How was Spartan’s first event in a year? EPIC!
Let’s get the obvious questions out of the way first:
- Yes, you had to wear a mask. But only while in the festival area and only while waiting in the chute. As soon as you left the chute, the mask was optional. As soon as you crossed the finish line, you had to put on your own mask, or they supplied a cheap one for you to wear while exiting. It wasn’t difficult or unreasonable. In fact, everyone appeared to be complying without any visible enforcement. Good for you, Spartans, protect your brothers & sisters!
- Yes, several obstacles were eliminated: Sandbag Carry and anything involving water (HA!) which means the Rolling Mud and Dunk Wall. However, the Bucket Brigade was still in full effect and (as of the 2020 changes) you are officially allowed to hoist it onto your shoulder.
- No, spectactors were not allowed in the festival area. But there was a large, fenced off section outside the festival where spectators could see their family racing for several obstacles. No, it wasn’t as ideal for spectators. But the event is for the racers, not the spectators, and I was thankful for the opportunity to race again.
- Also of note: the festival area was very subdued and sullen. Only a couple of vendors and spacing restrictions made it difficult for all of them. This will likely be a work in progress. And you were only allowed to enter the festival area 30min (or less) before your start time. The volunteers verified your time before you were allowed to go to registration.
This was my first Spartan since December of 2019 (Central Florida) and my first Super + Sprint Weekend. I’ve spent the last couple of months working on grip strength and pacing the run. Both endeavors paid off and I was very happy with the results of both days.
Saturday was the Super. Mi Amigo, DJ Alztec joined (between doing The Speech at the chute!) Despite the fact that the local weather was “dry” for weeks ahead of the race, at least 2 out of 6+ of the miles were ankle deep in water or mud. If a storm had come recently, we would have easily been up to our knees for most of the race. Made it hard to stay at pace (I don’t blitz through murky water because I’ll be That Guy who twists an ankle or blows out his knee) but at least the water kept us cooled down a bit. Rocked all the strength obstacles, not problem. The Sled Drag was especially easy. The Bucket Brigade was one of the longer ones, circling around a major water hole. However it was flat and open with solid ground the whole way. The Barb Wire Crawl was easily the longest, steepest crawl evah! It went at least four stories up. People were gassing out before the midway point and we had to weave through a muddy traffic jam. Burpeed on the Multi-Rig because there was a deceptively high transition from rings to a horizontal bar that I could not reach at all. (Even tried twice since nobody was behind me!) Also Burpeed on the Beater! It was a Triple and the second transition was waaaaay high, so I missed ANOTHER one. Made up for it by ringing the bell on the Twister & Monkey Bars & Rope Climb. Wanted Sub-2:00:00. Got: 1:57:41.
Sunday was the Sprint. Woke up a bit sore, but better than I would have thought. And after my wave started, all my aches and pains started to fade. Ran solo. Same location. But shorter course. With fewer obstacles. Still had some troubles staying at pace due to the ankle-deep water, but made better time overall. May have even been a bit cooler than Saturday. Crushed all the strength obstacles, again. (WOOT!) The Beater wasn’t there to torment me. And the Multi-Rig was only rings, so I flew through them like a spider monkey on Mt Dew. Came up on some triathletes (Swim / Bike / Run symbols on their shirts!) as I hit the Rope Climb. They were looking at each other for advice. I said: Hey, I’m a triathlete too and my advice is to take the burpees if you haven’t ever tried this. Then I J-Hooked my narrow old rump up to the bell and slapped it like a rented mule. When I landed on the matt, they looked at each other and went over to do their Burpees. One Slip Wall later, it was all over. Wanted Sub-1:00:00. Got: 55:15. AROO!
Glorious weather. An interesting venue. And a spectacular return to racing.
Special shoutout to the horde of volunteers and Spartan employees who put this together. I appreciate each of you and your efforts to bring some normalcy back to us in these crazy times.