Thursday, February 2, 2012

Super Spartan

 Early last year I got a random phone call from some foreign dude that I could barely understand.   He was promoting a new series of events call the Spartan Race.  They were halfway through the season with one man dominating the series and they were looking for some studs to take him down.
(how they got my phone number I don't know?)

I was flattered but if you look up "Stud" in the phone book your gonna find the opposite of me.

Maybe they had accidentally looked up
 "Smug"?

My schedule was  packed and all their events were on the East Coast that time of the year.

I had forgot all about the series until I had brief encounter with another one of their reps, this cool dude Anthony  that I met last December at The Running Event in Austin.  He gave me his card and he said if I ever wanted to run a spartan race he'd hook me up.
"Pretty Freaking Cool "

FAST FORWARD TO THE NEAR PRESENT DAY

About 2 weeks ago I noticed an event was coming up in Temecula. Which happens to be relatively close to the Stone Brewery and I was running low on rations.

I called up Anthony and not only did he say he could hook me up he said I could bring a few friends.
"Sweet"

 My friends Shacky and Vanessa  were interested
and I could crash at their place.
I decided to make a weekend out of it.  Disc golf and Brewery Friday, and  then get down to business the following morning.


 What is a Spartan?


SPARTAN CODE

A Spartan pushes their mind and body to their limits.
YES,Mind body and Liver
A Spartan masters their emotions.
Nope, I shed a few tears when Bambi's mom got shot.
A Spartan learns continuously.
YES, and I still got a lot of room left in the old noggin.
A Spartan gives generously.
YES,  I got entries for Shacky and Vanessa.
A Spartan leads.
MAYBE, Will see come Race day
A Spartan stands up for what they believe in, no matter the cost.
YES, No reason not to
A Spartan knows their flaws as well as they know their strengths.
YES, But not by choice
A Spartan proves themselves through actions, not words
NOPE,  Because if I typed the word "YES" that would contradict the answer
A Spartan lives every day as if it were their last.
YES,  That's why I eat so many damn Avocado's

Final Grade
D+
I almost got a passing grade
:(

What is a Spartan race?
It's a trail run full of mud, fire, barbed wire, and god buff dude's beating you up with giant cue tips.


The race I was entering was a Super Spartan event. 8.5 miles and 28 obstacles.

Looks like fun to me.
Friday morning I played  disc golf  at Goat hill and then at Monteil park
(my way of tapering)
before heading over to Stone.

 I had been in telecommuncations  black hole all day.  I forgot Shacky's phone number and he only had my home line.

I was sitting at the bar enjoying a Habanero Ruination Ale.  When out of the corner of  my eye I spot my friend Jason Robillard and his wife Shelly.  
They had been touring the country promoting minimalist  running.  I had last saw them at Across the Years. I knew they were coming to San Diego but had no clue they would be at the Stone Brewery at the very same time I was there.

A tour was about to begin so I scored us some passes to take a look behind the scenes  I think this is the 6th time I've taken the tour. Its always fun and they give your free beer afterwards.
(that's what makes it fun, Duh)
:)
 That vat holds enough beer for a six pack a day for the next 70 years. I wonder if I'll still be running for Stone by then?
"probably"

Eventually it was time head over to Vanessa and Shacky's.  Lucky for me Jason knew had both their phone number and address.
 "Synchronicity my friends"
How am I gonna get that in my car?
Hmm.
A perfect fit

Jason and Shelly met me over at Shacky at Vanessa's home.  Where Shacky and Jason helped me unload a few six packs from my car.

It was a good day and a fun night that ended way to early!
(side note)
Shacky and Vanessa are freaking lounge lizards, the second they enter thier home they switch into their pajamas and are ready for bed.

I guess sleep is good .  Tomorrow I shall become a Spartan!

 We arrived at the race around 8:00 I payed the $10 for parking and then hiked about a mile to the starting line
I kept messing with Vanessa warning her about the electric fences she would have to avoid.
(there are no electric fences)


The competition was full of Cross Fit paleo eating Yahoo's. Most of the dudes were pretty ripped (No offense to you if you do Cross fit and are not a Yahoo). Their biceps looked like  obeese camel's, mine closer resembled a snake whom had ate a baby mouse sometime last week.

