My first Spartan race of the season is officially in the books. For those of you that don’t know, last year I competed in my first ever Spartan race and was immediately hooked. The adrenaline and feeling of accomplishment was something I never felt before and it left me wanting more! I ended up competing in two Spartan races last year (a sprint and stadium race) and this year my goal is to complete the Spartan Trifecta. In order to complete the trifecta, I have to run a sprint, super and beast which are all different lengths with different amounts of obstacles.
Sprint: 3-5 miles and 20-23 obstacles
Super: 8-10 miles and 24-29 obstacles
Beast: 12-14 miles and 30-35 obstacles
This past weekend I ran the Austin Spartan Super race. It was my first Super race and furthest distance I have ever raced before (ended up being 9 miles). The race was on Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, TX so we flew into Austin the day before. Race day was an early morning filled with nerves. Being out of my element, racing alone and never have ran a super my stomach was flipping. I even forgot that it was my birthday that day.
I lined up at the starting line with all the other competitive heat racers and after yelling our AROOs we were off. I settled into a comfortable pace and locked eyes on the runners ahead of me. After successfully making it through a few obstacles I failed one of the slip walls and had to complete my penalty of 30 burpees. Then the real kicker came, I failed again! The monkey bars were completely wet and I couldn’t hold my grip. Off to do another 30 burpees. The next mile or so after that was pretty rough as I was trying to push forward as fast as I could while recovering from the burpees and other obstacles along the way. I would have never imagined the running part of the race being the easiest and used as my “recovery.”
Every race always has that one obstacle. The obstacle that has you cussing and questioning yourself why you put yourself through this. This time it was the barbwire crawl. This was no ordinary drop down and role barbwire crawl. This was on 4-5 consecutive hills of solid dirt and mud lined with cacti and thistles. After many swearwords and some blood I made it through and headed for the trails again picking thistles out of my hands. The next large chunk of the race was my favorite because it consisted of a lot of trail running with some obstacles sprinkled in. The terrain and views were something I have never seen before and I was trying to take it all in while focusing on my breathing and my task at hand.
All was going great until mother nature decided to mess with me and strike lightening. I came up to the spear throw, the dreaded spear throw, and the volunteers said the obstacles were shut down and to continue running through. I decided to do 30 burpees before moving forward because let’s be real, I most likely would have missed the spear throw anyways. At this point, I was less than a mile from the finish line but those burpees ruined me. I completely crashed. My legs didn’t want to move, they felt like led. I finally rounded a corner going up hill and could see the finish line but there were a couple obstacles to go yet. My favorite obstacles! The hurk hoist and rope climb. But no, the obstacles were still closed. Completely disappointed and devastated I ran past them wishing I could complete them because I knew I could. A final sprint over the fire jump and I crossed the finish line of my first Spartan Super race.
Not evening wanting to see my results because why does it even matter if I couldn’t complete all the obstacles, but we headed over there anyways. As my results popped up I had so many mixed emotions. I placed 1st in my age group and gender and 34th overall all the competitive racers. I was proud of my standings but frustrated that they didn’t truly reflect the entire race. Later on that day, I learned that the next female was 20-30 minutes behind me. That gave me some clarity that my standings was a good representation of my race because the final obstacles would have had only add a few minutes to my time. All in all, this race pushed me further physically and mentally than I have ever been pushed before. I learned what I need to work on for my next race and I am one step closer to completing the Spartan Trifecta.