Two Times A Spartan! Aroo!
As you may have read, one of my goals for the year was to get the Reebok Spartan Race Trifecta. That is, run all three difficulties of the Spartan Race series. Earlier in the year I completed the Indiana Spartan Sprint which severely kicked my ass! This past Saturday I ran the Chicago Spartan Super… leaving only the Ohio Spartan Beast, and that’s just a short week away.
So “what’s the Super Spartan?” you may ask… well it’s 8 miles of rugged terrain and 20+ obstacles. Chicago also takes the title as “muddiest mud run” with just an unbelievable amount of mud on the course to trek through… but I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s start from the beginning:
Race Day: Saturday, September 27th. 11:30am wave.
Location: The Cliff’s Off-Road Park, Marseilles, IL
The day was freaking beautiful! The sun was out but not too hot, temps were in the 70s. There was a huge backup at the entrance to the park because it seems most people didn’t read that general parking was off-site just a short bus ride away and only pre-ordered VIP parking was available on-site. There was a lot of confused drivers all over gumming up the works and once we finally got in, they told us we were on our own finding a parking space. We found one without much trouble but the whole process ate up a lot of our time.
Packet pickup was a breeze, we already had our waivers filled out, walked right up and got our stuff. One of the greatest things about the Spartan Race series is the numbered headband. All too often in these types of races your bib will rip off and is lost forever, or the photographer will get your picture but not your bib number making photo retrieval very difficult. I didn’t even wear my bib this time as I’d rather not have it in the way or jab me with a pin. We went inside to snap a few quick photos and get a feel for the layout before gearing up back at the car.
At the starting line, the hype man was a lot better than the one in Indiana (who wasn’t bad but not as energetic) he blew through the safety and warnings at lightning speed then got the crowd roaring “I am a Spartan!” before sending us off.
I have to say… the terrain was INSANE! There were some pretty severe elevation changes and some of the inclines I would have to estimate around 80 degrees… almost straight up. We were averaging a 40 minute-mile pace on this course and I typically run an 11 min mile to give you some idea of the difficulty. (granted we walked a lot and there were backups at almost every obstacle/muddy hill) Sometimes hills were dry and just tiring to get up or down but mostly they were muddy. Thick slippery mud that in a few places forced everyone to venture “off course” because the intended route was impassible. I happen to be a freakishly good climber of certain objects and often bypassed backed up areas by attempting a pathway that most wouldn’t think possible.
This race also holds (in my opinion) the title of muddiest race ever (as I mentioned above). Not just your typical mud run fake-man-made-mud-pit… this place was just naturally muddy. Even on the event website they make mention of the mud and how “when it rains even walking is difficult.” Luckily it did not rain or I don’t believe we could have possibly made it to the finish. There were large mud ruts everywhere… some areas became muddy from the thousands of Spartans tracking through the countless stream crossings and turning the surrounding trails in to a thick goo. We walked through these areas we dubbed the “ankle breaking terrain”… and just in our race time alone we saw quite a few people being taken away on the medical ORVs. I, myself, slipped countless times falling flat on my ass from losing my footing and I’m not usually a clumsy person.
And let’s not forget the obstacles! In the beginning they were pretty simple and fun: the “under-over”, spear throw, tire pull, log carry, bunny hop. Mostly clumped together, you would hit a few then go a whole mile without, then a few more, then none… but they steadily got harder. Some of the easy ones, that I typically have no troubles completing, took on a whole new level of challenge when you factor in all of the mud. I needed a boost over a wall, for example, because when I tried to pull myself up my hands would slip off. Also the cargo net was absolutely dripping with mud making the everyday mundane into a “my god I hope I don’t fall and break my neck” obstacle. The sandbag carry was another one where just the act of walking would have been hard let alone with a heavy sandbag throwing you off balance.
Some obstacles I simply could not complete. The sandbag hoist, for example, at the Sprint I was hanging in mid air as it weighed as much as I did but here at the Super, it may have been lighter but I couldn’t get a grip on the rope for anything. I wrapped it around my arm to help get a grip but once it got about half way up it began to slip and I nearly got rope burns around my arms. The atlas carry… nuh uh no way I couldn’t even get that thing off the ground and that’s all I need is to drop it on my foot or something. So for not completing the obstacle you got a 30 burpee penalty which… I will admit I did not do. Burpees make me light headed and during the Sprint I felt like I was going to pass out after 30. I am not in the competitive wave and I know my body and it’s limitations… it’s not “cheating” its called “not putting myself in the hospital”.
At the finish line we did our celebratory fire jump (not us pictured above) and crossed the line to collect our medals. Spartan has pretty decent post race food: bananas, core power drinks, and cliff bars. We got our finisher shirts and went to hose ourselves off. Back at the car we keep plenty of towels, garbage bags, and an easy dry change of clothes. They do provide changing areas, however, we find it easier to change at the car with some careful towel placement lol. After that we returned to the spectator area to get some more pictures for our blogs and some video to upload on to my YouTube channel (not yet completed).
My official race time is 3:20:50 to go 8 miles. That’s freaking insane!
Here’s my “I’m a badass” selfie
And as you can see I’m 2/3 of the way to my Trifecta! With only a week to recover I need to get off this computer and get my rest…
Thinking about becoming a Spartan too? Click the affiliate banner below for a discounted entry to a Spartan Race near you!!