Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

August 6, 2017

Spartan Super Race, Eden Utah, 5 Aug 2017

My first obstacle race.   I've done just about everything else, but this new obstacle craze has eluded me and I had to see what all the fuss was about.  Plus, since getting Mono in March, I have been doing a lot more strength training instead of cardio, so I felt ready for a challenge.  I am also happy to report that I finally am back to 100% after 5 months of taking it easy.  Darn Mono.

The Spartan race was in northern Utah just a couple of hours from home.  We combined it with a dog agility show in the same area that weekend, and Spot and I both got a good workout :)    

There are three distances of Spartan, the Sprint (3-5 miles), Super (8-10 miles) and Beast (12-14 miles).   I chose the middle distance because that was the distance offered at the race in Utah.   Perhaps someday I'll try the other ones.  

So...no experience in these races, but I knew from watching the race on TV that gloves and calf sleeves might be handy.   Plus I had been working on pull-ups a lot.   It was hot on race day, in the 90's even though the race was held at the Nordic Valley ski resort.   

If you need help on an obstacle, get a friend to push on your derriere!
The Spartan race series attracts a HUGE amount of people.   We parked at least 1/2 mile from the bus shuttles in a big field, stood in line to get on the bus, and joined throngs of people heading for the start.  My start was at 11:45 am, but waves of up to 250 people had been starting every 15 minutes since 7:30 and would continue all afternoon!  4000 races would eventually finish the event.  That's big.  

So a midday start, it was really hot, and I was hoping some of those famed water obstacles would be first.  Unfortunately, I stayed dry for quite a few miles of the race as we went up to the top of the ski lifts and back down.  Obstacles were interspersed along our climb up the ski hill, and it was STEEP.  We went over, under, and through walls and haystacks, carried buckets of rocks and sandbags, traversed across walls, and crawled under barbed wire.  Uphill under barbed wire.  Like hundreds of feet of it.  My least favorite part of the race was the barbed wire.   It lasted forever.  And got me dirty, which I had not been until then.  

Mostly we were hiking up steep dusty hills along the ski runs.  I was amazed at how many people I was passing, and even more fell behind as ran back downhill.  With hundreds of people starting every 15 minutes there were racers all around me.  

Then we climbed up, over, under and through various types of walls.  We carried heavy Atlas stones, flipped a tired, climbed a rope, hoisted a sandbag in the air, and well, you get the idea.   Each event is different and the obstacles are never the same either. Check more out here: https://www.spartan.com/en/race/obstacles/obstacle-details

I managed to avoid doing any Burpees (a pushup then a jump in the air, 30 times in a row) as punishment for not finishing an obstacle.  At least until the last mile, when I was unable to get across a twisting monkey bar.  I'll have to train harder for that one next time.  I also proved unable to throw a spear into a hay bale.   If you find me looking to buy hay in the future, I'm probably using it for spear practice rather than needing bedding for the chickens!

The final obstacles took us through a pond, and across muddy ditches.  FINALLY, I got wet. The water felt amazing!   Too bad it was so near the end, even drinking a cup of water at 6 aid stations I kept getting hot, dusty and thirsty.  

At the finish, we ran and jumped over fire.  Cheesy?   Actually, for most American this type of race provides a challenge and an adventure that maybe is hard to get any other way.   It was fun.  

My results are atypical, if I do say so.   I finished 36th woman out of 1280, and 236 overall out of 4000 racers!    I'm still not sure if I like this type of racing, but it seems to suit my strengths...perhaps I will try the Competitive category next time.    Even Jim liked the look of the race and said he will join me, too! 

Lots of burpees....

My wave starts with hundreds of people

The kids had their own race with mini obstacles!