Monday, September 24, 2012

Super Spartan Race - Vernon, NJ - Sept 8 2012

Let me start by saying this.. "You gotta love these guys.." I was expecting a 9 mile run, but right before we took off the following announcement was made "How many of you thought you had signed up for a 8 mile race? Well, you signed up for 11 miles and 30 obstacles instead of the 22" "Oh, and there is a 25' cliff jump too" Huh? That's one way to get your money worth.. Im only going to mention the obstacles I remember..There were a lot more obstacles.

The setup was awesome.. As soon as you come up to the race site, you see 4 familiar obstacles.. (The Spear Toss, The Traverse Wall, The Rope Climb and The Barb Wire Crawl) All right next to each other and right before the finish line.. This gives you a hint that you will be doing A LOT of trail running and some hills. My Dad (56y/o) and I were in the first open wave and every one was excited. Some were ready to go to war, I mean really, there were people that over packed for this one.. Me included. Prior to the race, there was a note saying that the race had only one water station. My dad and I decided to bring the water pack I got for the Spartan Beast which was 2 weeks later. The pack holds 70 oz of water. I trained for a while doing long distance runs with it and never bothered me and didn't feel the weight. Well, a 10-13 mile run is not quite the same as a Spartan run (I should've known this).

Right from the start you got punished with a "Hill" that was at least 1+ miles. I mean, this was a ridiculously long hill. Everyone began to walk 2 minutes into the hill. Just when you thought you had reached the end of it, SURPRISE! the hill turns left and it gets even harder. Everyone was either cussing or complaining. We overheard someone say that there was only 1 more hill in the race so we thought the next one was going to be about the same. Well, there were a lot and I mean A LOT of hills.. VERY STEEP freaking hills. We did the smart thing to do.. (walk the hills and run when flat at a moderate pace). The goal was to get back fast, in one peace and NEVER Stop. The "Over/Under/Through it" were at the top of this hill.

 We kept meeting the same people along the trail. Some would leave us behind while running the trails, but we would catch them at the obstacles and leave them behind. The walls were not a problem, at least for my dad, I was carrying the pack and it made the higher walls a real challenge. I had good balance on the "Log Hop" challenge but my pack betrayed me and fell down on the 4th one. My dad almost made it but fell off trying to reach the last one. 30 burpees later we continued.
The weather was great for a race... but you can't help getting hot and the "Lake Swim" was a surprise and a gift from heaven. We felt so refreshed after that. The challenge was to swim across and go under a boat. I was so happy to know I was not the only gown ass men to ask for a life-vest. It is impossible to go under a boat while wearing the vest, so we had to around it. At the other side an Aid and water station was waiting for us.

This was afeter the swim.
The LifeProof case for my iPhone proved to worth the $$. People kept looking at us taking pictures and texting our wating party (my mom and my 5 year old daughter). There was a lot of trail running on this one and I didn't have a problem with this. 2 miles later we see another water station.. hmmm. okay.. We got to a water park in the resort and long behold.... "The 25' Cliff Jump".. There was a staff member stopping everyone asking "Do you know how to swim?" if you said no, you were sent automatically to do 50 burpees. Several of them said YES and after seeing the jump said.. "F*# No" and off to do 50 burpees.  
We got to the "Sandbags" and "Tire Flip",, Wait, a water station? WTH? I have been carrying this thing for nothing and we haven't even taken a sip.. Right after finishing the challenge, I told my dad that my arms and shoulders were getting tired.. but I wasn't sure if there would be more water stations further up. I told him that I was now a bit worried about the rope climb. He asked to help, but he had been complaining about his knees on the hills so I wasn't going to ask him to help me with it. After doing the tire flip, we headed back uphill.. a 2 mile long hill. Again, right when you thought you reached the top TADA! Holly Mountain Goats Batman.. it was like a scene from the movie Cliffhanger. The hill was a mix of nets and rocks some twice my hight, steep and not easy to tackle. Somewhere across the world a freaking Mnt Goat was laughing at me takle this thing.

At the top the "Tractor Pull" and "Hercules Pull" were waiting for you. I took my time with the tractor pull and handled the Hercules challenge pretty good. My Dad and I were talking about how we didnt get that many walls on this race and it seemed like we were not going to see my dad's nemesis (The Monkey Bars). We had not finish with that sentence when the "Monkeybars" popped up. I had to take my pack off and my dad went first. He namaged to make it.. I went up and started pretty good but somehow I picked up speed and by the time I got to the end I missed the step and literally kept going and went flying.. Landed on my ass but made it through the challenge. Right after that "9' Walls" and a challenge I was never expecting.. "Tyrolean Traverse" this one didn't want you to cross over, but reach the bell at the center and then drop to the pond.  My arms were tired and I got as close as one more stretch and my arms could not go any further and the weight from the pack betrayed me as well. I dropped like a sack of potatoes. Got my burpees done and kept on going.

After completing the "Vertical Cargo Net", we saw the kids race course and we knew we were home. We still had the spear trow, traverse wall, the rope climb and the PAIN IN THE ASS mud crawl.. I took my pack off and gave it to my mom who was waiting for us at the "Spear Trow". My arms were not in the game at this point and my spear didn't even come close to scratching the target. My dad failed too. We got our burpees done and headed to the "Traverse Wall". My dad went first.. I was waiting for him to finish so I could catch some rest. He failed this one too. I got on the wall and kept moving.. My legs and arms were shaking and I was having a hard time holding on. I took my time but I made it. By the time I was done with it, my dad was done with his burpees. Next, the "Rope Climb".


You could tell I didn't want to do the rope. I had been telling my dad miles before that I was going to fail this one. So he went on first. I stood still looking at this thing for at least a minute, contemplating the idea of going straight for the burpees. Finally I figure, what the hell, lets give it a shot. Got on, kept going and as I got to the top my arms could not pull me any more. I was within one more stretch from reaching the bell, but my arms could not go any further. It was "try to ring the bell and drop at least 12' to the mud or gracefully try to come down and do the burpees". I began my descend and right before I reached the floor I slipped and went down hard. After that, I looked like a new born pony trying to walk. My legs could not carry me, but I got my burpees done. My dad was long gone at this point and I got stuck in the "Barbed Wire Mud Crawl" due to some people stopping to sit and talk to each other.. "I mean, Come on dude, I have places to go, why don't you call hubby here and give him tips on how to do the crawl later?"

I crossed the finish line 4 min behind my dad but still made it in really good time and place. The challenge now is to beat that time next year. Now that I know I don't have to carry that stupid water pack. Overall, we both had an amazing time doing this and knowing that you pushed yourself to the limit to cross that finish line where others gave up, gives you such a great feeling that no one can take away from you. Yes, I will do this one again next year. :-)

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