I'd looked back at my 2014 Spartan blog post and tried to take some advice from it prior to this one.
These were the notes I had for myself:
-Train with a LOT more trail running. FAIL! I trained very little for this one - something I immediately regretted.
-Different shoes - ideally good for keeping out debris but not retaining water. Trail running shoes with better traction and more protection on the bottom. PASS! I wore an old pair of running shoes and with a pair of socks they worked like a charm. I think they may have made climbing the rope slightly more difficult, but negligibly so.
-Bring a small pack with some energy/food items and sunscreen. PASS! I bought a little pack (tiny) and squeezed two energy gummy packs and a small sunscreen into.
-Either run in a bra/capris or a very tight fitted tank top that won't sag at all with water. PASS! I bought a neck high/wrist length rash-guard. Probably not the most flattering thing, but it did a much much better job of protecting me from the sun and elements.
-Work on those cargo nets and spear throws! MEH? We didn't have the same kind of cargo net this year, though I do think I'd have done better on it if we had. The cargo nets this year were all more vertical, and I had no trouble with that. But I failed the spear throw again - though that was the only time I did burpees this year.
So, how did it go? Well, all things considered, not terrible. I'd done almost no training for this, except for climbing. The result was that I was not ready for the trail. Fortunately, Brandon, Zach, and Roman were all ok with a slow pace.
Our start time this year somehow got bumped back to 1:15 PM. This, in my mind, was the most critical cause of most of our pain this year. For your information, starting a race at 1:15 PM and then being on the trail for the next four and a half hours is not super pleasant. Particularly on a day where even in Soldier Hollow it was at least 95 degrees.
On top of running in the hottest part of the day, I discovered that I have no idea how to prepare as far as nutrition is concerned for race start times that aren't super early. On an early race, you eat a good balanced dinner (not too heavy), sleep, and then eat a carb/protein breakfast an hour and a half or so before your race. With a 1:15 in the afternoon start time, we probably should have had both breakfast and lunch, and hydrated a little more carefully. As it was, even with our gummies, I quickly felt sick on the trail - dehydrated and malnourished - those gummies go a fair way, but they're not enough if you haven't eaten enough calories to generally sustain you.
We carpooled down to Soldier Hollow, sunscreened up, had a little water, practiced on the short rope, used the bathrooms a few times, dropped off our bags, and were ready to go at 1:15.
|Taping the hands.|
|Last minute preparations |
before dropping off our stuff.
|Pretty much ready!|
|Me practicing on the rope.|
|Brandon practicing on the rope.|
In many ways, the trail path seemed pretty similar to last years, only a few miles shorter. And I'm honestly not entirely sure where they took the miles from, as I think we went up the mountain about the same number of times. Or at least it felt like we went up the mountain the same number of times. ;)
Here is a wonderfully condensed video of most of the obstacles:
(SLC Spartan Super 2015 GoPro (all but one obstacles))
The only free thing that the SPARTAN operators do that I really appreciate is that they take photos that we have access to without having to pay for them. I swear they nickel and dime you for everything else, but not that.
Coming out of the mud dunk (where we pretty much had to completely submerge in the mud, though I managed to keep half of my face out of it):
One of the weight challenges:
The never ending barb wire crawl (I got smart about it this year. The wire was just high enough that I could duck very low to go under the wire - saved me a thousand tiny cuts from all the rocks in the mud!):
End fire/coals leap:
|And done and done!|
All in all I'd say most of the obstacles were a little easier this year, though there were a few walls I couldn't get over on my own, and there a few monkey bar/ring obstacles that I was happy to accept some help from Brandon on (I might have been able to do them on my own, but didn't want to risk having to do burpees).
-First of all, don't do this again. I've felt sick both times following the race. The sick-to-your-stomach ugh feeling. Not worth it.
-If, hypothetically I DO do this again, fork out the extra money to insure an early morning start time. Completely worth it.
-Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition.
But really, I think twice was enough. ;)