When in doubt, wear a kilt.
I had a much more pleasant day at the Spartan Super on Sunday (compared to Spartan Sprint on Saturday)! Damage control included awesome company, slowing the fuck down, wearing a hat, sunglasses, wet towel on my neck, ice pack in my hydration bladder and enough sunscreen to drown a puppy.
The Spartan Super was, as expected, significantly longer and significantly more difficult – harder obstacles, more elevation.
Here’s the race course (see Suunto GPS data here).
Distance: 12.24km (I think it was a bit less). Elevation Gain: 854m (2,800 ft) – more than twice the elevation gain for the Spartan Sprint the day before. Elevation Change: 1753m (5,750 ft)
*If you used a GPS watch on course, and got significantly different numbers, let me know.
For reference, 2014 Spartan Race World Championship in Vermont had elevation gain of 8,300 feet (and 16,600 feet of elevation change). And Mount Everest clocks in at 8,848m (29,029 ft) of elevation gain.
The general shape of the elevation change includes seven major climbs, and is as follows:
The course mimics the Spartan Sprint closely for the first third, after which it veers off to some different obstacles, including the Atlas stone carry, tire pull, Jerry can carry, and others.
The course was… muddy.
Racing with friends was awesome. I had a great day! Slowing down was also key. It turns out that moving in the smoldering heat with the average heart rate of 140 makes for a much more pleasurable experience, than doing the same thing with the average heart rate of 170. Radical, I know.
I got to watch Pam, who is a friend, and a visually impaired and hearing impaired athlete, complete her second Spartan Race. She finished her first the day before, and is on her way to getting the first Spartan Trifecta!
The kids' events (Saturday only) were probably the highlight of the entire weekend with three different distances, targeted at various age categories. The children's faces I saw finishing the kids' courses were red, sweaty and absolutely joyous.
I love that the Spartan Race uses huge containers at water stations, instead of countless plastic bottles as some other races do. Racers can drink from the cups filled up by volunteers, or serve themselves by filling up hydration bladders.
The water spouts along the race course saved the day for many racers. I found myself washing my face and throwing some water on the back of my neck and arms frequently, and it made a world of a difference.
All in all, major kudos to the medical staff. I gave an in-person thumbs up to Jill – who is the Chief Medical Advisor for Spartan Race Canada East – she makes sure we get to continue doing crazy awesome things without getting (seriously) hurt in the process.
Speaking of crazy awesome things – here’s Jill, talking about her own story of kicking cancer’s butt. And then running a Spartan Sprint (penalty burpees and all).
While I understand the reasoning for placing the rig immediately after the mud pit, from the course design and difficulty perspective – muddy hands, no grip and all that, I do not think it works well. The only result is the rig that is soaked in mud few hours into the race – ironically, the slower you are, and the more you might benefit from a solid grip and dry ropes on the rig, the muddier and slidier the rig is likely to be. Some racers, not ready to accept defeat, would throw their legs over the monkey bars, and shimmy across that way. That results, of course, in a set of monkey bars that is caked with wet mud from the pants and the shoes, and becomes a wet mess for the racer directly behind.
Most volunteers are pretty freaking awesome. Yet some make it out to the race seemingly to check their phones. I have observed few such specimens, too glued to their screens to notice anything around them, never mind a skipped burpee here and there. Volunteering at a race is a job to be taken seriously, and one that requires you to be there in body AND spirit. Helloooo?
All pleas to racers’ integrity obviously fell on deaf ears, as penalty burpees were scarce. Why work harder, if you don’t have to, right?
Liked this post? Check out my recap for Spartan Sprint Toronto 2015.