Ring a ding ding... here is the Spartan Bling ! This is a photo of the medal and part of the official finishers race T shirt.
This is a photo of the medal, a free bag and a Fenway Park patch. I paid extra for the patch. Thought it was pretty cool looking. I'm going to sew it to my bag later on. For those of you who've never heard of a Spartan Sprint, you might have heard of the Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash. They are similar.
Some time in June, I decided to sign up for a Spartan Sprint 5K that was going to be held in Fenway Park. One of the reasons I decided to do it was because it would be in Boston. Usually, the Spartan Sprint tends to be out in western MA or NH. too far for me. So, I jumped at the chance to finally do one of these obstacle courses. I've done lots of 5ks and 10ks. This would be a new experience. And I can't tell you the last time I was at Fenway Park. It's been years and years.
My start time was 8:30am. According to the website the race was sold out for its two day run. that's 8,000 people competing. This was also a time trial so I was wearing a timing chip. They requested that you arrive an hour before your start time to pick your materials and check bags if needed. Now this is where I was seriously ticked off. the bag check cost $5 !!!! Technically, the bag check should have been free as part of our race fee. That's sleazy if you ask me when you consider how much the race cost to enter i.e. over $125.
The race was designed with 22 obstacles around Fenway Park. We were never on the field. Most of the race was running up and down the stairs of the stands in the park and through the corridors. Mind you, some of those stairs are pretty steep especially when one of the obstacles is carrying a 40+ pound bag of sand on your back.
Obstacles, the obstacles that I thought I would have the most problems with turned out to be the ones I had the least problems doing. Getting up and over the walls. The walls started out small, but got taller as the race got nearer to the end. We started with 4 ft walls and finished with an 8 ft wall near the end. They did have small blocks (pieces of wood) attached to the wall if you needed a leg up. All you had to do was get up and over, it didn't have to be pretty and it wasn't. And do you know what helped me the most ? Was it having good upper body strength ? That helped. Nope, the one thing that really helped me with the walls was YOGA. I can't tell you how thrilled I was that my legs were flexible enough to reach up to the higher "ledges". You were allowed to use part of the brace to help get you over. Like I said, it didn't have to be pretty. You just had to get over. On to the race...
Couldn't wait to get the race started. it was COLD this morning. I think I was more worried about hypothermia than I was about getting injured from one of the obstacles. We started the race in groups of ten with about a minute between groups. Started the race with 10 burpees. Oh, did I tell you that I absolutely LOATHE burpees ? These Spartans love their burpees. If you miss any obstacles, 30 burpee penalty. Yeah, I did my fair share of burpees today. However, I expected to do some. I knew I would have problems with some of the obstacles. Which ones ? jumping. I'm not a good jumper. They had a box jump near the end of the race that was two feet high for women, three feet for men. I can't jump that high. I didn't practice. I took the 30 burpee penalty. I had problems climbing the rope. tried. can't climb a rope. 30 burpee penalty.
Now the one thing I thought I would do well, I couldn't do. They had a 35 pound weight on a rope. You had to pull the rope and lift the weight up 30 feet. Seems easy ? Not halfway through the race of hauling myself up and over walls. got it up part way and couldn't hold onto the rope. Lowered the weight slowly. 30 burpee penalty. IF you dropped the weight, 100 burpee penalty. I saw one guy let the weight free fall and he ended up doing the 100 burpees.
I almost had the rowing obstacle. They had a line of rowing machines. You had two minutes to row 500 meters. I was soooooo close. That one hurt because I had less than 10 meters left. ouch. 30 burpee penalty.
Had no problems with the push up obstacle. That was easy. What else was easy ? Strange as it may seem, carrying the 40+ pound bag of sand on my back up and down those stairs. That's where doing squats with a barbell really made a difference. I had no problems climbing stairs carrying that weight on my back. Yeah, I was tired, but that seemed like an easy obstacle for me because I have strong legs thanks to squats and lunges.
Let's see, I climbed up and over rope ladders, up and down wood V type ladders, climbed over tubes, shimmied under ropes and walls, carried a 30 pound container of water up and down a set of stairs, the guys had to carry two containers, had to jump double feet up three flights of stairs with my feet bound together with a band, had to jump rope 50 times with a thick piece of heavy rope, climbed across a rock type ledge and even got to chuck the spear. Almost had that one. I did hit the target ! woo hoo. BUT, the spear didn't stick, 30 burpee penalty. sigh.
The very last obstacle was to run past three "gladiators" who would strike you with padded sticks. I got bopped a couple of times. That's going to leave a bruise somewhere. Think they took pity on me. LOL !
I'd say I missed a total of six obstacles out of 22. not bad for my first race. I was impressed at how well I did do. My unofficial time is one hour and 26 mins. Will see how that holds up against other women my age group who competed. And yes, there were a lot of women of different ages who came out to race with the guys.
There were photographers posted all through the course taking photos and video. Supposedly, we get a free photo of our race. I don't know how free, free is after having to pay $5 for the bag check. In some of the 10Ks I've done, you could buy an official photo, but for a price. I have one of those from another race, treated myself. Don't know if I'll buy the photo or not. We'll see how the free one looks. I didn't exactly dress to be photographed. I wore the grubbiest clothes I had because I knew this would be a dirty race.
Will I do it again ? If there is one close to town, definitely. It was fun and I'm exhausted. Going to need to do some extra stretching later. My hands hurt even though I wore gloves. the ropes do a number on your hands. so do a million billion burpees. Did eat breakfast. Had oatmeal and a sandwich a couple of hours before the race. Brought another sandwich for post race even though they had food (for a price). I can tell you that I am not paying Fenway Park prices for a sandwich. That's why I brought my own ! They did provide free bananas. So, I had a couple of bananas too.
The race was certainly a challenge. Great camaraderie amoungst the participants. Everyone was encouraging everyone.
So, I guess I'm a Spartan now !! These things aren't for everyone, but they can be fun if fun if you want to try.
PS - Yes, they had a booth set up where you could buy all sorts of Spartan gear, except for the patch, I found the stuff a wee bit too pricey since I'm on a budget. Oh and my burpees got progressively worse and less enthusiastic as the race progressed. eh-hem.