January 28th, 2012
My race on January 28th was arguably my most successful race this year. All of the crazy training I talked about in my last post paid off this day.
Another reason what made this day so great is that I talked 2 of my favorite people into doing the race with me. My friend Jeremy and my cousin Caleb. Unfortunately I was unable to get them into the same 2pm heat, but they were not too far behind by getting into the 2:30 heat.
We carpooled together and just barely got me there in time to make the long run from the parking lot to the starting line with a few minutes to spare. I polished off my pre-workout drink from Biotest and did my warmup stretches and lunges around the staging area. I was very fortunate that the rest of my group made it in time to see me off... which also allowed for some great pre-race-clean photo ops.
The guy in spartan uniform gave a motivational send off speech and we were off!! After my last humbling spartan race experience I had placed myself in the middle of the 250 person pack. I started with a slow steady pace as others were in a fast sprint across a large field to the first set of hills. Not knowing what to expect during this race turned out to be a big time killer during the race. The very first steep hill climb turned out to be a very very slow hike up it since the trail was so narrow and there was no room to pass anyone. Every once in a while I would squeeze past a person or two on the way up. By the time I got to the top of the hill I was very frustrated but I was able to turn the frustration into adrenaline. Immediately the trail opened up a bit and I was able to begin passing the racers in droves. For the next hour or so I had passed a few hundred people on the trails and was not passed once by anyone. When everyone else was walking the steep downhills, I was able to find great traction and able to sprint down all of them...giving me great momentum for the uphill swing of the trail. The first set of obstacles were a bit of a mental challenge as opposed to a physical one. There was 2 different areas where we had to climb up on a fairly high stack of hay bales and jump off the top into a pile of hay before continuing on. Most everyone would hang off the edge and only fall a few feet. Trying not to lose any time, I immediately went for the big jump hoping I would not get injured. Luckily I survived those first few obstacles with no injuries to my ankles or legs. My first injury came when I began the run through a dried up river bed over uneven slick stones. I lost my footing a few times and twisted my ankle . It was not so bad that I had to stop, so I continued on at a comfortable pace. I did not see many people on the trail at this point since I had passed almost everyone from my heat and I had just started to pass people from the earlier heats. There were some great muddy and water sections before coming to the first barbed wire crawl. I got to it at a great time since it was not too muddy and there was almost no one there. I was able to incorporate both my rolling and crawling techniques into it ,which helped me get through it very fast. Nearby the barbed wire crawl were some of the many walls that had to be climbed over during the race. There must of been at least 10 to 15 walls during the race.... I felt as if I was constantly having to climb over one.
After completing a few more obstacles, including some walls and a concrete bucket rope lift, I finally made it to the halfway point. I really liked how the halfway point was at the race grounds, nearby the starting line. There were a series of 3 obstacles that the spectators got to witness, the spear throw, traverse wall, and the 8ft wall. My photographer/wife got some great shots of me doing burpees.
Here I am after failing to hit the mark with the spear, doing my set of 30 burpees(2nd set of the day, the first after falling on the balance beam)
After learning a few things from the previous spartan race, I utterly killed the traverse wall in a quick fashion.
After the cargo net there was some great trail running through some valleys with lots and lots of 4 and 6ft walls to jump over. During the last third of the race was the famous "goat" hill. My quads have never burned so much! It was so steep in some sections that in order to pass people with speed I was having to use my hands on the ground to keep the momentum going forward. I had long forgotten about the bottle necking at the beginning of the race until I reached the top of this hill. The trail got very narrow and very very slow. People were so exhausted after the big hill that they were just walking this long flat section that was mixed with some slight inclines. I tried to pass a few times but I was only met with thorns from the bushes and not any gains on the crowd. I kept voicing my discontent to the people around me about having to walk when I wanted to run, , but my comments were met with blank stares of exhaustion from the others. Once the trail finally opened back up, and after about 10 to 15 minutes of walking, I was able to pick up the pace into what was probably my fastest running pace of the day. Knowing that the end was near was great motivation to go all out!
Arriving back at the race grounds for the final time, I was met with a great string of obstacles in front of the crowd. First was the concrete block with rope pull ,rope climb, and mud pits. The mud pits smelled toxic but I had fun with it while people were watching. Everyone around me was tip-toeing into them, so I decided to be amusing to watch and I charged at them, doing long jumps into the middle of the pits, causing a big splash of mud at each one. I had some strangers on the sidelines cheering me on to keep doing it, which encouraged me all the more :-)
The last 3 obstacles were the 2nd barbed wire crawl, the pyramid wall climb (my least favorite) and the fire jump.
No injuries going over the top this time!
I felt bad after running into this guy when I was rolling, I apologized when he said I could pass him
As always, the race ends with a nice hit to the chest or legs to slow you down
End results: 9.3 mile obstacle course time of 2:05 , 12th place in age category and 50st overall finish for the day( out of 2300). And lots of battle wounds to help keep the memories alive for a long time! :-) Moved up 300 places in the ranks compared to the Malibu sprint!! 2 months solid of training paid off for this one. The biggest thing I took away from this race was that you need an early heat time if you want to compete for a good time. I know that I could of cut off another 15 minutes off my time if I was not forced to walk in the bottle necked sections. Fantastic race overall and I look forward to the competitive heat in 2013!!