From deep within the Beasts OCR territory, hundreds of Beasts and other participants flooded (pun intended) into Meadow Wood Equestrian Center in beautiful Snohomish WA for a weekend of Spartan racing. I arrived at the venue on Friday night for the Open House that Spartan put of for a few hours to reconnect with fellow Beasts and get up close and personal with the course. This also provided myself an opportunity to get a nice Spartan branded rain jacket due to me leaving mine back down in Portland, OR. Silly me. The Open House had a good stream of people taking the tours and trying out some of the obstacles including Hercules Hoist, Spear Throw, and the Multi-Rig among others.
The next day I was set to run my first competitive Spartan Race as part of the new Age Group category. We would follow the same rules as the Elite racers, if you failed an obstacle, the headband gets placed on the ground and you will be videotaped doing the mandatory 30 burpees. If you failed to do the 30 burpees, not only do you cheat yourself but also risk a DNF. Due to life events and a lack of training due to the life events, I gave myself an over/under of 200 burpees for the race. I thought muscle memory would help a little, but if it did at all, it was only just a little.
My 8:15am wave starts and immediately we are sent up a hill. This reminded me a little of the Montana race in 2016 where we also went straight up a hill, but the Seattle course’s hill came about 70 feet into the race and not 300 like Montana. After a short run through the grounds, we came to the first obstacle short walls, hopped over them and kept going. I believe it was a little over a mile in when we came to the Over Under Through, which was really modified. The OUT obstacles were the same, but in between each of the obstacle parts was a SUPER low barbed wire crawl. I was glad I opted to use my more streamlined ruck as I was able to crawl under without issue and when I needed to roll for a bit, I was able to do that as well. Unexpected, but an interesting twist to an old obstacle. Up next was the sandbag carry and Spartan is no longer using the pancakes, but now longer sandbags that can hold more sand, but are a little easier to carry.
The next stretch of the course had the Inverted Wall, a hidden Mud Misery due to the flooding of the area followed by the Dunk Wall and the Slip Wall. The GHUnders base layer was so helpful to get my body dry and warm again after the dunk wall. Getting completely submerged in the cold water and bouts with the rain, the base layer was quick to pull the water away from direct contact with my skin. I opted to use the hoodie base layer which helped block the off and on winds while retaining some body heat. Love my GHUnders base layer. The Hurdles after the slip wall were easy to get over which lead to the next grouping of obstacles.
The last Spartan Race I did, was this same race last year where I failed the Hercules Hoist for the first time. That failure was going through my head as I came up to the Hercules Hoist this year. After I got the sandbag in the air and stepped on the rope, I knew I was going to complete the herc hoist this go around. After a successful lowering of the sandbag, it was immediately off to the Spear Throw. This obstacle has been a coin flip for me and my last few attempts have all been misses. But this time I steadied the spear, made sure the cord was snag free and let the spear loose. I nailed the bottom of the hay bale and ran off to the next obstacle, the Tire Flip. I swear the tires get heavier and heavier every year. After wiping away some of the gravel under the tire I was able to lift and push over the tire. Then I moved to the other side and said, “What would Goku do?” and did a little “gathering power” yell and lifted the tire again and this time it almost fell back down, but I pushed as hard as I could and flipped the tire back to its beginning position.
After the tire flip was a climb up and over two cargo bins via a wooden ladder-structure that you had to pass under going into registration. I think it’s always cool to involve the people coming in or out to have a good view of the racers and this type of structure allows the spectators to walk under the course. After a little jog, we came to the rope climb. After I got about ¾’s of the way up, my dominate leg cramped up and I was unable to complete the rope climb and did my first set of 30 burpees. I wasn’t expecting this obstacle to be where I started my burpees, but there you go. The next obstacle would be a mile away, so it was now time to run. Did I say run? More like slosh through the mud for a mile. That was awesome (read as slow).
Of course, the next obstacle was the Z wall, now without the middle section of the wall so only the top hand holds and the bottom feet hold are there. I knew this would be 30 burpees and after my foot slipped off the third foothold, I was in the burpee zone for a total of 60 burpees now. Stairway to Sparta, another barbed wire crawl, and the monkey bars were the next obstacles in the next mile or so. The monkey bars could have been called the burpee maker. Muddy and wet, I didn’t see anyone successfully complete the monkey bars in the time it took me to do my next set of 30 burpees after falling off the second bar. Recently I have completed the monkey bars in my last 4 races, so while this was a little disappointing to not make it across, it was making everyone else do burpees too.
The Vertical Cargo wall and Bendi were the next obstacles that were spread out in the mile chunk and bendi is a little scary. It’s like an inverted wall but curved and made from thick metal piping. The rain and mud didn’t help at all. After I was able to get my leg up and secured I was able to climb my way to the top of the obstacle and there I paused for a while. “How the hell am I going to get myself OVER this thing?” I thought to myself. I didn’t want to slip and fall, so I tried a few different things and finally found a route over that worked. I honestly cannot recall what I did to get over bendi, but I was super stoked to not have to do more burpees.
After a little over a mile of running was the Atlas lift and 5 more burpees, but these were required so I won’t count them in the overall total. Olympus was the next obstacle and another 30 burpees for me, 120 in total now. A-Frame was next where I sing the traditional Spiderman theme song from the cartoon. I feel it makes that obstacle more fun to do. After a quarter mile or so of running and hiking up a nice hill blasting the legs, the Bucket Brigade shows up. I had honestly forgotten about this obstacle. New to me was every bucket was pre-filled and topped with a lid, which made this obstacle’s startup time much quicker as there wasn’t a need to fill the bucket and makes sure that everyone carries the same weight. Nice idea Spartan! After following the M course for the bucket brigade, it was off to the low crawl and twister combination. Also 30 more burpees for a total of 150, thanks to twister. I will get you one of these years!
Now we are in the final stretch of the race, the 7-foot wall and leg cramps hit as I jumped to get over the wall. After stretching them out I continue to the Multi-rig and my traditional 30 burpees for 180 total burpees. These ones were the worst as they were right at the end of the race. The only thing left is the fire jump and off to glory. 8.2 miles of the Seattle Super Spartan race completed; my first competitive spartan race. I ended up placing 112 out of 118 in my age group, but it was a PR, so I can’t complain!
As luck would have it, the afternoon biggest team picture was 5 minutes away from being taken after I completed the Super.
After the picture, it was off to the biggest team tent and a most excellent Taco cake created by the talented Heather Rooke of Wukie’s Cookies and Cakes. Not only does it look fan-freaking-tastic, it tasted even better.Remember to use code MAY15 at GHUnders.com for 15% off orders $30 and over! You’ll be glad you did. GET YOU SOME!