Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan recap

Muddy Spartans!
First off, let me say sorry for taking so long to post this.  It has been crazy around here!!!!  We got home late Monday evening from our AWESOME weekend trip to the DC area for the race, hanging out with our family, and visiting some good friends.  We spent most of our non-racing time doing touristy stuff at Arlington and the Smithsonians, and we were exhausted upon arriving home.  Then it was back into the kindergarten thing, which is still new to all of us.  Since kiddo's school requires her to be there at 0'dark thirty every morning, I've been a bit zombie-ish this week.  Add in her TaeKwonDo yellow belt test this afternoon (!!!!!!!), toddler sickness, and some other interesting happenings, and it's made for a tired mama.

Anyway, I'll jump straight into the race.  I was really pumped about this, it was my first obstacle course in a while and my first Spartan Race ever.  I loooove their healthy living platform, and I was more than stoked to do this race.   I was there with hubby, my sis-in-law, and one of our close friends.  He had been in the Hurricane Heat that morning, and he still wasn't back yet!  His wife and my mother-in-law were hanging out in the crowd with the kiddos.  We got a fun pep talk by the announcer, saying we'd be digging deap, doing burpees, pushing ourselves to the limits, etc.  The horn blew, and we were off! 

After the smoke literally cleared, we quickly noticed holes ALL over the place.  Like, break your ankle type holes.  Scary shit!  People were very good about yelling and pointing them out, and no one got hurt.  This course was a lot more running-centric than what they normally are, according to most experienced Spartans.  Spartan Race is really cool about finding awesome venues that can incorporate a lot of trail running into their courses.  They're all about natural obstacles, which I love!  This time, they chose a horse park.  So after we did a few obstacles and ran up a very large hill in the woods, we jumped over what seemed to be 40 horse jumps spread over an entire field.  It was fun, but we were glad when we were finished with them.  We weren't muddy yet, but that didn't last long!  There was a 100-yard mud crawl through some serious squishy mud and lots of rocks, and underneath barbed wire.  I do well in obstacles like this for two reasons:  I'm small and can fit well underneath the wire, and I'm used to crawling on the floor with kids all day anyway.  I still came out with plenty of bumps and scrapes though, but it was fun!  We pushed on to lots of other obstacles, including a pole jump, some really far apart monkey bars (I rocked these out!), and some cargo net climbs.  There were a few obstacles where girls got the lighter load, but I tried not to take it.  At the tire flip, they had his and her tires.  I chose the his and it wasn't that bad actually.  There was a portion where we had to carry Spartan Race-made "pancakes", which are flat beanbags.  20lbs for women, 40lbs for men.  I chose then men's bag, not realizing quite how far we had to walk with them.  I made it and got some mad props, but damn was I tired!  We had a good running stretch after which gave my arms some much-needed recovery time.  There were of course three Berlin Walls, which I made it over much better than I have in the past.  I was feeling quite confident until the very end.  After pulling a very large piece of concrete around a dirt-covered horse ring, I was worn out and not ready for the final three obstacles--sideways climbing wall (much harder than it looks), spear throw (my aim is shit), and rope climb (just too damn tired).  So I did my burpees, thirty for each failed obstacle and sternly enforced, and ran through the finish line happily. 

I took my banana and sports drink and hauled ass to the kid race, which was about to begin and which my kiddo was running with her bff.  I got there just in time to wish her luck, give her a super muddy hug, and watch the girls take off.  They did a cute little half-mile obstacle course, and finished with ear-to-ear grins.  It was by far the highlight of my day!

So proud!
Not long after the girls finished, our pal (father of the cutie on the right) finished.  The Hurricane Heat is a team-building, ass-kicking event beginning at 5am, and he then jumped straight into the 10am heat.  He was totally worn out, but happy as a lark.  I'm doing a HH in the future, it looked AWESOME!  After he came in, we cheered my sis-in-law on, ate a bit, drank a bit, and left feeling very accomplished.

What I didn't like
There isn't much that I wasn't happy with.  The event was ran well and the volunteers were awesome.  There were three water stops, which for some people didn't seem like enough.  It was 10 miles instead of 8, so there was a long period without water at the end.  I can see how it could have been a very bad thing on a really hot day.  Also, I got a really shotty t-shirt.  But that problem is being remedied, and I've very grateful!

What I liked
I liked the teamwork and camaraderie.  I liked the obstacles and that there was a little bit of everything.  It was about strength, not about how much they can hurt you (ahem, no electrical wires or ice tanks).  I liked that the "free beer" became $5 off at the gift shop since Virginia has laws against such things.  I got an awesome Spartan Chicked shirt!  And dammit, I still bought my beer, which was named "Spartan Ale".

What I loved
Most of it!  Honestly, I was really happy with this experience!  My absolute favorite aspect is the Spartan Kids Race, put on by the Kids Fit Foundation.  Not only does it give the race venue an great family vibe, but more importantly it helps develop healthy habits and higher self-esteem for young ones.  The race is fors age 4 and up, and it's all about fun.  There were also kid obstacles outside of the race, free to be played on for the entire day.  My daughter still hasn't stopped talking about it and wears her medal (just like ours but a different color) with pride.  I adore Spartan Race for this, and I can't wait to empower my little boy like that when he's four! 
Tough girls

Honestly, he's not impressed.

Another thing that I loved was the Team XTREME Heroes Heat.  It was (and still is) one of the most touching things I've ever witnessed.  A group of wounded warriors got together and completed the race as a team, most of them in full military uniform and gas masks.  Most of them were missing one or more limbs, and they were all inspiring.  My friend took an amazing picture of them as they came past the front, and it still brings tears to my eyes:
Enlarge the pic, you'll see some amazing men!
Their dedication and ability to never give up inspires me to do better at everything in life!  It was an excellent reminder that we were all out there to better ourselves and to accomplish greatness in our own ways.  And this is what Spartan Race is about.

I'll be doing the Carolinas Spartan Beast in October, and I'm incredibly excited!  Presently I don't have anyone racing with me, but I'm sure that I'll make friends along the way.  I know what I need to work on, and I have lots to do until then!   Bring it on!!!!