Maybe I'm not cut out to be a Spartan?
"Perhaps I value the ability to pick nose way too much."

It was the total opposite vibe than at  an Ultra.  
 Most Ultra Marathons are filled with unassuming old people that you don't really expect too much out  of. Then halfway through the race you notice half of them are kicking your butt and they haven't even broken a sweat.

Here at the Spartan race there was a must of testosterone in the air. Most of the competitors were between 18-35 years old. They were not  scrawny like the runners I usually associate with.  Nearly everyone looked like they went to the gym (Some of them had forgot to use the treadmill).  and most of the women were easily strong enough to beat me up.

They even had an air ambulance there.
"Pretty hardcore"
 After scoping the scene for a few moments I found my buddy Anthony who was hooking us up for the event.

The elites were just about to go off at 9:00a.m. it was too late to get into that wave and even the 9:30a.m. wave would be pushing it  since. most of our gear was still in the car, so we optioned for the 10 :00 a.m. start time.

Anthony couldn't have been cooler he got us signed up and then introduced me to influential people in charge of the race.  I'm hoping that I can repay the favor by helping to make the Stone Brewing Company become  one of their sponsors.  
(It makes more sense than dial?)

Vanessa Shacky and I watched as about 300 runners took off in the 9:30a.m. wave.
I especially liked watching that cross fit girl in the pink top.
 Good luck dude's

I had wanted to wear Luna's but since the course had a lot of mud I figured my Vibram Kso Treks would be a more viable option.

I lined up right in front next to a few kids in their 20's they looked pretty fit (possible military) and I didn't know if I could keep up.  The weather was getting warm my mouth was dry and I was maybe a little dehydrated from the night before. 


Time to Become a Spartan

I took off running at fast pace. the course ran along the side of dirt mountain for about a half mile before hitting a single track trail. I was running hard but 2 dudes jumped out in front of me.  As we climbed for another half mile one of them relented as we crested the ridge.  A few 100 yards later I took the lead.  

I was getting really thirsty.  There was a dude right on my ass as we distanced ourselves from the rest of the pack screaming up and down the trail for the next 2 miles.

At about mile three we got to the first of the obstacles and also caught up with the stragglers from the 9:30 wave.  We climbed over and under a few walls over some hay bails over a zigzagged balance beam.and probably did a few other things but at point I was still pretty much sprinting and didn't take time to think about was I doing I just did it.

Finally I got to a water station a grabbed too cups and was out of there feeling like a new man.
Then we hit the barb wire.  It was about 40 yards stretch of the stuff and my body took a beating.  By the time I exited it the kid that was behind me was now in the lead by about 10 seconds

When we got to the next hill the course started to get congested.  It was steep narrow single track trail filled with cross fit people that were already too tired to run.

"Come on people didn't you know what you getting yourself into?"

I passed about 20 of them on the climb but my pace was deffinetly impeded by the foot traffic. Never the less I was catching  up to the leader.

Eventually we made our way back to where the race began.
(the unofficial halfway point)

There was another water station which and I really wanted to grab a quick sip but the kid in front did not stop so neither did I.

That turned out to be pretty stupid 
when we got to the next obstacle.  Where you must toss a spear into target or do 30 burpees.

  There was a line of about 10 people and the volunteers had stopped everyone while they collected all the arrant spears. About 3 minutes went by as I ached to get back to business.  My lead over the other competitors in my wave was disappearing.fast and there was nothing I could do about it.  

Once they got the all the spears it only took a few seconds till it was my turn.
I tilted the back up a little to high and totally missed as did about 90% of the others.
(I'm blaming it on the wind.)

Good news though the kid in front of me also missed and nobody else from my wave snuck in front of me
This was the first time I had ever done a Burpee my form was horrible. It was not fun and I could tell a lot of people around me were not doing all thirty.  I wasn't there to cheat, I did my best and finished at the exact time as the kid.

The next obstacle was a 60ft wide wall with a few grips on it that you had to cross. if you fall 30 more Burpees.  The vibrams gripped it well and with my lanky arms and legs I had taken the lead by the time I finished it.

