The Spartan race

19 Mar

Four friends and I signed up for the Spartan Race quite a while ago.  A few of us knew before sign ups were even open that we were going to sign up.  Needless to say, I’ve had plenty of time to train for the race.  I was going pretty well with my training – running further than ever before, doing pump class at the gym….  But then I started uni and my gym days sadly fizzled down to one day a week.  I can only go to the gym when the creche is open, and the creche is only open from 9-12 on weekdays and 8-11 on Saturdays.  Now that I have uni, the kids or I have something on every single weekday morning, leaving only Saturday for the gym.

Point being, I went to the race is less than par condition.  Plus I had the tail end of a nasty cold.  After getting our numbers and leaving our bags at the bag drop, we wandered over to the start line that was counting down until our 11:20am start time.  We’d been eating red frog lollies and chocolate hot cross buns in the car, so we were hopped up on sugar and ready to go.   A photo with Commando from The Biggest Loser Australia provided us with further race excitement.

Kristina, Romana, Lauren, Commando, The Jess, and me right before our start time

Kristina, Romana, Lauren, Commando, The Jess, and me right before our start time

5…4…3…2…1 BEEP (airhorn)! Everyone started running.  And by running, I mean leisurely jogging.  For about 20 seconds when it turned into walking.  We all wondered why, until we got to the top of the hill and found everyone in front of us making their way down into the water, inhaling the giant cloud of dust as they went.

the first obstacle

the first obstacle

On the other side of the creek, a giant grassy hill awaited us.  We jogged half way up and then walked.  Good golly, I should have done some hill training.  Instead, I ran on the treadmill with the elevation set at 0 the entire time and concentrated instead on eventually running 7km’s – the length of the Spartan race.

After the giant crazy hill that left a lot of us fairly winded and wishing for a drinks station, the ground levelled out and we started jogging again.

Kristina and me looking rather puffed after the very first hill

Kristina and me looking rather puffed after the very first hill

As we turned  a corner, we found a mass of people crawling on their bellies under low barbed wire. Oh, so that is what Commando meant when he told us to roll under the wire.

Unlike the masses before us, we heeded his advice rolled.  It was much easier.

Rolling under the barbed wire.

Rolling under the barbed wire.

We ran/walked some more up and down hills until we came to a large wall with a rope attached to it.

Romana scaling the wall aided by a rope

Romana scaling the wall aided by a rope

We all successfully scaled the wall and continued on our way, with a  much needed drinks station within our sights.

excitedly running towards a drinks station

excitedly running towards a drinks station.  Yes, I have double jointed elbows. Feel free to cringe.

When we got there though, there was a big arrow pointing us in the opposite direction.  The drinks station was actually later down track, the paths just nearly crossed at that point.  Perhaps rounding the bend towards the drinks station was later, but you know what? It was 7kms, heaps of obstacles, and a hot day, so I don’t remember exactly.

Up and down some more grassy hills with cow poop (the whole event was in a cow pasture), we came to a series of muddy hills with troughs of muddy water in between them.

sliding on my bum down a slippery mud hill into a giant mud puddle

sliding on my bum down a slippery mud hill into a giant mud puddle

Some people landed in the pit so hard that their head went under.  Lucky for me, I managed to keep my head above water…er…mud.  My contacts probably wouldn’t have fared so well if they were full of mud.

Me and The Jess in a mud pit

Me and The Jess in a mud pit

It was quite hard getting out of the muddy pits as the hills were so incredibly slippery.  Successful exit required help from team members and finding foot holds along the slippery slope.

me climbing out of the mud pit

me climbing out of the mud pit

“Romana’s butt looks like it’s crying.” The Jess told me after the mud pits.  Her shorts had big mud patches on the butt cheeks and muddy water was trickling down her leg.  “I bet we all look like that.”

“Yeah, you do.” The guy running behind us said.

“Oh, so you’ve been looking at our butts, have you?” The Jess asked him, accusingly.

“I have to look at something while I run.”

He ran past us as he we laughed.  Awkward Turtles was written across his back.  Yeah, that was a bit awkward.

Next we came to a huge row of zig zagging balance beams.  If you fell off, you had to do 30 burpees.

Me and Romana tackling the balance beams

Me and Romana tackling the balance beams

They were a lot thinner than the standard balance beams at gymnastics centres.  Plus they wobbled since they were not so firmly stuck in the ground.  I made it almost to the end and started wobbling.  I was about to come off when Mr. Awkward Turtle ran over grabbed me until I re balanced myself, saving me from the 30 burpees.

“He owed you for looking at our butts.” The Jess said.

We ran/walked up and down some more hills before coming to some very muddy looking water.  It was swimming time.  Proper swimming time, this stuff was above our heads.  It was so refreshing as we got in, and I’m a decent swimmer, so I enjoyed our little river swim.

swimming across the river

swimming across the river

The Jess looked like a dog fetching a stick since she carried her camera in her mouth and doggie paddled across the river.

Finally, we came to the drinks station, where we were only allowed one little cup of water.  I think I could have drunk 3 litres by that point.

I haven’t been on the monkey bars since I was a little kid, but somehow my entire team and I managed to get all the way across.

Me on the monkey bars

Me on the monkey bars

Next we came to a giant wall.  Since The Jess has crazy like-a-monkey (I’m trying to say that without sounding derogatory) climbing skills, she went first, scaling that wall like it was nothing.  She stayed at the top to help the rest of us not-so-good climbers get to the top.

I decided to go second.  I planned to stay at the top to help as well.

Scaling the wall with help from my team

Scaling the wall with help from my team

Until I got there.  Then I realised there wasn’t much to hold on to on the back of the wall and I just wanted to get down.  I held on to the top of the wall and got my feet to the second board that was nailed to the back of the wall, providing a very small foot hold.  To get to the next one, I’d have to hold on to the first board nailed to the wall.  It wasn’t very thick, and we were quite high up.  What if I fell?

