To be honest, I am a little surprised that actually completed the Super Spartan Race! I’ve never completed an obstacle course before, let alone willingly swimming through ice creeks and ponds or dragging myself over rocks covered in mud while trying to avoid barbwire hanging overhead. I hadn’t even run 14km straight prior to the race.
A little unprepared you say? You betcha I was. At least I felt that way prior to the race. The week leading up to the event I finished my final exam on the Monday, then worked the rest of the week and was too physically exhausted to make it to the gym at all following that! You know that feeling where you’re on the verge of getting sick if you don’t rest? That was where I was so I thought I would rather go without the cold than potentially be a little fitter. My ability to run in the weeks leading up to the event was reduced too because I had Posterior Tibial Tendonitis (in a nutshell it was incredibly painful in the arch of my foot to walk or run). This meant the treadmill and I broke up and the bike and I became best friends.
Race morning arrived and our friends Steve and Jen picked us up and we drove an hour South to Peak Crossing. The boys were fine, Reis had done one thousand obstacle courses previously with the army and Steve is an all-round fit guy. Jen and I weren’t so sure but thought what the heck, its hear now, we’ve paid for it lets just have fun and do it! I was so thankful it was a sunny day but don’t let the photos fool you it was absolutely freezing.
The obstacle below formed the entrance to the race arena. Two shipping containers high with a widely constructed cargo net draped between the two. Pretty full on! This was one of the last obstacles on the race track so people were pretty exhausted by the time they got to it. This meant people had more time to think about it – just about the worst thing you can do in these races is stop and think how dangerous it is or doubt your ability and there were a few people who did this in front of me. They just STOPPED with fear in the middle of the cargo net holding everyone up.
Reflecting on it it so many of the obstacles were things that the reasonable person would not complete. Who runs/wades/swims through kilometers of freezing creek water that has uneven rocky ground and unforeseen hazards like the large roots gouged into my legs and tripped me up or the large rocks I fell over and smashed my knee on? Or who decides to climb a cliff face on a cargo net with about 20 people climbing above you that could fall and knock you off too??
The first barbed wire crawl was pretty instense but also fun. It was probably about 100m of crawling (or swimming in some spots) through thick mud. After this I understood why people wear so little to these events – your clothes become SO heavy with mud. The second barb wire crawl wasn’t muddy just a bit rocky. I found it quicker to roll rather than leopard crawl however had to change my rolling direction a few times and was pretty dizzy afterward. You get up a pretty good speed rolling. As I rolled I hoped that none of the barbed wire was slacking or it would have made for a very painful stop! This technique probably wouldn’t work for guys with wide shoulders as the wire was pretty low. My size was also an advantage in the splinter filled tunnels you had to crawl through. Most guys had to go on their stomach or side but I could just fit on my hands and knees!
These ‘rolling ditches’ were pretty tough too. They were so slippery I had to rely on a boost from Steve to get me up the hill and the first few hills made the rookie error of going down on my butt – it was so very painful slumping down over the rocks!
Fire jumps and burpees -if you couldn’t complete an obstacle you had to do 30 burpees. The Monkey Bars, the Traverse Wall and the Spear throw were the only place I encountered burpees!
I couldn’t get photos of the obstacles that weren’t in the main arena but if you have a look at this video it gives you an idea of some of the other things we completed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4aM0fpS0IU&feature=youtu.be
We finished, tired and pretty sore but it felt invigorating to know that we had done it! Despite no exercise the week before and not being able to run much prior to the race my fitness was still good enough! We collected our t-shirts, sports drinks and beers and went to dry off in the sun before a the drive home and a nice dinner out afterwards.
I didn’t see anyone at the future race sales tent…a sign that people thought it was darn hard! When I finished I said ‘it was good, but I won’t be doing that again in a hurry’…yet this morning I find myself perusing Obstacle Racers Australia‘s calendar for future events to compete in…maybe this is the start of something new?