s awesome husband who always takes the best race pictures! Seriously, my only good pictures have come from him!