Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SPARTAN 2015

We ran the local Spartan again this year - a Super this year (8-10 miles) rather than a Beast (10-12) last year.

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. 

Hands ready!


Last minute preparations
before dropping off our stuff.


Pretty much ready!



Me practicing on the rope.


Brandon practicing on the rope.

Go time!


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.

On the trail:






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).

My notes:

-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. ;)

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