The Sparta Experience – Helen’s View.

So we did it!  We completed the Spartan Race!  5 weeks of build up all got tested in what turned out to be 1hour and 30 minutes (officially, though our time keeping says 1 hour 20 mins) of fun.

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It was a cloudy morning and a nice slow start at Appin Homestay B&B where Sue cooked us up a breakfast of eggs, tomato, spinach and bacon along with freshly squeezed orange juice. Our start time had been moved to 12 noon so we had plenty of time to digest.  By 11 the skies cleared and the sun blazed a beautiful 30 degrees.  Great for going to the beach.  Perhaps not so great for running a race!  As we were starting so late and it was so warm my energy felt quite heavy.  Next time I’ll be sure to register for an early start (they were all booked out by the time we registered for this race).

Rope climb (far right) and net crawling
Rope climb (far right) and net crawling

The race covered 7km and 15 obstacles ranging from crawling under barbed wire for 100m (x2), climbing over really slippery muddy mounds and down the other side into deep trenches of water, balance beams, monkey bars, a rope climb, crawling over netting, throwing spears, going over, under and through things, carrying sand bags up and over a hill, swimming through rivers and dams and running along (through) a stream for a good while (maybe a km?).  For each obstacle you couldn’t pass, you had to do 30 burpees – well that’s what you’re meant to do anyway.  The obstacles weren’t very well policed so we saw lots of people not trying or failing an obstacle but not doing the burpees.  Carl of course could get through it all.  I had to do three lots of burpees – so Carl joined me just because he could and in doing so provided me with great support!   I was going totally fine on the climbing wall until the second last foot hold where I slipped and came off the wall.  30 burpees.  I also failed the monkey bars.  30 burpees.  I managed to get half way up the rope which was soaked wet with slippery muddy water, but then I slipped, and after having done 60 burpees my arms were too fatigued to get me back up again.  So we did another 30 burpees!  I’m happy to say I attempted every obstacle and did all my burpees!  I was disappointed in slipping off the wall and the rope climb as these are things I have been doing successfully in training at Ferg’s kayaks indoor climbing (though it’s all been dry surfaces at Ferg’s!).  I was however 99% certain that I wouldn’t be able to do the monkey bars – I’m going to need to do a lot more training for that – so wasn’t so disappointed about that.

So that’s the first Spartan Race for me!  It was awesome having Carl run it with me.  He supported me the whole way, we had good team work and he gave me the confidence to trust in my biomechanics and I managed to get through it injury and pain free (apart from a little sacral / pelvic pain near the start – probably a result of the postural imbalances from travelling).   Getting through it pain free was the main goal – everything else was just a bonus.  I can now look forward to racing again in future and improving on my time.

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Next up it’s our adventure climbing the magical Castle!  Stay tuned!

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