I was waiting for the official pictures to come back so I could put on a good show for you guys when I posted about this, but alas, they came and went without a good mud-covered snap shot to be seen. So, here we go with only the clean after shots to show for it.
This past Saturday, I, along with six team mates took part in the Calgary installment of the Spartan Race. This was something that I had been interested in trying since last November and when I wrote my New Year’s resolutions in the first post on this blog, it was in the back on my mind as the “yet to be determined” physical challenge. I didn’t want to go it alone though, as I imagined this breed of obstacle racing would require some training, so I put it forward to trainer boy who was of course down (he’s pretty much down for whatever, as those naturally athletic people are) and we looked into who else might be ready and willing to crawl through barbed wire, jump fire, scale 10 to 12 foot walls and swim through mud—and by “mud” I’m inclined to think it was laced with manure. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the youngsters that were chomping at the bit to take this challenge on, but rather the more mature ladies in my boot camp—and by “mature” I mean in years under their belts only, these ladies are as fun and spritely as they come! Today, one day before my 28th birthday, I have been reflecting a little bit on age and what the number actually means and I think what I have come up with is, pretty much nothing. If I can have a quarter of the energy and charisma that these chicks have when I grow up I will be doing well.
Saturday came and we planned an awesome pre-race feast at G-ma’s house (all good parties, including my b-day bash tomorrow go down at G’s). We fueled up on flank steak, potatoes, a couple delicious salads, fresh fruit and plenty of water and headed to Blackfoot MX Park to face our destiny head on.
The thing about Spartan is you don’t really know what you are getting yourself into until you get there, so our method of training was logging a lot of time running hills and alternating carrying heavy objects and performing body weight exercises like burpies in between. Never thought I would say this, but thank sweet baby Jebus for those hills because this course was packed with them. And heavy things to carry. And burpies when you couldn’t complete an obstacle. So ultimately I think Team EPT was as well prepared as we could have been.
Interestingly enough, this was my first actual race. I have coached a few friends through five and 10K runs, but since I hate running more than anything else in this world I generally try to avoid it like the plague. It turned out that running was actually my strength on this course and I was able to power through those hills and rough terrain better than most. Unfortunately my unofficial running mate Jen (we are usually right on pace with each other) was slowed down due to a reoccurring calf injury and we were separated fairly early on. This proved unfortunate when it came to scaling across a peg wall which you were allowed to use a partner for. Needless to say, that one wasn’t happening solo…25 burpies for me!
What was really interesting to me about this event though, was the cross section of people that took part. There were those that were clearly in there to push themselves and see exactly how fast they could break this beast and then there were those that had to stop and take rests in the shade and probably had no idea what they were signing up for. When I approached the 12 foot wall, there was a girl in tears speaking with the firefighter manning the station and contemplating whether she should even attempt the obstacle or not. She was clearly not in the ideal physical condition for such an extreme race, but there she was more than half way through the race and though she was clearly tackling some demons, she was trying. In the end I spent about five to seven minutes coaching her up and over the wall, but in the end she did it. If that were me (and to be honest that would have been me at the size I was two years ago) that would have been a redefining life moment right there. So my time suffered a little, but happily Jen was able to catch up and we were able to finish the race together as intended.
I wish there were photos to illustrate just how crazy these challenges were and how deep the mud was (we were hosed off with high pressure hoses after and it still took seven washes to get the clothes even remotely clean!) but you will just have to take my word that this was a race to remember. And a hell of a way to start ones racing career at that. Had a great time and until next year my Spartan friends, Aroooo!