I stayed where I was, not knowing quite what to do.  I’m not sure if she scaled the wall whilst I was trying to figure out how I was going to get down without falling to my death, or is she just walked around the said of the wall to help me, but Lauren walked over and offered a hand.  I needed more than that.  My fear of falling outweighed my embarrassment and Lauren physically carried me away from the wall.  Thanks Lauren, I’m still grateful.

More running up and down hills brought us to the javelin throwing area.  I’ve never thrown a javelin in my life.

Me throwing the javelin

Me throwing the javelin

I missed.  Just.  My javelin even touched the straw bale, but it didn’t stick.  Neither did the other girls, which means we all had to do 30 burpees.

This is why I shouldn't dance. I can't even synchronise burpees for a photo

This is why I shouldn’t dance. I can’t even synchronise burpees for a photo

At least we got a photo of us molesting our javelins.

javelin molesting. As you do.

javelin molesting. As you do.

Not very far from the javelins, were the…um…I don’t even know what you call them, but there were a few walls with chunks of wood nailed to them that we had to get all the way across without holding on to the top of the wall, or touching the ground.  It wasn’t very high up, so I was fine with it.

Turns out, I was really good at it.

like a spider

like a spider

I was not so good at the rope climb.  Neither were the rest of the girls, or anyone else who was there at the same time as us.  Except the Jess.  She climbed that thing like it had knots in it or something.

The Jess (pink top) owning the rope

The Jess (pink top) owning the rope

The rest of us had to do 30 more burpees. Sigh.

On the side of the rope climb was a very slippery high ladder that we had to climb up to get to a couple of cargo nets that we had to get down.

Romana and me on the cargo net

Romana and me on the cargo net

At the triangle things, I ran towards them, grabbed leap frog style, and spun straight over.  The series of them took my about 3 seconds.  I’m much better at the obstacles than the actual running.

Just hold on and spin, you'll get straight over.

Just hold on and spin, you’ll get straight over.

Unfortunately, after the triangle things came the sandbags.  8kgs of sand which had to be carried up a giant hill and down the side.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t fall over a couple of times on the way back down.

My team going up the hill

My team going up the hill

It felt great to get the bags off of our shoulders, but the race was far from over.  There were a couple walls to go over, and one to go under.

I had a nice bruise from this one the next day

I had a nice bruise from this one the next day

We trekked through a muddy creek, sometimes up to our waists for about a kilometre.  By then, it was really hot and the sun was beating down on us.  I desperately wanted a drink, but none was to be found.  Unless you counted the muddy creek we were walking in, but I didn’t want to get any weird diseases.  I’m sure half of the mud was actually cow poop.  We hadn’t had a drink since just before the monkey bars.

trekking through the creek

trekking through the creek

When we finally came out of the creek, scraped up from tripping on submerged rocks, we crossed back through the triangle things, this time crawling through them.  Most people had to shimmy along on their bellies, using upper body strength to pull themselves along.  Not us short people.  We got to do a proper crawl.  For us it wasn’t really an obstacle, just a fun tunnel that would could giggle through as we watched everyone else labouring so hard to get to the other side.

Being small also allowed me to turn around at the end of the tunnel so I didn’t have to go face first into the muddy cow poop water like most people.

The swim was refreshing, but then we came to another barbed wire obstacle.  This one seemed never ending and was on very muddy ground, not grass like the last one.  Everyone seemed to have realised that rolling was the way to go.  I guess it would be too hard to belly crawl under barbed wire for about 400 meters in the mud.

Look way back into the photo, see how crazy far that rolling goes for? And to the right hand side, you can see the sand bag hill

Look way back into the photo, see how crazy far that rolling goes for? And to the right hand side, you can see the sand bag hill

Let me just point out that I don’t do spinning well.  I can’t even go on the teacup ride at Lollipops.  Spinning makes me feel like puking, and we all know how I feel about puking (vomit phobia remember?).  By the end of that barbed wire roll, I could hardly stand up straight, and I felt like I was going to lose my breakfast.

Needless to say, it probably wasn’t the best idea to put the fire jump straight after 400 meters of rolling.  I’m just lucky I didn’t land in the fire.

We jumped that smouldering log pile.  It was actually on fire and licked at our heels as we jumped, you just can't tell from the photo

We jumped that smouldering log pile. It was actually on fire and licked at our heels as we jumped, you just can’t tell from the photo

After pushing our way through some half hearted gladiators with big sticks, we were done.  We made it.  We finished the Spartan race.  We were covered head to toe in mud, scraped and bruised, parched, and tired, but we did it.

We finished the spartan race

We finished the spartan race

Hannah did the kids spartan race, but that’s another post for another day.

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Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson

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6 Responses to “The Spartan race”

  1. Ida March 20, 2013 at 2:43 am #

    Wow Wow Wow, you are my hero!

  2. LBcruiseshipblogger March 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    Next blog: nasty infections from rolling around in cow poop! By the way, the balance beam photo looks like your butt has the happy face kind of eyes. But all joking aside, congrats, sounds like quite an accomplishment to finish a race like that.

    • Mommy Adventures March 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

      Our butts did look funny… When I got home, I scrubbed all of my cuts and scrapes, so hopefully they won’t get crazy infections, but you never know 😦

  3. Kathy A March 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    I am impressed!! I have signed up for the Spartan in Amesbury Mass in August 2013 and I am scared, lol. I have two little girls, so I only get an hour in 3 times a week at the gym. You have inspired me that I CAN get through it. Just need to run a little longer. Thanks for the blog!! I love it

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