Sunday morning after running the Beast. My body is HATING me right now. Sore would be an understatement. Race start time is at 930 am so I got up around 5 am so I could get a big breakfast and avoid making that mistake again.
I’m going to be honest with you: I almost quit. I wanted to get back into bed. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it. But I couldn’t bow out. I had told so many people about my goal and what I had set out to accomplish. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a man of my word. If I say I’m going to do something or be somewhere, its happening!
So i got myself ready. Had a small issue because my Saucony Peregrine 7s were somehow not dry after I had washed them on Saturday night. So since I figured I didn’t have time to dry them, I just put on my 6s from last year. They still had a good amount of grip on them since they had only been used for half the racing season last year.
Enjoyed my breakfast and headed to NJ. Got to the venue and it was much lighter in terms of attendance. Which makes sense because most people probably use Sunday as a recovery day from racing so they don’t have to take off from work on Monday. It was pretty nice being able to park so close to the venue. The temperature was much colder on Sunday as well, I ended up wearing my hoodie right up until race time.
I was all geared up, stretched out and ready for the race. Had a few good convos with some fellow Spartans and then it was time to race. I knew from the start this was going to be a much slower race for me. Legs were quite sore so I took it easy for the first 2-3 miles. Didn’t run at all, just some fast walking while sipping on the camelbak.
I won’t bore anyone with recapping the obstacles again. But I will go over some highlights and low-lights for me on Sunday. Obviously, my arm strength wasn’t the same. But as always no excuses, I will be working on building up that endurance.
So very early in the race I learned a big lesson in humility. Got to the monkey bars, an obstacle I have never failed, and I thought I would breeze through it. Started off taking my time, 2 hands on each bar. Then I was using 1 hand on each bar. Somehow in the middle of the obstacle, I came up with the bright idea of trying to swing and skip bars. Worked once. Swung again, back arm gave out, and i fell flat on my butt, hard! Right in front of the volunteers and marshals. They checked to make sure I was OK. I said I was, only thing that was hurt was my pride. I walked over to the burpee zone and cranked out my 30 burpees. Didn’t even bother to take my pack off, I was so pissed at myself for trying to show off, that I left it on and just got through it as quickly as I could.
So now my arms that were already sore, hate me even more for putting them through burpees that they shouldn’t have had to do! Got through the rest of the obstacles with no issues except for the log which I had to put down several times cause my arms where hating me. Got tho the multi-rig, another grip obstacle I usually fly through. Fell off about halfway through. No showboating this time, just didn’t have the grip strength. 30 more burpees. Failed the spear throw, 30 more. At this point I’m not even halfway through the race and I’ve already done as many burpees as I’ve ever done in a full race. 8 foot wall, no chance. A Spartan offered to help me over but I refused. I said I chose to run competitive so I won’t accept support. He looked at me and said the refs don’t care. I said yes but I do, I couldn’t consider it a finished race if I didn’t complete the obstacle myself or do my penalty burpees. So another 30 burpees. 120 total.
So as I’m climbing the next hill I start chatting with the guy next to me. He seemed to be having a hard time getting up the hill. I told him to keep going, he was doing good, one step at a time. The same things I’ve heard other spartans tell me to offer encouragement. He told me this was his first spartan race. I said wow I’m impressed. You picked a Beast to do as your first race? Go big or go home! He laughed and said yeah he was doing it with some friends from work but they were all up ahead. I told him don’t worry, you’re just having a nice walk in the woods!
Couple more obstacles, then the Herc Hoist. Again no excuses, but I barely got it up yesterday with fresh arms. Today I got it about halfway, then my arms said no more. 30 more awesome burpees. I’m going to have to work on a technique for the herc hoist because it definitely seems to be an obstacle I struggle with even on my best days.
Rest of the obstacles were no real issues. Bucket Brigade was awful, as usual. If my arms didn’t already want to fall off, they did now. Also there was someone at the bottom checking the buckets to make sure they were filled, so I was glad I didn’t skimp on the rocks.
Twister followed the buckets. if there was a story of the day it was about how previous obstacles that were no issue on saturday, were struggles on sunday. I got to the 3rd section of twister, my arms started to give and I was hanging, and I couldn’t recover. Fell off in front of a crowd. Sucked big time. 30 more burpees, that’s now 6 failed obstacles which means I’ve done 180 burpees! Awful.
Time for the last obstacle, the rope climb. I was saying to myself, I really don’t want to do anymore burpees. Started talking to one of the guys who was also at the rope climb while I gave my arms a little break. Told him I wasn’t sure how well this was going to go. We watched a few other people fail. Said I felt like I was delaying the inevitable. He said just give it everything you have left. So I began my climb. My plan was to try to get up as fast as possible before my arms had a chance to react and realize what was happening. I got up much quicker than I thought I would and took a swipe at the bell. Missed! Swiped again, another miss! I don’t know how but I somehow had enough strength to pull myself up 1 more time and I finally hit that damn bell! My arms then gave out and i fell down the rope onto the padding. The guy who cheered me on grabbed me and asked if I was ok. I said yeah I’m good, time to finish this! Grabbed my pack and headed for the finish line.
The difference between saturday and sundays race was huge in many different ways. Sunday was more of a “for fun” race as I wasn’t concerned at all with speed or time. But it was also very humbling and telling about what my current limitations are, and what I need to work on. Finished the race about 45 minutes slower then I did on saturday.
After finishing I later ran into the guy who was running his first spartan. He gave me a handshake and a bro hug. He told me how when I met him on that hill his leg was cramping hard and he wasn’t sure he could make it. But my words of encouragement pushed him forward and helped him complete the race. Said he looked forward to future races and hoped he would see me again.
Out of all the things that happened sunday, that was probably my favorite. Being able to enhance someones race experience and encourage them to dig a little deeper is something I hope I’m able to do with everyone, whether it’s on the course or not. Encouraging and motivating each other is in my opinion, the true Spartan goal!
Thanks as always for reading. Any comments or questions are greatly appreciated!! AROO!!
Yes, small good act can go a long way! “My words of encouragement pushed him forward and helped him complete the race.” This is very true! Spartan Race will test the mind when your body said NO! Very well written story! I’ll be following your blog! 😊 please do check out my blog as well! Aro!!
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