Over halfway done my body felt great other than a cuts I suffered from the barbwire crawl. Next up we had to fill a bucket with about 40lbs of sand and carry it up and down a hill.  It was heavy and awkward but I found groove with it on my shoulder.  I was surrounded by buff dudes who were struggling, either too fatigued from the run or too ignorant to carry it in an intelligent fashion.  Everyone was walking but not me I was Jogging (very slowly).  

My lead was growing and trail became more and more packed with people walking. I should have signed up for 9 a.m. and these slow pokes in front of me should have started later in the day.

Next up we had to carry a tire over about a 500 foot loop on the trail. While others walked
 "I ran."

The competition from earlier heats was dropping like flies.  Almost all of the obstacles required upper body strength and my arms were size of most of the dudes wrists.  With what little muscles I did have combined with adrenaline I had  plenty enough strength to endure the challenges ahead..

I plowed through a bunch more obstacles like dragging a big piece of cement through mud, cargo net and crawled through a net tunnel. My lead grew and I never saw the kid behind me again.  The single track trail was becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.  Not only was passing the 9:30 wave now I had to deal with the 9:00a.m. wave as well.  In total I passed around 200 people which added  multiple minutes to my finishing time.  
But to the credit of the people I did pass every single one of the was gracious and left me sneak by when I asked and I thanked them for that courtesy. Yes it was a pain in the ass but it could have been a lot worse.

(I'm getting board typing so I'll abbreviate the rest of the race, maybe I'll add it later)
More barb wire, rope climb (fail 30 burpees) mud, more mud, fire, buff dudes beating me up, wall climb, more mud. etc, etc... Finish line
I charged hard till the end and finished first in my wave proving 
that even a dude with Dr. Seuss arms can be a Spartan.
Shacky had to drop early. He was in a good mood and I was stoked to see him at the finish line

They had showers but they were busted so I jumped in the lake.
 The water was crystal clear before I entered it.
 As Vanessa neared the finish line She looked stronger than  the buff dudes huffing and puffing all around her. Good thing shes not dude because she totally would have gotten nailed in the nuts.
 Way to go Chicka?
I'm proud of you!
Afterwards I tried too get in a little redemption chucking the spear.
(good form and trajectory but I missed wide right)
I must of hit a tomato.  
(thank god I missed the beer)

So how did I place overall? 

Unbeknownst to me only the 9:00 and 9:30 waves were eligible for awards. 
DoH!
And they didn't have to put up with as much traffic out on the course.

I went to check my time but since I entered the event the day of the race my name did not come up my Chip said I finished in 1:48 minutes as the 4th place woman? 
(no women ended up finishing that fast)
Strange?
The timing people told me they would have my time resolved by that evening and it would be put on the web.
But that is yet to happen. My fingers are still crossed

I believe my time was  fast enough to win the open division and would have been 5th or 6th in Elite.  

I think I could have shaved off about 10 minutes if I had started in the 9:00a.m.  I was surprised by how much an event like this favors a runner over a weight trainer. If the race were twice as long I think I would have fared better.  The Spartan champion Hobie Call is a sub 2:17 marathoner who has  enough upper body strength to dominate the competition.

Perhaps if I start doing a few push ups I can grow up to be a Spartan and give him a run for his money someday!
(i had to stealthy sneak this helmet off the table and put it back without anyone noticing)
Who really cares about results anyway?

 The event was free and I had a fun time with some great friends.  
 Plus
Ifound $14 bucks blowing in the wind just before leaving

Can you say best day ever?

The whole event had a cool vibe to it and if your sick of the usual 5k or half marathon's you've been running I highly suggest you give the Spartan Races a try.

"Thanks for hooking a brother up Anthony"

Bonus Material For those who made it all the way to the end of this post.
If you made it this far you might like this article about some 
dumb ass






3 comments:

  1. Sweeney,

    You are the freaking man! Rest that body up. You'll be 100% before no time. Thanks for the color recollection of the Spartan event. Keep it up bra.

    Barefoot Alex
    www.barefootalex.com

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  2. Sweet review, and great performance. I have to believ that all those cross fitters were pissed that a runner beat them at their "warrior event." Nice job.

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