Well the report is a little overdue and I apologize for that….part of the reason is because of the delay in posting photos, another part is because we recently moved offices so life has been a little chaotic to say the least.
I kept telling people SPARTAN was my first obstacle course race. Technically this isn’t true. In 2012 I went to Indianapolis and did the Go Dirty Girl Mud Run and in 2013 and 2014 I did our local ADM Recovery challenge obstacle course. Here’s the thing, both of those were 5Ks and SUPER beginner friendly. Like the wall obstacles had places to step for both the front and back at Go Dirty Girl. For ADM I don’t think any obstacles involved getting more than about 6 inches off the ground other than the hale bale climb. So in my mind SPARTAN was serious business and my first crack at a “real” obstacle course event. BTW since it wasn’t really camera friendly, I swiped some pics from their official site ( ; Basically if I’m not in the pic, it’s borrowed.
Friday night Liz, her fiance Aaron and I drove a little more than an hour toward the event. We stopped for at a hotel for the night and managed to get a reasonable amount of sleep. In the morning we hurried ourselves to get ready and headed to the event. I packed some bagels and hard boiled eggs for the road. We drove abut another 45 minutes. I was very lucky because I was still in the stage of my medicine where I had a ton of energy and taking it made me VERY awake.
When we arrived I was blown away by the size of the event and how many obstacles I saw. It was also SUPER cold. I opted to wear my tech shirt, a cotton jacket AND a windbreaker jacket. Plus carrying gloves. I’m very glad I went with all of those options.
Given traffic issues we didn’t have much time to check in and get into our wave. The first thing you did was jump over a 6 foot wall. Or maybe it was smaller I don’t know. But I don’t do walls. I don’t know why, but I freak out and can’t do them.
Unfortunately in our version, there wasn’t an option to go around, it was guarded by metal railings. I offered to do the burpees, but was told that wasn’t an option for entry. I stood there frozen despite so many people showing me how to do it and trying to lift me up to just “jump” over the top. Finally they let me sneak past a guard rail, but the girl made a crappy comment about how I didn’t need to be on the course at all if I couldn’t do the wall. This deeply upset me and I worried it would ruin my whole race to be so bummed.
It did not. Moments later we were on our journey and the three of us returned to having a blast. Along the way we encountered a number of obstacles and the rest of the course was a true trail run. Some very challenging hills, where I was right at home. Around mile 2-3 I even got some great running in which made my heart sing.
Pictures of various obstacles:
Different challenges we faced:
- Walls. Some were “climb over” some were “go under” and some were “go through”
- Crawling under nets, crawling under barbed wire, crawling under logs that were in muddy water which made you get soaked (hint, if you’re small enough, laying on your side and rolling is much fast than crawling)
- Mud pits, mud pits and mud pits
- Carrying stuff : Filling a bucket with rocks and carrying it about 1/2 a mile (it weighed between 30-50 pounds), carrying an official “pancake” a bag filled with sand weighing about 25 pounds, carrying logs through the woods, and carrying an “Atlas stone” back and forth pausing to do burpees (it was about 75 pounds)
- Using a rope to hoist a 60ish pound sandbag into the air and back down (with control)
- Tire flip (this was one of my faves, couldn’t believe I did it!)
- Crawling (or walking) across a log over water, using log stumps as stepping stones, “rock climbing” sideways across a wall, leapfrogging a series of logs, climbing up and over a cargo net dome 20-30 feet in the air (I thought it was higher).
- The famous spare throw of course, along with the climbing a rope straight up into the air
- With the grand finale of jumping over fire!
I’m sure there are several others I am forgetting along the way. What I noticed about this race was:
1) The weather. It was in the 20-30 range the whole time. We were hailed on TWICE. The water was stupid cold because of this.
2) The friendly people. NO ONE was mean or elitist who I encountered along the path. Everyone was helping each other, in their own groups and in general. Never have I been around such friendly racers.
3) The only people who care if you do the penalty is YOU. A few times I was doing my penalty at different walls and the volunteer laughed and told me I could stop after 3-4 (you’re supposed to do 30 I believe).
4) Lack of food. For an event this large you might think they’d offer something other than water Our course ended up being about 11 miles and took us over 5 hours to complete.
Would I do another SPARTAN event? Absolutely! I fell in love with my first experience. If you do three different distances in the same calender year they call it a “trifecta” and you get a special medal. I want to do that in 2015 so much! I know people hate the price, but after going to the event, I can see why it is so costly. I’m sure insurance is THROUGH THE ROOF for the obstacles they provide. Then to safely build those obstacles takes money and time. Parking and location rental is probably expensive too. All I know is, I would rather pay the extra money and know I’m going to have a SAFE and FUN experience.
BTW, I had other souvenirs from the event too. Warning if you don’t like bruise pictures, don’t scroll down. This is what my legs looked like after the event though. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt, I just bruise easily, it’s weird.