First time Spartan Race
I completed Spartan Race Super for the first time. What made me do this? You will see why soon, but let me share my experience. It was fun and a great experience for me. There are so many " should have" and "could have" for this obstacle race, so hope you enjoy reading this blog post. I didn't plan to participate in this obstacle race, but since figured out they have a race in western Massachusetts, I registered for this race in elite division, which was the only availability and offered for early morning start, so I didn't have to reschedule my Saturday afternoon. Since I registered for this in a last minutes, you will see what you should do for the first time and how unprepared I was.
what is Spartan Race?
Spartan Race is a series of obstacle races of varying distance and difficulty ranging from 3 miles to marathon distances. They are held in US and have been franchised to 30 countries including Canada, Japan, Australia and several European countries. The series include the Spartan Sprint, the Super Spartan, the Spartan Beast, and the Ultra Beast. I participated in "Super" devision, which as about 8.5 miles at the race offered in Barre, MA. Obviously, "Super" is not for first timers, but I made myself in the middle rank of a whole entry in elite division.
First thing first, I didn't research Spartan race at all, so every obstacle was first time for me, and I haven't done anything before. I just tried my pure fitness level during this race. With that being said, right after I made my start at the front line, my first regret was 5 sets of 5 reps double kettlebell squat on Thursday (Thanks Mike Perry at Skill of Strength). Who does do heavy squat 2 days before an obstacle race? Basically I dragged heavy legs during the entire race. (It wasn't funny at all) In my mind, this event made up for my heavy sparring session on Saturday, but it was more serious than I thought. In addition to that, the weather of the race day was terrible, so there was tons of mud and all obstacles were wet, soaked, and heavy. These conditions made this race worse and harder for everybody, but my gear choice was the worst. I worn 5 finger toe shoes for the race. Why? because I love to move around with those, however, these shoes are not enough to protect my feet. It was very dangerous to move forward especially muddy forest. I was very nervous about getting cut or any injury from hard stones, and sharp woods. In my experience, I definitely need to buy specific shoes with good protection and friction for next race. Another note was that, you should have enough sleep a day before. I mean, stay as close to the race venue as you can if you can afford. Even though I am a local guy, time was really money for elite division. It took me almost 2 hours from Boston, so I had to wake up super early to make it on time for elite division start. In order to get at least 8 hours of good sleep, I had to go to bed 8-9pm a day before, which is easier than my bed time, so it was hard. My theme for this race was "safety first and have fun", so I controlled my ego and chilled out right before the race. Spartan race should not be casual pop up plan for a random weekend. You gotta be prepared.
Here is my note to share my experience with you guys.
Obstacles I couldn't make it / disqualified...
Simply, I haven't thrown it before and failed it. How can I practice this by the way?? I can't hunt animals with a spear in jungle. I need help! Please someone teach me.
Sandbag was wet and soaked. Yes, it was super heavy and heavier than my body weight. Actually a sandbag pulled me up and I was lifted by a sandbag. A guy next to me showed me how to use momentum for initial pull, and I tried it, however, an instructor gave me a caution because racers have to keep one body part on the ground. Do I need to bulk up for obstacle races?
Even though monkey bars were very wet and slippery, I made it. However, I got disqualified for monkey rings because I summersaulted and kicked the bell for finish sign. First, I pull myself up and tried to reach to the bell, my arm was not long enough, so I lift myself up and used my leg to hit the bell. Immediately, Spartan instructors were so upset and disqualified me. She screamed at me "YOU CAN'T USE LEGS!!!!!!"Sorry, I don't know rules.
Things I was almost failed
My hight is about 5/6 or7 (170cm) and it was challenging to go over 8 feet hight wall. I tried to jump hard and pulled myself up. It would be easier if I didn't do 5x5 squat on Thursday. lol
Crawling under barbwire
I got really sick from this because I was lazy about this obstacle, so keep myself rolling on my side. Suddenly, I felt like puking because rolling too much. (how retarded I am?) To make it better, I switch the side and kept rolling to finish. by the time I stood up and moved to next one, my legs were dancing and looked sick. Needless to say, Spartan instructors were watching me and almost laughing at me. Totally understood.
Carrying heavy stuff
You will see some carrying stuff at each obstacles. I made it every carrying obstacles, but stopped for recovery. Grappling/Jiujitsu endurance is very similar with this type of strength, but it was just hard for small guys to go fast without any break.
As long as I remember, all of above is my experience. When it comes to challenges, it turns me on because we all used to try things when we were little, but have less opportunities as we grow. At least for me, I was innocently excited for each obstacle and get duty in mud. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I saw other folks and they seemed to have the same feeling with me. Who just want to pick up things and put them dow? Who wants to run on a treadmill forever? We all need goals and purposes. I think Spartan race is a great opportunity to stay hungry, as well as achieve own fitness goals. To be honest with you, I am addicted. I would say this would be my next sport after MMA for sure. Cross training is great for fighter anyway .There are many many more obstacles one must overcome in completing any race in the Spartan Race Series.
By the way, I represent Onnit outside of MMA cages. How cool is that!?