This past Sunday, I participated in the Spartan Sprint Race. It was located at the US Whitewater Center here in Charlotte. I've been hitting the gym pretty steady for the last 2 months. My weight is down, but holding steady due to muscle growth. My midsection is slowly evaporating. My endurance from running and weekly soccer games and walking to work each day is showing. I've never been happy about my physical appearance from a healthish look, but I'm happy with what it going on now. So anyway. I've been working hard at the gym and needed to test myself.
I have had friends back in Florida do the different mud, obstacle, hell races before and was wanting to do one. So this past weekend, the Spartan Race came to town. I signed up and used a discount of 50% off for it. I spent a Saturday night after work IN so I could be rested and ready for race day. After getting out there a little close to my heat start time - 1 pm - I got myself stretched and amped up ready to go.
Bang - the gun sounds and the race starts. I was towards the back of the pack and took off running. After the months of tread milling at a good clip, I found that I had a good speed and was able to pass a good number of the other runners. The first obstacle came up and I found myself having to roll under a tent, get up and run, and then tuck and roll again before trekking off into the woods. As the woods started, that's when you know that there is no going back. Man up and finish. Go hard or go home. Quitters never finish and Finishers never quit. Pick a phrase and run with it (no pun intended). That's how I felt and I felt good. As I was running in single lane trails, I ended up needing to pass more people. So all you do is yell out "On your left" and they move to their right and let you go by. I did that quite a bit for the first leg. Then you come around the bend and get ready for the mud. After drudging through thigh high (on me) mud, you get to a rope and have to climb it and ring the bell on the top. I never could do that in PE in elementary school, but man I did it now. I was so proud of being able to ring the bell. I then climbed through more mud and helped my other runners get out of the mud. (It's something you do along the way. You help push them and they help push you). Bam - off and running again.
As the course wound around, you find yourself out of the woods and in front of a couple of wooden walls that you have to climb over, under, and then through. It made me feel like I was Jackie Chan jumping through the car window and kicking someone in the face and out of the car at the same time. Freakin' Awesome. Back to the woods. Now I'm starting to separate from some of my other runners. I noticed that I was able to keep a steady pace and that felt great. After having to carry a sand bag up and then down the hill, it was off to mud city. This fun, felt like a quarter mile, section was pretty much wading through a river bed up and around a bend. After getting out of the mud and completely covered in it, it's back to running. By now, I was carrying what felt like about 15 pounds of mud on me.
Time to rest? Hell no. The next fun spot was again running out of the woods and coming up on the mud crawl with barbed wire above your head. As I crawled in straight slick-ass mud, I found my body starting to hurt like hell. My shoulders and arms hurt from trying to drag my body up-slope and then down-slope in the mud. I did a good job of not getting cut up and then I did. There was a part in the down slope that made me think of "Chutes and Ladders." The rain the night before made a small little gully that I slid down and my left leg shot up in the air. This in turn got it sliced up. Oh well. Battle scars are the proof in the pudding. Once done, back to running.
This time around, I ended up behind someone. His name is Alvin. He was going to let me pass him and then I said no. I told him that I would pace him and he me, this helping both of us to keep going. There was a tall guy behind us who was starting to lag a bit, so we added him to the pack. His name is Steve. As we ran, we put Steve in front to help push him along and switch around to keep us fresh and going. When we three got to obstacles we would push and encourage each other. Waiting for the last to finish and then back running. We helped each other over the 6' walls. They helped me when I had to lift a 5 gallon bucket full of concrete up about 15' in the air. My arms were tired and my hands had no grip, but the two of them yelling "Come on Rich. You got this" really helped me out and I was able to finish it. As we kept running, we kept running. We go to a part where we were able to have a quick cup of water and then the guy tells us that we were barely halfway through. Fuck!
Down the hill and up the hill again we go. Top of the hill is a cinder block with a long chain attached. Please drag this down and around the curve and bring it back. Thank you. Here's your stupid block! I'm off to run through the woods again. Through the woods the three of us went and pushing and pushing the time. Then we got to my childhood nemesis, Monkey Bars. I couldn't finish them. Never have been able to, but it's something to work of for the future. The punishment for failing an obstacle is doing 30 burpees. (That's pretty much starting in a standing position, then bouncing down to a push up position, then jumping back into the standing position.) Damn it hurt. We could hear the noise and feel the end coming. Up the last major stretch of trail running and then a long wall of climbing without putting your feet on the ground and ringing the bell. DING!! No rest for the weary cause next was what felt like skiing moguls and getting the number down to zero. 0 Bitches!! Throw a spear and make it stick. Damn it!! I missed. I would never kill anything in the year 10000 BC, but I would have friends that would. Alvin nailed it. Spear in the heart. Back to the burpees again. Arrrrggg! Over the rapids and yes its a whitewater center, so its rapids. Do this on a cargo netting and get across. Done. Last leg. This is where me being Richard kicks in.
As we get to the last obstacle, there is a guy there with a fire hose spraying water everywhere. There is a wooden board obstacle that you have to climb and get over using the rope attached, but the guy is spraying you down at the same time. Feels good but is annoying. Alvin and Steve got over, jumped over the bit of fire and face the end. I helped some random guy get over and then made my way. In front of me was a guy with one of those American Gladiator jousting sticks with the cushions on the end for beating the shit out you. Behind him were two guys standing on a floating dock waiting for you with the same sticks. After you get through them, you swim about 50 yards to the finish and then your done. Do you think I made it easy? No. Why? Cause I'm an idiot who takes the right moment to do something stupid.
As I jumped over the fire, the first guy was not paying attention. He was looking over to his left with the stick in his hand like a staff. As I ran up, he didn't see me at all. I then proceeded to punch, shove, straight mush the staff right into the side of his face. It was awesome. As I climbed over the rocks to get to the floating dock, the guy threw the joust stick at me. I laughed so hard that I didn't think straight. I started to get on the dock and looked up. Both guys were ready and raring to go to town on me. I looked at them and said "So I'm gonna get bad now, huh?" They nodded and said yes. I got up and on and then tried to do a duck and roll move and failed badly. They beat me down bad. I pretty much rolled of the end off the pier into the water. Both my knees are scraped up pretty bad, but it was sooooo worth it. Afterwards, I found Alvin and Steve and they both said they were looking for me, turned around, looked at the dock, and then saw me get the tar beat out of me. They asked what I did. When I told them, they both laughed. It was a great time. I got a medal for finishing, but more importantly I got the pride of finishing. I got a great story and a couple battle scars. I'm hoping they have pictures of the finish for me, cause that would be straight classic.
When I finished, I didn't have time to bask in my glory. It was straight to shower and then work. Beat down tired, but worth it. I thought that the race was about 3 miles. No. Wrong. 5 Miles yo. First time ever doing this and I did it in 1 hr 46 min 25 sec. I finished 717 out of 1685 for Sunday, 627 out of 1197, and 99 out of 280 for my age (30-35). Next race is the Warrior Dash in May. It's a three miler, but I'll be ready. Then in October is the Tough Mudder. It's 11 miles of hell, but I'm a do it. In a Boba Fett costume with the helmet and cape. Bring it on.
I just showed you how great I am.
Happiness is not knowing where the bar is and then destroying all notions of where you think it is. You'll know at the finish line.