On September 28th this year, I competed in a Spartan Beast. It’s a 21+km Obstacle course and the longest of the Spartan Race distances. I’d already done the 5km Sprint and the 14km Super this year, so completing the Beast meant I would get my “Trifecta” medal.
I was intending to do the race on my own, I am kind of a lone runner … not because I’m introverted or anything (hahahaha… hello, have you met me?!) but because I know I’m slow (but steady!) and most of my friends are faster (and not as crazy as I am), and I don’t know a lot of people who compete in Spartan Races.
We first met on Basic Training (BMQ) two years ago … one of the few females on course and very likely the toughest woman I know. She had broken her leg before BMQ and had taken off her cast a couple weeks early to ensure she got on the course – meaning she ran and marched in pain almost every day and she could STILL kick my butt.
She’s 5-feet of Francophone Infantry Officer.
Despite her protestations that *I* would be helping *HER* up the mountain, I knew different.
From the word go she was ahead of me, but never that far. She pranced sideways up the hill for a good portion of the race, keeping an eye on me while she jogged at my walking pace up the hill. I reminded her 37 times that I was not fast, but I did not stop. Sometimes she’d run ahead, then jog back to me. She called every little hill a “berm” like the infantry officer she is … but she didn’t yell. She laughed, she joked. She was a most awesome companion.
I came over a
hill berm once and found her doing push ups FOR NO REASON because her arms were tired and cold.
I’d love to give you a play-by-play of the entire course, but there’s a reason I usually only run 10KM … by the end of that distance I’m so sick and tired of my own voice in my own head that you do NOT what to know the drivel that was swirling around in my head by 21km.
But I’ll give you the short version:
Day Before The Race: This isn’t really happening. Not REALLY. I have a cute outfit. Silly Elise, she is wearing shorts … I have, crap, I think I only have a tank top. But I have running sleeves! And we are on a road trip! A girl road trip! And the Delta Sun Peaks has promised a special something in our room when we get there. It’s probably not a boy.
Morning of the Race: Oatmeal made in the coffee pot. Bananas consumed. Knee taped. Camelbacks full. Hotel glass broken in the sink, no injuries resulted. Granola and Quest Bars plus random gels packed in every part of spare pocket. Elise has all the good stuff. I somehow accidentally packed a long-sleeved shirt and a light jacket.
Starting Line: GOOD LORD IT IS COLD. Word is that this race might take 6 hours. SIX HOURS? There goes my “I can do anything, I pushed for TWO HOURS when I had my babies…” I see familiar faces … they fit and healthy people and they are having doubts. What AM I DOING?? Light drizzle … kind of misty. We’ll warm up, right? And here we go … it’s time to start and immediately we go straight up hill, I think I’ll try jog. I like hills!
KM 1: THIS IS NOT A FUCKING HILL. IT’S A MOUNTAIN. I HATE MOUNTAINS. I HATE HILLS. I HATE BERMS WHY AM I DOING THIS AND WHY IS ELISE STILL TROTTING AND SKIPPING. FUCKING INFANTRY FUCK. I HATE MY LIFE.
KM 5: My first set of burpees. In the snow. Chest to the ground! Chest to the ground! I am so cold. I missed that obstacle by about 3 inches … no pass for me. 30 burpees. In.The.Snow. Oh and I just rounded the corner and FELL DOWN because I was laughing so hard … that? That right there? That’s a pool of water with barbed wire over it and I’m supposed to crawl through 2 feet of water … except it’s not exactly water, it’s SLUSH. It looks like an Iced Capp. I want coffee.
KM 8: I will never ski this hill. Ever. I am still going up hill.
KM 9: Still cold. Wet and cold. But on the bright side, our kids will be so happy to hear we are witnessing the first snowfall of the year. YIPPEE FREAKING HOOOHA. Some jackwagon tells me this obstacle is at the “highest altitude of the race” … yeah, you don’t fool me, jerk … it’s not straight down from here, it’s going to be down … back up, down, back up, down… across for a bit, back down … My burpees have already become “fall on face, stand up, jump and hope your legs don’t give out … repeat”.
KM 15: I think someone just told me we were at 10km. I want to cry. While trying to navigate a downhill chute of mud, I try take the side slope where it looks like I have more grip. Guy behind me agrees that’s a great choice. I fall… 10 feet rolling uncontrollably … 15 feet of sliding down the freezing, wet, mud chute. I take out Elise at the bottom. Her butt looks cute with mud on it. I’m covered in mud. Guy behind me re-thinks his strategy.
KM 17: Some guy runs by and says “you have some mud on you”. Just try and find his body. I dare you.
KM 20: I’ve spent the last few KM going straight downhill one tiny little footstep at a time. My knee really hurts. I am a gimp. Lady at the medical tent asks us if we want the “good news” … I consider physically assaulting her because unless it’s “we will beam you from this spot, into a hot tub, nothing is good news” … but when she tells us we have about a kilometer to go … I almost start to cry.
KM 21: The only obstacle I don’t even attempt: the monkey bars. Even if I jump to reach them, it’s still a foot higher than I think I can jump. And I can’t feel my hands. And two guys just dislocated their shoulders and one lady face-planted in the dirt. 30 burpees is fine thankyouverymuch.
Finish Line: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA OMG HAHAHAHA!!!! I have to pee.
Post-Race: They won’t let us back in the hotel rooms, but we are allowed to use the spa. Even the hot tub isn’t warm enough to get rid of the chill. I can neither confirm nor deny that there is a half-naked picture of my ass covered in mud because I wanted to see what Elise was laughing at so hard. Huh … yeah, that can’t be unseen. I mean, if the picture exists.
Drive Home: I need ice. Pass the advil. Crank the heat. Wait… I think travelling 8-9 hours home the same day you run a Beast is a stupid idea. We stop at a hotel to eat pizza, drink wine and compare bruises.
Next Day: Oh good lord. WHAT HAVE I DONE?
It’s been a couple weeks since the race and I look back fondly at the road trip and the good times. And it turns out, that racing is kind of like giving birth…. after time goes by, you kind of forget what kind of fresh freaking hell it really was.
Thankfully, Dr Dave at Active Sports Therapy has pretty much put me back together again. Knee, hip, back, shoulder … and maybe, just maybe I will do another one again. But only if I have Elise with me again and ONLY if it’s in a warm location!!