Before the race started I did my normal race day prep; I ate my EnergyBits and not 1 but 2 bananas. The banana was really important, I think, because the day before I saw so many people jump over the wall of fire and, if they fell, not be able to get up because their muscles were cramping so badly. Needless to say I was going to get enough potassium for that not to happen. Of course because I was worried about food I didn't spray on any sunscreen. I am usually really conscientious about this, because skin cancer runs in the family.
|Walking to Registration|
|Here I am all marked up!|
So the first obstacle was before we even got to the start line! The start line was corralled behind an opening that was blocked with a 5 ft wall. I know that doesn't seem too high for most, but I am 5'4'' and there were no foot holes, or spaces in the wall where you could get a leg up. The finish line never seemed so far away as it felt in that moment. There were people passing me and catapulting over the wall around me. I tried pulling myself up and over the wall a few times, before a volunteer took pity on me and told me to use the posts on the side of the wall as a foot hold.
|Me finally getting over the wall|
The "official" first obstacle were hurdles with shallow mud pits afterwards. Since I had hurt my knee the week before, I just hopped over the hurdle and jumped into the mud pit instead of taking them both on in one leaping bound. They just wanted to get straight to the muddy part, in case you had any illusions about making in through the Spartan Race without getting muddy!
|Me making my way over the 5 ft. wall|
|Under the nets I went!|
|A nice creek where I got to wash some mud off my shoes!|
At this point in the course I really had to go to the restroom, but I was holding out for a port-a-potty somewhere along the course. I trekked on and went to the next obstacle. The following obstacle was a platform that was about 6 feet tall, and you had to climb the wall onto the platform, walk across it, and drop down the other side feet first.
|Not a flattering picture, but it is what it is!|
Continuing to the run! Well, to be fair I decided that I would walk, to garner my strength. (Which I am really glad I did, I needed it in the home stretch later!). As the Ninja and I walked on the trail we could start hearing someone coming down the trail behind us. . .The SWEEPER!! I was so afraid that this person would come and kick me off the course because we were going too slow. During this portion of the course I was practically waddling the course because I had to use the restroom. I have to be honest here. . . I walked a little off trail and used the restroom. Well there is a first time for everything. Yeaaa. . . it was awkward but since the Ninja and I were alone on the trail, he was the lookout for me. I don't know what would have happened if we were in the middle of the pack. Lets not dwell on that though.
We increased the pace and tried to make it to the next obstacle before the sweeper caught up to us. The next challenge was the inverted wall.
|What I am calling the "inverted wall"|
Well that alleviated my fears. I didn't want to be stranded on the course, and little did I know that Andy would be an amazing help to me in crossing that finish line.
So I am going to take a small break in the race recap to tell you about Andy. She is an Elite Spartan Racer. I asked her about how long it would take her to race this course in Atlanta, and she guessed it would take about 45 min. 45 MINUTES!!! This course took me about 2.5 to 3 hours!! Yea so long story short she was in amazing shape. Not only was she super fit, she was really kind. About halfway through the race I just broke down and started crying. She encouraged me and offered support. Needless to say she went above and beyond her "job" throughout the course. She also writes blog posts on the Spartan Race Blog, if you want to know more about what she does!
Okay, back to the race recap. Talking with Andy and the Ninja was a great past time as we made our way to the next obstacle.
|Trench filled with Georgia Red Clay water|
|Muddy hill, there was a rope!|
|Sorry for the bad quality picture. This is the sandbag pull.|
|The lattice platform|
|The Ninja and I after the horizontal wall climb|
|Keeping myself on the wall was the hardest part!|
|Under the platform I went!|
Andy climbed the cargo net after me (in an amazing time I might add!) and we all made our way along the course. The ninja and I were lucky to have her there with us, because at this point a volunteer had already made her way up the course taking down the path markings. She was really apologetic when she realized that we were still 'racing.' Once we got back on track we got to the tire pull. You pulled the tire out on its side, and then reeled it back in with the rope that was attached to the tire. Next year I might bring gloves to wear during the obstacles, to prevent rope burn.
We were SO close to the finish line, I could hear the music coming from the finish line and the announcer letting everyone know that the last racers were coming in soon.
Then we reached the 8 foot wall. As I walked up to it, I kept telling Andy and the Ninja, "I can't do this, I can't do this, I can just do burpees." Andy wouldn't let me give up though. She actually let me use her shoulder as a boost. As I was clearing the wall, I just started crying and repeating that I couldn't do this. Apparently it was kinda funny to the ninja (who cleared the wall fine! With no training of course).
Only six more obstacles left at this point. We got to the rope climb, which was practically impossible for me at this point. I gave it my all, but ended up falling into the mud and had to do 30 burpees before I could get to the next obstacle.
|First mud pit under barbed wire|
|Inclined Wall Climb|
|The Ninja making his jump|
The Spartan Race was definitely the hardest, most challenging, and most rewarding experience I have ever had. The volunteers and staff were great. They were helpful and motivational. The obstacles were challenging, but doable with some help, even if you are out of shape. I really loved the people and the atmosphere of the race. I would really recommend this race to anyone interested in obstacle/mud races, by far it was one of my favorite races to date! Have you ever raced in a Spartan Race? Are you Spartan Strong? I am really proud to say that I am a Spartan!