Carl’s Spartan Experience

Other than a less than ideal lead into the Australian trip we did what we could leading up until the race day. We had loads of places to experience and people to meet which was amazing, but it also meant a lot of travel and organization. I met some inspiring people that are made from the same mould as myself – people passionate about health, nature and real food! We visited some great food places that had many or all of these elements:  Organic, educational, whole-food, grain free, fermented food, grass fed happy animals, super food, seasonal and local food.

Lamb shoulder that one of our amazing hosts cooked for us. Coupled with a beautiful organic salad.
Lamb shoulder that one of our amazing hosts cooked for us. Coupled with a beautiful organic salad.
My sort of butcher! Grub - Organic, grass fed happy animals. We got a full tour of the place :)
My sort of butcher! Grub – Organic, grass fed happy animals. We got a full tour of the place 🙂

We had the privilege of staying at Appin Homestay the night before the race and got to know the lovely couple that owned the place Kevin and Sue.  It was a (nearly) self sustainable farmlette with a great veggie garden, herb garden, orchard, geese, chickens and some happy grass fed cows (that gave us raw milk!!). When I was informed they also made fermented veggies and made their own raw milk cheese I almost needed time out to calm myself down!

Appin
Appin
Food I gathered in the garden and orchard at Appin Homestay - as Helen was getting the tour of the kitchen. We fell a bit in love with this place and the couple that ran it!
Food I gathered in the garden and orchard at Appin Homestay – as Helen was getting the tour of the kitchen. We fell a bit in love with this place and the couple that ran it!
Gathering dessert - Raspberries :)
Gathering dessert – Raspberries 🙂

 

We also had to take advantage of their pool and do some recovery training 😉

Recovery training
Recovery training
Raw milk - provided by the cows out the back!
Raw milk – provided by the cows out the back!

Needless to stay we were well nourished going into the race!

On race day we woke up had our Good Green Stuff and 20-30 minutes later backed it up with some yummy eggs, veggies and fruit (mostly from their back yard) washed down with a freshly squeezed orange juice.

When we arrived at the race it was already 30 degrees and felt as if it was getting hotter. We were surrounded by muddy bodies and lots of enthusiastic energy, we were excited but both expressed how we were feeling a bit lethargic – perhaps the travel catching up, the heat, the time of day (midday) or a combination of all.

Sparta!
Sparta!

We took off in excitement and didn’t look back! There were 15 obstacles along the 7km distance and lots of water and boggy mud to tramp through as well as some decent hill and mixed terrain. The obstacles I remember best are:

 

  • Muddy mounds to scramble up and slide down in between deep water trenches.
  • Barbed wire to roll or crawl under
  • A large wall to jump up and climb over
  • Some walls to climb under and through
  • Balance course
  • Monkey bars
  • Wet rope climb
  • Netting tower
  • Sandbag hill carry
  • Lateral wall climb
  • Spear throw
  • Fire jump
  • Spartan gauntlet

Our main objective of the race was to get though it injury and pain free, that was achieved! My main objective was to enjoy the race and be a good team buddy – I think I achieved that also!

We had trained for nearly all of the obstacles other than the spear throw so I felt well prepared and managed to pass them all the only one that really troubled me was the barbed wire – where they recommended rolling, but my shoulders kept snagging the wire and had to adapt fast so I took on more of a front crawl that allowed me to sneak under the wire.

We displayed great teamwork on the balance course where you have to walk along a 10+m zig zagging four by two balance beam without falling off. We adapted a technique where I would lead and get to a corner/join (this was the most stable part) and hold out my hand, then we would both hold hands until both Helen had made it to where I was and I got half way through to the next plank. As far as I saw we were the only ones who successfully made this one, so I feel very proud of us J

Helen was great! She showed great physical and mental strength and the four she didn’t succeed at were close calls!

  1. Monkey bars – she slipped off as they were wet. Not many people at all passed this one!
  2. Spear throw – she missed by one foot in distance (line was good!)
  3. Rope climb – she got to half way slipped once, carried on and had a big second slip and was unable to recover. The rope was very wet and muddy so was even challenging for most of the guys! But here she showed great determination that she should be proud of! I certainly was proud of her!
  4. Lateral wall scale – Helen got to the last block and slipped! I felt gutted for her as she made the rest of it look easy!

The punishment burpees weren’t well monitored and people would either not try the obstacle and run straight through without doing the burpees or fail the obstacle and carry on without doing the burpees. We made a deal that we would complete the 30 burpees together if either one of us failed any of the obstacles. That’s what we did and we did this four times (total of 120 burpees) with little or no rest. I think we found this quite easy because of our physical preparation training plan and our 50 consecutive burpees per day challenge. Again I felt proud of us for doing this as we had the attitude that we were only competing with ourselves and the place number held little value to us.

The final task was to get through the Spartan gauntlet and we had a plan for this also – Helen would follow me, I would either throw a deceiving sidestep (at least attempt to!) or tackle him and clear the path for Helen. The sidestep worked and we crossed the line unscathed!

Me post race
Me post race
Helen post race
Helen post race

 

As we slowly made our way back towards the car Helen noticed a WOD (workout of the day) challenge. If you completed the exercise in under 5 minutes you received a free T-shirt and if you got the fastest time of the day you won around $600 worth of Iron Edge gear. So I was convinced to enter. I had a couple of concerns with this challenge though.

1. I had just completed an hour and a half of exercise

2. The temperature was exceeding 30 degrees and I was dehydrated and probably hypoglycemic

3. It was a cross-fit style workout with a couple of slightly unfamiliar movements including Kip-ups – which Im not a huge fan of form wise – but when your doing chin ups for time it’s a good way to dramatically decrease your time.

Extra challenge!
Extra challenge!

I completed the workout in just over 3 minutes and I think the top time was around 2:25 so happy with the time and that I earned a free T-shirt but would like to give it another go 😉

I left the event feeling spent – which I like. I also felt a sense of achievement for us both and as a unit, and excited about the next challenge and what turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life – The Castle ‘walk’.

What a team!! :)
What a team!! 🙂
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