Two of us took glamorous hotel ice baths Saturday night. I took one of our coolers to the ice maker downstairs and started to fill ‘er up while nodding at the few other passing guests – also Spartan Racers. I commiserated with one fellow racer with the cooler propped up partly by a knee about the terrain. We expected it to be like Palmerton or Killington – some of the most notoriously arduous climbs – but it wasn’t quite at that level.
When I got back to the room my friend had the tub filled with cold water and what was left of the ice packs. We also had our Bob Evan’s dinner prepped and ready to go – the mashed potatoes and chocolate chip cookie made it a lot more bearable. The ice bath made Sunday a lot more doable too, despite the dehydrated hung-over feelings.
Sunday was the Super in the morning and the Sprint in the afternoon. I did my best to chug as much water as possible beforehand. The group I ran with Saturday started to split up for the second two legs, so we could all run our own races at our paces.
I started the Super with one of my friends who, as an experienced cross country runner, pulled ahead fairly quickly after the initial hill. That stupid, endless, slow climb. I remember trudging up it that second time thinking ‘how will my legs ever accomplish this a third time?’
I had to push those thoughts out of my mind and stick to just putting one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving. That’s all I could do. If I let myself focus on the distance or the hills or the misery than I’d be lost.
Like the rope traverse on Saturday – just keeping going, steadily and don’t focus so much on how far away the finish line is. Just focus on each next step!
The MC quoted the Super at 9 miles. So I guessed it’d probably be closer to 10 that I’d actually have to run, walk, crawl. Sunday was all about just finishing and crossing the finish line. Twice.
We hit Stairway to Sparta and headed back down the mountain. I spent less time at the top of Stairway this time, since timing was a little more important with two events going on.
While I was not quick by any means, I still surprised myself with how much I could keep jogging. Jogging, slow shuffling, whatever it was. At least I didn’t have to walk the entire time.
We still had to hit the bucket carry right after the dunk wall. So not only did you have to carry the very heavy bucket of rocks up and down a hill, you had to do it while wet.
They did shorten the bucket carry the second day, and moved the descent a little over from the death trap it used to be. I managed to catch my friend there. If I’d been less tired maybe I would have even been able to pass her. Alas, I had to stop and rest a little more than I would have liked.
The slippery hands on hard plastic with slick grass and mud made the going a little more tedious.
I wasn’t able to catch my friend again on that run.
I missed the spear throw (again) but did get the vertical rope! I was inches from the spear throw sticking into the hay bale yet again. So began the parade of burpees.
However, given that I had to do another race almost immediately after this one I admit I could not bring myself to complete all 30 burpees for missing the spear. I can’t recall how many I actually did do – but they were some of the weakest ones I’ve ever eked out.
Twister – the moving metal handle /monkey bar obstacle – got me again this time. I did keep feeling like I was getting better at it with each pass. I struggled on the transition from the first section to the second. I couldn’t quite get my hands right so that I was in a good position to maneuver them to the next handles.
Olympus may as well have just been a burpee pit. I almost didn’t even try. I gave it a half hearted effort but my knees were raw from trying to go across it the day before.
I don’t remeber falling from the Rig of rings but I know I did. I tried to sprint the finish line and felt my calf cramp a bit.
I was excited to have my first Blue medal representing the Super distance, but I was not moving quickly.
I ate my finisher banana and protein bar immediately, and ran into one of my running buddies on the way to the bag check to switch out my last race packet. Turns out I hadn’t been as far behind as my cross country running friend as I thought.
It wasn’t time to celebrate quite yet since I had the last leg of the Trifecta to go still – the Sprint.
I grabbed my bag to get my Sprint timing chip and headband. Chugged some water, peed, ate some honey and granola bars for an energy boost.
I switched out my shirt and left my socks since I run with an ankle brace and I wasn’t up for untying the whole apparatus. That would have taken another 20 minutes to do and I didn’t want to spend too long in the festival area.
I shuffle jogged back to the starting corral just as a group was doing their pre Race pep talk and logistics info. And then we were off. Again.
We had to do that first hill yet again. I had been able to run the start the first two goes, but by the third my legs were struggling. Someone in the crowd observed: You can tell who the Trifecta runners are.
He was right. There quickly became two clusters of runners. One actually running on ahead and some of us lagging walk-jogging behind. Just trying to survive.
The sprint turned out to be basically the beginning and the last sections of the longer two. The evil incline at the start was the majority of the elevation gain this time. Thankfully.
By the time I was on be course for the sprint everyone was a lot more spread out or finished. There was a lot less bottlenecking.
I contemplated taking the lighter sandbag during the carry, but ultimately couldn’t let myself take what to me was an “easy out.” It ended up being my best sandbag carry of the three with no one in front of me to be in the way.
At the spear throw I remember feeling strangely more confident. I’d missed by just a little the first two races, and I really didn’t want to have to do burpees again. For some reason this spear just felt better. And I actually made it! I think I let out a loud “thank god!” As I jogged away, gleefully bypassing the burpee zone.
Herc Hoist again was a piece of cake. One of my next goals will have to be to start doing the heavier bags there.
Twister again I got about as far as the Super run – I got to the second section before falling. My burpees at this point were pretty pathetic looking and I couldn’t even get myself to count them.
The last obstacle of course was the Rig – the series of hanging rings at different lengths. I hadn’t done so well on these before. In fact I don’t think I’d ever gotten a Spartan Rig.
I skipped the first ring and went for the higher second one from the starting block to help get better momentum/swing.
I was a little surprised that I made it to the second ring. I kept swinging and got the courage to let go of my first hand to reach for the third before I swung too long. I was shocked to make THAT ring.
Each monkey-bar style ring I got I was a little surprised. Each time I let go of one ring I was convinced that was the one I was going to fall off of.
Somehow, miraculously, I kept holding on! Some women watching on the side shouted “you make it look easy.” They may not have been talking to me, but if they were they clearly couldn’t see the look on my face, because my face clearly said “oh shiiiit.”
I reached the last ring, incredulous. All I had to do was ring the bell. And the stupid bell was too far away! They hung it up so high you almost had to jump or pull yourself up to reach it!
I made a leap for it and heard a ring.
I was so excited and relieved? There were a lot of emotions. The very last obstacle on the very last of three races-one I’d never completed before – and I made it!
It’s been a week and a half and I’m still riding a bit of a trifecta weekend high.
Next weekend – only a few days away – is my first ever competitive heat in Michigan for my DOUBLE Trifecta.
The medals are addicting.