Well I did it! I officially completed the Spartan Race Trifecta and thus becoming a member of the Spartan Trifecta Tribe! Aroo! To become a member, you must complete a Sprint, Super, and Beast race in one calendar year. This was the third and final race in the series and you can read about the other two races to see how they compare:
The Ohio Spartan Beast:
Race Day: Saturday, October 4th 2014. 9:45am wave.
Location: “The Wilds” Cumberland, OH
Just one short week after the Chicago Super race we had to shoot down to Ohio for the Beast. This was less than ideal because we didn’t have adequate time to recover, however, with a very limited number of Beast races we could attend there was no other choice. While we had beautiful weather in Chicago, mother nature took a turn for the worse and dropped the temperatures down into the 40s with gusty winds and plenty of rain.
The parking lot was a mess! A muddy sloppy hilly field and little to no direction on where to park. We luckily found a spot that was technically 3 cars deep but we positioned ourselves as to not block anyone else in… we didn’t know what else to do, the guy took our money and said “follow the guy in front of you” and he got stuck in the mud so we had little choice.
Normally we would get our packets and walk around scoping out the situation and taking photos but we burned up a lot of time just getting in and parking so we geared up immediately and headed for the starting line. And not a moment too soon either as they were calling for our wave as soon as we got there. They were running all 3 races at once so we were mixed in with Sprint and Supers which was odd. That also meant that we were running with a wide range of ability from beginner to near professionals. The hype man was less then enthusiastic… he was as cold and as miserable as we were I’m sure… he got us chanting anyways and sent us off.
The race started as many others… with the “under-overs”, which then lead into several other wall-type obstacles. It became VERY apparent to me right off the bat that my abs hadn’t recovered from last weeks race and I felt a sharp pain as I tried to pull myself up some of the walls. Luckily I was able to get through them without too much discomfort. Then we hit our first water obstacle (not pictured)… the water was quite literally warmer than the air. Up until that point just the act of running kept us warm and we started to regret wearing too many layers… after the water it completely changed everything!
It had been raining for a day or so prior to the race so the path we needed to travel was a thick mucky mess and our running quickly turn into a walk. On and on we walked, venturing off course at times because some of the road appeared to be too far gone to attempt. Our slower pace plus the wet clothes made it easy for the cold to sink in and once it was in… it stayed in.
There were several variations to the “heavy object carry” with a bucket of rocks, 2 logs, and block drag… these wouldn’t have been too bad except for the fact that there was a huge backup at each one and you had to stand in place waiting with this stupid heavy awkward object which made them almost unbearable. There were also miles of single-track trails with no room to pass so every hill or drop was also backed up. Unlike the other 2 races, which were held at “off road parks” with crazy inclines and such made to challenge vehicles… the Ohio Beast was mostly a trail run… with slow, steep inclines on natural hiking trails. It was murder on the legs! Somehow it seemed like we were always going uphill, steep drop, then back up hill again.
Then around mile 5 or so, it started to hail. Yes full on hail that transitioned to rain and then back to hail again. There was no sun, it was windy whenever we were out of the cover of the woods, and we were wet. This went on for a good 2 miles and I could tell the GF was on the verge of giving up… even if she had given up there was nothing she could do about it as there weren’t any race officials anywhere on the course and the aid stations were few and far between. But then, when almost all hope was lost… we entered a clearing and the sun peeked out from the clouds. It felt SO good! We stopped for a rest and refueled with some things we had packed away. This gave us the strength to carry on and so we went back to our dreary trudge through the woods.
The Spartan Beast is advertised as 12+ miles and when we ran the other 2 races they came in pretty close to their advertised distance as well. Only, we hit mile 12 and there was no end in sight! Worn out and defeated we carried on. My legs were cramping, her fingers were numb, everything was stiffening up from the bitter cold, my abs hurt, and to top it off I had to pee. The last leg of our journey took us on wide open fields in full exposure to the harsh winds. Winding and winding around… we could see the finish line but couldn’t reach it because of another turn. Then finally… we came upon some obstacles signifying we were nearing the end of the race. We walked right on past them, I am sorry to say we were in no condition to even attempt them. Had to skip the burpee penalty too …I’ll man up and admit to it. No one was even there to enforce it anyways… we mustered up enough energy to jump the fire and then into the finish chute to collect our medals.
Yes you are reading that correctly: FIVE and a HALF HOURS! 1415 people finished the Beast before me and about 400 more finished after. The final distance was 14 MILES! The longest I had ever run… the previous record held by the 8 miles I did for the Super the week before. Mentally I had prepared myself for 12 miles… the cold, wind, rail, and hail may had made me miserable but it was those extra 2 miles at the end that broke my spirits.
It was WAY too cold to get hosed off. We went back to the car and knocked off some of the mud with towels and changed into some dry clothes. I grabbed the camera real quick to snap and handful of photos so I had something to add to the post but then we were out of there.
In the end I am glad I completed the series. I set the goal at the beginning and followed through to the end. Sure I had to skip some obstacles along the way and I didn’t always take my penalty but the cold hard fact is that I am NOT in the competitive wave, I do this as a sick twisted way of having fun. I know my body’s limitations and I’m not going to damage myself because when the race ends I still have to be a productive member of society.
If I have inspired you to become a Spartan as well I only ask that you register using my affiliate link below (just click on the banner) and use the promo code to save $10 off your registration. I plan on running one or two of the events next year so maybe I will see you there!