Last weekend my sister and I went to “Pittsburgh” to do a sprint distance race for the Spartan series. Honestly, I didn’t want to go. After my giant FAIL at Tough Mudder, I was nervous about trying to do an event so soon. But, it was paid for as a gift so I wasn’t wasting MY money and there was a part of me that wanted to try for the trifecta and I KNEW I was so done with Spartan at the Beast or even Super levels unless some major changes happened in my body for next year.
So, because I went to the theater the night before, I was in bed around 1030-1100 pm on Friday and awake again at 500 am (Oh my god did that suck) I’m used to getting up at 800 am for work now (yea I’m spoiled, I also work 10 hour days, it’s a trade off). I ran about 15 mins late because Dave was also getting ready and we were kinds under each other’s feet. I arrived on site around 845. Not too bad, expect they shuttle you in from the field to the main grounds. The bus had to wait to be cleared for entry so I missed my 915 wave start. Liz and Aaron were already there with my sister, all three stayed the night in a hotel. Liz and Aaron left with the 915 wave, Becky waited for me to arrive. I arrived about 917. Go figure. We went to get my bib and use the bathroom. IF we had tried we could have cleared the 930 wave, but we took our time, and missed it by about 5 minutes. We took off with the 945 racers.
I thought I read that this particular sprint was 3 miles and very flat. Well it turned out to be 4.99 miles according to the staff, and it was still flat enough. For the first 3 miles I ran/jogged where I could, but still made a huge embarrassment of myself at most of the obstacles. I didn’t attempt any wall, because I don’t like 200+ pounds smashing down on my tiny ankles. I also am nervous for any downhill motion as my left leg can “go out” at any moment. We made it 3 miles before my leg acted up and I lost the ability to life it. It doesn’t hurt itself, but when I can’t life it, the rest of my body tried to compensate and then it gets sore from working too hard.
Highlights as I recall from the millions of obstacles. We went under net in a small stream of muddy water. I basically floated and drug myself forward on my hands. A barbed wire army crawl, uphill! An area with LARGE rocks where climbed over and crawled under a bunch of stuff. Over, Under and Through walls. Mud pits. Carry a bucket of rocks. Carry a sandbag. Carry a tire. Carry an atlas ball. Lift sandbags using a rope. Carry logs on chains. Climb a rope. Do monkey bars (twice). Jump over fire at the end (a given). Walk through a 4 ft lake. Climb over and down a cargo net tent (my fave remember). Throw a spear.
This race I was super proud of my atlas carry, because every race before I either skipped it or had to have someone hand it to me. This race it took a few attempts, but I managed to lift the rock myself! I was only able to hoist it to about my knees, but dang-it I did it myself! The only upper body thing I really struggled with was the Herculean hoist. Which makes me SOOO made because I did it my first race and have not been able to do it since. Possible because I now also do all the other stuff and my arms are spent. Who knows.
Pittsburgh Sprint has the NICEST staff and the NICEST racers. I was about to swear off Spartans because people tend to be very aggressive and competitive, but this was such a welcoming event. And when my leg/back was hurt so I couldn’t do burpees, no one scolded me for doing jumping jacks instead.
Based on this experience I am VERY comfortable with the idea of doing more sprint level races in the future. In fact all the races I’ve liked were 5 miles or shorter. Until I lose weight and get in better shape (working on it) I just don’t think it’s responsible to push myself to the point of injury. Sure it’s a “Challenge” but when I literally can’t walk for the next two weeks, is that the best use of my abilities? If it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth is it the best use of my time? I have a BLAST at this event, and I want all my experiences to be like this and even better. I wish the same for all of you.