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Spartan Race -Arizona 2012


I’ve learned to be grateful for small successes.  Like this morning… I made it down the stairs.  It was my only goal today.  After the day I had yesterday, that was kind of a big deal.

Yesterday started early–like 4am early.  Not because I had to be anywhere, but you couldn’t convince my mind of that.  I started working out all the possible race scenarios in my head, as I made myself lay in bed until I couldn’t stand it any longer.  I made the mistake of waiting too long to sign up for the event, and due to the popularity of this event, we ended up with a 1pm start time.  I had way too much time to over-think this thing, so I got up and started eating and making myself pee every 5 minutes hydrating. 

A few hours (and several bathroom trips) into the morning, I got a call from my neighbor.  He had signed up to be a volunteer for the event, so he and his wife pre-ran the course to ensure all signs were in place and the everything was ready for the big day.  I think when he said, “It looks pretty intense, a step up from Tough Mudder!” it was his nice way of saying, “Dude, put your big boy pants on.  It’s gonna be rough!”

So on that bright note, I headed out.  After parking and going through the quick registration process, I met up with my buddies, Robert and Dave.  We pinned on our bib numbers, hydrated some more, stretched and all the other pre-race rituals you do while watching everyone else and scoping out the competition. 



The event had been in full swing since 7am, when the elite competitors started in 30 minute waves.  There was quite a mix of people ranging from big, ripped meat heads to lean endurance types to your average Joe, and even a few people who looked like they had never done any physical activity in their lives.  Some had finished, showered, and were in their post-race clothes.  Some, like us, were warming up for the madness, while others looked as though they just went through a mud tornado.



We edged closer to the starting line as our time drew near, so we could get a better idea of what we were in for.  As far as we could tell, the only rule for the race was that if you couldn’t complete an obstacle, you’d have to do 30 burpees.  “Right.  Got it.  Complete all the obstacles,” I told myself over and over.  I figured I could handle one set of those gut-wrenching muscle busters, but not much more than that.  I only had a few more minutes to psyche myself up, and before I knew it, we were off.



As is the case with most races, we all started out in a big frenzied mob, full of energy and determination.  A few competitors made one last glance at the finishline, which could be seen across the way.  How long would it be until we reached it? Two hours? Three?



It was nice to know that Dave was checking up on Robert and I the competition.



We conquered a couple of dirt hills, a few low walls and some mud holes.  At that point, there was nothing really suprising.  This is the ever-so-helpful Dave.  I return the favor later by leaving him behind during his quest to become the Burpee King.



As we trotted along I tried to imagine some of the obstacles we might encounter.  Up ahead, I saw a large pile of white sandbags that looked to be about 35-40 lbs each.  “Not a big deal,” I thought to myself as I hefted one over my shoulder.  That is, until I hear the Spartan dude say, “Girls take one, Guys take two.” Yikes! TWO!  That changed everything.  Just the awkardness of two sandbags about killed me.  I would guess that we carried them about a 1/3 of a mile.  On that little trip, we went over some low walls and…  you guessed it, a 25 yard low crawl… WITH the sandbags.  I’m not a very big guy. No, really.  In fact, I would say I was carrying more than half my weight in sand.  Fun stuff.


Just your standard monkey bars, nothing too fancy.  Notice the guys to the right.  They  aren’t smelling the dirt… 30 burpees!



No obstacle course would be complete with out a set of tires.  These even go up hill!



After you ran through a gauntlet of tires, you got to flip one—four times. 


Climb sideways, not up… and don’t fall off or you’ll be doing burpees.  Right, Dave?



Dave beginning his quest to become the Burpee King!


This obstacle kept me up at night, as I hadn’t climbed a rope in over 20 years.  Suprisingly, going up was the easy part.  Coming down got a little dicey.   I started to slide and learned that rope burn is not a pleasant feeling.  I was really glad to feel my feet hit the ground.



This was the Spear Throw.  Just by looking at the sheer number of people in the burpee penalty box, I knew the odds of scoring a direct hit on the evil bail of straw were going to be slim to none. 



None it was.  30 burpees.


I got to fulfill my dream of being a plow horse.  We dragged these little beauties for quite a ways before we were off and running again.


I also spent much more time in the water than I expected, believe it or not.  This particular obstacle was covered with some netting.  If you were afraid of tight spaces, this might freak you out.  For the rest of us, it was cool and relaxing little break.



Some scary pirate hoodlam.


Everyone seemed to have their own technique for this barbed wire low-crawl.  By the end, I’m pretty sure we were all rolling. 


Some of the obstacles were fairly easy.  It was the consequences for not completing them that sucked.  I took my time and made it count.  Notice the enlisted burpee volunteer.  Dave would soon join him.


Although it was slow going, I thought the water was refreshing.  It cooled me down and charged me up for each new section.


When we got to this obstacle, I heard that these buckets of concrete weighed 80 pounds.  The only thing that went through my head is, “Not doing burpees!”  I grabbed hold of the rope and gave it a tug.  I got it a few feet off the ground and got into a rhythm.  Before I knew it, I had a big bucket of concrete 20 feet in the air.  The trick was getting it down slowly with out getting rope burn.  I managed.  (Barely.)


After the buckets, it was about a mile to the finish.  There were only a few obstacles left.  Robert jumped the line of fire and headed up the muddy embankment.


The slippery wall gave us no trouble.  We were up and over and on to the next obstacle.


I think this was some sort of rowing.  Whatever it was, the digital meter on the front said 200 meters and counted backwards as you pulled.  I pulled until I thought my arms would surely fall off.  Man, was I glad to see the “Done” message on the display.


Climbing this two-story cargo net gave you a great view of the finishline.  From here, there was only 25 yards and one obstacle to go!


Gladiators!  They whacked you pretty good with those sticks, but Robert blasted right through with no issue.  Dave on the other hand tumbled and took one or two down with him.  It was a very spectacular finish!




I was pretty impressed with our results.  The three of us finished just over two hours.  Great goal for next year.



I’ve got to give the old man his street-cred.  He is our elder and leads by example.  Nice work, Robert!



Dave wanted to swing by the First-Aid station to check out the nurses.  Where are they going to stick that thing!

 The Spartan tag line is: “You’ll Know at the Finishline”

I’m not really sure what that means.  Perhaps I’ll know more about what I can do or how hard I can push myself.  I know that Dave is indeed the Burpee King, with 120 to his credit on this race.  I also know that I enjoy doing crazy stuff with friends. 

After an 8 mile obstacle course like that, I’m going to be very sore for the next few days… that I know for sure.


Obstacle Racing, Spartan Race, Mud Run

Comment (1)

  1. I loved those pics, that was a fun race event. Congratulations to all the participants in this event, that was an awesome participation. You really had fun in the event, looking forward for more updates.

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